Year-end tax and investment planning tips

They could save you a bundle

Even though most of us are preoccupied with other things at this time of year, there is a handful of year-end investment and tax tips that make a lot of sense to look at now. That’s because they could save you money now and next April, when it’s time to pay your taxes.

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Is $1 million enough to retire on?

Let’s say you’ve accumulated a nest egg of $1 million at age 65, through pension plans, perhaps a significant RRSP, TFSA contributions, some inheritances, and possibly some money left over from downsizing your home. You’re ready to retire, and you have to decide what to do with it to make it last through retirement. Here’s what you need to know. READ MORE

How to retire with $1 million

Reach that magic number even if you start at 40

It’s sometimes said that you need at least a $1 million retirement fund to maintain the kind of lifestyle you want after age 65. But starting at, say, age 40, can that even be done? The good news is that it is possible to build a million-dollar retirement fund. But there five important principles you have to follow. READ MORE

Black Friday binge, Red Monday remorse

Financial literacy and the art of budgeting

Black Friday. It’s become a pop culture phenomenon. In fact, it’s one of the cleverest marketing gimmicks of all time. For U.S. retailers, the Friday after U.S. Thanksgiving Day has typically been the day they become profitable for the year. In other words, their ledgers go out of the “red” and into the “black.” Some clever marketers seized on this as a way to create excitement and ramp up pre-Christmas sales. They called it “Black Friday,” promoted it like crazy, and watched the frenzied crowds mob the stores. It’s now even caught on in Canada. For most consumers, though, it’s often a case of “Red Monday Remorse,” the day you realize you’ve blown your budget out of the black and (deeply) into the red. And it hits you right in your wallet, purse, bank account, and credit card statement, in about a month’s time. READ MORE

LIRAs are truly locked up

These accounts are designed for pension income

When you leave an employer where you had a pension plan, the funds in the plan are transferred to a Locked-In Retirement Account. At times they may also be transferred into a locked-in RRSP. Essentially, these are a special type of registered retirement fund designed to work like a pension plan until you retire. In other words, the plan can hold stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and generally all the qualified investments that can go into a regular RRSP or pension plan. The difference is that you can neither contribute more money nor withdraw funds from the plan. The principle is that these are your retirement funds, and they’ll be locked in until you actually retire, at which point you must choose from a number of maturity options. READ MORE

How inflation makes your money disappear

Protect your portfolio against inflation erosion

The Bank of Canada raised its interest rate to 1.75% on Oct. 24. It said that CPI inflation dropped to 2.2% in September, but that its core measures remain around 2%. For many novice investors, this may sound like a foreign language. What do these various inflation measures mean? And in any case, 2% inflation seems really low, so do you really need to be concerned about it for your longer-term investment portfolio? The short answer is yes, you should take inflation into account, because it can seriously erode your purchasing power over the long term. READ MORE

A business of her own

What successful businesswomen know about start-ups

Many women dream of starting their own business. And there are plenty of advantages. First, you are your own boss, and in control of your own destiny. Then, you get to produce that product or service that no one can do as well as you. You get the satisfaction of seeing your business grow. And there are plenty of tax advantages, too, including lucrative deductions, credits, writeoffs, and income-splitting opportunities. READ MORE

Putting a price tag on your dream home

Crunch the numbers before you make an offer

The big question for young couples just starting out is whether to move out of that downtown condo unit and borrow to buy a home. This becomes especially critical if you’re planning a family or if a baby is already on the way. Those new little people with all their gear take up an amazing amount of space, and suddenly the need for more room becomes pressing. READ MORE

Post-divorce financial planning

Four key areas to focus on to make the settlement last

Once a divorce settlement is finalized, the next step is to make that settlement last. But how? What are the next steps in financial planning? Should you keep the same financial advisors and investment professionals as your ex? What are the key areas to focus on? READ MORE

DIY dangers!

When your investments take control of you

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of managing your own investments. That is, until things go south and you wonder whatever possessed you to buy that two-times daily bull crude oil ETF! Then there’s all that paperwork to contend with (what the heck is a “T3 – Statement of Trust Income Allocations and Designations”?) When should you sell to take a tax loss? And can you apply it against gains? Those brokerage fees that get into triple digits can really give you that sinking feeling at year-end (are they deductible or not?). Take heart. You’re not doing anything wrong. But you may have fallen into the trap that so many do-it-yourself investors do. You’ve let your investments start controlling you instead of the other way around. READ MORE

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