Here’s what you can deduct…and what you can’t
Investors have recently been getting more information from their advisors about the fees and charges they pay. This is likely because of new rules imposed on the financial services industry by securities regulators. However, many people are still hazy about which fees are tax-deductible and which are not. Here’s a rundown. READ MORE
When to take advantage of the Home Buyer’s Plan
First-time homebuyers who have RRSPs often look to supplement their down payment by taking advantage of the RRSP Home Buyer’s Plan. But frequently, they have only a sketchy idea of how it works and whether it’s even a good idea to take money out of what is really their retirement savings. READ MORE
Here’s what you need to take on that role
You’ll probably know of friends or colleagues who are unable to balance their chequing account on a monthly basis. I’ve had clients come to me who regularly simply close their out-of-control (and usually overdrawn) chequing accounts and open a new one. Some have personal accountants (a fairly costly way of balancing your chequebook). Others (not many) use software like Quicken. Most just give up and hope for the best (I can almost see heads nodding in agreement). That’s not actually “financial planning” in any recognizable sense of the term. READ MORE
How to avoid getting conned, scammed, bilked, and defrauded online
Do-it-yourself investors may have run across investing websites that promise huge returns if you trade something called “binary options.” They make it seem like a pretty easy way to make a quick buck. All you have to do to open an account is to give them some personal information to “confirm your identity” for a credit check and some credit card details. Should you take the plunge? Absolutely not! Here’s why. READ MORE
Timely tips for first-time homebuyers
Real estate is hot, hot, hot. Just ask anyone trying to buy a home in Vancouver or Toronto. The Teranet-National Bank National Composite House Price Index was up 0.5% in January from December. The rise matched the largest January increases in the index, set in 2003 and 2010. Home prices were up in seven of the 11 metropolitan markets surveyed by Teranet. And the composite index rose above 200 in January, signalling that home prices in the 11 markets as a whole have doubled since June 2005. READ MORE
Beat the taxman with a Tax-Free Savings Account!
Yes, you can beat the taxman! In fact, you have the legal right to arrange your financial affairs within the law to pay the least amount of taxes possible. Make sure you exercise that right. This is legitimate tax planning, and nothing to feel guilty about (unlike breaking that New Year’s resolution to diet and exercise). The result of proper tax planning is more money in your pocket and less to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). In fact, the government goes so far as to make it easy to slash your tax bill, if only you’d take the trouble to do it. One of the best ways is something called the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA). READ MORE
Five key questions to ask
Horizons ETF Management, a leading Canadian provider of exchange-traded funds, recently announce that it will be cancelling the Advisor-class units (that is, units that pay a fee to advisors who recommend them) on its Canadian-listed exchange-traded funds (ETFs). That press release of itself didn’t attract a lot of attention, and was mostly of interest to commission-based advisors. But in fact, it’s a symptom of some pretty earth-shaking changes going in in the world of wealth management. READ MORE
Proper asset diversification is key to long-term investment success
With recent stock market uncertainty and fluctuating bond yields, many investors are wondering whether the tried-and-true principles for stock and bond allocations in an RRSP portfolio still hold. For example, bond funds, like the iShares Universe Bond Index ETF (TSX: XBB), are believed to have lower volatility ratings than stock funds, yet bond prices have recently fallen as yields have risen. And the solid returns from equity funds like the iShares Core S&P/TSX Capped Composite Index ETF (TSX: XIC) over the past couple of years have recently begun to flag. What’s an RRSP investor to do? READ MORE
Robyn Thompson is regularly featured in The Toronto Star’s “Money Makeover” series by Deanne Gage. Money Makeover takes a look at Mary Lou, a 65-year-old widow with a portfolio valued at more than $1 million.
She is uncertain about how much income to withdraw from her investments to meet her lifestyle expenses, but also last her through her golden years.
How much you can contribute, what you can invest in
Among the most common questions financial advisors are asked at this time of the year are, “How much can I contribute to an RRSP?” and “What can I invest in?” Registered Retirement Savings Plans are still the best individual tax deferral vehicle available for retirement savings, so it makes sense to review the contribution limits and qualified investments. READ MORE