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News

September 30

Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, PPI commemorates the heartbreaking journey of the missing children, residential school survivors and their communities. Awareness, education and meaningful action are key to a brighter Canada for all.

September 29

Make the most of your busy day with CapIntel, an advisor tool to help you compare an existing investment portfolio’s performance with recommended solutions. Click here to learn more: Contact PPI’s Wealth Sales Team for more info:

September 29

Psychedelics for the treatment of mental health are nothing new. But how has the landscape of mental health changed with this new form of treatment on the rise? Read this article to find out more. #PPI #AdvisorTalk

September 27

Online security is important. Bluesun Advisor offers secure messaging, allowing you to communicate with PPI in the most safe and efficient way. For more information on Bluesun Advisor and its many features, click here (Advisor login required):

September 26

Last night commenced the start of Rosh Hashanah, a special time to celebrate the Jewish New Year and reflect on the year past. Chag sameach and shana tova to our Jewish Advisors, staff and industry colleagues - may the next year be bright, joyful and sweet like honey.

September 30

Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, PPI commemorates the heartbreaking journey of the missing children, residential school survivors and their communities. Awareness, education and meaningful action are key to a brighter Canada for all.

September 29

Make the most of your busy day with CapIntel, an advisor tool to help you compare an existing investment portfolio’s performance with recommended solutions. Click here to learn more: Contact PPI’s Wealth Sales Team for more info:

September 29

Psychedelics for the treatment of mental health are nothing new. But how has the landscape of mental health changed with this new form of treatment on the rise? Read this article to find out more. #PPI #AdvisorTalk

September 27

Online security is important. Bluesun Advisor offers secure messaging, allowing you to communicate with PPI in the most safe and efficient way. For more information on Bluesun Advisor and its many features, click here (Advisor login required):

September 30

Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, PPI commemorates the heartbreaking journey of the missing children, residential school survivors and their communities. Awareness, education and meaningful action are key to a brighter Canada for all.

September 29

Make the most of your busy day with CapIntel, an advisor tool to help you compare an existing investment portfolio’s performance with recommended solutions. Click here to learn more: Contact PPI’s Wealth Sales Team for more info:

September 29

Psychedelics for the treatment of mental health are nothing new. But how has the landscape of mental health changed with this new form of treatment on the rise? Read this article to find out more. #PPI #AdvisorTalk

September 27

Online security is important. Bluesun Advisor offers secure messaging, allowing you to communicate with PPI in the most safe and efficient way. For more information on Bluesun Advisor and its many features, click here (Advisor login required):

September 26

Last night commenced the start of Rosh Hashanah, a special time to celebrate the Jewish New Year and reflect on the year past. Chag sameach and shana tova to our Jewish Advisors, staff and industry colleagues - may the next year be bright, joyful and sweet like honey.

September 23

PPI’s here to help make compliance a cinch! In fact, Toolkit Direct’s Practice Assistant includes several editable document templates to give you a head start on important Advisor Disclosure requirements. Simplify your practice today (Login requirement):

September 23

B.C.! We loved seeing you for PPI’s in-person Fall Symposium: Back to the Future. We can not wait to get back on the road in October… next stops Edmonton and Ontario, so be sure to check our events calendar and register (Advisor login required): #PPI

September 22

Risks are inevitable, but a critical illness can have some serious financial consequences. Share PPI’s Strengthening Your Safety Net tool with your clients to demonstrate the importance of critical illness insurance as a safety net in difficult times.

September 21

When it comes to distributing an estate, proper planning is key! Share this video with your client to demonstrate the importance of effective estate planning with a trusted Advisor. #PPI #AdvisorTalk

September 20

Carrier software downloads are now all at your fingertips, with our recent update to Toolkit Direct. Learn more here (Advisor login required): #PPI #ToolkitDirect

September 19

Need to transfer a corporate owned life insurance policy? Consult the Professional Resource Centre to avoid potential onerous tax results. Available here (Advisor login required): #PPI #PRC #estateplanning #taxplanning

September 16

Halifax, thanks for the lovely welcome. Yesterday, PPI was in Halifax for our Fall Symposium: Back to the Future. We’ve still got lots more stops (B.C. we get to see you next!), so check out our events schedule and register (Advisor login required): #PPI

September 15

Do you store your memories online? What happens to these precious memories when we’re no longer here? Check out this STEP guide and learn how to set up your digital accounts and talk to your family about safeguarding these special moments: #PPI #STEP

September 14

Yesterday, PPI kicked off our in-person Fall Symposium: Back to the Future in St. John’s. A great time was had by all and we can’t wait to see you in your city! Take a look at our symposium schedule and kindly register (Advisor login required): #PPI

September 14

Do you have clients who need a little help building a comprehensive household budget? Recommend the Cash Flow Calculator!! #PPI #AdvisorTalk

September 13

Make Your Link Between your secret weapon! This custom-branded site lets you share timely, client-friendly content with prospects and existing clients, keeping them in the know and you in their good books! Sign up today (Advisor login required):

September 12

A house fire, a car crash, an illness… how well are your clients positioned to manage these risks? Use PPI’s Bridging Risk presentation on Toolkit Direct to demonstrate the importance of critical illness insurance for your clients. Login required: #PPI

September 9

On September 15th we’ll be in Halifax for PPI’s Fall Symposium: Back to the Future. Join us to learn about new tools, new tech and sales ideas to propel your practice into the future. Register here (Advisor login required): #PPI

September 8

PPI wants to help take your business to the Stratosphere and beyond with our collection of insurance and wealth tech tools. Click to view: #PPI #insurancesolutions

September 8

On September 13th we’re on the east coast to kick off PPI’s Fall Symposium: Back to the Future in St. John’s! Join us for this informative in-person event. It’s not too late to register (Advisor login required): #PPI

Recent Articles

The Evolving World of Mental Health Treatments

September 29, 2022

This is neither an endorsement or advice about the treatment of mental health. It goes without saying that good mental health is foundational to overall health and well-being. In underwriting, a report of confirmed or even suspected history of depression or related conditions gets a lot of attention and policy issue can range from standard rates to rated premium to sometimes no offer at all, where the risk is deemed too high to accept. Treatments for depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or other conditions in the mental health spectrum continue to evolve. The use of psychedelics is a newer facet of treatment. Natural substances that induce a hallucinatory state have been around for millennia. These include everything from cannabis, now legal in Canada, and include opium poppy to ayahuasca, the latter a product of brewing a particular vine or shrub commonly found in South America (1). The first synthetic hallucinogen, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) was created in 1938, initially thought to be pain-relief medication, with its’ hallucinatory properties discovered a few years later (2). There is a school of thought that this class of drugs does not have the same addictive potential known to be prevalent among users of tobacco and even alcohol, in itself favoring ongoing study for use as a bona fide therapeutic resource. The use of psychedelics, illegal in most countries, has long been relegated to use for recreational or even spiritual renewal purposes. The emergence of this class of drugs to treat or even improve already good mental health is seen as a new frontier. Improved understanding of the multifactorial aspects of mental health and the impact of these drugs on our brain continue to shed light where misunderstanding and ignorance used to predominate. Consider one study of 19 patients with treatment-resistant depression. Using functional MRI (fMRI) to view the brain, decreased depressive symptoms were observed at both one-week in all patients and nearly half after five-week after use of psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”). The fMRI showed decrease in cerebral blood flow in areas of the brain where reducing flow correlates with reduced depressive symptoms (3). In a brave, new world of ever-increasing understanding, and destigmatizing of mental illness, these hallucinogenic agents may in future become accepted mental health treatments. Watch this space as we learn more. Wikipedia. Ayahuasca. Wikipedia.org. History.com Editors. LSD. History.com. August 21, 2018. Carhart-Harris et all. Psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression: fMRI-measured brain mechanisms. National Library of Medicine. October 13, 2017.
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INFOclip: Protecting Your Estate

September 21, 2022

Over a lifetime, your client has worked and managed to accumulate an estate consisting of registered savings, non-registered savings, property, maybe even a business. And when they pass, they want to make sure that their family or a favourite charity receives as much of their estate as possible. So far so good, right? However, the reality is that if your client fails to structure their estate effectively, much of those hard-earned dollars could end up in the hands of government as taxes or distributed to heirs in a way contrary to their wishes. So, how can they prevent their estate from being distributed incorrectly? Proper estate planning is key. Watch this video, then share it with your clients to demonstrate the importance of effective estate planning with a trusted Advisor – that’s you! For similar content, read, then share Estate Protection for your Client. And if you have any questions about estate planning, be sure to contact your local PPI Collaboration Centre.
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Cash Flow Calculator

September 14, 2022

Do you have clients who could use a little help building a comprehensive household budget? Recommend the Cash Flow Calculator!
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Healthy Forgetting: Remember This

September 7, 2022

Underwriters see an unprecedented number of cases of suspected or confirmed cognitive decline, the inevitable result of our aging population. While cognitive decline can be demonstrated by a degradation or loss of a number of functions such as learning, language or complex attention skills, the apparent loss of memory is the most common presenting complaint. Even cases where the memory loss has not had a major impact on daily living, a suspicion of even mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is enough to have the insurance application turned down. But what about the other side of the memory coin, specifically can we remember too much or remember in ways that are unhealthy? How does this work and is there a name for this condition? Let’s delve a little deeper. A quick word on brain mechanics; the human brain, allows us to store memories in the hippocampus, contained in the medial temporal lobe. Think of this as the hard drive of our memory bank. The frontal cortex of our brain allows us to access those memories. Think of this as the “Open” command much like when we access a stored document on our computer hard drive. These areas of the brain allow not only for memory retrieval but also to cultivate memories that includes pruning, removal and replication, similar to the way a gardener uses these methods to grow and maintain healthy flowers or vegetables. An example of pruning and replication might be one piece of information in our memory erased and replaced, then replicated by more reasonable or useful information. This the mechanism for building a logical mind. An example of unhealthy memory is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With PTSD, the inability to forget following a traumatic event creates an imbalance between remembering and forgetting. This results in the chronic and often daily reminders of the trauma manifested by intrusive thoughts, inability to sleep and can be triggered by things like loud noises, a minor annoyance to most but a devastating and regular reminder of the trauma to those with PTSD. More recently and closer to home for most of us, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a traumatic event. It affords the opportunity to observe how we remember the facts about the virus, the cost on human lives and families around the world and what may be required to overcome the challenges of a pandemic. This is the healthy remembering. The healthy forgetting is the letting go of the fears we have taken on during the last two years. In an essay on the two-year anniversary of the pandemic, the neuroscientist, Dr. Scott Small, writes that some degree of emotional forgetting allows us to live in and move forward from this time (1). Remembering when and what to forget is an ability most handle well. It is also a reminder to better understand and lend a hand to those who can’t always forget what is best forgotten. The takeaway for you as an Advisor? Knowledge, insight and understanding make for better informed underwriting decisions. Small, Scott. We Will Forget Much of the Pandemic. That’s a Good Thing. New York Times. March 9, 2022.
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National Life Insurance Awareness Month

August 31, 2022

Did you know that September is National Life Insurance Awareness Month? The perfect time to reach out to prospects and clients to evaluate what insurance they have in place and if it still meets their needs. A good place to start is to assess your client’s current situation. Your client has different needs at different stages in their life, so good questions to review with them include: How has life changed since you purchased your coverage, or since we last reviewed your insurance: Find out about mortgages, new loans, job or income changes, education funds, retirement plans and other financial obligations so they can be sure they have the coverage they need. Has the nature of your needs changed: They may require a similar coverage amount as when they first purchased their plan but their obligations may have shifted from temporary to permanent. A change of plan may be appropriate. Have you done any will planning? What are you hopes and dreams for your heirs: There may be an insurance need associated with the smooth distribution of their estate. Regardless of your client’s life insurance needs, they have options. So, as it gets chillier outside and we prepare for the long, cold Canadian winter ahead, take some time today to reach out and ensure that your clients have the insurance coverage they need today and into the future. Share the client article so that, in honour of life insurance awareness month, your prospects and clients can ask themselves a few good insurance related questions. If you’re looking for similar content to share with your clients, read then share Insurance Solutions for Today and Tomorrow, as well as Term Insurance – What Your Client Should Consider For Renewal. We also have this great Exploring Your Life Insurance Options tool to help your client understand the varying types of insurance and which one may be best for them.
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Inflation, Interest Rates and Your Client’s Investments

