To Take Or Not Take Early CPP

Happy Non-Retirement

CANADA PENSION PLAN DILEMMA   My husband just turned 62 and we’ve been in a quandary about whether he should take his Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) early (before 65) with penalty or not. We’re both still working and plan to be for the next 4 years while we pay off a whack of debt. Because of penalties introduced in 2012, the amount you receive by taking your CPP early is less than before this legislation was introduced. Let me try to walk through the peculiarities of our situation and how we reached our final decision.   The CPP Rules   While I can’t walk you through all the rules, I will highlight the key ones or ones that were relevant for us but refer you to the CPP website which is actually pretty clear.  I just want to point out that the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) has a different set of rules, up front. Normally CPP was collected at 65, with penalties and premiums if you elected to take it anytime from age 60 to 65, or from age 65 to 70. Contrary to popular belief, with the new rules introduced in 2012, the age for CPP has not changed […]

Why the fixer-upper house might not be for you: PF Weekly Grab a brew #83

grab-a-brew-online-review

EXPENSES BEHIND THE WALLS   It’s true that our dreams can get crushed when we don’t have the cash to do what we thought we would especially when you buy a fixer-upper house. Of all the people I’ve ever met they said they didn’t feel that renting was helping them to build a financial future for their retirement years. Although this is a wide-open topic that will bring in all sorts of controversy it’s certainly a personal decision that we must make on our own. Acquaintances of ours in their early thirties are looking to buy an older home that is their dream home but the catch is they want a fixer-upper. They do plan to have kids as well in the near future. He asked me my thoughts about older fixer-upper homes since many homes in the UK are very old. I was honest with him but ultimately it was my opinion and they need to make their own. I don’t want to be responsible for one of the biggest purchases of their lives. They are currently renting and have never owned a home before so owning a home is like the golden ticket for them or anyone really. […]

grocery game monthly challenge

Should grocery stores bother having a garden centre?: The Grocery Game Challenge #1 June 30-July 06, 2014

garden centre

KEEPING THE CUSTOMERS HAPPY   These days it seems that more and more supermarkets aim at the gardener in everyone by adopting a seasonal garden centre attachment. It’s amazing how many of these stores will go out of their way to make sure they keep the customer happy. I often wonder though if it’s really worth it for them but judging by the way these garden centres keep showing up year after year I’m pretty sure a profit is being made.   Garden centre choices   The garden centre is usually located in the car park or if you frequent such supermarkets as Walmart the garden centre is part of the exterior of the building. The pro having the garden centre included with a grocery store is that it’s the one stop shop again. It’s all about competition though. If you decide to go to Zehrs garden centre for a sale you most likely will go into Zehrs to see what groceries are on sale or decide to buy your groceries there that week. Ah, smart marketing. Either way, the big names in supermarkets just keep broadening their horizons to encourage a wider customer base. Every year we add some sparkle […]

Celebrate Canada Day enjoying our beautiful country: The Saturday Weekend Review #78

Celebrate Canada wm

APPRECIATE YOUR SURROUNDINGS   Canada Day is just around the corner and many people are gearing up for a long, long weekend of fun. If you are lucky you may even have a couple of days off next week with the holiday falling on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. This past week I had the opportunity to take some day trips around Ontario as I’m on holidays from work and I can’t get over the beauty that surrounds us here in Canada. I don’t often take the time to sit and enjoy what nature has to offer and breathe in the surroundings but I’m learning to take that break from life. I’ve been going non-stop with work and my education since moving to Canada from the UK almost seven years ago. Last year I wrote about the five things I love about Canada and as another year has passed I still love Canada perhaps more than I did the previous year. There is so much to explore here and I’ve only barely scratched the surface. I know many people like to jet off to other countries but I think we will stay here a while to see what secrets surround this […]

First day of summer and family activities: The Saturday Weekend Review #77

First Day of Summer family activities

SHOW US SOME SUNSHINE   It’s officially the first day of summer and family activities are swirling around in many parents’ minds. I can understand how so many parents want to find exciting yet educational things to do for the family when the sun is shining. Family activities are heightened in the summer because it’s a time when the students are done school and can get bored very easy. I know growing up I was always outside getting into some sort of trouble (all good fun though).   Family activities growing up   Even though my parents owned their own business it wasn’t hard for them to have hired help watch over the place while we enjoyed family activities together. Those are the times I remember the most and will cherish because as you get older the memories stay with you forever. It’s funny though because going on day trips and planning our family activities was something my mother would do and my wife says I’m a planner just like her. She’s right! When we plan family activities together I always research online what’s going on, where and if there are any discount codes, coupons or if available ways to […]

How far would you go to fund your child’s education? : The Saturday weekend review #75

childs education

MAKING SACRIFICES FOR YOUR CHILD   Education in Canada isn’t getting any cheaper and parents are struggling to find ways to help their kids financially. Not all parents feel the need to fund their kids’ education but many would do just about anything. I wasn’t surprised when I read an online article sharing results of a survey of over 600 Canadian families by Abacus Data. The survey was of parents who had children in post-secondary education, on their way to school or have attended in the past 5 years. We know that debt looms high in many Canadian households plus saving for a child’s education can make any budget tight. With over 74% of parents saying they feel financially responsible to help pay for their kids’ education I’m wasn’t shocked to read how far some parents are willing to go to make sure the money is available. I’m not sure if I agree with them all but one thing I am sure of is that if you have a child and can set money aside into a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) as soon as they are born you don’t have to do wild and wacky things to find money […]