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Budget-2015

Budget 2015 Highlights

On April 21, 2015, Finance Minister Joe Oliver tabled his first federal budget.  The provisions of the budget will be of particular interest to owners of small and medium sized businesses, seniors and families with children.  As well, those looking to make certain charitable donations will be encouraged by Oliver’s budget.

Below is a brief commentary on each of the key budget proposals.

For Seniors and Savers

Increase in Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) Limit

  • Effective January 1, 2015 the annual contribution limit has been increased from $5,500 to $10,000;
  • As a consequence, the automatic indexing of the annual contribution limit has been eliminated;
  • On April 24, the CRA announced that even though this provision is not law as yet, they will allow increased deposits to a TFSA effective immediately.

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5things

5 Recent Tax Changes for the 2015 Tax Season

Tax time is almost upon us and there are some recent changes which will affect many Canadian residents.  The important changes to keep in mind are as follows:

The Family Tax Cut

This is the watered down version of income splitting plan that was introduced by the Harper government in 2011.  The provisions allow couples with children under the age of 18 living with them to shift income from a higher income spouse to a lower income spouse so that the combined taxes payable will be reduced.  The most that can be taxed in the lower-income spouse’s hands is $50,000 resulting in a federal non-refundable tax credit which will provide maximum savings of $2,000. Read more

Group-Life-Insurance

Group Insurance – Only Part of the Solution

Ownership of individual life insurance at its lowest level in 30 years

The Life Insurance and Market Research Association (LIMRA) 2013 study shines a light on a developing problem for Canadian households:

  • Individual ownership of Life Insurance was at its lowest level in 30 years;
  • 3 in 10 households did not have individual life insurance at all;

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audit

Is it Time for your Insurance Audit?

Has it been awhile since you last looked at your insurance portfolio?

Are you a little sketchy in your recollection of all the coverage you have and why you have it?

Are you uncertain as to whether or not your portfolio reflects your current situation?

Just like going to the dentist for regular checkups is a necessary evil, reviewing your financial plan and products on a regular basis is also recommended.  Circumstances can change over time and making sure your protection is keeping pace is a worthwhile exercise. Read more

money bag

The Stability of the Life Insurance Industry in Canada

Given the problems encountered by some large financial institutions in the United States, how concerned should we be about the state of the life insurance industry in Canada?  It is a fact that over the past decade the number of life insurance companies operating in Canada has decreased dramatically.  This decrease is mainly due to the mergers and acquisitions of the existing companies.  For example, those individuals who maintained policies issued by Maritime Life, Commercial Union, North American Life, or Aetna Life, now find themselves insured by Manulife Financial.  Today, insurance is one of the most closely regulated industries in Canada.  Unlike the United States, in Canada, there is a government organization that supervises all of the federally incorporated and foreign insurers to ensure that these companies operate in a prudent manner.  This organization is the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI).  For those companies that are provincially chartered their oversight is provided by the province in which they do business.  The major life insurance companies are federally regulated by OSFI.

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ARTICLES OF INTEREST

18
May
iStock_000000174890XSmall

Boomers worried about healthcare costs in retirement

A national study of Canadians with more than $100,000 in investable assets shows that worry over healthcare needs has emerged as the second most important driver, behind retirement itself.

Among investors under 50, 34% identify healthcare as a priority compared with the average of 46% of all respondents, but even among this younger group, healthcare needs emerge as a significant rationale for investments. Read more »

20
Apr
Property

What’s your property risk exposure?

You’re building a $22-million house in Vancouver. You’re a little paranoid, so you’ve put hurricane-proof glass in the windows and specified that all the walls must be at least two feet thick. It seems you’ve thought of everything.

Fast forward to two months before move-in date. The contractors are finishing the hardwood floors, and the solvents catch fire. While everyone gets out safely, the house itself isn’t so lucky. Normally, firefighters would have doused the blaze quickly. But those windows and walls? Impenetrable. Even for the fire department.

Click here to read more

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