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September/October 2014

Commentary - Hans H. Mathisen

How to benefit from using a financial advisor - LIFE LETTER for September looks at the advantages of working with a financial advisor towards your retirement.

Financial and estate planning for common-law couples - is the topic of the October issue of LIFE LETTER. Entering into a common-law relationship requires proper planning and financial consideration. You may be more vulnerable than you think.


September - The top 10 reasons to have an estate plan. You've worked hard for many years, even decades, to get where you are today. It can all be taken away in a matter of moments without proper plans in place.

October - You deserve to enjoy your hard-earned retirement! LL Mature for October looks at steps you can take to age well.

Hans Mathisen





How to benefit from using a financial advisor

The results of a recent poll reported by Fidelity Investments stated that 71% of retirees who worked with a financial advisor have the retirement they were hoping for. Of those retirees who did not use an advisor, only 53% have the retirement they had hoped for. Additionally, 52% of pre-retirees expect to continue working in retirement, and 48% of working retirees do so for financial reasons.

If you are serious about achieving your financial objectives, chances are you need a financial advisor. He will help you identify your unique problems and define your goals in specific, measurable terms. Then your advisor will provide detailed recommendations that can help you reach your goals.

Some advisors work for fees only. Since fees can run into thousands of dollars, fee only advisors are usually employed by the more affluent. Some advisors are compensated entirely by commissions earned on the financial products acquired through them. Others use a combination of fees and commissions to provide a more affordable service.

No advisor, no matter how much he is paid or how good he is, will magically solve all your financial problems. His aim is to help you define your goals, establish their order of importance, and then show you how to achieve them.

What can a financial advisor do for you? Here are some key benefits:

Lifestyle Protection - We all face the same risks in life that can disrupt or destroy our lifestyles, namely death death, disability, old age, and employment interruption. Your advisor can help you measure these needs and put in place appropriate plans to minimize their effect on you and your loved ones.

Estate Planning - Just as you wouldn't expect your home to be built by someone who didn't use blue prints, don't expect your family to take care of your affairs without clear written plans for the event of your death or illness. Your advisor can also work with other professionals who will help you with important estate documents and strategies.

Retirement Planning - After determining your risk tolerance and calculating your retirement income needs, your financial advisor can recommend appropriate savings plans to help you reach your goals. He will also regularly review your plans to make sure you are still on track.

Tax Efficiency - Every Canadian has the right, perhaps even the duty, to pay as little income tax as legally possible. Your advisor can help you arrange your finances in as tax efficient manner as possible, and make recommendations of various alternative methods to pay any income taxes that do become payable as inexpensively as possible.

Team Leader - A proper financial plan can often require the services of several professionals, including lawyers, accountants and bankers. Your financial advisor can act as the leader of this team to make sure all the different parts of your overall financial plan get implemented in a timely, cost efficient manner.

Use a financial advisor – because it’s the resposible thing to do.

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

Copyright © 2014 Life Letter. All rights reserved

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Financial & estate planning for common-law couples

According to the Statistics Canada website, common-law relationships are more likely to fail. The General Social Survey issued by Statistics Canada in July 2002 illustrates that common-law unions are twice as likely to end in separation as marriages and these relationships are far more common today than they were over a decade ago.

Many mistakenly believe laws across Canada are consistent in how they treat common-law relationships. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are federal laws that govern how these unions are treated for income tax purposes. Each province, however, dictates what constitutes such a relationship and how it is viewed legally.

In BC, a March 2013 ruling now treats commonlaw couples the same as married couples if they have cohabited for over two years. In Alberta, these are referred to as "adult interdependent partners" and are deemed a common-law relationship when the couple has lived together for more than three years, or has a child and live together. A couple can be considered common-law in Newfoundland after living in a conjugal relationship for over two years. In Nova Scotia, a couple living together over two years would be entitled to spousal support, but would not be permitted to claim property. However, they would be permitted to register as a "domestic partnership" under the Nova Scotia Vital Statistics Act. In Manitoba and Ontario, a couple would have common-law standing if they have lived together for three years or one year if they have a child. A couple in Manitoba can register their common-law relationship at the Vital Statistics Registry.

Because the laws vary so much from province to province, here are some steps that can be taken to protect oneself in a common-law relationship:

Cohabitation Agreement - Go to a lawyer and get one. It will probably cost less than a wedding, but it will determine how assets and debts will be dealt with if the union fails. Decide if you want to put any assets, including investments, in joint-ownership.

Will - Get a will and the other important estate documents professionally prepared as that will lay out exactly how you want your things dealt with when you die or become seriously ill. Consideration needs to be made for previous support obligations.

Life Insurance - Work with an insurance and financial advisor to make sure you have adequate coverage and review beneficiary designations. Make sure obligations will be properly met on death.

Accident & Sickness Insurance - This includes disability insurance that can provide an income if you can't work because of illness or injury; critical illness insurance that pays a lump sum if diagnosed with a listed critical illness; and, long-term care insurance which pays a benefit to offset the costs of caring for someone who can't look after themselves.

Certainly most of the above recommends apply in any situation. Nobody really wants to be a burden on someone else. Extra steps and attention should be taken in a common-law relationship as each person entering into it is more vulnerable than they may wish to believe.

Protect yourself with a plan – because it’s the responsible thing to do.

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

Copyright 2014 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