Regardless of where you are in your career and how successful your practice becomes, there will always be things you can’t control. Between your job, caring for kids and keeping yourself mentally and physically fit, there’s not a lot of time to worry about life’s great "what ifs".
There’s a saying about lawyers that doesn’t exactly bode well for retirement planning: “Most lawyers live well, work hard and die poor.” And there’s more of that middle part — the working part — for lawyers than for most.
The average retirement age in Canada is 63.6*. But according to the Federation of Law Societies in Canada, the average lawyer retires more than a decade later—at age 75.
A later retirement isn’t the only way to quell the biggest retirement fear: the fear of outliving your savings.
Burglary is often a crime of opportunity – which explains why business break-and-enters spiked in the early days of Covid.
While most of us were getting used to working from home, thieves were moving in on the offices we left behind. In BC alone, business break and enters spiked by 562%.
But even at the best of times, smaller firms are more vulnerable to break-ins than bigger shops. As you prepare to head back to the office, here are five steps you can take to discourage thieves.
IT’S BACK TO SCHOOL: CUE THE CHAOS
The on-again, off-again switches from in-person to virtual learning have many parents’ heads spinning – and no one knows how long the next back-to-school routine might last.
While you can’t predict the future, you can plan ahead to manage this year’s stress by setting some realistic expectations and working as a family to tackle challenges.
Here are five ways you can lower the stress meter for everyone.
Lordy, Lordy, look who’s etc. Like many Canadians, CBIA (also known as Lawyers Financial) has had a rebrand or two over the years, but what hasn’t changed since 1981 is our commitment to helping lawyers, their employees and their families protect what matters most.
Nothing is more exhilarating than starting your own firm. But it’s also a bit terrifying. “You’re not just a lawyer anymore,” says Catherine Singzon, a group benefits advisor at Lawyers Financial. “You’re also the accountant, the HR department and the director of business development. It can feel like you have to think of everything.” The trick, though, is to get other people to do some of that thinking for you.
Disability and Business Expense Insurance are two ways to protect you and your practice. Each one provides monthly benefits that let you focus on recovery.
Investing often invokes fear. No one wants to make a costly mistake, especially when the stakes are high – as they are for retirement savings.
That’s why a cardinal rule when it comes to successful investing is to diversify your portfolio.
When you diversify your investments, you’re managing downside risk by spreading a pool of money across different types of asset classes (stocks, bonds, cash-equivalents, commodities) as well as different types of securities within those asset classes (Canadian dividend stocks, small-cap technology stocks, global corporate bonds, etc.).
Nobody was planning for the pandemic, but everyone should be planning for what comes next. For Canada’s law firms, that includes preparing for a potential rush to the exits.
As we head into a “one dose summer,” and what promises to be a fully vaccinated fall, research suggests that more employees than ever may be looking for a fresh start. According to a recent survey:
If you’re a golf or tennis fan, you’ve probably watched through your fingers as your favourite player mysteriously melts on the biggest stage. Golf and tennis are two of the few professional sports in which athletes are denied direct access to their coach while the game’s on. When things go bad, they tend to go bad quickly – and the player has to rely on their own talent and experience to get back on track.
You’ve landed your first job as a lawyer and the paycheques are coming in. It feels great to finally have an income after so many years in school and you’re determined to pay off your student loan as quickly as possible.
While it makes sense to get rid of your debt and pay less in interest over the long term, there are three reasons you should take more time to repay your loan, so you can give your investments a head start.
Today’s financial pressures have many people looking for ways to reduce expenses and create an emergency fund. In pursuit of that goal, life insurance premiums seem like an easy tap to shut off now and turn back on later. But before you consider cancelling your life insurance policy, consider what’s at stake for you, your family and your practice.
Below, are some options that let you avoid cancelling your coverage while still securing your financial future.
You store a lot of valuable data. Lower the risk of getting hacked by knowing how to protect yourself and your clients from cybercrime. Whether you work alone, in a small firm or manage a big team, click below for your five-step plan to get you started.
“A monotonously unpleasant challenge.” That’s how neuropsychologist Sanam Hafeez of Columbia University describes life during Covid – and that’s the best-case scenario. Twelve months in (or is it twenty?), most of us have gotten used to the dull anxiety that comes with living through a pandemic. But just because we get used to stress doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
For many of life’s smaller stressors, Lawyers Financial can help. Click below to learn about five sources of anxiety you can outsource to us.
