Monthly Archives: May 2016

An advisor’s six top tips for personal finances

AdrianBy Adrian Mastracci, KCM Wealth

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Investors know that not all parts of personal finances are created equal. Some areas definitely have more impact on the money strategies.

Questions always arise as to which ones to best consider closely. I’ve identified a half dozen key money moves for practically everyone.

A smart step for individuals and families is to prioritize my six core financial matters. Place them at the front of the line and attend to them in detail.

Try not to start the discussions within the comforts of your home. Instead, plan a few walks with your spouse and, perhaps, Fido.

It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors and have a relaxed chat about the finances.
Make it a fun outing by indulging in that favourite treat.

My suggestions touch on the core of investing, estate planning and retirement.
Your mission is to ensure that each area delivers.

Explore whether a few tweaks would fortify your foundations.
You want each area to fit like a glove into your total game plan.

I summarize six core areas that benefit from your focus: Continue Reading…

Don’t let Email be your Armageddon

Conceptual image about electronic mail. How internet receive and sending email with Andy Sherwood

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Raymond Tomlinson, who died a few weeks ago, had a lot of impact on your life. Who was Raymond Tomlinson? He was the computer programmer who invented email.

Way back in 1971 he successfully sent a message from one computer to another. He is also the person who popularized use of the ampersand – @ – for electronic communications. In the early days, of course, email was hailed as a great new way to communicate. Today we’re not so sure.

If you watch your finances – whether you are an investor, advisor or pundit – then taking charge of your emails can help you organize your time and make you more productive. And wealthier. In the same way that keeping to a budget, getting out of debt, and trying to save more money can straighten out your financial life, gaining control of your emails can help straighten out your life.

Over reliance on email

Email is certainly an improvement over putting paper in a package and then dropping it into a mailbox and waiting a few days for it to arrive. Email is instantaneous. But people rely on it more than they should. In fact, Continue Reading…

Upgrading technology in the Victory Lap

Depositphotos_107159416_s-2015One of the key elements of the post-corporate Victory Lap Retirement lifestyle is self-employment. If this begins in your late 50s or early 60s, you’ll be living on multiple streams of income. Some of it may be passive, such as pension income (I draw from two modest corporate pensions, for example) or non-registered investment income, but a big component is continued earned income.

If you are no longer a salaried employee, it’s probably best to set up a sole proprietorship or even incorporate. I’ve always run a corporation alongside salaried employment and have found that once you’re fulltime in business for yourself, It’s hard to generate as much pre-tax income as a salaried corporate job does. However, there are significant compensations in time and flexibility, plus the net after-tax proceeds of self-employment are relatively more attractive than being a fully-taxed-at-source salaried employee.

One reason is the allowable deductions or “write-offs” for legitimate business expenses, which may include certain computer equipment, software and some services. Obviously you should consult with a tax professional and engage an accountant because you don’t want to trigger an audit from the Canada Revenue Agency. After all, it’s clear the new Liberal government regards self-employment with suspicion: my guideline is to “assume an audit” and act accordingly.

Time to upgrade equipment

I am writing this article on brand new equipment that replaces products that were as old as six years. My fiscal year-end is the end of May and it’s been a decent year revenue-wise, so it seemed like a good time to book some legitimate expenses. Those whose calendar year-end correspond with their fiscal year (i.e. Dec. 31st) would go through this process at the end the calendar year.

241362-apple-macbook-air-13-inchIn my case, apart from the tax considerations of booking valid deductions, it really was time to upgrade the single most important business tool I use, which was an Apple MacBook Air.

After six years the machine had just about used up its storage and processing capacity and I had begun to lose significant chunks of time rebooting and closing applications. Continue Reading…

How buying a Home makes you Financially Independent

Home insurance concept and family security symbol as a bird nest shaped as a house with a group of fragile eggs inside as a metaphor for protection of residence or parenting.

By Jam Michael McDonald,  Zoocasa

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Buying a home takes a lot of planning and can be an expensive endeavour. You have to think about your down payment, your mortgage and mortgage payments, your expectations on your space, your timeframe, your closing costs—the list is endless.

So if you’re spending a bunch of money, how can buying a home make you more financially independent?

First, change your perspective

Some investments are a lot clearer: put your money into this GIC and you’ll receive this return in this many days. It’s easy to see, easy to calculate, and easy to do.

Investing in real estate is an entirely different game, so you have to think of it differently. You’ll have initial costs, you’ll be forking out money, and you’ll feel kind of broke. And that’s okay. These “expenses” when buying a home should be looked at as part of the overall investment. There are some that are pure cost—home inspection, lawyer fees, other closing costs—but they all allow the transaction to occur, and they’re not extravagant compared to the cost of the home.

Think of a real estate investment as long-term, not short-term; complex, not simple; hands-on, not passive.

You can make real decisions about your home to save you money

As a renter, have you ever received your hydro bill and become really agitated? It’s a common experience: you can’t control your heat (or you only can to a certain extent), so why should you pay for something you can’t control?

As a homeowner, you can make changes that could save you money, with some even boosting the value of your home. You can put in energy-efficient appliances, or replace the windows, saving you on your heating bill while improving the look and value of your house.

The flexibility to cut costs that you possess as a homeowner is far greater than as a renter.

With the right home, you can rent to tenants

Continue Reading…

Climb into a higher tax bracket — and save money has just published the second instalment of my new Retired Money columns. Click on the highlighted headline for the full piece: Climb into a higher tax bracket — and save money.

Yes, the concept may seem at first blush a bit contradictory but strange things can happen when you’re in the netherworld between full-time employment and full-stop retirement.

A period of semi-retirement (or what we call Victory Lap Retirement in an upcoming book I’ve written with Mike Drak) brings with it various opportunities to pay a little more tax than necessary while you’re “basking” in a relatively low tax bracket, in order to pay a lot less tax once those large RRSPs grow into even larger RRIFs and their forced annual (and taxable) withdrawals once you reach age 71.

Emeritus Financial Strategy’s Doug Dahmer

One of the sources for the piece is Emeritus Financial Strategies’ Doug Dahmer, a Hub contributor who has penned many blogs on this theme, most of them housed in the Decumulate & Downsize section. Doug is pictured to the right.

Check out some of his earlier Hub guest blogs:

Debt is more than a four-letter word during your drawdown years. 

Timing of CPP Benefits: Get both a bird in the hand and two in the bush. 

A Rare Breed of Financial Planner.