Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall

Fall 2011 Choosing a financial advisor l Tax tips for couples l How to boost your credit score l Use your severance wisely l Home renos that add value INSIDE KNOWLEDGE INSPIRATION BALANCE CALGARY FINANCIAL d iv as Empowering women with the knowledge and inspiration we need to make informed financial decisions, achieve our goals, and find balance between our money and our values. magazine


Empowering women with the knowledge and inspiration we need to make informed financial decisions, achieve our goals, and find balance between our money and our lives.

Transcript of Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall

Page 1: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall

Fall 2


Choosing a financial advisor l Tax tips for couples l How to boost your credit score l Use your severance wisely l Home renos that add valueINSIDE





FINANCIALdivasEmpowering women with the knowledge and inspiration

we need to make informed financial decisions, achieve our

goals, and find balance between our money and our values. m a g a z i n e

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TD Canada Trust

We’ve got the right mortgage for you!

Given the broad range of TD Canada Trust mortgage options, there is one that is perfect for you. As an expert in home financing, I can help you choose the best financing option to meet your individual needs.

Are you considering...• Buying a home• Obtaining a Home Equity Line of Credit• Refinancing your mortgage• Switching your mortgage from another financial institution

Call me for a pre-approval or consultation.

Joyce MacleanMobile Mortgage Specialist

T: [email protected]

Cheryl Dyck403.615.6440

[email protected]/cheryldyck

2010 NetworkCOACH Award

Our Guarantee & Award winning proven methods to help you.

Want to exercise your creative side?Great programs from the

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Can you help me balance Work and Life? YES!

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Sheryl Johnston, Realtor ®

Call 403.923.6774 •

• Education• Communication• Market Knowledge

comfortable confident

Because a Great Experience Begins with a Great Agent ™

with your real estate decisions

I strive to provide my clients with:

before, during and after the purchase or sale of their home.

• Comprehensive Evaluation• Honesty• Listening and understanding

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The Helping YOU Team

The Helping YOU Team consists of Christine Laberge & Dwight McLelland.

Our passion is helping people.

It’s education that makes the difference. Whether you’re looking for a buyer’s agent or seller’s agent, we offer a team approach with

services in English and French. Having two Realtors working for YOU means

we have double the market knowledge, double the experience and double the results.

SOLUTIONSIndependently Owned and Operated

is where our heart is.


“I can’t thank you enough for all that you did, especially as a first time home buyer! The Helping YOU Team went out of their way to make sure that I was completely informed throughout the process.  They were extremely knowledge-able with market comparables, frequent updates and expla-nations about the closing process. They put my interests ahead of their own and made sure I received the absolute best price possible! I would, without a second thought, recommend The Helping YOU team to all of my friends and family. As a matter of fact I have already begun recommend-ing them to my colleagues within the CBE. I would not even consider using anyone other than Christine and Dwight for future real estate dealings. There was absolutely nothing that could have been done better on behalf of me and my children! Thanks again from the bottom of my heart!!” -Andrea Kiper, Calgary, AB

Houses are like people…it’s what’s inside that counts!

From one of our clients:

[email protected]

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n Feeling stuck, stressed or even bored at your Job, or Spending every day working at what you Love!

n Thinking you’ll never find your true calling to get to live your Life’s Purpose, or Knowing exactly what you are meant to be doing with your LIFE - and are doing it!

n Your work/life balance is out of sync and you’re asking yourself, “Where’s my LIFE?” or You’re loving not just your work, but also loving your LIFE again!

If any of this feels familiar, the time is now to Live the Life you deserve!


Call for a complimentary consultation: (403) 826-5069Crystal Thunell, Life & Career Transition CoachSoul Esteem • [email protected]

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2011 l Volume 1, Issue 2

Publisher/Editor: Kelly Landry [email protected]

Editorial submissions: [email protected]

Production: Carmel Ecker [email protected]

Distribution: [email protected]

Advertising/Sponsorship: sales@

The information contained in this publication is for infor-

mation purposes only. It is not intended to provide you

with specific recommendations or individual advice.

Please consult with your financial professionals before

making any decisions.

The opinions expressed in this magazine are the opinions

of the authors and do not necesarily reflect the opinions of

Financial Divas Magazine.

No portion of this publication may be reproduced in whole,

or in part, without the express written permission of the


Copyright © 2011 Financial Divas Magazine

ISSN 1920-7670

Inside this issue

Find us online...


INVESTINGChoosing a financial advisor14

You’re healthy. So why should you consider critical illness insurance?31



Self-employment: Are you ready to be your own boss?38


Benefits of being a non-smoker17

Women and heart disease30

Help your child build a healthy body image


Cost cutting for newlyweds18

about business insurance38

Home renovations that add value9REAL ESTATE

Home financing checklist13

Save money on your mortgage10

5 THINGS YOU SHOULD help maintain a healthy lifestyle17about wedding insurance18about estate planning29


Reclaim your finances after a breakup20

Boost your credit score33Beat the tax man with income splitting40

Use your severance wisely39

about tax free savings accounts32

Stage your home and sell for top dollar12

Mutual vs. segregated funds16

Retirement challenges for women21Learn to be financially stable22Building your first financial plan 23

Rules changing for health plan payouts26

Tips for real estate investing29

Get real about your relationship with money


Be confident. It’s beautiful.27Benefit from meditation and visualization28

Slay the bookkeeping dragon37

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In markets across the country, there are always periods when more homes are available within a smaller pool of potential buyers. “Buyers’ mar-kets are a normal cyclical state of real estate markets everywhere,” says Yvonne Ratigan, a senior executive with Royal LePage Canada, adding that at these times, adhering to some tried and true practices can help speed along the sale of your home.

Price it right. Your full-service real estate agent uses a combination of professional experience and housing data to help determine a fair asking price for your home. The first 30 days are critical. If priced too high, buyers may look elsewhere. The longer the property is on the market, the

fewer the prospects.

Make improvements. Most homebuyers are likely to make an offer on a home that they can enjoy immediately. Evaluate your home from a buyer’s point of view. An experienced real estate profes-sional will offer an objective view of your home and advise on needed improvements.

Shout it from the rooftops. Work with your real estate professional to design a marketing plan that is multi-faceted and promotes your prop-erty’s best features. Include ways to reach buy-ers online and offline—such as word of mouth, the Internet, yard signs, direct mail and open houses.

Go with a professional. Selling a home is more than just putting up a sign or listing it on the In-ternet. In a competitive market, don’t risk novice mistakes that can slow the selling of your home. Hire a real estate professional and take your guidance from an experienced marketer and negotiator. And, don’t underestimate the value of networking among real estate professionals, which can bring buyers and sellers together, sometimes even before the property goes on the market.

With the right planning and professional advice, you can sell your home in any market.

While no-frills mortgage products typically offer a lower – or discounted – interest rate when com-pared with many other available products, the lower rate is really their only perk.

This type of product will only seem ideal for you if you have no plans to take advantage of benefits that will help you pay off your mortgage faster – such as pre-payment privileges including lump-sum payments.

This product is ideal for:

• first-time home buyers who want fixed payments and have limited opportunities to make lump-sum payments during the first five years of their mort-gage

• property investors who need a low fixed rate and are not concerned with making lump-sum pay-ments

No-Frills products also won’t let you take your mortgage with you if you purchase another prop-erty before your mortgage term is up. This option, called portability, is an important one that could save you money over the long term if the home of your dreams is within your reach before your mort-gage term is up and rates have risen, which they have a tendency to do over a five-year period.

It’s understandable why these products seem

appealing. During tough economic times many home-buyers don’t have the extra cash to put down huge lump-sum payments. Also, if you don’t plan to move until the market picks up, you may not need a portable mortgage.

Before signing on the dotted line, however, it’s im-portant to consider that a lot can change over the course of five years or whatever term you choose for your mortgage.

You can obtain mortgage savings without giving up the perks of traditional mortgages. As an exam-ple, many lenders offer a lower interest rate if you close within 30 days, known as a “quick close”.

There are, however, other ways to earn discounts. For example, by switching to weekly or bi-weekly mortgage payments, and by obtaining a variable-rate mortgage but increasing your payments to match those of the going five-year fixed rate, you’ll be ahead of the typical 0.1 per cent discount of a no-frills product within approximately three years.

No-frills products represent a great example of why interest rates are not the only important fac-tor to consider when deciding whether to opt for a particular mortgage product.

Liz Reid, Mortgage Professional, AMPNews Canada

A look at no-frills mortgage products

Shopping for a Mortgage

tips to sell your home faster in a slow market

News Canada

Condos can be an affordable and low mainte-nance way to live. You don’t have to shovel the snow, mend a leaky roof or mow the lawn.

But since you are responsible for maintaining the building you live in, you need to look beyond the four walls of your condo and find the whole story on your new home before you commit.

One important step in this process is to have a lawyer review the building’s reserve fund study. According to the Condominium Act, all proper-ties must complete this report, which provides information on the history of the building, past maintenance fees and the projected fees for the next five to 10 years.

It can give you answers to important questions:

1. What is the history of the building’s mainte-nance fees?

2. Are repairs or construction to major elements of the building such as stairwells, elevators and the front lobby scheduled soon?

3. What planned interruptions are there to ma-jor services and amenities for the building?

4. Are there any building revitalization contracts?

Help with your condo purchase or more in-formation on this topic can be found online at

Ask the right questions before you buy a condo

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With summer finally here, more people are focusing on home renovations.

The Royal Bank of Canada forecasts a stronger resale market in Alberta than in the rest of Canada, with sales expected to rise 9.5 per cent in 2011 and another 4.2 per cent in 2012.

Most homeowners are not afraid to spend money on one of the best investments they have. However, the key is to know where to spend the money.

There are several areas to consider, which include cosmetic and functional aspects. Functional renova-tions, such as new windows or a new roof, are neces-sary, but may not add value to your home because buyers expect these items to be in good condition. The same is true for heating or cool-ing systems, electrical and plumbing.

The key to adding value is to focus on the things that are important to buyers, but not to over-improve. A solid renovation investment should increase the value of your home by at least the amount of money you spent, or close to it.

Making renovation decisions with an exit strategy in mind is critical for any homeowner. One of the ways I educate my clients is to give them a Home Renova-tion Guide that shows the expected return on invest-ment from various renovations.

Here are some of the top renovations that add value to your home:

Energy efficiency. More and more Albertans are con-cerned about the rising costs of gas, oil and hydro. This is especially important when people are looking to buy a home, so making your home more energy ef-ficient will add value. Consider buying high-efficiency appliances. The 2011 Federal Government Budget included grants for home improvements that lower energy costs, improve comfort and reduce impacts on the environment. To see if you qualify for a home-owner’s grant, visit:

Cosmetic improvements. Inexpensive investments such as new paint or wallpaper, new area rugs and contemporary window coverings with hardware can brighten your home. Painting, because it costs so little, can get returns of 100 per cent to 1000 per cent of the investment.

Kitchens. The most important area of any home is the kitchen since this is where most people end up. When planning a kitchen renovation, it’s critical to include plenty of counter and cabinet space. Quartz or gran-ite are good choices for counter tops and stainless steel appliances are appealing.

Bathrooms. According to the Appraisal Institute of Canada, homeowners can expect

to get back 75 per cent to 100 per cent of what they put into kitchen

and bathroom renova-tions, plus these upgrades can lead to a faster sale.

Updating or even adding bathrooms will add considerable

value, especially an ensuite for the master bedroom.

Curb Appeal. The way your home

looks from the street creates either a positive or negative first impression. A good place to start is to paint it with colors that match the period and style of your home. Also make sure the siding is in good condition. Sprucing up a tired-looking walkway and adding baskets of flowers and drought-tolerant plants will go a long way to adding 5 to 10 per cent to the overall value of your home. However, it’s critical not to go overboard by spending $30,000 in costly landscaping as you will not get it all back and most buyers will probably not appreciate the value you put into it.

Remember that keeping your home in good repair is the key to renovating. A reasonable amount to spend yearly is 1 per cent to 2 per cent of the value of your home. Do not assume you will get all your money back from a renovation….so do the ones you want to enjoy that will more likely get your money back.

Renovations that add valueTO YOUR HOME

Christine Laberge, Realtor®, Royal LePage Solutions

Renovations have been a growing trend for ho-meowners, considering the transaction costs involved in selling and re-buying real estate. Mo-tivations for renovations vary including changing lifestyle and increasing home value.

Renovations may also be a retrofit project. Older wartime houses may be in need of improving the mechanical systems to fit today’s standards.

Maintenance and repair renovations protect your investment and involve projects such as hiring a contractor to install a new roof or new energy ef-ficient windows.

Before you get started on your project, you may want to answer the following key questions:

• Is your renovation practical?

• Will your investment in renovation costs make sense through savings in heating or cooling, or will the investment increase the value of your home for future resale?

• Will your renovation create long-term useful-ness for your family and lifestyle?

• How can you incorporate healthy housing prin-ciples to maximize environmentally friendly returns to your renovation project?

• How will you finance the renovation project?

Thoroughly planning out a step-by-step process will pay dividends through your project.

Follow this eight step by step process to get started:

Step 1 Set your priorities.

Step 2 Know what’s possible. Investigate the practicality of the scope of your project.

Step 3 Do the math. Understand the costs, po-tential roadblocks, time to complete. Make sure you organize your financing so you have the funds to cover the project.

Step 4 Pick your partners. Research your con-tractors and trades. Know who you are dealing with and minimize any surprises.

Step 5 Get it in writing. All contracts and estimates should be thoroughly documented.

Step 6 Don’t worry about the mess.

Step 7 Inspect as you go.

Step 8 Give the thumbs Up.

Home renovation tips

Article by Gaylene Noyes, a Consultant with TMG The Mortgage Group

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51. Income stability from employment or self-employment

2. Credit history

3. Down payment on purchases; equity on refinances

4. Per cent of total family income for housing costs: principal, interest, property taxes, heat and a percentage of condo fees if applicable

5. Per cent of total family income for total debt service: housing costs plus any required payments on loans, leases, lines of credit, credit cards, support or alimony

Mortgage lenders review a file on five basic levels:

vital signs that determine your mortgage qualification

Article by Gaylene Noyes a Consultant for TMG, The Mortgage Group

There are over 40 lenders in the marketplace. Lenders place different weight on these factors depending on which segment of the market they wish to appeal to.

To earn the best rates, terms and conditions offered by the Tier One lenders, bor-rowers must present a file confirming: good income stability; strong credit history; a minimum of 5 per cent down payment from non-borrowed sources; housing costs not exceeding 32 per cent of gross income; and total debt service not ex-ceeding 44 per cent of gross income. There are exceptions to these guidelines in cases of very strong credit history represented by a Beacon Score 680 or higher.

Underwriting criteria and style varies lender to lender. Consult with your mort-gage professional to ensure that you are getting the best that the market has to offer.

Paying off your mortgage faster has the excel-lent benefit of reducing the amount of interest

you pay on your mortgage. How can you do this? By using privileges provided by the lender.

There are two types of mortgages: open and closed.

With OPEN mortgages there are no limits as to how fast you can pay down your mortgage; how-

ever you do pay a higher interest rate for this privilege. Typically, this type of mortgage is used by real estate investors who know they are only going to hold the property for a short time. Their interest expense is also tax deductible.

CLOSED mortgages are the preferred choice for owner-occupied properties. They also offer

privileges for paying down the mortgage faster with the ultimate benefit of re-

ducing the interest you pay over the life of your mortgage. These programs differ from lender to

lender and you would not choose a lender based sole-ly on this.

Payment Privileges offer a few different options:Annual or periodic lump sum payments: Payments of up to 15 per cent, 20 per cent, or even 25 per cent of the original principal amount are allowed each year without penalty.

Increase your payment: You may also increase your current payment by up to 15 per cent, 20 per cent, or even 100 per cent each year.

Double your payments: Some lenders offer the option of doubling any and all payments.

The above options are “non-cumulative.” Lend-ers embrace a “use it or lose it” policy, meaning

that if you do not use your 15 per cent or 20 per cent privilege in year one, you cannot make a 30 per cent or 40 per cent lump sum payment in year two. Passing up on privileges in any one year does not affect your privileges in future years.

Accelerated or rapid payments: With each pay-ment (weekly, bi-weekly, or semi-monthly) you apply a small incremental amount of money di-rectly to the principal. This privilege is designed so that every 12 months you make the equivalent of 13 payments.

The math easily illustrates how the Accelerated Payment Privilege can save you thousands of dollars. On a $280,000 mortgage that is amor-tized for 30 years at 3.89 per cent, the regular bi-weekly payments are $604.37. The accelerat-ed bi-weekly payment would be $657.04, which would allow you to pay your mortgage off in 25 years. Using a constant interest rate, you would save $29,471 in interest expense.

