A tax-free compounding account… In your portfolio that may have been over looked – $52,000 for each spouse to be exact, start planning now!

The tax-free savings account (TFSA) is starting to grow up.

Introduced in the 2008 federal budget and coming into effect on Jan. 1, 2009, the TFSA has become an integral part of financial planning in Canada, with the lifetime contribution limit now set to reach $52,000 in 2017.

Start taking advantage of this savings today.

Remember when you thought $5,000 did not amount to much as an investment. If you had taken advantage of this program you could have another $60,000 to $70,000 for each husband and wife invested in savings today. That’s $120,00 -$140,000 of Tax free Value based on the average market return since 2009.

Used correctly the TFSA can supplement income lowering your tax base during retirement. The gain made in a TFSA is tax-free, and therefore so are withdrawals — Did you know? That the money coming out of the account does not count as income in terms of the clawback for Old Age Security, which starts at $74,780 in 2017.

The TFSA has also become a great vehicle for dealing with a sudden influx of wealth. For people who downsize and sell their house or receive an inheritance, this money is already tax-free. Do not make it taxable in the hands of the government again.

Contact me for more information regarding this and other investments that have been overlooked. It never hurts to get a second opinion regarding your future.

 

Things you may or may not know about Registered Education Savings Plans

Things you may or may not know about  Registered Education Savings Plans

 

When learning about the lingo of RESP’s you will find some useful information within this article that will catch your attention, as most people who invest in their children do so, because they understand the need to help in the future. Although, they most likely will not understand the ins and outs of the program that they have been investing into for the future. We at Henley Financial & Wealth Management are always here to help you understand the process.  Please contact us with any questions you may have.

Let’s begin…

The CESG contribution limit is different than the RESP limit. The maximum annual amount of Basic CESG (Canada Education Savings Grant) that can be paid in any year was increased to $500 from $400 (and to $1,000 from $800 if there is unused grant room from previous years). The lifetime CESG for each child is still $7,200.

You can create a family plan or an individual plan. If you have one child, and intend to have more children, a family plan can be an attractive option. You can name one or more children as beneficiaries (the child using the funds in the future), and add or change beneficiaries at any time. If one of your children decides not to attend a post-secondary institution, your other children can make use of the funds.

With a family plan, all beneficiaries must be related to you. They can include children, adopted children, grandchildren, and brothers and sisters. You cannot include an unrelated person in a family plan.

A portion of contributions to the plan must be allocated to each beneficiary, although not necessarily equally. For example you can allocate a greater percentage to an older child who becomes a beneficiary a few years before university to quickly build education savings for that child. Meanwhile, younger children could be allocated less because there is plenty of time until they attend college or university. Contributions for each beneficiary can be made until the beneficiary turns 31.

The CESG is paid into the family RESP in the name of each beneficiary until that beneficiary turns 18. Most RESP’s, family or individual must be collapsed on or before the last day of their 35th year of existence. This should provide enough time to meet education savings needs of most families, including those with children of substantially different ages.

An important thing to know regarding RESP and CESG…

In the RESP world, $7,200 is an important number.  It’s the total amount of RESP grant money that can be paid to any one child.  This means that once a child has received $7,200 of grants – any future contributions will not receive any grant money. Meaning if there is a $50,000 maximum contribution to a RESP, only $36,000 of that RESP contribution will be credited with the 20% ($7,200) CESG.

This rule also applies to the RESP withdrawal phase. When you are making payments to a student – that child cannot receive more than $7,200 worth of grants.  Any excess amount of grants paid to a child will have to be returned to the government.

All withdrawals of contributions from an RESP account can be sent to either you (subscriber) or the student (beneficiary).  If you request a withdrawal of accumulated income in the form of an EAP (educational assistance payment), the money has to be sent to the student.

