Insights and Advice

2012 Year End Market Commentary

By Greg Farries, BSC, The Nakamun Group, Calgary

Looking back at 2012, investors around the world remained extremely cautious. Headlines continued to be dominated by the European debt crisis, the US’s inability to address its own debt issues, and China’s slowing growth. In the US, housing prices and unemployment continued to be problems.

The negative headlines on top of vivid memories of the effects of the 2008/2009 financial crisis were justifiable reasons for concern. Read More…

CHOOSING NOT TO BE AN EXECUTOR

By Floyd Murphy, CFP, CLU, CHFC, The Nakamun Group, Vancouver

Whether you have accepted in advance or discover after an individual passes away that you have been named an executor, you can choose to decline. Just some of the reasons you might not want to serve as executor include: Read More…

Cash Value Life Insurance – an Investment to Consider

By R.A. (Bob) Challis, CFP, RHU, TEP, The Nakamun Group, Winnipeg

Life insurance is like no other financial instrument in its ability to create portfolio equilibrium while delivering guaranteed results. A comprehensive financial plan is incomplete without considering this unique asset class.

Our current financial environment is fraught with low guaranteed fixed interest rates, unproven and often complicated new financial products, as well as volatile equity and real estate markets. Prudent investors, well versed in the benefits of portfolio diversification, and their advisors, are once again looking at the unique features of cash value life insurance. Prior to the 1980s, almost 90 percent of life insurance contracts purchased were whole life/cash value. The same guarantees that appealed to investors then are 
creating a surge of interest once again. Read More…

2011 Year-End Market Commentary

By Greg Farries, BSC, The Nakamun Group, Calgary

In 2011, the news that clearly dominated the world’s markets were the macro-economic issues surrounding the European sovereign debt crises and the lack of resolve for US policymakers to develop a plan for reducing the US budget deficit. Read More…

Canadian Investors Thinking Outside Canada

In a global context, Canada’s currency and economy are relatively strong. Consequently, Canadian investors are looking beyond our borders for investment opportunities. Real estate in the United States, particularly the warm, sunny ones where prices have dropped to a fraction of what they were five or six years ago, has become irresistible to a surprising number of Canadians. The comparatively higher prices of real estate in the most desirable places in Canada have added to the appeal. Read More…

The Challenges of Estate Planning

Estate planning is an essential component of a comprehensive financial plan, and one that too often receives the least attention, and yet, in the end, can nullify the good results and intentions of all else. Read More…

Beware of “Donate Low/Deduct High” Charitable Donation Schemes

Charitable organizations depend on donations to fund their activities and efforts, and often, the most generous donors are influenced by tax benefits. They would rather their dollars be donated to registered charities as opposed to being payable as taxes. The result is a win-win all around, except perhaps for the tax department. Read More…

New Tax Rules for Employee Share Purchase Plans

By Garry Keiller, The Nakamun Group, Edmonton

The March 2010 Federal Budget introduced several changes to the tax rules regarding employee share purchase and stock option plans.

The new rules provide relief to employees who were caught in a frightening downward spiral. They exercised their share options at a time when their company’s share price was at an all-time high. An exorbitant employment benefit tax was triggered, because the tax is based on the fair market value of the shares on the date of purchase. However, because there was an option to defer payment of the tax until the shares were sold, some employees did so, expecting the company’s shares to continue to increase in value or recover, when the price started to plummet. Their assumption was that they would eventually be able to sell the shares at a sufficiently high enough price to generate enough cash to pay the deferred tax. In some cases, that didn’t happen and the employee faced huge tax bills on money they never actually received. Read More…

2010 Tax Receipt Reminders

Most income tax receipts are mailed by the end of February, however there are some that are not required to be mailed until as late as March 31st. To avoid having to file an amendment to an income tax return, ensure that all the tax receipts have been received before taking your information to your tax preparer or filing your return. If you are unsure whether or not you have received all your tax receipts, wait until early April. Failing to report all your income could result in penalties and interest. Read More…

What Now? …A Market Commentary

As we enter 2011, the world’s economies, and in particular the economies of the developed world, continue to be affected by the global financial crisis we experienced in 2008 and early 2009. The global financial crisis led to a global recession, and during 2010, we started to see signs of a recovery, albeit at a very slow pace. Read More…