What is life insurance for?

Life Insurance is important, as it protects your family and lets you leave them a non-taxable amount at the time of death. It is also used to cover your mortgage and your personal loans, such as your car loan. Your individual life insurance follows you when you retire, and you are no longer insured by your employer. This insurance will also replace your family income when resources are less so they can maintain their quality of life.

Choosing life insurance

Once you understand the importance of taking out a life insurance policy, you need to make the right choice. To do this, you need to ask yourself about your needs and purchase a product that works for your family and insurance premiums that fit your budget. We can help you with this.

You need to ask yourself three main questions to figure out what type of life insurance would work best in your situation.

  1. Family and work situation

First of all, your insurance needs will be influenced by the following: your family situation, your age, your health situation and whether you are an owner or self-employed.

Life insurance is important, whether you are single or in a relationship. In the event of your death, your loved ones will have to pay your funeral expenses and pay off any financial liabilities you have, such as your debts. If you have insurance coverage, your debts will not be a burden for your family members.

In addition, your loved ones may also have to bear some of your shared responsibilities, such as your credit card fees, your lease, your car payment, your mortgage payment, your student debt, or other. If you have children, life insurance will let you replace the lost income from one of the parents to provide for the children’s needs.

Life insurance is also an effective financial tool for protecting your business. It lets you ensure you and your loved ones’ financial security should something bad happen.

If you start your own business with a partner who passes away prematurely, will you have the funds needed to buy out his/her shares and continue moving forward with your dream? An unfortunate event like this could have a major impact on your company. So, you need to start thinking about it now. If you don’t have coverage, getting a policy will let you cover your needs as a self-employed person and will avoid future concerns for your family.

  1. Life goals

Your personal, family and professional goals will also determine your choice of life insurance. For example, do you plan on having children? What are your career and income goals? At what age would you like to retire?

This will help you evaluate how much life insurance you should take out to protect your loved ones in the event of death.

  1. Coverage type

You have thought about your situation and life goals. Now all you need to do is figure out what type of life insurance is best for you.

For example, you might ask yourself if you need short-term or long-term coverage. Do you want coverage that generates liquidity and surrender value that you can use to reach your goals, etc.?

Once you answer these questions, you will be well equipped to choose the life insurance that works best for you.

We will be able to guide you in answering all these questions, and based on your answers, can direct you to life insurance that meets your needs.

In conclusion…

The important thing is to choose the right life insurance for your budget and your needs. Over the years, your needs, your family situation and your life goals will evolve. When that happens, it will be time for you to re-evaluate the right type of insurance for you to ensure you are covered properly.

Remember that you are never too young to buy life insurance, since the younger you are, the lower the cost of your premium. We are there to provide some guidance in this process, based on your reality and your goals.

To start a conversation or to request a quote fill out this simple form:


June 2022

Market Update

With the doom and gloom that controls media today, we figure it would be a good time to provide another market update with some proper context.  We’ve had a lot of good conversations over the last month despite the challenges currently in the markets.  In our opinion Optimize has been a strong performer despite what you see in headlines today.  Overall markets are down -14% to -24% year-to-date.  The Optimize balanced growth portfolio is down about -7% year-to-date and has a one-year return of +4%.  We are definitely down from the highs of last year’s gains, but the Premium Income fund within the portfolio (which we’ve often referred to as “Pension Style Investing”), has really provided strong stability within your portfolios.  Currently the Premium Income fund is only down a few % year to-date with growth year over year.  Access to this style of management is one of the primary reasons the move to Optimize was originally made, and we’re happy it’s turning out in all our favours.

If you have questions or concerns, please reach out, we’re happy to chat through the details about your accounts at what’s happening in the markets today.  We are definitely not out of the woods, and there remains a lot of uncertainty for 2022, but we’re in good hands to capitalize on the growth that lies ahead.

Full Report from Optimize Wealth Management:

Joe and Stu

From the Desk of Optimize Wealth Management – Looking Forward

In the world of the 24-hour news cycle, and if-it-bleeds-it-leads journalism, we are inundated with negative headlines at all hours of the day. Current sentiment is overwhelmingly negative, volatility is high and uncertainties remain. We have seen substantial declines in the major indices, particularly in recent days with investors weighing the prospects of a “hard” or “soft” landing. As mentioned earlier, we are likely to continue to see companies revise their earnings lower, as well as analysts cut price targets, as they discount the effect of higher prices and higher interest rates throughout the economy. The markets will likely continue to be volatile in the coming weeks as uncertainty remains elevated and as investors digest each piece of economic data. Again however, it’s also important to remember that market corrections (defined as a decline of 10% or more) are almost always followed by periods of strong returns, i.e. the average one-year return from the low of a correction on the S&P 500 since 1980 is 23%, and the average two-year return is 37.5%. Encouragingly, the labour market also remains robust and should naturally cushion the effects of higher interest rates and reduce the likelihood of a potential recession.

