Healthcare plans

RYAN By Guest Blogger Ryan Lewenza

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Getting older really blows! I’m only 45 so I should probably stop my bitchin’ but things are starting to go. In my thirties I started having acid reflux flare-ups, my lower back hurts from time to time, and just recently I started experiencing “tennis elbow”. As my body slowly degrades it reminds me of a great Brad Pitt quote from the movie Fight Club, “Hey, even the Mona Lisa’s falling apart”.

Luckily I have a job (a great one at that) where my company offers a comprehensive health plan to help pay for drugs, vision care, and all the physio appointments I need to keep me from turning into the Hunchback of Notre Dame. But what about the millions of Canadians who are not so lucky and do not have an extended health care plan to cover all these different expenses? In today’s blog I cover this critically important topic.

First let’s review what’s covered by our government health plan to determine those missing benefits that we need to solve for.

Canada’s universal health care program, which is funded by taxes, covers any necessary hospital stays, any treatment or surgery required, prescriptions drugs while in the hospital, and any visits or treatments from a physician and clinic. What it does not currently cover includes drug prescriptions, dental and vision care, and items like wheelchairs or prostheses. So our universal health program covers all the basics but Canadians then need to address things like prescription drugs, dental expenses and physiotherapy. This is where extended health care plans come in.

Roughly 65% of Canadians have additional coverage through private health insurance plans with the majority of Canadians getting their extended health care coverage through their employer. For example, our company uses Manulife and the benefit plans cover things like eyeglasses, prescription drugs and massage therapy.

According to the Conference Board of Canada, average annual premiums for one full-time employee are $2,102 for extended health care coverage and $1,419 for family dental coverage. So for two parents and a couple of kids the total costs per year would be roughly $5,632 per year. However, the company usually doesn’t foot the whole bill, often covering 70-80% of the plan costs with the employee covering the difference. This can end up costing an employee roughly $1,000 for family coverage.

Now some believe this is their only costs for health care. They forget that a portion of their taxes is going to pay for the universal health care coverage that the government provides.

The Fraser Institute, a conservative think tank, published an interesting report called The Price of Public Health Care Insurance, which attempted to calculate the costs Canadians pay for their universal health care through taxes. They estimate that the average single person pays $4,544 and a family with two kids pays $13,311 per year in health care costs through taxes. So adding the costs of the universal government health care coverage and what a family would pay through their work extended health care plan gets you close to $15,000 per year. While we have a pretty good health care system it ain’t cheap!

Estimated Costs for Public Health Care Insurance by Family Type

Source: The Fraser Institute’s Canadian Tax Simulator 2019

What about those who don’t have an employer health care plan? This would include self-employed, unemployed or retirees.

That’s where private health care plans comes in from companies like Manulife or Green Shield. You can purchase private health care plans that cover the costs of dental, drugs, and other health care expenses. These companies offer different packages that range in costs with the ability to customize the plan through add-ons based on one’s needs.

I reviewed Manulife’s Flexcare plans and for a couple in their 50s who select the Enhanced Plan it will cost $4,312 for the full year. This enhanced plan covers drug costs (up to $10,000/year), dental (up to $920/year), vision ($250 every 2 years) and travel emergency health coverage. For a single person aged 50 it will be roughly half that at $2,100/year.

For these plans you can get add-ons like travel insurance, life and disability coverage, which would take costs for a family closer to $6,000/year.

FlexCare Monthly Premiums – Ontario

Source: Manulife

So the question is, do you believe your health and the inevitable costs that you’ll incur as you age are worth the $4,300 for a family or $2,100 for a single person? Maybe it’s easy for me to say yes since I’m fortunate that I have coverage through my employer, but it seems like an easily justifiable expense, given that our health is the most valuable thing. Sure, having a big investment portfolio is nice to have, but if you’re not around to enjoy what’s it really worth.

Ryan Lewenza, CFA, CMT is a Partner and Portfolio Manager with Turner Investments, and a Senior Vice President, Private Client Group, of Raymond James Ltd.

 

114 comments ↓

#1 Michael on 01.18.20 at 11:07 am

Gee whizz Ryan, no respectable analyst should be quoting the Frazer Disinformation Institute. Couldn’t you find somewhere reputable?

#2 Kevin Gill on 01.18.20 at 11:28 am

Good read!

#3 50 YEARS OF MAPLE LEAF INCOMPETENCE! on 01.18.20 at 11:35 am

Ryan, Garth, STOP RIGHT NOW!

SHUT DOWN THE BLOG!

WE HAVE A WEATHER EMERGENCY!

No health insurance plan will solve the crisis the most important part of Canada faces today! If Toronturds have to shovel more than 5 minutes, they will then use up all massage and physio benefits and there will be none left for the rest of us ever again!

There are reports of winter weather falling upon the GTA! Up to 15 cm of SNOW! Almost as much as Real Canada gets every week in winter!

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH THE HUMANITY!!!!!!!!!!!

There are millions of real snowflakes falling on millions of GTA Snowflakes!!

All those deluded, self-important princesses will be screaming!

40,000 REALTORS MAY BE TOO TERRIFIED TO STAGE OPEN HOUSES!

SEND IN THE CANADIAN ARMY!

SEND IN THE US ARMY!

SEND IN THE RUSSIAN ARMY!

SEND IN THE MAKE BELIEVES!
(they’re useless at hockey, so at least let them help with shoveling)

Toronturds and GTAHoles need help!

And they DESERVE it!

They are MORE IMPORTANT than everyone else in Canada!

STOP THIS BLOG, STOP EVERYTHING CANADA!!

TORONTO DEMANDS YOUR HELP!!

NOW!!

#4 FreeBird on 01.18.20 at 11:48 am

Great post Ryan. I come from self employed parents and have been small biz owners with my husband for almost 25 yrs so I’m well versed in the concept of out of pocket and or self pay. We now wish we had put private health benefits in place years ago while we both enjoyed good health and age was on our side for premiums. I would only add to look at the cost of homecare if added hours are needed outside of what’s covered by CCAC and or longterm care/seniors centers. Depending the level or type of care needed and quality of residence it can be quite expensive ($2500 and up) with the wait list for public LONG (up to 2 yrs in some cases). It’s a good heads up to the younger.

#5 Albertaguy in AZ on 01.18.20 at 12:13 pm

If you are relatively healthy and dont use or need many of the “extras” included with these plans, then self insuring is the way to go. As a mid-fifties self-employed/early retired couple we have saved tens of thousands in premiums over the last decade . Eat well/healthy, drink moderately, exercise/walk/jog 2-3 times per week, enjoy friends and buy travel medical insurance when needed.

#6 Your health on 01.18.20 at 12:29 pm

It’s hard to give an opinion as for myself I am almost 60 and I have a health care plan funded by my retirement plan from my former employer for which I pay 50 percent of the fees.
I take no drugs, I go to the university to have my teeth cleaned, I do not get massages that are paid for by the plan I think it’s irresponsible as I don’t have any issues to require massages, I just enjoy them.
So for now the company makes lots of money off me.

Having said that I have friends who spend thousands and thousands on drugs which are covered, so that’s good.

Personally I think the best plan that I came across was a former Bell Canada employee, not sure what it is now. When he retired the plan said here’s $75,000 that you can draw down for medical expenses for the rest of your life.
And you know what it created a frugal attitude of getting the best price for health care. Hard to explain in a short letter. A small example if your health care covers massages three times a year regardless of price then you will go for the most expensive, but if you could only spend $400 per year you will go for the best service at the best price. So you could get 8 massages for $50 whereas the previous example you will say well they are paying so I will get the $120 massage. So which is better?

On a side note, when I was your age I had back pains and pains in my wrist. Some digestive issues

All I can say most pains can be solved with exercise and stretching, and I was told by a doctor to adjust my car seat to a full upright position. Anyway I have no back pain now and my wrist is great. Several injuries I had in my 50s also healed with exercise and stretching and the odd massage.
I don’t know enough about acid reflex but I am sure diet will help. But a dietitian is not covered by most heath care plans as its preventative not reactive.
I personally think our health care costs are crazy, but then again society demands rubber gloves, throw away needles, I remember as a kid all the doctors did was wash their hands and sharpen the old needles.
I also think many people because of the sense of free health care go to the hospital or doctor for everything.
No more doctor mom!

So a fine balance, but we need to address the issues. Why the government does not create a think tank of health care professional to reduce cost and double nurses salaries is beyond me.

#7 Boris Corbyn on 01.18.20 at 12:35 pm

@ryan, thanks for this post.

What’s your take on using an HSA for a small corp?

#8 Grunt on 01.18.20 at 12:36 pm

Dental plans don’t cover costly ol-phart bridges & implants. Least my “Life’s Brighter Under the Sun that Burns You,” don’t.

Cause of my love for corporate Canada. I’m more inclined to allocate my premium costs into US investments. Then pull as required. But that’s increasing the risk.

#9 mnpr on 01.18.20 at 12:39 pm

Thank-you for covering this Ryan.

This is a timely topic for me as my Alberta Blue Cross extended health care plan (does not include dental), that I currently have by virtue of being a retiree from the City of Edmonton, will cease when I turn 65 in May this year. As a retiree I am getting a group rate but need to pay the entire cost myself, there is no employer contribution. About $185 per month for a couple. This plan includes drup coverage at 80%. Alberta has a premium-free seniors plan at starting at 65, and while is does not include things like vision care, physiotherapy etc, is does include drug coverage at 70%. Although I’m not sure of which drugs may be covered… may be cheaper generic versions, possibly not as affective, would be provided. I haven’t investigated this yet.

