Articles

Meditation

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I have always been fascinated by the practice of meditation, yet somehow never really adopted the discipline. Not because of time limitations or anything other than not knowing how best to learn the basics and get involved.

I spent some time reading on the subject and for those interested here are a few starting points for the novice, like me:

It seems that a basic framework is necessary or at least very helpful to start the journey of meditation discovery. Meditation means to think, contemplate, devise and ponder, mindfulness. The meditation practice of ‘mindfulness’ and ‘refuge’ are done to support and enable a meaningful life.

What is Mindfulness?

It is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

A Few Things to Know About Mindfulness:

  1. Mindfulness is not obscure or exotic. It’s familiar to us because it’s what we already do, how we already are. It takes many shapes and goes by many names.
  2. Mindfulness is not a special added thing we do. We already have the capacity to be present, and it doesn’t require us to change who we are. But we can cultivate these innate qualities with simple practices that are scientifically demonstrated to benefit ourselves, our loved ones, our friends and neighbors, the people we work with, and the institutions and organizations we take part in
  3. You don’t need to change. Solutions that ask us to change who we are or become something we’re not have failed us over and over again. Mindfulness recognizes and cultivates the best of who we are as human beings.
  4. Mindfulness has the potential to become a transformative social phenomenon. Here’s why:
    • Anyone can do it. Mindfulness practice cultivates universal human qualities and does not require anyone to change their beliefs. Everyone can benefit and it’s easy to learn.
    • It’s a way of living. Mindfulness is more than just a practice. It brings awareness and caring into everything we do—and it cuts down needless stress. Even a little makes our lives better.
    • It’s evidence-based. We don’t have to take mindfulness on faith. Both science and experience demonstrate its positive benefits for our health, happiness, work, and relationships.
    • It sparks innovation. As we deal with our world’s increasing complexity and uncertainty, mindfulness can lead us to effective, resilient, low-cost responses to seemingly intransigent problems.

-Mindful.org

What is Refuge?

‘Refuge’ means many things including safety, peace, presence, protection, deep relaxation, trust and much more.

The meaning of Refuge becomes deeper and deeper as one proceeds along the Buddhist path and its real depth and magnitude is only known at enlightenment. To put it very simply, to take Refuge is to turn decisively towards the most powerful, sublime, true and meaningful force in the entire universe, seeking its strength, protection and guidance. These will be necessary in order to successfully rid one's mind of confusion and suffering and to attain the peace, wisdom and qualites of enlightenment. This process - of connecting profoundly with the absolute - begins formally with the ceremony of 'Taking Refuge' and is thereafter developed through study and meditation to become a deep inner strength. It is also a commitment to the Buddhist path.

By taking the Refuge ceremony, one becomes a Buddhist. From then on, the inner confidence and support that comes from taking Refuge daily forms a psychological basis for all the work of self-knowledge and transformation of the Buddhist 'path of peace'. Like the foundation of a house, Refuge is the basis upon which all other Buddhist practice is built.

Here are two introductory videos that may get you on the meditation path:

I have included meditation on my 2019 to do list. I encourage you to join me.

Anton Tucker
Written By:
Anton Tucker, CFP, FMA, CIM, FCSI
Executive VP and Portfolio Manager
anton@tridelta.ca
(905) 330-7448

Financial Health Opens the Door to Healthy Aging

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Boomers are a generation of rule breakers, but there’s one front where Canadian Boomers toe the line: financial health.

Yes, Boomers have a well-earned reputation for consumer spending, but Canadians are by nature a little cautious: We’re not thought of as big risk takers and high fliers. This prudent approach to life, combined with an investment industry that tends to scare us into saving, means many Canadians amass healthy savings in their Boomer years. Rather than taking it to the grave, however, Boomers are gearing up for the next frontier in spending.

People like to think they are different from their parents, and when it comes to attitudes about money, Boomers really are. The previous generation grew up during the Great Depression or World War II: life-changing experiences that gave them a lingering sense of real hardship, prompting oversaving “just in case.” Boomers are reaping the rewards of this cautious approach. Having mimicked their parents’ good saving habits, they also own their position as a consumer powerhouse, ensuring their retirement years are going to be very different.

