Time to Consider a Shareholders Agreement for your Business?

“Are you running an incorporated business with family or non-family members? If so, are you and your co-owners working in a harmonious environment and agreeing on the direction in which the business is currently going?,” BDO Canada asked in a recent online article. The article continued, “If this is your situation, it’s definitely a good place to be; but be mindful that challenges can arise that will require you to resolve disputes or deal with unfortunate situations — such as if a shareholder dies or becomes disabled. It is these types of challenges which make it imperative to have a shareholders’ agreement in place. And to be an effective agreement, it needs to reflect the key principles and philosophy of all of the shareholders.” Read the full article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS

Spending Moderately to Increase your Nest Egg

“Lifestyle inflation is one of the biggest enemies of retirement. Of course, we will run into other problems such as unexpected health care issues, economic downturns, and our children’s education. However, lifestyle inflation is different because it is completely under our control. Most of us can do a better job at minimizing our lifestyle inflation, but it is very difficult to resist the urge to spend more when you make more,” Joe Udo wrote for the U.S.News & World Report LP, republished by Yahoo Finance online late last week. Udo continued, “We all want to be comfortable and live a better life. I’m not immune to lifestyle inflation either. When I first graduated from college and earned a good paycheck, my expenses went way up. It’s been trending up slowly since then, but I consciously try to minimize it even as I earn more income over the years. We live in a modest home, drive a regular car, and eat out about once a week. Many of my colleagues purchased McMansions, luxury cars, and spared no expense on entertainment. They are prioritizing luxurious living now over an early retirement, but that’s their prerogative.” Read the full article, which includes an outline of how you can avoid lifestyle inflation, here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS  

Canada in the top five of economically free countries

“Canada rises to Top Five in world economic freedom ranking as U.S. plummets to 18th,” the National Post wrote earlier this week.  Writer Sarah Boesveld continued, “Canada has taken its place among the Top 5 countries with the most economic freedom, according to a new Fraser Institute report — now leaps and bounds ahead of the United States thanks to the gradual shrinking of the Canadian government since the mid-1990s as America’s just got bigger. The annual Economic Freedom of the World report, released Tuesday, has Canada tied in fifth place with Australia — up one spot from last year. Hong Kong remains at the top, Singapore’s next, then New Zealand.” To read the full article and get the rundown of information in graph form, you can check it out here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS

3D printing to rewrite the rules of manufacturing?

3D printing could well rewrite the rules of manufacturing in much the same way as the PC did for computing.

“What could well be the next great technological disruption is fermenting away, out of sight, in small workshops, college labs, garages and basements. Tinkerers with machines that turn binary digits into molecules are pioneering a whole new way of making things—one that could well rewrite the rules of manufacturing in much the same way as the PC trashed the traditional world of computing,” the Economist wrote in a recent blog. It continued, “The machines, called 3D printers, have existed in industry for years. But at a cost of $100,000 to $1m, few individuals could ever afford one. Fortunately, like everything digital, their price has fallen. So much so, industrial 3D printers can now be had for $15,000, and home versions for little more than $1,000 (or half that in kit form). ‘In many ways, today’s 3D printing community resembles the personal computing community of the early 1990s,’ says Michael Weinberg, a staff lawyer at Public Knowledge, an advocacy group in Washington, DC.” CSI wrote a similar blog, The Future of Manufacturing in North America, back in February 2012.  Click here to revisit our thoughts. To read The Economist’s full blog click here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS

Critical illness insurance often overlooked

“…have you ever stopped to imagine what would happen if you suddenly couldn’t work?” Golden Girl Finance asked in an online article. The article, which looked at the cases of seven female celebrities who would have been eligible to utilize critical illness insurance, continued, “You have life insurance to protect your family in case you get sick and die, but what if you get sick – and live? The costs of treatment, care and inability to work can ravage a family’s finances, yet according to a recent poll conducted by TD Insurance, 65% of Canadian parents don’t have critical illness insurance.” To read about the seven famous women, including actress Olivia Newton-John and musician Sheryl Crow, who triumphed over cancer go to this link.           | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS

Canadians Not Choosing Retirement Date

“Despite their best-laid plans, a new poll says more than one-third of retired baby boomers did not choose when they left the work force. The poll of Canadians aged 50-plus with financial assets of at least $100,000, released by Royal Bank of Canada Wednesday, found 85 percent of not-yet-retired baby boomers believe they will work until they decide not to. But among those who have actually retired, only 62 percent had that choice,” Roma Luciw of The Globe and Mail wrote this week, republished by BNN.com yesterday. Luciw’s article continued, “So what kinds of factors forced them to make an earlier-than-expected exit? A request from the employer, health reasons and needing to be a caregiver for someone else were some of the reasons provided by RBC. Certified financial planner Alexandra Macqueen, the co-author of “Pensionize Your Nest Egg”, says disability and chronic illness can push people out of the work force earlier than they had expected, with potentially devastating personal and financial consequences.” Read the full article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS

Success tips from unconventional mogul Richard Branson

“Richard Branson founded Virgin in 1970 at the age of 20, and he hasn’t looked back. He’s the only entrepreneur to have built eight separate billion-dollar companies in eight different industries — and he did it all without a degree in business,” Business Insider wrote in an article this week. The article continued, “‘Had I pursued my education long enough to learn all the conventional dos and don’ts of starting a business I often wonder how different my life and career might have been,’ Branson writes in his new book, Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School.” For fun Business Insider compiled a list of 18 success tip Branson has to offer.  Get the full tip rundown here.

Bank of England gains footing thanks to inflation rate

“British inflation ticked down in August despite a rise in oil and fuel costs, providing the Bank of England with more leeway to inject additional cash into the fragile economy. The Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday that consumer price inflation slowed to 2.5 percent last month from 2.6 percent in July, in line with economists’ forecasts,” a Reuters article writes today. The article continues, “British government bond prices ticked up after the release. The central bank has been hoping that inflation will ease back towards its 2 percent target over the next few months, helping cash-strapped Britons and supporting consumption. ‘There is a little bit of relief for me around these numbers,’ said RBS economist Ross Walker, adding that he had expected greater upward price effects on recreational goods and hotels and restaurants from the London Olympics.” Read the full article here.

Finance Minister Warns ‘Canada’s economy remains vulnerable’

“Canada’s economy remains vulnerable to global risks, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty warned today,” a CBC news online article wrote last week.

The article continued, “While boasting that Canada has done the best among the G7 countries in terms of job creation, Flaherty told the St. John’s Board of Trade that ‘the global economy remains frustratingly fragile.’ ‘For example, growth in a number of emerging-market economies is slowing, and concerns are growing about the capacity of the U.S. to balance the necessary fiscal consolidation while sustaining economic growth,’ he said. Flaherty focused on Europe’s debt crisis as the most immediate challenge.” Read the full article here.

Gold-winning Paralympic Athlete Zanardi – A Story of Perseverance

“Alex Zanardi just loves to race. But what he really likes to do is win,” an Associated Press article published by the National Post wrote last week. The article continued, “The former Formula One driver took the Paralympic gold medal Wednesday in paracycling – a hand cycle powered by the arms – at the Brands Hatch race track, posting a time of 24 minutes, 50.22 seconds. The victory capped an incredible journey for the 45-year-old who almost died in a horrific accident at a 2001 CART race in Germany. ‘It’s an amazing feeling,’ a clearly exuberant Zanardi said. ‘I’m really, really happy for the result.'” Read the full article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS

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