08 Mar

Meet Danielle

Marrying tradition with innovation

I’m really looking forward to this next chapter – both for myself and for Allan Financial. We’ve always been innovators and now I get to shape the next evolution of this company, and what life insurance and financial literacy can mean for generations to come.
~ Danielle

24 Feb

Disposition & Memorial

Once there is a dead body, what do you do?

Even fifty years ago, we would have had much more exposure to the dead and dying and from those experiences known the next steps to take.

We discussed what you should know in advance so that when the inevitable occurs to a loved one, you can spend your time doing the meaningful things to honour and memorialize that person.  And setting some of this in place for yourself can be a huge gift to those you leave behind. Knowledge is power!

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers, and this shouldn’t be taken as legal advice. And remember that we’re usually referring to how things are in BC, Canada, so things might be different where you are.

Feel free to click through the individual topics to learn more. The full recording is also below.

Video Clips:

Disposition Definitions & Options

Death Denying Society Repercussions

Green Burial

Hospital Death

Home Death

Community Death

Questions you'll be asked when your loved one dies

Distributing remains at sea

Can I plan for a home death?

Medically assisted death in a hospital or hospice

Watch the entire event

Additional Resources:

  • Koru – home and family led funeral and vigils
  • BC Transplant – donating your body to science / organ donation / transplant
01 Feb

The Beginning of a New Era!

We’ve got a new President . . .

We’re excited to announce a change in leadership here at Allan Financial with Danielle (Allan) Kanengoni as our new President! Learn what that means for our future:

27 Jan

Advance Care Planning

Life Altering Physical Considerations

We talked through issues ranging from a sudden but temporary incapacitation (car accident) to a diagnosis with a terminal outcome (late-stage cancer). And why taking the wide range of scenarios into account is important. Advance Care Planning is not just having “I’d like a natural death” in writing. We mention the available tools, questions to ask yourself, and tips for having the important discussions with those who will have a say in your medical decision making.

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers, and this shouldn’t be taken as legal advice. And remember that we’re usually referring to how things are in BC, Canada, so things might be different where you are.

Feel free to click through the individual topics to learn more. The full recording is also below.

Video Clips:

What is Advance Care Planning anyway?

Enhanced Representation Agreement - Section 9

Legally, what's the order of who can make medical decisions on your behalf

If you're young, you'll likely still need this

Advance Care Planning process

Advance Care Planning vs Advance Directive

Questions that will reveal your vision & values

How to have the difficult conversations around medical decisions

Dying in line with the same values that you live by

Medial Order for Scope of Treatment aka MOST

Watch the entire event

Additional Resources:

Online guides mentioned as part of your overall planning in the event of incapacitation, unexpected injury, or serious illness.

Online wills, powers of attorney, and representation agreements, including discount codes.

  • LegalWills.ca – for 15% off any product
  • Willful.co – any product is 20% off by using code “ALLANFINANCIAL20” at checkout
02 Dec

I’m Dead Now What – 101

Welcome to “I’m Dead, Now What?”

For something with a 100% likelihood, most of us don’t do a great job of planning for death.

We’re running this series to explore life transitions, death, and how to plan for the inevitable.

I’m Dead, Now What features Christa Ovenell, aka Death’s Apprentice. Christa is a licensed funeral director and a certified Elder Planning Counsellor, specializing in end-of-life education and planning. You can catch her monthly on CBC’s North by Northwest.

Christa and Danielle

“Most of us will spend significantly more time researching which phone to buy than contemplating any element of our own advanced care or transition planning.

Do you know the simple steps you need to take to get your affairs in order?

It’s remarkably easy, incredibly empowering, and trust me: being ready is the biggest gift you can ever give.” ~ Christa Ovenell

Our first event focused on the legal basics – the what and why of:

  • Wills
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Representation Agreements

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers, and this shouldn’t be taken as legal advice. We know some great lawyers (recommendations below) if you want to follow up with them and get specific direction. And remember that we’re usually referring to how things are in BC, Canada, so things might be different where you are.

Feel free to click through the individual topics to learn more. The full recording is also below.

Video Clips:

Summary of the 3 Legal Basics

Representation Agreements

Powers of Attorney


“I don’t own anything of much value”

“I’m too young to need this!”

Watch the entire event.

(includes info on what if you expect to inherit someday; what’s the bare minimum you should do; online platforms to do this yourself; what are “funeral wishes” anyway; what is a co-executor; I’ve moved; rush to cremation; etc.)

