The Link between Happiness and Health

Whether it’s your money or your body, wealth and health always go hand-in-hand. It is impossible to achieve the first without the latter and vice versa.

Healthy habits build a healthy body that supports identifying your goals and reaching them to find happiness. 

Happiness is everywhere, but sometimes we are so engrossed in our everyday lives that we lose sight of the small things that bring us incredible joy.

Be happy, healthy, AND wealthy. 

 

THE LINK BETWEEN HAPPINESS & HEALTH

Happiness and health are highly correlated. Happy people tend to be healthier physically and have a lower risk of developing chronic diseases. 

A study on individuals with type 2 diabetes found that those who were happier had lower inflammatory markers, which might slow the progression of the disease. Happy people have also been shown to be more productive at work and there is even some research that suggests that happiness can improve mitochondrial health.

Research on twins suggests that 35-50% of happiness is genetic. This means that while a lot of our happiness is out of our control, there is still a lot that is in our control. The catch is that, according to Dr. Gillian Mandich, who studies the science of happiness, humans aren’t great at knowing what makes them happy. She says that it’s not the big shiny moments, such as a promotion or new car, but rather the small moments that add up over time, that determine how happy we are.

Dr. Michael Rucker, another expert in the field of happiness, says that the Goldilocks’ spot is to dedicate at least 2 hours per day (14 hours per week) to pleasurable activities. This might mean carving out some time for a specific fun activity, or learning how to find pleasure in an activity you’re already doing.

Like many other things, happiness is a learned skill that we have to practice. But eventually, it will become a habit and you’ll be in a positive state more often!

So how can we invite more happiness into our lives?

 

1. Sprinkle in small bursts of joy. The sum of small day-to-day moments creates a happy life. So one way to invite more happiness into your life is to sprinkle in small bursts of joy throughout the day. This might mean emailing someone to thank them for something they did for you, having a meaningful conversation with a friend, taking 30 seconds to help someone who needs it or recalling a great past experience. 

2. Seek out playful activities. Engaging in playful activities such as sports or games not only boosts your happiness but is also important for your brain! One study found that juvenile rats that engaged in “rough and tumble” the play had higher activation in certain areas of the brain compared to control rats. They also had greater brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene expression, suggesting that play is important for neurodevelopment.

3. Practice gratitude. Gratitude is appreciating the good in your life as opposed to focusing on the negatives. While it sounds simple, gratitude can change the way our brains are wired. Research suggests that practicing gratitude is associated with greater life satisfaction, improved mood, less stress, and can even improve athletic recovery by reducing inflammation, decreasing blood pressure, and improving sleep.

4. Don’t underestimate the power of humour. Laughing is such a powerful mood lifter that laughing therapy is being used to treat people with mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, as well as stress-related diseases. Research has shown that laughter suppresses cortisol, one of the stress hormones while enhancing dopamine and serotonin, the feel-good chemicals. Give yourself some laughter therapy by going to see a stand-up comedian, an improv show, or watching your favourite comedy movie.

5. Make self-care non-negotiable. This means dedicating some time each day to an activity that is for you and you only. Going for that quick walk in the middle of the day will not only improve your physical health but also make you more focused for the rest of the day. Taking time to meditate every day will make you more patient with your family. Setting aside time to work on a project or hobby will give you balance, give you a sense of accomplishment, and make you happier.

 6. Don’t confuse seeking happiness with trying to be happy all the time. In fact, trying to be happy all the time makes usless happy, because we’re constantly chasing (and failing to achieve) an unrealistic expectation. Instead, focus on creating happy moments when you can, and accepting the lows as they come as well.

 

What other strategies are you using to bring more happiness and joy into your life? We’d love to know! 

Credits for the info go to drgregwells.com/blog.

 

 

How can I prepare financially for a separation or divorce?

Divorce is an emotionally draining time, not only for the couple but for their family as well. What should you be wary of? How can you be financially protected? What are you entitled to and where do you stand in the whole process? Hopefully, this article will help you clear your ideas.

Divorce is an emotionally draining time for not only the couple but for their family as well. It can also be a financially devastating time. Putting your energy into your financial wellbeing is essential when going through this life transition. You will be forced to make life changing decisions possibly in a very short period, and it is important that you know what you are entitled to and where you stand in the marriage, from a financial perspective.

 

1) Find and Compile Your Financial Records

Your first move to protect yourself financially is to make a file of all your financial records. Tax returns, loan and mortgage documents, retirement accounts, bank accounts, investment, and pension statements. You want to be sure that you are aware of all accounts and liabilities when you go into the divorce process. For those of you owning a business or whose partner owns a business, gather as much info as you can especially if you are a shareholder. For all real estate, secure the documents or copy them so you both have what you need.

 

2) Assess Your Assets

Make an exhaustive list of all your assets that could come into question when it comes to division of property. Marital assets are any asset or liability that was acquired during the marriage. This includes houses, cottages, land, investments, pensions, personal property (jewelry, art etc.), vehicles, and other types of intangible property (such as intellectual properties).

Typically, assets acquired before marriage remain in the possession of the person who brought them into the marriage. Inheritance and gifts can also be excluded from divorce if the assets have not been used to buy joint property. If you had a marriage or co-habitation agreement , now is the time to pull out and read every page.

 

3) Open New Bank Accounts

Many married couples have combined finances and use joint bank accounts for convenience’s sake. If you have or if you plan to end your marriage, one of your first steps should be to open new bank accounts in your name that your spouse does not have access to. You should also make it a priority to have any direct deposit is moved to your new account and start paying your bills out of your new individual account, more importantly your pay cheque, since it can be withdrawn in its entirety in the joint account.

