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Author: Andrew Gordon, CFP® – Certified Financial Planner® “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” If you’re a fan of Charles Dickens, this line might ring a bell. It was taken from “A Tale of Two Cities” which was published in 1859. Although it doesn’t compare to the current marketplace; it does […]

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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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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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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Canadians have two great tools available for accumulating wealth, Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) which were introduced in 1957 and Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) which were introduced in 2009.

We often get asked by clients which account type is better to contribute to, RRSPs or TFSAs. Read more