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September/October 2005

Commentary - Hans H. Mathisen

My group insurance will look after me, won't it? - If you think your group insurance will look after you, please read the September issue of LIFE LETTER and call me to find out how you can take control of your insurance plans.

How to beat soaring energy costs - With energy costs going up and up, LIFE LETTER for October has some easy-to-accomplish ideas for you. And while it's important to save money, how about making money? Please look two paragraphs down and see how bing invested in Canadian blue chip mutual funds could have earned you over 19.00% duriing the first 9 months of 2005. Should we talk? if you think we should, please call me..

LIFE LETTER MATURE - This publication was designed for people over 55. Many of the recipients of my bi-monthly LIFE LETTER mailings haven't reached that age yet. But I'm sending it to you anyway, as you have family members and friends in the "over 55" age bracket. Please pass LIFE LETTER MATURE on to someone you know. The subjects covered in the two first editions of this new feature deal with How to protect yourself on the Internet and Is a reverse mortgage the way to go?

THE STOCK MARKETS - Canada is the place to invest your money! The TSX index, as of September 30, is up 6.4% since my report to you only two months ago. Quite a summer rally! The year-to-date growth of the TSX index is 19.09%! YTD, the Dow Jones is at -1.99%; the S&P 500 stands at 1.39%; and the NASDAQ is at -1.09%. The YTD performance of the major European and Asian indexes range from a low of 8.42% for Hong Kong's Hang Seng to a high of 20.32% for the French CAC.

Please remember: Through Mathisen Financial, Inc., you can access savings/chequeing accounts that pay you an annual rate of 2.45%. The interest is calculated daily and paid monthly. And your money is not locked in for any period of time. The money is always accessible.

Want more information? Please call me.

Hans Mathisen





My group insurance will look after me, won't it?

Sally has been working for the same company for over twenty years. About a year ago, she was given a new group benefits booklet because her employer had switched insurance companies. Like most people, she put it aside and intended to read it when she "had the time." Sally was just diagnosed with terminal cancer and made the time to read her group booklet. She was upset to leam that the life insurance coverage with the new insurer was only one times annual earnings. The previous coverage had been two and a half times annual earnings.

Peter had a serious lung infection and spent several weeks in hospital for treatment. He also stayed at home for over a month to recover from his illness. Peter was shocked when he tried to claim disability benefits from his group insurance plan. His employer had been having money problems and had not paid the premiums on the group policy. His claim was denied because the policy had lapsed.

Steve is about to retire and wants to continue his group coverage. He learned that there are no provisions for him to continue any coverage at all under the group plan. All he can do is convert the life insurance coverage to a personal plan. The new rates, however, are very high and Steve can only afford a small amount of life insurance.

Many people sail through life thinking that their group coverage at work will take care of their needs. Group benefit plans treat all employees the same, regardless of individual needs. Some coverage amounts may be determined by income, but a single worker with the same earnings will get the same benefits as a married employee with children.

A group employee insurance plan is a contract between an employer, union or association and an insurance company to provide protection for the employees or members. The only right an employee or member has under the plan is to name a beneficiary for certain insurance proceeds because they are not a party to the contract.

The group plan can be changed at any time. An employer may decide to switch insurance companies, reduce coverage or cancel it completely. The insurance company can change the policy on the renewal date. It can increase the premiums, reduce the coverage or refuse to renew altogether.

With the average age of the workforce at an all time high and increasing claims under most plans, premiums are steadily increasing. Employers are taking a closer look at employee benefits and making whatever changes they can to control costs. This often comes as an unpleasant surprise for employees.

For Sally, Peter and Steve, it is too late to do much, if anything, about their situations. The answer is to view group insurance as a temporary job-associated perk and get personal life and disability insurance now. Then you will have policies that you control, policies you can convert, assign, change plan or amount, or even cancel, when and if you choose. We just can't rely totally on our employer, the government or family and friends to look after us.

Want more control over your insurance plans?

Call Hans Mathisen today at (306)242-7042.
or email -

Copyright 2005 Life Letter. All rights reserved

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How to beat soaring energy costs

With the price of a barrel of oil double what it was just eighteen months ago and natural gas costing twice as much as a year ago, most people are looking for ways to cut energy costs. We can leam some lessons from what others have done:

Lisa realized that it was getting more costly to drive her kids to school each day and pick them up after classes. By walking them to and from school, she is now consuming far less gasoline, causes less wear and tear on her vehicle, and they all get some much needed exercise.

Charles and Betty know that energy prices also affect the cost of other things they consume, like water and electrical power. They installed small, inexpensive water cut-off valves on their shower heads that allow them to get wet, shut off the water flow while they lather up, and then resume their shower to rinse off.

When it was time to replace their clothes washer and dryer set, they chose the more cost and energy efficient front-loading washer. It uses far less water and is much gentler on their clothes so they last longer. Betty also hangs as many clothes as she can to dry and uses her electricity hungry dryer far less.

Charles switched out the flush mechanisms in their toilets to a new system that gives them a choice of half flush or full flush. He noticed that the majority of toilet flushes were for "small jobs" that really didn't need a full flush to handle. Charles also regularly changes the washers in their faucets to reduce drips that put a drain on their utility costs by wasting water, especially water they paid to heat.

Paul and Linda sold their large house in the suburbs and moved to a smaller home closer to where they work. Their living space needs are still adequate and it's far cheaper to heat in the winter months. Paul used to commute over half an hour one-way to work. He still commutes the same half hour, but on his bicycle. This actually frees up time for him, as his daily exercise time is also his commuting time.

They installed an electronic thermostat that lowers the temperature during the day while at work and at night while snug in their bed. When they are home, they keep the temperature just a little lower and dress warmer to further lower their heating bills.

Ron and Sally got rid of their gas guzzling over-sized SUV and replaced it with a more fuel-efficient vehicle. They really didn't need a monster vehicle to transport their children to school, hockey and ballet. For the very few times each year they need a larger vehicle, they now rent one. They also walk more often. Instead of driving to the video store, they walk as a family and have a great visit along the way.

Ron makes sure their vehicle is well maintained and keeps the tire pressure at the higher end of the recommended range. They roll easier and help maximize fuel economy. He also drives slower, especially on the highway. Ron and Sally hand wash their dishes more often, using the dishwasher only if they have been entertaining.

Want to know more about saving energy?

Call Hans Mathisen today at (306)242-7042.
or email -

Copyright 2005 Life Letter. All rights reserved

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Mathisen Financial, Inc.
335 Redberry Road
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7K 4W5
Bus. (306) 242-7042 Fax. (306) 242-4314