Regardless, we are extremely pleased with how the Portfolios have performed. The benefits of broad diversification and the inclusion of institutional “pension-style” asset classes has resulted in lower volatility, lower downside capture and ultimately higher-quality risk-adjusted returns. The current market dynamics will remain challenging for some time, but the secular rotation from growth to value, will continue to favor our existing allocations and overall long-term strategy. More specifically, the Portfolios emphasis on value, its current overweight to financials, increased exposure to Canada, as well as the combination of alternative asset classes should continue to provide a strong defense against current headwinds, but also ensure consistent and stable returns over time. Clients are well positioned, as we eventually exit this correction and although we will likely continue to see volatility in the short to medium term, clients should keep their long-term financial goals in mind as they are well established for success.

Full Report: https://castlewealthservices.com/wp-content/uploads/Market-Commentary-June-2022.pdf

This report is provided by Optimize Wealth Management. It is for informational and educational purposes only as of the date of writing, and may not be appropriate for other purposes. The views and opinions expressed may change at any time based on market or other conditions and may not come to pass. This material is not intended to be relied upon as investment advice or recommendations, does not constitute a solicitation to buy or sell securities and should not be considered specific legal, investment or tax advice. The information contained in this report has been drawn from sources believed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate or complete. This report contains economic analysis and views, including about future economic and financial markets performance. These are based on certain assumptions and other factors, and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties. The actual outcome may be materially different. Optimize Wealth Management and its affiliates and related entities are not liable for any errors or omissions in the information, analysis or views contained in this report, or for any loss or damage suffered.

May 2022

Spring greetings from Joe and Stu!

To start off with an important announcement, Joe and Karalee had an early arrival this spring: Kal Thor Quach – born 8:52pm on Apr. 3, 2022, 4lbs 1oz, 18 inches.

Congratulations Joe and Karalee!

We are actively adding insurance contracts right now to facilitate the transfer of any insurance that was provided by Pat. Please expect to hear from us in the weeks to follow, to facilitate this transfer.  If you had purchased any insurance with Pat and haven’t heard from us, please let us know so we can update the agent of record for you and continue to look after your Life, Disability and Critical Illness insurance needs.

This week Optimize has sent out their Spring 2022 Quarterly Portfolio Commentary, you can download it here if you missed it: Optimize Spring 2022 Quarterly Portfolio Commentary.

Chat soon!  Sincerely,

Joe & Stu

From the Desk of Optimize Wealth Management – Outlook Ahead

While the start of 2022 has been a turbulent one for the markets, as we look forward, we view the current environment as largely supportive for equity markets. Despite the backdrop of slower economic growth and the ongoing geopolitical tensions in Europe, the Canadian and U.S. markets are well supported and expected to continue to perform well.

As the year progresses, we expect that the supply-side constraints that have helped to drive inflation, largely created by the pandemic, will continue to temper. However, this is likely to be offset by the effects of the conflict in Europe, should it persist, as Ukraine and Russia contribute to the production of various commodities, particularly food and energy. As well, the recent Covid lockdowns in China are expected to create further headwinds. In its meeting in May, Chair Powell was explicit in suggesting that the Fed will continue to tackle inflation and additional 50 bps rate hikes remain on the table. As such, we can expect interest rates to rise in the coming months.

For now, we continue to capitalize on opportunities as they present themselves during market pullbacks, focusing on adding quality companies with lower valuations to our portfolios — opportunities that were largely difficult to find throughout 2021. As we have suggested in the past, this is a time in which thoughtful portfolio oversight, evaluation and scrutiny continue to benefit investors. Most important, we continue to advocate that — during these volatile times — individual investors remember that successful investing involves maintaining the fortitude to stick to your plan, continuing to be invested and staying the course.

Optimize Wealth Management (Optimize Inc.) represents to the reader that this Mandate or Model Portfolio is not a Mutual Fund or an Investment Product but rather a portfolio strategy. The forward-looking statements and forward-looking information are not guarantees of future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements and information. Therefore, actual future results and trends may differ materially from what is forecasted in the forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors. Past performance or hypothetical performance.