The potential savings of lump sum payments are also significant. If you were to make a lump sum payment of 2 per cent each year on that same mortgage and just make regular payments, you would pay off the mortgage in 18.6 years and save $79,663.51 in interest expense...for an investment of only $5,600 each year, and you would be mortgage free 11.4 years earlier.

How to SAVE MONEY on your mortgage

Article by Gaylene Noyes, a Consultant with TMG The Mortgage Group








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Before you begin searching for a home, it’s helpful to think about your needs both now and in the future. There are a number of things to consider when decid-ing what type of home to buy:

Location. Do you want to live in a city, town or in the countryside? How long will your work commute be? Where will your children attend school and how will they get there? Are you close to amenities?

Size requirements. Do you need several bedrooms, more than one bathroom, space for a home office, a two-car garage?

Special features. Do you want air conditioning, storage or hobby space, a fireplace, a swimming pool? Do you have family members with special needs? Do you want special features to save energy, enhance indoor air quality and reduce environmental impact?

Lifestyles and stages. Do you plan to have children? Do you have teenagers who will be moving away soon? Are you close to retirement? Will you need a home that can accommodate different stages of life?

New versus resale homesWhen thinking about your ideal home, the first thing to consider is whether you want a previously owned home (often called a resale) or a new home. Here are some characteristics that may help you decide:

New Home

• Modern design - A new home has an up-to-date de-sign that takes into account the latest trends, materials and features.

• Personalized choices - You may be able to upgrade or choose certain items such as siding, flooring, cabi-nets, plumbing and electrical fixtures.

• Up-to-date with the latest codes/standards - The lat-est building codes, electrical and energy-efficiency standards will be applied.

• Maintenance costs - Maintenance costs will be lower because everything is new and many items are cov-ered by a warranty. You should still set aside money every year for future maintenance costs.

• Builder warranty - Be sure to check all the conditions of the warranty. A home builder’s warranty can be im-portant if a major system such as plumbing or heating breaks down.

• Neighbourhood amenities - Schools, shopping malls and other services may not be complete for years.

• Extra costs - You may have to pay extra if you want to

add a fireplace, plant trees and sod or pave your drive-way. Make sure you know exactly what’s included in the price of your home.

Resale Home

• You can see what you are buying and will have easy access to services - Probably established in a neigh-bourhood with schools, shopping malls and other services.

• Landscaping is usually complete and fencing already installed - Previously owned homes may have extras like fireplaces, finished basements or swimming pools.

• No GST - You don’t have to pay GST unless the house has been substantially renovated, and then the taxes are applied as if it were a new house.

• Possible redecorating and renovations - You may need to redecorate, renovate or do major repairs such as replacing the roof, windows and doors.

Deciding which type of home to buyThere are many types of homes to choose from and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Think about your needs before making a decision and don’t forget to look beyond the interior walls. The environment surrounding your home can be as important as the environment within.

Following are some different types of homes:

• Single-family detached – A home containing one dwelling unit that stands alone and sits on its own lot, thereby offering a greater degree of privacy.

• Semi-detached – A single-family home that is joined to another one by a common wall. It can offer many of the advantages of a single-family detached home and is usually less expensive to buy and maintain.

• Row house or Townhouse – Many similar single-family homes, side-by-side, separated by common walls. They can be freehold, condominiums or rental units. They of-fer less privacy than a single-family detached home, but still provide a separate outdoor space. These homes can cost less to buy and maintain, but they can also be large, luxury units.

• Link or Carriage home – Houses joined by garages or carports, which provide access to the front and back yards. Builders sometimes join basement walls so that link houses appear to be single-family homes on small lots. These houses can be less expensive than single-family detached homes.

• Condominiums or Stratas – A condo or strata is a form of ownership, not a type of construction. They can be high-rise residential buildings, townhouse complexes, individual houses or low-rise residential buildings.

Article by Liz Reid, Mortgage Professional, AMP

REAL ESTATEbuying the best home for you

Agreement of purchase and saleA legal agreement that offers a certain price for a home. The offer may be firm (no condi-tions attached) or conditional (certain condi-tions must be fulfilled before the deal can be closed).

Amortization periodThe amount of time over which the entire debt will be repaid assuming the same interest rate.

AppraisalThe process of determining the value of prop-erty, usually for lending purposes. This may or may not be the same as the purchase price of the home.

Conventional mortgageA mortgage that does not exceed 80 per cent of the purchase price of the home. Mortgages that exceed this limit must be insured against default, and are referred to as high-ratio mortgages.

Home equityThe difference between the price for which a home could be sold (market value) and the total debts registered against it.

Mortgage termThe number of years or months over which you pay a specified interest rate. Terms usually range from six months to 10 years.

Open mortgageA mortgage that can be repaid at any time, without penalty.

PortingThis allows you to move to another prop-erty without having to lose your existing in-terest rate. You can keep your existing mort-gage balance, term and interest rate plus save money by avoiding early discharge penalties.

RefinancingRenegotiating your existing mortgage agree-ment. This may include increasing the princi-pal or paying out the mortgage in full.


learnthe LINGO

Jennifer Lloyd, Mobile Mortgage Specialist,TD Canada Trust

Page 12: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


As a home stager, I have heard plenty of home buyer comments that prove the value of home staging: “the house is too messy, it’s too clut-tered, it’s untidy.”

Sellers often think their home is fine and they don’t see the mess or the clutter. They wonder why prospective buyers see their stuff instead of the great features of the house.

Most home buyers simply can’t see a home as their space with your belongings in the way. That’s why home staging can make a big differ-ence in the selling price of a home and how long it takes to sell.

A real estate staging expert will transform your home into the property that will motivate buyers to make an offer. This is especially important when your home is competing with hundreds of others on the market in your price range.

Here are the top reasons why staging pays off:

Faster sales time. Staged homes sell faster than non-staged homes. Marketing experts indicate that staged homes sell 30-50 per cent faster in most areas. This is important because the longer a home is on the market the more likely there will be a price reduction. Buyers think that if a home has been on the market for too long there must be something wrong with it or that the seller will be anxious to sell and will take much less than the asking price.

Positive impression. First impressions are over-whelmingly positive on staged homes.

Less than a minute. Research has shown that buyers react to and decide whether they want a home or not in less than a minute. Therefore, curb appeal is key. After a buyer’s initial deci-sion, they will either confirm that decision or re-scind it in the next six to 20 minutes as they view your home.

Ready to move in. Staged homes appear to be

in “ready to move-in” condition. Buyers over-whelmingly prefer homes they can just move into and start enjoying life. They will pay a premium for this. New home developers have recognized this for decades, which is why they have model (staged) homes for buyers to view.

When only 5 per cent of the population can truly visualize how beautiful a home can be or see past the clutter, grime and so-so appearance, staging becomes paramount for a fast sale and for the price you want.

Competitive advantage. Staged homes have a competitive advantage over other homes that are not staged.

Well maintained. Staged homes give the appear-ance of being well maintained and cared for. This is the underlying psychological message that is sent to potential buyers.

Appraisers. Appraisers see the home in a posi-tive light and are more likely to appraise the home higher than a similar non-staged home.

Shown more. Properly staged homes are shown more often by realtors. They enjoy showing a

property that is attractive and excites buyers.

Extra showings. Homes that do not meet a buy-er’s exact criteria, but that are well staged, often get shown anyway because the agent feels the beautifully staged home may be an exception to the buyer’s criteria.

More advertising. Brokerage firms enjoy adver-tising beautifully staged homes because they draw more business to their firm. As the seller, you will benefit from their extra promotional ma-terials and marketing.

Higher sales prices. The better a home shows, the more it will sell for. This means more money in your pocket. Non-staged homes are more like-ly to require price reductions in order to sell ver-sus staged homes, which are more likely to have a number of offers and possibly a bidding war or final sales price over the asking price.

Article by Rennaye B. Miller ASP®, ABR®, RDA, is an Ac-credited Staging Professional Realtor® and an Accredited Buyers Representative with Realty Executives Polaris. This article is not intended to solicit properties currently under contract.

How to sell your house faster and for top dollar


Page 13: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


If you’re thinking of purchasing a new home, or refinancing or transferring your mortgage on your existing home, finalizing the paperwork is one of the last steps you take torward completing your home financing. Arriving prepared with all the documentation you need will make the process quick and easy.

If you are purchasing a homeBring information about the property you are pur-chasing:

• Purchase and sale agreement(s) include sched-ules and waivers

• MLS listing with photo

• Name, address and telephone number of your solicitor/notary

Bring information about your financial institution:

• Confirmation of the down payment equal to the down payment amount from one or more of the following sources:

- Savings accounts and/or deposits

- Liquid or other assets

- Gift letter

- Proceeds from the sale of another property

- Other documents or information required (whether you are purchasing or you already own your home)

Income confirmationIf salaried or hourly employment (full time or regular part time), provide one of the following:

• A letter from your employer on company letter-head that includes your name, salary or hourly pay rate and name and title of the person signing the letter.

• Current pay stub

• Copy of a current bank account statement show-ing direct deposit of your income

If you are self-employed or on contract and/or you wish to include bonuses, overtime, gratuities or profit sharing, provide the last two years’ Notice of As-sessments from Canada Revenue Agency. If your income source is something other than mentioned above, please refer to your mortgage representative for more information on the type of income confirma-tion required.

If you already own your homeWhat information to bring about your current property:

• Recent mortgage statement

• Current homeowner insurance policy

• Most recent property tax bill/statement

• Legal description of property. You can find this on:

- the original purchase agreement

- your property tax assessment

Property valueTo help estimate your property value, refer to:

• a recent property tax assessment

• neighbourhood sales comparables (MLS listings)

Some common questions you may be asked to complete your mortgage application• What current assets or savings do you have?

• What current liabilities do you have? (Please ensure you know the amount outstanding and monthly payment)

• What specific critical illness/life insurance coverage do you have?

Specific questions about the property:

• How much are (or estimate) the annual prop-erty taxes and heating costs?

• If the property is a condominium, what fees are associated with the corporation?

• What is the total square footage of your home?

• What is the total square footage of the land?

Things you should know about your mortgage3Getting a great interest rate definitely lowers the amount of interest you will pay over the term of your mortgage but is the rate the only thing that matters? The answer is NO. There are several other features of a mortgage that are equally important, and are sometimes over-looked, which may create problems down the road. Below are three important questions you should ask about your mortgage before signing on the dotted line:

1. What are the pre-payment options?

Putting lump sum payments directly onto the balance of your mortgage can lower total the in-

terest you will pay over the term of the mortgage. This also reduces the amortization of your mort-gage, meaning you pay it off more quickly.

2. If I move can the mortgage be moved to my new property?

Most fixed term mortgages are “portable,” which means they can move to another property with-out penalty. Variable rate mortgages may or may not be portable depending on the lender.

3. If I break the mortgage is there a penalty and how much is it?

A mortgage term is a contract you have made

with the lender to make payments at a certain rate for a certain period of time. If you choose to break that contract prior to the end of the term, the lender may not be able to lend that money out again at the same rate you promised to pay; therefore, they expect you to compensate them. This can be a significant amount.

Life has a way of changing unexpectedly and even though a low rate is a great thing, it is a good idea to make sure your mortgage has other beneficial features so you are not hit with any costly surprises down the road should your situation change.

Shari Merritt - TD Canada Trust

Article submitted by Jennifer Lloyd, Mobile Mortgage Specialist for TD Canada Trust

Home financing checklist Everything you need before you visit a mortgage specialist

Page 14: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall



Continued on the next page

A re you a valued client or a customer? There’s a difference.

A customer is a sale and maybe an annual review.

A valued client feels that they are a member of a family. Clients understand that they have a rela-tionship of trust with their advisor, who offers a lev-el of service for constant communication. Clients also understand they can discuss any financial issue with their advisor at any time.

When looking for a financial advisor, ensure you will be a valued client rather than a customer by choosing the right advisor for your needs.

Why have a Financial Advisor?Developing a financial plan is a way to take charge of your future. It will help you understand your choices and reach your life’s goals. As you get older and face changes, such as retirement, it’s important for you to have as much information as possible about your financial future. Even if you start late, planning will help you get your financial affairs in order and let you know where you stand so you don’t have any surprises later on.

When looking for a Financial Advisor here are some key considerations:Communication. In every relationship there must be communication, whether it is a marriage, a

friendship or a client-advisor partnership. Ask your advisor how they plan to communicate with you. Do they call, send letters or hold a seminar? Is there monthly communication or just an annual review? Let the advisor know how often you would like them to contact you and how often you would

like to see them face to face. When are they avail-able? Monday to Friday from 9 to 4, or can you get in touch with them during evenings or weekends?

Structure. There are differences in the ways fi-nancial advisors go about their business. If they work for a large insurance/investment company, they may only be able to sell and promote those financial institution’s products. If they are inde-pendent, they will sell and promote products from various insurance and investment companies and can ensure you get the right product for you. Great questions to ask include who do you work for and where is your office?

It’s wise to visit the office of your potential finan-cial advisor so you can get a sense of the orga-nization, professionalism and meet as many staff members as possible.

Experience. Know who you will be dealing with. How were you introduced to this individual? Were you referred to them by one of your trusted friends or a family member? How long has your potential advisor been in the industry? Do they work with a team of advisors or are they a lone wolf? Who are their industry contacts? Can this advisor refer you to other professionals like ac-countants, lawyers, mortgage brokers etc. to en-sure you are getting the right advice?

Be a valued client, not a customer

Choosing a

“Ask your financial advisor what she is doing to keep up with her educational requirements. There are many financial designations and courses that financial advisors can take advantage of.

Page 15: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


Continued from page 10

O nce upon a time there were two young ladies. Both had lots of fun. They were

happy girls and dreamed of when they would grow up and each marry a handsome prince.

The first young lady, Lidia, met her prince young, got married and had two children. She was very happy staying home and looking after them while her prince went to work. Unfortunately, he hurt his back so severely one day that he was unable to work. So Lidia took a deep breath and ventured into the working world to become the bread winner of the family. She never complained that her dream didn’t come true. Lidia worked hard and was smart with their money. She paid attention to what they spent and earned, but didn’t stress about it. She never earned more than $50,000 per year, but managed to pay off their home, raise two great sons and help with their post secondary ed-ucation, and maximize her family’s RRSPs each year. They didn’t go on elaborate trips or decorate their home in the latest styles. But they had lots of friends and were active and happy.

The second young lady, Casia, met several potential princes and had long term relationships, but none of them worked out. In each case, she still dreamed that she would have kids and stay at home with them, but one day she woke up at age 42, without her prince and realized that her dream wouldn’t likely come true. So she took one year off to go travelling and returned home. Sad that her life didn’t turn out as she had hoped, she kept spending money on clothes and eating out. She ignored the fact that she never had

any savings even though spending didn’t make her happy. She ended up being depressed and stressed by her financial situation on top of being lonely. Fortunately, Casia met a financial advisor who helped her realize that spending

money wouldn’t make her happy. She could find fulfillment in other ways.

Both princesses learned that life can give you lemons, and it is best

if you make lemonade. Pay attention to your money and it will work for you.

You don’t have to be a millionaire to have a rich and full life. Spend-ing less than you make is the first step to financial success.

This article was prepared by Laura Chanin who is an Investment Advisor

with DWM Securities Inc., a Dundee-Wealth Inc. Company. This is not an of-ficial publication of DWM Corporation and the author is not a DWM Securi-ties Inc. analyst. The views (including any recommendations) expressed in

this article are those of the author alone, and they have not been approved by, and are not necessarily those of, DWM Securities Inc.

A tale of 2 princesses


Education. The financial services industry can be an intimidating world. Make sure the advi-sor explains the financial plan to you so you un-derstand it. Find out the philosophy or Mission Statement of that Individual or company and make sure it’s in line with what you are looking for. Ask your financial advisor what she is doing to keep up with her educational requirements. If your advisor is on top of it, it’s an easy ques-tion to answer; there are many financial desig-nations and courses that financial advisors can take advantage of.

The Big Picture. Many advisors provide more than just advice. A proper financial plan has many components. Everything from insurance – whether it be life, critical illness, long term care or disability insurance – to your investments, which may include registered accounts, tax advantaged accounts, your children`s invest-ment accounts and non-registered accounts. An advisor may refer you to an accountant for tax advice, to a lawyer for legal advice and/or to a mortgage broker to see if your mortgage is in the best position. A financial advisor can help you save money in taxes, show you how to reduce your debts, manage your household cashflow, show you how to guarantee your in-come in retirement, put protection in place for your loved ones in the event something unfore-seen happens to you, and more.