I have read elsewhere that health insurance companies generally work on the 60/40 model… meaning for every dollar taken in, in premiums, they try to pay out about 60% in claims. The rest is for overhead and profit.

I have looked at my numbers over recent years and see that I am paying in premiums far more than I have been getting in benefits. Most of the benefits have been in prescription drugs. As the premium-free Alberta seniors plan covers 70% drugs I am thinking it is NOT cost-effective for me to sign up for health insurance. Maybe better to create a separate savings fund and put the premiums (that I would have paid) into there and use that for health costs.

Do you have any thoughts on that?

#10 Bezengy on 01.18.20 at 12:40 pm

I retired 6 months ago when I turned 56. I looked into health plans through a provider but I found there were limits on everything you might need, or no coverage for something like a false tooth implant. I decided to start my own dedicated health account in a non-registered account. I get to choose what the money will be spent on. I realize the risks involved and some will call me crazy, but the wife and I spent 80 percent of our lives with no coverage being self employed, so it’s nothing new to us. When it came to providing braces for the kids I was amazed at the cash discounts offered. Bottom line is you better do everything you can to stay healthy, and thank your lucky stars we live in Canada, but even then there are no guarantees to longevity.

#11 Dr V on 01.18.20 at 12:49 pm

Overall, these plans make money for the providers. Just like any kind of insurance.

#12 Sail Away on 01.18.20 at 12:55 pm

Don’t buy into it, Ryan. Aches and pains are caused by ignoring exercise- keeping all muscles and supporting ligaments strong and importantly not getting fat, can keep folks running ultramarathons through their 60s.

Otherwise it’s a self-perpetuating cycle: weak muscles give no support so injuries happen, injury stops exercise, muscles get weaker, knee blows out, hip breaks, etc. Throw in the towel.

I feel fantastic at 47yo and run 50-mile races with many others in their 50s and 60s. Planning for the 4400 km offroad Tour Divide bike race this summer. I’ve never been un-fit, but have noticed no difference whatsoever in ability over time. It’s purely a function of training; if I slack in training, I’ll be slower in the race. Nothing to do with age.

#13 Mordko on 01.18.20 at 1:00 pm

So… the options are:

1. Buy a health plan.
2. Die early
3. That’s it. No other option, like covering healthcare costs out of pocket (And get a tax refund).

Really?

#14 Coastal Zapper on 01.18.20 at 1:15 pm

Doug

Most guys lower back pain is due to tight hamstrings, stretch regularly, back pain gone.

As for the acid reflux, thats stress, tell the boss you need more paid vacation time, if he doesn’t agree threaten to go union.

#15 MF on 01.18.20 at 1:26 pm

#3 50 YEARS OF MAPLE LEAF INCOMPETENCE! on 01.18.20 at 11:35 am

Lol a blizzard in the middle of nowhere effects less people than one where there are millions.

Can we just get rid of this clown already?

MF

#16 MF on 01.18.20 at 1:29 pm

#12 Sail Away on 01.18.20 at 12:55

Totally agree, and my family and I do everything you mentioned.

One thing though, hormone levels (testosterone mainly) do drop as one gets older (regardless of diet/lifestyle), so there will be an inevitable decline. It’s up to us to mitigate that decline.

MF

#17 Sail Away on 01.18.20 at 1:31 pm

The US private system is much better (faster, more professional) for generally healthy, employed people. Canada’s system is better if you’re destitute, a junkie, unemployed, or any combination of the 3.

Exactly the same as taxation where 60% of productive Canadians pay 100% of the bills.

#18 joblo on 01.18.20 at 1:52 pm

Healthcare Vacations Thailand for health, Mexico for dental. Screw Kanada insurance and get a vaca to boot!

https://www.flightnetwork.com/blog/8-worlds-top-medical-tourism-destinations/

#19 Linda on 01.18.20 at 2:14 pm

My work based plan is a 50/50 split with the employer. The retiree plan is optional upon retiring & is also a 50/50 split, but like #9 ‘mnpr’ it ends when the retiree turns 65. It is a good deal as it is essentially the same as the employee plan, with somewhat lower coverage for things like glasses or parameds (massage, chiropractic, podiatrist & so forth) but the same coverage for dental, prescriptions & basic service. The only catch is it ends at age 65 so older retirees might not have the option of joining. Also if you don’t opt in at retirement you can’t join later. It is a one time offer.

If you are fortunate to have basic good health, my advice is to get stuck in & do the maintenance. I highly recommend yoga, because most of the other common aging ailments – sore back, joint issues, balance etc. – are alleviated or nonexistent for those who practice regularly. The classes I attend have many retirees, some of whom are in their 80’s & are visual proof that older doesn’t have to mean decrepit. Highly inspirational to say the least.

I found today’s charts very interesting, noting that the monthly cost actually drops after age 65 – I’m presuming that is due to additional ‘free’ senior health care coverage by the province – but also noting with interest that the plans apparently cease offering travel insurance at age 70. My in-laws used to travel extensively but stopped a few years back & mentioned the cost of travel coverage was prohibitive. Something to consider when making a retirement decision, especially if one is planning to travel extensively.

#20 Dr V on 01.18.20 at 2:15 pm

12 Sail away – I was in my best cycling shape ever at 48. I was in my best relative shape at 57. What I notice now is the cup isn’t holding the volume that it once did.
Without cutting back on work but adding any other life
stress, I cant train with either the volume or intensity I
once could, especially during the week. Sunday is normally my best day as I’ve had at least a few hours to relax on Saturday and a good night’s sleep.

Hope retirement rejuvenates me.

#21 SoggyShorts on 01.18.20 at 2:16 pm

Any advice for future expats?

I’ve done quite a bit of research but the results are pretty vague.
E.G. I want to retire and travel using Vietnam as a home base, rarely returning to Canada.
This means I certainly won’t meet the 181 days or whatever the requirement is to remain a resident, however the Vietnamese only give tourist visas so I can’t be a resident there either.

I -think- that having all of my financials in Canada and paying all of my taxes here will be enough, but what about healthcare? Some stuff like dental is 60-90% cheaper there so I’m not concerned, but someday, something will get me and I don’t want to come out of retirement and have to cook meth in an RV to pay for treatment.

Any idea if expats can maintain just disaster coverage if they keep paying taxes while being a nomad?

Only temporarily. Ontario, for example, allows two years of coverage if you remain a permanent resident of Canada for tax purposes. – Garth

#22 Yanniel on 01.18.20 at 2:23 pm

Some employers offering extended health care plans
charge a fee from your pay-check to fund the coverage in conjunction with the employe. Some of these fees are optional and you can opt-out (albeit forfeiting a benefit)

I mention this because there could be room for optimization (that could save you money) if both members of a couple are employed and offered extended health care plans.

In many cases your family need only to be covered by one plan. Not both. Ex. My wife’s dental covers 100% of the typical procedures and my dental covers 70-80%. I could increment my coverage to a 100% by paying a fee, but why should I? I am covered under my wife’s fully.

Conversely my drug plan covers 100% up to a very nice limit; but my wife’s does not foot the full bill. She can decide to increase her coverage for a fee, but that’s just a waste of money.

There are potentially more ways to optimize, but this is the general idea. Hopefully this could save a few bucks to some blog dogs.

It pays to read the annoying documents detailing your coverage. It gets easier after the 1st shot of Ardbeg.

#23 Yanniel on 01.18.20 at 2:30 pm

#21 SoggyShorts on 01.18.20 at 2:16 pm

“Any advice for future expats?”

RE: The richmoose (a financial DIY blogger I’ve followed) relocated from Alberta to Vietnam at the age of 30 (this year). You might want to ask.

#24 Ryan Lewenza on 01.18.20 at 2:35 pm

Boris Corbyn “What’s your take on using an HSA for a small corp?“

HSAs can be good options for small business. They allow you to offer some health care coverage to employees while helping to control costs since typically there is a dollar cap an employee can claim for health care expenses. Plus the costs are tax deductible for the business. – Ryan L

#25 MF on 01.18.20 at 2:38 pm

#18 joblo on 01.18.20 at 1:52 pm

Lol Don’t forget to go to India too (number 3 on that travel website’s list/life expectancy = 69 years) for all your health care needs!

Be sure to book your plane ticket with that website as well!

MF

#26 Yanniel on 01.18.20 at 2:43 pm

Also, don’t forget the “medical expense tax credit”.

https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/forms-publications/publications/rc4065/medical-expenses-2016.html

https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/lines-330-331-eligible-medical-expenses-you-claim-on-your-tax-return.html

#27 Remembrancer on 01.18.20 at 3:02 pm

#11 Dr V on 01.18.20 at 12:49 pm
Overall, these plans make money for the providers. Just like any kind of insurance.
————————————-
Pretty much the conclusion I reached after coming off a sweet corporate plan that offered a transition to private coverage after an ahem, involuntary separation er layoff… Between the deductibles and max payments / year, I couldn’t see even coming close to recovering the premium for the regular stuff. Self-insuring made and makes sense in a case like that.

#28 IHCTD9 on 01.18.20 at 3:03 pm

As I get older, I find pumping iron to be a big plus. Keeps your T levels up, and you get stronger if you have not lifted before. Makes it easier for me to do manual labour around the bunker complex. Keeps the fat off you.

