All posts by Jonathan Chevreau

Blockchain Revolution, Global Prosperity and Prosperium

What does the Blockchain Revolution have to do with global prosperity and what’s this new cybercurrency called Prosperium?

Let’s start with the bestselling book Blockchain Revolution, by technology guru Don Tapscott and his son Alex, a former investment banker. I recently re-read the book in preparation for a series of blogs I am doing for a cybercurrency start-up called Prosperium ( Prosperium promotes and more importantly intends to generate actual community prosperity. This blog you’re now reading is the debut of that series.

My connection with the firm is through a serial entrepreneur and Canadian internet commerce pioneer named Tony Humble, who was the co-founder of Basis 100 (BAS: TSX). I have previously done business with Tony via The Wealthy Boomer magazine and website (which ran from 1999 to 2005) and later my financial novel Findependence Day, which spawned the Financial Independence Hub (where you’re reading this blog.)

We’ll look at Prosperium and its business model specifically in the follow-up blog to this, including interviews with Prosperium’s founder, Doug Coyle (shown in photo near the end of this blog). But let’s focus first on Blockchain Revolution, since the book is as its title implies a revolutionary blueprint for all things fin-tech, including cybercurrencies like the original Bitcoin and everything spawned in its wake, including Canadian-inspired firms like Ethereum and now Prosperium.

I attended the original launch of the Tapscotts’ book at the Rotman School on May 5, 2016 and you can find my review at the Financial Post and a subsequent one on the Hub. The FP review ran the day after the launch, and the headline is as good a place to kick off this second look at the book: Bitcoin and Blockchain could be the start of a bigger revolution than the Internet itself.

Don Tapscott (L) and Alex Tapscott (R).

Rather than repeat my points in this limited space I refer readers first to that review and then to my first Hub review of the book, which ran on June 1st, 2016. At the end you can find a link to a half-hour YouTube video produced by in which Norman Evans (the Hub’s creative director) and I interviewed both Tapscotts and some others who attended the Rotman launch.

Blockchain promises a quantum leap in global prosperity

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Retired Money: Cashing RRSP to pay off debt is a poor strategy

Should you cash in your RRSP to pay off debt? While some prospective retirees may be tempted to do so, this is one of a score of damaging financial myths, according to insolvency trustee and author Doug Hoyes.

I mention this in my latest MoneySense Retired Money column, which has just been published. You can retrieve it by clicking on the highlighted headline here: The wrong way to pay off Debt.

As I say in the article, Cashing in your RRSP to pay off debt is Myth #9 of 22 common financial misconceptions outlined in Hoyes’ new book, Straight Talk on Your Money (cover shown adjacent: we share a common publisher.)

Hoyes is particularly concerned about senior debt in Canada and how these myths can affect their retirement. Myth #10 often afflicts retired seniors: that Payday Loans are a Short-term Fix for a Temporary Problem.

Seniors racking up debt faster than other age groups

Earlier this week in the Financial Post, columnist Garry Marr reported that Seniors in Canada are racking up debt faster than the rest of the population. Over the past year, senior debt grew by 4.3%, according to a survey published Tuesday by Atlanta-based Equifax Inc. Continue Reading…

Paycheque to paycheque: the fate of half of Canada’s employees

Living paycheque to paycheque? You’re hardly alone. As my latest Financial Post blog reprises today, almost half of Canadian workers (47%) told the Canadian Payroll Association’s 2017 survey that they’d find it hard to meet their financial obligations if their pay cheque were delayed by even a single week.

You can find the full blog by clicking on the highlighted headline here: Nearly half of Canadians would face a financial crunch if paycheque delayed by even a week, survey shows. The  article also appears in the Thursday print edition, page FP5, under the headline Nearly half of Canadians walk financial tightrope.

As I point out at the end of the FP piece, there’s some irony in that the way out of this savings conundrum is to make an effort to save paycheque by paycheque: a strategy the CPA and other financial experts generally term “Pay Yourself First.”

That means using your financial institution’s pre-authorized chequing arrangements (PACs) to automatically divert 10% of net pay into savings the moment a paycheque hits your bank account. Just like income taxes taken off “at source,” the idea is that you won’t miss what you don’t actually receive.

Pay Yourself First

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If an enhanced CPP takes you off GIS rolls, count your blessings!

Let’s HOPE this advisor’s financial plan means this senior couple won’t qualify for the GIS!