Additional Resources:

Online wills, powers of attorney, and representation agreements, including discount codes for you! (Simple, legal, and under $250, so no excuse not to do it.)

  • LegalWills.ca – any product is 20% off by using code “deathsapprentice” at checkout
  • Willful.co – any product is 20% off by using code “ALLANFINANCIAL20” at checkout

Local lawyers who specialize in simple estate plans and price accordingly –

11 Nov

Our Difference Makes a Difference

Meet Casey and Rich, a couple who have created a plan for retirement and are building an investment inside their life insurance policy.

Life insurance is something that’s usually only thought of as a payout after you die. We want to ensure that you can benefit from your life insurance right now. And we have so many stories of clients who are able to do just that.

22 Oct

15 Years of Kiva

Fifteen Years of Kiva

Kiva just turned 15 and featured the AF Kiva Project as one of their stories of impact from around the world! We’re so grateful to Kiva, their field partners, and of course all our generous lenders. Thanks to you, we’re on track to hit $1 MILLION in loans by the end of 2020! Watch Danielle’s interview below, and check out Kiva’s page for more.



28 Sep

AF Family, Meet Jessie!

Now that we’re back in the office, please join us in welcoming our newest team member, Jessie Mejia!

Jessie joined us in early March as our Senior Executive Assistant (you can thank her for keeping Ross in line). Onboarding remotely at the onset of a pandemic was no easy feat, and Jessie took it in stride. She came to us highly recommended as a seasoned pro with over a decade of experience in high-level administration.

We love Jessie for her gentle and empathetic presence in the office, and her sharp organizational skills. Coming from the public health world, her expertise in client care and confidentiality are a huge asset to our team.

If you haven’t met her yet, Jessie is the first friendly face you’ll see when you walk in to AF. We can’t wait for you to meet!

18 Mar

Continuity of Operations during COVID-19

Dear friends:

Prior to the onset of the pandemic, we updated our technology to give our team the capability to work remotely. We didn’t know we’d need it so soon, and have a few small pieces still to implement. This should all be completed by early next week, but in the meantime, our team is taking advantage of our new capabilities.

With that in mind, we continue to be available to provide you with service regarding your existing insurance, to continue working through the design and implementation of new insurance currently under way, and to start any new planning and insurance reviews. We can easily arrange any meetings using screen sharing and teleconferencing to avoid the need for face to face meetings.

A number of our core values are being put to good use at this time – leading with heart, being thoughtfully driven to do more, and stretching to change.

This is an unprecedented situation for all of us, but rest assured that your needs continue to be our priority.

Your Allan Financial Family

16 Jan

Giving Globally and Locally: Introducing Kiva 250

Giving Globally and Locally: Introducing Kiva 250

We have some exciting things to announce at the top of this new decade. Firstly, we’ve now loaned over $850,000 to women in the Global South through our Kiva project. Secondly, we launched a new component of the program in 2019 that we’d like to tell you about: Kiva 250.

To integrate social giving further into the fibre of our business, we now automatically loan $250 for every insurance policy we sell. In 2019, we settled over 230 new policies, which means we added almost $60,000 to the total lent last year, thanks to clients like you!

75% of you have also chosen to keep your money in the lending pot, rather than accepting repayment at the end of the loan year. This means we’re able to re-loan the money to new entrepreneurs, exponentially grow the program and do a whole lot of good.

Thanks to your generosity, we’re hoping to hit one million dollars lent in 2020. Can you believe it?! We can’t!


It’ll be a close call, but with your help, we can celebrate this milestone. It’s beyond what we ever dreamed for this project.

That’s what we’re doing on the global level. At the local level, we’ve also decided to donate an additional $250 for every policy bought by Bowen Island clients to the Foxglove Fund, our endowed fund through the Bowen Island Community Foundation that provides bursaries for the Bowen Children’s Centre.

More information about the Foxglove Fund and the Kiva Project can be found here.

28 Nov

Adulting IX: Financial Goals & Cashflow Planning

Adulting with Julia

We were excited to finish off our series with financial planner Julia Chung, who workshopped how to set financial goals based on our own unique values and priorities.

We discussed things like:

  • Differences between a scarcity mindset (budgeting) and a growth mindset (cashflow planning)
  • How to be conscientious with spending and counteract forces that contribute to overspending and shame
  • Goal setting and aligning our cashflow with those goals

More photos from the event are below!

Julia’s Adulting Advice

Julia taught us that budgets are usually fear-based: we create them when we feel we don’t have enough. This can lead to an unsustainable or unrealistic allocation of our financial resources.

