Financial Literacy Report Cards: Teaching Top 6 Skills

It’s report card time for kids, but it’s also a good time for parents and teachers to reflect on the level of financial literacy among students, and bringing more effective financial education to next year’s curriculum, which begins just a couple of months from now. Unfortunately, despite a plethora of free resources available to teachers, there still seems to be considerable resistance to delivering key life skills in the area of financial education. As a member of the Federal Task […]

Three Essential Ingredients for Building Wealth

Father’s Day is coming up. It’s a perfect time to reflect, cherish and remember the financial wisdom your father instilled in you and how it shaped your life. The author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki, offers many important quotes about health and wealth throughout his book, but here are two of my personal favorites: • “The single most powerful asset we all have is our mind. If it is trained well, it can create enormous wealth in what […]

“Atrocious” Economic Data, but Healthier Household Debt Ratios

The most recent economic data is indeed atrocious, as Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz predicted in England late last year. But there is some terrific news in the data that was released last week on the first quarter results: Canada’s household debt service ratio fell to 6.74%, its lowest level since this number was first recorded in 1990. It’s been a tough year in economic forecasting. Seven months ago Poloz predicted Canada’s economy would grow 2.4% in the first […]

Safest Banks: Is Canada in the Top 10?

We generally believe, living in Canada, that we have the safest banking system in the world. Certainly we’re in the top 10, right? It depends on who does the ranking, it seems. Global Finance Magazine, for example, did its 23rd annual ranking in September of 2014. Not one of the Canadian banks made the Top 10; but TD Bank Group did make spot #11 as the highest ranked Canadian bank in 2014 and continued that ranking in the first quarter […]

Top 10 Reasons the TFSA Rocks!

Despite political controversy, the TFSA has gained broad-based acceptance by 40% or 11 million average Canadians. More than 80% of all TFSA holders have incomes of less than $80,000, according to the April 21, federal budget documents. The opportunity now, is to take advantage of the immediate increase in the TFSA maximum contribution limit to $10,000 in 2015 and subsequent years. In case you need any more convincing about the virtues of a tax free savings vehicle for family wealth […]

Lucrative Tax Claims: Medical Travel and Home Modification Costs

Tax season is officially over for most individuals, and that signals the start of tax audit season. One of the most common problem areas is medical expenses, especially because claims incurred for medical travel and modifying your home to accommodate a disabled person can be quite lucrative. But you’ll need to know what documentation to keep to satisfy the tax auditor. Travel Expenses for Medical Reasons A taxpayer may claim travel expenses for the patient and one attendant who must […]

Brush Up on Claiming Medical Expenses

Claiming medical expenses can itself be painful: There are so many receipts and tiny numbers involved with making the claim! Nonetheless it’s definitely worthwhile for taxpayers and their advisors to be aware of how they can save money in this area. Medical expenses themselves are common, yet most of us don’t know exactly what’s deductible, so there are lots of misses when claiming these common costs. Get ready for some “aha moments” as we look closely at claiming medical expenses. […]

The Mad Dash to April 30 – Stay Focused on the Plan

The great tax filing race is on. Most people know that April 30, the tax filing deadline for individual taxpayers, is three weeks away. But in the heat of the moment it is easy to forget that this is the most significant financial transaction for many taxpayers. If you are a tax and/or financial advisor bent on using this event as a “teachable financial moment”, the big question, in terms of maximizing and leveraging that significant windfall is to remember […]

Tax Hikes in Alberta Affects Cottage Owners and Insurers

There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and change. That’s why taxpayers and their advisors must take note when provinces like Alberta raise their taxes for the first time since 1987. And with this latest news, we are likely seeing the end of the lowest taxed era in Canada since the turn of this century. What has happened in Alberta is that the flat tax of 10% is ending in 2016 in favor of two higher tax brackets for […]

What if your Refund is a Balance Due?

If you have been shocked to find a balance due rather than a refund, be sure to file your return before midnight April 30 to avoid late filing penalties. This is an important first step in keeping more money, even if you can’t pay your bill immediately. Another good option for DIYers: You may wish to have a pro look over your return (or prior returns) to see if they can find something you missed. But don’t use the ostrich […]