Talking About Financial Matters That Affect You and Your Organization
Man vs. Machine - A Real-Life Experiment
Feb 12th, 2018
Earlier this month, I brought on a new client who is the son of an "extremely pleased*" existing client. This young man is 26, very proficient in technology and very NOT GOOD in the language of finance.
One of the first questions I asked him was, "Not that I mind, but why didn't you invest with a Robo-Advisor?" His response floored me; "What's that?"
He then went on to tell me that what his...Read More
Employee Benefits: How Bundling can lower (or eliminate) the cost of health and dental benefits
Feb 7th, 2018
“Price is what you pay, value is what you get”
One of my favourite all time quotes. I think it was penned by Warren Buffet but I’m sure it’s been used by many.
The Employee Benefits market is about to be plunged into the deep end of this value proposition.
In Canada, particularly in the Small and Medium business sector – a large segment of the brokerage/advisor community has played...Read More
The Best Things I Spent Money on in 2017
Jan 16th, 2018
Every year, we spend money on stuff. Some stuff is necessary, like food and Netflix, while other stuff is not so much. This year, I decided to look back at some of the best (and later, the other) things that I spent money on in 2017.
Cedar Play Set
Years ago (and two children less), our neighbour gifted us an old swing set that they no longer needed. It had two swings, a slide and a two-seater...Read More
Tim Horton's Cuts Benefits and Breaks - An Inevitable Choice or Knee Jerk Reaction?
Jan 5th, 2018
Welcome 2018. A few Tim Horton's franchises, those owned by the founder’s heirs, have leapt to the forefront of the debate on minimum wage hikes. (See article below).
In response to the minimum wage hike that came into play January 1 - these franchisees have chosen to scale back benefits (more importantly - have employees pay more to keep what they have - especially newer employees) and to...Read More
Having an Open and Unlimited Benefit Program
Jan 4th, 2018
Most benefit programs have an open formulary and many offer unlimited drug coverage for any drug that legally requires a prescription. Open and unlimited are the key words here. Not only is there no maximum to cost, there is also no control over the introduction of new medications, cognitive fees or governmental legislative de-listings.
Implication: With an open benefit formulary, employers...Read More
OHIP+ Children and Youth Pharmacare Launches Jan 1, 2018
Jan 2nd, 2018
In April and August of this year, you received communications from our Selectpath team outlining the highlights of the OHIP+ Children and Youth Pharmacare program effective January 1, 2018.
As the launch date is quickly approaching, we have included below a brief additional update, as well as a Draft Employee Communication you are welcome to use.
Draft Employee Communication - please see the
Why Mortgage Insurance is a Bad Idea
Dec 1st, 2017
As part of my Financial Education seminars, the topic of mortgage insurance always comes up.
“I don’t need more insurance, Ken. My mortgage is protected by the bank.”
Is it? Let us examine exactly what you are paying for and what is actually protected.
When you apply for mortgage insurance (as I have done before knowing better), you tick off a few boxes, they give you a price and...Read More
My Alumni Association Wants Me to Buy Life Insurance ...
Nov 28th, 2017
So, I got an email from my University's Alumni Association the other day like I usually do. This time, instead of swiping right to delete immediately, the subject line jumped out at me:
Save money with NEW 10-year term life insurance
You see, alumni associations, professional associations and other clubs have referral deals with many insurance providers in Canada. These deals lead to simplified,...Read More
Financial Advisor vs Financial Planner - My Story
Nov 20th, 2017
“Hey Ken, I have a friend who is an advisor, but he’s not a CFP, what’s the difference?”
That was the question posed to me at a gathering a few weeks ago from a friend of a friend. What is the difference between someone called a Financial Advisor and someone who is a Certified Financial Planner? I’d like to think that it has something to do with the amount of time, energy and...Read More
Do I Need a Will? Uh, Ya!
Oct 17th, 2017
Every good financial plan has a solid base. In that base are items like cash flow management, risk management through insurance and having an up-to-date will. A recent survey found that 56% of Canadian do NOT have a will.