Compensation. Understand how your advisor is compensated. Are they paid an annual salary or are they on commission? Advisors that work on a commission basis have a vested interest in making sure your investments perform and that you are getting great service. Those on a salary get paid whether you remain a satisfied client or not.

Remember that there are many different products and strategies available to you. Be sure your advisor educates you so that you are comfortable with and understand your financial plan.

Article by Stephanie Ardiel and Kim Rozdziabek of Moore Planning Group

A financial advisor should help you see the big picture

Page 16: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


Rate of Return

Your rate of return is how much money you make (or lose) on an investment, relative to how much you invested. It is usually described as a percentage of the total amount invested, and of-ten calculated on an annual basis. It can be received in the form of interest (income earned from GICs or Bonds), capital gains or losses (the difference between the purchase and sale of an investment), or dividends (a portion of profits paid to shareholders by some companies). The amount you invested is often referred to as your principal or your capital.


Diversification is the process of divid-ing your money within your investment portfolio to reduce risk. You can diver-sify among different types of invest-ments, such as cash or stocks; across different industries, such as financial or energy companies; and even by currency and country.

Asset Allocation

Asset allocation refers to how much of your money is invested in each type of investment (or asset class). Asset classes include Cash, Fixed Income such as Bonds, and Equity Investments such as Stocks. With asset allocation, you are reducing your exposure to any one type of investment. Your asset al-location and portfolio diversification is determined by your personal financial goals, risk tolerance and time horizon. They can both have a significant im-pact on your portfolio returns and risk level.

learnthe LINGO

Funds, for many investors, offer the opportunity to participate in both the stock and bond markets without having to become an expert stock picker or bond analyst.

A professional investment manager makes pur-chase decisions based on the mandated objec-tives of a particular fund and investors then get the chance to choose funds that meet their invest-ment goals. Even if an investor has very limited amounts to invest, they can purchase into pools of a number of companies in many different indus-tries. Funds can be purchased as mutual funds or segregated funds, and each offer unique benefits.

Segregated (“seg”) FundsTechnically called “individual variable annuity contracts,” these are termed “segregated” be-cause they are owned by an insurance company that holds the assets outside of, or segregated from, their insurance assets. This means that poli-cy holders can feel confident that their money will be there for them even if the insurance company isn’t. Segregated funds offer a number of unique advantages that may be right for some investors:

Estate privacy and protection. Seg funds allow the investor to name a beneficiary for their invest-ments. On death, the policy pays directly to the current named beneficiary quickly and does not form part of the estate. While probate costs in Al-berta are negligible, the advantage to this is that there are no legal and accounting costs to pay on this money. And while a will is a public docu-ment, a beneficiary designation is completely pri-vate – the insurance company pays directly to the person named.

Guaranteed death benefit. On the date of death, a segregated fund is valued. The named benefi-ciary will receive the highest of the market value of the fund on that date or the guaranteed death benefit (usually 100 per cent of deposits less any withdrawals).

Guaranteed maturity value. Typically 75 to 100 per cent of deposits to the seg fund contract are available as a maturity guarantee in 10 to 15 years from the date of writing the contract. If the market value of the funds is higher than the guarantee, the investor gets the market value. Each company offering seg funds interprets maturity guaran-tees differently so your payout can vary between companies.

Resets available. Many seg fund contracts allow the investor and their advisor to reset the guaran-teed values. Sometimes this will extend the date of the guarantee, and it’s important to be aware if this is the case in your contract.

Potential creditor protection. This can be particu-larly important for some business owners, espe-cially if they are starting up and not sure if they will remain solvent.

Taxation. Because segregated funds are looked at as a trust for tax purposes, income and tax-able capital gains are allocated to investors and appear on a T3 for easy reporting. Capital losses also flow through to investors, allowing the individ-ual to carry the loss back three years and forward for future years at their leisure.

Mutual funds• are typically less expensive than segregated funds, on average charging a management ex-pense ratio (MER) of up to .5 per cent less.

• offer investors more fund selections than within a segregated fund lineup.

• may allow the investor to receive income distri-butions in cash as they are earned.

• can be purchased using a corporate class structure, which may allow for tax deferred switch-ing amongst a group (corporation) of funds and may help absorb some of the taxation of distributions.

Segregated funds and mutual funds both offer good value for the investor who wants access to expert investment managers at a low cost. They are easy to purchase, sell, and understand. Funds can be purchased within the structure of RRSPs, TF-SAs, RESPs and non-registered money. They are a fantastic way to get familiar with investing without having the drama of a do-it-yourself project.

Mutual funds vs.Segregated fundsINVESTING

Article by Kelley Doerksen, Kelley Doerksen, CFP ®, Guaranteed Financial Service


“Even if an investor has very limited amounts to invest, they can purchase into pools of a number of companies in many different industries.

Page 17: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall

51. Find an activity you enjoy: Hunting down an activ-ity that makes you want to exercise is a surefire way to get you on the path to physical health. Find the cardio room in the gym uninspiring? Try running on chip trails near your house. Join a recreational league of a sport you’ve always wanted to try. Sign up for an outdoor bootcamp. The possibilities are endless.

2. Take a healthy cooking class: If you hate cooking or find that there’s never enough time to make meals from scratch, the solution may be to consult an ex-pert. Learning food preparation shortcuts, how to ex-

periment successfully in the kitchen plus other tips can make healthy eating easier and more enjoyable.

3. Walk or bike: It can be easy to hop in the car for that quick trip to the store or to get to that meeting, but choosing to walk or cycle instead can be a great way to unwind and get exercise at the same time.

4. Manage your time: A hectic schedule can often be attributed to poor time management. If this is a skill you’re lacking, pick up a book or take a class that will help you better schedule the things that are neces-

sary or important to you.

5. Schedule “me” time: It’s easy to tell ourselves that personal time isn’t important or that we’ll have it when a particular busy time is over. Unfortunately, this means the things that help us unwind and keep our stress levels down are always pushed to the back-ground in favour of “more important” or more immedi-ate things. Remember that you are just as important as anyone else in your life and scheduling time to look after yourself will leave you happier and more able to be there for your friends and family.

Staying healthy and active can be tough with all the demands of work, family and community. Here are a few tips to help you squeeze it into your schedule:

Things you can do to maintain a healthy lifestyle


You know the health benefits of quitting smoking, but think about all the other ben-efits of being smoke-free.

Smoking is a powerful addiction, but the good news is that positive improvements to health begin almost instantly. In fact, a mere eight hours after your last cigarette, carbon monoxide levels in your body drop and oxygen levels in your blood increase to normal. After 48 hours, sense of smell and taste begin to improve, and after 72 hours, lung capacity increases and breathing is easier.

As a non-smoker, you could...• Have the opportunity to increase sav-ings and disposable income: According to a recent survey, having more money is the number one thing that smokers look forward to upon quitting.

“I saw a definite increase in savings after I quit smoking,” says ex-smoker, Lee-Ann Migneault. “In fact, I was able to lease a car with the money I saved from quitting.”

• Become a role model: Smokers tend to associate with those who have a similar smoking pattern. As a result, one person

quitting can greatly impact those around them. If one smoker in a friendship quits, the likelihood that their friend will is 43 per cent. In small companies, if a close co-worker quits, the chances of a colleague also quitting are 34 per cent. The high-est chance of catching the quit is among spouses; if one partner quits, the likeli-hood of the other quitting too increases by two-thirds.

By quitting smoking you can be a positive role model for the people in your life.

• See your work-life change: Smokers often don’t realize how much their smok-ing bothers their colleagues. A survey in-dicated that 52 per cent of non-smokers are bothered by their smoking colleagues; whereas, only one-third of smokers actu-ally realize this is the case.

In addi-tion, it is e s t i m a t e d that Canadian smokers take two smoke breaks on top of their employer’s sanctioned rest time. This results in an estimated 40 minute loss of productivity for each smoking em-ployee, costing businesses $3,396 per year (equal to $5.8 billion an-nually in Canada).

Think about how these percep-tions will change when you are fi-nally smoke-free and the impact it will have on your productivity.

For more information about quitting smoking, including prescription op-tions, as well as how to overcome the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal such as irritability, restlessness, poor con-centration, depression or increased appetite, speak to a doctor or visit

News Canada

As a non-smoker I could...Picture your life after you kick the habit

“Positive improvements to health begin almost instantly when you quit smoking.

Page 18: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall

Once they have walked down the aisle and re-turned from their honeymoon, the next step many newlyweds look forward to is buying their own home together. Though there are deals to be had in any real estate market, the cost of home own-ership is something many newly married couples can’t instantly afford. That’s especially true for the increasing number of couples who pay for their weddings without any help from family.

Such couples still harbor the dream of home ownership, but realizing that dream can seem like a daunting task. But the task grows easier when couples begin to exercise some financial restraint. There are many cost-cutting measures newlyweds can take that will help them save money for whatever their next big purchase might be.

• Learn to cook. Learning to cook is not only a rewarding lesson, but also one that can help newlyweds save a significant amount of money. Contrary to popular belief, cooking isn’t terribly difficult. Gourmet meals might require some nat-ural culinary inclination, but more standard fare can be as simple as following a recipe. For those who have never set foot in a kitchen, it might be a good idea to take cooking lessons. Such les-sons are typically inexpensive, and the cost of the lessons will be recouped once couples start cooking for themselves and stop relying on cost-ly meals out on the town. Couples who learn to cook together might also find it strengthens their relationship.

• Downgrade the apartment. Non-married couples who live together commonly prefer two-bedroom apartments, using the second bedroom as a guest bedroom/home office. The cost of a two bedroom is more than a one bed-room, but non-married couples often feel it’s worth the extra money. No matter how negli-gible that extra cost is, newlyweds saving for a home should consider downgrading to a one bedroom (unless one person works from home). This can help save some money on a monthly basis, enabling newlyweds to inch closer to the day when they will have enough money saved

to make a down payment on their own home, which can then have as many rooms as they want.

• Furnish the home piecemeal. One advantage today’s newlyweds have over those of yester-year is that many live together before walking down the aisle. This means they’re not really starting from scratch once they get married. A typical modern couple already has enough fur-niture and other household items to get by once they have moved into their new home. For those concerned about how they’re going to furnish a home once they’ve signed on the dotted line, one way to cut those costs is to hang on to what you currently have, and steadily buy new items one-by-one after you’ve moved in. Rather than facing the hefty bill couples can expect if they buy everything at once, newlyweds who go the piecemeal route will find it’s much less stressful to furnish a home.

• Find ways to make home ownership work. First time home buyers are typically shocked at the cost of home ownership. However, com-munities might offer a class that explains the home-buying process and how best to navi-gate it. Some lenders even offer a lower inter-est rate to prospective buyers who have com-pleted such a class. Such a discount can save couples a significant amount of money over the course of the mortgage, and the classes can give couples a better understanding of what they’re getting into by buying a home.

Cost-cutting measures for NEWLYWEDSThe big day is over and you’re looking at your financial future. How can you maximize that dual income?

51. Illness or Injury: If people who are essential to the wedding – including the bride, groom, wedding party and parents – get sick or are injured and the wedding has to be postponed or cancelled, most policies will cover these events.

2. Weather: If the wedding ceremony and party has to be postponed or cancelled because of heavy rain or other bad weather, your policy should cover the cost of rescheduling.

3. Your Location: If your ceremony and reception sites don’t already carry their own insurance, your wedding insurance policy may cover damage to the site, fire, electrical or mechanical problems, or a com-pany going out of business that causes you to lose money or forces you to reschedule.

4. Liability: Most ceremony and reception sites carry liability insurance, but if you’re having your wedding at home, for example, you’ll want to be protected in case

a guest gets hurt or hurts someone else.

5. A Missing Minister: If your priest, justice of the peace, rabbi or other celebrant should be a no-show, you’ll recoup some of your costs.

Every insurance policy and every wedding scenario is different. Be sure to talk to your insurance agent. Read the fine print and understand your cover-age within the policy before considering whether wedding insurance is for you.

Wedding Insurance is a policy that covers your wedding against unforeseen misfortune and can provide peace of mind. For example, what if your limo driver doesn’t show up and you have to book another one on the morning of the wedding for a much higher premium? Or what if the florist or caterer goes out of business? There is a range of wedding insurance policies available, but most policies will cover things such as:

Things to know about a Wedding Insurance Policy

Melanie Petruchak, Insurance Professional - Rand&Fowler Insurance18 l FINANCIAL DIVAS

Page 19: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


HEALTH HITBODY IMAGEHelp your child develop a healthyHow do you help your child develop a healthy body image? As a new mom, I have been reflecting on my own childhood. I recently remembered how negative comments about my body created feelings of insecu-rity that began my long path of dieting and relentless self-scrutiny. Thinking about the life ahead of my own beautiful girl, I want to create an environment that will make her feel confident about herself and her body.

When parents make negative comments about their child’s body size, many have a caring intention and ultimately want what’s best for that child. They try to motivate their child to be thinner so they don’t face low self-esteem, negative judgements from others and weight related health problems. However, negative comments can damage your child’s self-esteem and body image more than you realize. There are some simple strategies you can use to encourage your child to be fit, active and feel good about themselves.

Healthy modeling. If you engage in good self-care be-haviors, you teach your children to do the same. If you find that a hectic, fast-paced lifestyle has you neglect-ing yourself, think about what you can do differently. By practicing a positive attitude, eating nutritious food and being physically active each day, you show your family the skills for a healthy mind, body and spirit.

Also, try to refrain from “diet talk” in front of your chil-dren; they are sponges and learn from your behaviors. Instead, notice and speak about the inner and outer traits you like most about yourself. Teach them to notice their inner strengths, how to feel good about themselves and value themselves beyond their physical appear-ance.

Get active. Do enjoyable activities together that will create shared ex-periences and a stron-ger relationship while role modeling healthy behaviors. Children will learn positive lifelong health habits, such as spend-ing free time having fun with friends and how to use physi-cal activity as a way to cope with stress.

Buy and prepare healthy foods. Keep plenty of healthy, unprocessed foods on hand. Foods

like lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats help people increase their energy and overall health. Also, try preparing meals as a family to strengthen family bonds, while creating a foundation of healthy behaviors.

Educate your children about media influences. The media does a lot of harm promoting images of fantasy that young people try to emulate. In an age appropri-ate manner, discuss media influences with your child and the way it makes them feel about themselves. Lim-it exposure to gossip magazines and media sources that promote feelings of insecurity. Discuss healthy role models in today’s society.

Speak positively about your child’s body. Negative comments about your child’s body can make them feel bad about themselves and affect how they relate to food. Often, those comments can have the opposite effect of what was intended. Focus on how amazing their body is and all that it does for them.

Limit screen time. Limit TV, computer and other screen time. Encourage physical activity to keep their body healthy and fit. This encourages other healthy behav-iors such as spending more time with friends and be-ing connected with others in the community in a posi-tive and proactive way.

1 1/2 cups oat flour

3 x 30 gram scoops vanilla or plain whey protein powder

1/2 cup corn meal

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

Pepper (to taste)

2 slices (81 grams) of cooked bacon, chopped

1/2 cup light old cheddar cheese, grated + 2 tbsp for topping

1/2 cup egg whites

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup low fat milk (or unsweetened almond milk)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients, plus grated cheese (except for the 2 Tbsp for topping), and cooked bacon.

Add in wet ingredients (egg whites, milk, applesauce). Mix until blended.

Pour into a prepared muffin tin sprayed with cooking spray or lined with paper liners. Sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese on top of each muffin.

Bake for approximately 14 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.

Makes 12 muffins

Nutrition (per muffin)

Calories: 172 Fat: 6.9g (3g saturated) Carbs: 14.8g Fibre: 1.4g Sugars: 0g Protein: 13.2g

Bacon & Cheddar Protein Muffins

Kristine Fretwell, Host Busy but Healthy

Article by Tammy Humeny, MA RCC, Registered Clinical Counsellor


Page 20: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


One day, you awake to find the love is gone.

You and your partner are splitting up, and sud-denly you face a huge and tumultuous change in your life. On top of all of the emotional tur-moil, you are overwhelmed by the financial implications.

What will happen to the assets, loans and credit card bills? And - most importantly - what will hap-pen to the house? Who will stay and who will go? What will you do about the mortgage?

All of these things require careful consideration, and the steps you take early on in the process can have a huge impact on the ultimate settle-ment and your life going forward – you will have a life going forward. To help, here are some sug-gestions for steps you should consider taking as you move forward.

STEP ONE - Make listsMaking this list is going to be somewhat tedious, but it may be the most useful thing you do as you move through your separation and finalize your divorce. See a sample of how to create these lists on the next page.

