Definitely, Maybe

That’s what my business is all about.

I use a number of different “elevator” pitches when talking to perspective clients.  One of my new favorites is to begin by telling people that I help mitigate the impact of the Definitely, Maybes in our lives.  Regardless of when or even if these things happen the impact on our lives and the lives of those around us can be devastating if not properly planned for.

Here they are;


We are all going to die.  The only question is when and what that might mean for the plans of the people we love.

Pretty much everyone can agree that the younger you are when you die the more tragic it seems.  The death of a child is almost always met with disbelief and regret for the senselessness of it all.  Such limitless potential cut short for no apparent reason.  Just about every parent I know would gladly trade places with their dying child.  Few parents put in that situation would ever consider that the collateral damage caused by their death would have a lasting impact on the life that child now gets to lead.  When a parent dies without having made adequate plans for their family the resulting financial difficulty can and most often does lead to lost opportunities and permanently alters the life trajectory of their children.

It may seem counter intuitive but the younger you are the more life insurance you should potentially have.  It’s not quite a straight line from birth to old age, more of a bell curve, peaking somewhere in middle age when your children are still young and your debts are still high but everybody dies and regardless of when that happens everyone should have some form of Life Insurance.


When I first started in this business one statistic surprised me.  According to StatsCanada one in three Canadians between the age of 25-65 will be out of work due to illness or injury for more than 90 consecutive days at some point during their working lives.  Three months may not seem like a long time at first but considering the fact that over 90% of Canadians are only one missed pay-cheque away from serious financial stress and you have a recipe for disaster.

Without adequate insurance a prolonged period of disability is in many cases a fate worse than death.  While the financial struggles brought about by the premature death of a bread winner are tragic, the person who caused them is gone.  What if that person wasn’t gone but had to sit by, helpless and watch his or her family struggle because they failed to adequately prepare for this very strong possibility.

Thankfully most employers in Canada offer some form of Disability Insurance through a Group Health Plan but these plans are often inadequate for maintaining your lifestyle long term and many smaller employers don’t offer any coverage at all.  Which would you rather have, a job that offers you a high salary with no guarantees of continued income or a job with a slightly lower salary and guarantees an income for life if you contract a serious illness or injure yourself long term?  Personally, I think the answer is a no brainer, sadly too many people disagree with me and don’t realize how short sighted their mistake made them until it’s too late.

What if you own a small business?  There are a lot of rewards to being your own boss but insurance benefits aren’t one of them.  The high stress of running a business, coupled with the fact that business owners tend to be the least likely to own any form of disability insurance makes owning a business, regardless of what the business does, among the most vulnerable sectors of the economy to long term illness and injury.  Not to mention what could happen to the people you employ if the business suffers because you don’t show up to work for six months.

Maybe #2 (R-2.0)

Increasingly in Canada more and more people are foregoing retirement and continuing to work in some capacity well into their 70s and 80s.  The reasons for this are varied.  Some haven’t saved enough and need to keep working to survive, others are still healthy and want to stay active.  As a result, the traditional retirement age of 65 is a thing of the past but regardless of when or even if you fully retire there will come a day when you either don’t want to or simply can’t keep going.

This phase of life is what I call Retirement 2.0.   Planning for R-2.0 is about more than just saving money to live on for the next 20-30 years.  It’s about deciding what you want to do with yourself and how to fund it.  And it’s about planning for the impact of declining health.

In preR-2.0 planning is about growing your nest-egg just like always, but once you start your R2.0 life it’s about guaranteeing income and securing your legacy.


So that’s what I do.  I help people plan for definitely and maybes.  I can definitely help you.  Maybe you’ll contact me.

Lauren C Sheil is a Serial Entrepreneur and Financial Security Advisor.  He helps people live life to the fullest along the way teaching them to Eliminate Debt, Build Wealth and Leave a Legacy.  Write to 


This is in continuation of my last post on Privilege.

I’ve been thinking about the various barriers that we erect, both consciously and unconsciously in our world. What they are for and how they affect our society.

brick fence

There are the obvious barriers. Locked doors, gates etc, that require a key or a pass code to get past and there the more subtle barriers that mutely prevent passage to groups of people based solely on physical attributes, ethnicity or education.  A long flight of stairs for example is a barrier for the physically disabled just as  an English only sign is a barrier for a recent immigrant.

Some of the barriers we erect are there for our own safety and security others are there to intentionally create in group and out group distinctions. In a democratic society we like to think we have created a meritocracy that allows access based on achievement but many of these barriers are set so high, and so arbitrarily that the only way to achieve or “merit” access is through an arbitrary, often hereditary head start.

Equality, openness and tolerance of differences have been big buzz words in recent years. It has been said that the great struggle of the 21st century will be the struggle for equality in human rights. This will be achieved in part through the removal of barriers.

We cannot remove them all. Safety and security will still require us to lock certain doors. We also need to limit access to certain areas based on merit but we can take steps to remove some of the more arbitrary barriers based on physical limitations, ethnicity and gender. Yes gender is still a barrier to some professions even in the more enlightened and progressive regions of the world.

This is not a how to post. I have no solutions. I’m not even sure I completely understand the problems. I am simply becoming more and more aware of barriers that exist all around us and questioning why they exist.

And I think that’s the first step, to ask why. Why is this door locked? Why are their stairs here? Why can’t a foreign trained engineer/doctor/professional, get a job in their field of expertise in any country in the world simply be demonstrating a grasp of the local language?  I think a lot of barriers exist simply because no one has had the courage to ask why.