Get started on your Estate Planning

Get started on your Estate Planning

 

By Henley Financial and Wealth Management

As we journey through the various stages of life, we spend considerable time building relationships and accumulating assets. Passing on a legacy to family and friends and avoiding unnecessary taxes and administrative delays takes good planning. Your estate plan is as individual as you are, and taking the time to complete your arrangements now will give you control over how you provide for those closest to you.

We would like to send you a free booklet on Estate Planning including a step by step checklist.  Please contact us at info@henleyfinancial.ca for your copy.

Estate planning

Estate planning is about life – in the present and in the future. Most importantly, estate planning is about the life of your family and loved ones – and the peace of mind you get from helping to preserve their financial security. By its very nature, estate planning is a difficult subject to discuss – even more so to plan for because it forces us to come to terms with our own mortality. Yet it’s something you need to talk about openly with your loved ones today because you can’t do so after you’re gone – or after they’re gone.

Each person will approach estate planning differently, with personal motivations and expectations. No estate plan will be exactly like another. Estate planning should be reflection of your personal priorities and choices.

Estate planning is generally guided by three rational motivations

  1. Provide adequately for family members and/or other loved ones
  2. Ensure that your estate is distributed in the timeliest manner possible after your death
  3. Minimize taxes – during your lifetime and, equally important, for the beneficiaries of your estate

…and three emotional motivations

  1. Gain comfort from knowing your loved ones are well looked after
  2. Feel secure knowing that settling your affairs will not add more stress to those grieving for you
  3. Rest assured that your estate will be distributed the way you wish

Why you need an estate plan and the Benefits of estate planning

  • Distributes your assets as you intended; provides funds to cover funeral expenses, as well as immediate and/or long-term family living costs
  • Keeps more of your money in the hands of your heirs
  • Minimizes income tax and probate fees (no probate fees in Quebec); designates charitable gifts; declares your personal care preferences, including terminal medical treatment and organ donation intentions
  • Provides for the tax advantages of income splitting
  • Ensures business continuity for business owners
  • Identifies the people chosen to carry out your last wishes and care for your children

Taking action now 

Too often, advisors and estate planning professionals hear, “I wish I’d known about this sooner” from distressed family members. Whatever your status – male, female, married, widowed, divorced, single, young, old, middle class or wealthy – everyone can benefit from estate planning. Unfortunately, too few people follow this advice. Planning your estate and communicating your wishes as appropriate can protect your estate and, as importantly, allow your heirs the opportunity to prepare themselves for their changed circumstances. The “do nothing” option is not in the best interests of your family, your business or other relationships. As the world we live in becomes increasingly characterized by legal action and government intervention, estate planning is something everyone should do.

Creating your estate plan – step by step 

Step 1: Consult and retain appropriate professionals. The complexity of your situation will determine the assistance you will require from professionals to create your estate plan. Your team should include an advisor, lawyer and tax planner

Step 2: Draw up a household balance sheet. A household balance sheet is a summary of your financial situation that ultimately determines your overall net worth. Your net worth is the value of your assets (what you own) minus your liabilities (what you owe). If you don’t already have one, work with your advisor to develop your household balance sheet.

Step 3: Understand your life insurance needs. It’s important to work with your advisor or insurance expert to match your long-term financial objectives with your insurance needs.

Step 4: Draw up your Will.

Contact us at Henley Financial and Wealth Management  if you would like us to provide you with a Will Kit.

Step 5: Establish power of attorney for property. At some point in the future you may be unable to make your own financial or personal care decisions. But you can prearrange for someone to make these decisions according to your wishes by having a lawyer draft a separate power of attorney for property and personal care.

Step 6: Establish power of personal care. Medical and lifestyle decisions must often be made quickly when someone is seriously ill; hence, one or more family members are often granted this power of attorney to make decisions for you.

Step 7: Minimize taxes and administration fees. Your estate may encounter certain obligations for income tax and probate taxes on your death, which may reduce the proceeds intended for the beneficiaries of your estate. If any part of your estate must go through probate to validate the Will before transferring ownership of assets, the entire estate value may be subject to probate taxes.

