Are you Missing out?

Are you Missing out?

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

Check us out… Henley Financial and Wealth Management

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did we get to $52,000?

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 The Tories increased the annual contribution limit to $10,000 in 2015 but the Liberals quickly repealed that when they came into power and reduced annual contributions to $5,500 for 2016, still indexed to inflation.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

Eligible investments

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

Unused room

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

Withdrawal and redeposit rules

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

Is the Canada Revenue Agency still auditing TFSAs?

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

Be careful on foreign investments

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

What are people investing their TFSA in?

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

TFSA vs RRSP

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

 

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Getting out of your way to find success!

Getting out of your way to find success!

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave person is not the person who does not feel afraid, but the person who conquers that fear.  Nelson Mandela

During the Christmas break we find ourselves looking towards next year. Planning our business model or just looking forward to a change. I always try to pick up a book during the holidays usually a biography as I find them to be most interesting. I like reading about other people’s stories.

Generally what you find in every success is the same pattern, if you have a goal in life and want to succeed you will need to know the following…

  1. Be clear about your goal.
  2. Face your fears.
  3. Trust yourself.
  4. Embrace the unknown.
  5. Think big.
  6. Be brave.

To be successful at anything we do we must conquer some if not all of the above. Life is funny as we are held back by our cautious nature we are afraid of the unknown, our own failure. Because of this most of us never reach our true potential. We read about the successful people who fail more than once and keep pushing forward until finally they reach that unattainable goal for most. Success!

Being clear about your goal – we focus more on what we will lose than what we will gain. Therefore if you are going to lose something you must be clear about what it is you want to gain. There will be no guarantee that success will be accomplished but the answer is ‘NO’ if you don’t ask the question and will always be ‘No’! We must know the answer before we start. So ask the question!

Fear – often gets in the way but we are wired from a young age to be cautious to any potential threat to our own safety. That is not only a physical threat but also a mental threat we will undermine our own ability to asses smart risk from safe risks. Sometimes you have to say “what the heck?” and push forward. If don’t challenge your fear it will become you.

Trust – you must believe in the path that you have set out for yourself. If you don’t have trust in yourself to create the future you aspire to have you will only find regret. There will be days you will be overwhelmed. As long as you believe in the path you have set out for yourself and trust the process. Success will come.

The unknown – We always choose the path of least resistance because it’s the one we know. What if we walk through a door that’s open and we don’t know anyone on the other side. You have two choices turn around and walk back through the open door, or meet new people on the other side. Within a short period of time you will have made a new contact, a new friend, or had a new conversation. At any rate you will have embraced the unknown. Choose a path unknown every now and then you may be surprised at the result.

Think big – we all have dreams, which get us excited. These dreams are awe-inspiring; they are the end result of an idea. We know for a fact that we can’t go from nothing to something without staring with an idea. If it’s a big idea then that’s the end result, and we you need to take small step along that path to achieve the dream. Don’t stop dreaming big dive in with both feet grounded find the solution to create the idea that fulfils the results.

Be brave – Let’s be clear: Living courageously is not the absence of knots in your stomach, a lump in your throat, sleepless nights or sweaty palms. It’s not about being fearless. It’s about fearing less. Everyone processes greatness within himself or herself.

Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again. Nelson Mandela

Get out of your own way and you will find success!

 

 

 

 

 

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  

 

How to win using annuities in retirement

How to win using annuities in retirement

 

In this underused strategy, weigh your age and interest rates, then get the timing right.

by Jonathan Chevreau

November, 2016

Presented by: Henley Financial & Wealth Management , If you would like a detailed explantion of how this could work for you please feel free to contact Winston L. Cook

The good news is most of us can expect to live longer. The bad news is that the decline of defined-benefit pensions, along with chronically low interest rates, makes it harder for us to avoid outliving our money.

For those without workplace defined-benefit pensions, annuities can offset that risk by acting as a form of longevity insurance. You hand over capital to an insurance company today in exchange for a guaranteed flow of income for as long as you live. In a real sense a DB pension, with its guaranteed payouts, is annuity-like. As are programs like the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or Old Age Security (OAS).

Despite similar terminology, defined-contribution pensions, RRSPs, TFSAs, and non-registered savings are not real pensions, cautions Schulich School of Business finance professor Moshe Milevsky. While those vehicles will help out in retirement, the only way you can create a real guaranteed income for life is to annuitize, he explains in the second edition of Pensionize Your Nest Egg.

Nevertheless, annuities are underutilized because they are misunderstood or viewed as undesirable. Yet, new “fintech” alternatives may do the same thing as annuities, only using terms such as peer-to-peer longevity insurance or investment funds with longevity insurance.

 

Milevsky argues that even at today’s rock-bottom interest rates, annuities should pay more than comparable fixed-income investments because of the built-in mortality credits. “Anyone who bought an annuity five years ago is very happy,” Milevsky says.

He adds: “Everyone should have a source of income that’s predictable, inflation-adjusted and will last for the rest of their lives.” The trick is knowing when to annuitize. The longer you wait, the more you receive on a monthly basis. Milevsky’s rule of thumb is to annuitize when the death rate exceeds the interest rate. For example, relatively few die by 65, so the death rate is under 1%; buy an annuity now and it will give you little more than current interest rates. Wait until your mid-70s and the death rate starts to rise. That’s when annuities start to look much better.

This question often arises the year a retiree turns 71 and is forced to convert an RRSP into a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) or an annuity. Fee-only planner Marie Engen, co-owner of Boomer & Echo, says this is not an either/or case. You probably should do both, particularly as you move into your 70s and 80s. Ideally, she says, pensions and annuities will cover basic retirement expenses, leaving the rest for investment growth and more liquid access to money for more enjoyable lifestyle expenses.

For healthy males, Milevsky suggests annuitizing between 70 and 80, adding 5% or 10% more each year, until you’re almost entirely annuitized between ages 80 and 95. Because spouses and children can be impacted, the whole family needs to join the conversation, particularly since capital that has been annuitized can’t be converted back. That means your heirs will inherit little or none of what is annuitized.

 

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Keep in mind the distinction between registered and non-registered annuities. Payments from registered annuities are fully taxable like RRIFs and, on death, heirs will be taxed based on a same-day valuation. According to Ivon Hughes of Montreal-based LifeAnnuities.com, a healthy 65-year-old male not wanting a guarantee period would get $531.49 monthly income from a $100,000 registered annuity. At age 71 this income rises to $636.34, and at age 80, he’ll get $946.76.

With non-registered “prescribed annuities” the interest paid out is taxable but not the return of capital. Keep in mind, the Canada Revenue Agency is updating its mortality tables and increasing the taxable portion—people are living longer. That makes annuitizing with registered funds more attractive, Milevsky says. A $100,000 non-registered annuity without a guarantee period pays out $509.97 at 65, $606.12 if acquired at 71, and $789.03 at age 80.

Milevsky favours plain-vanilla annuities and cautions against buying too many bells and whistles: every time you add guarantees, minimums, and survivorship benefits, you water down the mortality credits.

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.