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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 […]

As some of you may know, there have been some imposed changes that will decrease our borrowing power when it comes to purchasing a home.  As of January 1, 2018, you will need to qualify under more stringent rules in order to get the mortgage you desire.

Assuming all other factors remain unchanged, once the new changes are in effect you would qualify for an amount 18% less than you would under the current mortgage rules.   Read more

In the competitive market we face today, purchasing a home can be a daunting task. There are a few things to be aware of that can help make it a little less daunting.  The First Time Home Buyers Plan and some new advantages that were recently introduced by the Provincial Government help soften the blow.

To help make this overwhelming transaction a little less arduous, the federal government allows first time home buyers to withdraw $25,000 from their hard earned RRSPs, tax free.  These funds do need to repaid back into the RRSP over a 15 year period or the portion due could become taxable.  An eligible couple could potentially withdraw a total of $50,000 between the two of them towards the purchase of a First Time Home.  For more information on HBP eligibility and repayment schedules click here.

Due to increased home prices in BC (specifically Lower Mainland), the Provincial Government has responded and provided a few additional advantages to those wishing to purchase a home for the first time.   These additional advantages are: Read more

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

A recent article in the Investment Executive, Beware of pitfalls when selling homes, draws attention to implications that can arise as a result of the changes that occurred to the Principal Residence Capital Gains Exemption.  The articles mention some important things to be aware of when selling a home that that could interfere with your tax free status of your principal residence and Estate Planning strategies.

These points are: Read more

The majority of people we talk to do not understand how Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSA) work or how to best utilize them. This is partly due to how TFSA’s have been marketed by the banks. Here are some key things to know about these valuable tax shelters the government implemented in 2009.

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First Time Home Buyers

If you’re a first-time home buyer in this province (BC), there are few things that you should be aware of as you may be able to take advantage at this time. Nowadays there are two areas to first time home buyers: RRSP limitations and property purchase advantages. The first revolves around tax-free allowable withdrawals of up to $25K per person towards the purchase of a new home. This one isn’t so new anymore, as it’s been around for years.

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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:

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The Registered Disability Savings Plan (“RDSP”) is one of the least talked about Registered Savings Plans on the market today.  To be honest, this plan is becoming more recognized because the Government of Canada is marketing the plan for Canadian’s with a disability.  In the past, RDSP’s have flown under the radar; however, throughout the past year, more and more people have been asking about it.

It is a little more complicated than your typical RRSP or RESP.

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Would you be surprised to learn that the stock market has out performed real estate in Vancouver over the last decade? According to the MLS Home Price Index , which began collecting data 11 years ago, real estate prices throughout the greater Vancouver area have grown on average from 100bps in January 2005 to 187.75bps in January 2016. This growth represents a 5.89% annualized rate of return and a total return of 87.75%.

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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

In life and finances, the government is our biggest business partner, usually in the form of taxes.

If you are a business owner:
1.  You are a tax collector (payroll taxes, GST, PST).
2.  The government is your business partner (corporate taxes).

As a family, taxes are often your largest expense:
1.  Income tax (as high as 45.7% of every dollar you earn).
2.  Sales taxes (GST, PST).
3.  Property taxes, and so on.

Fortunately, the government has provided different vehicles to help us plan when we pay our taxes (RRSP, TFSA, pensions, IPPs). These can all be great vehicles to help us defer, smooth out and/or lower our tax bills.

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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.

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