1. List all of your household assets. You must list everything. This will be time con-suming and require some work. Don’t forget your travel points.

2. List all of your liabilities: car leases/loans, lines of credit, student loans and all credit cards (even those department store cards and gas cards) must be on this list.

When you are making these lists, you will start to see if assets and liabilities are joint-ly owned or in separate names. An impor-tant step in the separation process is to make sure both of you walk away with clean credit. This means that while things are being worked out, you need to make sure that joint debts are kept up to date. If possible, work to have your name removed from cards that you do not have access to or that you are not using. If you do not have a card that lists you as the primary card holder, it is time to get some credit established in your name only.

STEP TWO - Work out your monthly cash flowThis is never fun. You need to take the time to list out all the money coming in and going out. Keep careful records for a month or two. You will dis-cover where you are spending money and this will help you as you settle on future alimony and/or support payments.

STEP THREE - Make copies of ALL your important paperworkYes, all of it. This means you need to sort through your files, drawers and cabinets. You need to

get organized, BIG TIME. This is not the time for documents to be misfiled. You will be surprised how therapeutic it can be to take control and put your paperwork in order. If necessary, hire an organizer to help. This

step is crucial.

STEP FOUR - Talk to your spouseThis may be the hardest step of all. You need to decide how to move forward and settle the division of assets and li-abilities. Hopefully, the two of you can collaborate and reach an agreement on who is moving out and what will hap-

pen with the kids or pets if you have ei-ther. Most often, you will need to involve a

neutral third party in this step.

You may each need a lawyer, or perhaps a mediated process will work for you. Make a decision early on and stick with it. It is rare for couples to settle matters without some out-side guidance. Find what works for both of you and follow through with a plan. The lists that you made in steps one and two will go a long way toward helping you move through this final step smoothly.

Important factors to consider through-out the process:

• Alimony and Support

Going forward you may be the re-cipient of some monthly payments from your spouse or you may be

paying him. Keep in mind that any money coming in will be eligible to

help you qualify for a future mortgage.

When Mr. Right becomes Mr. Wrong...

Continued on next page

How to separate your finances after you separate your hearts

Page 21: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


It is important to have these payments well docu-mented and recorded on your monthly bank state-ments. If you are paying your spouse, make sure these payments are also well documented. Don’t worry, there are some lenders who will treat those payments fairly, and they will not prohibit you from ever owning a home again.

• Mortgage

Most likely, the title to your family home and your current mortgage are in joint names. If you are like most women going through a separation, you have probably laid awake many nights worrying what will happen to the house. Don’t panic. Sit down with a mortgage professional and run some numbers. With an estimate of your monthly cash flow (now and af-

ter the dust settles), your mortgage broker will be able to show you how much you can afford to bor-row on your own. Remember, alimony and support can help you qualify for a mortgage.

Take heart. Like all things, this too shall pass.

At times, the separation process may appear to be a never ending and painful journey. The transi-tion will most certainly not be as easy as these brief

paragraphs make it out to be. Stay strong and follow through. Remember to take time away for yourself. A walk, run, yoga class, night out with friends or hot bath may be just what you need. Make time to do these things and the rest of the work will be easier. In the end, you will be happy once again.

Asset Description Hers His Joint TOTAL1234

Gina Best and Marci DeaneMortgage Alliance Meridian Pacific

Continued from previous page

How to split your finances after a breakupSample table for listing financial assets and liabilities

Because of our biology, women face different chal-lenges than men when it comes to long-term finan-cial planning. Two critical facts that contribute to this reality are that women live five years longer than men and, as a result, have higher health care costs.

Knowing these possibilities exist provides women with an opportunity to take action and ensure there is enough money to see them through their lifetime.

Problem: Minimal or non-existent pensionsMany women are living without pensions and for those who have pensions, the income is 50 per cent of men’s.

RRSP contributions are maximized at 18 per cent of earned income and since women tend to make less than men, many women have saved less in regis-tered plans.

The drastic financial consequences many people felt during the recent recession has left them looking for alternatives to volatile investments. They want something that come with guarantees on the prin-ciple. GICs (guaranteed income certificates) have been a popular choice in the past, but when inter-est rates are low, they may not generate enough income to live on and could easily be outpaced by inflation.

Solution: Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit productsThese new products, available through Canada’s Insurance Companies, offer Canadians peace of

mind. Whether you are an entrepreneur, self-em-ployed or a stay-at-home mom, these products can benefit you. They look, sound and work like a pen-sion without the need of an employer or earned in-come. They can be registered, as an RRSP or RRIF, or be a non-registered investment.

The Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit is already tremendously successful in Canada as a guaranteed income for life for retirees. Companies offer a 5 per cent bonus on your base investment for every year you do not make a withdrawal. These guarantees protect your investment from market downturns.

When the time comes to withdraw money for in-come, the withdrawal amount is based on your principle amount plus the bonuses that you accu-mulated (called the Income Base). This amount is not dependent on market values.

These funds offer important maturity and death ben-efit guarantees, as well as the potential for credi-tor protection. Canadian insurance companies are members of Assuris, the organization that protects Canadian insurance policy holders from loss of ben-efits due to financial failure or insolvency of a mem-ber company.

These products are not for everyone, nor are they for all your retirement savings. Seek out the advice of a certified financial planner, to see if these are a fit for you.

Problem: Living longer brings higher health care costsThe greatest risk to your savings can be critical illness.

Statistics show that 89 per cent of women over 65 have at least one chronic health issue. For example, one in three women will develop breast cancer and of those, 96 per cent will survive. The average indirect cost of recovery is two-and-a-half years and $30,000.

Surviving a critical illness can be costly and often forces families to liquidate their assets, including their retirement savings. Many families end up with debt on a personal line of credit or added to their mortgage.

Other women will become disabled and be unable to look after themselves or perform simple acts of daily living, such as eating, dressing and bathing.

Solution: Timely purchase of critical illness insuranceThis insurance policy pays a lump sum when you are diagnosed with one of more than 20 listed conditions, or if you are unable to perform three of six activities of daily living as outlined in the policy.

Critical illness insurance can be purchased with the return of premium option, which means your premium dollars will be returned to you once the policy matures if you haven’t made a claim. This serves as a small forced savings account.


Article by Donna Worthington, CFP EPC, Investment Planning Counsel

With unique financial challenges women need to plan differently than men

Page 22: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


“In a poll, half the women said they fear they will lose all their money and become destitute in old age.” (Allianz Life Insurance survey, 2006)

Whether you are in your 20s, 40s or 60s the image of not having enough money when it’s time to retire may come up when you consider the possibilities for your financial future. But there are many mea-sures women can take to ensure they have what they need to care for themselves and their families through every stage of life.

Prepare for unemploymentYour greatest economic asset is your ability to work. To secure this asset – whether you’re an em-ployee or self-employed – you should purchase Disability Insurance. If you become disabled ac-cording to the definitions in your policy and are unable to work you may receive approximately 65 per cent of your income tax free, which is much better than depleting your savings or losing your home.

Critical illness insurance is also a good idea for women. According to the Bureau of Census, wom-en live an average of five years longer than men and our health care costs are higher. Purchasing critical illness insurance with a return of premium can serve to cover the health care costs of hav-ing a critical illness and serve as a forced savings account.

Life insurance is another important safety net, but this one is for your family. Will anyone go without food, clothing, shelter or an education should you die tomorrow? Will you leave your loved ones with debts and taxes to pay? There are many forms of life insurance. Purchase the kind that covers your short, mid and long term needs.

Save your moneySave at least 20 per cent of what you earn. Start by putting your an-nual limit into your RRSP and use up any unused contribution room. RRSP contributions are tax deductible. Chances are you will be in a lower tax bracket when you are retired and redeem from your RRSP or RRIF.

If you use a credit card, pay the

balance off monthly. Who wants to pay more for the things they buy? Paying interest is one way to spend more money than you have to.

Most women believe they will be okay if their home is paid for. However, if they have no savings they can become “house rich” and “cash flow poor.” One strategy to avoid this is to put money into your RRSP and then use the tax return to pay down your mortgage. Alternatively, if you have a large amount of unused RRSP room you might want to buy more RRSPs.

Something we can learn from wealthy women: buy quality not quantity. Before you buy something ask yourself if it’s a need or a want. Did you know that many wealthy people get their shoes resoled, use coupons and live in older, more modest neighbor-hoods?

Choose your employer wiselyMany women don’t consider the implications of taking time away from work to care for children or elderly family members.

Consider the fact that for every year a woman stays home caring for a child, she must work five extra years to recover lost income, pension cover-age and career promotion.

Additionally, the average Canadian woman spends 15 per cent of her career out of the paid

workforce caring for her children and parents.

These statistics indicate why it is so important to choose an employer based on more than just sal-ary. Many employers show their employees how much they are valued through their group benefits plan. Does your employer have a pension plan or match an RRSP contribution? Do they have short-term and long-term disability, health benefits and other incentives for you to stay? In other words, does your employer want to invest in you?

Be charitableThe government encourages charitable gifting by offering a tax credit. Start out small, even $20 a month can make a difference. When we give to a worthy cause it makes us feel good. Have a family meeting and decide on a charity you can support as a family.

Support female entrepreneurshipAccording to RBC Group, about 821,000 women are entrepreneurs. They employ 1.7 million people and contribute $18 billion to our economy. Con-sider supporting a female entrepreneur or becom-ing one yourself. The Canadian Youth Business Foundation lends money to women between the ages of 18 and 35 years of age who have a sound business plan. Do you know a young woman who could use a hand?

Put your estate in orderThe proper implementation of a Will, Enduring Power of Attorney and a Personal Directive can save a lot of heartache and money. Do not forget to check your pension plans, insurance policies and RRSPs to be sure the right benefi-ciary is registered.

Start renewing your mort-gage early If your mortgage is up for renew-al, start the process four to six months ahead of time. Consider calling a mortgage broker. One big consideration is whether you should choose a fixed or vari-able rate. A fixed rate gives you peace of mind if you believe inter-est rates will increase. A variable rate may offer you more savings,

Be financially stable throughout your life

Continued on next page

Once you’ve made a financial plan for yourself, you can relax knowing your future is secure.

Page 23: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


knowing that you can lock in at a later date should interest rates increase. Before jumping into a fast-er pay-down schedule consider your cash flows and other expenses that need to be covered.

Do you need an emergency fund?When times are good and employment seems se-cure, an emergency fund may seem unnecessary, especially if you have a secured line of credit. However, I suggest clients consider the new Tax- Free Savings Account (TFSA) once they have maximized their RRSPs. You may be able to put your tax return in the TFSA so it can grow tax free. But before your do, consider other circumstances, such as outstanding balances on credit cards, which may need to be addressed first.

Regardless of your age, there are steps you can take to secure your future. Whether you are single, married, widowed or divorced chances are that you will live a long time and you want to live com-fortably and with dignity. The time to take action is now. Seek out the advice of a financial planner with the Certified Financial Planner designation. Go to her with your lifestyle goals: where would you like to see yourself five, 10, 15, and 20 years from now? Have your advisor prepare a compre-hensive financial plan, one that includes: goals, net worth, cash flows, retirement planning, insur-ance planning and estate planning.

A comprehensive financial plan should also in-clude a list of recommendations and dates when all items should be completed. This plan should be reviewed on an annual basis or if significant

changes take place in your life that could affect your plan.

RECOMMENDEDreadingWomen and Money: Owning the Power to Control your Destiny – Suzy Orman

Who’s Minding Your Money? – Sandra E. Foster

Smart Women Finish Rich– David Bach

You Can’t Take it With You– Sandra E. Foster

ABC’s of Divorce for Women– Carol Ann Wilson & Ginita Wall

Independent Means, a Canadian Woman’s Guide to Pensions and a Secure Financial Future.– Monica Townson

Article by Donna Worthington, CFP EPC, Investment Plan-ning Counsel, Certified Financial Planner

Whether it’s day–to–day expenses or preparing for the future, everyone needs to have a financial plan.

“Regardless of your age, a financial plan is critical to keeping you on track with your savings and goals. It can provide clarity on what you’re saving for, both in the short and long term, and help show you the best way to get there,” says Caroline Dabu, vice president of retirement and financial planning with BMO Financial Group.

Many Canadians make basic mistakes that can adversely influence their financial situation. “Perhaps the biggest mistake people make is believing they don’t have enough money or knowledge for a financial plan,” says Dabu. “It’s never too early to have a financial plan and it can start with just a few small steps.”

Whether you have a financial plan or you are thinking of putting one together, there are a few things that can help you get started and ensure that you remain on track with your plan. Dabu recommends taking the following into consideration:

• Get clarity on your spending and savings patterns. You can’t establish a financial

plan if you don’t know what your day-to-day spending looks like.

• Identify your short and long term goals. Set realistic goals and set yourself up for success. This can include shorter term goals, such as major purchases including a home, car or cottage, or longer–term goals such as your kids’ education or retirement.

• Plan for the unexpected. A good financial plan will make sure you can deal with unexpected events such as a major drop in the stock market, a serious illness or a medical emergency.

• Stay on top of your plan. Another mistake people make is creating a plan then filing it away. Sticking to a plan means staying on top of your financial picture and remaining disciplined to your savings and investment goals.

• Update your plan. Review your plan yourself or with a professional at least once a year. Where there are major changes to your circumstances, make sure you update your plan.

Divorce – Almost 40 per cent of Canadian women will not celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary because of divorce. (Statistics Canada)

Widowhood – Average age of widowhood is 56 (National Centre for Women and Retire-ment Research)

Longer life expectancy – Women, on aver-age, live five years longer than men (Statistics Canada)

Wage gap – Women, on average, earn 80 per cent of men’s income (Statistics Canada)

Child care, elder care – The average wom-an spends 15 per cent of her career out of the paid workforce caring for children and parents. (Women’s Institute for a Secured Retirement)

Lower pension benefits – Women retirees receive only about half the average pension benefits that men receive. (Women’s Institute for a Secured Retirement)

Continued from previous page

Statistics show why women need to plan ahead:

How to get started with YOUR FIRST FINANCIAL PLAN

News Canada

Page 24: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


Women's Workshops~ Stay Informed and have FUN~ CONNECT with other local divas~ Talk with professionals who CARE~ Hear from AWESOME keynote speakers

join usFor event details and registration, visit


Page 25: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


At a time when identity theft and Ponzi schemes are showing up almost daily in the news, the last thing you want to worry about is yet another way to lose your hard-earned money.

But, as a homeowner, you need to be aware of two types of crime on the rise known as mortgage fraud and real estate title fraud.

Mortgage FraudThe most common type of mortgage fraud involves a criminal obtaining a piece of property and increas-ing its value through a series of sales and re-sales involving the fraudster and an accomplice. A mort-gage is then secured for the property based on the inflated price.

Red flags for mortgage fraud:

• Someone offers you money to use your name and credit information to obtain a mortgage

• You are encouraged to include false information on a mortgage application

• You are asked to leave signature lines or other important areas of your mortgage application blank

• The seller or investment advisor discourages you from seeing or inspecting the property you will be purchasing

• The seller or developer rebates you money on closing, and you don’t disclose this to your lending institution

“Straw Buyer” SchemeAnother term for mortgage fraud is the “straw” or “dummy” home-buyer scheme. These are per-formed by people who could not otherwise pur-chase a home, such as a renter who d o e s not have a good credit rating or someone who is self-employed and cannot get a mortgage. He/she or an associate approaches someone with solid credit. This person is offered a sum of money – as much as $10,000 – to go through the motions of buying a property on the other person’s behalf, act-ing as a straw buyer. The person with good credit lends their name and credit rating to the person who can-

not be approved for a mortgage for his or her pur-chase of a home.

Other types of criminal activity often dovetail with mortgage fraud or title fraud. For example, people who run marijuana grow ops or meth labs may use these forms of fraud to purchase their properties.

The fallout for lendersFortunately (for you, at least), mortgage fraud typi-cally hurts the lender the most.

Canadian precedents have been set in which banks are held responsible for mortgage fraud. The B.C. Court of Appeals recently ruled that “the lender – not the rightful property owner – is the one out of luck in a fraudulent mortgage scheme” and that lenders “must ensure their mortgages are valid by taking steps to ensure that the registered owner obtained title to the property legally.” The same conclusion was made by the Ontario Courts a couple of years ago.

Banks, as you can imagine, aren’t too thrilled about this trend. Royal Bank of Canada recently

sued a former bank employee over an al-leged mortgage fraud scheme.

Title FraudTitle fraud is a form of identity theft.

A criminal, using false identification to pose as you, reg-isters forged docu-ments transferring

y o u r

property to his or her name, then registers a forced discharge of your existing mortgage and gets a new mortgage against your property. Then the fraudster makes off with the new home loan money without making mortgage payments. The bank thinks you are the one defaulting and your eco-nomic downfall begins.