I recently had a client pass away and they didn’t have a will, which made for some very tough situations for a family already going through a difficult time.
"Ken, what...Read More
Employee Benefit Audits are a Helpful Step to Control and Demonstrate Exposure
Sep 5th, 2017
While most employers are looking only at bottom line cost and keeping their overall rates in check, more often than not, they are missing the true drivers of benefit cost increases. As the City of Toronto's Auditor General's Report points out, the true driver of cost are the claims that sneak through the system.
A common scenario: Its'...Read More
Selectpath Benefits & Financial expands its operations in Southwestern Ontario with the addition of the LBM Consulting team
Aug 29th, 2017
Bringing together Selectpath's existing Sarnia, Ontario operations with those of LBM Consulting will create a strong platform for future growth. The deal simultaneously reinforces Selectpath as a major player in the Canadian employee benefits and wealth management business, complementing existing operations in Sarnia and London with a similarly strong platform for growth, and substantially...Read More
Why Ideal clients are, well Ideal...
Aug 18th, 2017
There are no shortage of articles and advice on finding ideal clients. A
quick Google search of the keywords "Ideal Clients" returns 43,000,000 results
(don't believe me -
here's the link)
As an aside - 3 of the first 5 websites listed on this "Ideal Client" search are titled something like "5 Steps to...." Which makes me cringe, followed by a touch of sadness that much of our knowledge...
Employee Benefits: The Disruptors Have Arrived – Part II
Jul 28th, 2017
Did video REALLY kill the radio star? Or – was it an incremental change simply moving the radio star to a new media platform? Rather than being a DISRUPTOR, maybe video just made the radio star a little bit better.
In business, DISRUPTORS create seismic shifts rather than incremental changes.
Incremental changes are always happening. Everyone (well, loosely everyone) is trying to get...Read More
The Selectpath Scholarship Program
Jul 27th, 2017
The Selectpath Scholarship Program was created because Selectpath Benefits & Financial Inc. believes in education and its ability to help people achieve their dreams. The scholarship is awarded annually to a child or grandchild of a Selectpath employee who will be pursuing post-secondary education or training the following year. Each applicant must answer the question “How Will I Make a...Read More
Employee Benefits: The Disruptors Have Arrived
Jul 17th, 2017
The disruptors have arrived, we just can’t see them. They're hiding in the shadows like some sort of outsider, yearning to be seen but afraid of the response. [Ok - maybe that 's a BIT dramatic...]
One of my favourite non-fiction authors is Walter Isaacson. His books are well researched and well written. Most of all they are great stories based on the life and times of some of the most famous...Read More
Selectpath 2017 Summer Reading List
Jul 11th, 2017
Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes and How to Correct Them – by Gary Belsky and Thomas Gilovich
This book looks less at the mechanics of personal finance and more at the behavior of the person. It outlines 7 of the most common traits that end up hurting our long-term goals. The authors break down normally complex financial and psychological concepts into easy-to-relate-to stories....Read More
Continuation of Benefits for Disabled Employees
Jun 28th, 2017
One of the questions most commonly asked by our clients is:
“How long do we have to continue benefits for an employee who is no longer actively at work due to illness or injury?”
Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer and each situation must be carefully examined on an individual case basis.
In this article, we have outlined the position of the Worker’s Compensation Boards,...Read More
Why Google wants its employees to meditate – and why you should too
Jun 23rd, 2017
Meditation hits the mainstream.
The stereotypical image of a Buddhist Monk or 1960’s hippie no longer apply.
Many of the world’s most successful people meditate daily, everyone from athletes to actors, sales people to systems analysts, and CEO’s to construction workers are in on the gig.
