Strong Family Connections can Increase Life Expectancy

“The greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you” – Joyce Meyer

Over a century’s worth of research underscores the link between life expectancy, physical health and strong, healthy family connections. The researchers behind a new meta-analysis conclude family support can increase survival by up to 50 percent. Moreover, exercising or losing excess weight turns out to be less important to physical health than interpersonal social networks.

The researchers analyzed results of studies going back to the early 1900s with a total of 308,849 participants. Strong family connections were found to help improve health and extend life expectancy by protecting individuals from stressful situations or establishing a standard of healthy living. A significant body of literature shows positive family relationships can mitigate a variety of physiological processes associated with risk of illness, such as high blood pressure and poor immune system functioning.

For seniors, a supportive family member can mean the difference between life and death. When including genetic factors in lifespan estimates, we find family plays a more crucial role now than ever before. Close family connections impact the likelihood of mortality directly. A recent study, presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, showed that seniors that said they did not feel close to family members beyond their spouses were more than twice as likely to die within the next five years compared to those that did.

Mortality Rate and Life Insurance

A number of factors are implicated in a reduced mortality rate, which life insurance providers reflect. These include marital status, the size of the network of family members, and the level of closeness people feel to family members.

The Role of Genes in Life Expectancy

Life insurance providers recognize that their clients’ family members impact their lifespan not only through social interaction, but also genetically. Genetics help determine whether or not a senior will live beyond the average life span, which is 79 years for men and 83 years for women in Canada. Healthy genes can help protect older adults from heart disease, cancer, and other common illnesses. The above-mentioned study showed a person’s genes account for over a third of what will determine their lifespan. The other factors are the environment and lifestyle.

Studies show people don’t classify family ties in terms of their quality, meaning positive and negative associations are lumped together. We can therefore conclude that the benefit of positive family connections is probably even higher than reported. Generally, the influence of family relationships on mortality is complex and contingent upon the quality of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the health status of the person. A recent study published in the Journal of Social Science & Medicine found that people suffering from chronic illnesses who characterized their relationships with family members as close, but negative and demanding, actually experienced lower mortality rates than those who did not maintain close relationships with family members. Researchers speculate that the participants in this study are being observed closely by spouses and adult children and mandated to take better care of themselves, go for regular checkups, take their medication, or other interactions which they may be qualifying as “negative” and “demanding”.

Clients of Canadian life insurance companies go through underwriting when applying for coverage, which involves assessing the insurance risk. The obvious importance of social well-being for physical health is a part of that. Assessment will likely include inquiries into family and social circles and relationship quality in the near future.

US vs. Canada Life Expectancy

Data of the World Health Organization (WHO) show the average lifespan of Canadians is up to three years longer than that of their southern neighbors. This difference is apparent in a variety of illnesses. According to experts, one of the reasons Canadians live longer is because the quality of medical care is better in Canada than in the United States. Health clinics and insurance providers in the US tend to invest more funds in marketing than in medical staff.

However, this doesn’t seem to be the only factor. Americans in the lowest income brackets reported much more health problems than Canadians and cited cost as the main reason for unmet health needs. Canadians, on the other hand, were more likely to cite waiting times.

How Does Life Insurance Help?

The right choice of a Canadian life insurance company will ensure waiting time is brought down to a minimum in moments of need. Statistics show that a large number of Americans have moved to Canada and Canadians living in the US have moved back home because they have grown tired of fighting with insurance providers over coverage issues.

Life insurance can provide income and financial security for the loved ones you name as beneficiaries, helping them cover final expenses and outstanding debts. In addition to this, it can also support a stable financial plan in your lifetime. Permanent life insurance makes it possible to increase cash value within the insurance policy, which can help you attain financial goals, such as paying for your loved ones’ education or augmenting your retirement income.

Preserve your wealth

A strategy to protect the value of your legacy

Photo of a baby holding adults hand

A permanent life insurance policy can provide your beneficiaries with the funds necessary to pay taxes owing upon your death.