Sadly, the only red flag for title fraud occurs when your mortgage mysteriously goes into default and the lender begins foreclosure proceedings. Even worse, as the homeowner, you are the one hurt by title fraud, rather than the lender, as is the case with mortgage fraud.

Unlike with mortgage fraud, during title fraud, you haven’t been approached or offered anything.

Ways you can protect yourself from title fraud:• Always view the property you are purchasing in person

• Check listings in the community where the prop-erty is located – compare features, size and loca-tion to establish if the asking price seems reason-able

• Make sure your representative is a licensed real estate agent

• Beware of a real estate agent or mortgage bro-ker who has a financial interest in the transaction

• Ask for a copy of the land title or go to a registry office and request a historical title search

• In the offer to purchase, include the option to have the property appraised by a designated or accredited appraiser

• Insist on a home inspection to guard against buying a home that has been cosmetically reno-vated or formerly used as a grow house or meth lab

• Ask to see receipts for recent renovations

• When you make a deposit, ensure your money is protected by being held “in trust”

• Consider the purchase of title insurance (some-times required by the lender anyway)

It’s important to remember that if something doesn’t seem right, it usually isn’t. Follow your instincts when it comes to red flags during the home buying and mortgage processes.

don’t get scammed by a sweet-talking sellerBEWARE MORTGAGE FRAUD

Julie Cochrane, Mortgage Professional

“The only red flag for title fraud occurs when your mortgage mysteriously goes into default and the lender begins foreclo-sure proceedings.

Page 26: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


61. ReferencesMake sure you have checked out the references of the company you are hiring, unless, of course, you received a referral from a friend or associate.

2. Police ClearanceAsk the company whether or not they require their employees to obtain a police clearance.

3. Bonded and InsuredMake sure the company you hire is bonded and

insured. Bonded usually means the cleaning com-pany has completed a background check on each employee and has determined that the person has no criminal charges pending or in the past. Insured means that there is liability coverage for personal injuries and property damage.

4. Workers’ Compensation InsuranceFind out whether or not the company carries Work-ers’ Compensation Insurance for its employees. In the event a cleaner slips and falls in your home, their

Injury would be covered by Workers’ Compensation.

5. Better Business BureauInquire whether or not the company belongs to the Better Business Bureau as this information can be used as a reference as well. The Bureau will also provide infor-mation about complaints.

6. Business LicenseAsk if they have a local business license as well as a provincial license.

Having someone else clean your house can mean the difference between a relaxing evening or weekend and one filled with household chores. For many people, the cost of a cleaning service is worth the tradeoff, but letting a service provider into your home requires a lot of trust. Make sure you protect your personal space by following a few guidelines.

Tips to help you choose a house cleaning service

While all Canadians are eligible for heath care funded through our tax dollars and administered by the provincial governments, not all health care expenses are covered by such government plans. There are, in fact, a great number of expenses, most notably prescription drug and dental costs, which must be paid for by the individual.

For many Canadians, that gap in coverage has been filled by employer-sponsored private health services plans, the premiums for which are paid in full by the employer or shared between employer and employee. And, since the benefits under such plans were not taxable as employment income, it was a win-win situation for the employee.

While it’s possible to provide such coverage on a group basis for much less than the cost would be for an individual seeking similar insurance, the costs are still significant. And, as with all health care related costs, the bill continues to go up as Canada’s population ages. The result, in some cases, has been the termination or discontinu-ance by employers of such private health services plans.

When a plan is cancelled, an employer will, in some instances, provide the affected employees (or retirees) with a lump sum payment intended to be used for future health care expenses. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) was of the opin-ion that, since the lump sum amounts paid could be considered to be advance reimbursements of medical expenses, they were not taxable to the

employee and did not therefore need to be includ-ed in the employee’s income for the year on a T4 or T4A. Unfortunately, the CRA has now reconsid-ered and changed that policy.

The announcement of that change came in the June 6 federal budget. While the announcement did not indicate the reasons behind the change in policy, the effect is clear. Beginning with the 2012 taxation year, lump sum amounts paid upon the cancellation of a private health services plan will be fully taxable to the employee in the year the amount is received. Employers will be required to include any such amounts on a T4A and to with-hold tax from the payment in the usual manner required for any taxable payments made to em-ployees.

Where an employee must pay out-of-pocket for his or her own medical expenses, a medical ex-pense tax credit may, in some circumstances, be claimed on the annual tax return. Such a claim can be made for medical expenses where the amount of those expenses are greater than either 3 per cent of the taxpayer’s net income for the year, or a specified amount, whichever is less. For 2011, that specified amount is $2,052.

So starting on Jan. 1, 2012, when an employee receives a taxable lump sum amount due to the termination of a private health services plan, the employee can claim a medical expense tax credit for medical expenses paid out of that taxable lump sum amount as those expenses are incurred. Any

lump sum received before 2012, however, is non-taxable and the employee can’t claim the medical expense tax credit until the cumulative medical expenses since the termination of the health care plan exceeds the lump sum amount received.

Finally, in some circumstances, payments re-ceived after 2011 will remain non-taxable to the employee. In employer insolvency situations, em-ployees may not receive amounts due to them for some period of time. Consequently, if a payment made as a result of the termination of a private health services plan is received by an employee in 2012 or later years, and that payment came about because of an employer insolvency which arose prior to 2012, the CRA will treat the receipt by the employee as non-taxable.

The CRA has provided a window of opportunity for employers and employees before the new rules take effect on January 1, 2012. While no one wants to see a private health services plan terminated, if such a termination is already in the works, both employer and employees will be better off if the plan is terminated (and any related lump sum pay-ments paid) before the end of this year.

Health plan termination payments to become taxable

Article courtesy of Cowland Paterson & Co, Professional Accountants. The information presented is only of a general nature, may omit many details and special rules, is current only as of its published date, and accordingly cannot be regarded as legal or tax advice. Please contact our office for more information on this subject and how it pertains to your specific tax or financial situation.

Page 27: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


Beauty is more than skin deep.

It’s more than having a perfect complexion, or putting on eye shadow or foundation. Cos-metics should be applied to enhance you, not conceal you.

As a make up artist, I like to bring out my cli-ents’ best features. One of my girlfriends has beautiful big lips and she knows how to work with that. I love my eyes and so I focus on bringing out their feisty green and prefer a nude lip colour.

I’ve often had a friend, client or a bride–to-be bring me a magazine with pages sectioned off and asked me to make her look “just like her,” referring to the model. I usually respond with, “Oh sweetie, let’s focus on making YOU look like gorgeous YOU!”

Forget what the models in the magazines look like. Magazines, media or even runways should be for inspiration, to promote creative ideas, and learn tricks and tips, but not to make you think less of yourself.

This is where “beauty is more than skin deep” comes into play.

True beauty begins with a healthy image of you, which can be difficult to foster when it’s so easy to create a negative environment in our minds. It doesn’t help when people say ignorant things such as “Your butt is too big” or “Gosh you’re so tiny!” or “Your nose is weird.”

For many years I tortured myself about my height. Being 5’3” was a depressing reality un-til one day in my mid-twenties I pulled out of that slump, forgave all the silly ignorant people, who I no longer had in my life, and finally real-ized that I am beautiful in my own 5’3” frame. There’s no sense working up negative thoughts about something you can’t change. I can now say I have no problem walking in flats today be-cause this is what the big guy above gave me.

Every time you look into the mirror, ladies, find one thing that you love about yourself. Don’t begin the day thinking how awful and tired you look or focusing on problems like pimples,

cellulite or u n d e r - e y e bags. The rest of the world doesn’t see them nor do they care because they are focused on their own problems. Be positive and en-couraging to your-self. Be your self’s best friend. Put on that dress or toss your hair around and tell yourself you are beautiful.

I also find that complimenting others around me makes me feel like a million bucks. Here’s a quote to ponder: “What you think of the most will come to fruition.” Does that excite you or scare you?

While putting on makeup, getting your hair done or having your nails done makes you feel pretty, it doesn’t make you who you are. Feeling good about yourself is what will bring amazing things your way. Get rid of the garbage in your mind. I like to end my day by writing down three fabulous things that happened to me. It keeps the sun shining even when it isn’t. Affirmations keep me in tune with myself.

So if you’re getting that makeover on the out-side, perhaps makeover your thoughts on the inside too. Find a healthy balance in your life.

Women tend to put ourselves on the bottom of our never-ending lists. Try putting yourself first and watch your attitude change. During your coffee break, sit in peace and quiet and reflect on how amazing you feel and how wonderful the day is. Take advantage of moments when you can truly reflect on how amazing you are.

We all have something to offer the world and recognizing that starts with us. Beauty encom-passes so much more than the surface of your skin. Do little things that stretch you, find new activities or surround yourself with more lov-ing and uplifting people and let that positivity rub off on you. Be involved in others’ lives – perhaps volunteer in the community.

When we take our eyes off ourselves it’s amaz-ing what doors will open and how you will stop putting yourself down. Being you is the most beautiful gift you can give to people. Don’t mask it behind what the media or magazines say is beautiful. That is art, not a way of living. Take pleasure in the small things like getting your hair done, having massages and taking a bootcamp or yoga class. But remember they don’t define who you are; it’s just what you en-joy to do that may put an extra spring in your step. Confidence is true beauty.

Confidence is Beautiful

“Every time you look into the mirror, ladies, find one thing that you love about yourself.

Focus less on what others have and reflect on what makes you AWESOME!

Article by Trena Olfert, freelance makeup artist and skin care expert

Page 28: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


“A vision is a beacon, clear once you see it. A goal is what you set when you can’t see the vision.” -Thomas Leonard

You may have heard of or had experience with how much your thoughts create your

reality. When I connected with my purpose in life and stepped further along my spiri-tual path, evidence of this continually showed up for me. One example that comes to mind instantly, is that at least a year after a facilitator from a career transition course suggested I would make an excellent Life Coach, I came across at least four notes I has written that said, “I would really like to become a life coach.” These notes were writ-ten two and three years prior to me becoming a co-active CTI, life coach.

When you focus your thoughts and beliefs on what you want, your desires will become your reality at an accelerated rate. What you focus on expands. That’s why it’s important to create positive affirmations about what you desire and not on what you DON’T want. The great thing is, you can reprogram yourself at any time to improve your life.

The power of meditationMany cultures have used meditation for centu-ries as a way to relax and connect with a higher power. Your life is likely full of an increasing number of distractions. This is why now, more than any other time in our society, the practice of meditation is an essential part of living a bal-anced life. When was the last time you carved out a quiet moment for yourself? I’ve discovered in my own moments, that meditation works best if I don’t approach it too formally. Just spending a few moments enjoying the day is a form of meditation as well.

Meditation is a wonderful way to instantly create deep inner peace and a higher sense of calm. It’s a form of healing that comes from within, from the conscious wisdom of our hearts and minds. There are many types of meditation. The simplest is just sitting quietly – eyes closed and listening to what is going on inside you. Remem-ber, you don’t have to follow a rigid format to

accomplish a healing meditation.

I’ve meditated while walking, listening to music, sitting or reading affirmations/words of wisdom. Meditation always leads me to a higher state of consciousness and helps me get clarity on chal-lenges in my life.

5 tips for creating a positive visualizationVisioning is sometimes compared to a combi-nation of “soul-searching” and meditation and can incorporate improvisation techniques. It can be a process by which we hear, feel, see and open ourselves to a spirit, higher power or creative source. When visioning, it’s important to clear old, unwanted beliefs and thoughts that

limit your potential. It’s crucial to focus on new beliefs and leave the past behind.

I have found one of the key elements for vision-ing is to listen for a “Plan” for any particular project I am working on. When doing this, I’ve

found that I receive insight. Perhaps advice, symbols and certain phrases come to mind. Gratitude is also key,

and so is appreciating my life and what I have when com-mencing any visioning. A

gratitude journal and a vision journal can be helpful. One way to start

a gratitude journal is to list the top 10 things you

are thankful for in your life. I also like to select an affirma-tion that empowers me as part

of the vision process.

Your vision statement is driven by your stron-gest personal values. What do you value? What’s important to you? Consider listing your top 10 values. While visioning, it’s equally im-portant to suspend disbelief and remember that anything and everything is possible. Imagine sitting in your ideal environment about to see the story of your life on a big screen. Ensure it stands the test of time. Think big picture versus small details. Life is, fortunately, more random than linear. Be prepared for randomness and serendipity. Embrace it – that’s what makes life exciting.

Remember to clarify your true vision and en-hance your inner awareness because you’re ex-pending time, energy and commitment to focus on your future. You want to find the authentic “you.” Creating a vision can help you discover what makes you special, what differentiates you from others, by enabling you to visually express what you want in life based on your personal values.

Don’t let money, or lack of it, stop you. You don’t have to be rich to live your vision. I can certainly attest to that. Prosperity comes in many ways, and the universal bank is always delivering to us, which is why we have to be ready to receive.

Article by Crystal Thunell, Soul Esteem Coaching

The Benefits of meditation and visualization

Page 29: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


This blog focuses on changing the way we look at money, making it fun instead of turn-ing it into something grueling, tedious and depressing.

A place for women to learn about financial well-being and network with other women.

The Association of Women in Finance is dedi-cated to promoting women in finance-related industries by encouraging their advancement, development and involvement in the busi-ness community. As well, the AWF encour-ages young women to enter the field and ac-knowledges accomplished women who have achieved excellence in their field.

1. Lawyer – Your lawyer will help you create your will. If you die intestate (without a will), provincial leg-islation determines how your assets will be divided. It may be costly for your loved ones and your affairs may not be handled according to your wishes. It is important to be clear with your lawyer about your wishes and any issues that could impact your plan.

2. Financial advisor / Life insurance agent – Finan-cial planning and life insurance are an important part of estate planning. Insurance can be used to replace lost income and provide for loved ones, but can also be used to minimize taxes. Insurance products, such as segregated funds have many attractive estate fea-tures, such as the bypass of probate, private transfer

of wealth, and a death benefit guarantee.

3. Accountant – Having an accountant you trust to handle your final tax return will be helpful to your fam-ily and your peace of mind.

4. Power of Attorney – A Power of Attorney will make personal care and financial decisions on your behalf should you be unable to make them yourself while you are still living.

5. Executor – This is the person who will settle and manage your affairs upon your death. Ensure that your appointed person is aware of the responsibilities involved and has the option to accept or decline the position.

People you should have on your Estate Planning Team

Your estate planning team is made up of the people and professionals

that you work with to develop your estate plan and ensure that your wishes are met upon your death. It is important to inter-view each person thoroughly and ensure that they are willing to work together as part of a team. Review your estate plan at least every three years with your professional team, making changes if necessary.


The real estate investment market is robust and competitive.

According to the National Association of Real-tors, 23 per cent of all real estate sales were either investment property or second-home purchases.

If you are thinking about investing in real es-tate, here is some advice from other investors on what you need to think about first.

Buy the best location you can afford – location sells!If the area turns around, you may be able to make more money in a lesser location; howev-er, it’s a lot more work and there is always the risk that the area will deteriorate even more.

Pay for good talentYour property is no place for your relatives or friends to practice their carpentry skills, so if you plan to renovate or make improvements, hire professionals.

Buy small and stay smallStick with smaller units and don’t go over-board with upgrades, etc. as tenants may not be able to afford your rental property. Make sure the property rent will be in line with simi-lar rentals in the area.

Inspect the property for what it can be Take a different view of possible renters and

you can sometimes locate a bargain that no one else recognizes.

Run the numbersGo over the money that will be coming in and going out, and consider the depreciation costs that will come up.

Buy a building with a tenant in mindYou may know someone who is self-employed and needs some extra space to expand their business. The lease will pay the expenses while property values increase.

Have a plan when your tenants move Create a list of repair people to clean up and repair the property when a tenant moves. It costs you money every day the property is vacant.

Avoid buying a “unique” property Choose houses that would appeal to the aver-age family so it will be easier to sell when you are ready to do so.

Before you invest, learn all you can about the rental market, tax benefits and renova-tion costs. It is easier than you might think to create a real estate investment plan and get started.

Article by Gaylene Noyes, a Consultant with TMG The Mortgage Group

Tips for Investing in Real Estate

Page 30: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


The following excerpt is from Sherry Torkos’ book “Live Well: A Woman’s Guide to Optimum Health,” published by John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd., Copyright 2007.

Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular dis-ease, refers to diseases of the blood vessels and heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Canadian women. However, there are many ways to keep your heart healthy and to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Years ago, it was thought that heart disease was the same for women and men. Today, we know that there are unique factors in women:

• Symptoms of a heart attack can be dif-ferent for wom-en. They may include fatigue, nausea, or pain in the shoulder, neck, or stom-ach, rather than the typical chest pain and shortness of breath.

• Heart disease more of-ten affects women later in life than men. None-theless, younger women who have heart disease often do less well than men be-cause it can be unrecognized by both the woman and her doctor.

• Women often delay going to the doctor or fail to seek treatment altogether.

• Women are often treated less aggressively than men and women’s symptoms may be dismissed as related to anxiety or emotions.

• Women are more likely than men to die after a first heart attack.

• Standard testing (angiogram) may not pick up heart disease in women due to differences in the formation of plaque. In women, plaque may form

more smoothly against the artery walls, whereas in men it clumps up and is more apparent with test-ing. In addition, in some women the plaque build-up may be in the small vessels of the coronary arteries, which cannot be seen by the angiogram.

• Women have been under-represented in the studies used to set the standards for detection and treatment of heart disease.

• Women are more affected by stress, which is one of the common risk factors for heart disease.

Stress causes the arter-ies to go into spasm and can trigger a heart

attack. Women today have increased respon-sibilities - managing ca-

reers and taking care of the family and the home - and often put the needs of others ahead of their needs.

Taking it to heart While heart disease is the greatest health

threat that women face, there is much that we can do to prevent it. The majority of the risk

factors are under our control, so we can

take the necessary steps – eat- ing healthy, exercising regu-

larly, not smoking and reducing stress – to cut our risk of heart disease and improve our health.

Good health includes good financial healthAlong with making healthy lifestyle choices, a financial plan is also important for your future. Part of that financial plan can include being pre-pared in case of a critical illness. This part of your plan can help you recover financially and move past an illness. Critical illness insurance is one way to help you recover without financial pressures and without tapping into savings.

different in women?

Provided by Swarn Dhaliwal

heart diseaseHow isRISK FACTORSheart disease


Many of the risk factors for heart disease are within your control:

SmokingSmoking raises the risk by increasing blood pressure and contributing to the development of blocked arteries.

Lack of exercisePeople who do not exercise regularly are at a greater risk of having heart disease.

Unhealthy eatingRisks are greater for those who do not eat fruits and vegetables in the amounts recommended in Canada’s Food Guide. Eating foods that contain trans fat, high amounts of saturated fats, and high levels of sodium can also increase your risk of heart disease.

Eating too much sodiumWhile the body needs some sodium to function, too much may lead to high blood pressure, a major risk factor for stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. Most Canadians consume too much sodium.

Being overweightBeing overweight increases your risk of develop-ing serious diseases and conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.

High cholesterolCholesterol is one of the fats in your blood, and having too much of the so-called bad cholesterol (LDL) can lead to blockage of the arteries.

High blood pressureOver time, high blood pressure causes the heart to weaken. It is also a major risk factor for stroke, particularly when blood pressure is very high.

DiabetesDiabetes increases the risk of high blood pres-sure, heart disease, and stroke, especially if blood sugar levels are poorly controlled.

StressHigh levels of stress or prolonged stress may re-sult in high cholesterol, increased blood pressure or disturbances in heart rhythm, and these condi-tions increase the risk of developing heart disease.

More information available at the Health Canada website,

Page 31: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


5Many of us have been directly impacted by a critical illness or know someone who has lost a loved one to cancer, heart attack or stroke. We do not plan to get sick. However, we can plan to be financially secure in the event that we do become critically ill, enabling us to focus on the things that are important without having to worry about our financial obligations or the cost of treatments. Talk to your financial advisor or insurance provider to see if critical illness insurance is for you.

The policy pays out a lump sum upon diagno-

sis of a qualified critical ill-ness. The illnesses covered depends on your policy.

The money can be used for whatever you

wish – from treatment options to vacations – with no restric-tions.

If your have a return of premium policy, the

premiums you pay for the insurance are returned if you do not make a claim before it matures.

The younger and healthier you are, the

lower the cost. Shop around as different policies offer different benefits, restrictions and options.

The money you are paid on your policy

does not have to be returned, even if you fully recover from your illness.

Things you should know about Critical Illness Insurance

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.


When considering buying an insurance policy it is important to review the additional options that can be added to enhance the quality of your coverage.

The most popular option is the Return of Premium. This feature allows the policy holder to have as much as 100 per cent of their premiums returned to them upon a certain anniversary date if they remain in good health. It is essentially a reward for not becoming ill.

Other optional benefits include:• Critical Conditions Plus covers an addi-tional 21 illnesses and loss of independent existence

• The Second Event option pays an addi-tional lump sum of money if the policy holder suffers from the same illness twice

• Waiver of Premium on Disability waives premiums paid if the policy holder becomes disabled

These policies are designed to be as flex-ible as you are. They should be considered as part of your financial plan not because you are going to die, but because you are going to live.

This is the true story of a critical illness insur-ance policy holder whose surprise diagnosis had an immediate impact on her life.

When Melanie Keene, 34, found out she had cancer, it started a roller coaster ride that turned her life upside-down for the next eight months.

“The diagnosis was a complete shock,” says Keene. “There’s nobody in my family who’s had cancer. I’m the first one. It was a definite sur-prise because I’ve always been healthy.”

Keene had been feeling heaviness in her chest and had a lingering sore throat. She finally went to a walk-in clinic to see what was wrong and the doctor knew right away there was a problem.

“He immediately sent me to see my regular doc-tor and then I was off to the hospital for tests. Within a week my doctor called to let me know I had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma,” said Keene. “Then it was back to the hospital for more tests. The results came back that the cancer was stage three and was aggressive. I started chemotherapy two weeks later – everything happened very quickly.”

With her treatment moving forward at lightning speed, Keene had to make sure she was keep-ing up on the financial side.

“When I first started chemotherapy, I called my financial security advisor and she assured me I was covered under the critical illness insurance policy. There was some initial paperwork that was done within a week, then I received a call

from head office saying my claim had arrived and it would be reviewed. The next day they called back, said the claim was approved and that a cheque would be on the way within the week. It was very fast.”

Keene underwent six months of intense chemo-therapy and, despite the aggressiveness of the disease, the cancer went into remission. She is now on a maintenance chemotherapy program every three months.

“I’ve been really fortunate and the money from my claim has been such a blessing,” says Keene. “When you’re first diagnosed you go through all these emotions: Am I going to sur-vive it? If I can’t work, where is the money go-ing to come from? My husband was still working, but he took time off to be with me. To know that I was covered financially if I couldn’t go back to work or if I had to get medicine that wasn’t covered under health insurance was helpful and reassuring.”

“We had bought critical illness insurance a few years ago and we chose the return of premium option. My first reaction was ‘I don’t need this.’ I was young, in my twenties, but my husband said ‘let’s do it anyway – if we need it, it’s there and if not we get money coming back to us.’ When this happened to me, I thought ‘Thank God I got it!’”

Article by Christine Dove, B.Comm,a financial security advisor with Freedom 55 Financial, a division of London Life Insurance Company.

Optional Benefitswhen considering a critical illness policy

Article by Christine Dove, B.Comm,a financial secu-rity advisor with Freedom 55 Financial, a division of London Life Insurance Company.

Page 32: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


5�. The Tax-Free savings account (TFSA) has been available in Canada since January ���� at most financial institutions for Canadian residents who are at least �� years of age.

�. Each year you can contribute up to $�,��� to your TFSA and unused contribution room will carry forward indefinitely.

�. The TFSA lets you invest in a wide range of products from GICs to mutual funds without being taxed on interest or investment earnings.

�. Unlike an RRSP, you don't pay tax on the money you withdraw from the TFSA and you can not deduct the money invested on your tax return.

�. You can withdraw money from your TFSA at any time for any reason.

Things you need to know about Free AccountsTax Savings

HMMM…RELATIONSHIPS. What a powerful, mystical, highly loaded word, especially if you’re a woman.

Relationships, to me, are the foundation of who I am. Whether it’s with my husband, my children, my colleagues or friends and family, every good relationship is different yet it feels the same. Given our passion for relationships, it is surprising to me that we invest so little into cultivating one key bond – our relationship with money.

Money conjures up so many illusions. Women tend to see money as a source of security and protection. Compared to men, we have a much more egalitarian, almost dependent view of it and a growing number of today’s women do not want to be financially dependent anymore.

Thanks to the media and the most recent boom and bust cycle in the stock market, we know more about money than ever before. It also seems to have become a bigger source of stress and fear than ever before.

I’ve learned that the best way to cure money anxiety is through knowledge. Here are a few dustballs you can sweep away to help come clean about your relationship with money.

Dustball #1: I need to be a math majorLearn a few basic investment concepts. The added knowledge will give you a lifetime of in-vestment confidence and the best part is that you do not have to do it alone. A good financial

planner can be worth their weight in gold.

Dustball #2: A little debt never hurt anyoneA little debt invariably has a habit of growing into big debt over time. The average house-hold debt in Canada is now equal to 140 per cent of personal disposable income, a 55 per cent increase since 1990. That’s a lot of debt!

Dustball #3: I don’t have enough money to start investingYou can open a mutual fund account with as little

as $25 per month. Starting as soon as you can is the key. If you continue to put in your $25 over time, the magic of compound interest will grow your contributions into a nice little investment portfolio. At a modest 6.6 percent annual re-turn, after thirty-five years your little contributions would grow into $39,155. You only had to contrib-ute $10,500—the rest is compounding.

Dustball #4: It’s too late for me to start building a nest eggIt’s never too late, no matter how little you have. Let’s say you’re 45 years old, earning $75,000 a year and wish to retire at 65. If you save 10 per-cent of your income (in other words, $7,500 per year) at 6.6 percent for twenty years, you’ll have accumulated $294,365. That is one tidy little nest egg.

Dustball #5: Self-worth equals net worthGet rid of the notion that your self-worth has any-thing to do with your net worth. How much money you earn, and how many assets you possess has nothing to do with who you are as a person. As we become increasingly financially literate, this newfound interest will not only help improve re-tirement plans, but also enhance our current lifestyle. By developing this lifelong relationship with money, we’re doing ourselves a favour in se-curing our financial independence and peace of mind.

Article provided by Patricia Lovett-Reid, Hon. FCSI, CFP and Senior Vice President, TD Waterhouse Canada Inc.

about your relationship with moneyGET REAL

Page 33: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


In today’s economic climate of tighter credit require-ments and increased unemployment rates taking their toll on some Canadians, many people may not fit into the banks’ traditional financing boxes as easily as they may have just a year ago.

The best plan of action is to consult your mortgage professional to determine whether your situation can be quickly repaired or if you face a longer road to credit recovery. Everyone’s situation is different and there is no “one-size-fits-all” type of solution.

Mortgage professionals can help credit challenged clients improve their situations in a number of ways. If the situation is beyond their expertise, they can help you get in touch with other professionals, including credit counsellors and bankruptcy trustees.

If you have equity built up in your home and still have a manageable credit score, for instance, you can of-ten refinance your mortgage and use that money to pay off high-interest credit card debt. By clearing up this debt, you free up more cash flow each month.

In the current lending environment, with interest rates at an all-time low, now is an ideal time to refinance your mortgage and possibly save thousands of dol-lars per year, enabling you to pay more money per month toward the principal on your mortgage as opposed to the interest,

which, in turn, can help build equity at a faster rate.

Here are five steps you can follow to help attain a speedy credit score boost:

Pay down credit cards. The number one way to increase your credit score is to pay down your

credit cards so you’re only using 30 per cent of your limits. Revolving credit such as credit cards seems to have a more significant impact on credit scores than car loans, lines of credit, etc.

Limit the use of credit cards. Racking up a large amount and then paying it off in monthly install-

ments can hurt your credit score. If there is a balance at the end of the month, it affects your score – credit formulas don’t take into account the fact that you may have paid the balance off the next month.

Check credit limits. If your lender is slow at re-porting monthly transactions, it can have a sig-

nificant impact on how other lenders view your file. Ensure everything is up-to-date or old bills that have been paid can come back to haunt you.

Some financial institutions don’t report your maxi-mum limits. In this case, the credit bureau can only use the balance that’s on hand and if you consistent-ly charge the same amount each month – say $1,000 to $1,500 – it may appear to the credit-scoring agen-cies that you regularly max out your cards. Your best

bet is to pay your balances down or off before your statement periods close.

Keep old cards – and USE them! Older credit is better credit. If you stop using older credit cards, the

issuers may stop up-dating your accounts. As such, the cards can lose their weight in the credit formula and

may not be as valuable even though you have had the cards for a long time. You should use these cards periodically and then pay them off.

To give you an example of how your score can be negatively affected by having an older credit card fall off your credit report, here is what happened to a recent client:

“Jane” and “Bob” wanted to purchase a home. Jane had held a credit card in her name since be-fore she was married 10-plus years ago. She used it occasionally when first married, but now exclusively uses the secondary cards that list her husband as the primary cardholder. These were not jointly held accounts as she had believed, but were solely reg-istered in her husband’s name and she was simply listed as a secondary cardholder. As a result, these accounts did not show up on her credit report. Jane also had a line of credit she had used years previ-ously, but it now lay dormant because the line of credit she and her husband now used for their family was solely in his name.

What Jane did not realize is that the creditors had stopped reporting and updating her accounts and, within a year, she had gone from a score over 700 to a non-reporting score. The lender was willing to make an exception to allow Jane on the new mort-gage with her husband. If she were on her own, this could have been a barrier to her acquiring a mort-gage on her own even though she held a steady job with a great income.

ALWAYS have credit in your own name and USE it, whether you are on your own, married or in a partner-ship.

Don’t let mistakes build up. Always dispute mis-takes or situations that may harm your score.

If, for instance, a cell phone bill is incorrect and the company will not amend it, you can dispute this by making the credit bureau aware of the situation. One in every five credit reports contains a mistake of some sort, and this can affect your ability to attain credit if you don’t fix it.

These are just a few quick tips to get your credit back on track. They do not address more serious credit damage such as repeat-edly missed credit card payments. A mort-gage professional can help you address more serious problems or refer you to other credit professionals.

CREDIT CHALLENGED? Get on the path to boosting your score

Article by Julie Cochrane, Mortgage Broker






Page 34: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


As credit has become more abundant in our society, credit ratings and reports have become more important to our daily lives.

A credit rating affects all aspects of a per-son’s financial activities when it comes to borrowing money. It also has the ability to affect job prospects, housing, and even the ability to open a bank account.

A credit report is simply a listing of mort-gage and consumer debt. In Canada, the two main credit reporting agencies are Trans Union and Equifax. Both agen-cies have a credit history file on anyone who has ever borrowed money. Every time someone borrows money, or makes a payment on a loan or credit card, the lender reports the information about the transaction to these two agencies. Liens and judgements are also on a credit re-port as well as the borrower’s address and possibly their work history.

The information on a credit report var-ies based on a person’s creditors and what information they have sent to the credit reporting agencies. Potential lend-ers and others, such as employers, view credit history as a reflection of character. Whether we like it or not, our financial habits say a lot about the way we choose to live our lives.

The credit score, or beacon score, is a number that tells mortgage lenders how likely it is that a potential borrower will repay their loan.

Credit scores range from 300 to 900; the higher your credit score the better. The mortgage products and interest rates that we qualify for are often determined by our credit score.

Each person has the legal right to obtain a copy of their credit report. A mortgage professional can help you obtain a copy of this report and go through it to verify that all the information is correct.

The good news is that a credit report is a working document. This means that, over time, anyone can repair damaged credit and increase their credit score.

To obtain your credit score visit or

Article by Liz Reid, Mortgage Professional, AMP

Understanding your CREDIT REPORT

The Picture: BIG Ages & Life Stages worksheet

Values-based planning is the process of incorporating your individual values into your financial plan. This exercise is a great way to look at your life and how your retirement will be impacted by the people you love. After filling out the worksheet below, circle the age at which YOU plan to retire. Now look at the ages and life states of the people who are important to you. How will this impact your retirement plans? Will you need to consider providing care to your elders? Will your children be starting their own families or needing support for university? Think about how the people you value will affect your choices and needs in the future and be sure about how that need is addressed in your financial plan.

Age Now

YouYour Partner/SpouseYour Parents/In-lawsYour ChildrenYour GrandchildrenOther People of Value

+ 10 yrs + 15 yrs + 20 yrs + 25 yrs + 30 yrs + 35 yrs + 40 yrs

“The mortgage products and interest rates that we qualify for are often determined by our credit score.

Page 35: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


Canadians are credit card crazy. According to a survey by Credit Canada, 43 per cent of Canadians have three or more credit cards, but 28 per cent of Canadians do not know the interest rate on their credit cards.