Step 8: Keep track of accounts and important information. One of the most difficult roles for an executor and family members is gathering the information required to settle the estate. Eliminate this concern by centralizing all household information from birth certificates, passports and other legal documents, to bank accounts and insurance policy numbers, to phone company and hydro account details. Once you have documented your important information, store a copy in a safe place and let someone close to you know where it is.

Step 9: Let someone know.  After you have gone through all the steps of developing an estate plan, the final piece of the puzzle is communication. It’s really important to communicate your plans to a family member or close friend whom you can trust, and who is capable of working with your advisor to execute your estate plan. There’s nothing more disturbing than for someone to have to deal with incomplete information or requests. As such, not only is it important to share your plans with someone, but it can also be very helpful to document your plans to help eliminate any potential misunderstandings. As difficult as it may be, making sure that those affected by your plans know what is expected of them and where critical information is kept is essential to the smooth execution of your estate plan.

Step 10: Review and update regularly. Review and, if necessary, update all information at least once a year. By updating your estate plan, you’ll get a snap shot of where you are on an annual basis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Wealth Management?

What is Wealth Management?

Wealth management can be more than just investment advice, as it can encompass all parts of a person’s financial life. The idea is that rather than trying to integrate pieces of advice and various products from different managers the client benefits from a holistic approach in which a single manager coordinates all the services needed to manage their money and plan for their own or their family’s current and future financial needs.

The concept of a wealth manager is based on the theory that he or she can provide services in any aspect of the financial field, while many mangers choose to specialize in particular areas. This would be based on the expertise of the wealth manager in question, or the primary focus of the business within which the wealth manager operates.

A wealth management advisor will coordinate input from outside financial experts such as the client’s own lawyers and, accountants, to create the best strategy to benefit the client. Some wealth managers also provide banking services or advice on philanthropic activities.

So, in short wealth management is an investment advisory service that combines other financial services to address the needs of a person’s financial life. Clients benefit from a holistic approach in which a single manager coordinates all the services needed to manage their money and plan for their own or their family’s current and future needs. This service is usually appropriate for individuals with an array of diverse needs.

Wealth managers may work as part of a small-scale business or as part of a larger firm, one generally associated with the finance industry. Depending on the business, wealth managers may function under different titles, like financial adviser. A client may receive services from a single designated wealth manager or may have access to members of a specified wealth management team.

The wealth manager starts by developing a plan that will maintain and increase a client’s wealth based on that individual’s financial situation, goals and comfort level of risk. After the plan is developed, the manager meets regularly with clients to update goals, review and rebalance the financial portfolio, and investigate whether additional services are needed, with the ultimate goal being to remain in the client’s service throughout their lifetime.

This brings us to financial security planning within Wealth Management

A sound financial security plan should protect you against uncontrollable events such as disabilities or death, while helping you plan for controllable events such as buying a new home and retiring comfortably. To do this, Henley Financial & Wealth Management planning process is based on four areas of financial security planning:

  • Financial security at death
  • Retirement
  • Liquidity
  • Disability and critical illness

Financial security at death

 All financial security plans start here because death is inevitable and an uncontrollable event. As part of the financial security planning process, we’ll discuss:

  • How much income will your family need if you die?
  • How will inflation affect this income?
  • How to preserve your estate for your family when you die

Retirement

 When we discuss retirement planning, we consider:

  • What kind of lifestyle do you see for yourself in retirement?
  • How much money will you need to retire comfortably?
  • What impact will inflation have on your income?
  • Would you like to have the freedom to slow down or retire early?

Time and planning are two factors that influence whether or not you accomplish your retirement goals. Therefore, you must work towards your retirement goals over time.

Liquidity

Liquidity is your ability to access cash or assets that are easily convertible to cash. Liquidity can be a short-term savings option that can regenerate over time and need your constant hard work.

Disability and critical illness

Mitigating your risk against uncontrollable events such as disability or critical illness is key to your financial security. When building your financial security plan, we’ll consider:

  • Will your income be reduced in the event of disability or critical illness?
  • If your income is reduced, will it be difficult for you to maintain your lifestyle and retirement savings?
  • How much disability or critical illness insurance coverage is enough?
  • What impact will inflation have on your income if you’re unable to work for a long time?
  • Do you know if your group benefits provide a provision to allow you to continue your retirement savings if you become disabled or suffer a critical condition or illness?

 

 

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What types of insurance are available?

What types of insurance are available?

