A business of her own

What successful businesswomen know about start-ups

Many women dream of starting their own business. And there are plenty of advantages. First, you are your own boss, and in control of your own destiny. Then, you get to produce that product or service that no one can do as well as you. You get the satisfaction of seeing your business grow. And there are plenty of tax advantages, too, including lucrative deductions, credits, writeoffs, and income-splitting opportunities. READ MORE

Marriage on the rocks: strategies for the newly single

Tips for post-divorce financial planning

The stress of a divorce, with its hearings over settlements and custody arrangements if there are children involved, can quickly eclipse any thoughts of financial planning for yourself. But it’s something you shouldn’t ignore, because you definitely have to deal with “what comes after.” Working with a number of such clients over the years, I’ve developed a set of basic principles to help those who find themselves in this challenging situation cope with the financial stress. And to ensure much-needed stability now and into the future. READ MORE

Beware this big TFSA tax trap!

Quick! What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you hear someone mention “Tax-Free Savings Account”? If you’re completely honest with yourself, deep down inside, it’s not the modifier “tax-free.” Many people I talk to feel all virtuous about their TFSA, taking advantage of the tax-free growth features and so on. But in fact, many of those same people use it as just another savings account – a sort of high-powered ATM to use when we’re running a bit low. Not only does that defeat the purpose of a TFSA, but it could be dangerous to your financial health too.


4-step makeover for the financial frumps and frizzies

Does your financial plan look a lot like Cinderella before she met her fairy godmother. Frumpy, frizzy, washed out, washed up, and dressed in rags. If that about sums it up, you just might need a financial makeover. So while you’re getting set for the glitz and glam of another holiday party season, spare a few moments for poor Cinderella…and give her a makeover too. Here’s how.


Are you a secret ‘satellite’ investor?

Do you invest on the sly? Well, it’s no secret! A friend recently told me, with some pride, that her small “private” investment account has recently performed better than the much larger portfolio she keeps with a reputable financial advisory firm. She wondered whether she’d do better managing her entire portfolio herself. I told her first off that she needn’t feel guilty about keeping a separate investment account. More importantly, she should keep her portfolios exactly as they are. Here’s why.


Accessing locked-in retirement funds

Many of my women clients “of a certain age” have rather substantial pension nest-eggs, either through their employer’s pension plans or through their own business or professional practice. But they do share one problem. Their pension funds are tied up in Locked-In Retirement Accounts (LIRAs), and the conversation almost inevitably turns to whether that stash of cash in a LIRA can be accessed and put to better use. Well, there’s good news and bad news here.


Don’t play ‘defense’ in the markets

Don’t play ‘offense’ either – play it smart

Markets can be unpredictable in the fall. Also in the winter, spring, and summer. I got to thinking about this when I was recently asked to recommend some “defensive” mutual fund investment categories that would see an investor through the “unpredictable” fall season with moderate gains. This is one of those questions that seems straightforward enough, but is in fact quite complex. The short answer is that there are no “defensive” fund categories, as such. And even if I could make recommendations on this basis, I wouldn’t. Here’s why…


If I had a million dollars…(or $31 million)

Three principles of financial planning for millionaires (and wannabes)

What would you do with $31 million? It’s a common fantasy question at coffee break or around the water cooler when government lottery jackpots reach eye-watering levels. A recent Lotto 649 jackpot was around $31 million. LottoMax winnings have often gone to $50 million. But for those few who are lucky lotto winners, or for those who have inherited a pile or more commonly earned it the hard way, the real question isn’t how to spend it…it’s how to keep it. I advise clients who have asked me this (and, yes, there are people in this rarefied group) always to start with three key planning principles.