August 24, 2022

Lately, we’ve all been experiencing a few less dollars in our bank accounts. Between the cost of fuel, groceries and the overall cost of living, there’s no denying that everything is just so much more expensive. Your clients may want to know why and although “inflation” is the one-word answer, we’re diving a little deeper into why inflation occurs and how it can affect interest rates and your client’s investments. Interest Rates and Inflation Inflation can be defined as a general progressive increase in the prices of goods and services in an economy. When prices rise, each unit of currency can buy fewer goods and services. Monetary policy seeks to stabilize the rate of inflation in an economy by controlling how much cash is infused into the economic system and where rates are set. When interest rates are low, money is cheap. Individuals will borrow more to spend and invest, businesses will borrow more to invest in the growth of their own companies, restructure existing debt and buyback shares. In fact, a share buyback can lead to an increase in the price of shares. When money is cheap, established companies will borrow to buy back their own shares on the open market. When they buy back their own shares, they are reducing the number of shares available and increasing the value of each remaining share (market cap stays the same). However, when interest rates are high, individuals will borrow fewer dollars and save more. Businesses will also borrow fewer dollars and invest less in the growth of their companies. For this reason, a low interest rate environment will stimulate an economy and encourage growth whereas high interest rates stifle growth and stabilize (or contract) an economy. Now, you might be wondering why we would ever raise rates if the lower rates lead to more growth. The answer? Inflation. When money is cheap there is more of it being created, more money in an economy leads to a reduction of purchasing power. The more money there is, the less value that money has. If we keep rates low to stimulate the economy, then inflation can run rampant. If we keep rates high to curb inflation, then we stifle growth. It’s a fine balance and there is a constant battle being fought between interest rates and inflation. Here’s an example for you. If an interest rate is, say, 5% but inflation is, say, 3% then the real rate of interest is only 2% (5-3=2). The real rate seeks to streamline the cost of money and the increase of prices. Let us look at it this way, assume that $100 dollars can buy your client 100 apples. Now let us assume that there is no inflation and your client has invested their $100 at 5% interest for a single year. When the year has ended, their $100 has turned into $105 and your client’s ability to buy apples has increased from 100 to 105. Now let us look at the same scenario but assume that the price of apples will experience 5% inflation. Your client’s $100 dollars invested at 5% for a year will still result in $105 at years end. But if apples inflated in price by 5% from $1 to $1.05 then they can still only buy 100 apples. The money itself grew by 5% (from 100 to 105) but your client cannot buy any more apples at year end because the price of apples has gone up too. We can see that inflation reduces purchasing power. In turn, the objective of the central bank, through monetary and fiscal policy, is to target a real rate that will allow for growth while keeping inflation in check. What Does Inflation Mean for the Stock Market? Broadly speaking, the stock market can be divided into value and growth categories. Growth stocks are typically new and faster growing companies that may not yet be profitable. These companies need cash to grow and raising cash becomes more challenging when the cost of borrowing increases. A value stock is one that has strong current cash flows and isn’t borrowing to grow as much as a growth company. When coming up with a value of a stock using a discounted cash flow model, in times of rising rates, a growth stock will be impacted to a higher degree than a value stock. This is why we have seen tech and growth stocks come off in recent months (Q4 2021 into Q1 2022) and seen value plays like energy, infrastructure, banks and insurance companies rally. Moreover, banks and insurance companies will do well with an increase in interest rate margin – the spread between how much they pay on deposits versus how much they make on investing deposits. With rates rising, this spread could theoretically increase. What Does Inflation Mean for the Bond Market? Again, speaking in general terms, inflation can have a negative impact on bonds and other fixed income assets. The nature of valuing a bond, not unlike the DCF (discounted cash flow) method for valuing a stock discussed previously, is contingent upon discounting cash flows at a prevailing rate. When rates go up the price of a bond goes down, that is, there is an inverse relationship between the price of a bond and the yield of a bond. Another way to think about it is, when interest rates go up, the interest payments from existing fixed income securities are less competitive than new bonds at the higher rate so the price of existing bonds at the previous, lower rate goes down. When inflation goes up, rates must go up too. When rates go up, existing bonds come down in value. Keep in mind that that all information in this article is from a theoretical perspective. There are plenty of moving parts and different securities will behave differently. The objective here is to illustrate concepts in a vacuum and not recommend a particular security, asset class or any guarantee of performance or behavior of an asset class or security in the economy or market. As always, the advice is to construct a broadly diversified portfolio in accordance with their risk tolerance that will allow them to achieve the desired return given how much risk they are willing to take on over their investment window. Through seeking advice from an advisor, investors can get help navigating and mitigating the effects of short-term market news, whether it is high inflation, political strife, wars, sanctions, or anything else and focus on achieving their financial goals. Questions? Contact your local PPI Collaboration Centre.
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Learning From Experience: Bett’s Story

August 17, 2022

Everyone loves a story with a happy ending, even if it’s rife with tragedy and family drama. But happy ending or not, if somewhere in the story, a loved one is lost, we see the toll the loss can take on the relationships of family survivors. True in fiction. True in life. You play a pivotal role in encouraging your clients to plan ahead wisely and intentionally so they can ease rather than contribute to the toll their passing will take on the relationships of those they love. And you can never overemphasize the importance of proper estate planning. Share Bett’s story with your clients to help them understand and remember the importance of documenting and communicating their final intentions.  For more information on estate planning and documenting final intentions, watch our short video SMART TALK… about will planning and drafting and read our previous post The Beneficiary Challenge. Questions? Contact your local PPI Collaboration Centre.
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INFOclip: Understanding Term Insurance

August 10, 2022

You know how important insurance is for your clients – it offers them a sense of security knowing their financial obligations are met in the event of a disability, illness or even death. But are your clients aware about the many benefits of term insurance for today and their tomorrows? We’ve created this little video for you to share with your clients. It covers all the basics of term insurance and is a great place to initiate a conversation with your clients about how term insurance not only helps to cover short term expenses such a mortgage, a child’s education or income replacement, but can also be a great source of security into the future, as financial obligations become a wee bit more complicated. So be sure to watch this video, then share it with your clients to kick-start those important conversations! For similar content, read, then share Term Insurance – What Your Client Should Consider for Renewal and Insurance Solutions for Today and Tomorrow. And if you have any questions about term insurance (or any other life insurance solutions!), be sure to contact your local PPI office.
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More Articles

Work-Life Balance: Tipping the Mortality Scale

August 3, 2022

Last time in this space, we discussed how physical or emotional stress affects the human heart. This time, we will focus on why maintaining a favorable balance between a commitment to our jobs and the need to prioritize our lives outside of the workplace is both a life-affirming and possible life-saving necessity. Let’s start by looking back to the early 1990’s, when researchers in Japan started to study and report on a phenomenon where it appeared ostensibly healthy, middle-aged, mostly men, started to die suddenly. The term coined for the cause of death in this group was “karoshi”, meaning death from overwork. The common thread running through these cases was a history of chronically long work weeks, logging in at 60 hours and often more. The cause of death was disturbing in its’ repetition, most often heart disease, stroke or suicide (1). More recently, and perhaps due to the pandemic and a growing body of knowledge increasingly difficult to ignore, there is renewed interest in the burden and toll of an unhealthy work life. A joint venture by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) published in 2021 estimated that nearly 400,000 people died from stroke and almost 350,000 from heart disease as a direct result of chronic work weeks of 55 hours or more. Between 2000 and 2016, this increased by 42% for heart disease and 19% for stroke (2). In these groups, 72% were males and more concentrated in workers aged 60 or higher. Related studies demonstrate mental disorder consequences affected younger groups, many in the third decade of life (3). What can be done to stem the tide of this disturbing trend? In Japan, legislation has been passed to limit the amount of monthly permitted overtime. Critics claim the threshold for allowable overtime hours still is too high and enforcement is inconsistent. In Canada, more employers are increasingly sensitive to the work-life balance necessary to maintain a healthy workforce. There is a school of thought that we are a physically tired society with an underlying belief that professional success requires us to walk the edge of burnout. There is more emphasis on sleep as a bedrock of good health, and good sleep advocacy continues to gain ground in addition to good nutrition, exercise and positive social integration (4). It is clear that hard work is made more satisfying by knowing when to call it a day. Hunt, Ellen. Wired. Japan’s karoshi culture was a warning: we didn’t listen. co.uk. February 6, 2021. World Health Organization. Long working hours increasing deaths from heart disease and stroke: WHO, ILO. Who.int. May 17, 2021. Takahashi, Mayasa. Sociomedical problems of overwork-related deaths and disorders in Japan. National Library of Medicine. January 22, 2019. Tollin, Lisa. Arianna Huffington shares the secret to her success: Sleep. her secret to success. the Secrets of Her Success: Sleep. Nbcnews.com. June 5, 2017.
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Social Media Platforms – What You Need to Know

July 27, 2022

You’re a successful Advisor but want to promote and continue to grow your business online – smart move, count us in! However, there are just so many social media platforms, how do you know which one is right for you and your business? There are indeed more than a few and they’re all slightly different, but all are excellent modern marketing tools and with a little research, you can decide which one (or two or three!) are a good fit for you and your brand. Recently, LIMRA published a study asking Generation Y (also called millennials) who they engage for financial advice. They found that 90% of those surveyed said that they would NOT seek financial advice from their parents’ Advisors because they “are not relevant” (1). Ouch. But what does it mean to be “relevant”? Well, if you want to reach the next generation of wealth, you need to meet them where they are – and that place is on social media. Likewise, when asked to rate the importance of social media sites, millennials and generation X demonstrated a clear preference for Facebook (#1), LinkedIn (#2) and YouTube (#3) (2). Now, let’s look at a few of the more popular platforms including LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. LinkedIn is a professional business-to-business social platform – meaning you’re more likely to find business clients, collaborators, and business partners. If you are looking to reach fellow industry professionals or centers of influence while doing a little networking, LinkedIn can be a great choice. People do not come here to find an Advisor but instead to learn more about their industry, connect with new professional contacts and seek new career opportunities. YouTube is fantastic as well. YouTube is a unique platform in the way that it is a search engine, not a social platform. This means that you can utilize this space to make your evergreen content (content that is long lasting with information that will remain relevant) easily searchable today and into the future. It should also be mentioned that LinkedIn and YouTube are examples of sites with different user demographics and capabilities. It is important for financial professionals to determine which social media platform(s) are most appropriate for their personal styles and their prospective consumer markets. It is also essential to understand that social media ratings are a modern form of referrals. However, if your business is in the broad market, then social spaces like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are platforms that your ideal clients are probably already on. Get on there and start building those relationships. So, what’s the message here? Prospects are researching you before they will even meet with you, so you need to be online, engaged and meet them where they are! Also, the increasingly youthful demographic of consumers seeking a financial Advisor means that social media has quickly become an important marketing and communication tool for financial professionals. We’ve reviewed five of the major platforms, but those aren’t necessarily the only modern direct marketing platforms you can utilize to promote your brand. Here is a list of a few more that may or may not be on your radar. Podcasts are growing in popularity. People are listening, watching and streaming, more and more. Perhaps a little more time consuming to create, but if you are up for the task, they can be the right fit for the brand information that you would like to convey. Blogs and e-Newsletter are definitely still on the list. With these tools you can control what your audience sees, review analytics and determine how many people have seen or opened your message or spent time on certain content that you have distributed. You can also more efficiently promote your business and services to an audience that already knows, likes and trusts you. Webinars and online live training sessions remain highly popular. People enjoy the fact that they can view it from afar, without having to leave their homes. Virtual events allow you to reach people in other areas that may not attend an in-person event due to travel requirements, availability, etc. Facebook groups provide an avenue for you to nurture your community and engage with your audience one-on-one. They also allow you to really hone-in on your target audience group – you can then tailor your message and get active engagement with more of your ideal customers. You are probably quite familiar with COI’s such as lawyers, accountants, mortgage brokers, etc. But did you know that you can also find centers of influence and influencers on modern marketing platforms? These are the people that share a similar audience to you, or their audience is made up of your ideal clients. Don’t be afraid to look beyond the typical industry partners and be sure to build connections. Although not an actual marketing platform, good ole word of mouth is still very much alive and probably more important now than it has been for years. In a world filled with so much noise, people are reaching out to their trusted friends, family and acquaintances online to find businesses, services and professionals that they can trust. They are relying on social proof more than anything else. Modern marketing platforms make meetup events and networking events easier to attend and find. Face-to-face communication is still key and social media platforms make it easier to find these events and connect with prospects, current clients and influencers. For similar articles on how you can build up your social media presence, read Building Connections Through Direct Response Marketing… More than just Social Media. And if you have any questions or need a helping hand with your modern marketing, contact your local PPI Collaboration Centre. LIMRA.com LIMRA.com
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Savings Growth Calculator

July 20, 2022

The ability of our “Savings Growth” calculator to compare two savings strategies can be useful during your client discussions on what to do with excess cash. Your clients can also use it to see the impact of increasing their savings, even by just a little. Walk through this multi-purpose tool or share it with your clients to stimulate your next discussion on finances.
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Preserving Your Client’s Memories with the help of STEP

July 13, 2022

Our life’s memories deserve consideration just as much as our financial legacies do.  Have you taken the opportunity to talk to your clients about how to protect their social media accounts and their digital assets? Most social media platforms have terms and conditions making these accounts private for security purposes and making it difficult, if not all out impossible, for family members to retrieve these accounts after their loved ones have passed on. The good news is that social media providers have put tools in place so that your clients can decide in advance how they would like their loved ones to access these accounts when they are gone. STEP (the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) has made the process even easier for your client to safeguard and share their memories with future generations by providing useful guides to help update their account settings and how to open conversations with their family and friends about the importance of preserving these digital memories. Be sure to share these guides with your clients: STEP: How to set up your digital accounts so that your loved ones can access them if you’re not able to STEP: It’s good to talk (about your digital assets) If you would like to learn more about digital assets, read our previous post: Protecting Your Client’s Digital Assets and watch our short video SMART TALK… about digital assets and share the client-friendly versions of these with your clients. And if you have any questions, please be sure to reach out to your local PPI office – we’re here to help!
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INFOclip: Mortgage Protection

