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

 

 

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.

 

 

Start the New Year with a check up!

Looking at your finances and trying to figure out how to deal with multiple goals can be frustrating. We want it all – who doesn’t? But for most of us it’s not that easy. Which goals do you save towards first, second, and so on?

  • How do you prioritize retirement savings, children’s education, a new vehicle and mortgage pay down?
  • How do you pay off debt and still have savings?
  • How do you invest in your future and deal with current obligations?
  • Have you even looked at your Financial Security as it relates to your family?

It’s tough to manage all your short, medium and long-term financial goals at once. On one hand, focusing on just one thing can leave you financially vulnerable in some areas. On the other hand, spreading your finances too thinly in order to focus on all your goals at once can create uncertainty.

Let us help you create a path to success see below our 2018 Financial Check List. If you have any questions, needs or wants, please do not  hesitate to contact us  at Henley Financial and Wealth  Management  

 

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Sorry to burst your bubble, but owning a home won’t fund your retirement

Sorry to burst your bubble, but owning a home won’t fund your retirement

As I was looking through past articles I saw this and was intrigued. There are many who will do well when they “downsize” their family home as the article states. But with the cost of housing even for a smaller home or condo on the rise the nest egg is becoming much smaller for the younger (45 -55) home owner. My thoughts are simple, if you have a Million dollar home that you want to sell and downsize to a $500,000 home. You probably don’t need to worry about your retirement fund, you will have the money you require to live a wonderful life.  Unfortunately everyone does not own a million dollar home, and everyone will not be able to “down size” to a smaller home at half the cost of their present home. Baby Boomers will be able to take advantage of today’s real estate market. But generations X, Y and Z will need a better plan for the future.

Everyone requires a solid financial plan your financial plan can, and should include downsizing the family home. Which economically, physically and mentally, will make sense as you grow older. But again as the article states this is only a piece of the puzzle.

As you read the article, if you have any questions, or require any help with your financial plan please contact us at Henley Financial and Wealth Management .

All the best.

Winston L. Cook

A disturbing number of people are building their retirement plans on a weak foundation – their homes.

Years of strong price gains in some cities have convinced some people that real estate is the best vehicle for building wealth, ahead of stocks, bonds and funds. Perhaps inevitably, there’s now a view that owning a home can also pay for your retirement.


home buying puzzle

Don’t buy into the group-think about home ownership being the key to wealth. Except in a few circumstances, the equity in your home won’t pay for retirement. You will sell your home at some point in retirement and use the proceeds to buy your next residence, be it a condo, townhouse, bungalow or accommodation at a retirement home of some type. There may be money left over after you sell, but not enough to cover your long-term income needs in retirement.
In a recent study commissioned by the Investor Office of the Ontario Securities Commission, retirement-related issues topped the list of financial concerns of Ontario residents who were 45 and older. Three-quarters of the 1,516 people in the survey own their own home. Within this group, 37 per cent said they are counting on increases in the value of their home to provide for their retirement.

The survey results for pre-retirees – people aged 45 to 54 – suggest a strong link between financial vulnerability and a belief in home equity as a way to pay for retirement. Those most likely to rely on their homes had larger mortgages, smaller investment portfolios, lower income and were most often living in the Greater Toronto Area. They were also the least likely to have started saving for retirement or have any sort of plan or strategy for retirement.

The OSC’s Investor Office says the risk in using a home for retirement is that you get caught in a residential real estate market correction that reduces property values. While housing has resisted a sharp, sustained drop in prices, there’s no getting around the fact that financial assets of all types have their up and down cycles.

But even if prices keep chugging higher, you’re limited to these four options if you want your house to largely fund your retirement:

  • Move to a more modest home in your city;
  • Move to a smaller community with a cheaper real estate market, probably located well away from your current location;
  • Sell your home and rent;
  • Take out a reverse mortgage or use a home equity line of credit, which means borrowing against your home equity.

A lot of people want to live large in retirement, which can mean moving to a more urban location and buying something smaller but also nicer. With the boomer generation starting to retire, this type of housing is in strong demand and thus expensive to buy. Prediction: We will see more people who take out mortgages to help them downsize to the kind of home they want for retirement.