Go read up on what low T levels do to Men, it’s shocking and a literal death sentence. There is no option for Men other than to eat and exercise with the explicit goal of keeping those T levels up (naturally, no synthetic stuff). Everything about good T levels makes a Man’s life better.

A good example of what happens if you don’t, is looking at South Asian Men living in Western Countries. They have a 400% higher incidence of heart disease and diabetes than the general population does. 400%!! These are ailments of a sedentary lifestyle – you rarely see these dudes excelling in sports, using their back to make a living, or winning gold medals at the Olympics – it’s just not their culture.

But they eat well, many would say better than a Western born dude, yet they are falling over in their 60’s with heart attacks all over the world. Diet alone is not enough.

IMHO, this situation is due to a lifetime of little physical activity which results in low T levels and the consequences thereof (many, and all bad). I work with many SA dudes around my age (late 40’s/early 50’s)where low T really shows up – and the incidence of these guys being soft as a pillow with the physique of a bowling pin is like almost 100%.

To me these dudes are the proof ALL Men need to physically stress their bodies on the regular, or you will eventually feel like crap every day, and soon be lining up for stents and insulin…

#29 PetertheSeparatistfromCalgary on 01.18.20 at 3:12 pm

Just a little reminder. When bad health or other stuff happens that you need money for it is better to have a TFSA than an RRSP.

When the Calgary flood hit I could not get insurance money fast enough to pay the second installment to the contractor working on my house. I considered taking money out of my RRSP but that would have a major tax impact and I would lose that contribution room forever. At the time I did not have a TFSA. I ended up getting a home equity loan to pay him. This was difficult since the bank had to make sure my house was still valuable and required an inspection from some over worked estimator. Somehow I got the loan in time to keep my contractor working and paid back the loan when I got the insurance money a few MONTHs later. Getting that loan was great as my house was one of the first in my neighborhood to be repaired and I was in a better position to deal with my insurance company because I did not have to take the first offer.

After this I set up a TFSA. If I ever get a similar situation I can withdraw money from it without tax impact and without losing contribution room. I may still use a home equity loan but now I have one more good option in an emergency.

FYI: Scientific evidence shows Calgary had big floods like this before industrialization so don’t blame increased C02 or global warming.

#30 Sail Away on 01.18.20 at 3:31 pm

#20 Dr V on 01.18.20 at 2:15 pm

12 Sail away – I was in my best cycling shape ever at 48. I was in my best relative shape at 57. What I notice now is the cup isn’t holding the volume that it once did.
Without cutting back on work but adding any other life
stress, I cant train with either the volume or intensity I
once could, especially during the week. Sunday is normally my best day as I’ve had at least a few hours to relax on Saturday and a good night’s sleep.

Hope retirement rejuvenates me.

————————————–

There have been studies showing excessive effort in exercise reduces work productivity and vice versa.

#31 Barb on 01.18.20 at 3:31 pm

An infrequently mentioned aspect of old age:

What doesn’t leak dries up.
Ahem.

#32 yvr_lurker on 01.18.20 at 3:34 pm

As soon as I hear of a study by the Fraser Institute I completely disengage and tune-out. This is the same institute,who under the leadership of Michael Walker in the 80s and 90s thought it was perfectly reasonable to release to the public a position paper written by one of their chief economists Walter Block on the need to privatize some of our rivers in BC. Take a look at the
wikipedia page

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Block

Dangerous fellow in my view…My mother, long retired, worked at the FI for years as a writer and editor during that time (not an economist), and needed the job to run the single-parent household (but she hated the ultra-right propaganda and used to show mesome of the crazy proposals that she was working on to fix the grammar and organize better…).

Imagine if we privatized some of our rivers.
Next step, would be a large mining corporation who buys rights to and controls a river, accidentally releases all sorts of effluent causing long-term environmental damage… oops…. sueing them would be impossible as they own the river…. no thank you….

No, no, and more no to the Fraser Institute.

#33 Remembrancer on 01.18.20 at 3:35 pm

#29 PetertheSeparatistfromCalgary on 01.18.20 at 3:12 pm
FYI: Scientific evidence shows Calgary had big floods like this before industrialization so don’t blame increased C02 or global warming.
—————————————————
Sure, I won’t blame flooding in Calgary on global warming as long as you don’t look for handouts or cost me 1 cent more in private insurance or federal taxes after building on a past, present or future flood plain. Deal?

Good advice on the TFSA btw as an alternate to an emergency loan or raiding the RRSP, its risker than holding the legendary X months of salary emergency stash in savings, but much more flexible than solely having a RRSP.

#34 Ryan Lewenza on 01.18.20 at 3:41 pm

mnpr “I have looked at my numbers over recent years and see that I am paying in premiums far more than I have been getting in benefits. Most of the benefits have been in prescription drugs. As the premium-free Alberta seniors plan covers 70% drugs I am thinking it is NOT cost-effective for me to sign up for health insurance. Maybe better to create a separate savings fund and put the premiums (that I would have paid) into there and use that for health costs. Do you have any thoughts on that?“

We’ll I’m no doctor but the first question would be how’s your current health/lifestyle and what’s your family history look like. If not great then don’t risk it and look at coverage over and above your government coverage. That’s the thing with insurance and health benefits. When you need it it’s too late since no one will insure you. Another option would be if plans exist like a health spending account where you get a set dollar amount for different healthcare expenses. This would be a like a top up account. Maybe inquire if those are available in your province. This way you have a additional coverage without blowing the bank account. – Ryan L

#35 Ryan Lewenza on 01.18.20 at 3:48 pm

Dr V “Overall, these plans make money for the providers. Just like any kind of insurance.”

Of course they do. It’s called capitalism. But they still provide an important service to people. The alternative could be so much worse (ie having a terrible illness/disease with no coverage above what the government provides). – Ryan L

#36 Ryan Lewenza on 01.18.20 at 3:59 pm

Coaster Zapper “ Most guys lower back pain is due to tight hamstrings, stretch regularly, back pain gone.

As for the acid reflux, thats stress, tell the boss you need more paid vacation time, if he doesn’t agree threaten to go union.”

Yup good advice. My hamstrings are always pretty tight so I’m doing more stretching and yoga to try to fix the problem.

And for the additional vacation time maybe I’ll call my uncle (ex CAW head) and see what he can do. Boy would that ever be a fun conversation to watch! Garth going at it with a borderline socialist union leader. – Ryan L

#37 Sold Out on 01.18.20 at 4:09 pm

Just what BC RE needs: dodgy private lenders doling out 40 year mortgages to people with unstable income, while promising 6% returns. Run by an association that lives and dies by the RE market, and a former yoga teacher and fired government employee. Full disclosure: dude owes me money from 2 decades ago.

https://www.bccassn.com/resources/mortgage-investment-corp/

#38 espressobob on 01.18.20 at 4:11 pm

Being in my 60s it never seems to amaze how many become sedentary and expect our health care system to fix laziness.

I work out in a gym twice a week on the most brutal equipment designed by Arthur Jones. This has nothing to do with narcissism, but more to do with good health.

I’m going down fighting.

#39 Doug in London on 01.18.20 at 4:22 pm

@ Sail Away, post #12:
My observations exactly. When I was a preteen kid and teenager, I was a wimpy weakling kid who was totally useless at sports and absolutely hated phys ed. In any sports we played at school, team captains would take turns picking players and I was always the last one chosen. I was the dregs, the remnants. With such a lousy start in life you would think I would be dead before age 40.

Instead, at age 59 I feel amazing, better than ever. I don’t think I reached my peak at age 40 and am still at that level. The results from a Fitbit I wore for about 18 months prove it. The secret? Keep going, keep active, and remember that age is just a number. Ignore when anyone says you’re too old. I think when most people get over 40 they say of anything even mildly strenuous: oh, I can’t do that, I’m too old. So they stop doing fun and energy consuming things, get out of shape then say: see I told you so, I’m too old. It hasn’t occurred to such a person that it’s all a self fulfilling prophecy.

#40 Frank on 01.18.20 at 4:33 pm

Ryan, why have REITS and preferreds been up so much this week?

#41 Sail Away on 01.18.20 at 4:40 pm

So Ryan, have we sufficiently shamed you into no longer using your still youthful age as an excuse?

Yoga? Ok.. probably can’t hurt. Definitely integrate the squat rack, though.

#42 Whinepegger on 01.18.20 at 4:49 pm

Have been retired for four years now. Thoroughly investigated all health plan options prior to retirement. Self insuring is by far the cheapest alternative. Who uses $10,000 worth of prescription medicines? Oh wait, my wife takes injections that cost OVER $10,000 per year. But, wait, the insurance companies only cover drugs that are on the provincial Medicare list. My wife’s is not.

When looking beyond the prescription drug coverage in a plan it suddenly becomes obvious that to recoup the mega-dollars one spends to enroll you would have to take advantage of ALL the offered services. And the fine print has limitations on each service which, miraculously, makes the insurance redundant because you’ve paid for the services in premiums. As others have already said, eat healthy, be active, save for a medical rainy day and pray your health holds up. FREE Canadian health care is a myth.

#43 Katherine on 01.18.20 at 5:12 pm

#19 Linda on 01.18.20 at 2:14 pm
I highly recommend yoga, because most of the other common aging ailments – sore back, joint issues, balance etc. – are alleviated or nonexistent for those who practice regularly. The classes I attend have many retirees, some of whom are in their 80’s & are visual proof that older doesn’t have to mean decrepit. Highly inspirational to say the least.