Boomers are investing in health, technologies, products, services and experiences designed to embrace and enhance the next phases of life. For instance, aging in place is a significant priority for most Boomers, and this will involve modifying homes to remove barriers and enhance safety.

Financial health opens the door to healthy aging. The key is understanding your larger financial picture.

Unlocking your options

While the investment industry likes to say “you can’t count on the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS),” you can. In fact, a 65-year-old couple who spends their working life in Canada will likely see combined CPP and OAS of more than $40,000 a year, indexed to inflation.

Plus, if you’ve owned a house for 30 or 40 years, you have significant value tied up in real estate. And let’s be blunt: If you are in your 50s or 60s, chances are there’s an inheritance in the pipeline.

Combine decent savings, valuable real estate, government pensions and a possible inheritance, and that’s a solid financial foundation. I recognize that not everyone is in the same boat, and debt is an issue for some, but in my experience, most people are surprised (in a good way) at the big picture.

What does this mean? More options. Travel, adventure, nicer food, helping family or charity in a larger way, but also spending on your own health. I’m not saying blow it all at once, but plan with confidence.

It’s yours to spend

This reminds me of a conversation that I had with a couple soon after one of them had recovered from a tough bout with cancer. With experience came perspective, and they decided to move ahead with their dream trip – exploring their ancestral roots in England and Wales.

They asked me how they could make it happen. They own a house worth $400,000, no debt and about $45,000 in annual income from government pensions, as well as a small work pension.

I recommended a home equity line of credit for $100,000 and drawing $10,000 to pay for their trip, plus another $5,000 each year to give them breathing room. Even though they don’t want to sell their home now, when they ultimately do, they can easily pay off the line of credit.

Two months later they were on a plane, living their dream with money they had, but hadn’t thought they could spend.

Now it’s your turn. Evaluate your future finances, either on your own or with the help of a financial planner and identify opportunities to age powerfully. You’ve earned it.

Ted Rechtshaffen is president and wealth advisor at TriDelta Financial, a boutique wealth management firm focusing on investment counselling and estate planning. Email: ted@tridelta.ca

Originally published in Issue 01 of YouAreUNLTD Magazine.

Helping to Care for Aging Parents

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by Raynia Sauvageau MSW, RSW

When it comes to helping aging parents, many feel they are ill-prepared for this part of life. As children, we looked up to our parents to care for us, protect us, and eventually help launch us. Many of us go on to marry, have our own families and set up the same pattern of caring for our children. We are not expecting that our parents will age and possibly that we will be the ones to provide care as they once did for us.

parentsSome people say that the roles “reverse” ; that as your parents once parented you, you are now “parenting” your parent. This conception however is not entirely accurate. The reason being, is that while our parents may be losing some of their independence, whether mentally or physically, they are still and always will be our parent. Even though they may have “lost” some of their abilities to do certain things, or may have increasing challenges, they are still the driver of their decisions as long as their capacity for that is intact.

One of the frequent questions I have been asked is “How do I help my aging parents?” and the answer will greatly depend on the individual situation. The following is a good place to start:

  • Engage in a dialogue about their wishes. This may seem small but this is a critical step. Too often, I have observed that discussions do not take place until after a crisis happens and adult children are left having to guess or make decisions on what they think their parent may want. This includes asking your parents how they envision “the next five years”, helping to map out a plan for modifying the home if needed or any possible transition from their home, and ensuring that Powers of Attorney for Personal care and Property exist. These conversations are not always easy, particularly given the different relationships and dynamics of your relationship but they are important ones to have.
  • Define “help” by how your parents define it. In an effort to help our parents, sometimes our own worries and needs obstruct our abilities to help in a way that is meaningful to our parents. I have often observed very well intentioned adult children making plans and providing assistance that their parents feel they don’t need. To avoid this, you might want to ask your parent directly what they would find helpful.
  • Get Informed. Whether or not your parents are ready or at the stage of accepting help, it doesn’t stop you from knowing what is available in their community and in the market. With the increasing aging population, there are many services and products available to help people stay independent. There are also programs available from local agencies. These may include someone to come to the home to help with bathing, personal care, cleaning, meal preparation or transportation. Keeping informed of what exists helps you in knowing what is available to your parents and can be introduced to them when they are willing.
  • Accepting help is a process not an outcome. If you can shift your focus from “what” to “how” it happens, you may be pleasantly surprised. Some adult children become frustrated when they are met with rejection when offering to help their parents. Sometimes however, it takes time before your parent is “ready” to accept the help and so remaining patient and involved through this process is key.