Selling your home and renting will put a lot of money in your hands, but you’ll need a good part of it to cover future rental costs. As for borrowing against home equity, it’s not yet something the masses are comfortable doing. Sales of reverse mortgages are on the rise, but they’re still a niche product.

Rising house prices have made a lot of money for long-time owners in some cities, but not enough to cover retirement’s full cost. So strive for a diversified retirement plan – some money left over after you sell your house, your own savings in a tax-free savings account and registered retirement savings plan, and other sources such as a company pension, an annuity, the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security.

Pre-retirees planning to rely on their home at least have the comfort of knowing they’ve benefited from years of price gains. Far more vulnerable are the young adults buying into today’s already elevated real estate markets. They’re much less likely to benefit from big price increases than their parents were, and their ability to save may be compromised by the hefty mortgages they’re forced to carry.

Whatever age you are, your house will likely play some role in your retirement planning. But it’s no foundation. You have to build that yourself.

How should I invest my tax refund?

How should I invest my tax refund?

You may soon find yourself with a tax refund.

  • How should you spend it?
  • What is the right answer for you?
  • Would you be interested in a value added idea?

Presented by Henley Financial & Wealth Management – please continue to read you may find this of some value.

The average individual tax refund is between $1,500 and $3,000. Not everyone will get a tax return essentially a return means that you paid the government too much in tax during the year and now they want you to have it back… For the chosen few people that do lend the government their own money to invest during the year on a tax free basis, that’s the biggest chunk of discretionary income they’ll see in a year. There’s a lot of temptation to spend this cash as is not readily accounted for so it’s essentially free money.

What would you do with that cash if was suddenly given to you?

Hmm, A Trip, Newest Phone, Clothes, Shoes, Dinner and Drinks (well more drinks than dinner), Raptors Tickets, Concert Tickets and a host of many other ideas come to mind.

Once you see the cheque or the deposit in you bank account a spending rush will come over you. Earning 1% in a high yield savings account does not seem very appealing. Investing in your portfolio for future returns that cannot be seen for years to come does not give you that warm and fuzzy feeling.

You could take a trip of a lifetime. How could that be a bad investment? The experience alone is worth a lifetime of memories. This will subside next month when you realize that you spent the return and then some and have to pay for those memories. Hopefully you took some beautiful pictures to share with your face book and instragram friends. Those will more than make up for the sticker shock price of the trip.

The other items or ideas mentioned are all short term memories but definitely worth the time spent if that’s what you want. Just remember there is a difference between needs and wants.

So what should you do with your tax return? Here is an idea that will work but isn’t sexy at all. Double up on a mortgage payment. Or Pay down a credit card bill as it is the highest interest debt that you are carrying. Either is a good choice…

If you think about it paying down your mortgage with your return you are one month closer to paying off the principle on your house. This is one of the biggest assets you own in your portfolio especially with today’s housing market. Since mortgage rates are historically quite low, you could potentially make more money by investing that return in the market but as we know the market can be very volatile.

In any case it’s just a thought and the value to you in the long run is a great basic investment in yourself and your family.

 

The greatest compliment we receive is being introduced to family, friends and co-workers. Let us know if you would like to introduce someone to Henley Financial and Wealth Management. Contact us Henley Financial & Wealth Management.

 

Expect the Unexpected…

Expect the Unexpected…

If I told you to do what you love and love what you do and spend 99.9% of your time doing so you would understand that statement as it applies to your life. Some would call it the simple life. But I recommend that you commit 0.1% of your time to plan for the unexpected, especially as you move towards some big milestones like marriage, home ownership and kids. That is when term life insurance, a type of policy that covers you for a specific length of time, can really make sense.

Newlyweds with debt

You are marring the person of your dreams the person that you want to share your future with. But does your future include a term life insurance policy. Here is one reason why you might want to consider buying it now:

Debt.