She advises to start your financial planning by filling out your ‘wheel of life.’ From there, prioritize areas you’d most like to improve, figure out what the gaps are between where you are now and where you’d like to be, and then set specific goals. This approach aligns your finances with your values, and this synergy is motivating!

We also learned that “should” is a swear word. If you’re saving for something because you think you should, you won’t be motivated.

Take the time to outline the specifics of your financial goals. “I save enough to take a vacation somewhere warm next year” isn’t as exciting as “I learn to surf in Sámara, Costa Rica in Winter 2020.” Experts recommend that at least 20% of your after-tax income be spent on lifestyle and entertainment, allowing you to enjoy your life.

Keeping focused on your financial goals is difficult – our culture promotes mindless consumption and it’s hard to work against this system. Goal-setting and being a thoughtful consumer are two tools we can use in response.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to finances. There isn’t one way to invest, one set percentage to put aside for retirement. The answer starts with you putting in the work to determine what your values and goals are.


Julia’s Presentation

Event Photos

29 Oct

Kiva is Celebrating the Big Billion!

Kiva is Celebrating the Big Billion!

This month, Kiva celebrated hitting 1 billion dollars in micro-loans to women across the Global South. And we at AF are celebrating that over $800,000 of that billion was lent by our community! Thanks to the generosity of our lenders, we’re looking forward to hitting the 1 million mark in the coming months! This is beyond what we ever thought was possible.

We couldn’t agree more with Kiva when they say: “Lenders like you continue to prove that fueling her future means fueling our future. Investing in women is one of the strongest levers we can use to advance global development for everyone. When we uplift women, we uplift entire communities.”

03 Oct

Adulting VIII: Investing & Financial Planning

Adulting with Dave (Round Two!)

Investing kept coming up as something people wanted to know more about. So, we brought back financial advisor Dave Sweeney to help us sort through all the noise.

We discussed things like:

  • Some of our individual money stories and what specifics Dave would have us consider in trying to invest for our future
  • Thought-provoking investing guidelines

As a bonus you’ll find photos from the event below!

Dave’s Adulting Advice

“The three most important things when it comes to investing – time, money and rate of return. The only one of these that we can’t make more of is time. Being Gen Y is an advantage because we have more of that elusive time! There’s no cheaper time to start saving than today.”

“Don’t fear the talk of a possible recession! At our age, we can take advantage of the longer time period we have to invest. A recession is also a good time to consider investing aggressively.”

“Between a RRSP and a TFSA, don’t use either for actual living expenses. But for long-term goals, the RRSP is better, and for short-term goals, the TFSA is the way to go.”

“Don’t make investment decisions based on emotions.”

“Yes, diversify your investment plan. Really.”

“Don’t count on an inheritance. Folks are living much longer now and eating up their savings in the last few years.”

“Have the long-term “financial chat” with your parents. Don’t leave any ambiguity. It will help all of you.”

A tip from his earlier talk that was just so good, it bears repeating – “To have enough to live on in retirement, when you’re under the age of 35, put away 10% of your gross income every month, before 45, put away 20%, and over 45, it needs to be 30%.”


Event Photos

30 Aug

Our Favourite Day of the Year!

Bowfest 2019!

Our community of Bowen Island comes together at the end of every summer to put on the annual community festival, aptly named “Bowfest.” We have participated for more than a decade now, by sponsoring and volunteering to man the rides. This year, we were responsible for the inflatable Bungee Run that had kids straining to race against one another.

Giving out our signature Enjoy Your Life t-shirts celebrating each years event, and spotting these around the lower Mainland throughout the year has become a tradition for a generation of Bowen Islander, big and small. We would LOVE to get tagged if you see one of these t-shirts out and about. On facebook we are @allanfinancial and on instagram we are @enjoyyourlife.af

If you were there you know all about it, but if not, you can tell from the photos that we had a blast catching up with friends and clients all day long!

15 Aug

Like Family

Change is inevitable, but certain things will always stay the same. One of those constants in *our* world is Kal Sangha who just celebrated 25 years with Allan Financial. She’s seen our business and our family grow, but one thing is the same – she’s always here for our clients.

02 Jul

Next Steps

We are thrilled to announce that Rachel Rogers is a Licensed Life Insurance broker at Allan Financial. Rachel joined the company six years ago and has advanced through progressively more responsible positions in Client Service and Product Design to her current role as Director of Client Service.