July 6, 2022

Does your client own their own home? Do they have mortgage protection in place and can they continue to make loan payments in the case of a significant decrease in their income? For many Canadians, purchasing a home is an important life milestone that can evoke both great joy and financial responsibility. Unfortunately, unexpected life events such as the disability, illness and even death of an income earner can make paying a mortgage that much more difficult, especially if they don’t have the proper protection in place to safeguard their family’s income. Share this video with your client to show them how purchasing personal insurance, via a trusted advisor (that’s you!), can offer them and their families peace of mind with the protection and flexibility they need during difficult times to keep them on track with their mortgage payments.
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Building Connections Through Direct Response Marketing… More than just Social Media

June 29, 2022

Today, it’s no longer about those old, templated letters or phone dialing campaigns that… let’s be honest… were highly time consuming and largely ineffective in getting the attention of your clients. Social media has changed the way we promote and do business – all with better results at a fraction of the cost. So, why should you join the social media party and how can you make an impact through direct response marketing? Direct Response Marketing – What is it and why does it matter to you? One of the most important types of marketing, direct response marketing, uses social media tools to engage with and inspire an immediate action from the person you are communicating with. The virtual or social world will continue to evolve and expand. So, if you are not taking advantage of modern marketing, you are probably missing out on a fast, inexpensive and effective way to reach your clients, build relationships, build trust and grow your business – merely with a few clicks on your social media. The Benefits of Direct Response Marketing So, what are some of the benefits of this type of marketing? Increase Brand Awareness – If you have a business, you have a brand. If you’re an independent advisor – well, you ARE your brand. Remember that your brand is not just a logo, a splash of colours and a big sign on a building – you are the face of your brand. Humanize Your Brand or Industry – Some customers are nervous about working with big corporations, however modern marketing allows you to humanize your brand, making a human connection. Promote Content – Direct response marketing allows you to promote content which can be extremely powerful in marketing your business and making sales. It allows you to get your message out, reach new people, reach existing clients and promote your value as well as the services that you provide. Engage Your Audience – It allows you to engage with your clients or audience, which in turn can build stronger relationships and trust. Learn About Your Customers – This type of marketing can also help you learn more about your clients so that you can better understand their need, wants, interests, fears, goals and more – then deliver exactly what they are asking for to guarantee a satisfied client. Target Your Advertising – It makes targeted advertising easier. You can drill down to very specific areas, interests, demographics, industries and much more. And what does targeted advertising help you do? Boost sales! Establish Yourself as A Thought Leader – Direct response marketing allows you to establish your brand as a thought leader. Likewise, it enables you to brand yourself as someone who is innovative, maintains a service level that is above and beyond their industry competitors, or even someone who specializes in working with specific types of clients – all of which builds trust. Stay Top of Mind – Staying top of mind is the next benefit. You want to be the first person your client thinks of when their friends on social media ask for recommendations for their financial planning. Partner With Influencers to Grow Your Audience – It allows you to partner with influencers to increase your audience. This could be anyone in this industry that is already a thought leader – someone who has a large following and sway. For advisors, this could be lawyers, accountants, referral partners, mortgage brokers and so on. Think about who has a similar audience to you, who can be beneficial to your audience and whose audience you could be beneficial to. Increase Website Traffic – Direct response marketing can help you increase your website traffic, especially if you consistently have new and valuable content that is on your website or blog. Boost Sales and Generate Leads – And last, but certainly not least, it can help you generate leads. This is a way to generate leads in a way that is authentic, trustworthy and builds genuine, long-term relationships. Modern direct response marketing is all about providing value and creating those client connections; developing the know, like and trust relationship that can help move someone from a prospect to a valued client (and even an advocate!). The truth is that social media is here to stay, so be sure to BE where your clients are so that you can continue to engage your audience, build trust and provide value. If you’d like to know more about direct response marketing and how to optimize your business with this modern marketing tool, please contact your local PPI office.
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Will the Money Last?

June 8, 2022

Help your clients calculate and compare scenarios for how long their savings will last when they start using it as income. Share the “Will the Money Last” calculator with them today. And, for a more comprehensive review of your clients optimized retirement income cash flows and withdrawal strategy comparisons use the Cascades tool available to PPI Advisors through the Stratosphere suite of tools.
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Corporate Owned Life Insurance and Beneficiary Designations

June 1, 2022

Many of your business-owner clients have corporate owned life insurance – an excellent and tax efficient way for your client to achieve their estate and succession planning goals. However, to avoid unintended tax consequences, it is critical that the beneficiary designations of the corporate owned policies be reviewed. Where the corporation is the owner and payor of the life insurance, the corporation (or a subsidiary of the corporation) needs to be the beneficiary of the life insurance – not the shareholder’s estate or members of the shareholder’s family! Why? Well, when corporate funds are used to provide personal benefits to shareholders and their family members, a taxable shareholder benefit will result, and the corporation does not get a deduction for the benefit. This results in double tax for your client! This is exactly what happened during a recent Tax Court case, Harding v The Queen. A shareholder benefit was assessed since the company owned life insurance policies on Mr. Harding (the sole shareholder) but the beneficiaries of those policies were Mr. Harding’s spouse and children. Not good planning. Mr. Harding tried to argue that he was not aware of who the beneficiaries were and did not mean to confer a benefit. Not surprisingly, the Canada Revenue Agency and the court did not see these reasons as valid arguments and assessed a shareholder benefit for the life insurance premiums paid. The Harding case is a good reminder of what not to do when there is corporate owned life insurance, as well as the importance of reviewing the beneficiary designations on corporate owned life insurance with your clients. For more information on this case and how to effectively structure corporate owned life insurance, read Glenn Stephens’, PPI’s VP of Planning Services, article for Forum magazine Harding Case – A ruling on beneficiaries and corporate life insurance policies, located on PPI’s Professional Resource Centre (Advisor login required). And if you have questions regarding estate and tax planning, please contact your local PPI office.
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The Greatest Hits: Your Clients’ Top 3 Investment Blogs

May 25, 2022

Investing – a great way for your client to put away some of their hard-earned dollars towards their retirement and future security. At PPI, we have more than a few great investment articles that you can share with your clients. We did a little digging and found the top three investment-related blogs from 2021. Check them out below and then consider sharing the client-friendly versions with your clients and prospects. The Power of Compound Interest for your Client – What is compound interest and how can it help your client maximize their savings? Find out how your client can do this via monthly, pre-authorized deposits – because a few dollars can go a long way! Be sure to share this client-friendly article. Seg Funds – Protecting your Client from a Volatile Market – Volatile markets are nothing new. In fact, the markets are constantly fluctuating. But if your client is an investor or nearing their retirement years, this type of instability can be quite stressful. Find out how segregated funds just might be the solution to such an uncertain market. Be sure to share this client-friendly article. TFSA vs RRSP vs Both. What’s best for your client? – TFSAs and RRSPs – both are excellent investment options, but which one is right for your client? Learn a little more about the ins and outs of both and which one is the best investment solution for your client. Be sure to share this client-friendly article. If you would like to learn more about these topics, please contact your local PPI office – we are here to help you grow your business!
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Referrals: A Critical Part of Your Growth Strategy

May 18, 2022

There is a quote made famous by American author William S. Burroughs that says, “When you stop growing, you start dying.” While the idea behind this might apply to many aspects of life, it’s perhaps especially relevant when framed within the context of the insurance industry. Each advisor is unique. Varying skill sets, approaches in process and attitudes allow each of you to build a practice that fits you. However, there are certain practices that are utilized by almost all top successful advisors, one of the most important of these being the implementation of an effective referral process. Most advisors would agree that finding new clients is one of the more challenging aspects of this business. Simply finding someone who is prepared to have a discussion can prove difficult. Coupled with DNC (Do Not Call) constraints, privacy restrictions and even just the social stigma surrounding the insurance industry, it is sometimes a wonder how an advisor can grow their business at all. What is so striking is that many advisors work so hard to secure a new client, but then fail to utilize that relationship to allow for new clients to follow with much less effort. When it comes to referrals, most advisors have concerns. In fact, many feel that asking for referrals makes their client feel uneasy. It can also make an advisor feel like a bit of a salesperson and that utilizing this approach might damage the new relationship with their client. An advisor doesn’t want to do anything that may impact the trusted relationship you are building. All understandable and valid concerns. The idea of pulling out a pen and paper and asking your new client for a few names of people that you can approach for a new sale can indeed feel aggressive. We want to treat the client with dignity and respect, and this type of old school approach is not always ideal – so, what’s an advisor to do? As mentioned earlier, virtually all successful top advisors have found a referral strategy that works for them. However, just because something works for one person in no way guarantees that it will work for others, so although you can study the strategies that others use, you will still need to find something that fits for you. Although it doesn’t pay immediate dividends, there is one low-pressure approach that can be quite effective over time. Once you acquire a new client, perhaps after delivering the first policy, plant your first referral seed. Begin by confirming that you and the client had done important work together and that they saw value in your new relationship. Continue by explaining that you’re currently building your practice and actively looking for new clients. Follow up by asking if at any point in the future they come across someone who they feel could take advantage of your skill set, would they do you the honour of an introduction. You may never walk away from that initial conversation with a long list of names. At this early stage, the client does not know you well enough to determine if you are worthy of an introduction to their friends, family or co-workers quite yet. Sure, you’ve done some effective planning together, but the relationship is still new. Will you continue to provide good service and advice? Will you continue to deliver on your promises? Will they even hear from you again now that your business transaction has been completed? These are all fair questions that your client will need answered before they truly consider you their trusted advisor. The truth is that you must continue to deliver for those clients. It sounds simple, but you have to follow through on your promises and continue to demonstrate your value and dedication. Time to plant the next seed. At the first review with your new client, typically the 12-month mark, reiterate your desire to grow your business. At that point you may start to see some actual referrals. Continue this approach every year until you are no longer looking to grow your practice. As you continue to prove your professional worth, clients will feel more comfortable referring you and your client list will indeed grow. There are many approaches to building referrals from your client base, and no one can determine what will work best for you personally. However, whether you use the approach mentioned earlier, or something completely different, you should be doing something. The PPI Sales team would be happy to help you find ways to build a referral process into your practice. We want to help you find ways to truly work smarter, not harder. So, when considering the referral process, keep this Wayne Gretzky quote in mind, “You miss 100% percent of the shots you don’t take.”
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INFOclip: The Value of Advice

May 11, 2022

You know this industry inside and out – you’re a pro! In fact, nobody else is as suited to provide sound, up-to-date and in-depth financial planning advice to your clients as you are. However, many prospects continue to seek answers to their financial queries online or even worse, simply forgo financial matters altogether because it is just too daunting to even contemplate. We’re here to help with this short video outlining the many benefits of working with a professional advisor such as yourself. Be sure to share it with your prospects today to highlight how your advice is not only valuable but can help them achieve their financial goals for today and the future.
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Strengthening Your Client’s Safety Net with Critical Illness Insurance

May 4, 2022

Risks are inevitable and in your line of work, you consider risks all the time – after all, your speciality is building the safety net your clients need to protect against associated financial consequences. This Strengthening Your Safety Net tool will help give your clients some perspective on the risk and economic impact of a critical illness and demonstrate how you can assist in rounding out their insurance portfolio with critical illness insurance. Share it with your clients or use it to support your next critical illness insurance consultation.
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Recent Articles

The Evolving World of Mental Health Treatments

September 29, 2022

This is neither an endorsement or advice about the treatment of mental health. It goes without saying that good mental health is foundational to overall health and well-being. In underwriting, a report of confirmed or even suspected history of depression or related conditions gets a lot of attention and policy issue can range from standard rates to rated premium to sometimes no offer at all, where the risk is deemed too high to accept. Treatments for depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or other conditions in the mental health spectrum continue to evolve. The use of psychedelics is a newer facet of treatment. Natural substances that induce a hallucinatory state have been around for millennia. These include everything from cannabis, now legal in Canada, and include opium poppy to ayahuasca, the latter a product of brewing a particular vine or shrub commonly found in South America (1). The first synthetic hallucinogen, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) was created in 1938, initially thought to be pain-relief medication, with its’ hallucinatory properties discovered a few years later (2). There is a school of thought that this class of drugs does not have the same addictive potential known to be prevalent among users of tobacco and even alcohol, in itself favoring ongoing study for use as a bona fide therapeutic resource. The use of psychedelics, illegal in most countries, has long been relegated to use for recreational or even spiritual renewal purposes. The emergence of this class of drugs to treat or even improve already good mental health is seen as a new frontier. Improved understanding of the multifactorial aspects of mental health and the impact of these drugs on our brain continue to shed light where misunderstanding and ignorance used to predominate. Consider one study of 19 patients with treatment-resistant depression. Using functional MRI (fMRI) to view the brain, decreased depressive symptoms were observed at both one-week in all patients and nearly half after five-week after use of psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”). The fMRI showed decrease in cerebral blood flow in areas of the brain where reducing flow correlates with reduced depressive symptoms (3). In a brave, new world of ever-increasing understanding, and destigmatizing of mental illness, these hallucinogenic agents may in future become accepted mental health treatments. Watch this space as we learn more. Wikipedia. Ayahuasca. Wikipedia.org. History.com Editors. LSD. History.com. August 21, 2018. Carhart-Harris et all. Psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression: fMRI-measured brain mechanisms. National Library of Medicine. October 13, 2017.
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INFOclip: Protecting Your Estate

