Archive for the ‘Retirement’ Category

TFSAs – Do You Have Room?

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In November 2016, we blogged about Tax Free Savings Accounts. Since inception, CRA has been auditing TFSA accounts and this has resulted in penalties to taxpayers who have unknowingly over-contributed. How can you be sure you have room for your TFSA contributions? Here are some tips.

Understand TFSA Withdrawals

Let’s say you’ve withdrawn funds from your TFSA. This has left room to re-contribute later, right? Not necessarily. If you withdraw funds from your TFSA, you must remember that this does not create corresponding contribution room until the next calendar year. If you contribute sooner – you could be penalized.

Ensure TFSA Transfers Are Done Correctly

If you wish to transfer funds from one TFSA to another, the transaction should be processed as a “direct transfer” by your financial institution. Otherwise, it could be viewed as a “funds withdrawn” and “funds contributed” scenario. When the latter happens, contribution room for the withdrawal will not be reinstated until the next calendar year. So, when funds are not transferred correctly, and you contribute too soon – penalties may also apply.

Keep Up-to-date with Changing TFSA Room Limits

You can have more than one TFSA at any given time, but the total amount you contribute to all your TFSAs cannot be more than your available TFSA contribution room for that year or you could get dinged with a penalty. It’s good to check each year to see if the annual limit has changed:

https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/tax-free-savings-account/contributions.html.

Always Be Aware of Your TFSA Balance

CRA has made it easy to ensure that we don’t over-contribute. Before you contribute, log into CRA’s My Account for Individuals  >  Click RRSP and TFSA tab  >  Contribution Room  >  Next.

This takes you to your TFSA page where you can find out your contribution room as of the current taxation year.

Following these simple tips can help you save money without worrying about unexpected penalties. Happy saving!

 

Why Your Retirement Plan Needs a “Checkup”

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Let’s face it, your annual physical may not be your idea of a good time. However, regular visits to a GP can help you assess your health, review what’s happening in your life, and guide you in making healthy choices and lifestyle changes with the goal of being as healthy as possible.

What about the health of your Retirement Plan? Can the same principles for physical checkups hold true? We think so. Here are some reasons why.

Why a check-up is necessary

Sometimes underlying medical conditions are not always evident. Similarly, your retirement plan may have some flaws that you’re not aware of. Just as early diagnosis of a medical condition can even be reversible with proper treatment, a professional assessment of your retirement plan can help pinpoint areas of concern that can be tweaked and/or revised to ensure you stay on track and reach your retirement goal.

Navigating the winds of change

Good or bad, life changes equal stress. As bad as stress can be for our health, it can also wreak havoc on your financial plan. For example, while starting a family, purchasing a home or moving are all exciting milestones, they could bring financial repercussions you may not be aware of. A financial advisor can help you navigate the road of change and prepare you for the effects to your retirement plan.

Expect the unexpected

Just as an unexpected event like an accident, natural disaster or sudden allergy can affect our health, unexpected changes in tax laws, interest rates and the housing market can all have an impact on your retirement plan. A financial professional is up-to-date with these changes and can keep you in the know. Being supported through these changes can go a long way in helping you move forward.

Search engine overload

So, we’ve all done it. Had a physical symptom and “Googled” our diagnosis only to find an overwhelming sea of information. Admittedly, search engines are great tools, but following advice on the Internet is not without risk. How many hours have you spent researching the best retirement strategies? Is it current information? What if you miss something important? Financial professionals have the software, publications and experience necessary to guide you through this information age with a minimal investment of your time and energy.

Whether it’s physical or financial health, we believe that “prevention is the best medicine”. We would be happy to sit down with you to assess the overall health of your retirement plan, review what’s happening in your life, and assist you to make the right choices to ensure your financial plan is on track. A little investment of your time and energy now can reap great rewards later. Call us today!

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