End of Year Reminders and Strategies

Several routine financial planning items must be completed by December 31. For example, make any charitable donations that you wish to report on this year’s tax return. Contribute to a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) to trigger the annual Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG). If you turn 71 this year, you have until December 31 to make your final Registered … Read More

How to Choose a Beneficiary for Your RRSP of RRIF

how to choose a beneficiary for your RRSP of RRIF

One factor drives many decisions behind naming a beneficiary for a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) or Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF). When an individual passes away, remaining assets in the RRSP or RRIF are taxed as income at the marginal tax rate on the final return – unless the individual has named a “qualified beneficiary.” A qualified beneficiary is … Read More

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…

decisions decisions decisions

Many life decisions can be difficult, but when they involve a financial component, input from your lawyer, accountant or advisor could help in some way. Here are a few scenarios to illustrate how such input can make a difference. Caring for a parent Aila and Mark are a couple in their 50s, both working full-time. Aila’s mother, a widow, can … Read More

Credit Cards Do’s and Don’ts

credit cards do's and dont's

College and university students may encounter credit card sales representatives on campus. Students can get their own card at age 18 in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island, and at 19 in other provinces. If your child follows these guidelines, hopefully the card won’t be seen as free money. The do’s Aim to limit purchases to what … Read More

Teaching Your Children To Manage Money

teaching your children to manage money

Today’s youth may prefer to pick up information online, but when it comes to learning about financial life, parents still have some influence. Here are a few teaching moments. Younger ages One day your children believe money comes from the tooth fairy, and later discover they’ve got to earn it. Quite a journey, and you’re the guide. Lessons from allowance. … Read More

Should a Retirement Plan Include Your Home?

Should a retirement plan include your home

When your home represents a sizeable portion of your net worth, you might wonder if downsizing would give you a more comfortable retirement. It’s a decision that not only involves financial planning, but practical and psychological factors as well. Retirement planning versus estate planning If downsizing your home generates a large- enough net gain, you could travel more during retirement, … Read More

How Often Should You Check Your Portfolio?

Your portfolio represents your future, so it’s only natural to want to monitor how your investments are doing. How often you need to check largely depends on the type of investor you are. Active investors who constantly buy and sell individual stocks will monitor performance frequently, perhaps daily. But individuals with well-diversified managed portfolios investing for the long term have … Read More

Are You Entering The Retirement Risk Zone?

For several decades as an investor, there was always a silver lining to a market downturn. That’s when investment managers purchased stocks at value prices so you could enjoy higher returns when the market rebounded. But that all changes when you’re close to retirement and once you’re retired. Just before retirement, a plummeting market can severely reduce a nest egg’s … Read More

Early Spousal RRSP Withdrawals

Here’s a strategy especially effective during a period when one spouse has little or no earned income. For several years, the spouse earning the higher income contributes the maximum allowable amount to the spousal RRSP. Then the higher-income spouse stops these contributions and begins contributing to his or her own RRSP for two calendar years after the year of the … Read More

How to Save Tax as a Couple

You can’t escape paying tax on income, but you may be able to split some of your income with your spouse. And if your spouse is in a lower tax bracket, you’ll pay less tax as a couple. Here are three scenarios that illustrate some of the tax-saving strategies available through income splitting. Kim and Henry Kim, an executive at … Read More