De-Bunking Your Budgeting Barriers. If you don’t have a million dollars in your account right now, it is likely that you hate budgeting. It’s even more likely that you’re annoyed, even enraged, the moment the topic arises.  It’s an interesting phenomenon, we all want to be financially successful, yet this first step is often the […]

If you have ever purchased a home or applied for a loan, you may be familiar with Mortgage Insurance. This is the insurance the bank is obligated to encourage you to take in the event you die or become disabled. It is intended to protect your loved ones from being stuck with the mortgage in the event life takes a wrong turn ie. death.   Sounds like a no brainer right? Wrong! There are MANY pitfalls with Mortgage Insurance that put the bank’s best interest ahead of yours for a price that’s not worth it. Read more

Are RRSPs overrated?

For many years RRSPs (Registered Retirement Savings Plans) were viewed as the best option available for retirement savings. However, the truth is that there are several variables to consider for your best investment options.

Here is a short list of questions to ask yourself:

(more…) Read more

How to safeguard your retirement…

Have you ever been scuba diving? With scuba diving, you need to plan your dive, how long, what depth, do you have the right gear, etc. If you make a big mistake there are no do overs, it could cost you your life. Retirement planning is similar, you only get one shot at it and the difficulty is, people will only do it once in their lifetime. Fortunately, as a planner we get to experience retirement many times over as we walk alongside our clients.

For people that are in the building phase (ages 30-55) and those that are in their final approach to retirement (ages 55-65), it is crucial to make sure that certain key elements have been looked at. Read more

A recent study found over 8 million working Canadians are at risk of going into debt, delaying retirement or downsizing their home in order to cope with a critical illness.  When a critical illness occurs, the primary financial impacts are loss of income and inability to meet living expenses.

Critical illness insurance was created (by a doctor, not an insurance company) to help address these issues.  It provides a lump-sum payment upon diagnosis of any one of up to 25 serious illnesses, including heart attack, stroke and cancer. Read more

In a world of constant investment changes, it’s hard to keep up with all distinctions between the various fund options. Mutual funds tend to be fairly straightforward, but when it comes to segregated funds, they do offer some distinct differences that some people may not be aware of when differentiating the two. What is a segregated fund you ask? In simple terms, it’s a mutual fund wrapped around an insurance contract with a tidy bow on top. But what does that actually mean to me as an investor?

Segregated Funds offer three fairly distinctive advantages and disadvantages: Read more

For many Canadians the perfect retirement includes owning a vacation property. For some the decision to buy turns out to be a dream come true but for others it can be an expensive nightmare. Here are some things to consider before making the emotional decision to buy a vacation property.

Why do you want it?

Possibly owning a vacation property will allow you to spend more time at a destination you love, it will become a place where you can take your family and friends or you feel it will be a great investment. Whatever the reason, it is important to understand what your motivation is and then evaluate if that’s realistic and reasonable given your current situation. Read more

For most Millennials, the thought of retirement can seem like light years away.  While a lot can and will happen between now and then, ignoring it or putting a plan on the back burner is a major mistake.  In a constantly evolving society, Generation Y faces unique challenges compared to those faced by previous generations. For this age group (18- to 34-year-olds), gaining an understanding of their financial situation and potential hurdles is critical.

When it comes to the question of being able to retire one day, the biggest advantage Millennials have on their side is time. They are generally considered to be anywhere from 30 to 45 years away from retirement. The most important benefit to their age bracket is the opportunity to take advantage of compound interest.  Defined as interest on top of interest or earnings on earnings, compound interest is in direct correlation with time, and understanding its power is key for Millennials hoping to retire one day.  In other words, when it comes to saving money, the sooner the better.

Read more

To Split or not to Split…That is the question.

Income Splitting Strategies                        

So what is Income Splitting, and who is eligible to quality for the benefit?

Income Splitting is a way for families to split up their income so that if one spouse earns more than the other, the higher-earning spouse can allocate some of their income to their lower-earning spouse’s tax return. Since our tax system has graduated tax brackets, Income splitting is a great strategy to pay less household tax, and keep more money in your pocket!  Read more

Financial Difference Makers…

How can I build wealth? How can I save enough for retirement?

As a financial planner I hear these types of questions on a regular basis. People in general want to know, what is the secret to success?

I find that I like to look at clients that we have that are already in retirement to see the traits that have led to their financial success. We can learn a lot from our history, and I find it interesting to hear about people’s lives. Read more

Charitable gifting is about to change. As you may know, currently you can donate cash and receive preferential tax treatment.  For every dollar you donate over $200 you would get a tax deduction of $0.437.  In 2006, the benefits of donating stocks in-kind became substantial because if you donate the stock in-kind to a charity the capital gains of that stock become non-taxable to you but you still receive the full charitable tax deduction.

Projected to come into effect in 2017, the donation of Real Estate profits and profits from the sale of private companies will receive the same tax benefit that are currently available to public shares. This  change could be a game changer for tax planning, strategic gifting and estate planning.

So how does this work? Read more

If you’ve ever gone through the process of researching a new car, you’ve likely considered your options: should I buy or should I lease? Although there are many working parts to both scenarios, it really comes down to personal preference and current situation. Recently I went through this same decision process last fall when we were looking for our next car. How did we make our choice? Let’s first take a deeper look into the main differences between buying versus leasing. Read more

This is the question I have been asked the most in my financial career: Should I pay down my mortgage or put money into my RRSP?

The answer I give is: It depends! I know it’s probably not the answer you were looking for, so let me provide some rules of thumb and opinion on how to walk this through.

Read more

Do you remember the Got Milk ads and t-shirts that reminded everyone to drink your milk regularly? I think we should create a “Got a Will?” campaign. A will should be a standard document that every Canadian has in place but yet only around 30% have an up-to-date legal will*. That’s unbelievable! Read more

The Latte Factor…
No matter how much money one makes you can always find a way to spend it. Does your income keep going up but yet there is no extra money at the end of the month? Do you know where your money has gone? What happens in retirement once your income is fixed? Read more

Not knowing could cost you thousands!
Did you purchase the coverage offered to you by your lender? Most people have a mortgage in Canada and it is typically the largest debt most Canadians will ever assume. Before buying a house people will research and compare to find the best mortgage rates and terms but not necessarily the best insurance coverage. Read more

How technology has made a difference…
Remember that great invention, the magic eight ball? You ask it a question, shake it and then turn it over to reveal the answer. If only all of life’s difficult questions could be answered so easily!

When it comes to retirement planning, people have a lot of questions but often times they do not know how to address them. Our goal is to help our clients have a clear understanding of where they are at financially, where they want to be in the future and how to get there. Sounds simple and yet so many Canadians are not prepared for retirement. Read more

Four Tips For An Executor
Have you said yes to be an executor for someone’s will? Do you know what the role entails? If you talk with someone that has performed the duties it can be a lot more work than you might first think. Here are some tips to help prepare you for the task.

If you are asking yourself, what is an executor, here goes. An executor is the person named in a will to carry out the requests and estate distribution of the deceased. Read more

It’s Not That Much Anymore…
Is a million enough? It used to be that having a million dollars was a big deal, right? You were set for life with no cares or worries financially. When did that change?

Have you ever made any statements such as; I remember when gas was only 25 cents per litre. As my kids remind me, yes I am getting older but it also means that inflation is slowly affecting the cost of living.

If you had a million dollars saved to provide for retirement, how much income would you have? Read more