In 500 BCE, Greek philosopher Heraclitus coined the phrase, “Change is the only constant in life.” This saying is still relevant today and underscores our need to plan for an uncertain future. When she gave birth to her daughter, Julianne, just a little over a year ago, Melanie Rousseau, founder of The Assured Boutique and The Assured Boutique Kids, realized she could help families prepare for the future.
Before pursuing a career in insurance, Melanie worked as a primary school teacher. While there, she adopted three core values that remain vitally important to her today - advocating for children, educating and empowering her clients, and giving back to the community. After she became a mother of two, Melanie honed in on a process whereby she could help parents secure their kids’ financial futures. “I love educating my clients on strategies that will create a safety net and possibilities for their kids’ futures, as well as peace of mind for themselves and their loved ones, when it is needed the most,” Melanie says.
“My personal situation is a case in point. I moved to Ontario at 16 and worked at Tim Hortons to learn English so that I could get a job that would allow me to save enough money to attend my preferred school. It wasn’t easy to save the $10K I needed with a job that only paid $6.15/hour. But, I had a plan, followed it and made it happen.”
When she was at college, Melanie held down two jobs, not because she wanted to, but because she needed to. Moreover, with no credit history, it was almost impossible to get a line of credit or a credit card. ” If I would have had money in a RESP or my parents would have known about the Headstart Process, life would have been so much easier and less,” Melanie adds.”
“After I started working, I began saving money in my RRSP. My ultimate goal was to purchase my own home through the government’s Home Buyers Plan (HBP). I purchased my first property at 26. Although this and several other government programs (First-Time Home Buyers’ (FTHB) Tax Credit, and GST/HST New housing Rebate see, https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/buying/financial-information-and-calculators/government-of-canada-programs-to-support-homebuyers for details, the real estate market in Toronto is still out of reach for many. Although I am proud of the person I’ve become as a result of my early struggles, I don’t want my kids, or anybody else’s kids, to struggle like I did, especially when there are small steps parents can take to create a future that their kids can design.”
As well, Melanie experienced a series of unplanned for and expensive life events. She had to borrow money and/or refinance her home to pay for them:
• IVF (2 rounds, $25K total).
• Adoption process ($10K)
• Business incorporation – Melanie was only eligible for a $10K line of credit that bore interest at 12% (the market rate was 6%) and $2K on a corporate credit card. Moreover, the bank demanded she put up her condo as collateral.
• Divorce (she had to borrow $15K to pay for condo closing costs).
• Having Julianne and being self-employed meant a loss of income. Melanie used savings to be able to stay with her.
If she or her parents would have known about the Headstart Process, Melanie may have had access to the financial resources she needed to cope with these impactful life events.
What is the Headstart Process?
The purpose of The Headstart Process for Kids is to help your children have an easier financial future by using the cash value of a Whole Life participating policy.This is not a get rich scheme, but rather, depends on the funds available at a specific point in time. Funds can be used to pay for future expenses such as education costs, a business start-up, a down payment on a house, retirement, or anything else.
Typically, the whole life policy is fully paid in twenty years (or sooner if extra payments are made). The cash accumulated in the policy grows tax sheltered. Anyone (including young adults who have started working) can purchase a whole life insurance policy for themselves, their children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews. Premiums start for as little as $50/month –the minimum amount Melanie believes is needed to generate a reasonable amount of cash value in the policy.
There are a number of other benefits including:
• Guaranteed premiums, cash values and death benefit.
• Choice of payment options – monthly or annually.
• There is usually an option to make additional deposits (please note: this may vary depending on the insurance company you are using).
• Payment of dividends (please note: dividends are not guaranteed) as well as the flexibility to choose how the dividends themselves are paid (e.g. receiving them in cash, or using dividend payments to reduce the premium or to increase the death benefit).
• The option to purchase additional riders, including waiver of premium, and critical illness benefits, etc.
Knowledge is Power
Melanie believes knowledge is power. Although most people are familiar with the benefits of having a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) and Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), as you can see from the client testimonials that follow, few people are aware that there are other methods to secure your kids’ financial futures.
Client Lux Capital says,“…(Melanie’s) recommendation to utilize a life insurance-based solution was excellent because it covered the risks associated with studying abroad and frequent traveling across the globe. As parents we are now comfortable that our kids will not end up with the long-term burden of student debt. In fact, they will have sufficient capital for a significant down payment on their first home or have the seed capital to start their own business...”
Clients Maggie and Matthieu Couture add, “When we became parents to our baby girl we decided that one of our main priorities was to set her up to be financially independent. We wanted more than the basic savings plans on the market but didn’t know where else to look. It was in speaking with Melanie, from The Assured Boutique Kids, that we finally found the plan we’d dreamt up existed!”
Michele and David Torbet agree. “My husband and I decided to get a RESP for both girls when they were born because this was all we knew…(We) were so happy to learn about the Headstart Process for Kids and did not know that a participating whole life insurance policy could be used in the future for education/house purchase etc. Not only that, but after 20 years of paying we would not have to pay anything further and our girls would be covered for life. They will never have to apply for life insurance in the future and also get a return on this investment…we purchased policies for both girls when my oldest was 6 and my youngest was 1…”
Making a Difference
Melanie’s inspiration is her two children, Adrian (7) and Julianne (1). Because she believes in giving back, she is an enthusiastic supporter of the Terry Fox Foundation. “In 2017 I shaved my hair and, with the help of Moxii Pro, raised $22,000 to honour people that had survived cancer as well as those that succumbed to it.”
“As parents, we can empower our kids to choose the path they want because they have the finances to support them through their life journey, even when we cross to the other side. To me, that is more important than anything I can buy them,” Melanie adds.
“This holiday season, why not empower your children and grandchildren to design their own lives? The Headstart Plan for Kids is the best gift a child can get. Their legacy is your legacy. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your kids can say that mommy, daddy or grandma or grandpa gave me my head start and because of this, I could follow my dream and build a meaningful life?”
The Assured Boutique Kids will have a booth at the Total Mom Show on Saturday February 9 and Sunday February 10, 2019 (https://www.thetotalmomshow.ca/).
Suzen Fromstein is the author of Suits and Ladders, Ten Proven Ways to Keep Your Job Safe - with a few jokes thrown in. Suits and Ladders was an Amazon Best Selling Book in the Career Guides Category.
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