I totally agree with Linda on this one. I have been practising yoga for over 10 years at least twice a week and am in better shape than many half my 60-year-old body. It is kind to the body and can be done well into old, old age. I also recently started to incorporate a barre class that helps improve strength everywhere.

Those with corporate life insurance policies should also look into receiving a rebate for gym membership. As a teacher, I was able to receive $50/year toward the membership. I assume life insurance companies expect you will live longer if you are active. Sedentary lifestyle is brutal on your body. We all need to keep moving.

#44 Ronaldo on 01.18.20 at 5:18 pm

#39 Doug in London on 01.18.20 at 4:22 pm
@ Sail Away, post #12:
My observations exactly. When I was a preteen kid and teenager, I was a wimpy weakling kid who was totally useless at sports and absolutely hated phys ed. In any sports we played at school, team captains would take turns picking players and I was always the last one chosen. I was the dregs, the remnants. With such a lousy start in life you would think I would be dead before age 40.

Instead, at age 59 I feel amazing, better than ever. I don’t think I reached my peak at age 40 and am still at that level. The results from a Fitbit I wore for about 18 months prove it. The secret? Keep going, keep active, and remember that age is just a number. Ignore when anyone says you’re too old. I think when most people get over 40 they say of anything even mildly strenuous: oh, I can’t do that, I’m too old. So they stop doing fun and energy consuming things, get out of shape then say: see I told you so, I’m too old. It hasn’t occurred to such a person that it’s all a self fulfilling prophecy.
——————————————————————
I’ve always said if you want to be old, just think old. I chose not to. I too was lousy at phys ed and as a result I too was generally the last to be picked for the team. It was especially worse when even your best friend didn’t pick you for the team unless I happened to be the last one standing. I laugh at it today though.

I turn 74 this year and still at the same weight as I was when I graduated from high school. Never smoked, drank very little and spent most of my working careers behind a desk. I get my eyes check once per year, still 20/20. Have an annual physical. Blood pressure never changed at 120/70. About the only sports I did were ski, bowl, curl and shoot pool but I did a lot of hard work on my time off doing many renos and building a couple homes. I semi retired at 54 and for the first couple years spent a lot of time skiing and building our retirement home which was quite physical. 20 years later I hike 14-20 km per week, play 9 hours of table tennis per week and do lots of physical work around the yard keeping it in shape since we have a lot of trees and shrubs. Shovelled a tonne of snow off the driveway in last couple days. Thankfully we don’t get much here in Nanaimo. I agree with Doug that getting old is a self fullfilling prophecy and I am determined not to let the old man in as Clint Eastwood used to say. I once asked my mother when she turned 80 what it felt like to be that age and she said, “I don’t have a clue, I feel the same as I did when I was 21”. And I never saw her exercise. I hike and ski with people in their 80’s who give me a lot of inspiration. My wife and I have hiked together for the past 12 years and have hiked to the tops of many mountains in our Provincial and National Parks. We’ve also recently hiked in Switzerland and Ireland and in September we did 120 km hike on the Avalon Penninsula in Newfoundland. That was awesome. So at 59 Doug, you are just a young fellow in my eyes and Sail Away you are the age of my younger son so you can imagine what I see you as, really young.
Life is good. As for todays topic, dental costs is the area that will hit you the hardest if you don’t have a plan. That is especially true for may age group where there were no dental plans and family were not able to afford the dental work that was needed as so teeth were simply yanked out. So before you retire and if you’re not going to be on a plan afterwards I strongly recommend you get all the dental work you need done before you pack it in. $15000 on dental implants as I had can hit you hard in the pocket book if you don’t have the funds set aside and not on a plan.

#45 Figure it Out on 01.18.20 at 5:30 pm

“This enhanced plan covers drug costs (up to $10,000/year) …”

Insurance, for most people, ought to be about tail risk — i.e. covering low probability but catastrophically costly events. If your insurance pays $400/yr for prescription glasses but not $30k for the lifesaving meds for a rare condition, you’re doing it wrong, and wasting your money.

#46 Joe Schmoe on 01.18.20 at 5:33 pm

Interesting post…Thanks Ryan!

We recently considered moving to TO…part of the consideration was losing my company health care plan…doing some research, I found the costs in line with what you showed, except the provider I currently have knows we are “low cost” customers, so offered a reasonably priced package.

Any comparable to the US? My time in the US is long past, but I remember my healthcare costs being “irrelevant” compared to the tax savings on income. I think I banked 20K more when all was said and done.

#47 IHCTD9 on 01.18.20 at 6:05 pm

#41 Sail Away on 01.18.20 at 4:40 pm
So Ryan, have we sufficiently shamed you into no longer using your still youthful age as an excuse?

Yoga? Ok.. probably can’t hurt. Definitely integrate the squat rack, though.
—-

Yes, also dead lifts and bench press too!

#48 ALFRED E. NEUMAN on 01.18.20 at 6:07 pm

An excellent post on an important topic, Ryan.

Mentioned to us years ago by our Accountant and related to our business, was/is the ‘PHSP’ option, (short for ‘Private Health Services Plan.’)

It has been our solution for years and is still, during our retirement years, eliminating any health cost worries.

The link below is to our own particular Administrator (there are many choices out there that will serve the 3rd-party requirement) and describes what a PHSP is.

Worth a look: https://www.brockhealth.ca/

#49 Ryan Lewenza on 01.18.20 at 6:16 pm

Frank “ Ryan, why have REITS and preferreds been up so much this week?”

Seems like everything’s going up lately. But for REITs this is a strong seasonal period for them. For prefs the recent strong Canadian jobs numbers has led to a reduction of odds of a BoC cut so this is bullish for prefs. Those are possible explanations for their recent strength. But sometimes the answer is just there are more buyers then sellers. – Ryan L

#50 Stan Brooks on 01.18.20 at 6:17 pm

#42 Whinepegger on 01.18.20 at 4:49 pm

FREE Canadian health care is a myth.

—————————

Yep, it is not Canadian but provincial.
It is expensive, not Free/paid through taxes
It is not ‘good’ when you can not use it as it is not accessible/usable due to waiting times.

9 months waiting time for tonsil removal, 2 months for ‘daily’ surgery of cancer giving it time to develop and spread. Endless amount of money spent in US due to inaccessible health care.

One giant lie as is the ‘financial prudence’ of the debt slaves owners. Everything is great with the health system as far as you don’t need it.

Cheers.

#51 Dutchy on 01.18.20 at 6:34 pm

Medical costs in USA are far higher then other countries.
(like 2 to 4x, plus)
In most countries costs are well below Canadian rates.

Anyone: Why does medical insurance for US travel cost the same as other countries ??

Why do we need medical travel insurance at all ??
(most expenses are reimbursable on return by Province of residence !!)

#52 The Best Healthcare Plan on 01.18.20 at 6:34 pm

The best healthcare plan a individual can buy is the food they choose to eat. Health starts and ends in the gut.
No wheat, no grains, no sugar (that includes minimizing fruit). Alzheimer’s is now being called type 3 Diabetes. Lots of new medical science out there, but it is proving hard to change the definition of a good diet in people’s minds. Start with reading “The Grain Brain” and “The Diet Doctor” website.

#53 DFO on 01.18.20 at 6:36 pm

First off, the Frazer Institute OK BOOMER! The privatization pushers of Canada!

Second, to those yearning for US style health care look up co-pays and ‘going out of network’.

I have several friends and coworkers who immigrated here from the US, all in very good positions in aerospace and video games and had top tier insurance. They would NEVER go back to the snake pit that is private insurance. For-profit insurance is constantly changing the goal posts for claim denials and you have to go to THEIR doctors and specialists. Guess who they lean on to make sure costs are kept to a minimum?

400 THOUSAND families in the US go BANKRUPT every year due to medical costs. Does this sound like a recipe for a disaster or what?

#54 BC_Doc on 01.18.20 at 6:37 pm

#36 Ryan Lewenza on 01.18.20 at 3:59 pm
Coaster Zapper “ Most guys lower back pain is due to tight hamstrings, stretch regularly, back pain gone.

As for the acid reflux, thats stress, tell the boss you need more paid vacation time, if he doesn’t agree threaten to go union.”

Yup good advice. My hamstrings are always pretty tight so I’m doing more stretching and yoga to try to fix the problem.

And for the additional vacation time maybe I’ll call my uncle (ex CAW head) and see what he can do. Boy would that ever be a fun conversation to watch! Garth going at it with a borderline socialist union leader. – Ryan L
************************************

Try some hot yoga with Garth if he’s keeping up his practice. It’s the bomb— so good for core strength, flexibility, physical, spiritual, and mental health. Your spine will thank you too.

BC Doc

#55 Sail Away on 01.18.20 at 7:01 pm

#54 BC_Doc on 01.18.20 at 6:37 pm

Try some hot yoga with Garth if he’s keeping up his practice. It’s the bomb— so good for core strength, flexibility, physical, spiritual, and mental health. Your spine will thank you too.

———————————

I’m open to trying hot yoga but don’t know about the Garth part. Is he required to get the benefits? What exactly does Garth contribute?

#56 BS on 01.18.20 at 7:05 pm

I reviewed Manulife’s Flexcare plans and for a couple in their 50s who select the Enhanced Plan it will cost $4,312 for the full year. This enhanced plan covers drug costs (up to $10,000/year), dental (up to $920/year), vision ($250 every 2 years) and travel emergency health coverage.