Here’s my latest MoneySense column, which looks at the headline-grabbing “news” that an  Enhanced Canada Pension Plan (CPP) would mean roughly 243,000 low-income seniors might not be eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) once the full-bore enhanced CPP system is in place in the year 2060.

Click on the highlighted headline for the full piece: Retirees should be happy not to qualify for GIS.

None of the five financial experts whose input appears in the piece disagreed with this article’s premise: that far from being a bad thing to make so much from CPP (or any other source of retirement income) that you exceed GIS minimum income thresholds, it’s actually a good thing. Yes, you have to work at a job to earn CPP benefits, whether “enhanced” or not, and yes, this entails payroll contributions taken off the top. That’s no different than anyone with a good employer pension or who saves in RRSPs or any other vehicles.

That’s what saving is all about: providing for future needs by taking a little out of current income. It’s all about living within your means, being responsible for your own future and all the other themes that the Financial Independence Hub espouses every day.

The Hub and MoneySense recently looked in-depth at OAS and the GIS, which you can find here.  And earlier today we looked at Survivor benefits for CPP, OAS, GIS and other sources of retirement income.

One of the sources for the GIS article was TriDelta Financial’s wealth advisor, Matthew Ardrey. Time and space limitations meant we could include only a snippet of Matthew’s analysis in the MoneySense column itself but he has given us permission to run his whole opinion below:

TriDelta Financial’s Matthew Ardrey

The government plans to enhance CPP through two measures. One, increasing the contribution amount from 25% to 33% and two by increasing the income limit on which contributions are made to $82,700. Combined these two measures will take the maximum pension of $13,370 today to about $20,000 in the future.

There will be some measures to offset these contributions for the employee including an enhanced Working Income Tax Benefit (WTIB) to help offset the cost for lower income workers and making the enhanced contributions a tax deduction instead of a tax credit. Though that helps out today it does nothing for the low-income earner in retirement.
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Retired Money: Pension Survivor Benefits

Pension Survivor Benefits are one of those morbid topics every couple needs to investigate. No matter how happy a marriage may be, at some point the phrase “till Death do us part” sadly comes into play.

My latest MoneySense Retired Money column looks at the somewhat morbid topic of survivor benefits on employer pensions, savings and especially the triad of the three major Government retirement benefits we’ve looked at in recent Retired Money columns: the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS) and for some, the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).

You can access the full MoneySense column by clicking on the highlighted headline here: Survivor Benefits: A Guide to CPP, OAS, GIS and more.

The piece begins with a look at the more or less straightforward survivor benefits of employer-sponsored pensions. It notes that pension law requires that you and your spouse be offered a joint-and-survivor pension that makes payouts until both partners die. While pension administrators will likely encourage the pensioner to provide for the spouse, some may offer a spouse the option to waive their pension rights.

Depending on the paperwork signed when you elected to start receiving a corporate pension, your spouse may be entitled to a good percentage of what the lead pensioner is promised: it can range from 50% to two thirds to 75% and may even be 100%.

Things are relatively simply on RRSPs and RRIFs. Ideally you and your spouse have named each other the beneficiary on your RRSPs and eventually RRIFs. If so, the rules are relatively simple: the money in the one spouse’s plan rolls over tax-free to the survivor. It’s only when the second spouse dies that there will be a large tax liability to the government.

Tax-free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), introduced in 2009, have a special wrinkle and here we will refer you to a past Retired Money column. The main thing is to ensure you and your partner do the paperwork and name each other a Successor Holder for your respective TFSAs.

Given the preceding, readers may be surprised to find that survivor benefits for CPP, OAS and GIS are quite a bit more complex, and may be less generous than you may have supposed.

No real OAS Survivor Benefit after 65

For starters, there really is no OAS Survivor benefit after 65, since Ottawa assumes the survivor will have their own OAS benefits. There is an income-tested transitional benefit called the Allowance for the Survivor but it’s only for those aged 60 to 64 and subject to various conditions.  Service Canada says once these beneficiaries reach age 65, their benefit is converted to an OA pension and “possibly the Guaranteed Income Supplement.”

Similarly, Survivor Benefits for CPP may be less than couples may have been hoping for, particularly if both had been receiving the maximum.  A survivor who is 65 or older and not already receiving CPP benefits qualifies for a survivor benefit of 60% of the deceased spouse’s CPP pension, assuming benefits beginning at 65.

Combined CPP Survivor Benefit and Retirement Pension can’t exceed $1,114.17 a month

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