Family Formation & Housing

For young couples starting families, buying their first home and/or other real estate. Covers mortgages, credit cards, interest rates, children’s education savings plans, joint accounts for couples and the like.

Burn Your Mortgage: The simple, powerful path to Financial Freedom

By Sean Cooper

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Five years ago I read Jonathan Chevreau’s financial novel, Findependence Day, and it changed my life forever.

One of the central themes of the book is that the foundation of Financial Independence is a paid-for home. I wasn’t a fan of six figures of mortgage debt hanging over my head for the next 30 years, so I aimed to pay off my mortgage as quickly as possible.

A little over a year ago I reached my goal of “Findependence” when I burned my mortgage – literally. I paid off my home in Toronto in just three years by age 30. Thanks to a stroke of luck and good timing, the story went viral, making headlines around the world from the U.K. to Australia. I received hundreds of email from people congratulating me and wanting to follow in my footsteps.

This inspired to me write my new book, Burn Your Mortgage: The Simple, Powerful Path to Financial Freedom for CanadiansWith home prices skyrocketing in cities like Toronto and Vancouver, many feel like  the dream of homeownership is out of reach. I’m here to tell you that it’s not. I may have paid off my mortgage in three years, but that doesn’t mean you have to. There are simple yet effective lifestyle changes that anyone — from new buyers to experienced homeowners — can make to pay down their mortgage sooner.

Some people argue it doesn’t make sense to pay down your mortgage early with interest rates near record lows. I see it differently. Instead of using low interest rates as an excuse to pile on more debt, use them as an opportunity to pay down the single biggest debt of your lifetime: your mortgage.

Here’s an excerpt from my book that looks at why you’re most likely better off paying down your mortgage instead of investing. [Editor’s Note: the official launch of the book is today.]

Why pay down your Mortgage when you can come out ahead Investing?

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How to Supersize your RESP – Use it as a TFSA and other tips

By Aaron Hector, Doherty & Bryant Financial Strategists Inc.

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

The purpose of this article is to show you how to think outside the box and use an RESP [Registered Education Savings Plan) in ways that you may not have previously considered. But before we get to that, let’s look at the basics.

How does an RESP work?

To help you save for your child’s post secondary education, the government provides a 20% match by way of the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG). The CESG matching is subject to both annual and lifetime maximums.  Specifically, on your first $2,500 of contributions each year, you’ll receive $500 in grant money, to a maximum of $7,200 in lifetime grants per child. To illustrate over time, if you contribute $2,500 per year, you will max out the grants available to you in 15 years (14 years at $2,500 + 1 year at $1,000, with a 20% match = $7,200).

If you don’t start making contributions when your child is born, or if there’s a lapse in contribution installments, you are able to ‘reach back’ and receive grants for previous years. You can reach back one year at a time. Therefore, you could consider a contribution of up to $5,000 this year if you missed making a contribution last year, or any year prior, and that would net you a CESG of $1,000 in total- $500 for the current year grant, and $500 for a prior year grant. The carryforward of unused CESG accumulates for every year including the year of birth, regardless of whether you have actually opened an RESP account.
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Why it may get tougher for Toronto move-up home buyers

By Penelope Graham, Zoocasa

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

It’s no secret the Toronto real estate market is one of Canada’s toughest: scant supply and spiralling prices make it exceedingly difficult for first timers to break in.

However, given the average detached house price has surpassed $1.3 million, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board, it can be even more challenging for buyers needing an upgrade – and a recent City Hall proposal threatens to make it even costlier to move up in the market.

The City of Toronto’s Executive Committee has been mulling over hiking the land transfer taxation rate for the portion of homes valued between $250,000 to $400,000 to 1.5%: a 0.5% increase. The move would effectively “harmonize” the municipal tax rate with the province of Ontario’s, and raise $77 million for the city’s beleaguered budget. It would also equate to a $750 increase on top of the $11,000 already paid in Land Transfer Taxes to City Hall. Enough is enough, argues the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

Double the tax in Toronto

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The Canada Child Benefit – 4 key planning points to consider

By Aaron Hector, Doherty & Bryant Financial Strategists Inc.

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Budget 2016 introduced a new child benefit program called the Canada Child Benefit (CCB). This program replaced the UCCB, and despite their similar acronyms, they are very different from one another.

The U in UCCB stood for universal, and it was just that. Every Canadian resident family with a child under 18 received a benefit. For children aged 0-5, the amount was $160/month and for children aged 6-17 the amount was $60/month. This benefit was taxable as income to the lower income earning spouse (or single caregiving parent).

In contrast, CCB payments are tax-free. Eligibility for CCB payments are based on your family’s combined net income. The word “net” is important as it leads into other tax planning ideas that we will explore a little later on. In general terms, when compared with the UCCB the new program provides a higher benefit for lower and middle-income families at the expense of reduced benefits for high-income families. The specific calculation is as follows:

Step 1 – Calculate the maximum benefit

1. For each child aged 0-5 there is a maximum benefit of $6,400
2. For each child aged 6-17 there is a maximum benefit of $5,400 Continue Reading…

Billy & Akaisha’s 3 Lessons on how they reached their Victory Lap

Almost 3 decades of retirement and we still have a great time on a boat ride across Lake Atitlan

By Billy and Akasha Kaderli,

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Retirement is a great achievement, but it’s not static. It’s not like once you arrive you can forget about it and put it on auto-pilot. It’s an interactive manner of living that continues to respond to our input, the new skills we learn and how our goals modify. Hopefully we continue to grow and change, making our retirement sustainable and sweeter to live.

Below you will find three of our most effective lessons on retirement that will enrich you and increase your enjoyment along your path in financial freedom.

Control housing costs and you can live anywhere

This is a well-kept secret of retirement. The cost of housing is one of the largest financial outlays in anyone’s household no matter what age you are, and if you modify the price you pay for your residence, you have the financial freedom to virtually afford living anywhere in the world.

In other words, if you could save tens of thousands of dollars a year on mortgage payments or rent, insurance, maintenance and repairs, how would that affect your life? What if you could live in Paris or on a Caribbean island for free? You can do that, if you house sit. Continue Reading…