The survey also shows that 40 per cent of Cana-dians do not pay their credit card off in full each month, 37 per cent only pay the minimum required each month and a whopping 30 per cent of Cana-dians carry a total balance on their credit card each month that is greater than $1,000.

Credit cards are a convenient way of making pur-chases, but they can be costly if you do not use them properly and pay off your balances by the due date. Interest charges are high and add up quickly.

Here are a few things you should know about credit cards:

There is an interest-free period if you pay off your purchases by the due date. According to the Finan-cial Consumer Agency of Canada ( credit card issuers use one of two methods to decide whether the interest-free period applies to your new purchases:

Method 1: The interest-free period applies to your new purchases only if you pay your current month’s balance in full and by the due date.

Method 2: The interest-free period applies to your new purchases only if you pay your current month’s balance in full, by the due date, and you have also paid your previous month’s balance in full, by the

due date (in other words, you’re not carrying a bal-ance from the previous month).

If you don’t pay the amount owing on your credit card in full by the due date, your credit card issuer will charge you interest depending on the type of transaction. If you have not paid off a purchase from a previous month, you are typically charged interest from the date you made these purchases until they are paid off in full. You are charged interest from the date you made any cash advance or balance transfer from another card. There is no interest-free period for these types of transactions.

If you miss a payment or carry a balance, when a payment is made, the credit card issuer will apply your payment in a certain order. Usually payments are applied to balance transfers first, cash advanc-es second and purchases third.

If you find yourself drowning in credit card debt contact your local not-for-profit Credit Counselling Agency or Credit Canada at Their counselors can help you negotiate inter-est rate relief and consolidate your loans.

Article by Terri Williams, CFP®, Vice President, Editorial Services and Production for DundeeWealth Inc. Prepared by Laura Chanin who is an Investment Advisor with DWM Securities Inc., a DundeeWealth Inc. Company. This is not an official publication of DWM Corporation and the author is not a DWM Securities Inc. analyst. The views (including any recommendations) expressed in this article are those of the author alone, and they have not been approved by, and are not necessarily those of, DWM Securities Inc.

Article by Jennifer Estrada, Mortgage Professional, Owner DLC Gold Financial Services

Why you should pay off your

on time

A “Beacon score” is an assessment of a con-sumer’s history with creditors. Creditors refer to credit card companies, department stores such as The Bay, The Brick, Future Shop etc., car loans, lines of credit and some mortgages if they are placed with a Credit Union. These credit accounts are referred to as “trade lines.” The Beacon score is a risk assessment to pre-dict the likelihood that a consumer will pay their debts on time or default. A high Beacon score means the debt will likely be repaid.

Five main factors influence a Beacon score:

• Payment history

• Balance outstanding

• Length of time for which the trade line has been opened

• Number of times your credit score has been run, a.k.a. “new inquiries”

• The types of credit/trade lines you already have

Factors that can negatively affect your Beacon score:

• When the balance owing is more than 75 per cent of your maximum limit

• The length of time your trade lines have been open is short

• Too many accounts open with balances

• You have debt in collections. When an out-standing bill is not paid, a collection agency reports it to Equifax

• Bankruptcies or consumer proposals – an alternative to bankruptcy in which debtors develop a plan for repaying their creditors

• Not having any or having too few trade lines open

Maintaining a good Beacon score is essen-tial when applying for a mortgage or a loan. Make sure you are aware of how you repay your debts. For more tips and advice speak to your mortgage broker about how to improve your Beacon score or visit the FAQ section of Equifax’s website, a credit reporting agency in Canada that tracks your credit history:

What is aBeacon Score?


Page 36: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


Success in business and life seems elusive to many people. But there is a way to bring your goals within reach. The first step is to ask yourself WHY?

Why are you doing what you are doing? Why are you in business? What do you want to achieve personally, for you and your family, and WHY?

I have met with and worked with countless busi-ness owners and their teams and it never ceases to amaze me how many don’t know their WHY, nor do their teams.

To do things without knowing WHY leaves you at the mercy of the world around you without vision and focus. Perhaps it is because of the economic downturn in recent years, but more and more peo-ple I talk to don’t know their WHY. Is it because they have lost hope? Do they not have any dreams and goals?

No. They have just become disconnected from it.

When people know their WHY they can achieve things others are not able to do. There are countless stories of rags to riches and it’s rarely a case of luck. They define and focus on their WHY. It drives them for-ward in everything they do every day. It leads to intentional actions and activities. They know why they are doing everything they do, why it is impor-tant and what they intend to gain. Their passion and focus is unwavering. It helps them overcome roadblocks and obstacles. Their businesses and their teams grow and prosper. When an obstacle or roadblock occurs, they assess it and deter-mine the way around it or over it, rather than let it stop their journey. Their commitment is 100 per cent and without any doubt. Can you do that? Absolutely.

Ask yourself:

• Why are you doing what you are doing?

• What is it you want to achieve in your business?

• What is it you want to achieve in your life?

Let me walk you through these questions and help you start to define or redefine your WHY.

Why are you doing what you are doing?If you answer is “I want to make money” then you need to dig a little deeper and add some details. Do you want to make money to put your children

through school? Do you want your business to be successful so you can have more flexibility when splitting your time between work and family? Is it so you can build your business to run without you and you can sell it to someone else to fuel your retire-ment? Is it so you can travel or spend more time with your grand children? Is it so you can retire to some-where warm? Draw out your reason, envision it, col-lect pictures for it, document it. The more detail you can add to your WHY the more power it has to help you focus and work toward it. For many women, because of our nurturing nature, the

WHY is centred around family and life balance. Work at it, focus on it and don’t let people derail you.

What is it you want to achieve in your business?Do you want your business and your team to grow? Do you want a business that will operate without you so you can take a vacation and spend more time with your family or travelling, while still having the business run and grow? Do you want to be a leader in your field or industry? #1 in Alberta? #1 in Canada? #1 Globally? Do you want to be the “go to” person in your field and network? Diagram it, plan it, document it for your wall. Start creat-ing a timeline roadmap to get there, listing your goals and targets. Add your emotions and what you will “get” when you reach each target. How does it “feel” and what will it “look” like when you get there.

What is it you want to achieve in your life?What things do you want to achieve from now to the end of your days? Do you want to help people? Do you want to run a number of businesses over time, each adding value to the community? Do you want to be a world renowned public speaker? Do you want to help people in underdeveloped countries? Do you want to see all your children through school and into healthy relationships? Do you want a second home in an exotic place? Write it down, draw it, commit to it. Remember to be specific and detailed so you can feel it and visualize it.

Once you have worked out some of the details, put your creation up where you can see it. Review it every day and when you need encouragement and rein-forcement. Tell the important people in your life what your WHY is. Be sure your team knows your VISION

and your WHY. Verbalizing your business WHYs and your personal WHYs helps to solidify it in your mind and increases your commitment to get there. Everyone needs time to reflect and remind them what is important. When you feel things are not going quite as planned, revisit your WHYs and it will help you to refocus, regain motivation and regain energy.

The next step is probably one of the most criti-cal: everything you plan and do should lead you toward your WHY. Ask yourself for each task

and strategy you work on: “What is this doing to get me to my WHY?” or “Does this support me getting to my WHY?”

I have seen the power of knowing your WHY in my own experience. I have met many skeptics over the

years and have had them try to derail me, drain my energy, and sabotage my focus and drive. I could

feel the impact of this experience on me, sapping my energy and motivation. I resented them and hated being around them. So I focused on my WHYs, dis-tanced myself from the negative thinking, aligned myself with positive, like-minded, supportive people and things kept happening to drive me to my WHY. I refused to be derailed and kept a positive attitude about my direction, plan and WHY. Today, I move one step at a time toward my WHY and you can too.

Knowing your why and reflecting on it from time to time will give you energy, motivation, commitment, focus and drive to stay on track, or if need be, to get back on the rails.

Article by Cheryl Dyck, Business Coach with Action Coach

WHAT IS YOUR WHY? Explore one of the keys to success

Page 37: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


If the mere thought of hiring another new book-keeper has you chasing your Prozac with vod-ka, this article is for you. Finding the best way to get your books done does not have to be that difficult.

Understand your needsRecognize that your bookkeeper or bookkeep-ing firm is your score keeper. Your financial re-ports tell you where you are strong and where you are vulnerable.

A good bookkeeper knows where every pen-ny comes from, where every penny goes and how much is left over at the end of the month. She balances all the accounts, keeps the gen-eral ledger, helps with budgets and cash flow, and does the payroll. She prepares reports for banks and shareholders and she might prepare projections when financing is needed.

A good bookkeeper deals with compliance and government remittances so the tax man doesn’t break down your door. And if she is a great bookkeeper, she will assist with financial analy-sis and give you sound advice. Wow! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have all this?

Now consider the potential problems of a book-keeping failure. You might fail to collect money that is owed to you, ruin your credit rating, at-tract tax audits, incur fines and penalties, over-spend the budget, run out of cash, fail to pay employees properly, open accounts for those unworthy of credit, fail to get the financing you need... This list is endless and terrifying.

Perhaps you should rethink the idea of just hir-ing your ne’er do well brother-inlaw—the one who is perpetually out of a job—to do your bookkeeping.

Hiring a bookkeeperThe best predictor of future behaviour is past be-haviour. Is your bookkeeping candidate a “job-hopper”? You need a bookkeeper who will stay for at least three years.

Very few viable businesses actually lay off good bookkeepers. When your candidate left former jobs, why did she leave? Is your candidate re-hireable or is she a flake, a thief, or a con artist?

What are her educational qualifications? An ac-counting diploma might be enough when backed

up by the right kind of experience. But no formal training whatsoever should raise a red flag.

What has your candidate achieved? There are many kinds of bookkeeping experience. Some bookkeepers are accounting technicians—they might specialize in payroll, accounts payable or accounts receivable.

Some bookkeepers can perform full-cycle book-keeping—everything from setting up the books initially to preparing the year-end, complete with statements. Ensure the bookkeeper you hire can competently meet all your bookkeep-ing needs.

Be practical. Does your bookkeeping candidate live so far away that her commute will be too long? Does she have issues that could prevent her from being effective, efficient, and reliable?

Offer an attractive salary. If you are tighter than the skin on an apple, ask yourself these questions:

• Will my compensation package attract a winner?

• Do I really want a loser fondling my com-pany’s money? My grandma put it this way, “Sometimes cheap costs way too much.”

• Is your candidate over-qualified, under-qual-ified, or just right? Think like Goldilocks and choose “just right.” A professional accountant (with a CGA, CMA or CA designation) is not usu-ally required by a small business with just a few employees. However, an under-qualified book-keeper can create disaster. Ask a professional bookkeeping firm for advice if you are not sure what you need.

Never hire a bookkeeper without first doing a full investigation. Here’s a scary number: 67 per cent of job candidates bend the truth or outright lie on résumés and in interviews. Be careful.

While skills, education and experience are im-portant, career success depends on who your bookkeeper is as a person. Has your candidate proven she has a positive attitude? Is she a problem-solver? Is she persistent and reliable? Does she love the work, have integrity and get along well with others? Is she someone you would like to work with?

If you make a hiring mistake, fix it fast. Never (never, never, never) keep a hiring mistake on staff beyond the 90-day probationary period. The sooner you rehire, the sooner you will have what you need.

Hiring a bookkeeping firmDon your trench coat and be a detective. Get all the facts:

• How long has the bookkeeping firm been in business?

• Have they worked with companies that are larger than yours?

• Are they flexible?

• Do they offer all the services you need?

• Do they have enough people on their team to provide consistently great service?

• What are the qualifications of the individuals who work at the bookkeeping firm?

• Can they handle higher level challenges – things like GST audits, payroll audits and cor-porate tax audits?

• Can they deal with inter-company transac-tions and foreign exchange?

• Can they provide management reports, in-sightful analysis and sound advice that will help you run your business better?

These days, location is NOT very important when choosing a bookkeeping company. Tech-nology lets them work effectively both on- and off-site. Of more importance is how they handle requests for support. Are they accessible by phone when e-mail is impractical? What is their turnaround time?

Find out about the bookkeeping firm’s reputa-tion. Ask them to supply five client references plus at least two accounting firm references. If they can’t supply the references say, “No thanks.” Otherwise, check all the references.

Some bookkeeping firms will find, train and su-pervise a bookkeeper for you. If you feel over-whelmed about hiring an in-house bookkeeper, then outsourcing all or part of the book work could be your best bet.

Now take a deep breath and relax.

Whether you choose to hire a bookkeeper or a bookkeeping firm – now that you have some new insights – it doesn’t seem so difficult, does it?

You are a financial diva! You can and will prevail.

Slay the Bookkeeping Dragon!The dos and don’ts of hiring bookkeepers & bookkeeping firms

Page 38: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall

38 l FINANCIAL DIVASMelanie Petruchak, Insurance Professional - Rand&Fowler Insurance

5Do:1. Find an insurance agent who has experience with business insurance and will shop the insurance market for your needs.

2. Read any proposed policy carefully.

3. Confirm that your independent contractors carry their own workers’ com-pensation and liability insurance if they are doing any work at your location of business.

4. Keep a list of all your business property, both at work and off premises; you will need it for insurance purposes if you suffer a loss.

5. Inform your agent of any changes to your business, so that your policy always provides adequate coverage.

Don’t:1. Hide unusual risks from your insurance agent. You won’t get the proper coverage and the insurer could later claim that you made misrepresentations.

2. Accept a policy without making sure it covers all the risks of your business.

3. Under insure your business to get a reduced premium.

4. Embellish the extent of your damages within a loss. This can be consid-ered insurance fraud.

5. Assume that your homeowner’s policy will automatically cover home-based business operations. There may be exclusions for business-related property and injuries in your residential policy.

The day you decide to start a business is the day you should acquire a commercial insurance policy. Here are some do’s and don’ts to help maintain your insurance required and help minimize business risks and losses.

Do’s and Don’ts of Business Insurance

Wouldn’t it be great to work out of your home? Imagine getting up when you feel like it, working in your PJs, and having no boss telling you what to do. Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but run-ning a home-based business is usually a lot of hard work and sacrifice.

Make sure you are ready to be your own boss. Ask your self these questions:

Are you a self starter? Successful business owners don’t wait around for the phone to ring. And they don’t let the stereo, “All My Children” or a pile of dirty dishes entice them from their desks. There won’t be anyone looking over your shoulder, so you have to be your own boss. And the isolation of working alone is another issue you have to consider.

Are you disciplined and organized? Joining the ranks of the self-employed will not free you from deadlines and heavy workloads. Your cli-

ents will still judge you on your ability to pro-duce. Miss a deadline or slack off on

quality and you may lose a client.

Do you have a positive attitude? Staying positive is crucial since

you’ll have to ride lots of ups and downs while running your business.

Do you like competition? Remember that people striking out on their own are growing in numbers and if you can’t do the job, there is likely someone out there who can – and probably at a cheaper price.

Can you get along with

all types of people? You’ll run up against a variety of temperaments from both suppliers and clients. There’s nowhere to hide when you ARE the business.

Are you prepared to work long hours, six to seven days a week, including holidays? Forget 9 to 5. The buck stops with you and you will only get out of your business what you put into it. And that may mean long hours, especially as you get established.

Can you adjust your lifestyle so that you may not have a steady income? Often there is lots of cash outlay and little cash inflow when you start your own small business. Living on credit or limited funds is often the only way to survive the first lean years before you get out of the red.

Working from home may seem like an ideal situ-ation, but it has its challenges. It takes some seri-ous soul searching to tell you if you have the right kind of personality to stay home alone and build a successful business.

Article by Terri Williams, CFP®, Vice President, Editorial Services and Production for DundeeWealth Inc. Prepared by Laura Chanin who is an Investment Advisor with DWM Securities Inc., a DundeeWealth Inc. Company. This is not an official publication of DWM Corporation and the author is not a DWM Securities Inc. analyst. The views (including any recommendations) expressed in this article are those of the author alone, and they have not been approved by, and are not necessarily those of, DWM Securities Inc.

Do you have what it takes toBE YOUR OWN BOSS?EMPLOYMENT

Page 39: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall

Losing a job can be one of the most emotionally trau-matic experiences you will ever have. Whether it is due to corporate downsizing, a personality conflict with a superior or a “change of direction” for the employer, losing your day-to-day routine, and source of income, is psychologically devastating and financially scary.

But in many cases it can also be a financial windfall. You may walk away with a good-sized severance package. And, if you find a new job quickly, that sever-ance can help you pay off debt, sock some savings away for retirement, or even help you buy that sports car you’ve always wanted.