Unless you have prescriptions of over $3267 each and every year plus max out the $920 per year in dental and $125 per year in vision this plan would not make sense. Even at that you have the hassle of paying the premium up front and then going through insurance to try to get your money back. You are paying $4312 for a max benefit if you used everything to the max of $11045. Who needs $10,000 per year in prescriptions?

You can get travel medical insurance for free with a decent credit card. I get 30 days per trip along with a bunch of other travel insurance at no extra cost.

Simple math tells you these insurance plans are rarely worth it. If you employer pays it great. If not don’t bother.

#57 Sail Away on 01.18.20 at 7:07 pm

#52 The Best Healthcare Plan on 01.18.20 at 6:34 pm

The best healthcare plan a individual can buy is the food they choose to eat. Health starts and ends in the gut.
No wheat, no grains, no sugar (that includes minimizing fruit).

——————————–

The best food plan is moderation. Beyond that, if it tastes good, we’re probably evolved to eat it.

Don’t believe it? Give chicken nuggets to a cow. Or mashed potatoes to a dog. Give either to a human or bear.

Wheat toast with lots of jam is delicious; ergo, I am meant to eat it.

#58 Westcdn on 01.18.20 at 7:35 pm

Most every plan I have depends on good health. It may be a gift from my sister. I would lose my will to live quickly if I had to depend (drag) on others (anyone willing to join me on an ice flow?). Productivity of converting resources into goods is what makes an economy grow. Consumption be dammed. So by limiting my consumption of services I created a pool of capital. I have 9 ways to Sunday to torture a dollar to cough up benefits. It takes a while for someone like me to make money work for me rather than reverse. I know if I had made other choices, I would have gotten different results. I had to make my own paths, it is just me. Trying to get something for nothing annoys me.

It is human nature to want the most for the least amount of effort and I am all in. I am not above lying, cheating or stealing to win. My belief I will have to answer tempers me. I created my own “wealth” (no inheritance) and I believe I have the right to control how it is used. I also have issues with hit and run actions plus personal harm lottery win lawsuits.

When I am solicited for a chartable donation, I say no and get a pamphlet. I check it out on the CRA Registered Charity website – https://apps.cra-arc.gc.ca/ebci/hacc/srch/pub/dsplyBscSrch
I want at least 90% of contributions going to beneficiaries. Often I found that 50% and more was going to insiders. I notice many today are sneaky where contributions are from other charitable organizations (non-profit organizations). I am suspicious this a laundry insider fees so I avoid them too.

I did not become jaded and cynical overnight.

#59 Alessio on 01.18.20 at 7:38 pm

My neighbours are always home smoking coughing never see them go to work or do house chores. Me on the other hand work long days on Bay Street, do chores, workout and eat healthy. Hard to make ends meet and have many ailments. Maybe I should go on EI and smoke too. It’s working for them. I must be the fool who works and gets sick from stress.

#60 TurnerNation on 01.18.20 at 7:40 pm

Anyone own property in Victoria BC? What this and your space. Quote;
“It may be entirely coincidental, but there is a move afoot at City Hall, led by Mayor Lisa Helps, to eliminate single-family zoning throughout the City of Victoria. If it comes to that, the mayor and her supporters will be able to point to the Climate Leadership Plan and say, “Look, our GPC Compliant Inventory shows this will address a big source of emissions.”

— The stated Climate demands are as follows, read and learn what’s coming:

https://i.redd.it/ivf61t3n0hb41.png

#61 Linda on 01.18.20 at 7:44 pm

Hi,

My question is whether I should marry my “forever a student” fiancee James? He’s been going to school for over 6 years now as I graduated from nursing and now make just over 80k/year. He’s talking more school to become a lawyer but he told me two years ago that he “only had two years left of school”.

I don’t want a lifetime student as a spouse. I think I answered my own question.

#62 TurnerNation on 01.18.20 at 7:46 pm

Fast slide into communism. Oh those rich people. At least they are allowed to have TSFAs for now.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/growing-push-to-tax-both-vacant-luxury-homes-during-city-s-budget-process-1.5431387

On Friday, Coun. Brad Bradford secured the budget committee’s backing for his call for more information on potential revenue the city could gain by adding a new Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT) rate tier for high-valued homes.

Back in 2019, a coalition of councillors — Bradford, Ana Bailao, and Joe Cressy — first pitched the concept as a way to offer more housing allowances to vulnerable residents.

#63 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.18.20 at 7:46 pm

@#12 Sail Away
“It’s purely a function of training; if I slack in training, I’ll be slower in the race. Nothing to do with age.”
++++
Ladies and Gentlemen.
The cure for arthritis.
Training.
The average male loses about 1% muscle mass after the age of 40.
Your exercising will merely delay the inevitable.
Wait til your 55…. 60…..65.
Nothing wrong with exercise….. but
Its not the fountain of youth.

#64 Flanneur on 01.18.20 at 7:49 pm

A lot of bragging going on.

Insurance is for what you don’t plan on.

#65 Reality is stark on 01.18.20 at 7:50 pm

Let’s not forget the most important factor of all, opportunity cost.
If you are a 24 year old go getter and choosing which country to emigrate to, the more seed capital you can get your hands on the quickest allows you to develop your business faster.
If you can get a catastrophic only policy in the USA for $2000 a year as a young white collar worker vs. effectively paying $4500 through taxes in Canada, you can invest $2500 more into the business.
There is a reason for our 75 cent dollar.
Once you completely lose sight of what incentive means and you buy into mediocrity (the typical average Canadian) you begin to lose your ability to reason.

#66 Devil Anse on 01.18.20 at 7:55 pm

One of the areas where our publicly funded medicare truly fails us is therapy for autistic children and adults. My son, now ten, has cost us as much as $30,000 per year for ABA (applied behaviour therapy), speech therapy, and social communication therapy.

When a child is diagnosed with Autism, the only form of therapy that an MD in Canada will recommend is ABA – which is intensive therapy for several hours every day at about $80 and hour. Depending on the province you live in, you’ll get some back in your tax refund (I think we get about 40% of what we spend every year back). Government subsidized therapy exists, but it ends at age six. Most kids are diagnosed at three or four years old, but the waiting list is at least two years. Do the math – very few people get any benefit from it.

Add to that the fact that a special needs child requires a stay at home parent, and your financial plans need to be reconsidered drastically.

I am quite appalled at how little our governments do for families with a child on the autism spectrum. I gave my MP a hard time about it (a Lib), and he spewed some drivel about a national autism strategy that I am sure we will never, ever see.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/investing/personal-finance/household-finances/article-how-much-does-it-cost-to-raise-a-child-with-autism/

#67 Nonplused on 01.18.20 at 7:59 pm

OMG I just realized Bernie Sanders and Larry David are both played by the same actor! And Bernie’s campaign is actually a long episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.

—————

With all those expenses described in this article, plus add your property taxes, home insurance, car insurance, school bus fees, utilities, repairs, etc. it’s no wonder nobody can save any money these days. I mean $4,000 for health and dental a year is a month’s take home for someone earning $65,000 a year. Add to that automobile insurance and property taxes and your first 2 months are gone. Home insurance might take another half of a month or more. So it’s March 15th before you can afford food, electricity, heat, gas, and everything else you have to pay for, none of which is cheap.

It seems it might be better to not try and live so long. Anything over 75 is miserable anyway. Most of those old folks just sit around watching “The Price Is Right”. Individual results may vary, but I am not sure why everyone wants to hang on so long, other than survival instinct, which is of course a powerful force. Quantity is not always better than quality.

My grandmother used to say of teeth, “Your third set is your best set”, referring to dentures. I always thought that was crazy talk, and am happy to say I still have most of the teeth I started out with, although it was a close call being raised by parents who couldn’t afford dental insurance and never had it themselves and had grandma to listen to. But when I look at the cost it took to keep them mostly all there and replace the missing ones with gold implants and bridges, I’m thinking she might have been right. Of course she came of age in Europe during WWII and didn’t really have access to dental care or anything resembling insurance. Most of the would-be dentists were at the front packing guns and the governments were even taking your cooking pans for melt down to make munitions. About the only dental care available was to have someone pull a bad tooth out with a pair of pliers and without anesthetic. So you can kind of see why she was glad when the last of them came out.

Now we have a better way, but it is pretty expensive. When I go to just get my teeth cleaned, it’s pretty much $300. For something that takes an hour or less. Because I have an implant, that happens 3 times a year. $1200 a year to keep the implant clean so it doesn’t get infected. That is just one tooth. The bridge requires lots less maintenance. And yeesh, the implant costed a lot more than that once all the surgeries were done. It was well over $6000 for one tooth, plus chewing on plenty of gauze. One tooth! And don’t get me started on orthodontics! No way I could have seen my way strait to paying for any of it if I & the wives had not had insurance from the company store.

#68 PetertheSeparatistfromCalgary on 01.18.20 at 8:01 pm

# 33 Remembrancer “I won’t blame flooding in Calgary on global warming as long as you don’t look for handouts or cost me 1 cent more in private insurance or federal taxes after building on a past, present or future flood plain. Deal?”
___________________________________________

Funny you should mention that as the city of Calgary in its infinite wisdom has recently proposed rezoning my humble 1 story house and adjacent old houses to allow 5 storey multifamily units because we are close to public transit. This is how city hall plans to reduce carbon emissions and sprawl.

