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V9N5 - Nov. 9 - Nov. 29, 2010:


Spotlight feature:
Jean Holmes
Carleton Place, Ontario

Carleton Place lady celebrates 106 years young

By Desmond Devoy

Reprinted with permission from the Carleton Place/Almonte Canadian-Gazette, Ottawa region, ON
Jean Holmes
(Photo by Sam Cooley, Canadian-Gazette photographer.)

“If you want to live to the age of 106, just remember that tomorrow will take care of itself.” ~ Jean Holmes

Editor’s Note:
The ‘Spotlight’ in this issue—Jean Holmes—grew up in Manitoba, but now lives in Carleton Place, Ontario, on the west side of Ottawa. You may recall that Senior Scope featured Jean’s youngest brother, Harold Casselman of Winnipeg, in the January, 2010 issue. Harold is a 60-year member of the Barbershop Harmony Society and is active with the Winnipeg Golden Chordsmen Chorus. He also sings baritone with the Generations of Sound quartet.


That’s the advice of 106-year-old Jean Holmes, who celebrated her birthday on Oct. 20. Holmes celebrated her big day with a luncheon with her fellow residents at Elizabeth Court in Carleton Place on Tuesday, Oct. 19.

“I tell them that I don’t worry about the future and I don’t smoke,” said Holmes during an interview at her home.

“The only time I saw her with a cigarette was (when she) was lighting them up for dad when he was driving,” said Holmes’ daughter Jan Ferguson. “We’re trying to teach her how to drink,” Ferguson added with a laugh.

Holmes admits that she never thought she would live to be this old when she was a child.

“Even when I got big,” she adds, she never thought she would see the century.

Even though she is glad her mother has had such a long life, Ferguson will be keeping her mother’s celebrations low-key this year.

“She thinks people are tired of buying her birthday cards,” joked Ferguson. It will be a low-key affair compared to her earlier centennial birthdays. When Holmes turned 100, her family took her on an Alaskan cruise, where she was dubbed “Queen Jean.” Ferguson said that she has decided to keep the big parties to a minimum of once every five years for her mother, so the next big soiree will be when she turns 110.

Holmes’ life has changed a lot since she was born in 1904.

“I grew up on a farm and there’s always something to do,” she said of her early life in rural Manitoba, the second oldest of 11 children.

Holmes was born the year after the Wright brothers took to the air with the world’s first powered flight in December 1903, and the miracle of flight was still a sight to behold during her childhood.

“Well, airplanes were one thing. If you heard something going overhead, you all ran outside to see it,” Holmes said.

She was only 10 years old when Canada joined other nations in what was then known as the Great War.

“I can remember quite well,” she said of a young man from her village who went off to the Western Front to fight. “We had a young Englishman who went to that war. He came back safely.”

Years later, when war again broke out, she was married and had children to tend to.

“I remember World War I better than the Second World War,” she admitted, though she recalled that three young men from her village did go to fight.

“I know one of them didn’t come back,” she said.

Holmes married in 1927 in Saskatchewan, and still wears her gold wedding ring.

“It’s seen a lot of dishwashers,” she jokes.

Holmes did not learn how to drive until the 1970s, but she has certainly made up for lost distance since then, travelling with her family to Germany, Scotland, and the United States.

“My parents never thought of having a holiday,” Holmes recalled. She returned to Manitoba for her 104th birthday, where she met many of her family.

Longevity seems to run in the family. Her sisters Aileen is 101, Jemima will be 100 in January and Eleanor will be 90 in November. Her brother Harold is the baby of the family at age 88.

Even at her age, Holmes is still mentally sharp and involved. When Holmes was born, women in Canada still could not vote. Now, at age 106, she had cast her ballot at an advance poll in last month’s municipal elections.

Even though her father sat on the local school board, “we never talked election,” at her home growing up, but she is certainly glad that women can now vote.

She still enjoys knitting and crocheting and baking pies and cookies for her family. She also stays healthy “just by walking around in here. I try to eat properly and get exercise.”

(Read more in the Nov 9 -Nov 29/2010 issue of Senior Scope)

Fraud Prevention:

Online Blackmail Scams

Everyday Canadians share personal information on the internet with people they’ve met through virtual contact. While many of these relationships are harmless, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre is seeing a rise in online blackmail scams directly related to online sharing of information.

Blackmail scams involve victims receiving demands for money from virtual contacts that they have revealed personal information to over the Internet. The scammers will threaten to have embarrassing or damaging information, including personal details and images posted online unless they pay the fees requested.

When developing new relationships through instant messaging, social networking sites, and videoconferencing sites, you need to be aware that the personal information shared may be used against you. The question then becomes do you really know who you’re dealing with and how much of your personal information is necessary for the relationship. Openly posting personal information on the Internet is synonymous to advertising the same details on a billboard in your community. Simply put, if you wouldn’t advertise yourself publicly on the street then why do it online.