Many Canadian lawyers likely have some form of critical illness insurance but very few know what to expect should they have to file a claim and start taking advantage of their benefits. Until things go wrong, there’s no way to anticipate how long recovery will take and how that will affect family income and the stability of a legal practice.
Steve Wise, an insurance industry veteran in Southwestern Ontario, believes that every lawyer should understand how this affordable coverage works and why it’s such a vital part of financial planning.
Based on his recent experience with a long-standing client, a lawyer with family coverage whose wife was diagnosed with cancer, Mr. Wise explains what to expect from the moment of diagnosis to recovery.
According to Statistics Canada, a surprising side effect of the pandemic is the highest household savings rate in history. Canadians have stockpiled savings somewhere between $150-billion and $200-billion.
That has many of us rethinking our financial goals.
If you’ve been spared the financial fallout of Covid-19 and suddenly find yourself with higher-than-normal savings, remember: Extra cash doesn’t change the fundamentals of your financial plan. Instead, it gives you a rare opportunity to fast-track your progress on the goals that mean the most to you.
Click below for some ideas that can help you make the most of your extra savings.
For many Canadians, saving for important life goals can feel like an uphill struggle. But it doesn’t have to be. There are tax-efficient structures in place to give Canadians of all ages a bit of tailwind help – but too few of us are taking advantage of them.
The most popular are Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs). Both are excellent tools, and when you know their key differences, you can use either or both to help you create wealth more effectively.
Here’s why: Canadians pay taxes on investment income, and while the tax bill will vary depending on your tax bracket and whether it’s income from interest, dividends or capital gains, taxes create a drag on your ability to take advantage of the power of compounding. This can make a difference of tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in your pocket over your lifetime.
Click below for a list of differences between RRSPs and TFSAs to help you decide which one makes more sense for you.
Whether one seeks retirement or financial independence by a certain age, a financial planner can help to create the best path to take.
If you've used GPS, you’ve probably driven down roads you wouldn’t have chosen and through towns you’ve never heard of. And as long as you didn’t end up in an unmarked lake, you might even have thought, “Wow, I never would have gone this way on my own, but I’m glad I did.” Amardeep Sidhu sees similarities between GPS and the work he does as a financial planner for Lawyers Financial, a not-for-profit corporation that provides Canada’s legal community with high-quality insurance and investment solutions.
There are very clear and compelling reasons why life insurance may be a better option than mortgage insurance. It's all about control, flexibility and cost.
Do you find it hard to save money? Are you stressed that you haven’t put enough aside for retirement? Does achieving your life dreams feel elusive?
If this is you, you’re not alone.
Most people set out to conquer their life goals with the best intentions. However, as the list piles up, so does the risk of items on that list being derailed. This happens because of procrastination, a lack of planning and the human tendency to focus on the fun and easy goals at the expense of the boring but essential ones.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
One afternoon not long ago, Steve Wise, a Lawyers Financial Advisor in Southwestern Ontario, got a call from his client, an established lawyer in Windsor, who had just been diagnosed with lung cancer. It came as a complete shock. Doctors found the cancer while conducting a routine exam. There were no symptoms. There was no reason for his client to believe that that day would be any different than the one before. This wasn’t the first time Mr. Wise had been on the receiving end of a call like that one.
There’s a text message that no lawyer or office manager wants to receive. The one that came to Cecile’s personal phone at 7:00 a.m. said simply:
"Hey. Have you tried logging in today? It's bad! Like blue screen of death bad"
Cecile powered up her company laptop and it didn’t take long for her to realize the firm had been hacked. Every drive and file she attempted to access served up a blank screen. The criminals also left a note explaining that the files had been encrypted with RSA 2048-bit encryption that would be removed only after a ransom was paid. This was enough to effectively put every client file at risk and force a short-term shutdown of the firm.
Today’s financial pressures have many people looking for ways to reduce expenses and create an emergency fund. In pursuit of that goal, life insurance premiums seem like an easy tap to shut off now and turn back on later.
But before you consider cancelling your life insurance policy, consider what’s at stake for you, your family and your practice. Below, we offer some options that let you avoid cancelling your coverage while still securing your financial future.