Life insurance in the beginning was the benefit which was realized at the death of the policy holder. It was really “death insurance” which in today’s world would be a hard idea to sell. Today, the world of insurance has expanded to different types of insurance where you don’t have to die to win. While also providing benefits to the policy holders who are alive – a living benefit. Living benefit plans are insurance policies that provide financial benefits to survivors who face issues due to aging, illness, accidents and dependency.

Disability insurance

Disability insurance (sometimes referred to as DI) is an insurance policy that pays out a stream of monthly income in case you get disabled and cannot work. The injury or disability does not have to have happened at work but it must severe enough to prevent you from working and earning an income. Many people have both short-term disability and long-term disability coverage through work but you can buy personal disability policies if there is not coverage like in the case of some self-employed individuals.

 Health and dental coverage

Health and dental plans are often covered through group benefits. These plans are designed to help with the unexpected cost of healthcare needs when you need it. There is a growing concern that governments will have significant cut backs in the health care industry and as a result, the financial burden of prescription drugs, visits to the dentist, eye exams, and paramedical services may increase in the future. Individual Health and Dental insurance policies can also be purchased through insurance companies.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is something you can buy when you travel outside of Canada in case you get sick or have an accident while you are away. Travel insurance can cover the cost of your medical emergencies. Travel insurance may or may not include trip cancellation coverage. Most travel agencies will offer travel insurance coverage. However, you can also choose to purchase from a third party. If you’re planning your trip online or on your own, you’ll have to research which insurance companies are best for your needs.

Critical illness insurance

Critical illness insurance is a type of insurance that helps you if you become critically ill. There are many different conditions that might be covered under a critical illness policy but the most common are heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. Typically, critical illness insurance provides a lump sum payment when a specific condition is diagnosed. The money can then be used for any purpose. Some examples include finding alternative medical treatments anywhere in the world, hiring a caregiver, paying debts, covering expenses that are not covered under government health care, paying for private nursing homes, or providing income support.

 Long term care insurance

Long-term care insurance is another coverage that is rapidly growing in popularity. It pays a daily or monthly benefit for medical or custodial care received in a nursing facility, in a hospital, or at home if you are unable to carry out some of the common activities of daily living (ADLs). Some examples include:
· Bathing
· Dressing and undressing
· Eating
· Transferring from bed to chair, and back
· Voluntarily controlling urinary and fecal discharge
· Using the toilet
· Walking (not bedridden)

Few people plan to get injured or ill. Getting insurance of any kind is a form of risk management . . . preparing for unfortunate circumstances in life. Be sure to include a review of living benefits when you review other types of insurance.

 

 

Why should I buy life insurance?

Why should I buy life insurance?

If this is a question you have been asking consider the following:

Life insurance can offer peace of mind, creating a payout that would cover your debts and or your family members financially in the event of you should die.

Would my death create a financial crisis for anyone?

Life insurance is an important consideration for anyone concerned about how their death might financially impact loved ones. Once you have a significant other, you should have life insurance coverage in place. If you have significant financial obligations such as a mortgage, car loan, and credit debt. Your surviving dependant can use life insurance to ensure that the debt is covered.

Parents benefit greatly from having life insurance so that if they die while their children are still dependents, the children are left with funds to live off, pay off debts, and post-secondary education financial needs. Life insurance can be used to ensure that all debt is covered and a post-secondary education can still be obtained without financial burden placed on your children.

The amount of coverage that is needed is determined by using either a Present Needs, or Future Needs process.

What does Present Needs mean?

The present needs process is a way of determining the appropriate amount of life insurance coverage an individual should purchase. This approach is based on the creation of a budget of expenses that will be incurred upon death, including funeral expenses, estate settlement costs, and replacement of a portion of future income to sustain the spouse or dependants.

What does Future Needs mean?

The future needs process contrasts with the present needs as the future needs process calculates the amount of life insurance a family will need. Based on the financial loss the family would incur if the insured person were to pass away today. The future needs usually take into account factors such as the insured individual’s age, gender, planned retirement age, occupation, annual wage, and employment benefits, as well as the personal and financial information of the spouse and any dependent children.

When calculating any expenses, it is best to overestimate all needs a little. For instance, consider any outstanding debts and obligations that should be covered, such as a mortgage or car payments. Also recognize that the need for income replacement may gradually decline as children living at home move away.