Specify if the withdrawal is to be from contributions, non-contributions or both

There are two parts to an RESP account:

  1. Contribution amount.  This is the total amount of all your contributions to the account.
  2. Accumulated Income.  This is all the money in the RESP, which are not contributions.  RESP grants, capital gains, interest payments, dividends are all included in the Accumulated Income portion.

Example of contribution amount and accumulated income amount 

Let’s say you contributed $2,400 per year for 15 years to an RESP account. 20% grants were paid on all the contributions and the investments have gone up in value.

  • Account is now worth $50,000.
  • Total contributions are $36,000 (15 x $2,400).
  • Accumulated income amount is $14,000 ($50,000 – $36,000)

You can make two types of withdrawals from an RESP account if your child is attending post secondary school:

  1. PSE (Post-Secondary Education Payment) is a withdrawal from the contribution amount.
  2. EAP (Educational Assistance Payment) is a withdrawal from the Accumulated income.

Some interesting facts about PSE and EAP:

  • PSE payments are not taxable income and there are no limits on withdrawals.
  • EAPs are taxable in the student’s hands.
  • There is no withholding tax on EAPs.
  • The financial institution at the end of the year will issue a T4A slip for any EAP made during the year.
  • There is a $5,000 limit for EAPs in the first 13 weeks of schooling.
  • When doing a withdrawal, you will have to specify how much of the money will be coming from contributions and how much from accumulated income.

So you now have some of the ins and outs of making contributions and withdrawals to and from an RESP. The rules can be confusing and complicated so when in doubt, seek the help of a financial advisor to guide you through your options.

Are you Missing out?

Are you Missing out?

A tax-free compounding account… In your portfolio that has been overlooked.

Check us out… Henley Financial and Wealth Management

The tax-free savings account is starting to grow up.

Introduced in the 2008 federal budget and coming into effect on Jan. 1, 2009, the TFSA has become an integral part of financial planning in Canada, with the lifetime contribution limit set to reach $52,000 in 2017, provided you were 18 at the time it came into existence.

Remember when you thought $5,000 did not amount to much as an investment. You would have another $60,000 to $70,000 for each husband and wife if you have been maximizing their contribution and based on the market’s return since 2009.

Used correctly the TFSA can supplement income lower your tax base during retirement. As the gains made in the TFSA are tax-free, and so are withdrawals —Did you know that the money coming out of the account does not count as income in terms of the clawback for Old Age Security, which starts at $74,780 in 2017.

The TFSA has also become a great vehicle for dealing with a sudden influx of wealth. For people sell their house or receive an inheritance. That money is already tax-free you don’t want to make it taxable in the hands of the government again.

With that in mind, and the new year limit increase upon us, here are eight things Canadians need to know about TFSAs.

How did we get to $52,000?

The first four years of the program, the annual contribution limit was $5,000 but that increased to $5,500 in 2013 and 2014 under a formula that indexes contributions to inflation. The Tories increased the annual contribution limit to $10,000 in 2015 but the Liberals quickly repealed that when they came into power and reduced annual contributions to $5,500 for 2016, still indexed to inflation. The annual number increases in increments of $500 but inflation was not riding high enough to boost the annual figure to $6,000 for 2017 so we are stuck at $5,500. That brings us to the current $52,000. The good news is even if you’ve never contributed before, that contribution room kept growing based on the year in which you turned 18.

Eligible investments

For the most part, whatever is permitted in an RRSP, can go into a TFSA. That includes cash, mutual funds, securities listed on a designated stock exchange, guaranteed investment certificates, bonds and certain shares of small business corporations. You can contribute foreign funds but they will be converted to Canadian dollars, which cannot exceed your TFSA contribution room.

Unused room

As the TFSA limit has grown, so has the unused room in Canadians’ accounts. A poll from Tangerine Bank in 2014 found that even after the Tories increased the annual limit, a move that ended up as a one-time annual bump, 56 per cent of people were still unaware of the larger contribution limit. In 2015, only about one in five Canadians with a TFSA had maximized the contribution room in their account, according to documents from the Canada Revenue Agency.

