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Managing Your Money in Uncertain Times

DATE: November, 2011
HOST: JSA and Schara Tzedeck
VENUE: Schara Tzedeck Synagogue, Vancouver
MODERATOR: Sam Shamash

pic_YYMspeakerscomm-1024x575The theme of the first session of the JSA-Snider Foundation Empowerment Series 2011-12 was “Managing your Money in Uncertain Times”. The panel consisted of three financial advisors, Mike Bensimhon, Philip Levinson and Bonnie Rapaport. The panel was moderated by another expert in the field, Sam Shamash. Each speaker focused on a different aspect of the theme.

Before the panel was introduced Stan Shear entertained us with a song, “Saving up for Sally”. This was followed by Pan Ottem of Jewish Seniors Alliance welcoming the panel and introducing Sam Shamash, who in turn introduced the panel.

Bonnie Rapaport was the first presenter. She gave an overview of other ‘uncertain times’ in the market. She reminded us of the recessions of 1973-74,1080-81 and 2008-9. She spoke of Black Monday, Oct 17th, l957, when the market dropped 22.6% in one day. September 11 also led to a major drop. Although people have become fearful since 2008 the market always seems to correct itself. The best plan is to stay the course. Do not rush to sell. You only lose if you sell for less value than your initial purchase.

A modern fear is outliving your money as life expectancy increases. Having a competent financial adviser and a balanced and not volatile portfolio is helpful for seniors.

Mike Bensimhon spoke about being tax efficient in your investments. For example, interest on capital gains is taxed at a lower rate than interest on dividend income. He cautioned to be aware of inflation as rates on return vary with inflation. Bensimhon made use of a PowerPoint presentation to illustrate various rates of return, depending on the type of investment and the inflation rates.

He also pointed out that the United States is responsible for twenty-five per cent of the world’s output and thus has a powerful effect on the markets world wide. Since Canada’s trade is seventy per cent with the U.S., we are strongly affected by U.S. Volatility.

Phil Levinson focused his discussion on a description of Segregated Funds, which he pointed out offered a lot of protection for seniors. Segregated Funds are not affected by estate laws and they are guaranteed by the insurance companies that offer them for sale so you cannot lose. You name your beneficiaries for the fund and it is not part of your will so there will be no estate tax. All insurance companies offer this type of fund. Segregated Fund offer peace of mind as they do not go down in value.

Sam Shamash summarized the presentations and led the questions period.

The next session in the Series, “Your Housing Options”, is co-sponsored with the Jewish Family Service Agency and the Jewish Community Centre Seniors, will take place Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012, 1-2:15 p.m., at the Jewish Community Centre. A panel of experts in the housing field will discuss a continuum of housing options and their costs. Such themes as reverse mortgages, deferring property taxes, home support, assisted living, and long-term care will be discussed. A range of costs for these services as well as how to apply will also be covered. The panel will be moderated by Donna Cantor, Seniors Outreach Worker at Jewish Family Service Agency. For details and registration please call Leah Deslauriers at 604-257-5111 or Jewish Seniors Alliance at 604-732-1555.

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