Getting the best from a financial advisor

Working with a professional to help you to make sense of your finances can be a wise move, but for this relationship to work effectively it is important that you understand what to expect from your financial advisor.

What can your financial advisor help you with?

  • Defining your financial goals and creating a step by step plan or strategy to achieve them.

  • Planning for the future, including for retirement, future education or housing needs.

  • Choosing the mix of investments and assets that suit your goals, lifestyle, time horizon and appetite for risk.

  • Building a solid estate for your family to inherit in the future.

  • Choosing the most tax-efficient methods of saving and investing.

What should your financial advisor inform you of?

  • The range of services that they offer and how much and by which method you will compensate them.

  • Your mutual responsibilities and obligations towards each other.

  • What the planning process will look like and the documents that they will provide you with.

What will your financial advisor need from you or need to ask you about?

  • What your financial goals are.

  • What your personal circumstances – such as your marital status, any dependents, your job, earnings and tax situation.

  • Any investments or assets that you currently have – such as registered accounts, workplace pensions, property etc.

  • Your appetite for risk and investment preferences.

  • Information on your income and also your outgoings, including debts such as mortgages, loans or credit cards.

  • Whether or not you have a will, and its contents.

  • Your estate and inheritance planning situation.

If you’re looking to achieve your financial goals, talk to us. We can help. 

Estate Planning for Blended Families

Blended families – where two people get married but have children from previous relationships – are becoming more common. It can be challenging enough to take care of the everyday logistics; from where to live to making sure everyone gets along. So trying to make sure you properly take of estate planning often doesn’t get taken care of.

In most families – blended or not – spouses leave everything to each other. Then, when the surviving spouse dies, the remainder is divided amongst all of the children. The problem with this setup is that there is no guarantee that the surviving spouse will not remarry and inadvertently disinherit the deceased’s children.

To make sure that everyone is treated fairly, it’s essential to consider how to handle each of the following estate planning issues for blended families:

  • Sharing the Family Home

  • Make the Most of a Registered Retirement Savings Plan

  • How to Share Non-Registered Investments and Other Assets

  • Why It’s Important to Select a Good Trustee

  • The Advantages of Life Insurance for Blended Family Estate Planning

It’s essential to have a full discussion with your spouse and children to avoid misunderstandings and reduce uncertainty. But you don’t have to do it alone! We can provide you with tailored solutions to ensure your wishes are carried out.

Sharing The Family Home

This can be challenging, depending on whether the blended family moves into a new home or into a house one spouse already owns. An option to consider is that the spouse who is moving into the home already owned by the other spouse can then purchase an interest in the family home. If this occurs, each spouse can own the home as tenants-in-common, enabling them to manage their interest in the house separately.

When it comes time for each spouse to draw up a will, provisions can be made for the surviving spouse to remain in the home until the time of their choosing (or death) before passing on the interest to their respective children.

Make the Most of a Registered Retirement Savings Plans

The best way to take advantage of the tax-free rollover from an RRSP is for each spouse to name each other the beneficiary. While it may be tempting to leave your RRSP to your estate or one or more of your children, this can have ramifications. If you leave it to your estate, it will have to go through probate and also be taxed. If you leave it an adult child, the RRSP won’t have to go through probate, but the entire RRSP will be considered taxable to the deceased in the year of death.

How to Share Non-Registered Investments and Other Assets

You can set up your estate planning so that your spouse can benefit from income-producing assets during their lifetime, without necessarily impacting the capital in those assets. Your children can then benefit from them after your spouse dies.

Each spouse can set up a spousal testamentary trust to contain their income-producing investments and assets. The surviving spouse will then receive all the income from the trust and the option to access the capital for specific needs (if specified in the trust). After the surviving spouse dies, the assets will pass to whoever was identified as the trust’s inheritors. You can make the inheritors your children. This ensures that both your spouse and your children are taken care of.

Why It’s Important to Select a Good Trustee

Trusts are a vital part of effective estate planning for blended families. This means that it’s critical to pick the right trustee – as they will control and manage the assets of the deceased’s estate as outlined in the deceased’s will. You may even want to consider multiple trustees or the services of a trust company. A strong but neutral trustee will help ensure that your wishes are followed without causing fighting amongst family members.

Advantages of Life Insurance for Blended Family Estate Planning

There are several advantages to using life insurance policies as part of your estate planning for blended families:

  • The death benefit is tax-free. You can have it paid out in cash directly or create trusts, so the capital goes to your spouse while they live and your children after your spouse dies.