Before you make any decisions about the money you receive, it is crucial that you seek professional advice – both legal and financial. Good advice can help you turn what you see as a major life challenge into an opportunity. Do not sign any documentation without speaking to a lawyer and financial advisor. Be sure to talk to your advisors about these issues:

• Make sure you are negotiating the best severance possible. Depending on your circumstances, you may be entitled to more than the legal minimum.

• If you receive a severance package, is there a pos-sibility of splitting it over two calendar years so that taxes can potentially be lower? Severance payments

are considered income and can catapult you into a higher tax bracket.

• Instead of taking a lump sum, is there a way to stay on the company’s payroll and continue with benefits until the severance period runs out? If this is the case, make sure you don’t lose any of your severance if you find a new job.

• Find out if some of your severance qualifies to be rolled into an RRSP.

• If you were a member of a company pension plan you will need to decide what to do with your entitle-ment. If you were in a defined benefit plan (which out-lines what pension you would have received at re-tirement) you need to decide whether to stay in the pension plan or take a lump sum. A financial advisor will need to crunch the numbers for you to ensure the best decision for your circumstances.

• Try to negotiate a career transition service if it isn’t part of your package.

• Budget and plan for expenses you know will con-tinue while you are out of work.

What to do with your


Article by Terri Williams, CFP®, Vice President, Editorial Services and Production for DundeeWealth Inc. Prepared by Laura Chanin who is an Investment Advisor with DWM Securities Inc., a DundeeWealth Inc. Company. This is not an official publication of DWM Corporation and the author is not a DWM Securities Inc. analyst. The views (including any recommendations) expressed in this article are those of the author alone, and they have not been approved by, and are not necessarily those of, DWM Securities Inc.


Here are tips to help you avoid having your identity stolen and your credit marred:

• Check your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus every year.

• Open your credit card bills and bank statements right away. Review your state-ments, and close unused accounts. Be aware if bills don’t arrive on time; this may mean someone has changed contact infor-mation to hide fraudulent charges.

• Don’t carry your Social Insurance Num-ber card or PINs in your purse or wallet.

• Avoid giving any personal information over the phone, mail, or Internet unless you know who you’re dealing with. Give it to them in person instead.

• Criminals often pretend they’re collect-ing money for victims of a natural disaster. Sometimes, they claim to be police officers and ask for donations. Donate only to rep-utable charities.

• Elderly people are frequently targeted in money scams. Keep a helpful eye for elderly family members and vulnerable neighbors.

• Make sure you disconnect your laptop from a broadband or a shared connection when not using it.

• Avoid offers and pop-ups that sound too good to be true. The crooks behind these scams want you to enter your information so they can access your personal informa-tion.

• Remove your name from mailing lists for pre-approved credit offers. These offers are a target for identity thieves who steal your mail.

• Only enter personal information on se-cure web pages that encrypt your data in transit. You can often tell if a page is se-cure because “https,” rather than “http,” is in its URL and/or there’s a padlock icon on the browser window.

• If you’re going to use a mail box, do so during or close to the posted pick-up hours. Better yet, drop your mail off at your local post office. Retrieve mail promptly and discontinue delivery while out of town.

Avoid Identity Theft

Page 40: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


Most of us would agree a spousal relationship works best when it’s a partnership of equals—except when it comes to taxation and investing. When one spouse earns more than the other, it opens up new potential for reducing taxes and in-creasing your after-tax investment income through the application of a few simple income-splitting strategies. And that is especially true right now thanks to the current—and very low—government prescribed interest rate on taxable benefits. Here’s how you can benefit from splitting income with your spouse.

Low interest rates deliver bigger benefitsEach quarter the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) establishes a new prescribed rate on taxable ben-efits. When the rate is low, it unlocks a dynamic tax-effective option if you have a spouse in a lower tax bracket. Here’s how it works: When one spouse loans money to another for investment purposes and does not charge an interest rate at least equal to the going market rate, or the CRA’s prescribed rate at the time the loan was made, any resulting income and capital gains are taxed in the hands of the spouse who made the loan. But, if the higher-earning spouse loans money to the lower income spouse and charges the rate of interest in effect at the time the loan is made, all income and taxable gains are taxed in the hands of the lower income spouse. The lower income spouse also deducts the interest paid—thus paying tax only on the net amount of investment income.

In order for this to work, the lower income spouse must actually pay the amount of interest owed to the higher income spouse within 30 days of each calendar year-end. The lending spouse is then re-quired to report the prescribed interest charged as taxable income. However, when the return from investment exceeds the prescribed rate, there is a gradual shifting of taxable income from the higher income spouse to the lower income spouse. The benefit is clear: Over time, if investment returns continue to exceed the cost of the loan, the invest-ment grows at a more effective tax rate. For this strategy to work, it is very important that the bor-rowing spouse actually pays the interest in a timely basis.

Should interest rates rise, the loan rate need not be increased as long as the original loan remains in place. This “locking in” of the rate delivers a unique opportunity that can benefit you for years to come.

Take advantage of a Spousal RRSPA higher-earning spouse who contributes to a Spousal Registered Savings Plan (RRSP) can reduce his or her taxes now, and the couple’s combined taxes after retirement. Each tax year, the higher earning spouse makes the spousal contribution and claims the deduction. After re-tirement, the lower-earning spouse will likely be able to withdraw the RRSP proceeds and pay less tax than if one spouse received the bulk of the couple’s retirement income.

You can contribute to both your RRSP and a Spousal RRSP, although total contributions can-not exceed your available RRSP contribution room. Your spouse’s own RRSP contribution limit is not affected by your contributions to a spousal plan. Remember, however, that by contributing to a spousal RRSP your contribution becomes the property of your spouse.

Pension income splittingA person who receives “eligible pension income” (i.e. regular payments from a registered pension plan) or, if at least age 65, Registered Retired In-come Fund (RRIF) up to 50 per cent of this income can be allocated to the spouse for tax purposes.

Decide who should buy the groceriesYou can improve your long-term financial health and reduce taxes by deciding that the higher in-come spouse should spend and the lower income spouse should invest. If your income levels vary significantly, it’s a good idea to have the partner with the lowest tax rate do most or all of the in-vesting while the higher-earning partner pays for groceries and other daily living expenses. Over time more investment income will be earned in the hands of the lower income spouse, which should reduce the taxes on investment earnings and put more money in your pockets over time.

Income-splitting strategies are an important part of an effective financial plan. Talk them over with a financial professional and put them into practice to reduce your tax bite and increase your after-tax (net) investment returns.

INCOME SPLITTING can reduceyour tax bite

Article provided by Kirstin Carley, BBA, Consultant, Inves-tors Group Financial Services Inc. Written and published by Investors Group Financial Services Inc. as a general source of information only. It is not intended as a solicita-tion to buy or sell specific investments, nor is it intended to provide legal advice.

tax tipsfrom CRA

Small business information seminarThis seminar, from Canada Revenue Agency, is for people who have just started or are about to start a small business. CRA Representatives present this seminar in three modules: payroll, taxes and GST/HST.


Deductions - What do you need to take off of your employees’ cheques?

Remittances - When are your payroll remit-tances due and what are your responsibilities?

Reporting - Filing T4s. This module also out-lines employment relationships to help you de-termine whether a worker is an employee or a self-employed individual.

Income tax

Starting your business, record keeping, fis-cal periods and accounting methods, rights and obligations, payment of taxes, income and expenses, types of income, and capital vs. operating and capital costs. A represen-tative from the province of Alberta will also present information pertaining to corporations and the related provincial responsibilities and procedures.


This module gives you general information about GST/HST. Do you need to register? How do you register? How to complete the GST/HST return. If you have attended a GST/HST New Registrant Seminar you do not need to attend this module as it is the same presenta-tion as the one offered in the evening GST/HST New Registrant workshop.

Location: Harry Hayes Building - Conference Center, Main Floor - Kathryn Room, 220 - 4th Avenue SE, Calgary

Dates: Thursday, Oct. 6, Nov. 10, or Dec. 8

Time: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To register, complete the online registration form at CRA will contact you a couple of days before the session as a reminder and to confirm your attendance.

Page 41: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


ROCK!It’s not Rocket Science

An investment workshop for women with a focus on RRSP basics, investment strategies

and retirement planning.

I’m leaving it all to the CATAn Estate Planning discussion

for women.

Goddess Goal SettingA fabulous goal setting workshop

for fabulous women.

A Diva’s home is her CastleA real estate seminar for buyers,

sellers and investors.

Join Financial Divasin your community

for thesefantastic workshops!

To RSVP andfind out details



Where There’s a WayWe have access to the widest variety of mortgage options – to nd the right solution for you.

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Page 42: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


In today’s market, having a Marketing Plan that gets results and a REALTOR® who knows how to get the job done is essential! Here are the listing services that will get you the results YOU want:

• Personalized Market Home Evaluation

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Houses are like people…it’s what’s inside that counts!


Here’s the plan to get your home

SELLING YOUR HOME is our #1 priority

“We had a great experience with The Helping YOU Team! From staging our vacant home, to taking pictures for the website & virtual tour, sending out flyers & post cards, to holding open houses - they really went the extra mile! We received timely updates & comparables to help justify our asking price. Anytime we had a question or concern, they were both ready and willing to discuss things with us. Even when we were out of the country, they kept us informed!” -Tom & Donna Smillie, Calgary AB

News Canada

As homeowners, we accumulate documents the mo-ment we choose to purchase a home. Offers to pur-chase, mortgage documents, home inspection reports, homeowner’s insurance, renovation receipts, and appli-ance warranties are just some of the documents you may need to refer to in the future. The ability to locate these papers easily can save you time and even money.

Royal LePage Canada legal consultant Penny Egan rec-ommends locating and organizing these documents in single multi-tab filing system. “No need for an elaborate system—a simple accordion file with labeled flaps will do,” she says, suggesting the following categories.

Contracts and legal papersThese documents include the deed, surveys, inspec-tions and any other reports. You will need these records again if you decide to re-finance or sell your home.

Insurance policyCreate a folder for your homeowner’s insurance policy, as well as mortgage insurance, if you hold a policy. Also use this space to keep copies of correspondence related to any past claims.

Purchase and market dataKeep a copy of the original listing of your home, and as information comes available from homes sold in your area, slip this information into the file to include ongoing comparable market data.

Property TaxesKeep your tax bills and record of payment for as long as you own the home. If you have business-use-of-home expenses on your federal tax return, you may need these items if your tax returns are audited.

Home maintenance and improvementsCreate a folder for receipts for repairs, maintenance and home improvements. You may also wish to include a log of regular maintenance tasks.

Warranties, manuals and receiptsKeep your warranties, manuals and receipts for all appli-ances for as long as you own them.

Home inventoryIf you were ever to lose any of your possessions due to fire or burglary, having a home inventory can make it easier when filing an insurance claim. Make a list of valu-ables in the home and take photos of each room for vi-sual documentation, including close-up photos of jewelry and other valuables.


home documents

Page 43: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


What Makes Us DifferentWorld Financial Group is unique in that it is dedicated to serving the financial needs of individuals and families who are typically overlooked by the financial services industry. WFG recognizes the need for

among middle-income individuals and families who could readily benefit from exposure to the latest financial concepts and solutions. Unlike many companies that target

only wealthy clients, WFG is driven by our mission to help individuals and families achive financial independence, by providing them with a sound financial foundation to do so, no matter what their income.

Patsy Dackewich

Your D

reams, Our Strategies®

6444 – 12 Street SECalgary, AB T2H 2X2

Email: [email protected]: 403.512.3555

World Financial Group Insurance Agency of Canada Inc. offers life insurance and SEG funds Headquarters: 3700 Steeles Avenue W., Suite 400, Vaughan, ON, L4L 8M9. Phone 905-265-9005. Fax: 905-265-9044.

World Financial Group Insurance Agency of Canada Inc. is a memeber of the World Financial Group family of companies.

Page 44: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


As a Mobile Mortgage Specialist, I can help you review yourchoices and recommend a home �nancing option that bestsuits your needs by tailoring a customized solution. I will alsomeet you anywhere that is convenient for you; outside regularbusiness hours, including evenings and weekends.

Splurging on shopping, eating out and weekends away – three-quarters of Canadians admit they are more relaxed with their spending and saving habits during the summer months.

According to a recent poll by TD Canada Trust, the majority of Canadians confess that budgeting, sav-ing and paying bills on time took a back seat as they enjoyed the warmer weather this year.

“Summer is a great time to relax and have fun with friends, but it doesn’t mean you can take a vacation from your financial responsibilities,” says Carrie Rus-sell, Senior Vice President, TD Canada Trust. “You can’t get ahead if you spend more than you earn, so if you’ve let your budget slip away during the summer break it’s time to buckle down and get your finances under control. Yes, saving can be hard at times, par-ticularly when you’re tempted to spend, but think about it as paying yourself first.”

Russell offers advice on how to balance your books after a summer of spending:

1. Get your debt under control. Review your unpaid bills and debt obligations. If you’re strapped for cash and can’t make all your payments, then pay at least the minimum required. High interest debts like credit cards should take priority. If you find yourself way over your head, talk to your bank about possible ways to consolidate your debt.

2. Write a budget and stick to it. Calculate how much money you earn each month then subtract your expens-es, like rent and credit card bills, to understand how much you have left for savings. If you have a negative balance or less than 10 per cent of your pre-tax income to save, you need to rethink your spending. Look at ways to cut down on unnecessary expenses, but don’t deprive yourself or it will be a tough budget to follow.

3. Start planning for your next holiday now. If you’re thinking about taking a vacation at a time when you’ve got more expenses, you need to plan ahead. Start sav-ing in advance for your next holiday, instead of strug-gling to pay off your bills after. Speak to your bank about setting up a pre-authorized transfer of a portion of your paycheque into a high interest savings account or a tax free saving account (TFSA) to maximize your savings.

Summer Splurges

Get your savings under control after

News Canada

Page 45: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


Cäsar works with Primerica, a leading distributor of �nancial products to middle income households in North America.Her goal is to serve middle income families by helping them make informed �nancial decisions and providing them with strategies and means to gain �nancial independence.

She speaks four languages and volunteers with the Canadian Immigrant Women’s Association. She believes women with diverse backgrounds will help each other to be empowered in reaching their goals.

PH: 403-668-4047 CELL: 403-397-0465 FAX: 888-422-5121 EMAIL: [email protected]



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Page 46: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall


the last word...

Carmel Ecker is a writer and graphic designer and will be a mother for the first time in October.

Just a few months ago, my happiest moments were spent on a mountain bike, surrounded by the sweet smell of the forest and a group of cheering women offering up high fives for a new skill learned or a new obstacle conquered on the trail.

I have spent nearly every weekend and a few weeknights of the past 10 years climbing up or speeding down the trails of southern B.C. with women from every walk of life and every age group. I have learned from some of them, taught some of them, but most importantly, I’ve shared unforgettable moments of happiness with them.

But at about 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 25, mountain bik-ing suddenly had a rival for top spot on the hap-piness front. That’s the night I looked down in speechless shock at a positive pregnancy test.

I did a double take, a triple take. Then, I started hyperventilating and pacing up and down the hallway, periodically looking down at the test I gripped with both excitement and sheer terror.

Change was coming, change I had hoped for, dreamed of, and the first thing that popped into my head was disappointment that I would not be able to race in September’s Mind Over Mountain Adventure Race in Cumberland on Vancouver Island.

My second thought was, after months of trying to get pregnant, how could I find anything negative about a positive test? What kind of mother could I possibly be if my first reaction to the reality of having a child was that I would miss out on a race?

Change is a tricky thing. It can be inspiring and disappointing at the same time. I’ve long had the perspective that all change is good, even when it presents uncomfortable challenges. It forces us to expand our horizons, change our perspec-tives, see the world anew. I try to keep that in mind as my body changes and grows.

I’m still mountain biking at 33 weeks, much to the chagrin of my doctor, but it’s at a slower pace and with more caution than before. And I’m still surrounded by awesome women who ride. It’s just that now they rub my belly instead of giving me high fives.

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Page 47: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall
Page 48: Financial Divas ~ Calgary Fall

You don’t have to be hit to be hurt.

You don’t have to be in crisis to call.

You don’t have to leave to get help.

If you or someone you know is being abused, call us:

YOU can help us end family violence and abuse in our community.Talk about family violence and remove the social shame that stops people from seeking help.

Learn the facts about abuse and find out about Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter programs for women and children, youth and men at

Share the number for the 24 hour Family Violence Helpline with someone you know who is living with abuse.

Support the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter financially and volunteer your services

403-234-SAFE (7233)24-hr. Family Violence Helpline

24-hr Family Violence Helpline 403-234-SAFE (7223)

To donate or volunteer call: 403-539-5130