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.

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…

3 tips for raising a family in a Condo

By Penelope Graham, Zoocasa

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Healthy demand is forecasted for Canada’s condo markets in 2017, and it’s not just young professionals and investors fueling the boom. As low-rise housing prices grow further out of reach, families are increasingly turning to condo life as an affordable housing option.

For many, condos offer the only affordably entry point into the market, especially in Vancouver and Toronto real estate. And while some buyers choose to “drive until they qualify,” suburb life isn’t desirable to everyone, prompting buyers to increasingly sacrifice space to live within city limits.

The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) reports demand for high-rise units surged more than any other housing type in 2016, with 20,860 units changing hands – a 19.9% increase. In comparison, detached homes – despite being extremely highly sought – saw a year-over-year change of over 3.10% in the 416 region as sales were limited by tight supply.

Condos still an affordable option

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House shopping for Millennials

By Barney Whistance

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

In the wake of a new generation now growing up and planning to settle down, one of the biggest concerns for them is finding a place to live. Finding a house for you and your spouse to live in is one of the most important decisions that you will have to take. Therefore, it should not be taken lightly. There are a lot of factors for you to consider when you set out to purchase or get a house on mortgage.  You have to be certain about your choice as you will be the one living with it for a major part of your life.

Your financial situation is the biggest aspect you have to consider when making a decision like that. Once you know your financial point and how much you can afford, you must decide on where you want to live.  Planning everything step by step always gets the work done more smoothly and also makes your choice easier.


Talk about your finances with your partner, so in order to set a budget, you already know how much you both have. Once you have done the initial financial scrutiny, you can decide which plan you should be applying for. Continue Reading…