From the Desk of First National – Residential Market Commentary

With the Canadian economy showing strong signs of recovery the way is clear for another half-a-percentage point increase in the Bank of Canada rate.

Statistics Canada figures for February show that gross domestic product (GDP) grew by another 1.1%, with just about all sectors of the economy showing improvement.

Preliminary data for March indicate a further 0.5% increase.  First quarter GDP growth is expected to hit 5.6%, which is nearly double the official forecast.

This rapid rebound from the Omicron variant of COVID-19 now has the Bank of Canada warning that the economy is overheating and more interest rate increases will be needed to cool it down and slow the pace of inflation.  That has cemented expectations for, at least, a 50 basis point increase in the Bank’s Policy Rate at the next setting on June 1st.  There is also the possibility of a 75 basis point hike.

In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee last week Bank of Canada Governor, Tiff Macklem, warned that the central bank may have to push its Policy Rate beyond the neutral range.

“It’s possible that we may have to go above the neutral rate for a period of time to return inflation to target, but it’s a bit above 2% or 3%, it’s not 7% or 8%,” he said.

“It’s going to be delicate. “But we do need to raise interest rates to moderate that spending growth and get inflation back to target,” Macklem said.


February 2022

Greetings and Happy 2022 from Joe and Stu!

Since we’ve taken over management at the end of 2021 we’ve been actively trying to connect with everyone one-on-one. If you haven’t heard from us, please know you will soon! If you have an immediate need, please reach out by calling, texting or emailing.

Joe Quach – joe(at)castlewealthservices.com, 226-546-5424
Stuart Driedger – stuart(at)castlewealthservices.com, 431-341-2100

Below you’ll find some detailed information from Optimize Wealth Management and First National Financial about the current state of the economy and an outlook on 2022. Overall 2022 looks predictable, which is great news after the last couple years of uncertainty.

We look forward to connecting and working for you!

Joe & Stu

Important Information and Dates

1)RRSP Deadline is fast approaching!  March 1, 2022 is the final date for RRSP contributions that can apply against your 2021 income.

2)2021 Tax Slips have been sent out directly from Optimize.  You can also access your tax slips through your online portal.  If you need a hand finding them, please let us know!

From the Desk of Optimize Wealth Management

Very Strong Financial Results in 2021: Client portfolios had another very strong year in 2021, with Canadian equities in our portfolios outperforming the TSX by 9.5% and the U.S equities outpacing the Dow Jones over the course of the year. Our Premium Income Fund was up more than 13% in 2021 whereas traditional bonds and North American investment grade debt tumbled 2-5% during the same timeframe. Despite the continued pull-back in the US markets year-to-date, our portfolios have exhibited tremendous relative strength to all of the major financial markets in North America.

A Rising Rate Environment is Actually Good for Certain Sectors: As history has shown, a rising rate environment has had a very positive impact on certain parts of the economy, namely financial services.  In fact, the financial sector of which our portfolios have an overweight position, has consistently outperformed the S&P 500 by a greater margin than any other sector during periods of rising interest rates. Moreover, Energy companies and specifically oil prices remain well positioned as the geopolitically fueled supply concerns continue to place upward momentum on oil prices. The Canadian housing market continues to remain at very tight levels with employment levels in Canada having fully recovered from the COVID-19 shock.

Strategic Positioning and Proactive Rebalancing across our Portfolio Mandates: While there are certain sectors that are positioned better than others for this type of market, we continue to take a very measured approach within our portfolios and still see tremendous value within large-cap blue chip companies. Investing in companies which exhibit strong Returns on Equity, Solid Dividend Yields, and steady Revenue Growth has always, and will certainly continue to be our focus in 2022. We also continue to hold very strong, defensive names such as Walmart and Costco, which perform very well in current market conditions (Costco, for example, was up over 50% in 2021). To complement and further diversify our portfolios, we also have a very meaningful allocation invested in our pension-style asset classes which exhibit very low correlation levels to the broader markets.

And while we will of course continue to be extremely proactive should we feel the need to make changes within our portfolios, we are already certainly very well-positioned to take advantage of the current market conditions and we look forward to another very strong year overall.