September 21, 2022

Over a lifetime, your client has worked and managed to accumulate an estate consisting of registered savings, non-registered savings, property, maybe even a business. And when they pass, they want to make sure that their family or a favourite charity receives as much of their estate as possible. So far so good, right? However, the reality is that if your client fails to structure their estate effectively, much of those hard-earned dollars could end up in the hands of government as taxes or distributed to heirs in a way contrary to their wishes. So, how can they prevent their estate from being distributed incorrectly? Proper estate planning is key. Watch this video, then share it with your clients to demonstrate the importance of effective estate planning with a trusted Advisor – that’s you! For similar content, read, then share Estate Protection for your Client. And if you have any questions about estate planning, be sure to contact your local PPI Collaboration Centre.
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Cash Flow Calculator

September 14, 2022

Do you have clients who could use a little help building a comprehensive household budget? Recommend the Cash Flow Calculator!
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Healthy Forgetting: Remember This

September 7, 2022

Underwriters see an unprecedented number of cases of suspected or confirmed cognitive decline, the inevitable result of our aging population. While cognitive decline can be demonstrated by a degradation or loss of a number of functions such as learning, language or complex attention skills, the apparent loss of memory is the most common presenting complaint. Even cases where the memory loss has not had a major impact on daily living, a suspicion of even mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is enough to have the insurance application turned down. But what about the other side of the memory coin, specifically can we remember too much or remember in ways that are unhealthy? How does this work and is there a name for this condition? Let’s delve a little deeper. A quick word on brain mechanics; the human brain, allows us to store memories in the hippocampus, contained in the medial temporal lobe. Think of this as the hard drive of our memory bank. The frontal cortex of our brain allows us to access those memories. Think of this as the “Open” command much like when we access a stored document on our computer hard drive. These areas of the brain allow not only for memory retrieval but also to cultivate memories that includes pruning, removal and replication, similar to the way a gardener uses these methods to grow and maintain healthy flowers or vegetables. An example of pruning and replication might be one piece of information in our memory erased and replaced, then replicated by more reasonable or useful information. This the mechanism for building a logical mind. An example of unhealthy memory is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With PTSD, the inability to forget following a traumatic event creates an imbalance between remembering and forgetting. This results in the chronic and often daily reminders of the trauma manifested by intrusive thoughts, inability to sleep and can be triggered by things like loud noises, a minor annoyance to most but a devastating and regular reminder of the trauma to those with PTSD. More recently and closer to home for most of us, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a traumatic event. It affords the opportunity to observe how we remember the facts about the virus, the cost on human lives and families around the world and what may be required to overcome the challenges of a pandemic. This is the healthy remembering. The healthy forgetting is the letting go of the fears we have taken on during the last two years. In an essay on the two-year anniversary of the pandemic, the neuroscientist, Dr. Scott Small, writes that some degree of emotional forgetting allows us to live in and move forward from this time (1). Remembering when and what to forget is an ability most handle well. It is also a reminder to better understand and lend a hand to those who can’t always forget what is best forgotten. The takeaway for you as an Advisor? Knowledge, insight and understanding make for better informed underwriting decisions. Small, Scott. We Will Forget Much of the Pandemic. That’s a Good Thing. New York Times. March 9, 2022.
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National Life Insurance Awareness Month

August 31, 2022

Did you know that September is National Life Insurance Awareness Month? The perfect time to reach out to prospects and clients to evaluate what insurance they have in place and if it still meets their needs. A good place to start is to assess your client’s current situation. Your client has different needs at different stages in their life, so good questions to review with them include: How has life changed since you purchased your coverage, or since we last reviewed your insurance: Find out about mortgages, new loans, job or income changes, education funds, retirement plans and other financial obligations so they can be sure they have the coverage they need. Has the nature of your needs changed: They may require a similar coverage amount as when they first purchased their plan but their obligations may have shifted from temporary to permanent. A change of plan may be appropriate. Have you done any will planning? What are you hopes and dreams for your heirs: There may be an insurance need associated with the smooth distribution of their estate. Regardless of your client’s life insurance needs, they have options. So, as it gets chillier outside and we prepare for the long, cold Canadian winter ahead, take some time today to reach out and ensure that your clients have the insurance coverage they need today and into the future. Share the client article so that, in honour of life insurance awareness month, your prospects and clients can ask themselves a few good insurance related questions. If you’re looking for similar content to share with your clients, read then share Insurance Solutions for Today and Tomorrow, as well as Term Insurance – What Your Client Should Consider For Renewal. We also have this great Exploring Your Life Insurance Options tool to help your client understand the varying types of insurance and which one may be best for them.
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Inflation, Interest Rates and Your Client’s Investments

August 24, 2022

Lately, we’ve all been experiencing a few less dollars in our bank accounts. Between the cost of fuel, groceries and the overall cost of living, there’s no denying that everything is just so much more expensive. Your clients may want to know why and although “inflation” is the one-word answer, we’re diving a little deeper into why inflation occurs and how it can affect interest rates and your client’s investments. Interest Rates and Inflation Inflation can be defined as a general progressive increase in the prices of goods and services in an economy. When prices rise, each unit of currency can buy fewer goods and services. Monetary policy seeks to stabilize the rate of inflation in an economy by controlling how much cash is infused into the economic system and where rates are set. When interest rates are low, money is cheap. Individuals will borrow more to spend and invest, businesses will borrow more to invest in the growth of their own companies, restructure existing debt and buyback shares. In fact, a share buyback can lead to an increase in the price of shares. When money is cheap, established companies will borrow to buy back their own shares on the open market. When they buy back their own shares, they are reducing the number of shares available and increasing the value of each remaining share (market cap stays the same). However, when interest rates are high, individuals will borrow fewer dollars and save more. Businesses will also borrow fewer dollars and invest less in the growth of their companies. For this reason, a low interest rate environment will stimulate an economy and encourage growth whereas high interest rates stifle growth and stabilize (or contract) an economy. Now, you might be wondering why we would ever raise rates if the lower rates lead to more growth. The answer? Inflation. When money is cheap there is more of it being created, more money in an economy leads to a reduction of purchasing power. The more money there is, the less value that money has. If we keep rates low to stimulate the economy, then inflation can run rampant. If we keep rates high to curb inflation, then we stifle growth. It’s a fine balance and there is a constant battle being fought between interest rates and inflation. Here’s an example for you. If an interest rate is, say, 5% but inflation is, say, 3% then the real rate of interest is only 2% (5-3=2). The real rate seeks to streamline the cost of money and the increase of prices. Let us look at it this way, assume that $100 dollars can buy your client 100 apples. Now let us assume that there is no inflation and your client has invested their $100 at 5% interest for a single year. When the year has ended, their $100 has turned into $105 and your client’s ability to buy apples has increased from 100 to 105. Now let us look at the same scenario but assume that the price of apples will experience 5% inflation. Your client’s $100 dollars invested at 5% for a year will still result in $105 at years end. But if apples inflated in price by 5% from $1 to $1.05 then they can still only buy 100 apples. The money itself grew by 5% (from 100 to 105) but your client cannot buy any more apples at year end because the price of apples has gone up too. We can see that inflation reduces purchasing power. In turn, the objective of the central bank, through monetary and fiscal policy, is to target a real rate that will allow for growth while keeping inflation in check. What Does Inflation Mean for the Stock Market? Broadly speaking, the stock market can be divided into value and growth categories. Growth stocks are typically new and faster growing companies that may not yet be profitable. These companies need cash to grow and raising cash becomes more challenging when the cost of borrowing increases. A value stock is one that has strong current cash flows and isn’t borrowing to grow as much as a growth company. When coming up with a value of a stock using a discounted cash flow model, in times of rising rates, a growth stock will be impacted to a higher degree than a value stock. This is why we have seen tech and growth stocks come off in recent months (Q4 2021 into Q1 2022) and seen value plays like energy, infrastructure, banks and insurance companies rally. Moreover, banks and insurance companies will do well with an increase in interest rate margin – the spread between how much they pay on deposits versus how much they make on investing deposits. With rates rising, this spread could theoretically increase. What Does Inflation Mean for the Bond Market? Again, speaking in general terms, inflation can have a negative impact on bonds and other fixed income assets. The nature of valuing a bond, not unlike the DCF (discounted cash flow) method for valuing a stock discussed previously, is contingent upon discounting cash flows at a prevailing rate. When rates go up the price of a bond goes down, that is, there is an inverse relationship between the price of a bond and the yield of a bond. Another way to think about it is, when interest rates go up, the interest payments from existing fixed income securities are less competitive than new bonds at the higher rate so the price of existing bonds at the previous, lower rate goes down. When inflation goes up, rates must go up too. When rates go up, existing bonds come down in value. Keep in mind that that all information in this article is from a theoretical perspective. There are plenty of moving parts and different securities will behave differently. The objective here is to illustrate concepts in a vacuum and not recommend a particular security, asset class or any guarantee of performance or behavior of an asset class or security in the economy or market. As always, the advice is to construct a broadly diversified portfolio in accordance with their risk tolerance that will allow them to achieve the desired return given how much risk they are willing to take on over their investment window. Through seeking advice from an advisor, investors can get help navigating and mitigating the effects of short-term market news, whether it is high inflation, political strife, wars, sanctions, or anything else and focus on achieving their financial goals. Questions? Contact your local PPI Collaboration Centre.
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More Articles

Learning From Experience: Bett’s Story

August 17, 2022

Everyone loves a story with a happy ending, even if it’s rife with tragedy and family drama. But happy ending or not, if somewhere in the story, a loved one is lost, we see the toll the loss can take on the relationships of family survivors. True in fiction. True in life. You play a pivotal role in encouraging your clients to plan ahead wisely and intentionally so they can ease rather than contribute to the toll their passing will take on the relationships of those they love. And you can never overemphasize the importance of proper estate planning. Share Bett’s story with your clients to help them understand and remember the importance of documenting and communicating their final intentions.  For more information on estate planning and documenting final intentions, watch our short video SMART TALK… about will planning and drafting and read our previous post The Beneficiary Challenge. Questions? Contact your local PPI Collaboration Centre.
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INFOclip: Understanding Term Insurance

August 10, 2022

You know how important insurance is for your clients – it offers them a sense of security knowing their financial obligations are met in the event of a disability, illness or even death. But are your clients aware about the many benefits of term insurance for today and their tomorrows? We’ve created this little video for you to share with your clients. It covers all the basics of term insurance and is a great place to initiate a conversation with your clients about how term insurance not only helps to cover short term expenses such a mortgage, a child’s education or income replacement, but can also be a great source of security into the future, as financial obligations become a wee bit more complicated. So be sure to watch this video, then share it with your clients to kick-start those important conversations! For similar content, read, then share Term Insurance – What Your Client Should Consider for Renewal and Insurance Solutions for Today and Tomorrow. And if you have any questions about term insurance (or any other life insurance solutions!), be sure to contact your local PPI office.
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Work-Life Balance: Tipping the Mortality Scale

August 3, 2022

Last time in this space, we discussed how physical or emotional stress affects the human heart. This time, we will focus on why maintaining a favorable balance between a commitment to our jobs and the need to prioritize our lives outside of the workplace is both a life-affirming and possible life-saving necessity. Let’s start by looking back to the early 1990’s, when researchers in Japan started to study and report on a phenomenon where it appeared ostensibly healthy, middle-aged, mostly men, started to die suddenly. The term coined for the cause of death in this group was “karoshi”, meaning death from overwork. The common thread running through these cases was a history of chronically long work weeks, logging in at 60 hours and often more. The cause of death was disturbing in its’ repetition, most often heart disease, stroke or suicide (1). More recently, and perhaps due to the pandemic and a growing body of knowledge increasingly difficult to ignore, there is renewed interest in the burden and toll of an unhealthy work life. A joint venture by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) published in 2021 estimated that nearly 400,000 people died from stroke and almost 350,000 from heart disease as a direct result of chronic work weeks of 55 hours or more. Between 2000 and 2016, this increased by 42% for heart disease and 19% for stroke (2). In these groups, 72% were males and more concentrated in workers aged 60 or higher. Related studies demonstrate mental disorder consequences affected younger groups, many in the third decade of life (3). What can be done to stem the tide of this disturbing trend? In Japan, legislation has been passed to limit the amount of monthly permitted overtime. Critics claim the threshold for allowable overtime hours still is too high and enforcement is inconsistent. In Canada, more employers are increasingly sensitive to the work-life balance necessary to maintain a healthy workforce. There is a school of thought that we are a physically tired society with an underlying belief that professional success requires us to walk the edge of burnout. There is more emphasis on sleep as a bedrock of good health, and good sleep advocacy continues to gain ground in addition to good nutrition, exercise and positive social integration (4). It is clear that hard work is made more satisfying by knowing when to call it a day. Hunt, Ellen. Wired. Japan’s karoshi culture was a warning: we didn’t listen. co.uk. February 6, 2021. World Health Organization. Long working hours increasing deaths from heart disease and stroke: WHO, ILO. Who.int. May 17, 2021. Takahashi, Mayasa. Sociomedical problems of overwork-related deaths and disorders in Japan. National Library of Medicine. January 22, 2019. Tollin, Lisa. Arianna Huffington shares the secret to her success: Sleep. her secret to success. the Secrets of Her Success: Sleep. Nbcnews.com. June 5, 2017.
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Social Media Platforms – What You Need to Know