Fair enough you say – to each his or her own and if meditation is part of your daily routine – have...Read More
The Benefits Alliance Group
Jun 22nd, 2017
We are excited to officially announce that Selectpath is joining The Benefits Alliance Group as of July 1st, 2017. This organization is the premier network of benefits and pension advisory firms in Canada and stretches from coast to coast. By joining this organization, Selectpath is looking to add new capabilities such as bench-marking of programs and increasing advocacy with the insurers and...Read More
Coverage for Over-Age Student Dependents
Jun 22nd, 2017
Happy summer everyone! School is winding down and with warmer weather, vacations and summer jobs on the go, about the last thing on any student’s mind is their eligibility for benefits. For most programs through insurers in Canada, you don’t need to worry up to the age of 21, however after age 21 everything changes.
Do you have an over age dependent full-time student? You don’t want to...Read More
4 Key Benefits of Automating HR with Human Capital Management Tools
Jun 13th, 2017
Increasing Efficiency & Accuracy
Moving your data to a single platform which can then feed payroll, benefits, group retirement, and project management ensures compliance and drives efficiency. Managing multiple solutions with different data feeds and logins is terribly inefficient prone to error, not to mention lack of control over data ownership! Through secure web based technology, manage...Read More
Do you work better under stress? There's a name for that.
Jun 5th, 2017
In 1955, Cyril Parkinson wrote a humorous essay meant to critique the "efficiency" of public administration in Britain. The first sentence of that essay spawned a book (60 actually) and a whole new field of study for psychologists. That sentence was "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion". That's an old-timey way of saying most of us make excuses to not do something...Read More
Selectpath Recognized As One Of Canada's Top 100 SME by Mediacorp Canada
May 10th, 2017
London, ON - Selectpath Benefits & Financial Inc. (Selectpath), announces that they have been recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Small and Medium Employers. Canada’s Top 100 Small & Medium Employers recognizes the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that offer the nation’s best workplaces and forward thinking human resources policies. The 2017 winners were announced at an awards...Read More
OHIP+ Children and Youth Pharmacare
May 5th, 2017
One of the centerpieces of the Ontario 2017 budget released last week, Thursday April 27th, is a new OHIP+ Children and Youth Pharma-care benefit. Please find below a summary and potential impact of this new program.
The budget includes the first provincial plan in Canada to cover prescription drugs for children and young people.
A few quick highlights:
- Effective January 1, 2018
Preventing Human Resources Catastrophies
Mar 30th, 2017
Human resources policies and procedures encompass many different areas of your business and will be discussed as they relate to benefits in several coming posts. For now, let's look at two common areas where a lack of HR procedures can have a detrimental effect on the program, on-boarding and off-boarding.
On-boarding - In terms of a benefit program, when on-boarding an employee, good HR...Read More
Would You Pay Your Employees to be Healthy?
Mar 17th, 2017
Equality could be the death knell of Employee Benefits plans.
We may be turning a corner – or at the very least approaching a fork in the road where our options for sustainability do not include current models.
The impact of high cost drugs, and escalating health care costs in general is shifting the landscape for employers. While the shift is dramatic (relatively speaking) –...Read More
Mar 17th, 2017
I am admittedly a podcast junkie.
I spend a good chunk of work days in my car - and I'm not much of a music guy. So Podcasts are my go to distraction on everything from short jaunts around the city (I'll listen to a piece of a podcast on my 10 minute commute home) to hours long drives to see clients. I also run a lot and prefer a podcast or audio-book over music 99% of the time.
Outside of...Read More
Feb 21st, 2017
Medical Marijuana and your benefits
On January 30, 2017 the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission ruled that it was discriminatory to deny coverage for medical marijuana under a welfare trust plan. You can read the decision here. This decision is important, but there are some key elements that must be considered as follows,
- The plan did not limit eligibility to drugs with a drug ...
4 Employee Benefits Trends for 2017 (and a wish)
Jan 17th, 2017
Oh January how we welcome thee!
Time for New Year’s resolutions - the optimism that comes with a fresh start and of course – a list! [Note:by today’s date – something like 80% of New Year’s Resolutions have failed]
In the Employee Benefits world 2017 could be the biggest roller coaster we’ve been on in a long time. So without further ado – here’s my list of the top 4...Read More
I'll Take a Drug Plan with Travel Please!