My exit plan from the flood zone is simple. First, I won’t do any major renovations because my house is now bull dozer bait. Secondly, I will wait until the economy picks up and a developer wants to build a condo on my lot. Third, I will sell for a lot more than my house is worth now.

Of coarse a flood would cost even more with such high density housing but it won’t be my problem.

#69 Flatlander on 01.18.20 at 8:14 pm

Great article Ryan. You quoted the “average” cost that a single person or family pay for their universal health care in Canada. I assume these numbers are based on a percentage of the “average” Canadians taxable income? Any idea what these numbers look like for a Canadian in the top 5% or 1% of income earners?

#70 MF on 01.18.20 at 8:43 pm

65 Reality is stark on 01.18.20 at

I don’t get this. How are Canadians Mediocre?

Is this some meme this blog has created?

If anything, we are perfectionists that complain about everything that isn’t 100% perfect.

Just look at the joke that is this comments section. A bunch of miserable older people pretending they would have been billionaires somewhere else. Sure you would have. Sure…

MF

#71 Sail Away on 01.18.20 at 8:55 pm

#63 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.18.20 at 7:46 pm
@#12 Sail Away
“It’s purely a function of training; if I slack in training, I’ll be slower in the race. Nothing to do with age.”
++++
Ladies and Gentlemen.
The cure for arthritis.
Training.
The average male loses about 1% muscle mass after the age of 40.
Your exercising will merely delay the inevitable.
Wait til your 55…. 60…..65.
Nothing wrong with exercise….. but
Its not the fountain of youth.

————————————

Thank you for the fatalism, Fartz. Yes, life will probably eventually decline and end. Just saying 47 is pretty good. Beyond that I can’t speculate, but I’m skeptical of all claims such as the after 40 one you state.

How familiar are you with the rigor and control groups with these types of studies? If my muscle mass has changed, then why can I lift the same and weigh the same as at 35? Maybe there are other factors at play such as activity level. Hmmm…

#72 cowtown cowboy on 01.18.20 at 9:20 pm

At 51, I definitely feel like I’ve lost a step or two…I suppose 35 years of constant binge drinking may have played a role….
Haven’t run as far as the end of the street in over a decade, since I had my hip scoped after Ironman…good news is that it might not need to be replaced as soon as I thought, it’s crazy how many dudes in their 60’s down at the gym have the replacement scars..
Used to be super active but those years can take a toll as you get older, need to keep the weight off and keep active for sure,
But life is also a crap shoot, was at my FIL’s at Thanksgiving, he was having terrible back pain, even had a team of private dr’s(re: $$) trying to get it sorted, well he dropped dead of cancer a few weeks later…

when things really start going to hell, it might just be a 40yr old bottle of scotch a .50cent bullet

#73 mark on 01.18.20 at 9:25 pm

Felt the same, Ryan. Then I dropped all the sugar and the carbs. Acid reflux went, joint pain gone, along with all the aches.

#74 BC Doc on 01.18.20 at 9:30 pm

#55 Sail Away on 01.18.20 at 7:01 pm
#54 BC_Doc on 01.18.20 at 6:37 pm

Try some hot yoga with Garth if he’s keeping up his practice. It’s the bomb— so good for core strength, flexibility, physical, spiritual, and mental health. Your spine will thank you too.

———————————

I’m open to trying hot yoga but don’t know about the Garth part. Is he required to get the benefits? What exactly does Garth contribute?

*****************************************

Hopefully this isn’t a double post— my browser timed out.

All types of yoga are great. I practice in a heated studio and really love the heat for detox, muscle relaxation, and meditation. My local studio had Yin style yoga, Yin-Yang fusion, hot vinyasa flow, Bikram 26 and 2 90 minute yoga, Bikram 60. I mix them up and cycle through each of them— I enjoy each of them. Depending on the day and my body that day, one style may suit me. One of my favourite classes that I practiced on Maui was a Chakra alignment class.

Practicing with Garth? Strictly optional but sure to be a hoot. Garth— hope you are finding some heat these days in the Maritimes.

Namaste.

BC Doc

(Posting to correct date too)

#75 Nothing Surprises on 01.18.20 at 9:31 pm

I reviewed Manulife’s Flexcare plans and for a couple 75 years young who select the Enhanced Plan it will cost $5760 for the full year. This enhanced plan covers drug costs (up to $10,000/year), dental (up to $920/year), vision ($250 every 2 years) and travel emergency health coverage.

We’re a senior couple, 75 yrs. young.
Drug costs are paid, except for $200/yr
Dental $920/yr……..Paid by ourselves!!
Vision $125/yr cost of glasses not covered….$250 every 2 years!..Paid by ourselves plus cost of glasses!!

Pay $5760/yr. premiums for yearly costs covered of $1245.00 ???
The yearly $5760.00 premium would pay our costs for almost 5 years!! It doesn’t make sense to purchase Manulife Insurance or am I not seeing something ??

#76 Shawn Allen on 01.18.20 at 9:41 pm

Average this, average that…

Lots of references to average.

Well on the bell curve of distributions of just about anything, the number of people who are precisely average is theoretically zero.

Well some of the bell curves of life are narrow with most of us reasonably close to average. Adult male (or female) height is a fairly tight distribution.

Some things that are not that tightly distributed:

Average income at say age 50. Average has little relevance when there is a wide spread.

Average wealth at say age 55. HUGE dispersion

Average male weight at age 55: Fairly big dispersion

Average age of death for males: Wide dispersion

Average state of health at say age 60: Huge dispersion, partly due to unfortunate genetics and hardships or accidents of life but also often hugely influenced by lifestyle.

Average weekly consumption of alcohol and cigarettes: Massive dispersion

Average hours in the gym per week: Massive dispersion

The point is, again, average in many of these things tell you very little and need have very little relevance to you.

As Garth often says: Who would aspire to be only average? Few on this blog have such a low aspiration – though it might be a wet dream of a certain notorious complainer on here to come up to that level.

#77 Sean on 01.18.20 at 10:20 pm

Thanks, Ryan, for responding in the comments section and clarifying the misconception that you should get back what you pay in for insurance, especially within a specific period of time. Any kind of insurance, not just medical.

Imagine expecting to receive as much in life insurance as you put in within a 5 year period? Or home or car insurance. Hope that you don’t die early, never have your home burgled, have a car accident, or end up needed orthodontic surgery – hope you never “get your money’s worth”.

#78 AlMac on 01.18.20 at 10:20 pm

Nice post! Should our health Care plan move to cover dental and prescription? I believe it should; yes taxes will go up.

If you ever needed an incentive to stay fit when you’re older look up Jack Palance’s one-armed pushups at the Oscars.

#79 Dr V on 01.18.20 at 10:27 pm

45 Figure it out

“Insurance, for most people, ought to be about tail risk
— i.e. covering low probability but catastrophically
costly events.”

I agree. As an example, I never had any disability insurance, except for paralysis and coma.

#80 Dr V on 01.18.20 at 10:33 pm

60 TN – not only Victoria, it’s up island too. Lots of politically active environmentalists in local governments with similar agendas. The idea is to reduce auto traffic as it is the largest emitter.

#81 Doug in London on 01.18.20 at 10:51 pm

@Ryan Lewenza, post #49:
I wonder, why weren’t these buyers on a frantic buying binge of REITs back in 2013 when they were on sale, or of preferred share ETFs when they were on sale in more recent times?

#82 Al on 01.19.20 at 12:09 am

“It’s purely a function of training; if I slack in training, I’ll be slower in the race. Nothing to do with age.”

Professional sports athletes would disagree lol

Not too many 45+ yo playing the highest level of sports even in just plain old city leagues.

#83 OffshoreObserver on 01.19.20 at 12:29 am

#21 SoggyShorts
#23 Yanniel

My Grandfather on my Mom’s side was a rural doctor in a small town in Saskatchewan before moving to Vancouver. According to my Mother, when the Canadian Government got involved with Healthcare, he said that it would be the bane of the Canadian medical profession and the impetus for the expansion of socialism in Canada. [I was born in 1953 and he died a few days later from Hodgkins Disease, so I never got to know him.]

After my Father’s death in 2001 at 81. His estate had raw land given to my maternal Grandfather in settlement of medical services rendered by him in the Great Depression. The land is in the Okanagan.

My two sisters forced me to accept that 2.3 acres of raw land as part of my inheritance. ($124,000 at the time.) [The Legal Fees were $400,000, but that is another sordid tale about doing business with professions which
use Latin.] I just paid the annual property taxes on the land and the $1,000 premium for third party liability.]

[BREAK-BREAK]

Annual business Visa issued in Vietnam. I have lived in Da Nang or Hoi An in Vietnam since 2014. And in Pattaya, Thailand for three years prior to that.

In Thailand I got a Retirement Visa for one of those years I was there. In VN the GF arranged a 12 month working Visa for $200USD. I usually co-ordinate trips ex-VN to get a renewal 3-month Visa–and the GF is hectoring me about marrying her and using one or two of my frozen offspring–see below.

You could do the Cambodia Strategy: just get an annual Visa from CAMBO and travel around.

SEGUE TO: Healthcare: I ended up in hospital five times during my retirement starting in 2010 at 57: thrice in Thailand: twice from Ladyboys drugging me–$3,000/visit; once to park 250 million OO sperm, not yet used, still “on ice” in Bangkok; got Tetnus shot in Da Nang, VN hospital for USD$25. YVR: I slipped on sidewalk and had to have surgery on a broken wrist.

