Top page (on personal financial planning) ...

Comprehensive map

Who am I? ----   Contact info.

What do I offer?

Key areas:

Life and health insurance (including disability, critical illness, and long-term care protection)

Retirement plans

Education plans..

Socially responsible / green / ethical investing

Estate planning

If you are / have ...


Financial Calculators

Download CD-ROM demo ...

Frequently Asked Questions

One peculiarity of an insurance purchasing deal is that it is not a unilateral decision by the buyer. (On the other hand, canceling an existing insurance contract, at least most individual plans, is a unilateral decision of the insured, and is not an option for the insurer.)

Some think they couldn’t, some think they wouldn’t ...

Let’s consider too opposite approaches, each harbored by many people, and then see what is still common in them.

It’s almost weird that often people who would need and benefit from a certain insurance product, and who are healthy (that is, insurable, or acceptable risk for the insurer), are reluctant to even consider that option. Sometimes it seems that there is a kind of superstition at play along the lines of ‘I will not think or talk about chances for mishap lest they should happen’. At other times, they do not accept that the insurer wants to know so many things about them, and that the approval of the application (called underwriting) lasts so long, sometimes several months. Thus, on the one hand, there are these people with good insurability who don’t appreciate it to the extent that they would devote time and/or money to the preparation for its deterioration or loss. Mostly, they probably think of themselves as tough risk takers, … and maybe they are.

On the other hand, there are people who know very well the importance of protection but think they cannot get it. They would very much like to buy but it appears that they are having difficulty with it because of their health status, risky lifestyle, or health history (of their own or perhaps that of close kin). For others, it’s their work what creates obstacles to getting the desired protection.

If these two different groups of people, or their advisors, give up searching for solutions that is both available and acceptable for them, than they usually are making a mistake. The range of available insurance products is very wide, and almost anybody can get some kind of protection; maybe not for everything they want, maybe at a higher cost than the average person, … but life is not an all-or-nothing game anyway.

A few of the (real or imagined) obstacles and the appropriate response to them:

If you think: ‘I cannot / don’t want to buy insurance because of the reasons below’ ...

... then consider this:

- I’m unhealthy, therefore I cannot get any kind of insurance

Maybe you can get at least some kind, and a limited size of protection. Life insurance, e.g., is available for practically anybody, even though there might be a time limitation (would not pay in the first two years) on the new policy, … and if you are a higher-than-average risk, you will have to pay higher-than-average premiums.

- I don’t have a regular income, so I cannot buy insurance

For life, critical illness, health and dental, long-term care, medical- , hospital- or drug reimbursement, accidental loss of use or fracture, or travel insurance plans, remunerative work is not an important factor, or sometimes not considered at all. Certain disability policies are available for part-timers, seasonal workers, or new entrants to the work force as well.

- I write off much of my regular income as business expense, therefore I cannot get enough income protectio

There are disability plans where the available contractual benefit is calculated based on gross income.

- I don’t like the hassle of dealing with various kinds of insurance separately; it’s also intrusive and very time consuming for me

There are plans where various (2 or more) kinds of protection (life, disability, critical illness, health and dental, travel, accidental injury coverages – although not all of these in a single plan that I know of) are combined, making the process easier and faster, and offering savings on administration costs.

While devoting ample time to dealing with insurance issues seems to be important to me, I must tell you that there are simplified issue policies with few questions asked and almost instant issue. You might give up something in quality and price that way, but the opportunity is definitely there, … the choice is yours.

- I cannot buy critical illness insurance because of poor health history of myself / my parents and/or siblings

Health history usually matters, and it is especially so with critical illness (and to a somewhat smaller extent: disability) policy underwriting. However, not all policies are equally restrictive; even the survivor of a critical illness can buy critical illness protection ten years later, and there is a company that doesn’t ask about health history of parents and siblings.

- I cannot buy disability insurance because I don’t have a regular, full-time job

You cannot buy the best disability protection really, but you still may be able to buy some. It wouldn’t make good business sense to offer a policy to anyone that would provide to that person an incentive to go for disability, but it makes sense to offer some financial relief to anybody who is willing to share the risks with others in a similar position of getting hit with a disability. Thus, steady high income earners in least risky jobs are offered policies with the best conditions, … but it doesn’t mean that there is nothing available for people situated in less enviable social positions.

- Having just started my business/career, I cannot buy disability insurance because I cannot show evidence of earning income long enough

Usually, a history of earnings is expected, to indicate that there is an incentive for the insured not to abuse the policy. However, there are policies (especially for new business owners or students close to finishing their preparation for certain high-income professions) that offer quite decent protection immediately, that can be upgraded/increased after a while.

So, what are the common themes for the two groups contrasted above? It’s that they often have some reason to be concerned, but usually those concerns are exaggerated and not (or not fully) warranted. There are many-many options, and where there is a will to find the right / acceptable / desired ones there usually is a way as well.

Hesitation and procrastination because of the (deemed or real) obstacles or aversions - while perhaps somewhat understandable psychologically - is not a wise choice because things will usually not improve. (Sometimes they do, of course, but in those situations one can replace an existing policy with a better one if they want, … no penalty for that.) Our age changes unidirectionally (to put it euphemistically), and age is one of the decisive factors in the approval of most insurance policies, and in the calculation of premiums. Also, usually our health is not improving as we age. In addition, just because all your parents or siblings are healthy today, their health history a few years from now may cast a shadow over the assessment of your health risks scrutinized then.

In other words, even if you have problems, you’re better off facing them today than waiting for some miracles. The solution you will find might be less then what you are really longing for, but still much better than nothing.

These web pages are for information purposes only. The information contained and presented, while based on and obtained from sources we believe to be reliable, is not guaranteed either as to its accuracy or completeness. The content of these web pages is solely the work of the author, Laszlo Kramar.

The views (including any recommendations) expressed on these pages are those of the author alone, and they have not been approved by anybody. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes an offer, or an invitation to make an offer, to buy or sell any product discussed or referred to in these web sites. These web pages are for educational purposes only and are not intended for use by residents of the United Sates; nor are they intended as an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction outside of Ontario, Canada. Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.

(c) Copyright 1997-2006 László Kramár. All Rights Reserved.