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.



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 past does not predict the future…

The past does not predict the future…

After the last debate for the presidency of the United States of America, it’s hard to imagine that these are the best two candidates to lead a world power for at least the next four years. You would think with all the people in the political ring you would have someone who cares about our future generations and not about what happened 20 years ago and how that makes you unfit to lead. If having a skeleton in the closet means you will be called out when you run for office. Then you would never have a leader in the free world as we have all done something that would consider us unfit to lead a country.

Henley Financial and Wealth Management brings you this article with consideration of what might happen moving forward.

Predicting what will happen in the stock market is hard. Nope, scratch that. It’s pretty much impossible. But in light of the looming November vote, I took a look at what happened in the markets over the past few decades in relation to US presidential elections. However, before I get to that, I would like to emphasize that when it comes to markets, the past does not predict the future. And so I am not making any predictions here about what will happen on  November 9, 2016, the morning after.

What happens in the markets during the lame duck session between an election and the inauguration of the new president? The performance of the stock market between Election Day and Inauguration Day might be taken, in part, as a statement of investor confidence — or lack thereof — in the incoming administration.

The line of thinking is that Republicans are better for the markets because they tend to push for more pro-business policies, such as lower taxes and less regulation. However, the stock market has historically performed better under Democratic presidents. American presidents since 1945 show the average annual gain under the blues (Democrats) was 9.7%, while under the reds (Republicans)  was 6.7%.

The only two presidents who saw negative market returns during their tenure were Republicans: Richard Nixon, who was in office during the Arab oil embargo, and George W. Bush, who closed out his second term as the Financial Meltdown in 2008.

Taking it a step further, both poor and good stock performance in the year before or after an election had less to do with the president’s party and more to do with what was going on in the actual economy.

As for Obama, he took office the year after stocks lost nearly 40%. And notably, days before stocks touched their lowest in March of 2009, the president stated, “What you’re now seeing is profit and earnings ratios are starting to get to the point where buying stocks is a potentially good deal if you’ve got a long-term perspective”. Stocks are up by about 209% since he said that. Is it because Obama was a great president and his policies changed the world?

No the strong performance of the market from 2009, was not due to the election of President Obama and retention of a Democrat-controlled Congress in 2008. It resulted instead from a recovery in the economy after the Great Financial Crisis.

So what does this mean for November 8?

The result of that election is unlikely to have a major bearing on the performance of the US stock market.

The markets don’t like uncertainty, as the market sees it, Hillary Clinton is a known player whose policies are expected to be largely a continuation of the current administration.

Trump and his economic positions, however, are less predictable and do not always follow the party, he is for tax cuts and deregulation, but against free trade. Thus, he is perceived as more of a political risk in the market.

That sort of emotional response to a political shock is actually quite typical of investor and, more broadly, human behavior. Unexpected and potentially destabilizing political events tend to make traders and investors nervous, which then sometimes leads to volatility in financial markets. But as history has shown time and time again, these events generally do not have a sustained impact on markets.

Yes, investor sentiment in the immediate aftermath of the election can affect the market. And, yes, presidential policies affect the economy, which then, in turn, can affect the markets.

However, there are a bunch of other factors not wholly connected to presidential policies — such as oil-price shocks, productivity shocks, and things like China’s devaluation of its currency — that all influence what happens with the stock market. In any case, perhaps the most telling historical debate with respect to the relationship between presidents and the stock market (or lack thereof) is the following. Stocks saw their best gains under Republican Gerald Ford — but he wasn’t elected president, and he wasn’t even the original vice president on Richard Nixon’s ticket in 1972.

So whoever wins this circus act called the US presidential election of 2016, the markets will continue to perform based on solid economic performance until that performance is upended by a real economic event.

Our Home and Native Land…The True North Strong and Free. How did we not see this coming?

Our Home and Native Land…The True North Strong and Free. How did we not see this coming?

Our Home and Native Land…The true north strong and free

Albertans have been hit by a modern day gold rush. Oil prices have soared and adventures have flooded into the province, everyone wants to strike it rich, this black gold has been flowing freely and many have been riding the wave. These are the glory days in Alberta the spirit of Oil is alive and well.

Oil is everything in Alberta the province has been turned into a big money making machine. This has been the best time of the provinces existence, go big or go home. Suddenly they are more Oil companies setting up shop and the spin-off from the industry has created thousands of jobs.

As the price of Oil climbs so do the dreams of many… we are rich and this will last forever or so we all hope.

We know that oil has been leveraged to get the world to notice that there is a power in play, and oil and those who have it will be the power brokers in the world’s economy. This has help to create a boom in Alberta; millionaires are born money is everywhere. Alberta is rich! With this new found power in the world’s economy comes the boom of industry and everyone wants a piece of the action.

People from across the country flock to Alberta, construction is up and the vacancy rates are down. Everyone is in the search of high paying jobs living the dream of finding gold at the end of the rainbow.

Oil has helped to increase our stock portfolios, there is real estate speculating in Alberta, and of course, many have jumped into the oil ventures market. There is money to be made in every sector. Canada is the place to be our economy is booming we are a natural resource haven. When will it end?

Young entrepreneurs are getting together to start up Oil and Gas companies. There is a rapid expansion in the industry. It has lead to spin-off companies to help keep the production in place and drive the profits into the stratosphere.

Wow, we are a world power!

Then suddenly a worldwide economic recession hits and the price of Oil drops rapidly and the boom is over. The power brokers are no more the spin-offs are now gone and so are the dreams of many. We don’t see it coming because we don’t want it to end.

When do you think this happened?