Sep 6th, 2016
Recently I came across a prospective client who was utilizing a health spending account to provide reimbursement of their plan member Health and Dental claims. The allocation was a modest amount that was quickly utilized by a number of plan members. Through the discussion with the prospective client we chatted about the goal of the existing program and how the plan was performing. The...Read More
3 Benefits Landmines
Aug 21st, 2016
As with all administrative duties, the devil is in the detail. Over the last few months there has been a disturbing trend among clients around missing some of the day-to-day obligations of administering the benefits program. Here are three common landmines,
- Failure to enroll an eligible plan member within 31 days of eligibility. Since benefits can form part of the employment agreement...
4 Dont's - Sometimes You Have No Choice
May 2nd, 2016
When living in tough economic times, organizations must make difficult decisions about their workforce and compensation. Reducing wages and benefits is typically the last straw as organizations struggle to survive.
Few relish the decision to make cuts, but sometimes there are no other choices. So how the changes are made will have significant impact on how they are received. As with wages,...Read More
Pharmacogenetics and Benefits
Jan 15th, 2016
Pharmacogenetics is the study of inherited genetic differences in drug metabolic pathways which can affect responses to drugs, both in terms of therapeutic effect as well as adverse effects. Test results help identify which medications will be the most effective as well as which frequency it should be taken to maximize the metabolic process and minimize adverse side effects.
How is the test...Read More
What's Reasonable & Customary Mean?
Dec 12th, 2015
Most if not all group insurance plans contain some mention of reasonable and customary. This is an approach by providers to limit allowable costs for some services within a plan without providing a fixed hard cap. Reasonable and customary refers to the maximum allowable amount that a provider will reimburse on a particular service or item.
Few insurers post their reasonable and customary...Read More
Does It Really Matter If I'm Late?
Dec 4th, 2015
Most group insurance providers require that employees and eligible dependents enroll with the group insurance plan within 31 days of becoming eligible. The purpose of this limitation is to reduce advise risk within the plan from plan members who choose to enroll only when they have a need for services (and therefore claim much more than the average current member which drives up pricing for...Read More
Building the Solution
Oct 31st, 2015
: able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed
: involving methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources
: able to last or continue for a long time
© 2014 Merriam-Webster, Incorporated
As we move into 2016 one of the most common discussions with clients revolves around sustainability.
The workforce is the...Read More
6 Steps to Prepare for Your Benefits Renewal
Oct 25th, 2015
Ever get that feeling when something just does not feel right? Trust your intuition. Although you cannot control every factor that impacts the pricing of your benefit plan, you can protect yourself by following these simple steps in assessing your renewal.
Review the Data – Is the data being used accurate? Have you had a change in your workforce that is not reflected in the...Read More
Benefits.....Yah we got them.
Oct 12th, 2015
All too often we engage with a new client on their employee benefit plan strategy and upon some simple due diligence we find the existing plan operating in some level of obscurity. Obscurity in the sense that the plan members may not appreciate the investment being made by the plan sponsor organization. Obscurity in the sense that the plan members have little or no accountability to the...Read More
The Industry Must Change
Aug 19th, 2015
The employee benefits market is broken. It is broken because there is no reality check between what a provider takes in terms of risk and what the policyholder is prepared to pay. At any point in time, a policyholder could test the market and find half a dozen quotes with savings ranging from 8% to 40%. 40% you say? Absolutely, in all my years working in employee benefits I have never seen...Read More
Anatomy of a Group Insurance Death Spiral
Aug 18th, 2015
Group insurance in its simplest form is a promise of an employer to provide protection against unforeseen or unwanted financial loss due to illness or injury. In its most complicated form, group insurance is a part of wages which can be acquired or disposed of based on the net economic benefit seen by the participating party.
Over the last few months, I have had an opportunity to meet with...Read More