  • Since you can name the beneficiary, you can control who inherits the proceeds. It’s not considered part of the will, so it cannot be included in any wills variation action (more commonly known as challenging the will).

  • If one spouse enters the marriage with significantly more wealth than the other, life insurance can help create a fair division of assets.

The Takeaway

No matter what choices you make about estate planning for your blended family, you must communicate openly and honestly with everyone in the family. This will help ensure that everyone is aware of the state of affairs and reduces misunderstandings and uncertainty about what the future may hold for everyone in the family.

Using professional advice while you are estate planning for blended families can help you create a solution that satisfies both spouses and their respective children’s objectives. Reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns about your estate planning – I’m here to help!

Stay Ahead in 2024: A Comprehensive Checklist for Federal Tax Updates

With the upcoming 2024 Canadian tax rule changes, it’s important to review your financial strategies. We’ve identified the key changes that we expect to influence financial decisions for investors, business owners, incorporated professionals, retirees, and individuals with high income or net worth.


Capital Gains Inclusion Rate

Starting on June 25, 2024, the tax on capital gains is changing. Until now, you would only have to include half of your capital gains in your income for tax purposes. But after that date, you’ll have to include two-thirds of any capital gains over $250,000 on your tax return. This is also the case for employee stock options. 

Consequently, for corporations and trusts, they will have to include two-thirds of all their capital gains, no matter the amount. This is a significant change. 


Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption (LCGE)

The budget proposes increasing the LCGE for qualified capital gains from $1,016,836 to $1.25 million, effective for sales made after June 24, 2024. This change increases tax benefits for individuals selling certain types of property, such as small business shares or farming and fishing assets.


Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
The 2023 budget included updates to the AMT, suggesting revising the charitable donation tax credit for AMT calculations, increasing the claimable amount from 50% to 80%.


Employee Ownership Trust (EOT)

The budget proposes a tax exemption on up to $10 million in capital gains for individuals selling their businesses to an EOT if certain criteria are met. 


Canadian Entrepreneurs’ Incentive

This new tax measure offers a reduced inclusion rate of 1/3 for up to $2 million in capital gains during an individual’s lifetime, with this limit being phased in over 10 years. However, it’s important to know that not all businesses qualify—this doesn’t apply to businesses in professional services, finance, real estate, hospitality, arts, entertainment, or personal care.

Below is a checklist to help you navigate the tax adjustments and ensure your financial plans are updated and aligned with the new rules.


Investors

  • Investments: Evaluate portfolios to identify where capital gains can be realized under the current lower inclusion rate.

  • Investment Property: Consider advancing the sale of such properties to benefit from the existing capital gains rate.

  • Estate Planning: Revise plans to address potential increases in capital gains taxes, ensuring estates are structured for tax efficiency.

  • Employee Stock Options: Adjust the timing of exercising stock options to align with the upcoming changes in inclusion rates.


Business Owners:

  • Corporate Investments: Assess the impact of increased inclusion rates on corporately held assets, exploring the timing of gains realization. Review trust-held investments. 

  • Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption: Maximize the benefits of the increased LCGE for qualifying business assets.

  • Employee Ownership Trust: Consider the advantages of transferring business ownership via an EOT.

  • Succession Planning: Update your succession plans to consider the potential impact of capital gains tax changes.

  • Entrepreneurs Incentive: Check if you are eligible to reduce capital gains taxes. 


Incorporated Professionals:

  • Investments: Assess both personal and corporate investments for the new inclusion rate. Determine the most tax-effective structure for holding and realizing gains from investments.

  • Succession Planning: Time the potential sale of your professional corporation to capitalize on the current LCGE.


Retirees:

  • Estate Planning: Update estate plans considering the impending increase in capital gains rates.

  • Life Insurance Coverage: Ensure life insurance is adequate to cover increased capital gains tax liabilities upon death.

  • Non-Registered Investments and Retirement Income: Review your strategy for non-registered investments to manage taxes on gains and adjust your retirement income plans to accommodate the upcoming changes in capital gains rates.


Individuals with High Income or Net Worth: 

  • Investments: Evaluate portfolios to identify where capital gains can be realized under the current lower inclusion rate. Review trust-held investments. 

  • Investment Property: Consider advancing the sale of such properties to benefit from the existing capital gains rate.