Easily you could say 2015, but this actually happened in 1970 when oil was selling for $3 a barrel, and then climbed to $15 almost over night and by the end of the decade Oil was $40 a barrel. Then came the world’s economic collapsed in mid 80’s. By the mid-90’s we saw this cycle happen again, and we are seeing it happen yet again.

Canadians are resilient we have lived through the highs and lows of the times and we always recover. This time is no different the sun will soon shine on us again; we will rise up and take the world by storm the cycle will continue. Only the next time hopefully we can learn from our past that nothing lasts forever.

So how are Gas Prices at the pump determined?

12541044_10153742094295837_1881084127321648906_n (1)As I was driving home yesterday I noticed that the gas priced at 72.9 cents a litre earlier in the day was now 92.9 cents a litre. Now I know that the dollar rose by .005 of a cent against the mighty US dollar and Oil was up by .21 cents yesterday but how does that make the price at the pump jump .20 cents a litre in a day.

To put the jump in price in perspective, that would mean a $15.00 difference when filling up my SUV, which has a 75-litre tank. So it does make a big difference for those who commute daily.

So how are Gas Prices at the pump determined?

Until recently the Oil companies were gloating over record profits. I realize this not to be the case now but when a barrel of oil was at record highs, gas was $1.50 per litre. Now that a barrel is at its lowest point in the last 30 years the price of gas does not seem to be following the trend at the pump. Yes, it is cheaper than it was but still expensive based on the price of a barrel of oil. Or is it?

In 1984 gas was 39.9 cents a litre and a barrel of oil was $28.75… Well, today a barrel of oil is $28.76 and gas is 89.9 cents a litre on average.

So why is there such a difference?

The break down at the pump is determined by the following factors

Crude oil – The cost of raw material for making gasoline, which accounts for 40% – 55%

Taxes – Federal, Provincial and Municipal tax  applied to the cost per litre, which accounts for 25% -35%

Refining costs – The difference between what it cost to buy crude oil and what refined gas sells for in the wholesale market accounts for 10% – 25%

Marketing Costs – This covers the retail margin for expenses and profits of 4% -6%

Distribution – Transportation to various regions is between 21% – 26%

US dollar – Crude is bought and sold in US dollars

Supply and Demand – Predictable impact on the price

So what affects the price range at the pump?

The explanation…

The price of crude oil is the main contributor to the general increase in retail gasoline. Generally, Crude oil prices depend on several factors including worldwide supply and demand, the stability of the distribution network, the value of the U.S. dollar, and the price speculation.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), a cartel of 13 oil-rich countries, which produces about 40 percent of the world’s crude oil, exerts significant influence on prices by setting production limits on its members. The United States consumes more oil and refined products (such as gasoline, diesel, heating oil, and jet fuel) than any other nation in the world. 
The demand for crude oil in China has risen with their populations, increased trade, and a growing internal economy. Interruptions in the flow of crude oil through the distribution network can cause gasoline prices to rise, including natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, the Gulf Coast-BP oil spill, political instability in countries like Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria, or monetary instability. Oil is traded on the world market in U.S. dollars. When the value of the dollar drops compared to other major currencies, producers earn less and compensate by raising the price per barrel of oil.

Government taxes are the second largest part of retail gasoline prices at the pump.Then you have speculation in the commodities markets where crude oil is traded also drives up the cost. Financial speculators make money on the fluctuations in prices of commodities like oil by placing bets that the price will go up or down.

 Refiners lose money when plunging prices require them to sell gasoline for less than the crude oil they bought. Refining costs and profits vary due to the different gasoline formulation. Refiners blend formulas and such blends are more complex and more expensive to make. Many contain ethanol, an alcohol mixed with gasoline to create a cleaner fuel that can account for up to 15 percent of some gasoline blends.

Retail dealer’s costs include wages and salaries, benefits, equipment, lease/rent, insurance, and other overhead. An individual dealer’s cost of doing business varies depending on location and number of local competitors.

Stations next to each other may have different traffic patterns, rents, and sources of supply that affect their prices. Gasoline often costs more in wealthy neighborhoods, because stations pass along higher real estate costs. Credit card companies also earn 2.5 percent of the transaction cost as opposed to a flat fee, which impacts dealer margins.

Supply and demand creates a predictable impact on the price of gas. The supply of Oil does not come out of the ground in the same form from everywhere in the world. You have a Light to Heavy and Sweet to Sour crude, the price of Oil is quoted as Light / Sweet crude. This is in high demand as it has fewer impurities and takes less to refine into gasoline. But most of the Oil available throughout the world is heavy/sour crude. This is where the most money is for the refineries because they can obtain Heavy / Sour crude for a lower price due to the large supply meaning a higher return on investment but it is a lower quality of crude. Which again is why they mix gasoline with ethanol to help create a cleaner fuel at the pump. Although when you have too much oil on the market the return on investment is cut drastically.

The consumer creates the demand the more cars on the road the more demand for gas. Simple math if you oversupply then the price is lower if you undersupply the price is higher. The consumers will fluctuate based on price but by a very small percentage.

So what we are seeing is the perfect storm between supply and demand, the strong US dollar and a lower commodities market thus creating a lower price at the pump. The cost of doing business has gone up over the last 30 years creating a difference in price at the pump between 1984 and 2016 on the same cost of a barrel of oil. But based on recent profits made in the industry everyone with the exception of the consumer is now  experiencing a loss of revenue.

So I guess you have to pay attention to the price at the pump to make the most of your savings while you can. We all know that this will not last forever at some point there will be a reduction in production and the wheels of profit will start to turn again.

We still really don’t know why the price at the pump can fluctuate so drastically daily as in the image above.  All we can do is laugh and understand that supply would be up and demand would be down at this location.