I claimed the Thai Hospital Visits on my CAD T-1 and got a sizeable refund. The following year I claimed another $3,000 billed to me by a Da Nang Hospital when the hotel manager suggested I visit for a bout of vomiting.

CRA asked for copies of the Hospital Receipts and I sent them in.

Offshore Medical Insurance: Never used it. Self-insured.

Eyewear: When I retired a nagging thought haunted me: I don’t really need glasses. Despite wearing glasses from about age 6, I didn’t really believe the diagnosis. I seemed to recall Aldous Huxley “cured” himself of eyesight shortcomings and decided to eschew wearing glasses.

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/83243/10-dystopian-facts-about-aldous-huxley

[Haunting interview with Huxley, BTW.]

I have not worn glasses since 2010 and suffer no ill effects.

Daily 30′ on Stairmaster in the morning and 3 hour walk through Coco Bay to the Vanessa restaurant https://www.google.com/maps/place/Vanessa+Beach+Club/@15.9681514,108.285629,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x3142117e9508d5e3:0x6b431d7d0a144c5d!8m2!3d15.9681463!4d108.2878177

With my two dogs.

Oh yeah. Dr. Gramps legacy of 2.3 acres is now projected to be worth 26 residential lots times:

Neighbouring Historic 18 Lots Sold Projected 26 lots
High $423,200 $11,003,200
Low $270,700 $7,038,200
Average $375,979 $9,775,453

I am visiting these people in China on my way to finishing my Light Sport Aviation Certificate in Arizona.

https://youtu.be/phL3RNsRpTw

GARTH would you address the expatriation topic, please?

#84 Emo Kid on 01.19.20 at 1:14 am

Ryan each day is a day closer to death. Death liberates us from the condo speculators who have made Toronto and the entire Canada unaffordable.

Toronto condo speculators can never price us out from the spirit world, but could they?

https://www.aetherius.org.nz/spirit-world/

#85 Emo Kid on 01.19.20 at 1:16 am

Oh great! My comment doesn’t show up because the Illuminati doesn’t want you to know that the Spirit World is a world free from greedy condo developers.

#86 Fancy Pants on 01.19.20 at 1:23 am

Complaining at 45. I’ll put that down to lazy and disinterested. You’re still a baby at 45. I retired the second time at 42 and changed everything for the better. No more whining clients and stupified colleagues, what a relief. What an amazing opportunity lost to be 45, wealthy , and knowledgeable. I was bowled over by the birth of the internet. So much easy access and easy money. Why aren’t you watching the Swedish swimsuit influencer girls in a Bali pool?

I had grown up in research libraries , I realized I could do my work anywhere. At first I took my clients along, but quickly realized they were an encumberance. Trading stocks online is handsfree . I didn’t need to waste my valuable time working someone else’s file. I ejected it / them all to focus on me. If you have internet access and sit at a desk you’re not using it right.

I just turned 65, I’m in better physical shape than when I was 42. I discovered planking a while ago. It really works. I’ve got time for fad diets and world travel. What’s your problem? Either get smart or bail. Don’t get WOKE, wake up. And, don’t go to the Obama speech on Tuesday night. That’s just toxic history.

Posting WOKE comments will get you nowhere.

#87 Kradmelder on 01.19.20 at 1:28 am

DELETED

#88 Nonplused on 01.19.20 at 2:15 am

I’m thinking #61 might be a fake Linda. Just saying.

#89 Ponzius Pilatus on 01.19.20 at 2:25 am

#63 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.18.20 at 7:46 pm
@#12 Sail Away
“It’s purely a function of training; if I slack in training, I’ll be slower in the race. Nothing to do with age.”
++++
Ladies and Gentlemen.
The cure for arthritis.
Training.
The average male loses about 1% muscle mass after the age of 40.
Your exercising will merely delay the inevitable.
Wait til your 55…. 60…..65.
Nothing wrong with exercise….. but
Its not the fountain of youth.
———————
Agree.
You can’t outrun your genes.
Google Dr. Fix.

#90 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.19.20 at 7:39 am

@#71 sail Away
“Maybe there are other factors at play such as activity level. ”
+++++

Let me guess.
You are a white collar worker.
Possibly a tri-athlete?
Able to devote the time in the am or pm to running , swimming, cycling?
You havent worked construction or outside in Canadian winters day in and day out for decades.
You dont have arthritis, a bad back, etc.
Injuries and sickness happen to the best of us.

Years ago a carpenter friend of mine who built houses for years, decided, after his divorce, to take up bicycling.
Joined a triathalon club.
He was about 40.
He would work very hard all day and then spend his evenings, swimming, cycling, running.
Did that for about 3 years.
ALL the other people were office workers, every one of them. Did zero physical work during the day while he built houses.
They were amazed at the calories he would consume to maintain his energy.
He was good enough to compete in triathalons but was too busy to commit to the extra training.
Eventually age, injuries, and other commitments pushed the training aside.
He’s still fit. Just not running marathons.
Exercise is great and your quality of life will be much better than most but it still wont delay the inevitable.
Age.
The great equalizer…..
To pretend that you will be as physically fit at 80 as you are a 40 is hubris unless, of course, you met Ponce de Leon and he shared a bottle of water with you.

#91 maxx on 01.19.20 at 8:49 am

Relevant, useful and timely (new year maintenance check). Balancing time available and wealth are a definite issue as we all get older.

“What will I regret not having done?” I can think of a million things, but the one that consistently washes up every single time is “never miss an opportunity to be kind when it’s need is manifest”. Sounds corny, but when I take a millisecond to look around, so many people, even wealthy ones are starved for kindness. A smile, a compliment can make all the difference. That I won’t regret.

Corniness off.

#92 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.19.20 at 8:51 am

@#71 Sail Away
“I’m skeptical of all claims such as the after 40 one you state….
How familiar are you with the rigor and control groups with these types of studies?”

+++++

I’ll “see” your skepticism and “raise” you a Harvard Medical study

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/preserve-your-muscle-mass

Roughly 1% muscle mass loss per year after the age of 40….give or take 5 years…….something about diminished testosterone levels I believe……..

Time to hang out at the local gym where they seriously “pump iron” and see if they can hook you up with that 1980’s remedy to beat the steroid urine test…..testosterone from the pituitary glands of cadavers?
Proving the old adage.
Whats old is “new” again?
Only Arnold knows for sure….

#93 Rocking Randy on 01.19.20 at 9:09 am

The pendulum is swinging back. The so called “activists” that have been green mailing Canadian citizens for decades are finally going to see jail time.

https://www.richmond-news.com/vancouver-s-greenpeace-sea-shepherd-join-neo-nazis-anarchists-on-u-k-terror-list-1.24055504

Jail is where the Suzuki’s, the Berman’s, the Gerald Butts, Tides and all other parasites belong.

#94 Dharma Bum on 01.19.20 at 10:40 am

Supplemental health care insurance premiums are a real ripoff.

If one is paranoid enough to seriously believe that they, and their family are likely going to need ongoing treatments over and above what universal healthcare provides, then they are better off self insuring.

If one has the extra cash (13 + thousand dollars a year) to donate to the insurance companies, why not simply stick that money into a direct investment account segregated for emergency health care?

Most additional services like dentist visits every 9 months to a year (every 6 months is overkill if one takes care of their oral hygiene), an eye exam every 2 years, a pair of glasses or two every couple of years, is not that expensive. Chronic physiotherapy is a rip off. It’s not really necessary in most cases. It becomes a psychological addiction. The exercises can be learned and done on one’s own. When it is required, it’s usually because of an acute injury resulting from an accident of some sort, and then the insurance already in place (i.e., auto) would cover the physio costs.

The likelihood of going at least 10 years when relatively young without requiring super expensive drug treatments and physio, and all that kind of stuff is pretty high. If you can invest $13 K for ten years straight, instead of giving it to insurance companies, you would have – conservatively calculated – after tax – about $175K. Then, you could either continue with the discipline of saving and investing the money (that would otherwise be squandered in premiums), or let it just sit an grow as a long term healthcare emergency fund.

Or just buy a fancy Porsche like Ryan has.

#95 Stone on 01.19.20 at 10:55 am

If most people in Canada pay no taxes per Garth (paid by the higher income earners), doesn’t that mean that those same people are getting healthcare for free?

#96 Dharma Bum on 01.19.20 at 10:59 am

Yah…I effed up the annual cost of extended health care insurance – should be around $6K a year.

The principle is still the same. The premiums are way too high for insuring something that has a low likelihood of occurring.

Better to save and invest the money for yourself, and in the unlikely event that you’ll need it to pay for some sort of health care service, it’ll be there.

Untouched, it should grow to around $90K.

Don’t unnecessarily feed the insurance beast.

(Buy their shares, though.)

#97 Ryan Lewenza on 01.19.20 at 11:26 am

Flatlander “Great article Ryan. You quoted the “average” cost that a single person or family pay for their universal health care in Canada. I assume these numbers are based on a percentage of the “average” Canadians taxable income? Any idea what these numbers look like for a Canadian in the top 5% or 1% of income earners?”

They just looked at average income rates and didn’t break it up by different income levels. But given our progressive tax system the top 5% would pay a lot more for health care expenses. – Ryan L

#98 NoName on 01.19.20 at 11:31 am

I was working out of van for awhile it was a fun job. never a dull moment on a construction sight, main reason i departed from that job was no extended health coverage plus wifi was pregnant at same time.