From the Desk of First National Financial

This morning (January 26, 2022) in its first scheduled policy decision of 2022, the Bank of Canada left its target overnight benchmark rate unchanged at what it describes as its “lower bound” of 0.25%. As a result, the Bank Rate stays at 0.5% and the knock-on effect is that borrowing costs for Canadians will remain low for the time being. 

The Bank also updated its observations on the state of the economy, both in Canada and globally, leaving a strong impression that rates will rise this year.

More specifically, the Bank said that its Governing Council has decided to end its extraordinary commitment to hold its policy rate at the effective lower bound and that looking ahead, it expects “… interest rates will need to increase, with the timing and pace of those increases guided by the Bank’s commitment to achieving” its 2% inflation target.

These are the other highlights of today’s BoC announcement.

Canadian economy

-The economy entered 2022 with considerable momentum, and a broad set of measures are now indicating that economic slack is absorbed

-With strong employment growth, the labour market has tightened significantly with elevated job vacancies, strong hiring intentions, and a pick up in wage gains

-Elevated housing market activity continues to put upward pressure on house prices

-Omicron is “weighing on activity in the first quarter” and while its economic impact will depend on how quickly this wave passes, the impact is expected to be less severe than previous waves

-Economic growth is then expected to bounce back and remain robust over the Bank’s “projection horizon,” led by consumer spending on services, and supported by strength in exports and business investment

-After GDP growth of 4.5% in 2021, the Bank expects Canada’s economy to grow by 4% in 2022 and about 3.5% in 2023

Canadian inflation

-CPI inflation remains “well above” the Bank’s target range and core measures of inflation have edged up since October

-Persistent supply constraints are feeding through to a broader range of goods prices and, combined with higher food and energy prices, are expected to keep CPI inflation close to 5% in the first half of 2022

-As supply shortages diminish, inflation is expected to decline “reasonably quickly” to about 3% by the end of 2022 and then “gradually ease” towards the Bank’s target over the projection period

-Near-term inflation expectations have moved up, but longer-run expectations remain anchored on the 2% target

-The Bank will use its monetary policy tools to ensure that higher near-term inflation expectations do not become embedded in ongoing inflation

Global economy

 -The recovery is strong but uneven with the US economy “growing robustly” while growth in some other regions appears more moderate, especially in China due to current weakness in its property sector

 -Strong global demand for goods combined with supply bottlenecks that hinder production and transportation are pushing up inflation in most regions

 -Oil prices have rebounded to well above pre-pandemic levels following a decline at the onset of the Omicron variant of COVID-19

 -Financial conditions remain broadly accommodative but have tightened with growing expectations that monetary policy will normalize sooner than was anticipated, and with rising geopolitical tensions

 -Overall, the Bank projects global GDP growth to moderate from 6.75% in 2021 to about 3.5% in 2022 and 2023

January Monetary Policy Report

The key messages found in the BoC’s Monetary Policy Report published today were consistent with the highlights noted above:

 -A wide range of measures and indicators suggest that economic slack is now absorbed and estimates of the output gap are consistent with this evidence

-Public health measures and widespread worker absences related to the Omicron variant are slowing economic activity in the first quarter of 2022, but the economic impact is expected to be less severe than previous waves

-The impacts from global and domestic supply disruptions are currently exerting upward pressure on prices

-Inflationary pressures from strong demand, supply shortages and high energy prices should subside during the year

-Over the medium term, increased productivity is expected to boost supply growth, and demand growth is projected to moderate with inflation expected to decline gradually through 2023 and 2024 to close to 2%

-The Bank views the risks around this inflation outlook as roughly balanced, however, with inflation above the top of the Bank’s inflation-control range and expected to stay there for some time, the upside risks are of greater concern

Looking ahead

The Bank intends to keep its holdings of Government of Canada bonds on its balance sheet roughly constant “at least until” it begins to raise its policy interest rate.  At that time, the BoC’s Governing Council will consider exiting what it calls its “reinvestment phase” and reducing the size of its balance sheet. It will do so by allowing the roll-off of maturing Government of Canada bonds.

While the Bank acknowledges that COVID-19 continues to affect economic activity unevenly across sectors, the Governing Council believes that overall slack in the economy is now absorbed, “thus satisfying the condition outlined in the Bank’s forward guidance on its policy interest rate” and setting the stage for increases in 2022.

Original Article: https://www.firstnational.ca/mortgage-brokers/resources-for-mortgage-brokers/article/bank-of-canada-holds-benchmark-interest-rate-steady-updates-2022-economic-outlook