Hub Blogs

Hub Blogs contains fresh contributions written by Financial Independence Hub staff or contributors that have not appeared elsewhere first, or have been modified or customized for the Hub by the original blogger. In contrast, Top Blogs shows links to the best external financial blogs around the world.

Retired Money: How to boost Retirement Income with Fred Vettese’s 5 enhancements

 Once they move from the wealth accumulation phase to “decumulation” retirees and near-retirees start to focus on how to boost Retirement Income.

The latest instalment of my MoneySense Retired Money column looks at five “enhancements” to do this, all contained in Fred Vettese’s about-to-be-published book, Retirement Income for Life, subtitled Getting More Without Saving More. You can find the full column by clicking on this highlighted headline: A Guide to Having Retirement Income for Life.

You’ll be seeing various reviews of this book as it becomes available online late in February and likely in bookstores by early March. I predict it will be a bestseller since it taps the huge market of baby boomers turning 65 (1,100 every day!): including author Fred Vettese and even Yours Truly in a few months time.

That’s because a lot of people need help in generating a pension-like income from savings, typically RRSPs, group RRSPs and Defined Contribution plans, TFSAs, non-registered investments and the like. In other words, anybody who doesn’t enjoy a guaranteed-for-life Defined Benefit pension plan, of the type that are still common in the public sector but becoming rare in the private sector.

The core of the book are the five “enhancements” Vettese has identified that help to ensure that those seeking to pensionize their nest eggs (to paraphrase the title of Moshe Milevsky’s book that covers some of this ground) don’t outlive their money. Vettese says many of these concepts are current in the academic literature but have been slow to migrate to the mainstream, in part because few of these “enhancements” will be welcomed by the typical commission-compensated financial advisor. That in itself will make this book controversial.

Each of these “enhancements” get a whole chapter but in a nutshell they are:

1.) Enhancement 1: Reducing Fees

By moving from high-fee mutual funds or similar vehicles to low-cost ETFs (exchange-traded funds), Vettese explains how investment fees can be cut from 1.5 to 3% to as little as 0.5% a year, all of which goes directly to boosting retirement income flows. One of his takeaways is that “Tangible evidence of added value from active management is hard to find.”

2.)  Enhancement 2: Deferring CPP Pension

We’ve covered the topic of deferring CPP to age 70 frequently in various articles, some of which can be found here on the Hub’s search engine. Even so, very few Canadians opt to wait till age 70 to collect the Canada Pension Plan. Because CPP is a valuable inflation-indexed guaranteed for life instrument — in effect, an annuity that you can never outlive — Vettese argues for deferral, although he (like me) is fine with taking Old Age Security as soon as it’s available at age 65. He argues that for someone who contributed to CPP until age 65, they can boost their CPP income by almost 50% by waiting till 70 to collect.  “You are essentially transferring some of your investment risk and longevity risk back to the government, and you are doing so at zero cost.” Continue Reading…

How to enjoy a healthy retirement (literally!)

By Rachel Jackson

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Whether it’s junk  food, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or simply laziness there are many things that can lead to an unhealthy life. Not being health conscious can have dire consequences and you can easily walk yourself into an early grave if you don’t take care of your body. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With these tips to live by, you can stay healthy well into your retirement years.

1.) Keep fit

No matter what your age, you should be exercising regularly and doing your best to stay fit. While you don’t need to become a marathon runner or boxing expert, try to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day to maintain a healthy body and mind. Don’t believe that you have to tone it down when you reach a certain age either: your body will keep up with what you offer it. If you don’t start running until the age of 50 then you might have some problems but someone who regularly runs well into their fifties will be able to keep it up. Exercise helps to strengthen your heart, keep your body working and mobile and release endorphins to ease stress and improve mood.

2.) Eat healthily

There’s nothing wrong with a treat now and then but you need to stick to well-balanced meals and healthy snacks for the most part if you want to live for a long time. Eating the wrong diet, can result in  obesity, diabetes, digestive problems, heart problems and high cholesterol. And that’s only the start. Eat well: remember that when you put good stuff in, you will get bad stuff out.

3.) Laugh often

One of the best ways to extend your life is to enjoy it. Failing to spend time with friends and family, to entertain yourself, to have fun and laugh daily can be almost as harmful to your health as smoking or drinking. If you enjoy yourself, you exercise your heart muscles, ease stress and tension and keep a positive mind. If you don’t, you increase your risk of depression, illness, and complications associated with stress such as heart attacks.  Continue Reading…

Financial Planning for blended families

By Scott Evans

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

It may not be the most romantic topic to discuss on Valentine’s Day but it may be the most valuable for long-term happiness in your relationship. 40% of blended families admit to not discussing finances before moving in together but when you blend families there’s a long list of items for you and your partner to figure out. Your finances should be near the top. Dealing with financial issues early can go a long way to ensuring this next chapter in your life is all you want it to be.

Holding property – together or apart?

