Segregated funds are the insurance company’s answer to mutual funds. There are many differences and similarities but if you are putting together a financial plan that includes insurance and investments, you’ll probably want to consider a segregated fund.
Segregated funds are also called individual variable insurance contracts (IVIC’s) and they’ll be offered by a many insurance companies. Like mutual funds, they are investment vehicles, but like insurance, they have guarantees and tax advantages.
How are they like mutual funds?
Like mutual funds, you can choose to put your segregated fund money into any number of different types of segregated fund. For example you can choose growth oriented funds or bond funds or some combination of both, which provide you with an investment vehicle that matches your goals.
How are they like insurance products?
But there are four insurance-related aspects of segregated funds that make them an attractive product for many people.
1. First, is the maturity guarantee. A segregated fund offers a guarantee of at least 75% after 10 years (although some segregated funds offer maturity guarantees of 100%!).
2. As well, segregated funds offer attractive death benefits, which work in a similar way to the maturity guarantee: your survivors will receive the difference between the guaranteed amount and the market value of the fund at your death.
3. Because segregated funds are insurance products, they also offer creditor protection, so that if creditors seize your assets, they cannot touch your segregated fund.
4. Lastly, segregated funds bypass probate so that you can easily transfer the money to a beneficiary upon your death without the costly fees associated with probate.
Like all insurance and investment vehicles, segregated funds are not for everyone. For example, the guarantees do bring a higher cost in order to enjoy the segregated fund. However, segregated funds are growing in popularity, so many people feel that the guarantees are worth the cost.
These are just highlights of segregated funds. There are many more aspects you should be aware of. But, if you’re interested in a segregated fund and what one can do for your financial portfolio, contact your insurance company and see if they sell them. If they do not, you can probably find another insurance company that will be able to help you if you look around.