Maximizing the tax free in your TFSA

To get the most out of your TFSA, it should likely not be used as a short-term savings account. It should be an integral part of your long-term financial plan

Maximizing the tax free in your TFSAMost people have heard of tax free savings accounts (TFSA) but many don’t use them to full advantage. A big reason is that many people incorrectly assume that a TFSA has to be invested as a saving account, similar to a bank account. In fact, a TFSA can hold almost any type of investment. Yet…

Debt doesn’t always have to be a four-letter word

Using debt in your financial planning is a good strategy, but exercise caution and discuss all the risks and rewards with your accountant and planner first

Debt doesn’t always have to be a four-letter wordDebt is often a four-letter word – but, when used correctly, it can be a real benefit to your financial planning. Most of us use debt when we buy a home, a second property, automobiles and other large purchases. We simply don’t have enough cash available to do otherwise. Many people are very comfortable using…

Understanding and comparing investment returns

Keep in mind that, despite new disclosure rules to increase transparency, the fee shown on your investment report may not be the total fee you paid your adviser

When comparing your investment returns to that of others or those you see published, selection and timing are two critical issues. Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples: that you’re weighing similar investments. Each investor has their own risk tolerance and objectives. What’s right for your friend, neighbour or family member may not be right for…

Do you have a financial plan or an investment plan?

A financial plan is a six-step financial planning process that starts with having an initial meeting with your prospective planner

Do you have a financial plan or an investment plan?Many people don’t understand the difference between a financial plan and an investment plan, and often assume that they’re one and the same. They’re not. An investment plan is focused solely on your investments and the return on those investments, which is important. But that’s only part of the story. What happens to your investment plan…

Protect yourself from the unexpected realities of life

Seek professional help if your financial plan doesn't protect you from the four Ds: death, divorce, disability and disaster

Protect yourself from the unexpected realities of lifeYour financial plan should provide you with as much protection as possible from the four Ds: death, divorce, disability and disaster. While you can’t totally protect yourself from any of these events, you should at least have a good plan in place in case something does happen. Death is the only D that can’t be avoided,…

Paying a high price for success, even after you die

There’s no hiding from the success tax, but several things can help legally reduce or even eliminate the amount your estate or your heirs pay

Paying a high price for success, even after you dieThere’s no official estate tax in Canada but we do have what I call the success tax. It's what we pay if we’ve been financially successful in a lifetime of investing and asset accumulation. The more successful you’ve been, the greater the tax could be. If you have assets that will be taxable when sold or when deemed to have been…

If you won’t do it for the planet, do it for the money

Since the threat of climate change isn't working, maybe the high cost of driving will persuade more Canadians to change their ways

If you won’t do it for the planet, do it for the moneyA few days ago, I took a call from a polling company hired by my city to gauge public awareness of ecological issues and city council's new master plan on the environment. I'm happy to oblige these kinds of requests; it's like having an extra vote that non-responders don't get. And it got me thinking about why…

Start your 2017 tax planning now

Prepare for RRSP and TFSA contributions, set aside money for taxes, save and organize receipts, track medical expenses and record any moving costs

Start your 2017 tax planning nowNow that the 2016 tax filing deadline has passed, it’s time to think about next year. Every year, many of us say next year we’ll be better prepared. But as time goes on, we often revert to old habits. Next year, we find ourselves in the same position as last year – running around at…

The financial road less travelled still offers a trustworthy route

Control your own financial destiny by doing your homework, finding boutique advisers and using your TFSA to its maximum potential

The financial road less travelled still offers a trustworthy routeMost people spend more time mowing their lawn than they do managing their money. That may sound harsh, but the majority of people have ceded their investment decisions to the army of financial advisers employed by big banks. Employees in Canada's big banks “are pressured to up-sell, trick and lie to customers to meet unrealistic sales targets…

Your financial adviser’s interests may not align with yours

Do your homework. Look with a critical eye at your service providers. After all, it is your money

Your financial adviser’s interests may not align with yoursThe tax free savings account market continues to be a great unknown for many Canadians and the big banks apparently aren’t helping. Recently, I asked readers if they were among the six million Canadians with the savings accounts known as TFSAs, and if they truly understood the value those accounts represented – and the flexibility they offered investors. “The pitiful…