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Canada Pension Plan – Should You Take it Early?

New Rules governing the Canada Pension Plan took full effect in 2016.  Under these rules, the earliest you can take your CPP Pension is age 60, the latest is 70. The standard question regarding CPP remains the same – should I take it early or wait?

If you take it at the earliest age possible, age 60, your CPP income will be reduced by 0.6% each month you receive your benefit prior to age 65.  In other words, electing to take your CPP at age 60 will provide an income of 36% less than if you waited until age 65.

CPP benefits may also be delayed until age 70 so delaying your CPP benefits after age 65 will result in an increased income of 0.7% for each month of deferral.  As a result, at age 70, the retiree would have additional monthly income of 42% over that what he or she would have had at 65 and approximately 120% more than taking the benefit at age 60. The question now becomes, “how long do you think you will live?” Read more

Prepare in Advance for Next Year’s Tax Filing

Phew! Tax season is over!  You have hopefully just filed your 2017 personal income tax returns.  Was it a satisfying experience for you?  Do you feel a sense of accomplishment or dismay?  For many, the April 30th deadline seems to arrive way too soon.  If this is the case with you, starting the process much earlier would seem to be the answer.

The process should include proper record keeping, taking advantage of the tax saving methods available to you, and, perhaps, finally getting a professional to complete and file your return on your behalf.  The problem with handing your taxes alone is that often people don’t know what they don’t know.  This results in paying more in taxes than was necessary.  The cost of a professional completing your taxes potentially could be offset by the savings that might be gained.

Even if you earned little to no income, filing your return is a good idea and could prove to be advantageous.  This is because there are a number of federal and provincial government programs that you might be eligible for if your declared income is below a certain threshold.  You can refer to the Government of Canada website for the child and family benefits that might be available to you. Read more

Six Important Reasons to have a Will

It has been said that a Will is the last message you will leave your family.  Having a Will can provide clear direction as to what your wishes are and who will get what.  Die without a Will (known as dying intestate) and chaos will likely be the result.  Having a Will allows you to provide for certainty instead of chaos.

Most of the reasons to have a Will have to do with what happens if you don’t have one and that often will depend on what province you reside in.  Each provincial government has its own Wills and Estate legislation which also provides for the rules regarding intestacy.  The following are some of the reasons to have a Will and what could result without one.

  1. Informs your family how and when your property is to be distributed

Your Will affords you the opportunity to give clear instructions as to whom will receive your wealth.  It also allows you to make bequests of certain items such as family heirlooms which you may wish to leave to a specific individual. For those who wish to leave funds to a charity, the Will allows you to do this.  Without a Will, this opportunity may be lost. The bottom line is that you make the call.  Dying without a Will means that the provincial government will make the determinationon how your estate is to be distributed depending on the intestacy laws. Read more

Private Corporations Dodge a Bullet with the 2018 Federal Budget

The Liberal Government’s Federal Budget was delivered by Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, on February 27, 2018.  There had been much concern and speculation about the direction the budget would take with respect to the taxation of private corporations.  This was due to a release of the Department of Finance in July 2017 which contained private corporation tax proposals which addressed areas of concern to the government involving, among other things, business owners holding passive investments inside of their corporation.  There was speculation that if these proposals were implemented the effective tax rate on investment income earned by a private corporation and distributed to its shareholders could increase astronomically.  Thankfully, the concerns voiced by business and professional groups following the July proposals were effective in moderating the government’s actions.

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The Importance of Critical Illness Insurance in Retirement Planning

There are a number of obstacles that could potentially de-rail a comfortable retirement. These include marriage breakdown, a stock market crash, and being sued. Another huge obstacle would be the diagnosis of a life threatening critical illness affecting you or your spouse. While it might be difficult to insulate yourself against some of the threats to retirement security, Critical Illness insurance goes a long way to mitigate the financial disaster that could result from a change in health as we approach retirement.

Considering that the wealth of many Canadians is comprised of the equity in their homes and the balance of their retirement plans, having to access funds to combat a dreaded illness could put their retirement objectives in jeopardy. Imagine that you are just a few years into or approaching retirement and you or your spouse suffers a stroke. The prognosis is for a long recovery and the cost associated with recovery and care is projected to be substantial. Statistics show that 62,000 Canadians suffer a stroke each year* with over 80% surviving* many of whom would require ongoing care. Since 80% of all strokes happen to Canadians over 60 those unlucky enough could definitely see their retirement funding jeopardized. Read more

ARTICLES OF INTEREST

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Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

There are some simple steps you can take to reduce or minimize the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft.

Practice Safe Internet Use

Delete spam emails that ask for personal information, and keep your anti-virus and anti-spyware software up-to-date. Shop online only with secure web pages (check the bottom of your browser for an image of a lock or look for “https” in the address bar). Never send credit card numbers, social security numbers and other personal information via email.

Destroy Private Records

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