July 27, 2022

You’re a successful Advisor but want to promote and continue to grow your business online – smart move, count us in! However, there are just so many social media platforms, how do you know which one is right for you and your business? There are indeed more than a few and they’re all slightly different, but all are excellent modern marketing tools and with a little research, you can decide which one (or two or three!) are a good fit for you and your brand. Recently, LIMRA published a study asking Generation Y (also called millennials) who they engage for financial advice. They found that 90% of those surveyed said that they would NOT seek financial advice from their parents’ Advisors because they “are not relevant” (1). Ouch. But what does it mean to be “relevant”? Well, if you want to reach the next generation of wealth, you need to meet them where they are – and that place is on social media. Likewise, when asked to rate the importance of social media sites, millennials and generation X demonstrated a clear preference for Facebook (#1), LinkedIn (#2) and YouTube (#3) (2). Now, let’s look at a few of the more popular platforms including LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. LinkedIn is a professional business-to-business social platform – meaning you’re more likely to find business clients, collaborators, and business partners. If you are looking to reach fellow industry professionals or centers of influence while doing a little networking, LinkedIn can be a great choice. People do not come here to find an Advisor but instead to learn more about their industry, connect with new professional contacts and seek new career opportunities. YouTube is fantastic as well. YouTube is a unique platform in the way that it is a search engine, not a social platform. This means that you can utilize this space to make your evergreen content (content that is long lasting with information that will remain relevant) easily searchable today and into the future. It should also be mentioned that LinkedIn and YouTube are examples of sites with different user demographics and capabilities. It is important for financial professionals to determine which social media platform(s) are most appropriate for their personal styles and their prospective consumer markets. It is also essential to understand that social media ratings are a modern form of referrals. However, if your business is in the broad market, then social spaces like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are platforms that your ideal clients are probably already on. Get on there and start building those relationships. So, what’s the message here? Prospects are researching you before they will even meet with you, so you need to be online, engaged and meet them where they are! Also, the increasingly youthful demographic of consumers seeking a financial Advisor means that social media has quickly become an important marketing and communication tool for financial professionals. We’ve reviewed five of the major platforms, but those aren’t necessarily the only modern direct marketing platforms you can utilize to promote your brand. Here is a list of a few more that may or may not be on your radar. Podcasts are growing in popularity. People are listening, watching and streaming, more and more. Perhaps a little more time consuming to create, but if you are up for the task, they can be the right fit for the brand information that you would like to convey. Blogs and e-Newsletter are definitely still on the list. With these tools you can control what your audience sees, review analytics and determine how many people have seen or opened your message or spent time on certain content that you have distributed. You can also more efficiently promote your business and services to an audience that already knows, likes and trusts you. Webinars and online live training sessions remain highly popular. People enjoy the fact that they can view it from afar, without having to leave their homes. Virtual events allow you to reach people in other areas that may not attend an in-person event due to travel requirements, availability, etc. Facebook groups provide an avenue for you to nurture your community and engage with your audience one-on-one. They also allow you to really hone-in on your target audience group – you can then tailor your message and get active engagement with more of your ideal customers. You are probably quite familiar with COI’s such as lawyers, accountants, mortgage brokers, etc. But did you know that you can also find centers of influence and influencers on modern marketing platforms? These are the people that share a similar audience to you, or their audience is made up of your ideal clients. Don’t be afraid to look beyond the typical industry partners and be sure to build connections. Although not an actual marketing platform, good ole word of mouth is still very much alive and probably more important now than it has been for years. In a world filled with so much noise, people are reaching out to their trusted friends, family and acquaintances online to find businesses, services and professionals that they can trust. They are relying on social proof more than anything else. Modern marketing platforms make meetup events and networking events easier to attend and find. Face-to-face communication is still key and social media platforms make it easier to find these events and connect with prospects, current clients and influencers. For similar articles on how you can build up your social media presence, read Building Connections Through Direct Response Marketing… More than just Social Media. And if you have any questions or need a helping hand with your modern marketing, contact your local PPI Collaboration Centre. LIMRA.com LIMRA.com
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Savings Growth Calculator

July 20, 2022

The ability of our “Savings Growth” calculator to compare two savings strategies can be useful during your client discussions on what to do with excess cash. Your clients can also use it to see the impact of increasing their savings, even by just a little. Walk through this multi-purpose tool or share it with your clients to stimulate your next discussion on finances.
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Preserving Your Client’s Memories with the help of STEP

July 13, 2022

Our life’s memories deserve consideration just as much as our financial legacies do.  Have you taken the opportunity to talk to your clients about how to protect their social media accounts and their digital assets? Most social media platforms have terms and conditions making these accounts private for security purposes and making it difficult, if not all out impossible, for family members to retrieve these accounts after their loved ones have passed on. The good news is that social media providers have put tools in place so that your clients can decide in advance how they would like their loved ones to access these accounts when they are gone. STEP (the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) has made the process even easier for your client to safeguard and share their memories with future generations by providing useful guides to help update their account settings and how to open conversations with their family and friends about the importance of preserving these digital memories. Be sure to share these guides with your clients: STEP: How to set up your digital accounts so that your loved ones can access them if you’re not able to STEP: It’s good to talk (about your digital assets) If you would like to learn more about digital assets, read our previous post: Protecting Your Client’s Digital Assets and watch our short video SMART TALK… about digital assets and share the client-friendly versions of these with your clients. And if you have any questions, please be sure to reach out to your local PPI office – we’re here to help!
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INFOclip: Mortgage Protection

July 6, 2022

Does your client own their own home? Do they have mortgage protection in place and can they continue to make loan payments in the case of a significant decrease in their income? For many Canadians, purchasing a home is an important life milestone that can evoke both great joy and financial responsibility. Unfortunately, unexpected life events such as the disability, illness and even death of an income earner can make paying a mortgage that much more difficult, especially if they don’t have the proper protection in place to safeguard their family’s income. Share this video with your client to show them how purchasing personal insurance, via a trusted advisor (that’s you!), can offer them and their families peace of mind with the protection and flexibility they need during difficult times to keep them on track with their mortgage payments.
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Building Connections Through Direct Response Marketing… More than just Social Media

June 29, 2022

Today, it’s no longer about those old, templated letters or phone dialing campaigns that… let’s be honest… were highly time consuming and largely ineffective in getting the attention of your clients. Social media has changed the way we promote and do business – all with better results at a fraction of the cost. So, why should you join the social media party and how can you make an impact through direct response marketing? Direct Response Marketing – What is it and why does it matter to you? One of the most important types of marketing, direct response marketing, uses social media tools to engage with and inspire an immediate action from the person you are communicating with. The virtual or social world will continue to evolve and expand. So, if you are not taking advantage of modern marketing, you are probably missing out on a fast, inexpensive and effective way to reach your clients, build relationships, build trust and grow your business – merely with a few clicks on your social media. The Benefits of Direct Response Marketing So, what are some of the benefits of this type of marketing? Increase Brand Awareness – If you have a business, you have a brand. If you’re an independent advisor – well, you ARE your brand. Remember that your brand is not just a logo, a splash of colours and a big sign on a building – you are the face of your brand. Humanize Your Brand or Industry – Some customers are nervous about working with big corporations, however modern marketing allows you to humanize your brand, making a human connection. Promote Content – Direct response marketing allows you to promote content which can be extremely powerful in marketing your business and making sales. It allows you to get your message out, reach new people, reach existing clients and promote your value as well as the services that you provide. Engage Your Audience – It allows you to engage with your clients or audience, which in turn can build stronger relationships and trust. Learn About Your Customers – This type of marketing can also help you learn more about your clients so that you can better understand their need, wants, interests, fears, goals and more – then deliver exactly what they are asking for to guarantee a satisfied client. Target Your Advertising – It makes targeted advertising easier. You can drill down to very specific areas, interests, demographics, industries and much more. And what does targeted advertising help you do? Boost sales! Establish Yourself as A Thought Leader – Direct response marketing allows you to establish your brand as a thought leader. Likewise, it enables you to brand yourself as someone who is innovative, maintains a service level that is above and beyond their industry competitors, or even someone who specializes in working with specific types of clients – all of which builds trust. Stay Top of Mind – Staying top of mind is the next benefit. You want to be the first person your client thinks of when their friends on social media ask for recommendations for their financial planning. Partner With Influencers to Grow Your Audience – It allows you to partner with influencers to increase your audience. This could be anyone in this industry that is already a thought leader – someone who has a large following and sway. For advisors, this could be lawyers, accountants, referral partners, mortgage brokers and so on. Think about who has a similar audience to you, who can be beneficial to your audience and whose audience you could be beneficial to. Increase Website Traffic – Direct response marketing can help you increase your website traffic, especially if you consistently have new and valuable content that is on your website or blog. Boost Sales and Generate Leads – And last, but certainly not least, it can help you generate leads. This is a way to generate leads in a way that is authentic, trustworthy and builds genuine, long-term relationships. Modern direct response marketing is all about providing value and creating those client connections; developing the know, like and trust relationship that can help move someone from a prospect to a valued client (and even an advocate!). The truth is that social media is here to stay, so be sure to BE where your clients are so that you can continue to engage your audience, build trust and provide value. If you’d like to know more about direct response marketing and how to optimize your business with this modern marketing tool, please contact your local PPI office.
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Will the Money Last?

June 8, 2022

Help your clients calculate and compare scenarios for how long their savings will last when they start using it as income. Share the “Will the Money Last” calculator with them today. And, for a more comprehensive review of your clients optimized retirement income cash flows and withdrawal strategy comparisons use the Cascades tool available to PPI Advisors through the Stratosphere suite of tools.
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Corporate Owned Life Insurance and Beneficiary Designations

June 1, 2022

Many of your business-owner clients have corporate owned life insurance – an excellent and tax efficient way for your client to achieve their estate and succession planning goals. However, to avoid unintended tax consequences, it is critical that the beneficiary designations of the corporate owned policies be reviewed. Where the corporation is the owner and payor of the life insurance, the corporation (or a subsidiary of the corporation) needs to be the beneficiary of the life insurance – not the shareholder’s estate or members of the shareholder’s family! Why? Well, when corporate funds are used to provide personal benefits to shareholders and their family members, a taxable shareholder benefit will result, and the corporation does not get a deduction for the benefit. This results in double tax for your client! This is exactly what happened during a recent Tax Court case, Harding v The Queen. A shareholder benefit was assessed since the company owned life insurance policies on Mr. Harding (the sole shareholder) but the beneficiaries of those policies were Mr. Harding’s spouse and children. Not good planning. Mr. Harding tried to argue that he was not aware of who the beneficiaries were and did not mean to confer a benefit. Not surprisingly, the Canada Revenue Agency and the court did not see these reasons as valid arguments and assessed a shareholder benefit for the life insurance premiums paid. The Harding case is a good reminder of what not to do when there is corporate owned life insurance, as well as the importance of reviewing the beneficiary designations on corporate owned life insurance with your clients. For more information on this case and how to effectively structure corporate owned life insurance, read Glenn Stephens’, PPI’s VP of Planning Services, article for Forum magazine Harding Case – A ruling on beneficiaries and corporate life insurance policies, located on PPI’s Professional Resource Centre (Advisor login required). And if you have questions regarding estate and tax planning, please contact your local PPI office.
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The Greatest Hits: Your Clients’ Top 3 Investment Blogs

May 25, 2022

Investing – a great way for your client to put away some of their hard-earned dollars towards their retirement and future security. At PPI, we have more than a few great investment articles that you can share with your clients. We did a little digging and found the top three investment-related blogs from 2021. Check them out below and then consider sharing the client-friendly versions with your clients and prospects. The Power of Compound Interest for your Client – What is compound interest and how can it help your client maximize their savings? Find out how your client can do this via monthly, pre-authorized deposits – because a few dollars can go a long way! Be sure to share this client-friendly article. Seg Funds – Protecting your Client from a Volatile Market – Volatile markets are nothing new. In fact, the markets are constantly fluctuating. But if your client is an investor or nearing their retirement years, this type of instability can be quite stressful. Find out how segregated funds just might be the solution to such an uncertain market. Be sure to share this client-friendly article. TFSA vs RRSP vs Both. What’s best for your client? – TFSAs and RRSPs – both are excellent investment options, but which one is right for your client? Learn a little more about the ins and outs of both and which one is the best investment solution for your client. Be sure to share this client-friendly article. If you would like to learn more about these topics, please contact your local PPI office – we are here to help you grow your business!
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Referrals: A Critical Part of Your Growth Strategy

