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.

What you need to know about TFSAs and estate planning

Sorting out “successor survivor” vs. “designated beneficiary”

When you open a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), you’ll likely be asked whether you wish to specify something called a “successor holder” or whether you want to designate a beneficiary. If you’re not sure what all this means, welcome to the club. Legal jargon can be daunting. So here’s a look at what all this means, and the implications for your estate planning. READ MORE

RRSP or TFSA: Torn between two plans?

The good news is it’s not an either-or decision

Many investors are torn between contributing to an RRSP and putting funds into a TFSA. Is one plan better than the other? In fact, both vehicles are excellent tax shelters, but each serves a different purpose. Here’s a look at the differences, and how to make them work for you. READ MORE

How to get year-end TFSA information from the CRA

It’s available, but forget about calling

Still looking to contribute to a Tax-Free Savings Account before the end of the year? If you’re not sure how much contribution room you have available for this year, you’ll have to do some digging. Unlike RRSP contribution room, that information is not shown on your annual Notice of Assessment. But getting that and other information on registered accounts and on your tax status in general isn’t easy. Here’s a primer on contacting the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). READ MORE

TFSA contribution confusion

Should you max out the $10,000 contribution for 2015?

Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) sound simple. But they’re not. There’s an array of rules and regulations involved. One of the most common questions I’m asked is whether you would lose this year’s contribution opportunity forever if you don’t contribute. And this year, the issue is complicated even further by an increase in the contribution limit to $10,000 that the previous Conservative government enacted for 2015, which the new Trudeau Liberal government has rolled back starting next year. READ MORE

Don’t wait: open a TFSA now!

Higher TFSA contribution limit is a real game changer

The revised contribution limit for Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSA) really is a game changer. With the annual contribution limit raised to $10,000 from the previous $5,500, the TFSA is now a truly serious contender for the title of Canada’s best individual tax sheltered investment account, which had been long held by the venerable Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). READ MORE

New Year’s resolutions you can keep

Don’t set impossible financial goals

The New Year is a great time for making resolutions and for taking control of your finances. Easy to say, but not so easy to do! When you resolve something vague like, “I promise to spend less in 2015,” that’s a resolution that you’re almost certainly bound break, probably sooner rather than later. So here are four financial resolutions to help you get your financial life on track that you won’t break by mid-February. READ MORE

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