What is Term Insurance?

Term insurance is pure insurance protection that pays a predetermined sum if the insured dies during a specified period of time. On the death of the insured person, term insurance pays the face value of the policy to the named beneficiary. All premiums paid are used to cover the cost of insurance protection.

The term may be 10, or 20 years. But unless it’s renewed, the insurance coverage ends when the term of the policy expires. Since this is temporary insurance coverage, it is the least expensive type to acquire.

Here are the main characteristics of term insurance:

  • Temporary insurance protection
  • Low cost
  • No cash value
  • Usually renewable
  • Sometimes convertible to permanent life insurance

 

Term insurance pays a set amount if the insured passes away during a specific time period, and is considered to be “temporary” insurance, while permanent life insurance guarantees insurance for life, provided the premiums continue to be paid on time.

What is Permanent Life Insurance?

Permanent life insurance provides life time insurance protection (does not expire). Most permanent policies offer a savings or investment component combined with the insurance coverage. This component, in turn, causes premiums to be higher than those of term insurance. This savings portion of the policy allows the policy owner to build cash value within the policy which can be borrowed or distributed at some time in the future.

Here are the main characteristics of permanent life insurance:

  • Permanent insurance protection
  • More expensive to own
  • Builds cash value
  • Loans are permitted against the policy
  • Favorable tax treatment of policy earnings
  • Level premiums

The two most common are whole life and universal life. Whole life insurance provides lifetime protection—for which you pay a predetermined premium. Cash values usually have a minimum guaranteed rate of interest, the death benefit continues to grow allowing the cash value within the policy to grow tax exempt in the future.

Universal life insurance separates the investment and the death benefit portions. The investment choices available usually include some type of equity investments, which may make your cash value accumulate quicker but at the same time you are now more vulnerable against the markets in which you invest (because as the market fluctuate the value of cash fluctuates which is volatile risk). Over time, you can usually change your premiums and death benefits to suit your current budget.

Age, health, and whether or not the person seeking life insurance smokes all factor into the price of a policy.

 

 

 

 

 

Market volatility does not mean the sky is falling

Market volatility does not mean the sky is falling

Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem “If” starts with “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…” That is good advice for all of us, but especially investors.

The Covid19 pandemic has mixed health concerns with financial concerns. Unprecedented market drops, continued volatility, stimulus packages, layoffs and the fear of recession or depression is weighing on most people’s minds. The human and health toll is substantial and not one that anyone can, or should, dismiss lightly.

From an investment perspective, redemption activity is picking up pace and will likely continue. Globally, equity funds saw record outflows of $43 billion in the first 2 weeks of March 2020, according to the Financial Times. Flight from equities is typical in these situations. However, investors fleeing investment-grade corporate debt and sovereign bond funds underscores the fear-inducing sell-off in the market. According to market data provided by EPFR Global, mutual funds and ETFs that invest in bonds had $109 billion in outflows for the week ending Wednesday, March 18th. This rush towards cash has exacerbated already volatile markets – and there is no indication that this will change any time soon.

 

When Q1 statements arrive at investor homes in a few weeks, there will be a rush by many to redeem some or all of their investments. Before investors decide to do so, they should keep a few things in mind:

  1. The sky is not falling: investment legend Peter Lynch once observed that most investors sit in excess cash or redeem investments because they fear a doomsday scenario. Lynch argued that the end of the world has been predicted for thousands of years and that the sun has still risen every morning. He also argued that in a doomsday scenario, people will be focused on food and shelter. So, whether you hold stocks or cash is not likely to matter. His advice? Act like the sun will rise tomorrow and invest accordingly.
  2. People will still buy stuff: when we get to the other side of the Covid19 crisis – and we will – people will still need food, clothing, shelter, services, etc. As Warren Buffett said in 2012, “Our country’s businesses will continue to efficiently deliver goods and services wanted by our citizens.” He also said “In the future, the U.S. population will move more goods, consume more food, and require more living space than it does now. People will forever exchange what they produce for what others produce.” So, businesses will continue to exist, continue to produce, continue to employ, and continue to reward investors.
  3. Market corrections are natural: in Europe and North America, prescribed burning has been used for over a hundred years to rid a forest of dead leaves, tree limbs, and other debris. This can help prevent a much more destructive wildfire. It also enables the hardier trees to receive more nutrients, water, and sunlight so that they may thrive. Joseph Schumpeter, the Austrian economist, coined the term “creative destruction” whereby more nimble, innovative practices displace more complacent ones. After the longest bull market in history, there was bound to be a market correction – of course, it is deeper and faster than anyone anticipated. A dispassionate investor would view the current economic turmoil as shaking out some of the less nimble public companies, reducing over-valuations and directing capital and resources to the best-positioned businesses.
  4. Don’t try and time the market: even the most successful professional investors don’t believe in their ability to time the market. Peter Lynch said “When stocks are attractive, you buy them. Sure, they can go lower. I’ve bought stocks at $12 that went to $2, but then they later went to $30. You just don’t know when you can find the bottom.”
  5. Don’t forget your long-term goals: most stock market investors originally invested with a time horizon of 5, 10 or more years. Most would have known that stock markets can and will correct, and sometimes violently, and so they should have invested only those monies that they did not need in the short-term. When the rebound comes, it will come quickly and those who are out of the market, and miss it, will have to dramatically revise their long-term goals.

Yes, the Covid19 crisis is a new crisis – but Canadians, the Canadian economy and Canadian portfolios have experienced and survived world wars, depressions, and pandemics before. There is little reason to believe that this time will be any different. Investors would do well to keep that in mind.

A New Year means New Limits and Tax Rates

A New Year means New Limits and Tax Rates

A new year means new limits and data. Here’s a list of new financial planning data for 2020 (In case you want to compare this to past years, I’ve included old data as well).

Pension and RRSP contribution limits

  • The new limit for RRSPs for 2020 is 18% of the previous year’s earned income or $27,230 whichever is lower less the Pension Adjustment (PA).
  • The limit for Deferred Profit Sharing Plans is $13,915
  • The limit for Defined Contribution Pensions is $27,830

Remember that contributions made in January and February of 2020 can be used as a tax deduction for the 2019 tax year.

Tax Year Income from RRSP Maximum Limit
2020 2019 $27,230
2019 2018 $26,500
2018 2017 $26,230
2017 2016 $26,010
2016 2015 $25,370
2015 2014 $24,930
2014 2013 $24,270
2013 2012 $23,820
2012 2011 $22,970
2011 2010 $22,450
2010 2009 $22,000
2009 2008 $21,000

TFSA limits

  • The annual TFSA limit for 2020 is the same at $6,000.
  • The cumulative limit since 2009 is $69,500 (assuming you were over the age of 18 in 2009)

TFSA Limits for past years

Year Annual Limit Cumulative Limit
2020 $6000 $69,500
2019 $6,000 $63,500
2018 $5,500 $57,500
2017 $5,500 $52,000
2016 $5,500 $46,500
2015 $10,000 $41,000
2014 $5,500 $31,000
2013 $5,500 $25,500
2012 $5,000 $20,000
2011 $5,000 $15,000
2010 $5,000 $10,000
2009 $5,000 $5,000

 

Canada Pension Plan (CPP)

Here’s some of the key planning data around CPP.

  • Contribution amounts for 2020
    • Employee contribution = 5.25%
    • Employer contribution = 5.25%
    • Self employment = 10.1%
    • Maximum contributory earnings = $55,200
  • CPP Benefits
    • Yearly Maximum Pensionable Earning (YMPE) – $58,700
    • Maximum CPP Retirement Benefit – $1175.83 per month
    • Maximum CPP Disability benefit – $1387.66 per month
    • Maximum CPP Survivors Benefit
      • Under age 65 – $638.28
      • Over age 65 – $705.50

Reduction of CPP for early benefit – 0.6% for every month prior to age 65. At age 60, the reduction is 36%.

CPP rates for past years:

Year Monthly Annual
2020 $1175.83 $14,109.96
2019 $1154.58 $13,854.96
2018 $1134.17 $13,610.04
2017 $1114.17 $13,370.04
2016 $1092.50 $13,110.00
2015 $1065.00 $12,780.00
2014 $1038.33 $12,459.96
2013 $1012.50 $12,150.00
2012 $986.67 $11,840.04
2011 $960.00 $11,520.00
2010 $934.17 $11,210.04
2009 $908.75 $10,905.00

 

Old Age Security (OAS)

  • Maximum OAS – $613.53 per month
  • The OAS Clawback (recovery) starts at $79,054 of income. At $128,137 of income OAS will be fully clawed back.