One of the first decisions you’ll have to make as a couple is whether to own property jointly or in separate names. What you decide will affect the way you manage money now, and determine how your wealth is passed on.

Some property like an RRSP or TFSA must be registered solely. But for other assets, including investment accounts, GICs or real estate, you have the option of sharing ownership.

Arranging joint title is handy where unrestricted, convenient access for either party is important; daily bank accounts are an example. It can also make sense if you want to share your property with your partner now and leave those assets to them when you die. Holding property as joint tenants with right of survivorship ensures ownership will transition smoothly to the surviving spouse. However, tenancy if your partner makes bad financial choices it could also impact you and your creditworthiness.

Keeping title separate is an option if you’re concerned about clearly tracing who brought which assets, or debts, to the relationship. On the other hand, if you still prefer sharing ownership with your significant other there’s an alternative: holding property as tenants-in-common.

Let’s say you bring assets from a prior relationship which you plan to leave to your children from that earlier union, rather than to your new partner or stepchildren. Instead of having title transferred automatically to your spouse upon your death as would happen in a joint tenancy, as tenants-in-common your share of the property remains part of your estate, meaning title can be passed to your heirs according to your will. You won’t be relying on your new spouse to ultimately decide your children’s inheritance.

Don’t forget to update important documents

Review key documents to ensure they still reflect your intentions. Including:

  • Beneficiary and related designations for RRSPs, RRIFs, TFSAs, life insurance policies and workplace pensions. At death, registered investments can generally transfer to your new spouse without immediate tax consequences.
  • Your will. In BC and Alberta, a will is no longer automatically revoked by marriage. That means any directives stated in your will, including those made benefitting your ex-spouse, stay in effect unless you alter them. However, no matter where you live, it is important to review your will during life events such as divorce or marriage.
  • Power of attorney and executor appointments. In blended family situations where adult children are involved, consider naming a third-party professional like a lawyer or trust company to these roles. Doing so can help head off any family conflict, while ensuring duties are carried out properly.

Options for estate planning

Continue Reading…

Why Saving alone isn’t the best way to Financial Independence

By Elizabeth Lee

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

You’ve been told your entire life that you’ll never be able to accomplish anything unless you have a padded savings account: that every penny you can possibly set aside should be set aside, and you should absolutely never touch it.

You may even have been told that this is the only way you’ll become financially independent. You’ve been told wrong.

Saving is crucially important, but it’s important for entirely different reasons. You shouldn’t go out and spend your nest egg indiscriminately, but spending some of it might help you create a better and stronger independent (“findependent”) future. It all depends on how you strategize.

Why Saving is important

If you’re spending all your money as it comes in, what happens when you run into an expense you didn’t know was coming? Your car breaks down, you need to travel for a destination wedding, you find out you’re going to be a parent a little earlier than you’d originally planned, or you need to go to urgent care for a pesky sinus infection. How are you going to pay for it?

You had no idea that it was coming, and you didn’t budget for any of those things, because you didn’t know they were coming. If you don’t have savings, you might be set so far off track that you need to borrow to pay the bills. Without a savings account, you’re never truly protected from the financial variables life might throw your way.

Why Saving alone won’t make you Financially Independent

You need to spend money to live. Having a pile of money that isn’t doing anything for you won’t unlock a brighter future. Even in a high-yield savings account, the interest won’t amount to much. Financial independence means increasing your income, rather than just having an emergency stash to fall back on when something unexpected happens.

The idea of having savings is not to touch them unless you absolutely need to. The more savings you have, the more protected you are. But they aren’t helping you grow. Financial independence comes through growth, and it’s achieving that goal that will set you up for a smooth ride into your future. Continue Reading…

An Update on the 2017 Corporate Tax Proposals

By Robert G. Kepes

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

You have probably seen that ad on CNN with an apple and chattering teeth sliding in front of it. The voiceover says one is an apple and the other is a distraction. The ad concludes: “But it will never change the fact that this is an apple.”

The ad is a not-too-discreet dig at shenanigans currently taking place in Washington, D.C., and may also have some traction on this side of the border, especially where it concerns the federal government’s tax proposals.

Back on July 18, 2017, the federal government released its first take on tax proposals involving tax-planning strategies of private corporations, including many professional corporations. The feds announced a period of consultations to discuss proposed policy changes involving the taxation of corporate passive investment income, such as interest or dividends.

Income sprinkling a key focus

The government’s wish, which actually went back to the federal Budget released in March, 2017, was to close alleged tax loopholes, bring fairness back to the tax system, and end tax-planning strategies in which the rich may take unfair advantage. The strategy also looked at income sprinkling among family members using private corporations. Income sprinkling  allows the corporation to pay dividend income to the founder’s spouse and children, in lieu of the founder paying tax at the highest rate on all his/her income earned. Overall tax savings for the family is achieved through a combination of the founder’s top tax-rate salary, and low-tax dividends to the spouse and children. Continue Reading…