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Do Canadians Have enough Life Coverage?
Canadian Real Estate Market on the Rise


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The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.

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# Monday, December 28, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009 5:08:59 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00) ( General Life )
2009 has definitely been a financial roller coaster ride for many Canadians. Many experienced financial stress; all the uncertainty did make many Canadians review their financial planning.

RBC recently did a survey through Ipsos Reid to assess how Canadians felt about their existing life insurance coverage. Out of more than 1000 Canadians polled, only 68% said that they felt confident that they had enough coverage for them and their family's needs. Adults who have children were more concerned about life insurance coverage in regards to the death and/or disability of a parent. 75% of parents polled said this is one of their biggest financial concerns.

As well, those polled showed that more than half of Canadians felt that they suffer from too much stress in their lives; parents felt particularly vulnerable to stress. 7 out of 10 Canadian households that have children admitted they experience too much stress; 51% of households without children reported these unhealthy levels of stress. They also are aware that high stress levels can contribute and/or exacerbate health problems as they get older.

When it came to the challenges of what these people would do to reduce their stress and lead healthier lives, the poll showed at:

•    55% were not willing to give up television watching time;
•    45% were not willing to give up eating red meat;
•    34% were not willing to give up their alcohol consumption
•    More than 75% of those polled felt they maintained healthy eating habits most of the time;
•    Men seemed to experience less willpower when it came to indulging in unhealthy behaviors; half were unwilling to give up red meat to add five health years to their lives, 4 in 10 women were willing to make the change.
•    39% refused to give up alcohol in order to improve their health; 28% were willing to.

As the holiday seasons have traditionally been a time when people eat foods that they know are bad for them, overindulge in alcoholic beverages, etc. this may also be time to reflect how your lifestyle suits your life insurance coverage. Especially owing to the uncertain financial times other safeguards such as savings may no longer be in place or at the right dollar amount. After the holiday season may be the perfect opportunity to review your financial planning strategy and make sure that your coverage is reflective of your needs for the upcoming year.

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# Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Tuesday, December 01, 2009 8:03:30 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00) ( Mortgage Insurance )
Despite the current uncertainty in the Canadian and global economy, the Canadian Real Estate Association claims that residential house sales in Canada actually reached the highest level ever for the month of October 2009. As well, the average sale price was up by over 20% from October 2008. This increase in residential house sales is being credited to low interest rates. Currently the average mortgage rate is 4.55, which is a decline from 5.41 which was the average for 2008. As well, consumer confidence is also being credited for the increase in residential home sales.

Out of all the provinces, British Columbia had the highest monthly gain in residential real estate sales; B.C. also had the most dramatic decline in sales last year. British Columbia has traditionally always had the highest real estate prices as well as the highest average mortgages. Vancouver's sales have risen to 117% over the past year. The Canadian Real Estate Association is now forecasting national activity in residential home sales will reach over 460,000 units in 2009 which is an increase of 6.6% from last year. The national MLS home price average is forecast to climb 4.2% in 2009; this will reach a record of $317,900.

This is the first time that residential home sales have increased in price since the spring of 2008. This means that purchasing a home may now be less affordable for Canadians, according to a new study by the RBC Housing Affordability survey. This survey measures the proportion of pre-tax household income needed in order to cover all the necessary costs of home ownership. This measure rose for all housing types in the third quarter, with standard bungalows and two storey homes seeing the biggest gain.  Demand for housing has now outstripped supply since the recovery in real estate sales began last winter.

For those Canadians who want to take advantage of the low mortgage rates to buy a home, mortgage insurance coverage must also be considered. Most lending institutions require mandatory mortgage insurance. However, mortgage insurance does not have to be obtained through the lending institution, although almost all do offer this coverage. Term life insurance in an amount that covers the mortgage can be a better alternative to bank mortgage insurance. Term life also offers several advantages that bank mortgage insurance does not. Term life insurance offers the homebuyer the advantage of naming the beneficiary of the policy. When purchased through a lending institution, the mortgage insurance policy names the bank as the beneficiary. When using term life insurance the policy is owned by the homebuyer, not the bank.

Another advantage to using term life to insure a mortgage is the option of purchasing a policy that can be converted into whole life insurance upon completion of the term. This allows the homebuyer to buy a term life policy when they are in good health, and the rates are less expensive. Some convertible policies will not require any additional medical information, but will be based on the original health status.

When shopping for a home, and mortgage, consult with your insurance broker about using term life insurance to insure the mortgage and explore all the options. Many times term life insurance is also cheaper than the coverage offered by the bank. For more information on using term life insurance, please visit our mortgage insurance page.

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