OAS rates for past years:

Year Maximum Monthly Benefit Maximum Annual Benefit
2020 $613.53 $7,362.36
2019 $601.45 $7,217.40
2018 $586.66 $7,039.92
2017 $578.53 $6,942.36
2016 $570.52 $6,846.24
2015 $563.74 $6,764.88
2014 $551.54 $6,618.48
2013 $546.07 $6,552.84
2012 $540.12 $6,481.44
2011 $524.23 $6,290.76

New federal tax brackets

From 2019, the tax rates have changed.

Lower Income limit Upper Income limit Marginal Rate Rate
$0.00 $12,298.00 0.00%
$12,298.00 $48,535.00 15.00%
$48,535.00 $97,069.00 20.50%
$97,069.00 $150,473.00 26.00%
$150,473.00 $214,368.00 29.00%
$214,368.00 33.00%

 

What is the Best Way to Insure Your Mortgage?

What is 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?

It might be convenient when completing the paper work for your new mortgage to just sign one more form, be aware that it might be a costly decision.

 

8 reasons to purchase your mortgage coverage from a life insurance advisor

1) Cost

Term life insurance available from a competitive life insurance company is usually cheaper than mortgage life insurance provided through the lender. This is especially true if you qualify for non-smoker rates.

2) Availability

If you have some health issues, the lenders mortgage insurance may not be available to you. This may not be the case with term life insurance where competitive underwriting and substandard insurance are more readily attainable.

3) Declining coverage

Be aware that the death benefit of creditor/mortgage insurance declines as the mortgage is paid down. Meanwhile, the premium paid or cost of the coverage remains the same.

With term life insurance the death benefit does not decline. You decide how much coverage you want to have. This gives you the flexibility to reduce the amount of coverage and premium when the time is right for you. Or keep it should another need arise or in the event you become uninsurable in the future.

4) Portability

Term Life insurance is not tied to the mortgage giving you flexibility to shift it from one property to the next without having to requalify and possibly pay higher rates.

5) Flexibility

Unlike creditor/mortgage insurance, term life insurance can be for a higher amount than just the mortgage balance so you can protect family income needs and other obligations but pay only one cost-effective premium.

When you pay off your mortgage you will no longer be protected by creditor/mortgage insurance but term life insurance may continue. Also, unlike mortgage insurance, you are able to convert your term life insurance into permanent coverage without a medical.

6) The beneficiary controls the death benefit

With creditor/mortgage insurance there is no choice in what happens to the money when you die. The proceeds simply retire the balance owing on your mortgage and the policy cancels.

With term life insurance your beneficiary decides how to use the insurance proceeds. For example, if the mortgage carries a very low interest rate compared to available fixed income yields, it might be preferable to invest the insurance proceeds rather than to immediately pay off the mortgage.

7) Can your claim be denied?

Often creditor/mortgage insurance coverage is reviewed when a death claim is submitted. Creditor/mortgage insurance allows for the denial of the claim in certain situations even after the coverage has been in effect beyond that 2 year period.

Term life insurance is incontestable after two years except in the event of fraud.

8) Advice

Your bank or mortgage broker can advise you on the best arrangement to fund your mortgage but advice on the most appropriate way to arrange your life insurance is best obtained from a qualified insurance advisor who can implement your life insurance coverage according to your overall requirements.

Your mortgage will probably represent the single largest debt (and asset) you will acquire. Making sure your mortgage doesn’t outlive you is the most prudent thing you can do for your family.

Contact me @ Henley Financial and Wealth Management  if you think it is time to review your current insurance protection.

 

The First RRSP

The First RRSP

The first RRSP — then called a registered retirement annuity — was created by the federal government in 1957. Back then, Canadians could contribute up to 10 per cent of their income to a maximum of $2,500. RRSPs still remain one of the cornerstones of retirement planning for Canadians. In fact, as employer pension plans become increasingly rare, the ability to save inside an RRSP over the course of a career can often make or break your retirement.

The deadline to make RRSP contributions for the 2018 tax year is March 1st, 2019.

