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.

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Steps to successful estate planning

Peace of mind in the pandemic year

Financial planning is all about preparing for the future. That covers a lot of ground, of course, from retirement planning to estate planning. Even in the best of times, it’s prudent to have a solid estate plan in place, so that your estate doesn’t end up in the hands of the government and the courts to divvy up your assets. That never ends happily. So with heightened awareness now about the health risks associated with the potentially deadly COVID-19 virus, it makes sense to make a plan to ensure peace of mind for you and your family. Take a look at what elements of estate planning you have in place, and what you might need to re-visit or set up from scratch.
So here are a few key items to consider when thinking about an estate plan.

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Getting set for RESP withdrawals

Time to pay the post-secondary piper

Around about this time of year, the great Canadian university hunt gets into full swing. Universities make the rounds at high schools and fairs, looking to entice students to their schools. Students and parents make the rounds, check the programs, visit the universities, and make their applications. In the fall, the kids go off to college. And the tuition bills come in. That’s when it’s time to start making withdrawals from Registered Education Savings Plans (if you had the foresight to set them up, say, 15 years ago!) The rules for RESP withdrawals are fairly simple, but there are a few wrinkles to be aware of. READ MORE

How to get tax-free money in 2020

These plans will help you create tax-free dollars

If your New Year’s financial resolutions have already evaporated, despite your best intentions, you might try just one more: create tax-free dollars. There’s no special magic involved here. Nor is there any particularly daunting effort needed. The money is just sitting there waiting for you to take it. Here’s how. READ MORE

Year-end money management strategies

These tax and investment tips could save you a bundle

Year-end is fast approaching, and with the holiday season getting into full swing, you probably won’t want to think about investments and taxes. Still, there are a few tax and investment moves you could make before Dec. 31 that could save you a few bucks in tax come next April. So here’s my annual list of favorite year-end tax and investment tips. 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

When the CRA comes calling

Refunds and reassessments

Around this time of the year, most taxpayers who filed a tax return in April will be receiving a Notice of Assessment, perhaps with a refund cheque, or what’s worse, a Notice of Reassessment, often with a demand for more tax payment. It’s important to deal with these issues, because each can have an impact on your tax planning for the year. READ MORE

Year-end tax and investment planning tips

They could save you a bundle

Even though most of us are preoccupied with other things at this time of year, there is a handful of year-end investment and tax tips that make a lot of sense to look at now. That’s because they could save you money now and next April, when it’s time to pay your taxes.

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