There’s little doubt that a robust employee benefits plan is essential when recruiting top talent to small and mid-sized law firms. For those with three to 20 employees, customization and affordability have always been high on the list of features that senior partners and office managers look for when shopping for the best plan. Just as important is that ability to predict costs over time and that’s why the group benefits packages customized by the team at Lawyers Financial also focuses on price stability; a unique benefit designed with law firms in mind.
The day when you achieve complete financial freedom may come years before you decide to retire. In fact, highly motivated people who enjoy the challenges and rewards of a successful legal practice often choose to work long after the income is necessary. That’s why you might want to stop planning for retirement and start planning for financial freedom instead.
What does freedom look like? Find out!
For rainmakers in today’s altered universe, the job remains the same — continue to nurture existing relationships while attracting new clients. Everyone is adjusting to new habits and new ways of getting things done and that includes how top performers make it rain in the age of Covid-19.
Annuities provide guaranteed income for life. In that regard, they are one of the most effective ways to eliminate investment risk in retirement. But putting all of your retirement assets into the annuity basket is not necessary if you want to combine risk-free income with the ability to leave a legacy for future generations or tap into your assets from time to time.
FINDING SOMEONE YOU CAN WORK WITH
You shouldn’t be afraid to interview advisors before settling on someone you can work with.
The value of good financial advice can be significant, one study actually shows that advised investors accumulated almost four times as many assets compared to non-advised investors over a 15-year period — after adjusting for socio-economic and attitudinal differences.
Referrals from family, friends, colleagues and other trusted people are a good place to start the search for sound financial advice.
But you can’t stop there.
SETTING YOUR FINANCIAL GOALS
After settling on an advisor you feel you can work with, it’s time for you to get down to the business of setting financial goals. This requires a whole new set of questions:
1. What is my current financial situation; 2. What type of life insurance do I need: and more!
“It’s never too early to get a financial advisor,” says Dawn Marchand, Chief Executive Officer of Lawyers Financial. She adds, “professional advice will help you to both build and protect wealth as you move through your career.”
And the statistics back her up, with a study showing that investors who sought professional advice accumulated almost four times as many assets compared to those who go it alone over a 15-year period, after adjusting for socioeconomic and attitudinal differences.
Life insurance is often thought of as something you buy to protect loved ones in the event of your death. Viewed through this lens, the premiums you pay seem more like an expense than an investment. On the other hand, an insurance policy that will take care of your family members and your business partners could let you spend more of your money guilt-free as you age and ease into retirement. From this perspective, life insurance is a great investment and well worth the cost.
We don’t pretend to know what the future holds but we do see some changes to the daily routine that could affect your practice in positive ways.
Pundits and futurists are busy prognosticating about what’s waiting inside the doors of a re-opened economy. We don’t pretend to know what the future holds but we do see some changes to the daily routine that could affect your practice in positive ways.
Incorporating digital signatures into your practice and accepting electronic payments are two trends that we see continuing to keep people safe and make work more efficient.
For many parents, this summer’s biggest challenge will be: Sunscreen versus screen time.
School is out, some camps are cancelled, the kids are at home and there’s a good chance you’re still working from home with a full or partial caseload. It’s time to create a game plan that will keep everyone fit and occupied.
You’re not alone if the thought of a medical exam in your home feels like a hassle and it’s kept you from applying for life and disability insurance. Due to Covid-19 safety precautions, medical exams for life insurance have been temporarily suspended. Fortunately, you may be eligible to apply for life and disability insurance with a simple telephone interview – no medical examination. And you don’t need to meet face-to-face with an agent. You can apply over the phone or through a virtual meeting with your Lawyers Financial Advisor.
So, if you are looking for additional ways to protect your income or create a more substantial legacy, this is the perfect time to get the coverage you need to protect your family and your practice.
Cybercriminals thrive in a climate of distraction such as the current global pandemic. They know employees are adjusting to new technology, companies are still fine-tuning their work-from-home policies, people may be receiving payments from the government for the first time and requests for donations come in daily.
This is not a time to panic. It’s a time to take stock of your cybersecurity plan, remind yourself how to spot potential scams, and share information with colleagues, friends and family members who may be more vulnerable to cyberscammers.
Planning is the first line of defence!