Insurance is designed to protect you from unknown at death. Many young people start their marriages with a significant amount of debt. It could be a disastrous if only one spouse remained to cover the payments. Say you want to cover $100,000 in debt. You can get a term life insurance policy to cover it for pennies on dollar a year, which is most likely less than you spend on coffee for the year.

Another scenario where term life insurance makes sense is when there is a big disparity in income. Insuring the difference means that if the higher income person dies, the lower income person can support their current cost of living while they rebuild his or her life.

For a newly wed couple Life insurance is something you should have. Hopefully you never need to use the benefit. You can feel good knowing that if something catastrophic was to happen your spouse is covered.

Buying your first home together

There’s “married” living the dream travelling doing what you want when you want, with no obligations. And then there’s “married with a mortgage,more debt and kids.” It’s an exciting step, a new home a place you call your own. But it also presents new risk. If one of you were to die, how would the surviving spouse manage the mortgage payments? This is when and why you buy a mortgage insurance at the bank (or they tell you that you have to purchase insurance through them). The better option is to buy a term life policy from your advisor or an insurance company, for a few reasons.

First, Term life is less expensive than mortgage insurance. Second, The payout on death benefit with term life doesn’t change, but on mortgage insurance it declines as you pay down the principal. Third, Mortgage life insurance has no flexibility meaning there is a face value policy limit and it isn’t transferable, so the policy will be cancelled if you move or become terminally ill before your mortgage is renewed.

Getting married and starting a family

There are a few things you are going to need if you’re expecting a baby. A completed baby room with the right crib, dresser, and a car seat plus all the other must haves. Oh yes you will have all the latest things needed to insure that your child is well looked after. I know this might sound morbid but at the same time you’re anticipating a new life beginning, and this is important. If you die, you want to make sure that your dependents are covered. Term life is a good short-term solution for a new family. The question is, how much do you need? The payout should cover your mortgage and replace a loss of income. How much you will need depends on the conversation you and your financial advisor have when you discuss this section of your family’s financial security.

Don’t hesitate to call or email us for your best options when thinking about your family’s financial security.

Henley Financial & Wealth Manangement  

 

Growing Old is Inevitable, Growing up is Optional! But we do have to deal with it…

Growing Old is Inevitable, Growing up is Optional! But we do have to deal with it…

It’s that time again Labour day has come and gone the kids are back in school meaning that summer has unofficially ended. We are back and will have some helpful insights for you to read over the next few months.  All the best from Henley Financial and Wealth Management. www.henleyfinancial.ca

Over the last year, I have been dealing with my mother who has decided that she would like to see my father again. The problem is he died 30 years ago. Yes he left us at the age of 52, the loss was hard but at that time my mother had lots of friends to entertain and years later I started a family. So she always busy and felt needed. Up until a few years ago, my mother was needed as she helped with my children. That has all changed, the girls are now teenagers and don’t even want my help and her friends have passed or moved on so she has been left feeling as though she is no longer needed.  A few years ago, I was telling everyone that she would outlive me. But things changed, life changed, she took her final trip, a trip she had asked me to go on when I was a teenager and of course I refused. It was at a time when I was involved in sports and could not leave my teammates behind. She has traveled extensively but this was her dream destination a month-long trip to China.

 

She has always been a good saver and lives minimally, as she gets older, you can see she is overwhelmed by the costs of things. Her generation is very concerned about finances it is the way they have come through life. Most people over 75 have filled out forms that are 20 pages in length, or do their own income taxes, they live on small incomes, there are Guaranteed Income Supplement forms to fill out, and in her case, a small pension my father left her.

 

As it turns out I have found to maintain their independence, older seniors like my mom need a lot of help with their finances—even if they have healthy savings. Home-care services need to be paid for, bill payments need to be set up, and investments need to be managed. It’s a balancing act and the process is time-consuming, but it needs to be done if you want your parents to age comfortably. Unfortunately, my mother is not aging comfortably as she is suffering from kidney failure and a poor heart. She would not go to the doctor when she was sick she did not think it was necessary… she felt she is no longer needed.