Helping your parents, while not a part of the lifecycle that was necessarily planned, can be a positive experience with the proper help and support around you.

Raynia Sauvageau has a private practice as a Geriatric Social Work Consultant and has a strong passion for working with aging families and assisting them through transitions and experiences. She has spent most of her career working in acute care hospitals as a professional social worker with aging patients and their families. To find out more, you can visit her website at www.geriatricswconsulting.net or reach her directly at raynia@geriatricswconsulting.com.

Plan a ‘free’ Thailand vacation and… surgery.

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We’re fortunate in Canada given that we have a great health system, but we’re often subjected to long waits for important lifesaving surgery or wish for better access to specialists. New options have emerged in recent years and more of us are taking advantage, particularly medical tourism.

thailand2According to Wikipedia, Medical tourism or health tourism is the travel of people to another country for the purpose of obtaining medical treatment in that country. Traditionally, people would travel from less developed countries to major medical centers in highly developed countries for medical treatment that was unavailable in their own communities. The recent trend is for people to travel from developed countries to third world countries for medical treatments because of cost and other considerations.

Medical tourism is however controversial for a number of reasons, especially in Canada given our national health care system and its expense.

A number of our hospitals are considering ways to boost profitability by hosting international patients. For example Sunnybrook Hospital’s board quietly approved a program at the end of last year. So far they have welcomed a Barbadian woman who paid about $60,000 for radiation treatment for breast cancer, and a Jamaican man who paid $20,000 for radiotherapy for prostate cancer according to the Globe and Mail.

Canada’s publicly funded health-care system is respected globally and would easily attract medical tourists, according to a 2011 analysis from Deloitte Canada’s health services division. The question is, can Canada offer medical services to foreigners without displacing locals whose hefty taxes built the health care system. Opponents argue that patients from abroad could displace tax-paying Canadians or enable wealthy locals to buy their way to the front of the queue.

The Registered Nurses Association is calling for an outright ban; http://rnao.ca/news/ban-medical-tourism-rnao-speaks-out-medicare

Then there is the other side, Canadians traveling abroad for health care services, whatever the reason. This presumably won’t hurt our health care system in the short term, but will start to raise questions why we pay taxes if better health services are available elsewhere.

Regardless, medical tourism continues to grow and provide affordable alternatives. An excellent CNN documentary aired last week  titled; ‘Surf, sand … and surgery? Inside the world of medical tourism.’ This is a must watch program that brings much needed perspective to this controversial topic and will help you decide if its good, bad or indifferent
This means that you can get what amounts to a free vacation given the significant savings on your next medical bill by having the work done in Thailand or another medical destination offering lower costs than Canada.

At TriDelta Financial we strongly believe in a balanced lifestyle, which incorporates wealth and health amongst other aspects, which is why we see medical tourism as a viable alternative in certain situations.

Anton Tucker
Written By:
Anton Tucker, CFP, FMA, CPCA, FCSI
Executive VP
anton@tridelta.ca
(905) 330-7448

How long will I live?

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liveWe thought you would enjoy this very quick and easy life span calculator, which if nothing else will shift your focus and make you aware of the approximate number of years you have to live:
Click here.

Any which way you look at it, life is too short and we must learn to love life, each and every day as if it was the last. We help our clients find perspective and balance by having them complete our ‘Creation of true wealth’ questionnaire, which will hopefully get you thinking about how you’re living and if any changes should be made.

