The Tragically Hip and Tax Law Changes

The Tragically Hip is a band that has had huge success in Canada and near none elsewhere.  The conventional reason given is that most of their music refers to Canadian themes that don’t translate well to other places.  Could be true I suppose, but it is likely more complicated.

They have just finished their most successful tour ever.

In the spring, the band announced that frontman, musician, songwriter and all round good guy, Gord Downie, had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer and the brand would be doing one final tour.  That tour finished a 14 show tour in their home town of Kingston, Ontario Saturday, the 20th of August.  The show was broadcast nationwide by CBC and many communities set up screens in parks and such so the masses could enjoy.

Two nights earlier 21,000 fans filled the CTC Center in Ottawa.  One fan interviewed by CBC said, “To come here and see them with all of their people, it’s like going to church.”  Indeed.

The band’s music and lyrics resonate with Canadians.  Their song “Bobcaygeon” talks of a village near me.  “Fifty Mission Cap” talks about the loss of Toronto Maple Leaf defenceman Bill Barilko on a 1951 fishing trip in northern Ontario.  His plane crashed only a four months after he had scored the Stanley Cup winning goal.

The songs have more meaning when you live here.

There will be no more Hip concerts with Gord Downie.  They are worth seeing but at what cost?  Stub Hub offered, on Friday, a few remaining tickets at prices that might make you wonder.  $900 for a single is the cheap offering in Kingston.  $16,700 for a pair well located on the floor.  These amounts separate the real fans from the bandwagon riders.  All amounts in US dollars plus services fees and such.  Amazing!

Last week someone asked the band how big was the smallest crowd they had ever played for.  Answer.  Zero.  No people.  They had to be careful to collect their $325 fee.  In 2016, record crowds in every big city in Canada.  Things change when scarcity is a factor.

There is a message for the rest of us.  Scarcity is a powerful motivator.  But, we must be careful.  The old approach of “You need to buy now because these prices won’t be available soon,” does not work.  It has been over used.  Last chance cannot come from the vendor and still be powerful.  People are cynical.  I recall a tiny store in Peterborough that had a “Going out of business” sale every September for at least a decade.  People stopped taking it seriously and eventually it did go out of business.

Sometimes good things really are going away, but the customer must learn of it and decide to act by themselves.  The provider must only present news of the fact.  Any more induces skepticism.

So here is the news.  In Canada, new life insurance policies have a “best before” purchase date that is 1 January 2017.  Meaningful advantages accrue to old policies. That is especially true for level cost universal life.

For practical purposes, medical underwriting being the big obstacle, applying at the latest  by the end of October would be prudent.  Conversion of existing term products could be a bit later.

I would be happy to discuss your proper course of action if you can see the need.  Please call.

Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario.  In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.

Please be in touch if I can help you.  866-285-7772

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