Rachel brings her wealth of experience to this new role providing services to individuals seeking life insurance and tax-advantaged investment strategies. We are pleased that she will now advise clients on these issues at Allan Financial.

Please join us in congratulating Rachel on this exciting next step in her career!

As Rachel says here, “Having good people in your corner is key to helping you make the right choices.”  We couldn’t have said it any better.

23 Jun

Words on Words


This month I’ve been reflecting on the importance of language. We rely so heavily on words – they’re the building blocks of everything. And yet there’s so much potential for miscommunication based on the different connotations we all have with certain words. Language can determine whether an environment is exclusive or welcoming, uncomfortable or respectful, volatile or productive. And, since our speech is so ingrained and habitual, it’s also a clear revealer of our unconscious biases.

Our team recently had a discussion about the kind of language that bothers us as female professionals. Much of what came up was what this article (a great resource!) refers to as “benevolent sexism.” These are words, such as terms of endearment, that “may seem polite or harmless, but […] undermine authority and impact perceptions about women’s competence.” As a team of all women, we often get called “girls,” and terms like “sweetie” are pretty commonplace.

I find this language belittling, particularly from men I don’t have a personal relationship with. And while it’s not (usually) intended this way, intent is not the same as impact. Gendered words that get used in the workplace don’t exist in a vacuum – they reinforce sexist attitudes and structural power imbalances that affect women’s livelihoods.

Another thing I’ve also noticed is the discrepancy between the words used to describe male and female leaders in our industry (similar to what’s described in this article). This may seem trivial, but when you think about how it correlates with the low percentage of women in the industry, particularly in leadership positions, it takes on a deeper significance.

Language is one of the easiest ways we can show respect, yet there is often a feeling of resistance when a person or group of people asks us to change the words we use. Some of you may have even felt resistant or defensive reading this post. Trust me, I get it! I feel the same way when I learn that words I use are causing harm.

Language feels like a difficult thing for all of us to change, but we really can re-train ourselves. It’s about having the humility to admit when we’re wrong, the vulnerability to ask, and the empathy to make the effort.

06 Jun

Adulting VII: Debt & Budgeting

Adulting with Liz (Round Two!)

We had such good feedback on the Managing your Money session last summer that we decided to bring back Financial Coach Liz Schieck from the New School of Finance. This time she discussed the dreaded “D” word: debt.

We discussed things like:

  • How to budget your money using 4 types of money categories
  • The questions to ask ourselves in determining why we have debt in the first place 
  •  How to sidestep debt in the future

As a bonus you’ll find photos from the event below


Dan & Rach’s Tips

Some good general tips to help with your debt right off the bat:

  1. Pay off your highest interest rate debt first (credit card etc)
  2. Ask your credit card company or bank about lowering your interest rates. Don’t forget you’re the customer. You don’t get what you don’t ask for. The worse they’ll do is say no, and then at least you asked.


Liz’s Adulting Advice

Before you can build a successful plan, you’ve got to unpack your debt, understand why you have it in the first place, and learn how to sidestep it in the future. Strategies and tips are ultimately useless until you deal with the emotional stuff, the root causes of your spending behaviour.

Most debt advice skips this crucial step. Many jump right into the super-exciting math parts, but there is so much that needs to happen before that in order to make sustainable permanent changes to your finances. 

If you don’t change your spending behaviour and if you don’t believe you can truly tackle your debt, you’ll never stop the Debt Loop.

First, deal with the emotional side of your debt, then do the math. This is crucial. It’s like having allergies. Instead of treating the symptoms—coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes—over and over, you have to figure out the root cause of the allergy and avoid it altogether. 

Spend some time unpacking how you think and feel about your money. Get to a place where you understand your Financial Tripwires and find motivation and strategies beyond the interest your debt is costing you. This is how to stop the Debt Loop. 

If you’d like to determine your personal Financial Tripwires and permanently break the Debt Loop, grab a copy of Shannon Lee Simmons’ book, Living Debt-Free, the No-Shame, No-Blame Guide to Getting Rid of Your Debt.


Event Photos

28 May

AF Gets Sporty

This month the AF team has been gearing up to participate in the annual Motionball Of Sport tournament on June 1st, which raises funds and awareness for Special Olympics Canada.


We’ll be competing as Team Office Space (high five if you love this movie as much as I do), teaming up with local Special Olympics BC athletes to compete in a whirlwind of sports – soccer, football, basketball, you name it!