If you need help or advice with you tax planning or investments we are always available to help @henleyfinancial.ca

Anyone living in Canada who has earned income has to file a tax return which will create RRSP contribution room. Canadian taxpayers can contribute to their RRSP until December 31st of the year he or she turns 71.

Contribution room is based on 18 percent of your earned income from the previous year, up to a maximum contribution limit of $26,230 for the 2018 tax year. Don’t worry if you’re not able to use up your entire RRSP contribution room in a given year – unused contribution room can be carried-forward indefinitely.

Keep an eye on over-contributions, however, as the taxman levies a stiff 1 percent penalty per month for contributions that exceed your deduction limit. The good news is that the government built-in a safeguard against possible errors and so you can over-contribute a cumulative lifetime total of $2,000 to your RRSP without incurring a penalty tax.

Find out your RRSP deduction limit on your latest notice of assessment clearly stated.

You can claim a tax deduction for the amount you contribute to your RRSP each year, which reduces your taxable income. However, just because you made an RRSP contribution doesn’t mean you have to claim the deduction in that tax year. It might make sense to wait until you are in a higher tax bracket to claim the deduction.

When should you contribute to an RRSP?

When your employer offers a matching program: Some companies offer to match their employees’ RRSP contributions, often adding between 25 cents and $1.50 for every dollar put into the plan. Take advantage of this “free” gift from your employers.

When your income is higher now than it’s expected to be in retirement: RRSPs are meant to work as a tax-deferral strategy, meaning you get a tax-deduction on your contributions today and your investments grow tax-free until it’s time to withdraw the funds in retirement, a time when you’ll hopefully be taxed at a lower rate. So contributing to your RRSP makes more sense during your high-income working years rather than when you’re just starting out in an entry-level position.

A good rule of thumb: Consider what is going to benefit you the most from a tax perspective.

When you want to take advantage of the Home Buyers’ Plan: First-time homebuyers can withdraw up to $25,000 from their RRSP tax-free to put towards a down payment on a home. Would-be buyers can also team up with their spouse or partner to each withdraw $25,000 when they purchase a home together. The withdrawals must be paid back over a period of 15 years – if you do not pay one fifteenth of the borrowed money, the amount owed in that calendar year it will be added to your taxable income for that year.

Unless it’s an emergency then it’s generally a bad idea to withdraw from your RRSP before you retire. You would have to report the amount you take out as income on your tax return. You won’t get back the contribution room that you originally used.

Also, your bank will hold back taxes – 10 percent on withdrawals under $5,000, 20 percent on withdrawals between $5,000 and $15,000, and 30 percent on withdrawals greater than $15,000 – and pay it directly to the government on your behalf. That means if you take out $20,000 from your RRSP, you will end up with $14,000 but you’ll have to add $20,000 to your taxable income at tax time. This is done to insure that you pay enough tax upfront for the withdrawal at the source so that you are not hit with an additional tax bill (assessment) when you file your tax return.

What kind of investments can you hold inside your RRSP?

A common misconception is that you “buy RRSPs” when in fact RRSPs are simply a type of account with some tax-saving attributes. It acts as a container in which to hold all types of instruments, such as a savings account, GICs, stocks, bonds, REITs, and gold, to name a few. You can even hold your mortgage inside your RRSP.

If you hold investments such as cash, bonds, and GICs then it makes sense to keep them sheltered inside an RRSP because interest income is taxed at a higher rate than capital gains and dividends.

For more information regarding investments and RRSP’s contact us at Henley Financial and Wealth Management

 

 

2018 Financial Planning Guide: The numbers you need to know

2018 Financial Planning Guide: The numbers you need to know

A new year means new limits and data.  Here’s a list of new financial planning data for 2018 (In case you want to compare this to past years, I’ve included old data as well).

If you need any help with your rrsp deposits or clarification on other retirement issues please do not hesitate to contact Henley Financial and Wealth Management, we are here to ensure your financial success.

Pension and RRSP contribution limits

  • The new limit for RRSPs for 2018 is 18% of the previous year’s earned income or $26,230 whichever is lower less the Pension Adjustment (PA).
  • The limit for Deferred Profit Sharing Plans is $13,250
  • The limit for Defined Contribution Pensions is $26,500

Remember that contributions made in January and February of 2018 can be used as a tax deduction for the 2017 tax year.