Many families have been facing a new kind of financial reality. From loss of income, to changing the way we work, to thinking about priorities, the conversation about money is changing. With a long weekend on the horizon, the time could be right to sit everyone down or dial them in for a heart-to-heart discussion about the importance of money, your attitudes toward saving and what values will matter most in the months ahead.
Here are a few tips for organizing a family money talk.
A well-diversified investment portfolio is a lot like a solid home in a good neighbourhood. It should be able to withstand ups and downs over a long period of time. The big difference between a home and a portfolio is that you can log in every day to track the constantly changing value of your investments. Seeing a dip, especially when markets are volatile, can trigger an emotional response that leads to selling low, a counterintuitive approach.
Good news! The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has extended the deadline for filing your 2019 tax return. But if you’re expecting a refund, now is the time to get organized and file ahead of the end-of-season rush.
Whether you file your own return or work with a tax professional, preparation is the key to maximizing your tax savings and receiving all the credits you are entitled to. This list contains some obvious and not-so-obvious details you can start to collect now.
There are two ways to purchase life insurance. You can pay-as-you-go, like when you rent. Or you can pay in full and own the policy forever, like buying a home. Your Lawyers Financial Advisor can help you determine which type is right for you.
Working from home can add an unfamiliar layer of stress to anyone’s life. When you’re used to the camaraderie and pace of a busy firm, the adjustment to working remotely can be challenging.
You’re not alone if you find yourself suddenly at home with family members or by yourself and looking for ways to deal with the stress of being isolated from your own daily routine. Here are a few ways to incorporate daily stress-busters into your day.
You’ve watched other professions enjoy the enviable benefits of a guaranteed pension for life while you’ve likely been left on your own to save what you can for retirement. Chances are pretty good that you don’t have access to a guaranteed pension plan that can move with you and grow over your career. Say "so long" to the status quo!
MESSAGE FROM LAWYERS FINANCIAL
CBIA/Lawyers Financial is monitoring ongoing developments regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
During this extraordinary time, our key priorities are:
They are well-equipped for our employees to work from home while still providing quality customer service and their phone lines remain open at 1-800-267-2242. Monthly client statements will be sent as usual.
In an ideal world, you start your own practice with a roster of blue-chip clients, staffers who hang on your every word, lots of start-up money, and every kind of insurance you could ever need.
Realistically, you’re more likely to follow in the footsteps of all the great Canadian lawyers who hung a shingle and worked their butts off to grow a thriving practice. In this post, we answer the question, “What’s the minimum amount of insurance you need to open the door with confidence?”
“Oh man, I’ve got the best life insurance,” said no one ever. That’s because, at the end of the day, most policies operate under the same basic principle: you pay a moderate amount of money every month for insurance that only pays out after you’re dead. That’s not the most exciting sales pitch.
But deep down, we know it’s important to purchase life insurance. Fortunately, there’s one plan that makes it pretty painless
A Short video to let you know you are not alone!
The so-called 4 percent rule has become the popular formula for napkin math when it comes to calculating how long your retirement savings could last. It goes like this:
Try to remember where you were on this day in 2015. You probably can’t. Now think about the view from the best hotel you ever stayed in. Or maybe the cabin where you and your friends slept at camp, the best beer you ever shared with a friend or that time you volunteered on a build, a dig, or an event. These things are easier to recall because memories of life’s experiences have a way of staying put. They remind us where we’ve been. Over time, they tell a story about our priorities and how we chose to live.
There’s a vast amount of research suggesting why we take greater pleasure in experiences than we do in the accumulation of stuff. It goes back decades and boils down to these three things:
If you are lucky enough to have a company-sponsored pension plan, it’s likely a defined contribution (DC) plan and your employer may offer some amount of matching, meaning they will also be contributing to your retirement savings goal. Matching rates vary by plan and can be as high as 100%. If this is the case, you’ll have an additional and reliable source of income when you retire.
Sara Forte, an employment lawyer, recently sat down with Lawyers Financial to reflect on her experience starting a firm and building a team. By all accounts, her practical and intuitive approach to success is working.
Surviving a serious illness can often lead to unexpected and very significant expenses that may not be covered by your regular health insurance benefits.
Some of that money may be needed for medications, home care, and therapy not covered by your Canada provincial health plan. “That’s why this coverage is so exceptional" says Sudbury Financial Advisor Chris Newell.