 

Handling elderly parents’ finances is made even tougher by the awkward role reversal. Aging parents are often reluctant to even share financial information with their children, let alone relinquish control. My mother is that in a nutshell. She continues to refuse help on any level. In many cases, you may have no choice but to pick a neutral person to oversee a parent’s finances.

 

That’s why it’s important to do some advance planning before your parents become incapable of managing their money themselves. Every family should have a plan to safeguard their elderly parents’ finances when the time comes.

 

If your parents are having trouble handling their finances, don’t expect them to come to you for help. If they’re like most parents, they don’t want to be a burden. So be on the lookout for subtle signs they may be having problems. Can’t remember if they paid a bill or think they did pay the bill. If they repeat things often, or forget conversations you recently had. I do that to on occasion I guess that comes with age but you will start to notice the signs.

 

Ideally, communication between parents and siblings should start well before a parent needs help. The best time is when parents are starting to talk seriously about retirement. It’s just an intellectual activity then. The longer you leave it, the harder it will become.

 

Understand that total trust doesn’t happen overnight, I have not always had a good relationship with my mother but as an only child there is not much choice. In many cases, it’s hard for siblings to work well together. One often feels another is taking advantage. The key to making it work is transparency on all fronts.

 

Have frequent family gatherings or communicate by email or phone constantly speak candidly about retirement and old age. It will happen it’s not a secret. You should also talk about what happened in the meeting that transpired with lawyers, accountants, and advisors. Then you will be able to understand the process in the future.

 

Gather information

Find out where your parents keep their safety deposit box and important documents. Make a list of their bank accounts and investment accounts, insurance documents, wills and the names of their accountant, lawyer, and financial advisor.

Open a joint bank account with your parents, deposit their CPP and OAS checks into it, and take over all bill payments. You should also find out where your parents’ income comes from, including government and employer pensions as well as RRIF withdrawals and any income from their investment portfolio. Find out who their beneficiaries are, what their financial wishes are, and how they want funeral arrangements handled.

 

Get legal power

While both parents are alive, make sure all non-registered accounts are held jointly: otherwise the surviving parent will need a will and death certificate to access those accounts. Also, ensure your parents have an up-to-date will and estate plan. A loss of capacity either suddenly, such as through a stroke, or gradually as with Alzheimer’s, may mean they never have the opportunity to clarify their intentions.

That’s why it’s also key to know if your parents have in place a power of attorney (POA) for health care as well as for finances and property. A POA will often name a child as a substitute decision maker. That person can sign documents, start or defend a lawsuit, sell a property, make investments, and purchase things for the parent, the POA usually comes into effect as soon as it’s signed and witnessed, but a parent can put a clause in saying it doesn’t come into effect until they’re incapacitated.

 

More than one person can be named as a POA: that way no one can act opportunistically and without accountability. If you’re concerned about mismanagement of funds, make sure your parents include a clause in their POA document that requires the decision maker to submit periodic financial statements to your parents’ accountant, adviser or lawyer.

 

10 key questions to ask your aging parents

You can start by asking your parents these key questions to ensure your family is prepared for the road ahead.

  1. Where do you keep your important papers—wills, investment account statements, life insurance policies, and others?
  2. Do you have a current will? Where do you keep it and when was the last time you updated it?
  3. Have you prepared a power of attorney (POA) documents? A POA designates who will take care of your affairs if you are unable to do so because of illness or cognitive decline. Your parents can designate one person to handle health decisions and another for financial decisions, or they can designate one person for both roles.
  4. Do you have a safety deposit box? If so, at which bank, and where do you keep the key?
  5. Where are your bank accounts? If you are incapacitated, where would I find the PIN and account information?
  6. Do you have credit cards and if so, who are they with? Have you been paying the balance off every month?
  7. Do you have a financial adviser, lawyer or accountant, and what is their contact information?
  8. Do you have life insurance policies? Who is the contact agent?
  9. Do you have any debt and if so, with whom? How much do you owe?
  10. Does anyone owe you money and if so, who?

Hopefully, this will help you start that conversation. I know from experience that once they get sick they have no interest in sharing information.

 

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