Withdrawal and redeposit rules

For the most part, you can withdraw any amount from the TFSA at any time and it will not reduce the total amount of contributions you have already made for the year. The tricky part is the repayment rules. If you decide to replace or re-contribute all or a portion of your withdrawals into your TFSA in the same year, you can only do so if you have available TFSA contribution room. Otherwise, you must wait until Jan. 1 of the next year. The penalty for over-contributing is 1 per cent of the highest excess TFSA amount in the month, for each month that the excess amount remains in your account.

Is the Canada Revenue Agency still auditing TFSAs?

The Canada Revenue Agency continues to investigate some Canadians — less than one per cent — who have very high balances in their accounts. Active traders in speculative products seem to be the main trigger. Expects an appeal of the current rules regarding TFSA investments to be heard in February.

Be careful on foreign investments

If a stock pays foreign dividends, you could find yourself subject to a withholding tax. While in a non-registered account you get a foreign tax credit for the amount of foreign taxes withheld, if the dividends are paid to your TFSA, no foreign tax credit is available. For U.S. stocks, while, there is an exemption from withholding tax under the Canada-U.S. tax treaty for U.S. dividends paid to an RRSP or RRIF, this exemption does not apply to U.S. dividends paid to a TFSA.

What are people investing their TFSA in?

People are still heavily into cash and close to cash holdings. A study from two years ago, found 44 per cent of holdings in TFSAs were in a high-interest savings accounts. Another 21 per cent were in guaranteed investment certificates. If you want to see your money grow you also have to respect your risk tolerance. You may want to look at your investment horizon.

TFSA vs RRSP

It’s hard to generalize which is better for a typical Canadian. RRSPs are generally geared towards reducing your taxable income when your marginal rate is high and then withdrawing the money in retirement when your income will theoretically be much lower. The answer is easy if you make $10,000 a year and you’re a young person — the TFSA is better — but the deduction you get from RRSP contributions are only part of the equation. It also depends on the flexibility that you are looking for. Once you get to the higher marginal rate that deduction is attractive but nothing stops you from taking that deduction and putting it in a TFSA and getting the benefit of both.

 

The Value of our Dollar…

The Value of our Dollar…

When will our dollar come back to a common value that we are comfortable with? Since the global oil rout began in late 2014, everyone has been trying to call a bottom in crude prices. Looking at it with a wider perspective, crude prices have a huge impact on the global economy as a whole, directly influencing those countries that are major exporters of it. Canada, the world’s sixth largest oil-producing country by volume is particularly exposed to fluctuations in crude prices, and its currency reflects this by showing a strong correlation to crude oil prices (given no other major economic developments).

Adding to this point, Canada’s largest trading partner for oil is just south, as the United States gobbles up more than 95% of its crude exports. Oil is priced in U.S. dollars (USD), so lower oil prices mean less U.S. dollars coming in per barrel exported. Less USD supply drives up the value of USD versus the Canadian dollar (CAD), resulting in a weaker Canadian dollar.

The weakening of the Canadian dollar is a major concern for anyone who has immigrated to the United States from Canada, and a great boon for anyone looking to move to Canada or buy property here.

So now for the 96.5-billion-barrel question: Have oil prices bottomed? Speculators look to global events for a clue as to a bottom forming for oil, as every OPEC meeting and every meeting between Russia, Iran, or Saudi Arabia about oil production immediately causes a spike in crude. If the talks yield nothing of substance, crude prices immediately fall back down. Is this just the Wall Street, or is there more to it? The answer lies in Economics 101: Supply and Demand.

Oil speculators know that a commodity’s price is dependent on the balance between the supply present and available for use and the current and future demand of that commodity. When representatives from OPEC, Russia, Saudi Arabia or Iran meet with each other, speculators are hoping for an agreement that affects the supply/demand balance with a lessening of the future supply via production cuts, or at least a freezing of the output to allow for demand to outpace supply. It is the underlying supply data, however, that suggests we’ve bottomed out in crude prices and thus the Canadian dollar in the short-term at least.

