Retirement planning: invest surplus or pay off the mortgage?

Robyn Thompson is featured in The Globe and Mail’s “Financial Facelift” series by Diane Maley. Mark and Meredith are well positioned financially with robust cash flow, and want to retire, but they still have mortgages on rental properties. Should they pay off the mortgages as fast as possible? Read Robyn Thompson’s advice on why that might not be the best idea for the couple at this point in their lives.

Cottage sale tax tips

How to cut the capital gains tax hit

Thinking about selling the cottage, cabin, or lakeside getaway? Plenty of people are, especially those of the Baby Boom generation who are finding that maintaining two properties is increasingly time-consuming, tiresome, and expensive. And if the younger generation is no longer interested in keeping up a family cottage, there seems little alternative left but to sell. If you do decide to put up that “for sale” sign, bear in mind that the Canada Revenue Agency will come calling with a bill for capital gains tax. Depending on how long you’ve owned the cottage, it could be a big one. But there may be ways to soften the blow.

READ MORE

Cottage tax traps

Getting away from it all with the CRA

Cottages and cabins in the woods or by the lake are an iconic Canadian getaway. Most owners of recreational property happily deal with maintenance issues for the chance of that glorious sunset, water-skiing, or a dip in the lake. What they don’t count on is that silent partner, waiting to take their cut when it comes time to sell or transfer the place to their kids. Here’s what you need to know. READ MORE

Putting a price tag on your dream home

Crunch the numbers before you make an offer

The big question for young couples just starting out is whether to move out of that downtown condo unit and borrow to buy a home. This becomes especially critical if you’re planning a family or if a baby is already on the way. Those new little people with all their gear take up an amazing amount of space, and suddenly the need for more room becomes pressing. READ MORE

How to cut the cottage-sale tax bill

how-to-cut-the-cottage-sale-tax-bill-large

The ABCs of the ACB

Thinking of selling your cottage, cabin, or recreational property? Unless it’s truly your principal residence, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will want its share of any capital gain you make on the sale. It calculates the capital gain as the proceeds of the sale minus the cost of selling and the adjusted cost base (ACB). Here’s where you can find ways to cut the tax take. But a note of caution: The CRA are fully aware of ACB games people play with cottage sales, so ensure that all the components of the ACB are documented and are all bona fide. READ MORE

Stressed out over mortgages stress test?

Know the rules before you sign on the dotted line

If you’ve been shopping for a mortgage for your new home, you probably have run across something called a “stress test.” It raises the bar on your financial health a lot higher before you can qualify for a mortgage – even if you don’t have to be insured! This has been stressing us out many unprepared borrowers. But by understanding a few of the rules beforehand, you can smooth out the path to buying that home. READ MORE

How to take advantage of the Home Buyer’s Plan

A source of funds for first-time home buyers

Looking for a source of funds as a down payment on your first home? If you have a good chunk of money sitting in your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), you may be eligible to use some of it towards the purchase of a home under a federal government plan called the Home Buyer’s Plan (HPB). Naturally, there’s a long list of rules and regulations, but if you’re a young couple, it could mean as much as an extra $50,000 to tack on to a down payment. READ MORE

Fading sunsets: selling a cottage can be a taxing problem

Unless it’s a principal residence, you’ll pay tax on any gain in value

If the likes of Steven Spielberg, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Tom Hanks, and Bill Murray have been spotted vacationing at summer homes in the exclusive Muskoka lakes region of Ontario, there really must be something to the whole cottaging experience. And judging from recent price trends, demand for prime waterfront properties is as strong as it ever was. Owning a recreational property is almost iconic in Canada. But what do you do if you own a cottage now and want to sell to a willing A-list buyer? Right now, there’s plenty of incentive to cash in. What pitfalls should you watch for? READ MORE

Does an RRSP withdrawal make sense for first-time homebuyers?

 

When to take advantage of the Home Buyer’s Plan

First-time homebuyers who have RRSPs often look to supplement their down payment by taking advantage of the RRSP Home Buyer’s Plan. But frequently, they have only a sketchy idea of how it works and whether it’s even a good idea to take money out of what is really their retirement savings. READ MORE

Don’t get burned in the red-hot real estate market

Timely tips for first-time homebuyers

Real estate is hot, hot, hot. Just ask anyone trying to buy a home in Vancouver or Toronto. The Teranet-National Bank National Composite House Price Index was up 0.5% in January from December. The rise matched the largest January increases in the index, set in 2003 and 2010. Home prices were up in seven of the 11 metropolitan markets surveyed by Teranet. And the composite index rose above 200 in January, signalling that home prices in the 11 markets as a whole have doubled since June 2005. READ MORE

older