Click here to take the TriDelta True Wealth Questionaire

Here is an excerpt from the TriDelta questionnaire:

We all seek it, but very few of us are fortunate enough to grasp the sense of ‘true wealth’. We are not referring so much to the amount of money you have, but to the achievement of true contentment with your life.

A major stumbling block to achieving this is that our lives are very complex. For this reason we need to divide it into manageable sections, which make it possible for us to decide how we wish to live and what it is that we wish to accomplish in our lives.

We believe that to be happy you must have dreams. Success, however, generally requires a plan. It is with this in mind that we partner with you to develop, implement and monitor a plan to ensure your dreams become reality….

Anton Tucker
Written By:
Anton Tucker, CFP, FMA, CSA, FCSI
Executive VP
anton@tridelta.ca
(905) 330-7448

Be healthy – take an Omega 3 supplement

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omega3Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential nutrients for health. An essential fatty acid, means it cannot be manufactured by our own body and therefore must be obtained through our diet alone.

It is highly recommended by many doctors, psychologists, cardiologists and rheumatologists because of the strong scientific evidence and its many benefits. Here is a list taken directly from MedlinePlus, which is health information from the US National Library of Medicine:

  • lowers blood triglyceride levels
  • reduces the risk of heart attack
  • reduces the risk of dangerous abnormal heart rhythms
  • reduces the risk of strokes
  • slows the build-up of atherosclerotic plaques
  • lowers blood pressure
  • reduces stiffness and joint tenderness associated with Rheumatoid arthritis

Omega-3 fish oil supplements may also help improve or prevent the following:

  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
  • depression
  • heart disease
  • cancer
  • arthritis
  • diabetes
  • hyperactivity
  • ADHD

What’s particularly fascinating about omega 3 fatty acids is that both conventional and alternative medicine agree on its many health benefits.

The ideal ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 is 1:1. Our North American diets are however very deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids, yet have excessive amounts of Omega-6. This has resulted in us having a ratio of about 1:20. This relative omega-3 deficiency is what is believed to be the cause of numerous health problems and strongly supports the continual supplementation of Omega-3 in our diet.

Foods containing Omega 3: Foods containing Omega 6:
Flaxseed Sunflower oil
Walnuts Brazil nuts
Soybeans Sunflower seeds
Navy beans Pumpkin seeds
Kidney beans Peanuts
Tofu Whole grain bread
Fish
Winter Squash
Olive oil

When buying Omega-3 supplements look for purity, potency and freshness. The brand name you choose should be able to provide you with detailed biochemical and toxicological analysis on the bottle. The potency should be measured in milligrams, with a ratio of 2:1 EPA:DHA.

A more recent development in this health sector is a new oil product known as Krill Oil, which is regarded by some as the best source of Omega 3.

For years, research has demonstrated that omega-3 fatty acids help lower an individual’s risk for heart attack, stroke, certain cancers, depression and overall inflammation. The type of omega-3s to take, however, has not always been clear. Omega-3s are broken down into three main components; ALA, EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are found in marine sources and are the best-absorbed forms of omega-3 fatty acids. ALA is found in plant-based foods such as walnuts, algae and soybeans. It’s a great source, especially for vegetarians, but may not be as well-absorbed as their marine counterparts. The Dr Oz Show blog features this interesting and balanced opinion in a blog on the merits of Krill Oil, see http://www.doctoroz.com/blog/kristin-kirkpatrick-ms-rd-ld/new-omega-3-krill-oil

A Canadian company that originated as a biotechnology company Neptune Technologies and Bioressources Inc. There driving goal was to discover and innovate a new form of Omega-3 phospholipids. Today, they provide that superior Omega-3, and remain committed to science for ongoing research to support our health claims. Here is an interesting blog from their website, see http://neptunekrilloil.com/choosing-best-source-omega-3/

The evidence appears overwhelming in support of supplementing our diets to remain healthy.

Anton Tucker
Written By:
Anton Tucker, CFP, FMA, CSA, FCSI
Executive VP
anton@tridelta.ca
(905) 330-7448
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