Skip to content
Canada-Pension-Plan.jpg

Canada Pension Plan – Should You Take it Early?

The new rules governing CPP were introduced in 2012 and they take full effect in 2016.  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?

While you can elect to start receiving CPP at age 60, the discount rate under the new rules has increased.  Starting in 2016, 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 conversely, as of 2016, delaying your CPP benefits after age 65 will result in an increased income of 0.7% for each month of deferral.  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

iStock_000006962623Small.jpg

Taxation of Life Insurance – New Rules Offer a Window of Opportunity

Permanent life insurance, such as Whole Life or Universal Life, has long been accepted as a tax efficient way of accumulating cash for future needs.  Soon the amount of funds that can be tax sheltered within a life insurance policy will be reduced by new tax rules which take effect January 1, 2017.  These changes may make 2016 the best year to buy cash value life insurance.

The changes to the tax rules regarding life insurance have resulted in an update to the “exempt test” which measures how much cash value can accumulate in a policy before it becomes subject to income tax.

Highlights of the new rules and their effect

For Cash Value Life Insurance: Read more

iStock_000021010557XSmall.jpg

Are You On The Right Track?

In bull markets some investors develop unhealthy expectations as to the long term yields their investments should provide.  Ten years ago, some came to accept returns as high as 15% to 20% per annum as the base return their fund and portfolio managers were expected to provide. Of course, these expectations came crashing back to earth in 2008 as the bull was chased away by a very large bear. Today, many fund managers are of the opinion that double digit returns are going to be very difficult to achieve with any consistency over the long term.

Is it time for us to lower our expectations?

If we have to accept lower rates of return, do we still want to be exposed to the same previous level of risk?  There can be tremendous volatility in the equity markets and, as a result, many wonder if they are on the right track with their investment strategy.

4 Questions to ask yourself about your investment strategy

What are my goals?

Read more

children.jpg

TFSA or RRSP?

One of the most common investment questions Canadians ask themselves today is, “Which is better, TFSA or RRSP”?

Here’s the good news – it doesn’t have to be an either or choice.  Why not do both? Below are the features of both plans to help you understand the differences.

Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) 

  • Any Canadian resident age 18 or over may open a TFSA. Contribution is not based on earned income.  There is no maximum age for contribution. 
  • Maximum contribution is $5,500 per year starting in 2013 ($5,000 per year for the period of 2009-2012).  In 2015, the maximum contribution was increased to $10,000 by the Harper government.  This increase may be short lived as the Liberals have stated they will reduce the maximum back to the previous limit. In the meantime, you can take advantage of the $10,000 limit. The contribution must be made by December 31st.

Read more

iStock_000016039915XSmall.jpg

Changes to the Taxation of Estates

Estate, trust and tax planners have long favoured testamentary trusts as vehicles to pass along assets to beneficiaries or heirs.   A testamentary trust is generally a trust or estate that is created the day a person dies.  Commonly, these trusts are established in a testator’s will.

A significant benefit to testamentary trusts had been that income earned and retained in the trust received the same graduated rate of income tax as an individual tax payer.  Unfortunately, under the terms of Bill C-43, after January 1, 2016, all income retained in the trust will now be taxed at the highest rate of tax applicable in the province in which the trust is resident.

There will be two exceptions to this new rule – The Graduated Rate Estate (GRE) and a Qualified Disability Trust (QDT). Read more

iStock_000012396786XSmall.jpg

The Best Way to Insure Your Mortgage

If you have a mortgage it makes good sense to insure it.  Owning a debt free home is an objective of any sound financial plan.  In addition, making sure your mortgage is paid off in the event of your death will benefit your family greatly.

The question is should you purchase this coverage through your lending institution or from a life insurance company?  A good rule of thumb to follow when searching for advice?  Ask an expert! Read more

ARTICLES OF INTEREST

11
Apr
iStock_000002116286XSmall.jpg

9 Ways the 2016 Federal Budget Could Affect Your Business

The Trudeau government’s first budget contained a shock on the small business tax rate, and some smaller let-offs

by Murad Hemmadi for ProfitGuide

When Bill Morneau rose to deliver his first budget speech as Finance Minister in Justin Trudeau’s new federal government, entrepreneurs and the owners of Canada’s small- and medium-sized businesses held their breath.

Concerns over the small business tax deduction, stock options for startup employees and capital gains exemptions made this a crucial policy document for SMBs. Here’s what the 2016 federal budget will do and change, and what that means for you and your business.

1. Small Business Tax Rate Frozen

Companies that meet the criteria for a Canadian-Controlled Private Corporation (CPCC) pay a reduced effective rate on their first $500,000 of active business income. In last year’s budget, the then-Conservative government proposed to drop that rate in increments from 11% at the time to 9% by 2019.

As of January 1, 2016, the small business rate was 10.5%, and the 2016 budget “proposes that further reductions in the small business income tax rate be deferred.” In effect, that means the rate will stay where it is today until the government decides otherwise.

Read more

©iStockphoto.com/
21
Mar
iStock_000012752802_Small.jpg

Employers tweaking corporate health plans to appeal to millennial workers

During his three-year tenure as a financial analyst at one of Canada’s biggest banks, Devon Wright never once used his company health plan.

“There was just nothing there that was of any interest to me,” says Wright, 28.

So when Wright quit his job in 2012 to launch technology company Turnstyle Solutions, he decided to create a benefits package tailored to his needs. Read more »