Even Ross will be playing in the tournament, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what he calls “the iceberg” (his athletic foundations, laid in his UBC Phys Ed. days) out on the field. Stay tuned for photos of that.


The idea to have an AF Motionball team was brought forward by our Product Design Associate, Megan, who stepped up and got the whole team on board, coordinating the initiative and supporting us all in our own fundraising efforts.


Meg came to me with the Motionball idea after she participated a couple years ago with her friends, under AF’s sponsorship. She told me that the tournament day was one of most fun days of her life, and that it was full of positive, inclusive vibes and cool people. This year she wanted to get more people involved and make a bigger impact. It sounded like a fantastic opportunity for the team to have some fun and do some good, so I said yes!


Megan has been so on top of the project, and so supportive of everyone’s individual fundraising efforts. It’s honestly been really inspiring to see a close friend and team member take this kind of initiative, and to see her show such beautiful and fun leadership for something she cares about.


With the big tournament coming up this weekend, we’re still accepting donations to our team page! You do that here.


I’m so excited for the tournament, and can’t wait to see what other projects and team-building opportunities other AF team members cook up in future!

01 May

We have lots of exciting news at Allan Financial to share with you!

The first is that Hardeep Arreaga, our Director of Underwriting, is on her second maternity leave with baby boy Cruz joining his brother Kiaan. At this point in time, Hardeep plans to return around May of 2020. We can’t wait to meet this new addition to the Allan Financial family!

The news of growth and change doesn’t stop there though. You’ve all gotten to know and appreciate Katie Erickson in your dealings with Ross, and we are pleased to say that she has been in training to take on the role of Underwriting Associate. The addition of her natural care and concern to this position is such a natural fit for clients during the many complexities of the underwriting process.

But you needn’t fear that once Katie transitions to Underwriting that you will need to rely upon Ross alone to manage all the many details of his life! We have brought a new team member, Laura Jane “LJ” Klassen, to be the Executive Assistant to both Ross and Danielle as of April 1st. Coming from a background in program coordination, working with youth in and around the Downtown East Side, Laura Jane brings the ability to (in her own words) “herd cats gently and effectively”. If you need anything of Ross or Danielle, LJ will now be your go-to contact at laurajane@allanfinancial.com.


Always growing and stretching into change, just like our clients!

11 Apr

Adulting VI: Buying Real Estate

Adulting with Marty

This event featured a topic that you’ve all been asking for. We brought in our friend and expert Marty Staniforth of Staniforth Real Estate to discuss that elusive adulting goal of buying real estate! Marty has carved out a niche helping first-time buyers. 

We discussed things like:

  • The steps to take when considering buying your first property
  • What specifics Marty would have us consider when working with a real estate professional
  • Interesting pieces of overall guidance from Marty on the search, offer, and acquisition process, along with some thought-provoking tips & quotes

As a bonus, you’ll find photos from the event below!


Marty’s Adulting Advice

Some good questions to ask a potential real estate professional:

  • How long have you been in Real Estate?

  • What do you enjoy most about your job?

  • What gives you an advantage over other agents?

  • How much capacity do you have right now to take on a new client?

  • Can you walk me through the home buying process?

First-Time Homebuyers Program At-a Glance

The First-Time Homebuyers’ Program reduces or eliminates the amount of property transfer tax you pay when you purchase your first home. If you qualify for the program, you may be eligible for either a full or partial exemption for the tax.

Do I qualify?

To qualify for a full exemption, at the time the property is purchased you must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident
  • Have lived in B.C. for 12 consecutive months immediately before the date you register the property or filed at least 2 income tax returns as a B.C. resident in the last 6 years
  • Have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time
  • Have never received a First-Time Homebuyers’ exemptions or refund

The property must:

  • Be located in BC

  • Only be used as your principle residence

  • Have a fair market value of $475,000 or less if registered on or before February 21, 2017, OR $500,000 or less if registered on or after February 22, 2017

  • Be 0.5 hectares (1.24 acres) or smaller

You may qualify for a partial exemption from the tax if the property:

  • Has a fair market value less than $500,000 if registered on or before February 21, 2017, OR $525,000 if registered on or after February 22, 2017.

  • Is larger than 0.5 hectares

  • Has another building on the property other than the principle residence

Event Photos

11 Apr

More Than Life Insurance

You’d never guess what one of our clients is now able to buy because of the investment aspect of her policy. While everyone’s financial goals are different, our clients typically have something enjoyable they are planning for.

Not your run of the mill life insurance policy – for not so run of the mill people!


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