How insurance is one of the greatest financial tools?


When I was six, my father died.  He was 55 and he left behind a family of seven children, with my mother to look after them all.  My mother told me that his life insurance covered his burial.  She also told me that his lawyer suggested he obtain more life insurance, but he didn’t listen.

Things could have been a lot different for us if my father had listened, or he’d had a financial advisor who might have pushed a little harder.  But we didn’t have financial planning advice.  Even today, only about half of Canadians seek financial advice from a professional financial advisor or planner.1

Insurance has the power to change lives

How would life have been different for my family had my father had an appropriate level of life insurance?  First, we would have had enough to eat.  As it was, my childhood memories include having to be quick off the mark lest another family member take my portion.  They also include a number of holidays when food was dropped off at our door; I don’t think we would have had ham or turkey had that not happened.  I don’t remember our family accessing our local food bank and for good reason; this wasn’t an option because the first food bank in Canada didn’t open until 1981.

I think too, we might have had a few more clothing options.  In the grand scheme of things, having to wear hand-me-downs is not such a bad thing, but having only two pairs of pants to last the entire school year (especially if you fell and ripped one of the pairs) meant that we were looked upon differently and I for one felt that.

On a more important note, more of us may have gone to college or university.  And again, had we had a financial advisor, my mother may have known about the benefits available to post-secondary students.  I’m thinking here of things like the child’s benefit for survivors of CPP contributors.

It’s no accident I’m passionate about insurance

It’s no accident that I’m very passionate about what I do and about the tools and education I can play a part in bringing to families.  I’ve been involved with insurance for most of my adult life in one way or another, first at Canada Life, in the group underwriting area and moving into marketing and product development first at Canada Life and then with Sun Life.  Now, as an Associate Consultant at Vassalo & Associates Private Wealth Management, I’ve been able to help clients with questions about their financial planning and with obtaining insurance.  

As much as I hope clients won’t need their coverage for a very long time, there is no doubt in my mind that it is very valuable indeed.  For young families, as I first learned, it’s about protecting them against the risk of a caregiver’s premature death.

The many uses for insurance beyond protection

When I remarried and found myself in a blended family, I recognized a new use for life insurance.  How would I ensure that my son would be taken care of while also ensuring my husband could access my savings as needed were I to die before him?  The simplest solution was again insurance.  I cannot begin to describe how important this tool is in my own financial plan and to my own peace of mind.

These are fundamental uses of insurance for protection purposes.  There are of course myriad other uses for this financial tool: as an alternative, low risk asset class investment; as a tax-efficient source of retirement income; as collateral for a business loan; as a way to cover estate tax liabilities; as a way to leave more to a charity; as a way to equalize estates among beneficiaries; and as a way to tax-effectively transfer assets from a corporation.

Is it any wonder that I believe insurance to be one of the greatest financial tools available and why I’m so passionate about its value?  If you want to know more about how this tool might benefit you, please reach out.


Teresa Schnurr BA, B Ed, CFP®, Investors Group Financial Services Inc. 

With an affinity for financials and a desire to make a difference, Teresa appreciates the opportunity to use her background and skills to empower others.  Teresa has been engaged in the financial services industry for over 25 years and with Vassalo & Associates Private Wealth Management since 2019.  As practice manager, Teresa’s focus is on strategy development and implementation, best practices, team development, marketing and client services.  Teresa is a University of Waterloo graduate and holds a BEd from the University of Toronto and a Teacher/Trainer of Adults certificate from Humber College.  She holds the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® designation.

1Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, Canadians and their Money: Key Findings from the 2019 Canadian Financial Capability Survey

This is a general source of information only. It is not intended to provide personalized tax, legal or investment advice, and is not intended as a solicitation to purchase securities. Teresa Schnurr is solely responsible for its content. For more information on this topic or any other financial matter, please contact an IG Wealth Management Consultant. Insurance products and services distributed through I.G. Insurance Services Inc. Insurance license sponsored by The Canada Life Assurance Company.