Is oil turning around, and could it possibly be undervalued.

Well if we look at the price at the pump it seems to be rising slowly. Although yesterday I bought some US currency and paid the highest exchange I have in recent years. Time will tell but as we know our currency is valued to our resources.

 

The lost art of communication!

The lost art of communication!

I have spent countless years coaching the youth of today for tomorrow I have always told them that “If you don’t ask the answer is no!” It is an attempt to have them ask questions. You want to open the doors that are closed or at least appear to be closed. In today’s society as parents, we struggle with technology and the effect it is having on our children’s communication skills. Below is an article that talks about just that how to open doors by communicating with one another and not through technology. Please take a moment to read through the article. In my opinion, she is right on the money

Presented by: Henley Financial and Wealth Management

 

Written by Whitney Johnson

 

Returning home recently from a consulting engagement in Tampa, I found myself stranded, late at night, in the Washington Dulles airport. The small regional airline I was counting on for a puddle jump never came through. Eventually, the airline loaded all nine passengers into a van and shuttled us the two  hours to Shenandoah Regional airport.

 

One of my fellow travelers was a student at an expensive, private university. Upon discovering that we lived fewer than three miles apart, he asked me if I would give him a ride for the final leg home. I happily agreed.

 

As I was giving him a lift home, I learned a lot about him: his name, where he grew up, where he goes to school, his major, what his parents do for a living, his own career aspirations when he graduates in a few months. We even discovered that we have an acquaintance in common. Meanwhile, I made a few mentions of my children, such as my 19-year-old son is living in Brazil, my husband teaches at a local university. Conversation starters.

 

In the same 45 minute ride, he didn’t ask me a single question, not even name. 

I’ll confess I felt a little invisible. I find it easy to ask people about themselves. I genuinely enjoy doing it. It’s one of my strengths, and we’re often exasperated with people who aren’t likewise adept at the things that we do well.

 

But here’s the real takeaway from this chance encounter: this young man is looking for a job when he graduates in a month. His parents are concerned that he doesn’t have employment lined up for the rapidly approaching day when he commences from his education, a several hundred thousand dollar investment.  I could have potentially helped him if he’d just shown a little of the moxie that would have motivated me to recommend him.

 

The client I’d been with in Tampa is the CEO of a real estate construction and development company, the exact industry this young man wants to enter.  I could have called, and said, “I just met this terrific guy; why don’t you speak to him?” Would the CEO have given him a job? Not necessarily. But on my recommendation, I think he would have given him a listen. If this seemingly capable, but ultimately undistinguished young man had opened up his network, he might today be interviewing for a really great job.

 

Contrast this experience with the son of one of my childhood friends, Alexander. He struck up a conversation with a gentleman on an Amtrak train, stayed in touch, and is now going to work for him this summer.

 

My brief encounter with this college student left me wondering about the opportunities I miss. For example, there was another passenger in the van, traveling from Germany to visit her daughter. I really liked her. I wish I’d asked her name. Would it have led to a business opportunity? I have no idea. It doesn’t matter, really, because there would be one more interesting person in the world who I know.

 

We all need to feel that we belong. A sense of belonging gives us the confidence to climb a new curve. But if we’re too comfortable with our place in the world, it’s easy to believe that the way things are is the only way they should be. We battle this mindset as we open up our network, especially to people who are unlike us, and ask questions, solicit opinions, and entertain new possibilities, rather than focusing inward.

 

In business as in life, are based on reciprocity. Our real advantages, both concrete and less tangible, are gained through humility, through putting ourselves in one-down relationships with those who know more than we do.

 

We really do know less than we think we do; open up, and we will learn more.

If we’ll extend ourselves in this way, the research suggests we are 2x more likely to enjoy breakthrough ideas. We do have to be open to something (or someone) new, instead of focused on the same old thing, especially if that same old thing is ourselves.