 

4) Change Your Will and Update Beneficiaries

Most couples name each other as beneficiaries in their will and on any investment or insurance accounts where beneficiaries can be designated. This should be changed as soon as possible, unless you’ve decided to keep your former partner designated, which many people do especially in the early years of a separation. This may not seem like a top priority, but the unexpected happens and no matter how amicable the divorce, it is impossible to know your wishes will be honored upon your death, if you do not put it in writing. Investment accounts and life insurance policies can easily have their beneficiaries changed through your advisor. Something like real estate will also need your will and power of attorney designations should be updated by a lawyer to be updated in a will.

 

5) Change your Mailing Address

If you are changing your address due to the divorce, or even if you are splitting time in the family home until the divorce is settled, you should change your mailing address immediately. Whether this is to your new home or if you secure a PO Box, it is important that your mail stay private as you may receive correspondence from your lawyer or information about your finances.

 

6) Get Credit Cards in Your Name

If you have a joint credit card, pay them down and cancel them immediately if possible, so that you don’t find yourself responsible for debt that your spouse may accumulate when you leave the marriage.

If you own investments accounts either personally or corporately, now is the time to let the advisor know that there’s a marriage breakdown. Many investment accounts require only one signature, and most advisors will never do a redemption unless all parties sign, but they can only implement if they’re aware of your circumstances.

 

7) Refrain from Making Any Big Financial Decisions

Divorce can be a long road. Assets may become unavailable to you if you go through court proceedings, or conversely you could end up having to hand over more to your spouse than planned. It is wise to hold off making any big purchases or irreversible decisions until your separation agreement is in in place.

Separation and divorce are complicated and can be a difficult time, both emotionally and financially. It is always best to work with legal and financial professionals when navigating a divorce to ensure your best interests are being looked out for and that you are being treated fairly as the process proceeds. They can also help you to navigate the differences in the law, depending on whether you were married or common-law.

 

“This material is provided for general information and is subject to change without notice. Every effort has been made to compile this material from reliable sources however no warranty can be made as to its accuracy or completeness. Before acting on any of the above, please make sure to see a professional advisor for individual financial advice based on your personal circumstances.” 

 

 

What’s the Difference between Universal and Whole Life

Financial terminology is crystal clear for those folks who work in and are exposed to the financial industry on a regular basis, everyone else finds the definitions and implications difficult to understand. “Universal” and “Whole Life” life insurance is not exempt from this reality.

 

Whole Life and Universal Life

Whole Life

Whole Life Insurance is also called ‘permanent’ as it provides a lifetime of coverage. As long as the premiums are paid, the insurance stays in-place permanently. With the Whole Life policy, the death benefit and premiums are usually guaranteed and remain fixed.

Whole life policies pay the death benefit when the insured person passes away.  They can also accumulate additional cash value inside of the policy. The invested premiums fund the death benefit, and whenever excess premiums occur, they are then invested by the insurance company on your behalf and create a Cash Value.

Typically, Whole Life insurance is the ideal option for those people who desire level premiums and a predetermined death benefit.

 

Universal Life

Universal Life Insurance is a slightly more complicated financial solution, as it is considered both a Whole Life policy and a tax-preferred savings account combined together. At the beginning, the death benefit is set and then any premium payments above what the life insurance policy requires can be used to increase the death benefit or be held in a tax-preferred savings account.

This last point is important for those people who may have maximized their RRSP & TFSA contributions and are looking for additional legal ways to shelter income and wealth from taxation.

To understand the differences between Whole Life and Universal Life Insurances be sure to consult with Us, especially if you have significant wealth to transfer to your heirs or you own a business.

 

 

Your Investments Might Have a Larger Impact on Global Warming

Global investors may have a larger influence on climate change than we thought according to new research.  The study shows that publicly listed companies worldwide account for 40% of all climate-warming emissions, putting shareholders of those firms in a strong position to drive a greener agenda.

The first-of-its-kind analysis of over 10,000 companies by UK-based Generation Investment Management shows that previous studies have underplayed the size of the part that listed companies play in creating emissions.

Miguel Nogales, co-Chief Investment Officer of Generation Investment Management, says that listed companies are hiding in plain sight when it comes to the climate crisis.  He added that the investment community’s influence and leverage have been underestimated.

“As COP26 approaches, our research highlights the importance of capital allocation choices and meaningful portfolio engagement if we are to be successful in delivering a net-zero world by 2050,” he said.

Nogales noted that there is a lot more listed firms must do to address their impact on climate change.

“Given their outsized resources and focus on developed markets, listed companies will need to deliver the lion’s share of private-sector emissions reductions in the next few years,” he said. “If the world needs to get to net-zero by 2050, the ambition for public companies overall should be 2040 at the latest – and they must focus on decarbonization in the near term.”

 

New methodology

The new research differs from previous studies in that it includes listed companies’ value chain GHG emissions.  For example, oil produced by listed global oil majors that are consumed by households and smaller non-listed enterprises, as well as the oil consumed in vehicles manufactured by listed companies.

The issue of double-counting has been incorporated into the methodology.

Felix Preston, director of sustainability insights at Generation Investment Management, said that investor action on climate change is rightly targeted on the highest emitting and systemically important companies, but other listed firms also have a key role to play.

“With the right incentives, these companies can attack emissions reduction from all angles and unleash the untold potential for innovation and collaboration. Indeed, this could be an important weapon in driving change in incumbent heavy industries, which are some of the largest Scope 1 emitters,” he said. “Many listed companies in this long tail are more nimble and far less wedded to high-carbon business models and can play an important role in driving progress.”

Talk with your advisor if this is a concern of yours.  There are many options to better balance your portfolio that they can walk you through.