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Glossary of Financial Terms


Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)

An RRSP is a retirement savings plan that you establish, that is registered with Canada Revenue Agency, and to which you or your spouse or common-law partner contribute. Deductible RRSP contributions can be used to reduce your tax. Any income you earn in the RRSP is usually exempt from tax as long as the funds remain in the plan; you generally have to pay tax when you receive payments from the plan.


Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)

The Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) allows Canadians, age 18 and over, to set money aside tax-free throughout their lifetime. Each calendar year, you can contribute up to the TFSA dollar limit for the year, plus any unused TFSA contribution room from the previous year, and the amount you withdrew the year before.


Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)

A RRIF is a fund you establish with a carrier and that is registered with Canada Revenue Agency. You transfer property to the carrier from an RRSP, RPP, or from another RRIF, and the carrier makes payments to you. Establishing a RRIF can be done at anytime, but must be done no later than the year the annuitant turns 71. Once a RRIF is established, there can be no more contributions made to the plan nor can the plan be terminated except through death.


Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs)

A registered education savings plan (RESP) is a contract between an individual (the subscriber) and a person or organization (the promoter).
Under the contract, the subscriber names one or more beneficiaries (the future student(s)) and agrees to make contributions for them, and the promoter agrees to pay educational assistance payments (EAPs) to the beneficiaries.


Asset Allocation

Asset allocation is an investment strategy that attempts to balance an individual’s risk over their reward, by making adjustments to the percentage of each asset in an investment portfolio.

With the uncertain Canadian financial climate in mind, many financial experts agree that asset allocation is a crucial factor in determining a portfolio return. The three main asset classes – fixed income, equities and cash/equivalents – all have different levels of risk and return which react differently over time.


Segregated Funds

Segregated Funds are a pool of investments held by the life insurance company and managed separately (i.e. segregated) from its other investments. If you buy a variable insurance contract, sometimes called a segregated fund policy, the value of your policy varies according to the market value of the assets in the segregated funds. Unlike mutual funds, segregated funds are structured as an insurance product. Investing in segregated funds provides many insurance backed benefits such as: growth potential, estate planning advantages, protection features, choices to meet a range of investment styles & needs.


Mutual Funds

A mutual fund is an arrangement under which shares or units are sold to raise capital. Investors purchase units if the mutual fund is a trust or purchase shares if the fund is a corporation. When you invest in a mutual fund, your money is pooled with the money of other investors and invested on your behalf by the fund manager. Mutual fund trusts and corporations are also known as flow-through entities.

For tax purposes, a flow-through entity treats the taxable income earned inside the entity as if you held the investments directly, instead of through the fund. The income that is distributed, or flowed out to you, keeps its identity. For example, dividend income remains dividend income, and capital gains remain capital gains when they are flowed out (or distributed) to investors.


Life Insurance

Life insurance is a policy between you and an insurer that allows you to protect your assets, survivors and dependents from the financial burden of your death. If you have a life insurance policy, upon your death, your beneficiaries will receive a guaranteed payment of the value of your policy - to help them cover your funeral costs, manage debts and assist with supplementing your loss of income. 


Critical Illness Insurance

Critical illness insurance helps cover the unexpected costs and potential loss of income associated with a serious illness. From the additional costs associated with medicine and treatment, to travel, home care and specific accommodations if needed, treating and recovering from an illness can have a devastating financial impact. Plus, if you’re unable to work during your recovery, the impact is even greater.

With critical illness insurance, if you become sick with one of the covered conditions covered by your policy and survive the waiting period, you receive a cash benefit. You can then use the funds as you wish.


Disability Insurance

Disability insurance helps protect your income and business if you become disabled and can’t work. With different products available for full-time, part-time or home-based workers, disability insurance is the perfect solution for professionals, business owners, business executives and other employed Canadians. An individual disability insurance plan can help you meet your income requirements so you can concentrate on recovering and returning to an active life.


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