Financial harmony on St. Valentine’s Day

Cents and sensibility

Valentine’s Day can be gushingly romantic, stressful, and exciting all at the same time. For many couples, it can often lead to proposals of marriage or other forms of co-habitation. If you find yourself in that happy situation, congratulations! But before things get too far advanced, it might be an idea to sit down with your significant other and talk about your financial future, too. When I meet with young (or older) couples getting ready to tie the knot, I offer these key financial planning principles to help them get off on the right foot financially. READ MORE

RRSP still the best choice for most Canadians

Powerful tax-deferred retirement savings plan

Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) are still the best retirement saving and tax-deferral opportunity available for most Canadians. Trouble is, many of us just don’t use RRSPs to their full advantage. Unused RRSP “contribution room” – that is, the amount of eligible RRSP contributions that have not been made – is currently over a trillion dollars. That’s a lot of contribution money that isn’t being tax-sheltered, and that is not giving anyone a tax deduction either. READ MORE

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

New year, new you!

Yes, you can spruce up your personal finances for 2020

The beginning of the New Year is often a time to turn a new financial leaf: make a budget; pay down debt; save more. That’s all commendable, but these good intentions are mostly forgotten by, say, mid-February. A better idea is to take stock of your entire financial situation. Review what’s important and prioritize the items you need to take action on. Here’s a guide to help you get started. READ MORE

Planning for the single life

Robyn Thompson is featured on CHCH TV’s “Morning Live” with six key financial planning essentials for women who are going through a divorce.

Paving the way to early retirement

Robyn Thompson is featured in The Globe and Mail’s “Financial Facelift” series by Diane Maley. This time, high earners Toby and Cheryl wonder how to achieve their goals of a luxury lifestyle now while providing for their kids’ education and targeting an early retirement. Read Robyn Thompson’s advice on how this power couple can achieve their short- and long-term goals with a tax-efficient re-set of their scattershot finances and investments into an integrated financial plan.

Protection against investment loss is hard to come by

Guarantees are expensive, insurance is limited

As stock markets gyrate alarmingly in this season of market volatility, novice investors often start to have second thoughts about their investment strategy, especially those novices who don’t have a financial plan, an investment strategy policy, or a clue about their real tolerance for risk. That’s when financial advisors start to get questions about “guaranteed” investments and deposit insurance and segregated funds, and other types of vehicles that seem to offer safe haven or some protection against loss. Let’s take a look at some of these, and see what’s really involved.

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Do you need all that insurance?

The big business of life, mortgage, and critical illness insurance

Insurance is a numbers game. Anyone who has ever purchased any kind of life or health insurance knows this firsthand. But here’s one number you won’t often hear about: $4.7 trillion (no mistake, that’s a “T”). That’s how much life insurance coverage is owned by the 22 million Canadians who have policies, according to the Canada Life and Health Insurance Association 2018 report. In 2017, that represented $21.4 billion in premiums. And the average coverage per household is $417,000. Health insurance added another $43 billion in premiums. No doubt about it – insurance is big business in Canada. Here’s a quick look at the types of insurance advisors are asked about most frequently. READ MORE

Three first steps for the suddenly rich

Financial planning for lottery winnings, inheritances, gifts

For those few who are lucky major lottery prize winners or for those who have inherited sudden wealth, the real question isn’t how to spend it…it’s how to keep it. For people in this rarefied group, my advice is always to start with these three first steps. READ MORE

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