The Preserve your wealth strategy is designed for individuals who:

  • Have built-up significant wealth in capital assets
  • Have a second property that has appreciated in value
  • Want to keep a vacation home in the family
  • Are worried about leaving their family with a large tax burden
  • Want to leave their full estate to heirs or favourite charity
  • Want to provide funding for final expenses, outstanding debts, legal fees and taxes

The situation

You have worked hard to achieve a degree of financial success. As each year passes and you become financially independent, you may think your need for life insurance decreases. However, the largest burden on your estate can be the taxes owing on assets upon your death. This may force the sale of some or all assets, perhaps below fair market value, in order to pay the tax. The family may be forced to sell a cottage or vacation property to pay the taxes owing on its increase in value. This can potentially reduce the legacy you will leave to your heirs or favourite charity. Would you like to know how to preserve your wealth to ensure the full value of your estate is received by your heirs or favourite charity?

The strategy

A permanent life insurance policy can provide your beneficiaries with the funds necessary to pay taxes owing upon your death. Life insurance can be a cost-effective strategy to provide funds exactly when they are needed. A tax-advantaged permanent life insurance policy allows for the accumulation of cash values inside the policy, within certain legislative limits and without paying income tax on growth. The death benefit is paid to your beneficiaries tax-free upon your death. With a named beneficiary other than the estate, you can eliminate probate fees on the death benefit (not applicable in Quebec). The Preserve your wealth strategy should be reviewed with your tax advisor and accountant to ensure the strategy is appropriate based on your needs.

The Preserve your wealth strategy offers:

  • Permanent life insurance protection and client control of capital in a tax-advantaged insurance policy
  • Potential for tax-advantaged accumulation that transfers tax-free to beneficiaries upon your death
  • Funding to offset anticipated tax liability
  • Flexibility to change the policy beneficiary, and coverage amount (subject to any underwriting requirements)
  • The elimination of probate fees at death with a named beneficiary other than the estate (not applicable in Quebec) For more information about this and other estate planning material, contact your financial advisor!

All comments related to taxation are general in nature and are based on Canadian tax legislation, which is subject to change, and apply to Canadian residents. For the implications as they relate to individual circumstances, consult the appropriate legal, accounting or tax expert.

Employment, what’s changed and what remains the same?

Protect Your Family with Life Insurance

Purchasing of Life Insurance is a decision you don't want to defer

Years ago, we could secure employment where you did your job and went home in the

evening to enjoy your family time. Now it’s a crazy life with a frantic pace, which we call progress in a 24/7 world.

Most employers are asking their employees to work longer hours, earning less money and with little assistance. We live in an age where we have instant access to emails, text messaging and abundance of information at the tips of our fingers. One would think with this we would have more time however it has been proven to have caused the opposite. Inundated with so much information, we sometimes find it more difficult to make a decision on the simplest tasks. Should I buy Samsung flat screen or Sony? Should I get a Ford or GM? Should I buy term life insurance or whole life insurance? If we continue differing making these decisions, it compounds the problem to the point where we get overwhelmed and run further away from the decision.

In the end, what TV or car to buy has little impact on our future. By deferring buying important life insurance coverage, you are putting your family at a great risk. Your family may not be able to have the basic needs, such as paying a mortgage, food, education and so much more.

My advice is simple – provide insurance. The need is real and the need for insurance will not go away. Whether you buy term insurance or whole life you will know that the basic needs for your family will be provided, if you are not there to provide . If you would like to obtain a instant online life insurance quote please feel free to visit our website.

Which Type Of Life Insurance Is Best For You?

In regards to life insurance there are two basic types, one being term and the other permanent. Term insurance provides life insurance for the amount of time that the policy holder specifies. If the insured dies within the specified time, the face value of the policy will be given to the beneficiary, however if he does not die within that time span and the policy is not renewed, then nothing will be paid out. Permanent life insurance on the other hand, provides insurance protection for the policy holder’s life span, as well as a savings element. There are two common types of permanent insurance: whole life insurance and universal life insurance.

Permanent is more expensive to own than term insurance, however, you should let your family’s need be the determining factor in deciding which type of insurance is best for you, rather than the price.

You have probably heard arguments about how term policies are the better deal or marketing hype regarding cash value policies, but what it really comes down to is each person’s individual situation.