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TFSA or RRSP? 2019

One of the most common investment questions Canadians ask themselves today is, “Which is better, TFSA or RRSP”?

Here’s the good news – it doesn’t have to be an either or choice.  Why not do both? Below are the features of both plans to help you understand the differences.

Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA)

  •  Any Canadian resident age 18 or over may open a TFSA. Contribution is not based on earned income.  There is no maximum age for contribution.
  • For 2018, the maximum contribution remains at $5,500.  For 2019, that increases to $6,000.
  • There is carry forward room for each year in which the maximum contribution was not made. For those who have not yet contributed to a TFSA, the cumulative total contribution room for 2018 is $57,500.  It will increase in 2019 to $63,500. Read more

Steps to Avoid the OAS Clawback

According to the Canadian government website, Old Age Security is the largest pension program in Canada.  OAS pays a monthly income to seniors who are age 65 and over.  The amount of the payment is not based on past income but rather how long you resided in Canada after the age of 18.  If you have turned 65 you are eligible for the maximum OAS income if you have resided in Canada for at least 40 years after turning 18 AND have resided in Canada for at least 10 years prior to receiving approval for your OAS pension.  There are some exceptions for those who don’t fully qualify based on temporary absences during that requisite 10-year period.

For the last quarter of 2018, the maximum monthly OAS payment regardless of marital status is $600.85.  Don’t get too excited as, as the title suggests, the government can clawback part or all of your OAS benefit depending on your taxable income.  As of 2018, you can earn up to $75,950 in annual taxable income (up from $74,788 in 2017) without affecting your payment.  For every dollar earned over this threshold amount however, you will be taxed (referred to as an OAS recovery tax) at a rate of 15%. Once you reach taxable income in the amount of $ 123,386 the government will have fully recovered or clawed back the entire amount of your Old Age Security. Read more

Life Insurance – Do You Buy, Rent, or Borrow?

Without a doubt, life insurance is valuable protection provided by your employee benefit plan, but should it be the only life insurance coverage you have?  Probably not, if you want to ensure you have sufficient long term protection to cover all your family’s financial needs should you die unexpectedly.

In a recent study conducted by the Life Insurance and Market Research Association (LIMRA), it was reported that 61% of Canadians hold some form of life insurance.  Surprisingly, it also revealed that only 38% of Canadians own an individual life insurance contract. This means that almost 40% rely solely on the life insurance provided by their employer. This can be problematic.  The disadvantages of having your employee benefit plan as your only life insurance protection include the following: Read more

Optimizing Wealth Through Asset Re-Allocation

If you are an active investor, your investment holdings probably include many different asset classes.  For many investors, diversification is a very important part of the wealth accumulation process to help manage risk and reduce volatility.  Your investment portfolio might include stocks, bonds, equity funds, real estate and commodities.  All these investment assets share a common characteristic – their yield is exposed to tax.  From a taxation standpoint, investment assets fall into the following categories:

Tax Adverse

The income from these investments are taxed at the top rates.  They include bonds, certificates of deposits, savings accounts, rents etc.  Depending on the province, these investments may be taxed at rates of approximately 50% or more. (For example, Alberta 48.0%, BC 49.8%, Manitoba 50.4%, Ontario 53.53%, Nova Scotia 54.0%). Read more

Private Health Spending Plans for the Owner/Operator Business

Individuals who have incorporated their business such as consultants, contractors and professionals often find that providing affordable health and dental care coverage for themselves and their families can be an expensive proposition.

Take Bob for example.  Bob had just left his architectural firm to set up on his own.  In looking at the options available for him to replace his previous firm’s Extended Health and Dental coverage for he and his family, he discovered that the monthly premium would be between $400 and $500 per month.  This was for a plan that didn’t provide coverage for all practitioners and procedures, had an annual limit on the benefits, and a co-insurance factor of 20% (only 80% of eligible costs were covered).  There wasn’t even any orthodontia coverage although he could purchase that in limited amounts at an additional cost!  He also had to move quickly to replace his lost coverage as he had a pre-existing condition that most likely would not be covered if he waited too long to implement the new plan. Read more

Which Term Life Insurance is Right for You?

Once you have decided on how much life insurance you need, your next decision is whether you are going to use term insurance or permanent insurance to provide it.  For many Canadians, while permanent cash value life insurance offers a significant opportunity for them, many initially utilize renewable and convertible term life insurance.  Most life companies in Canada offer 10-year, 20-year and 30-year renewable term policies.   In deciding which one is right for you, attempt to match the need to the term.  While 10-year term might have the lowest entry level cost, the renewal premiums will be significantly higher.  If you have a young family, ask yourself, will I still need protection beyond the 10th year?  If that answer is yes, then a longer renewal period is more appropriate.

In making your choice, it is important to understand how renewable term policies function.  In Canada, the renewal of the coverage is automatic (unless you decide not to renew) and guaranteed.  The premium on renewal, however, will increase dramatically.  Anyone who has 10-year renewable term insurance, instead of renewing it, should re-write the policy for a new term period.  Read more

ARTICLES OF INTEREST

What does the New Year hold for mortgage rates?

Here’s an article that I came across in the Globe and Mail that I wanted to share which talks about Bank of Canada trends and what it might mean for mortgage rates heading into 2019.  Let me know your thoughts.

Click here to read the rest of the article on the Globe and Mail website.

Holiday Spending Survival Guide

Are you crazy for the holidays, spending thousands of dollars on holiday gifts, lights, entertaining, food and decorations each year? If so, you’re not alone. Many Americans feel the sting of holiday spending well into the new year. If you love to celebrate the holidays but don’t love the financial pinch you experience afterward, there are several great tricks for giving and celebrating, without breaking the bank. Read more »