Don’t overlook these deductions and credits!

They could help cut your tax bill

Tax-filing season is here, and the deadline for filing your tax return is April 30. There are in fact some 94 personal tax deductions and credits available. Not all apply to everyone. And many are often overlooked, even if they do apply. Here’s a rundown of the most commonly missed credits and deductions. Consult with your tax preparer to see if they apply to you. READ MORE

Stressed out over mortgages stress test?

Know the rules before you sign on the dotted line

If you’ve been shopping for a mortgage for your new home, you probably have run across something called a “stress test.” It raises the bar on your financial health a lot higher before you can qualify for a mortgage – even if you don’t have to be insured! This has been stressing us out many unprepared borrowers. But by understanding a few of the rules beforehand, you can smooth out the path to buying that home. READ MORE

Individual Pension Plans supercharge retirement savings for high net worth professionals

IPPs must follow pension rules

If you are a business owner or executive, or an incorporated professional (physician, dentist, lawyer, accountant, and so on), and you’re looking to enhance your retirement savings, you might think about setting up an Individual Pension Plan (IPP). READ MORE

How to take advantage of the Home Buyer’s Plan

A source of funds for first-time home buyers

Looking for a source of funds as a down payment on your first home? If you have a good chunk of money sitting in your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), you may be eligible to use some of it towards the purchase of a home under a federal government plan called the Home Buyer’s Plan (HPB). Naturally, there’s a long list of rules and regulations, but if you’re a young couple, it could mean as much as an extra $50,000 to tack on to a down payment. READ MORE

Money Makeover: Will Charlotte run out of money in retirement?

Robyn Thompson is regularly featured in The Toronto Star’s “Money Makeover” series by Deanne Gage. This month, Money Makeover takes a look at Charlotte, a single public relations professional in her mid-forties who is planning on retiring in 20 years.

She says she needs $65,000 a year in retirement income and wants to know if she’s on the right track to meet her goals.

Beware the investment scam con game!

How to know if you’re the target of a fraud attempt

March is fraud prevention month, and it’s a great time to remind readers that the financial sea is full of sharks, circling the naïve and unprepared, and ready to take you for every cent you’ve got. The bad guys are sophisticated and clever in developing new ways to commit their crimes, now using digital tools and online access like never before. Luckily, there are experts who are even more sophisticated and a lot more clever than the bunko artists. Your financial advisor can spot a scam a mile away, so consult them before you give a stranger your money. Meanwhile, there are a number of warning signs that are typical of a financial scam in the making. READ MORE

RRSP contribution rules

Still the most effective retirement savings plan there is

The Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is still the most effective retirement saving and tax deferral vehicle available to Canadians. Because it’s such a powerful savings tool, it makes sense for everyone to open a plan a contribute to it regularly. This year, the deadline for RRSP contributions that will be eligible for a 2017 tax deduction is March 1, 2018. READ MORE

Three principles for battling market anxiety

What to do when markets seem to go crazy

When stock markets suddenly begin to drop alarmingly as they did at the beginning of February, many investors will contact their brokers and advisors and start selling things. Others, however, seem not to be so anxious, and while concerned, do not “ride madly off in all directions,” as the old Stephen Leacock quote has it. So what’s the difference here? As financial advisors, we see both types of financial personality, more of the former than the latter. What does it take to get yourself into the group that just isn’t as fussed about market setbacks like this? READ MORE

Volatility returns to markets

More normal trading patterns likely to emerge

Volatility returned to the stock markets, seemingly very suddenly, at the beginning of February. It was hard to avoid panicky headlines shouting about the 1,175-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Monday, Feb. 5. Some are already calling it “Black Monday.” All the other major stock indexes followed suit. Toronto’s benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index fell 271 points. And the broader U.S. blue-chip S&P 500 Composite Index fell 113 points. At one point during the week, several indexes briefly entered “correction” before recovering somewhat. Is it a “crash,” a “correction,” or a “healthy” revaluation? And what – if anything – should you do about it as an investor? READ MORE