I aksed dude can we split cost half and half on a monday, he declined, got two offers on wednesday, started working elsware 40% bump in pay and extended benefits, and plan was good to, although they did cost me little bit less than 300cad per month, before the closed shop for good.

How about in of the posts we disgust weight loss, that i seem to have sirious problem with. Who mentioned planking? Iam thinking keto and planking as of next month. Will it work?

#99 Ryan Lewenza on 01.19.20 at 11:36 am

AlMac “Nice post! Should our health Care plan move to cover dental and prescription? I believe it should; yes taxes will go up.”

If there’s some offsetting cuts somewhere else then maybe. Every time we add another new major spending program it results in either higher deficits or higher taxes. Given we already have high tax rates and massive deficits I’m reluctant to then support another major new spending program like dental and vision care. And don’t forget 65% of Canadians are already getting this coverage through their employer plan. – Ryan L

#100 Sail Away on 01.19.20 at 12:48 pm

#81 Doug in London on 01.18.20 at 10:51 pm
@Ryan Lewenza, post #49:

I wonder, why weren’t these buyers on a frantic buying binge of REITs back in 2013 when they were on sale, or of preferred share ETFs when they were on sale in more recent times?

———————————-

It’s human nature to value the desirable and avoid liability. Doing otherwise is contrarian.

At all times, certain sectors and asset classes are out of favour. Currently, this includes Canadian oil and gas, uranium, potash, anything to do with Alberta, etc.

Are people buying them? Nope. Money is flowing to things that are doing well.

Contrarian investing can be lucrative, but it is fraught with danger and takes a strong stomach. Definitely not for everyone.

#101 Sail Away on 01.19.20 at 1:12 pm

#63 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.18.20 at 7:46 pm

The average male loses about 1% muscle mass after the age of 40.
Your exercising will merely delay the inevitable.
Wait til your 55…. 60…..65.

Nothing wrong with exercise….. but
Its not the fountain of youth.

————————————

Here’s a good delay:

Victoriano Churro in 1992 won the 100-mile Leadville ultramarathon at 55 years old competing against the world’s elite.

But yes, he too will probably die eventually.

#102 TurnerNation on 01.19.20 at 1:25 pm

#67 Nonplused $300 for dental cleaning?.
My regular long time dentist, last visit was a basic cleaning and one X-ray to boot, $158 was bill to insurance company.

#103 Linda on 01.19.20 at 1:34 pm

#59 ‘Alessio’ – work is stressful, sure. These days most humans are competing with computers – as in, we are expected to work continuously without error & constantly upgrade to do things faster/more efficiently. Except computers get downtime any time the servers crap out or the Internet goes down:)

It can be argued that work has benefits beyond a salary. It forces people to keep to a routine, generally has mandated breaks (more routine) & even the most introverted individual must experience some human contact dealing with co-workers/customers. Having an established routine has been found to have health benefits & one of the many things one is told when considering retirement is the importance of establishing a routine.

#104 SoggyShorts on 01.19.20 at 1:57 pm

#83 OffshoreObserver on 01.19.20 at 12:29 am
$3,000 out of pocket to go to the hospital in Da Nang? that seems like a lot- mind if I ask what was involved?

#105 SoggyShorts on 01.19.20 at 2:05 pm

#102 TurnerNation on 01.19.20 at 1:25 pm
#67 Nonplused $300 for dental cleaning?.
My regular long time dentist, last visit was a basic cleaning and one X-ray to boot, $158 was bill to insurance company.
***************************
My last cleaning was $15 in Hoi An. https://tgmdental.net/en/price-list/
It’s pretty much all the same equipment and training.

#106 yvr_lurker on 01.19.20 at 2:15 pm

One key issue with extended health insurance is that you may be simply buying a “promissary note” that when the time comes for the insurer to pay, they may refuse the payment based on some obscure condition. Even with the extended benefits though SunLife from our major employer,my wife has had repeated problems getting routine reimbursements from them. Just read the dismal ratings and comments for SunLife at

https://insureye.com/Reviews/Life-Insurance-Reviews/45-Sun-Life

I agree that we cannot simply believe all of these negative reviews without scrutiny; However, there are a vast number of such reviews and we have firsthand negative dealings with them over the past 5 years.

So just because you cough up your premiums every month, it is still a promissary note. For basic things like dentists, glasses, etc… it is probably a good idea to get it. I would never do anything more than that. However, if you are traveling to the US for sure one should get the extra coverage as one stop in an emergency ward in the US could be ruinous. For us, we haven’t gone across to the US since 2016 and don’t intend to anytime soon.

Anyone buy pet insurance? This is one with high premiums and one where the promissary note is often not a deliverable due to the small print. To me it is a scam.

#107 Remembrancer on 01.19.20 at 5:12 pm

#103 Linda on 01.19.20 at 1:34 pm
It can be argued that work has benefits beyond a salary. It forces people to keep to a routine, generally has mandated breaks (more routine) & even the most introverted individual must experience some human contact dealing with co-workers/customers.
——————————————————–
Minus a salary, sounds like you just described Gen pop in a prison….

#108 Doug in London on 01.19.20 at 5:12 pm

@Sail Away, post #100:
I’ve always wondered why many people will line up outside in the cold before opening time at stores to get the Boxing Day sales. Similarly, I remember when gas was selling for $1.00 per litre in St. Thomas and cars were lined up in the street with motorists eager to scoop up this great bargain. I also remember 2 years ago from about now when Nutella was on sale at a store somewhere in France and shoppers were fighting over the limited supply of it. Why isn’t there the same enthusiasm when stocks are on sale?

For the record, I’ve scooped up some HSE, IMO, SU, ESI, and HNY in the last quarter of last year. Buy low, sell high. Isn’t that what you are supposed to do? I prefer to buy stuff that’s on sale because I’m a timid wuss, a pansy who’s terrified of buying anything that’s too expensive. Are they good investments? I wondered that today as I filled my car with gasoline (petrol) and then came home to a nice comfortable gas heated house.

#109 Sail Away on 01.19.20 at 5:48 pm

#108 Doug

Buying low can be good, but it’s not the whole story.

Markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent. And bankruptcies do happen. Investors never have all the info, so have to make decisions on incomplete data. It’s tricky.

#110 OffshoreObserver on 01.19.20 at 9:26 pm

#104 SoggyShorts on 01.19.20 at 1:57 pm

I must have been drinking too much and I was finding I would have puking bouts. The Manager of the hotel nudged me to go to a private hospital to get checked-out. They admitted me saying I was “dehydrated.” Stayed for three nights and got stiffed with the $3K bill.

It was just like the Ladyboys refererals to hospitals in Pattaya and Bangkok. They must have drugged me and taken me to hospital for the kick-back. (Those experiences were part of the reason I moved from Thailand to Vietnam.)

I never returned to that hotel in Da Nang. I’ve attended to the local, government hospitals with minor ailments. Excellent service and dirt-cheap.

The problem is and always will be a strapping, smiling Caucasian will always have a target on their back.

I quit drinking three years ago except for a couple of times succumbing to my business class paid for libations.

I didn’t drink because of some psychic void but more out of habit.

Then, after 50, I found I had a tendancy to black out after as few as 3 low-test beer.

So, now booze free for the most part, sharp as a track, lost weight endless stamina.

Next goal is to acquire private jet so I don’t get enticed to drink for free during the HELL of airport transits.

#111 Doug in London on 01.19.20 at 10:26 pm

@Sail Away, post #109:
Overall my luck, if you want to even call it that, has been good in buying assets that are on sale. As I’ve said before, you want to find something that’s getting about as much attention as the program of events for the 1964 Tillsonburg Fall Fair. Speaking of which, did anyone scoop up some dirt cheap ENB when it was in the low 40s last year? I did.

#112 Trish on 01.19.20 at 11:34 pm

For the second time in the past couple of weeks, the blog of the day appears as usual on my iPad but the comments, when I scroll down to them, jump about like mad things, all over the screen. This makes the pages and comments impossible to read and the fault persists, even when I return to those comments several days later. Is there a fix??

#113 Sail Away on 01.20.20 at 10:19 am

@#111 Doug

I picked up ENB at 42 and 46. Also have SU and Oxy. I now stay with US or interlisted oil stocks after the carnage in Canadian oil companies 5-6 years ago.

Some stars, some dogs for general value investing.

My long term value investing average is just over 9%, so decent but nothing spectacular.

#114 Jon on 01.20.20 at 3:02 pm

I woke up after several years and realized that paying for extended health was a waste of money.

I’m self-employed and used to pay approx. $4,500/yr for family extended benefits.

Most plans in this price range for self-employed folks is pretty lousy. The dental is okay, but it doesn’t cover spectacles and the paramedical is a joke – something like $500/yr for massage/chiro etc.

We got it initially for prescription drug coverage in the event we ever needed outrageously expensive prescriptions. Turns out MSP covers after $10K so there was no point.

Insurance, IMO is deal with catastrophic risk such as house fire, long term disability, car accidents, etc.

Since MSP covers drug costs in excess of $10K, there is no catastrophic risk to not having such a plan.

Interestingly, once we started paying dental out of pocket, my dentist told me they could cut services back to only those really necessary.

Besides, when we had the extended health, it was such a a hassle submitting receipts for massage/chiro that half the time we forgot or didn’t bother. Dental is always easy because dentists handle that but most other services don’t.

Now if the $4,500/yr. included unlimited massage, count me in. Otherwise, not worth the money.