If you’ve become a victim of online blackmail you can report to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre (Phonebusters) at 1-888-495-8501.

Cst. Ben Doiron
Winnipeg RCMP
Commercial Crime Section

(Read more in the Nov 9 -Nov 29/2010 issue of Senior Scope)


Education Planning:

Education planning for families of children with disabilities

Know your RESP and other options to get the most for your child

BRIAN G. KONRAD CFP, Financial Consultant

You want the best for your disabled child – and that includes a postsecondary education to give them a strong start in their adult life – so you’ve probably already started saving for that day down the road when they’ll head off to college or university. You may even have set up a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) for your child – and that’s always a good savings strategy – but you might not be taking full advantage of the benefits of your RESP or have all the info you need to access other savings and grant options that can significantly add to your child’s education nest egg. So here’s a quick rundown of the educational funding issues and options for disabled children.

The basics of an RESP

Taxes on the earnings inside an RESP are payable in the hands of the child and are deferred until the child withdraws the money while attending a post-secondary institution. Currently, a lifetime maximum of $50,000 can be contributed per child. An RESP also offers the added incentive of ‘free’ government money in the form of the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)1 program that provides a minimum 20 per cent top-up grant to the first $2,500 contributed each year and could add as much as $7,200 in extra capital over time. Additional grants may also be available to RESP holders through the Canada Learning Bond (CLB) and various provincial programs1.

The added value of an RESP
for a disabled child

An RESP for a disabled beneficiary who is eligible for the disability tax credit must be collapsed at the end of the 40th year after it was started. This means that you have five extra years to continue contributing to your child’s RESP and enjoy the considerable added value that comes from the magic of compounding inside a tax-deferred plan. A disabled student can also claim the non-refundable education income tax credit at the full-time rate of $400 per month of studies, even if the student does not meet the full-time attendance requirement.

Government sources of educational funding

When a disabled child is ready for college or university, they may qualify for the Canada Study and/or Access Grants funded by the Government of Canada. They may also be eligible for assistance from provincial bursary programs.

• The Canada Study Grant for the Accommodation of Students with Permanent Disabilities can provide up to $8,000 per loan year to help pay for exceptional education-related costs associated with a disability. These costs may include tutors, oral or sign interpreters, attendant care for studies, specialized transportation (to and from school only), learning disability assessments, note takers, readers and braillers.

• The Canada Access Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities is awarded to students with permanent disabilities who have demonstrated financial need. It is intended to assist in covering the costs of accommodation, tuition, books, and other education related expenses up to $2,000 per loan year.

• Contact your provincial student aid authority to find out more about programs available in your province.

Kids need to learn to earn
The average university graduate earns almost twice as much as someone with a high school diploma. Over a 30 year career, that could add up to $1.2 million of additional income.

Click image for larger view

A $208.33 monthly contribution to an RESP for 18 years combined with a $500 annual government grant for 14.4 years compounded at 6.5% over 18 years can provide you with a pre-tax market value of $99,018 to finance a post secondary education.

Scholarships, awards and bursaries

To further complement education savings, investigate the many scholarships, awards and bursaries available through non-governmental associations and the schools themselves.

• Associations such as the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada offer various awards.

• Contact the Awards office at your college or university of choice.

• A Financial Aid Directory is available through the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)

Other investment options

You need every advantage you can get when saving to help your children pay for a post-secondary education. Consider non-registered investment strategies that can deliver important savings beyond RESPs.

• Most people think of life insurance as basic financial protection for loved ones but a universal life insurance policy can also help fund your child’s education.

• A properly structured age 40 trust can be an effective means of accumulating capital for education. With this strategy, it is important to keep in mind government assistance guidelines.

• Tax-advantaged mutual funds and monthly income portfolios are mutual fund options for education savings.

It’s important to put educational and financial plans in place as early as possible. We can help establish a welldesigned program that will consider the many available options, help your children to reach their full potential and help you to achieve your hopes for their future.

Financial Consultant
(204) 489-4640 ext. 246

1The Canada Education Savings Grant and Canada Learning Bond (CLB) are provided by the Government of Canada. CLB eligibility depends on family income levels. Some provinces make education savings grants available to their residents.

Written and published by Investors Group as a general source of information only. It is not intended as a solicitation to buy or sell specific investments, nor is it intended to provide tax, legal or investment advice. Readers should seek advice on their specific circumstances from an Investors Group Consultant. Commissions, fees and expenses may be associated with mutual fund investments. Read the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.

Insurance products and services offered through I.G. Insurance Services Inc. (in Québec, a financial services firm). Insurance license sponsored by The Great-West Life Assurance Company (outside of Québec).

™Trademark owned by IGM Financial Inc. and licensed to its subsidiary corporations.

“Education planning for families of children with disabilities”
© Investors Group Inc. 2010 (06/2010) MP1364

(Read more in the Nov 9 -Nov 29/2010 issue of Senior Scope)






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