Happy 2016, and a few financial New Year’s Resolutions

new year goals or resolutions - colorful sticky notes on a blackboard

To all readers of FindependenceDay.com, we wish a very happy — and Findependent! –2016.

A reminder that as of January 1st, 2016, you can contribute a further $5,500 to your Tax-free Savings Account or TFSA. That’s the first thing they remind you of at RBC Direct Investing, one of the main two financial institutions our family uses.

I have to admit that personally I’ve made no formal list of New Year’s Resolutions, although I have declared that I’d like to take my stress levels down a tad, perhaps by using the word “No” a little more often. We’ll see.

In the meantime, for a good formal list of financial New Year’s Resolutions, the Financial Post’s Angela Hickman recently published a good starting point. Click on Five financial resolutions for 2016, and how to (really) make them happen.

Below, I’ve taken the liberty of summarizing the 5 points. Again, click the red link above for the full piece.

1.) I resolve to figure out my finances

2. I resolve to stick to a budget

3. ) I resolve to get out of debt

4.) I resolve to save more

5.) I resolve to stop wasting money

These are all valid suggestions and especially useful for younger folks for whom financial independence is still a faraway goal.

7 eternal truths can also become New Year’s Resolutions

Read more

The Gift of Findependence

Drak-2014

Michael Drak

By Michael Drak

Special to FindependenceDay.com

Today there are a number of early-retirement bloggers out there doing great work, teaching people how important it is to adopt a frugal lifestyle so they can quickly regain their freedom.

They continue to preach the merits of “early retirement” but as far as I can tell none of the one’ I follow are really retired. They continue to earn money from some activity but the key difference is that they earn that money on their own terms doing something they enjoy. They have earned the option to take a traditional full-stop retirement but for some reason have chosen not to. The question we all need to ask yourselves is why?

The other day I read an article in the Toronto Star about “Canada’s Youngest Retiree” and his book that outlines the strategy that enabled him to retire at the early age of 34. The article went on to say he authored six national best-selling books after retiring and became a millionaire through investing.

Why not retire at 14 and make millions revealing how you did it?

I found the article interesting and said to my son Austin (who still lives at home): “Why don’t you pack in school, and retire? Being 14 years of age we could probably get you into the Guinness Book of Records as the earliest retiree on record. Then all you have to do is write some best-selling books about how you were able to retire at such an early age, go out on the seminar circuit and preach to everyone about how you were able to do it.

photo-27

Canada’s next youngest retiree, 14-year-old Austin Drak?

You will make millions as people always want to find the quick-fix, the easy way to become financially independent without doing all the hard work. Austin was really excited about retiring and not having to go to school anymore but then the Contessa got involved and let’s just say that was the end of that.

I’m concerned we are being oversold on the illusion of early retirement as if it will be the solution to all our problems. Believe me on this, it will not be. You still need to have a well-thought game plan for what you plan to do for the rest of your life. In simple words, you need to find something fulfilling to do. Based on their actions most of the early-retirement bloggers and Canada’s Youngest Retiree would seem to agree.

A Retirement Lesson from my Father 

Read more

Speed your Findependence Day with the $10K TFSA limit: join petition to keep it

d23ad08526748111987b5e9b9fd1c19b_400x400By Catherine Swift

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

The campaign of Working Canadians to save the $10,000 limit on Tax-free Savings Accounts is really gaining momentum.

We have always known Canadians love their TFSAs for their simplicity, flexibility and as a valuable tool to permit tax-efficient retirement savings.

Just this week our campaign was bolstered by an Angus-Reid public opinion poll, which reveals that the promise by the new federal government to reduce the TFSA limit is opposed by a majority of Canadians. So of the 11 million who have money in a TFSA, more than 5.5 million of them like the higher limit of $10,000 implemented by the Conservative administration earlier this year.

As well they should. The facts have convincingly shown that the justifications the Liberals claim to support the limit reduction – that “TFSAs are mostly a tool for the rich and cost the treasury too much in foregone revenue” – are just plain wrong.

All we want is pension parity for the middle class

When the federal government continues to pour tens of billions of our tax dollars into generous, indexed public-sector pensions every year, it’s hard to swallow the fact that a billion or so “lost” to TFSAs is somehow unacceptable. These public-sector pensions are also grossly underfunded. Read more

Will the Liberal landslide delay your Findependence Day?

The “Hair” Apparent? National Post.com

The Financial Post provides my take on last night’s Liberal landslide, as it pertains to Financial Independence in this blog that just was published online: So long $10,000 TFSA, and other personal finance fallout from the federal election.

The gist is that we’ll likely lose the $10,000 annual contribution TFSA limits that were only hiked earlier this year but as aging boomers move into semi-retirement or full retirement, it’s likely they’ll fall into the middle tax bracket where the Liberals’ 1.5 percentage point cut should provide several hundreds of dollars of annual tax savings. There are also significant implications for an expanded Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and I expect that Ontario will now no longer see a need for the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan or ORPP.

Plenty of other links via my Twitter feed (@JonChevreau), which can also be viewed under the new “Social” tab over at the Hub.

UPDATE Oct 21. See the updated version of this blog at sister site Financial Independence Hub, with links to various Financial Post stories by me, by Jamie Golombek on tax bracket changes, Garry Marr on lost TFSA limits, and Fred Vettese on an expanded CPP and probable elimination of the ORPP.

How to maximize your CPP benefits

Because the Financial Independence Hub is being moved today to a new server to accommodate ever-rising volumes of web traffic, for today we have taken the liberty of posting the normal Monday “Hub” blog here at sister site FindependenceDay.com. The guest blog below is on optimizing CPP benefits:  the same subject as my Financial Post column that ran online today under the headline: Optimizing Your CPP is no trivial exercise. Now let’s get it from the horse’s mouth: Doug Dahmer. — Jonathan Chevreau

 

dougdahmer

Doug Dahmer

By Doug Dahmer, Emeritus Retirement Income Specialists 

Canadians are an easy going and trusting people. Every year thousands of people, across the country, carelessly start their CPP payments and in the process are forgoing hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to which they are entitled.

I call this “The Great Canadian Pass Up.”

To ensure you fully appreciate the value of making the right decision, before you elect to a start your Canada Pension, Emeritus Retirement Income Specialists have created a powerful tool CPP Optimizer. Give it a try here.

 Most people seriously underestimate their lifetime CPP income entitlement:

Your CPP benefits are a big deal. For a couple, where both spouses have regularly contributed to the CPP plan, the lifetime CPP income they can anticipate will likely exceed $700,000. Consequently it represents an important strategic contributor to the creation of a sustainable retirement income. Therefore, decisions about this benefit need to be taken seriously.

 

Reliance upon “conventional wisdom” can be costly

Read more

Next Page »