Financial Planning CalculationMore articles on RRSPs

TFSA limits

  • The TFSA limit for 2018 is $5,500.
  • The cumulative limit since 2009 is $57,500

TFSA Limits for past years

More articles on the TFSA

Canada Pension Plan (CPP)

Lots of changes are happening with CPP but here’s some of the most important planning data.

  • Yearly Maximum Pensionable Earning (YMPE) – $55,900
  • Maximum CPP Retirement Benefit – $1134.17 per month
  • Maximum CPP Disability benefit –  $1335.83 per month
  • Maximum CPP Survivors Benefit
    • Under age 65 – $614.62
    • Over age 65 – $680.50

Reduction of CPP for early benefit – 0.6% for every month prior to age 65.  At age 60, the reduction is 36%.

CPP rates for past years:

For more information on CPP

Old Age Security (OAS)

  • Maximum OAS – $586.66 per month
  • The OAS Clawback (recovery) starts at $74,788 of income.  At $121,720 of income OAS will be fully clawed back.

OAS rates for past years:

Year Maximum Monthly Benefit Maximum Annual Benefit
2018 $586.66 $7,039.92
2017 $578.53 $6,942.36
2016 $570.52 $6,846.24
2015 $563.74 $6,764.88
2014 $551.54 $6,618.48
2013 $546.07 $6,552.84
2012 $540.12 $6,481.44
2011 $524.23 $6,290.76

For more information on OAS Clawback:

New Federal Tax Brackets

For 2018, the tax rates have changed.

 

Welcome to Mortgage Insurance – Protect yourself not the lender!

Welcome to Mortgage Insurance – Protect yourself not the lender!

Your home is one of the most important purchases you’ll make and protecting it is crucial. Mortgage protection plans offered by your lender are policies that insure your mortgage against the death of the title holder and pays the outstanding balance to the lender to cover the lenders potential loss. When you need protection and security after a death, the lender seem more concerned about their bottom line than your families well-being.

The problem with the lenders (bank, credit union) plans is that you, the homeowner, do not own the actual Insurance Policy. Mortgage insurance from your lender is held by the lender and only paid out to lender, and not to your family, which leaves loved ones with little to no income replacement and no financial security.

An Individual Life Insurance Policy can be up to 40% less than the lenders offerings (depending on age and health) because the lender are the go between to the insurance company. The increased cost is added to the price of the insurance to cover the non licensed brokers fees. So not only is it costly to insure through the lender the actual coverage is not benefiting those who matter most. Individual mortgage insurance keeps your home in your family’s hands and protects the families interests, because your family deserves Financial Security upon death – not your lender. For a comparison of Individual plans versus lender plans and understanding the value of individual mortgage insurance policies versus your lender’s policies, means looking at what each policy can offer you. Please see the table below to see why a lender’s mortgage insurance plan doesn’t offer the freedom and security of insuring yourself individually.

Contact Henley Financial & Wealth Management if you have any questions or need help insuring your home for your families financial security. We are happy to help save you money while creating a positive financial future.

If you are in need of a mortgage please contact  Bayfield Mortgage Professionals a trusted professional and mortgage broker.

Individual Plans Versus Your Lender

 Questions? Individual Insurance Policies Mortgage Loan Insurance from your Lender
Do I own my insurance policy? Yes No, The owner is your lender.
Who can be the beneficiary of the policy? Anyone you choose. Only the lender can receive the benefits from the policy.
When does coverage end? It depends on the term that YOU choose. Coverage ends when the mortgage is paid.
Do I have the same coverage for the life of the policy? Your coverage stays the same throughout the term of the policy. The coverage decreases relative to the value of the remaining loan.
What can your coverage be used for? Any purpose. The benefits are paid as a sum to your beneficiary to be used how they wish. The coverage may only be used to cover the balance on the loan.
Can I get lower rates if I’m a non-smoker/in excellent health? Yes. You usually pay as much as 50% less on your insurance premiums. No, premiums are determined under one rate system.
If I sell my home am I still protected? Yes. Since you are the owner of the policy. No, you will need to obtain a new policy.
Can I convert or renew my policy to change the terms or coverage? Some policies may be renewed or converted to another policy. No, you may not convert nor renew coverage. You may not transfer this coverage into a new policy.

 

 

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