May 18, 2022

There is a quote made famous by American author William S. Burroughs that says, “When you stop growing, you start dying.” While the idea behind this might apply to many aspects of life, it’s perhaps especially relevant when framed within the context of the insurance industry. Each advisor is unique. Varying skill sets, approaches in process and attitudes allow each of you to build a practice that fits you. However, there are certain practices that are utilized by almost all top successful advisors, one of the most important of these being the implementation of an effective referral process. Most advisors would agree that finding new clients is one of the more challenging aspects of this business. Simply finding someone who is prepared to have a discussion can prove difficult. Coupled with DNC (Do Not Call) constraints, privacy restrictions and even just the social stigma surrounding the insurance industry, it is sometimes a wonder how an advisor can grow their business at all. What is so striking is that many advisors work so hard to secure a new client, but then fail to utilize that relationship to allow for new clients to follow with much less effort. When it comes to referrals, most advisors have concerns. In fact, many feel that asking for referrals makes their client feel uneasy. It can also make an advisor feel like a bit of a salesperson and that utilizing this approach might damage the new relationship with their client. An advisor doesn’t want to do anything that may impact the trusted relationship you are building. All understandable and valid concerns. The idea of pulling out a pen and paper and asking your new client for a few names of people that you can approach for a new sale can indeed feel aggressive. We want to treat the client with dignity and respect, and this type of old school approach is not always ideal – so, what’s an advisor to do? As mentioned earlier, virtually all successful top advisors have found a referral strategy that works for them. However, just because something works for one person in no way guarantees that it will work for others, so although you can study the strategies that others use, you will still need to find something that fits for you. Although it doesn’t pay immediate dividends, there is one low-pressure approach that can be quite effective over time. Once you acquire a new client, perhaps after delivering the first policy, plant your first referral seed. Begin by confirming that you and the client had done important work together and that they saw value in your new relationship. Continue by explaining that you’re currently building your practice and actively looking for new clients. Follow up by asking if at any point in the future they come across someone who they feel could take advantage of your skill set, would they do you the honour of an introduction. You may never walk away from that initial conversation with a long list of names. At this early stage, the client does not know you well enough to determine if you are worthy of an introduction to their friends, family or co-workers quite yet. Sure, you’ve done some effective planning together, but the relationship is still new. Will you continue to provide good service and advice? Will you continue to deliver on your promises? Will they even hear from you again now that your business transaction has been completed? These are all fair questions that your client will need answered before they truly consider you their trusted advisor. The truth is that you must continue to deliver for those clients. It sounds simple, but you have to follow through on your promises and continue to demonstrate your value and dedication. Time to plant the next seed. At the first review with your new client, typically the 12-month mark, reiterate your desire to grow your business. At that point you may start to see some actual referrals. Continue this approach every year until you are no longer looking to grow your practice. As you continue to prove your professional worth, clients will feel more comfortable referring you and your client list will indeed grow. There are many approaches to building referrals from your client base, and no one can determine what will work best for you personally. However, whether you use the approach mentioned earlier, or something completely different, you should be doing something. The PPI Sales team would be happy to help you find ways to build a referral process into your practice. We want to help you find ways to truly work smarter, not harder. So, when considering the referral process, keep this Wayne Gretzky quote in mind, “You miss 100% percent of the shots you don’t take.”
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INFOclip: The Value of Advice

May 11, 2022

You know this industry inside and out – you’re a pro! In fact, nobody else is as suited to provide sound, up-to-date and in-depth financial planning advice to your clients as you are. However, many prospects continue to seek answers to their financial queries online or even worse, simply forgo financial matters altogether because it is just too daunting to even contemplate. We’re here to help with this short video outlining the many benefits of working with a professional advisor such as yourself. Be sure to share it with your prospects today to highlight how your advice is not only valuable but can help them achieve their financial goals for today and the future.
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Strengthening Your Client’s Safety Net with Critical Illness Insurance

May 4, 2022

Risks are inevitable and in your line of work, you consider risks all the time – after all, your speciality is building the safety net your clients need to protect against associated financial consequences. This Strengthening Your Safety Net tool will help give your clients some perspective on the risk and economic impact of a critical illness and demonstrate how you can assist in rounding out their insurance portfolio with critical illness insurance. Share it with your clients or use it to support your next critical illness insurance consultation.
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Recent Articles

The Evolving World of Mental Health Treatments

September 29, 2022

This is neither an endorsement or advice about the treatment of mental health. It goes without saying that good mental health is foundational to overall health and well-being. In underwriting, a report of confirmed or even suspected history of depression or related conditions gets a lot of attention and policy issue can range from standard rates to rated premium to sometimes no offer at all, where the risk is deemed too high to accept. Treatments for depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or other conditions in the mental health spectrum continue to evolve. The use of psychedelics is a newer facet of treatment. Natural substances that induce a hallucinatory state have been around for millennia. These include everything from cannabis, now legal in Canada, and include opium poppy to ayahuasca, the latter a product of brewing a particular vine or shrub commonly found in South America (1). The first synthetic hallucinogen, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) was created in 1938, initially thought to be pain-relief medication, with its’ hallucinatory properties discovered a few years later (2). There is a school of thought that this class of drugs does not have the same addictive potential known to be prevalent among users of tobacco and even alcohol, in itself favoring ongoing study for use as a bona fide therapeutic resource. The use of psychedelics, illegal in most countries, has long been relegated to use for recreational or even spiritual renewal purposes. The emergence of this class of drugs to treat or even improve already good mental health is seen as a new frontier. Improved understanding of the multifactorial aspects of mental health and the impact of these drugs on our brain continue to shed light where misunderstanding and ignorance used to predominate. Consider one study of 19 patients with treatment-resistant depression. Using functional MRI (fMRI) to view the brain, decreased depressive symptoms were observed at both one-week in all patients and nearly half after five-week after use of psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”). The fMRI showed decrease in cerebral blood flow in areas of the brain where reducing flow correlates with reduced depressive symptoms (3). In a brave, new world of ever-increasing understanding, and destigmatizing of mental illness, these hallucinogenic agents may in future become accepted mental health treatments. Watch this space as we learn more. Wikipedia. Ayahuasca. Wikipedia.org. History.com Editors. LSD. History.com. August 21, 2018. Carhart-Harris et all. Psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression: fMRI-measured brain mechanisms. National Library of Medicine. October 13, 2017.
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INFOclip: Protecting Your Estate

September 21, 2022

Over a lifetime, your client has worked and managed to accumulate an estate consisting of registered savings, non-registered savings, property, maybe even a business. And when they pass, they want to make sure that their family or a favourite charity receives as much of their estate as possible. So far so good, right? However, the reality is that if your client fails to structure their estate effectively, much of those hard-earned dollars could end up in the hands of government as taxes or distributed to heirs in a way contrary to their wishes. So, how can they prevent their estate from being distributed incorrectly? Proper estate planning is key. Watch this video, then share it with your clients to demonstrate the importance of effective estate planning with a trusted Advisor – that’s you! For similar content, read, then share Estate Protection for your Client. And if you have any questions about estate planning, be sure to contact your local PPI Collaboration Centre.
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Cash Flow Calculator

September 14, 2022

Do you have clients who could use a little help building a comprehensive household budget? Recommend the Cash Flow Calculator!
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Healthy Forgetting: Remember This

September 7, 2022

Underwriters see an unprecedented number of cases of suspected or confirmed cognitive decline, the inevitable result of our aging population. While cognitive decline can be demonstrated by a degradation or loss of a number of functions such as learning, language or complex attention skills, the apparent loss of memory is the most common presenting complaint. Even cases where the memory loss has not had a major impact on daily living, a suspicion of even mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is enough to have the insurance application turned down. But what about the other side of the memory coin, specifically can we remember too much or remember in ways that are unhealthy? How does this work and is there a name for this condition? Let’s delve a little deeper. A quick word on brain mechanics; the human brain, allows us to store memories in the hippocampus, contained in the medial temporal lobe. Think of this as the hard drive of our memory bank. The frontal cortex of our brain allows us to access those memories. Think of this as the “Open” command much like when we access a stored document on our computer hard drive. These areas of the brain allow not only for memory retrieval but also to cultivate memories that includes pruning, removal and replication, similar to the way a gardener uses these methods to grow and maintain healthy flowers or vegetables. An example of pruning and replication might be one piece of information in our memory erased and replaced, then replicated by more reasonable or useful information. This the mechanism for building a logical mind. An example of unhealthy memory is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With PTSD, the inability to forget following a traumatic event creates an imbalance between remembering and forgetting. This results in the chronic and often daily reminders of the trauma manifested by intrusive thoughts, inability to sleep and can be triggered by things like loud noises, a minor annoyance to most but a devastating and regular reminder of the trauma to those with PTSD. More recently and closer to home for most of us, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a traumatic event. It affords the opportunity to observe how we remember the facts about the virus, the cost on human lives and families around the world and what may be required to overcome the challenges of a pandemic. This is the healthy remembering. The healthy forgetting is the letting go of the fears we have taken on during the last two years. In an essay on the two-year anniversary of the pandemic, the neuroscientist, Dr. Scott Small, writes that some degree of emotional forgetting allows us to live in and move forward from this time (1). Remembering when and what to forget is an ability most handle well. It is also a reminder to better understand and lend a hand to those who can’t always forget what is best forgotten. The takeaway for you as an Advisor? Knowledge, insight and understanding make for better informed underwriting decisions. Small, Scott. We Will Forget Much of the Pandemic. That’s a Good Thing. New York Times. March 9, 2022.
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More Articles

National Life Insurance Awareness Month

August 31, 2022

Did you know that September is National Life Insurance Awareness Month? The perfect time to reach out to prospects and clients to evaluate what insurance they have in place and if it still meets their needs. A good place to start is to assess your client’s current situation. Your client has different needs at different stages in their life, so good questions to review with them include: How has life changed since you purchased your coverage, or since we last reviewed your insurance: Find out about mortgages, new loans, job or income changes, education funds, retirement plans and other financial obligations so they can be sure they have the coverage they need. Has the nature of your needs changed: They may require a similar coverage amount as when they first purchased their plan but their obligations may have shifted from temporary to permanent. A change of plan may be appropriate. Have you done any will planning? What are you hopes and dreams for your heirs: There may be an insurance need associated with the smooth distribution of their estate. Regardless of your client’s life insurance needs, they have options. So, as it gets chillier outside and we prepare for the long, cold Canadian winter ahead, take some time today to reach out and ensure that your clients have the insurance coverage they need today and into the future. Share the client article so that, in honour of life insurance awareness month, your prospects and clients can ask themselves a few good insurance related questions. If you’re looking for similar content to share with your clients, read then share Insurance Solutions for Today and Tomorrow, as well as Term Insurance – What Your Client Should Consider For Renewal. We also have this great Exploring Your Life Insurance Options tool to help your client understand the varying types of insurance and which one may be best for them.
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Inflation, Interest Rates and Your Client’s Investments

August 24, 2022

Lately, we’ve all been experiencing a few less dollars in our bank accounts. Between the cost of fuel, groceries and the overall cost of living, there’s no denying that everything is just so much more expensive. Your clients may want to know why and although “inflation” is the one-word answer, we’re diving a little deeper into why inflation occurs and how it can affect interest rates and your client’s investments. Interest Rates and Inflation Inflation can be defined as a general progressive increase in the prices of goods and services in an economy. When prices rise, each unit of currency can buy fewer goods and services. Monetary policy seeks to stabilize the rate of inflation in an economy by controlling how much cash is infused into the economic system and where rates are set. When interest rates are low, money is cheap. Individuals will borrow more to spend and invest, businesses will borrow more to invest in the growth of their own companies, restructure existing debt and buyback shares. In fact, a share buyback can lead to an increase in the price of shares. When money is cheap, established companies will borrow to buy back their own shares on the open market. When they buy back their own shares, they are reducing the number of shares available and increasing the value of each remaining share (market cap stays the same). However, when interest rates are high, individuals will borrow fewer dollars and save more. Businesses will also borrow fewer dollars and invest less in the growth of their companies. For this reason, a low interest rate environment will stimulate an economy and encourage growth whereas high interest rates stifle growth and stabilize (or contract) an economy. Now, you might be wondering why we would ever raise rates if the lower rates lead to more growth. The answer? Inflation. When money is cheap there is more of it being created, more money in an economy leads to a reduction of purchasing power. The more money there is, the less value that money has. If we keep rates low to stimulate the economy, then inflation can run rampant. If we keep rates high to curb inflation, then we stifle growth. It’s a fine balance and there is a constant battle being fought between interest rates and inflation. Here’s an example for you. If an interest rate is, say, 5% but inflation is, say, 3% then the real rate of interest is only 2% (5-3=2). The real rate seeks to streamline the cost of money and the increase of prices. Let us look at it this way, assume that $100 dollars can buy your client 100 apples. Now let us assume that there is no inflation and your client has invested their $100 at 5% interest for a single year. When the year has ended, their $100 has turned into $105 and your client’s ability to buy apples has increased from 100 to 105. Now let us look at the same scenario but assume that the price of apples will experience 5% inflation. Your client’s $100 dollars invested at 5% for a year will still result in $105 at years end. But if apples inflated in price by 5% from $1 to $1.05 then they can still only buy 100 apples. The money itself grew by 5% (from 100 to 105) but your client cannot buy any more apples at year end because the price of apples has gone up too. We can see that inflation reduces purchasing power. In turn, the objective of the central bank, through monetary and fiscal policy, is to target a real rate that will allow for growth while keeping inflation in check. What Does Inflation Mean for the Stock Market? Broadly speaking, the stock market can be divided into value and growth categories. Growth stocks are typically new and faster growing companies that may not yet be profitable. These companies need cash to grow and raising cash becomes more challenging when the cost of borrowing increases. A value stock is one that has strong current cash flows and isn’t borrowing to grow as much as a growth company. When coming up with a value of a stock using a discounted cash flow model, in times of rising rates, a growth stock will be impacted to a higher degree than a value stock. This is why we have seen tech and growth stocks come off in recent months (Q4 2021 into Q1 2022) and seen value plays like energy, infrastructure, banks and insurance companies rally. Moreover, banks and insurance companies will do well with an increase in interest rate margin – the spread between how much they pay on deposits versus how much they make on investing deposits. With rates rising, this spread could theoretically increase. What Does Inflation Mean for the Bond Market? Again, speaking in general terms, inflation can have a negative impact on bonds and other fixed income assets. The nature of valuing a bond, not unlike the DCF (discounted cash flow) method for valuing a stock discussed previously, is contingent upon discounting cash flows at a prevailing rate. When rates go up the price of a bond goes down, that is, there is an inverse relationship between the price of a bond and the yield of a bond. Another way to think about it is, when interest rates go up, the interest payments from existing fixed income securities are less competitive than new bonds at the higher rate so the price of existing bonds at the previous, lower rate goes down. When inflation goes up, rates must go up too. When rates go up, existing bonds come down in value. Keep in mind that that all information in this article is from a theoretical perspective. There are plenty of moving parts and different securities will behave differently. The objective here is to illustrate concepts in a vacuum and not recommend a particular security, asset class or any guarantee of performance or behavior of an asset class or security in the economy or market. As always, the advice is to construct a broadly diversified portfolio in accordance with their risk tolerance that will allow them to achieve the desired return given how much risk they are willing to take on over their investment window. Through seeking advice from an advisor, investors can get help navigating and mitigating the effects of short-term market news, whether it is high inflation, political strife, wars, sanctions, or anything else and focus on achieving their financial goals. Questions? Contact your local PPI Collaboration Centre.
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Learning From Experience: Bett’s Story