Money to cover expenses. Money to buy time off. Money to allow participation in the healing process. These are just three great reasons to get critical illness insurance!
Would you be in a better financial position if you spent more time managing your finances and less time doing your job?
The answer is usually no. For lawyers, time is money and there is real value in outsourcing the time to plan, compare alternatives, research options, stay current on tax laws, and execute your financial plan.
It’s not unrealistic for you to ponder the possibility of a modest cash windfall in your lifetime. It could be an unusually large bonus, profit from the sale of your business, or an inheritance. For sake of discussion, let us assume that you didn’t plan on this money coming and let’s work with an amount of $50,000.
What to do with this windfall?
It's only a matter of time: Our increased dependence on technology has resulted in vulnerability and a rise in the frequency and severity of cyber breaches. Computers are used for everything from storing staff employment records to customer phone numbers to company strategic planning. Any data gathering network used by you or your firm could be a target.
Life insurance serves many purposes, but one of the top reasons people buy insurance is to replace the income that would normally provide for their family’s lifestyle and long-term security in the event of premature death.
So, who really needs it?
Defined Benefit Pension Plans are becoming increasingly rare in Canada and more rarely an option for members of the legal profession.
For retirees with some savings who also expect to collect benefits from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS), Vettese recommends converting about one-third of personal retirement assets into an annuity that provides income for life.
Those planning for retirement should consider these four important steps to making annuities part of the plan.
Congratulations! You've graduated law school, passed the barrister and solicitor exams (hopefully), and are now working as an articling student or lawyer. The world's your oyster, or at least you think it is. Law school is great at getting you ready for the rigours of legal research and writing memoranda, but there are scary realities awaiting you in the practice of law. Whether you are hanging your own shingle, working in a small practice, or heading into a career with big law, here are 3 things your professors forgot to teach you in law school.
You most likely have home insurance to protect your house and all contents … but do you also have this type of protection in place for your law firm? Whether your firm rents office space or owns its own building, office insurance can protect your assets and your livelihood.
For many, the thought of planning for retirement is daunting. How much money will I need to be able to retire? How much do I have to save each month or year? Will it be enough?
What if we changed the goal to achieving financial freedom?
TFSAs are an excellent way for Canadians, age 18 and older, to grow their savings tax-free. Although contributions are not tax deductible, income earned in the account and withdrawals from the account are tax-free. Unused contribution room is carried forward, and withdrawals from your account will be added back to your TFSA contribution room at the beginning of the following year*.
The deadline to make a contribution to your Retirement Savings Plan (RSP) is March 1st, 2019. Most people will likely benefit from opening an RSP early, investing regularly, and staying invested for the long haul.
But perhaps, you are not like most people. Maybe an RSP is right for you. Maybe it’s not. So what is right for you?
If the unexpected is truly unexpected, who knows what to expect? Well, the Society of Actuaries is a good group to ask. In 2015, they set out to identify the type of rainy day situations that retired Americans actually encounter and how they cope with them. We can assume that Canadians might expect similar situations.
It’s easy to imagine using an insurance policy for a water leak damaging office equipment or if you back your car into a post and crush your bumper, but a disability insurance claim is an unpleasant and abstract event.
When it comes to disability insurance, how do you know what's right for you?
A strong and recognized personal brand can help you cultivate business for your firm or stand out among a crowd of corporate lawyers. The fact is, everyone already has a brand. The question is, are you actively developing and managing your brand or is it being done by others, without your direct input?
When people hear the phrase “financial planning” they usually think of RRSPs, TFSAs, and other types of investments. However, life insurance plays a strategic role in the financial planning process. For lawyers, term life insurance may provide many benefits that you may not be aware of – benefits that can protect both your family and your firm.
Spring time is the ideal opportunity to have a chat with your Financial Advisor and do a little spring cleaning on your family finances. It won’t take long and you can look forward to summer with the confidence of knowing everything is up-to-date and on track.
Lawyers Financial is a brand of The Canadian Bar Insurance Association (CBIA). Providing a comprehensive suite of financial solutions exclusively for lawyers, their families and employees is all we do. Being not-for-profit, we measure success in satisfied clients, not dollars. No matter the situation, we can help you to be ready.