When are you too old for Christmas gifts? : The Saturday Weekend Review #95

Christmas gifts

MAKING A CHRISTMAS LIST   I know it’s only one day after Halloween and I’m already talking about Christmas gifts and the upcoming holiday season but it’s for good reason. I was sitting at my computer the other day when my wife said that her sister emailed her to say she was putting together the annual Christmas exchange for the family. Now we budget our Christmas expenses each month as a projected expense so when it comes time to go out and buy Christmas gifts we have the money saved. Brilliant, I know but not everyone can do this. Christmas is one of the most expensive holidays of the year for most families especially those with children. What happens though when grandchildren come along? Should you really be buying gifts and having a gift exchange to the tune of $100-$150 per person when you are an adult? So many questions but something my wife and I talked about the other day. Now, don’t get me wrong we are not by any means saying we don’t want to participate in buying Christmas gifts but we question whether it’s worth the high price tag.   Christmas gifts with meaning   Here’s my […]

Saving for retirement on a lower-income

saving for retirement lower-income

EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS   Let’s face it, saving for retirement is tough work. I mean, the concept is not difficult for us to wrap our heads around but finding the money, putting it away consistently and not spending it is challenging stuff. I suspect this is the case because money is an emotional subject and it’s easy to become attached to it; we work hard for it and want to reward ourselves with it. Saving for retirement takes discipline. When you’re not relying on paycheque to paycheque for living expenses, saving some money should be easy enough. You also have options on where to put your money for retirement, into Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), real estate properties, Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), non-registered brokerage accounts and more. High-income earners are often advised to contribute to their RRSPs in their highest-income earning years, and rightly so. This RRSP account is optimized when you contribute money when your income taxes are the highest, so monies can be withdrawn in the future when you’re in the lowest (or lower) income tax bracket, presumably in retirement. Low-income earners probably shouldn’t follow this advice, and they probably need different financial advice altogether. Today’s post will […]

Reader Question:Do I Have To Share My RRSP With My Spouse When I Get Divorced?

Another reader of the Canadian Budget Binder blog asked the question, “Do I have to Share my RRSP with my Spouse When I get Divorced”? In Ontario there is the Family Law Act. In simple terms all property acquired after the date of marriage, up until the time of marriage breakdown is deemed to be the property of both parties. The ownership of the property is not a factor. So in short each person is entitled to 50% of the total family property. There are certain exceptions like the family home that was brought into the relationship or received as a gift or inheritance. However to keep things simple we will ignore this. RRSP’s, Stocks, Bonds, Pensions, are all subject to being included under Family Law. So if one spouse had a significant RRSP and the other nothing then the spouse with nothing would be entitled to 50% of the spouse’s RRSP. Note: the courts adjust the value of the RRSP down, by the amount of withholding tax that would be payable if the RRSP were cashed in. So the figure used is less than fair market value of the RRSP. To understand this fully the courts ask each person […]

Reader Question:Is It Savvy To Cash In My RRSP’s To Pay Off Debt?

A Reader Question about whether it was savvy to cash in an RRSP to pay off Debt was submitted to Canadian Budget Binders Ask Mr.CBB. He forwarded it to me to share my opinion on this topic with all of you. My short answer is that it depends. There are several factors to consider: The age of the person The withholding tax on the funds withdrawn on the RRSP The amount of debt and its’ interest rate The type of investment held in the RRSP The opportunity cost of the withdrawal To keep things simple let me say if you are doing this and are under 30 then it might not be a bad thing. At older ages you have a shorter accumulation period and time and the magic of compound interest work against you. I have always maintained that paying off debt is one of the best investments someone can make. Let’s say you’re carrying a credit-card balance of $1,000 with 18 percent simple annual interest. That’s $180 a year in charges. Pay off that debt and you’ve saved $180. That’s the same as investing $1,000 in something that earns an 18 percent return after tax. Tax Withholding Rates […]

Reader Question: RRSP’s-The Need To Know Basics

RRSP’s-The Need to Know Basics Reader Question: I want to save for retirement. Where is the best place to save for this? I have been told NOT to use RRSP. Can you help? Saving for retirement is a good thing and RRSP’s (Registered Retirement Savings Plans) are a popular tool for doing so. I don’t know the client’s age or his/her income so this answer is predicated on the fact that the client has several months of income in an emergency fund.  An emergency fund is a base component of proper planning and should be done before making any RRSP contributions. Also, it assumes the client is making more than $40,000 in income per year, as incomes under $40,000 don’t benefit much from tax savings on RRSP contributions. Below I will try to define some of the Basics of RRSP’s and also illustrate some of the long-term advantages. When Did RRSP’s Begin? RRSP’s first came into existence in 1957 as a government supported effort to help Canadians save for their retirement. Types of RRSP’s There are broadly speaking three main types of RRSP’s Individual RRSP-where the contribution is made in your name and held in your name. Spousal RRSP- The […]

February 2012 Canadian Budget Binder Budget Update

$ How much did you spend this month? Well here we are again folks at the end of another challenging month for us. We have worked hard at making changes to our budget as we had found some flaws in our 2011 budget. We also went ahead and simplified the budget so we are putting away money each month for purchases we KNOW will happen this year. That way the money is saved bit by bit monthly and no surprises when it comes time to pay it. We also don’t want to use our emergency savings for bills that are not an emergency. So here are our last figures for February 2012.  I thought we would be over budget after the 20x points event at SDM but we are on track. These darn events are amazing but can put a dent in our grocery budget. The good thing though is we only buy items we WILL need and WILL use so our future grocery bill will be less. You can’t deny that  Shoppers Optimum Points is the best loyalty program out there. One reader asked about our grocery budget and what it includes. My answer was all household cleaning products, pet […]