August 17, 2022

Everyone loves a story with a happy ending, even if it’s rife with tragedy and family drama. But happy ending or not, if somewhere in the story, a loved one is lost, we see the toll the loss can take on the relationships of family survivors. True in fiction. True in life. You play a pivotal role in encouraging your clients to plan ahead wisely and intentionally so they can ease rather than contribute to the toll their passing will take on the relationships of those they love. And you can never overemphasize the importance of proper estate planning. Share Bett’s story with your clients to help them understand and remember the importance of documenting and communicating their final intentions.  For more information on estate planning and documenting final intentions, watch our short video SMART TALK… about will planning and drafting and read our previous post The Beneficiary Challenge. Questions? Contact your local PPI Collaboration Centre.
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INFOclip: Understanding Term Insurance

August 10, 2022

You know how important insurance is for your clients – it offers them a sense of security knowing their financial obligations are met in the event of a disability, illness or even death. But are your clients aware about the many benefits of term insurance for today and their tomorrows? We’ve created this little video for you to share with your clients. It covers all the basics of term insurance and is a great place to initiate a conversation with your clients about how term insurance not only helps to cover short term expenses such a mortgage, a child’s education or income replacement, but can also be a great source of security into the future, as financial obligations become a wee bit more complicated. So be sure to watch this video, then share it with your clients to kick-start those important conversations! For similar content, read, then share Term Insurance – What Your Client Should Consider for Renewal and Insurance Solutions for Today and Tomorrow. And if you have any questions about term insurance (or any other life insurance solutions!), be sure to contact your local PPI office.
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Work-Life Balance: Tipping the Mortality Scale

August 3, 2022

Last time in this space, we discussed how physical or emotional stress affects the human heart. This time, we will focus on why maintaining a favorable balance between a commitment to our jobs and the need to prioritize our lives outside of the workplace is both a life-affirming and possible life-saving necessity. Let’s start by looking back to the early 1990’s, when researchers in Japan started to study and report on a phenomenon where it appeared ostensibly healthy, middle-aged, mostly men, started to die suddenly. The term coined for the cause of death in this group was “karoshi”, meaning death from overwork. The common thread running through these cases was a history of chronically long work weeks, logging in at 60 hours and often more. The cause of death was disturbing in its’ repetition, most often heart disease, stroke or suicide (1). More recently, and perhaps due to the pandemic and a growing body of knowledge increasingly difficult to ignore, there is renewed interest in the burden and toll of an unhealthy work life. A joint venture by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) published in 2021 estimated that nearly 400,000 people died from stroke and almost 350,000 from heart disease as a direct result of chronic work weeks of 55 hours or more. Between 2000 and 2016, this increased by 42% for heart disease and 19% for stroke (2). In these groups, 72% were males and more concentrated in workers aged 60 or higher. Related studies demonstrate mental disorder consequences affected younger groups, many in the third decade of life (3). What can be done to stem the tide of this disturbing trend? In Japan, legislation has been passed to limit the amount of monthly permitted overtime. Critics claim the threshold for allowable overtime hours still is too high and enforcement is inconsistent. In Canada, more employers are increasingly sensitive to the work-life balance necessary to maintain a healthy workforce. There is a school of thought that we are a physically tired society with an underlying belief that professional success requires us to walk the edge of burnout. There is more emphasis on sleep as a bedrock of good health, and good sleep advocacy continues to gain ground in addition to good nutrition, exercise and positive social integration (4). It is clear that hard work is made more satisfying by knowing when to call it a day. Hunt, Ellen. Wired. Japan’s karoshi culture was a warning: we didn’t listen. co.uk. February 6, 2021. World Health Organization. Long working hours increasing deaths from heart disease and stroke: WHO, ILO. Who.int. May 17, 2021. Takahashi, Mayasa. Sociomedical problems of overwork-related deaths and disorders in Japan. National Library of Medicine. January 22, 2019. Tollin, Lisa. Arianna Huffington shares the secret to her success: Sleep. her secret to success. the Secrets of Her Success: Sleep. Nbcnews.com. June 5, 2017.
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Social Media Platforms – What You Need to Know

July 27, 2022

You’re a successful Advisor but want to promote and continue to grow your business online – smart move, count us in! However, there are just so many social media platforms, how do you know which one is right for you and your business? There are indeed more than a few and they’re all slightly different, but all are excellent modern marketing tools and with a little research, you can decide which one (or two or three!) are a good fit for you and your brand. Recently, LIMRA published a study asking Generation Y (also called millennials) who they engage for financial advice. They found that 90% of those surveyed said that they would NOT seek financial advice from their parents’ Advisors because they “are not relevant” (1). Ouch. But what does it mean to be “relevant”? Well, if you want to reach the next generation of wealth, you need to meet them where they are – and that place is on social media. Likewise, when asked to rate the importance of social media sites, millennials and generation X demonstrated a clear preference for Facebook (#1), LinkedIn (#2) and YouTube (#3) (2). Now, let’s look at a few of the more popular platforms including LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. LinkedIn is a professional business-to-business social platform – meaning you’re more likely to find business clients, collaborators, and business partners. If you are looking to reach fellow industry professionals or centers of influence while doing a little networking, LinkedIn can be a great choice. People do not come here to find an Advisor but instead to learn more about their industry, connect with new professional contacts and seek new career opportunities. YouTube is fantastic as well. YouTube is a unique platform in the way that it is a search engine, not a social platform. This means that you can utilize this space to make your evergreen content (content that is long lasting with information that will remain relevant) easily searchable today and into the future. It should also be mentioned that LinkedIn and YouTube are examples of sites with different user demographics and capabilities. It is important for financial professionals to determine which social media platform(s) are most appropriate for their personal styles and their prospective consumer markets. It is also essential to understand that social media ratings are a modern form of referrals. However, if your business is in the broad market, then social spaces like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are platforms that your ideal clients are probably already on. Get on there and start building those relationships. So, what’s the message here? Prospects are researching you before they will even meet with you, so you need to be online, engaged and meet them where they are! Also, the increasingly youthful demographic of consumers seeking a financial Advisor means that social media has quickly become an important marketing and communication tool for financial professionals. We’ve reviewed five of the major platforms, but those aren’t necessarily the only modern direct marketing platforms you can utilize to promote your brand. Here is a list of a few more that may or may not be on your radar. Podcasts are growing in popularity. People are listening, watching and streaming, more and more. Perhaps a little more time consuming to create, but if you are up for the task, they can be the right fit for the brand information that you would like to convey. Blogs and e-Newsletter are definitely still on the list. With these tools you can control what your audience sees, review analytics and determine how many people have seen or opened your message or spent time on certain content that you have distributed. You can also more efficiently promote your business and services to an audience that already knows, likes and trusts you. Webinars and online live training sessions remain highly popular. People enjoy the fact that they can view it from afar, without having to leave their homes. Virtual events allow you to reach people in other areas that may not attend an in-person event due to travel requirements, availability, etc. Facebook groups provide an avenue for you to nurture your community and engage with your audience one-on-one. They also allow you to really hone-in on your target audience group – you can then tailor your message and get active engagement with more of your ideal customers. You are probably quite familiar with COI’s such as lawyers, accountants, mortgage brokers, etc. But did you know that you can also find centers of influence and influencers on modern marketing platforms? These are the people that share a similar audience to you, or their audience is made up of your ideal clients. Don’t be afraid to look beyond the typical industry partners and be sure to build connections. Although not an actual marketing platform, good ole word of mouth is still very much alive and probably more important now than it has been for years. In a world filled with so much noise, people are reaching out to their trusted friends, family and acquaintances online to find businesses, services and professionals that they can trust. They are relying on social proof more than anything else. Modern marketing platforms make meetup events and networking events easier to attend and find. Face-to-face communication is still key and social media platforms make it easier to find these events and connect with prospects, current clients and influencers. For similar articles on how you can build up your social media presence, read Building Connections Through Direct Response Marketing… More than just Social Media. And if you have any questions or need a helping hand with your modern marketing, contact your local PPI Collaboration Centre. LIMRA.com LIMRA.com
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Savings Growth Calculator

July 20, 2022

The ability of our “Savings Growth” calculator to compare two savings strategies can be useful during your client discussions on what to do with excess cash. Your clients can also use it to see the impact of increasing their savings, even by just a little. Walk through this multi-purpose tool or share it with your clients to stimulate your next discussion on finances.
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Preserving Your Client’s Memories with the help of STEP

July 13, 2022

Our life’s memories deserve consideration just as much as our financial legacies do.  Have you taken the opportunity to talk to your clients about how to protect their social media accounts and their digital assets? Most social media platforms have terms and conditions making these accounts private for security purposes and making it difficult, if not all out impossible, for family members to retrieve these accounts after their loved ones have passed on. The good news is that social media providers have put tools in place so that your clients can decide in advance how they would like their loved ones to access these accounts when they are gone. STEP (the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) has made the process even easier for your client to safeguard and share their memories with future generations by providing useful guides to help update their account settings and how to open conversations with their family and friends about the importance of preserving these digital memories. Be sure to share these guides with your clients: STEP: How to set up your digital accounts so that your loved ones can access them if you’re not able to STEP: It’s good to talk (about your digital assets) If you would like to learn more about digital assets, read our previous post: Protecting Your Client’s Digital Assets and watch our short video SMART TALK… about digital assets and share the client-friendly versions of these with your clients. And if you have any questions, please be sure to reach out to your local PPI office – we’re here to help!
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INFOclip: Mortgage Protection

July 6, 2022

Does your client own their own home? Do they have mortgage protection in place and can they continue to make loan payments in the case of a significant decrease in their income? For many Canadians, purchasing a home is an important life milestone that can evoke both great joy and financial responsibility. Unfortunately, unexpected life events such as the disability, illness and even death of an income earner can make paying a mortgage that much more difficult, especially if they don’t have the proper protection in place to safeguard their family’s income. Share this video with your client to show them how purchasing personal insurance, via a trusted advisor (that’s you!), can offer them and their families peace of mind with the protection and flexibility they need during difficult times to keep them on track with their mortgage payments.
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Building Connections Through Direct Response Marketing… More than just Social Media

June 29, 2022

Today, it’s no longer about those old, templated letters or phone dialing campaigns that… let’s be honest… were highly time consuming and largely ineffective in getting the attention of your clients. Social media has changed the way we promote and do business – all with better results at a fraction of the cost. So, why should you join the social media party and how can you make an impact through direct response marketing? Direct Response Marketing – What is it and why does it matter to you? One of the most important types of marketing, direct response marketing, uses social media tools to engage with and inspire an immediate action from the person you are communicating with. The virtual or social world will continue to evolve and expand. So, if you are not taking advantage of modern marketing, you are probably missing out on a fast, inexpensive and effective way to reach your clients, build relationships, build trust and grow your business – merely with a few clicks on your social media. The Benefits of Direct Response Marketing So, what are some of the benefits of this type of marketing? Increase Brand Awareness – If you have a business, you have a brand. If you’re an independent advisor – well, you ARE your brand. Remember that your brand is not just a logo, a splash of colours and a big sign on a building – you are the face of your brand. Humanize Your Brand or Industry – Some customers are nervous about working with big corporations, however modern marketing allows you to humanize your brand, making a human connection. Promote Content – Direct response marketing allows you to promote content which can be extremely powerful in marketing your business and making sales. It allows you to get your message out, reach new people, reach existing clients and promote your value as well as the services that you provide. Engage Your Audience – It allows you to engage with your clients or audience, which in turn can build stronger relationships and trust. Learn About Your Customers – This type of marketing can also help you learn more about your clients so that you can better understand their need, wants, interests, fears, goals and more – then deliver exactly what they are asking for to guarantee a satisfied client. Target Your Advertising – It makes targeted advertising easier. You can drill down to very specific areas, interests, demographics, industries and much more. And what does targeted advertising help you do? Boost sales! Establish Yourself as A Thought Leader – Direct response marketing allows you to establish your brand as a thought leader. Likewise, it enables you to brand yourself as someone who is innovative, maintains a service level that is above and beyond their industry competitors, or even someone who specializes in working with specific types of clients – all of which builds trust. Stay Top of Mind – Staying top of mind is the next benefit. You want to be the first person your client thinks of when their friends on social media ask for recommendations for their financial planning. Partner With Influencers to Grow Your Audience – It allows you to partner with influencers to increase your audience. This could be anyone in this industry that is already a thought leader – someone who has a large following and sway. For advisors, this could be lawyers, accountants, referral partners, mortgage brokers and so on. Think about who has a similar audience to you, who can be beneficial to your audience and whose audience you could be beneficial to. Increase Website Traffic – Direct response marketing can help you increase your website traffic, especially if you consistently have new and valuable content that is on your website or blog. Boost Sales and Generate Leads – And last, but certainly not least, it can help you generate leads. This is a way to generate leads in a way that is authentic, trustworthy and builds genuine, long-term relationships. Modern direct response marketing is all about providing value and creating those client connections; developing the know, like and trust relationship that can help move someone from a prospect to a valued client (and even an advocate!). The truth is that social media is here to stay, so be sure to BE where your clients are so that you can continue to engage your audience, build trust and provide value. If you’d like to know more about direct response marketing and how to optimize your business with this modern marketing tool, please contact your local PPI office.
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Recent Articles

The Evolving World of Mental Health Treatments

September 29, 2022

This is neither an endorsement or advice about the treatment of mental health. It goes without saying that good mental health is foundational to overall health and well-being. In underwriting, a report of confirmed or even suspected history of depression or related conditions gets a lot of attention and policy issue can range from standard rates to rated premium to sometimes no offer at all, where the risk is deemed too high to accept. Treatments for depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or other conditions in the mental health spectrum continue to evolve. The use of psychedelics is a newer facet of treatment. Natural substances that induce a hallucinatory state have been around for millennia. These include everything from cannabis, now legal in Canada, and include opium poppy to ayahuasca, the latter a product of brewing a particular vine or shrub commonly found in South America (1). The first synthetic hallucinogen, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) was created in 1938, initially thought to be pain-relief medication, with its’ hallucinatory properties discovered a few years later (2). There is a school of thought that this class of drugs does not have the same addictive potential known to be prevalent among users of tobacco and even alcohol, in itself favoring ongoing study for use as a bona fide therapeutic resource. The use of psychedelics, illegal in most countries, has long been relegated to use for recreational or even spiritual renewal purposes. The emergence of this class of drugs to treat or even improve already good mental health is seen as a new frontier. Improved understanding of the multifactorial aspects of mental health and the impact of these drugs on our brain continue to shed light where misunderstanding and ignorance used to predominate. Consider one study of 19 patients with treatment-resistant depression. Using functional MRI (fMRI) to view the brain, decreased depressive symptoms were observed at both one-week in all patients and nearly half after five-week after use of psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”). The fMRI showed decrease in cerebral blood flow in areas of the brain where reducing flow correlates with reduced depressive symptoms (3). In a brave, new world of ever-increasing understanding, and destigmatizing of mental illness, these hallucinogenic agents may in future become accepted mental health treatments. Watch this space as we learn more. Wikipedia. Ayahuasca. Wikipedia.org. History.com Editors. LSD. History.com. August 21, 2018. Carhart-Harris et all. Psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression: fMRI-measured brain mechanisms. National Library of Medicine. October 13, 2017.
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INFOclip: Protecting Your Estate

September 21, 2022

Over a lifetime, your client has worked and managed to accumulate an estate consisting of registered savings, non-registered savings, property, maybe even a business. And when they pass, they want to make sure that their family or a favourite charity receives as much of their estate as possible. So far so good, right? However, the reality is that if your client fails to structure their estate effectively, much of those hard-earned dollars could end up in the hands of government as taxes or distributed to heirs in a way contrary to their wishes. So, how can they prevent their estate from being distributed incorrectly? Proper estate planning is key. Watch this video, then share it with your clients to demonstrate the importance of effective estate planning with a trusted Advisor – that’s you! For similar content, read, then share Estate Protection for your Client. And if you have any questions about estate planning, be sure to contact your local PPI Collaboration Centre.
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More Articles

Cash Flow Calculator

September 14, 2022

Do you have clients who could use a little help building a comprehensive household budget? Recommend the Cash Flow Calculator!
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Healthy Forgetting: Remember This

September 7, 2022

Underwriters see an unprecedented number of cases of suspected or confirmed cognitive decline, the inevitable result of our aging population. While cognitive decline can be demonstrated by a degradation or loss of a number of functions such as learning, language or complex attention skills, the apparent loss of memory is the most common presenting complaint. Even cases where the memory loss has not had a major impact on daily living, a suspicion of even mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is enough to have the insurance application turned down. But what about the other side of the memory coin, specifically can we remember too much or remember in ways that are unhealthy? How does this work and is there a name for this condition? Let’s delve a little deeper. A quick word on brain mechanics; the human brain, allows us to store memories in the hippocampus, contained in the medial temporal lobe. Think of this as the hard drive of our memory bank. The frontal cortex of our brain allows us to access those memories. Think of this as the “Open” command much like when we access a stored document on our computer hard drive. These areas of the brain allow not only for memory retrieval but also to cultivate memories that includes pruning, removal and replication, similar to the way a gardener uses these methods to grow and maintain healthy flowers or vegetables. An example of pruning and replication might be one piece of information in our memory erased and replaced, then replicated by more reasonable or useful information. This the mechanism for building a logical mind. An example of unhealthy memory is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With PTSD, the inability to forget following a traumatic event creates an imbalance between remembering and forgetting. This results in the chronic and often daily reminders of the trauma manifested by intrusive thoughts, inability to sleep and can be triggered by things like loud noises, a minor annoyance to most but a devastating and regular reminder of the trauma to those with PTSD. More recently and closer to home for most of us, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a traumatic event. It affords the opportunity to observe how we remember the facts about the virus, the cost on human lives and families around the world and what may be required to overcome the challenges of a pandemic. This is the healthy remembering. The healthy forgetting is the letting go of the fears we have taken on during the last two years. In an essay on the two-year anniversary of the pandemic, the neuroscientist, Dr. Scott Small, writes that some degree of emotional forgetting allows us to live in and move forward from this time (1). Remembering when and what to forget is an ability most handle well. It is also a reminder to better understand and lend a hand to those who can’t always forget what is best forgotten. The takeaway for you as an Advisor? Knowledge, insight and understanding make for better informed underwriting decisions. Small, Scott. We Will Forget Much of the Pandemic. That’s a Good Thing. New York Times. March 9, 2022.
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National Life Insurance Awareness Month

August 31, 2022

Did you know that September is National Life Insurance Awareness Month? The perfect time to reach out to prospects and clients to evaluate what insurance they have in place and if it still meets their needs. A good place to start is to assess your client’s current situation. Your client has different needs at different stages in their life, so good questions to review with them include: How has life changed since you purchased your coverage, or since we last reviewed your insurance: Find out about mortgages, new loans, job or income changes, education funds, retirement plans and other financial obligations so they can be sure they have the coverage they need. Has the nature of your needs changed: They may require a similar coverage amount as when they first purchased their plan but their obligations may have shifted from temporary to permanent. A change of plan may be appropriate. Have you done any will planning? What are you hopes and dreams for your heirs: There may be an insurance need associated with the smooth distribution of their estate. Regardless of your client’s life insurance needs, they have options. So, as it gets chillier outside and we prepare for the long, cold Canadian winter ahead, take some time today to reach out and ensure that your clients have the insurance coverage they need today and into the future. Share the client article so that, in honour of life insurance awareness month, your prospects and clients can ask themselves a few good insurance related questions. If you’re looking for similar content to share with your clients, read then share Insurance Solutions for Today and Tomorrow, as well as Term Insurance – What Your Client Should Consider For Renewal. We also have this great Exploring Your Life Insurance Options tool to help your client understand the varying types of insurance and which one may be best for them.
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Inflation, Interest Rates and Your Client’s Investments

August 24, 2022

Lately, we’ve all been experiencing a few less dollars in our bank accounts. Between the cost of fuel, groceries and the overall cost of living, there’s no denying that everything is just so much more expensive. Your clients may want to know why and although “inflation” is the one-word answer, we’re diving a little deeper into why inflation occurs and how it can affect interest rates and your client’s investments. Interest Rates and Inflation Inflation can be defined as a general progressive increase in the prices of goods and services in an economy. When prices rise, each unit of currency can buy fewer goods and services. Monetary policy seeks to stabilize the rate of inflation in an economy by controlling how much cash is infused into the economic system and where rates are set. When interest rates are low, money is cheap. Individuals will borrow more to spend and invest, businesses will borrow more to invest in the growth of their own companies, restructure existing debt and buyback shares. In fact, a share buyback can lead to an increase in the price of shares. When money is cheap, established companies will borrow to buy back their own shares on the open market. When they buy back their own shares, they are reducing the number of shares available and increasing the value of each remaining share (market cap stays the same). However, when interest rates are high, individuals will borrow fewer dollars and save more. Businesses will also borrow fewer dollars and invest less in the growth of their companies. For this reason, a low interest rate environment will stimulate an economy and encourage growth whereas high interest rates stifle growth and stabilize (or contract) an economy. Now, you might be wondering why we would ever raise rates if the lower rates lead to more growth. The answer? Inflation. When money is cheap there is more of it being created, more money in an economy leads to a reduction of purchasing power. The more money there is, the less value that money has. If we keep rates low to stimulate the economy, then inflation can run rampant. If we keep rates high to curb inflation, then we stifle growth. It’s a fine balance and there is a constant battle being fought between interest rates and inflation. Here’s an example for you. If an interest rate is, say, 5% but inflation is, say, 3% then the real rate of interest is only 2% (5-3=2). The real rate seeks to streamline the cost of money and the increase of prices. Let us look at it this way, assume that $100 dollars can buy your client 100 apples. Now let us assume that there is no inflation and your client has invested their $100 at 5% interest for a single year. When the year has ended, their $100 has turned into $105 and your client’s ability to buy apples has increased from 100 to 105. Now let us look at the same scenario but assume that the price of apples will experience 5% inflation. Your client’s $100 dollars invested at 5% for a year will still result in $105 at years end. But if apples inflated in price by 5% from $1 to $1.05 then they can still only buy 100 apples. The money itself grew by 5% (from 100 to 105) but your client cannot buy any more apples at year end because the price of apples has gone up too. We can see that inflation reduces purchasing power. In turn, the objective of the central bank, through monetary and fiscal policy, is to target a real rate that will allow for growth while keeping inflation in check. What Does Inflation Mean for the Stock Market? Broadly speaking, the stock market can be divided into value and growth categories. Growth stocks are typically new and faster growing companies that may not yet be profitable. These companies need cash to grow and raising cash becomes more challenging when the cost of borrowing increases. A value stock is one that has strong current cash flows and isn’t borrowing to grow as much as a growth company. When coming up with a value of a stock using a discounted cash flow model, in times of rising rates, a growth stock will be impacted to a higher degree than a value stock. This is why we have seen tech and growth stocks come off in recent months (Q4 2021 into Q1 2022) and seen value plays like energy, infrastructure, banks and insurance companies rally. Moreover, banks and insurance companies will do well with an increase in interest rate margin – the spread between how much they pay on deposits versus how much they make on investing deposits. With rates rising, this spread could theoretically increase. What Does Inflation Mean for the Bond Market? Again, speaking in general terms, inflation can have a negative impact on bonds and other fixed income assets. The nature of valuing a bond, not unlike the DCF (discounted cash flow) method for valuing a stock discussed previously, is contingent upon discounting cash flows at a prevailing rate. When rates go up the price of a bond goes down, that is, there is an inverse relationship between the price of a bond and the yield of a bond. Another way to think about it is, when interest rates go up, the interest payments from existing fixed income securities are less competitive than new bonds at the higher rate so the price of existing bonds at the previous, lower rate goes down. When inflation goes up, rates must go up too. When rates go up, existing bonds come down in value. Keep in mind that that all information in this article is from a theoretical perspective. There are plenty of moving parts and different securities will behave differently. The objective here is to illustrate concepts in a vacuum and not recommend a particular security, asset class or any guarantee of performance or behavior of an asset class or security in the economy or market. As always, the advice is to construct a broadly diversified portfolio in accordance with their risk tolerance that will allow them to achieve the desired return given how much risk they are willing to take on over their investment window. Through seeking advice from an advisor, investors can get help navigating and mitigating the effects of short-term market news, whether it is high inflation, political strife, wars, sanctions, or anything else and focus on achieving their financial goals. Questions? Contact your local PPI Collaboration Centre.
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Learning From Experience: Bett’s Story

August 17, 2022

Everyone loves a story with a happy ending, even if it’s rife with tragedy and family drama. But happy ending or not, if somewhere in the story, a loved one is lost, we see the toll the loss can take on the relationships of family survivors. True in fiction. True in life. You play a pivotal role in encouraging your clients to plan ahead wisely and intentionally so they can ease rather than contribute to the toll their passing will take on the relationships of those they love. And you can never overemphasize the importance of proper estate planning. Share Bett’s story with your clients to help them understand and remember the importance of documenting and communicating their final intentions.  For more information on estate planning and documenting final intentions, watch our short video SMART TALK… about will planning and drafting and read our previous post The Beneficiary Challenge. Questions? Contact your local PPI Collaboration Centre.
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