  • Estate Planning: Revise plans to address potential increases in capital gains taxes, ensuring estates are structured for tax efficiency.

  • Charitable Contributions: Align your charitable giving strategies with the new tax benefits and AMT considerations.

Please reach out to us to review your financial strategy together and ensure it aligns with the upcoming changes. 

2024 Federal Budget Highlights

On April 16, 2024, Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland, presented the federal budget.

While there are no changes to federal personal or corporate tax rates, the budget introduces:

  • An increase in the portion of capital gains subject to tax, rising from 50% to 66.67%, starting June 25, 2024. However, individual gains up to $250,000 annually will retain the 50% rate.

  • The lifetime exemption limit for capital gains has been raised to $1.25 million. Additionally, a new one-third inclusion rate is set for up to $2 million in capital gains for entrepreneurs.

  • The budget confirms the alternative minimum tax changes planned for January 1, 2024 but lessens their impact on charitable contributions.

  • This year’s budget emphasizes making housing more affordable. It provides incentives for building rental properties specifically designed for long-term tenants.

  • Introduces new support measures to aid people buying their first homes.

  • Costs for specific patents and tech equipment and software can now be written off immediately.

  • Canada carbon rebate for small business.

Capital Gains Inclusion Rate

The budget suggests raising the inclusion rate on capital gains after June 24, 2024:

  • Corporations and trusts, from 50% to 66.67%.

  • Individuals, on capital gains over $250,000 annually, also from 50% to 66.67%.

For individuals, the $250,000 annual threshold that applies to net capital gains—the amount remaining after offsetting any capital losses. This includes gains acquired directly by an individual or indirectly through entities such as partnerships or trusts. Essentially, this threshold acts as a deductible, considering various factors to determine the net gains eligible for the increased capital gains tax rate.

Individuals in the highest income bracket, who earn above the top marginal tax rate threshold, will face a higher tax rate on capital gains exceeding $250,000 due to these changes. Furthermore, the budget modifies the tax deduction for employee stock options to align with the updated capital gains taxation rates yet maintains the initial 50% deduction for the first $250,000 in gains. Regarding previously incurred financial losses, the budget plans to adjust the value of these net capital losses from past years so that they are consistent with the current gains, upholding the uniformity with the new inclusion rate.

The budget outlines transitional rules for the upcoming tax year that straddles the implementation date of the new capital gains rates. If the tax year begins before June 25, 2024, but ends afterward, capital gains realized before June 25 will be taxed at the existing rate of 50%. However, gains accrued after June 24, 2024, will be subject to the increased rate of 66.67%. It’s important to note that the new $250,000 threshold for higher tax rates will only apply to gains made after June 24.

Consequently, for individuals earning capital gains beyond the $250,000 threshold and who fall into the highest income tax bracket, new rates will be effective as outlined in the table below. Specifically, this pertains to individuals with taxable incomes exceeding $355,845 in Alberta, $252,752 in British Columbia, $1,103,478 in Newfoundland and Labrador, $500,000 in the Yukon, and $246,752 in all other regions.

Further details and guidance on these new rules are expected to be provided in future announcements.

Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption

The budget proposes raising the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption (LCGE) for qualified capital gains from $1,016,836 to $1.25 million, effective for sales made after June 24, 2024. Additionally, the exemption will once again be adjusted for inflation starting in 2026. This change aims to increase the tax benefits for individuals selling certain types of property, such as small business shares or farming and fishing assets.

Canadian Entrepreneurs’ Incentive

The Canadian Entrepreneurs’ Incentive is a new tax measure which provides a reduced inclusion rate on capital gains from the disposition of qualifying small business shares.

Qualifications for the incentive include:

  • Shares must be of a small business corporation directly owned by an individual.

  • For 24 months before selling, over half the corporation’s assets must be actively used in a Canadian business or be certain connected assets.

  • The seller needs to be a founding investor who held the shares for at least five years.

  • The seller must have been actively involved in the business continuously for five years.

  • The seller must have owned a significant voting share throughout the subscription period.

  • The incentive does not apply to shares linked to professional services, financial, real estate, hospitality, arts, entertainment, or personal care services sectors.

  • The shares must have been acquired at their fair market value.

  • The incentive allows for a reduced inclusion rate of 1/3 for up to $2 million in capital gains during an individual’s lifetime, with this limit being phased in over 10 years.

This measure will apply to dispositions after December 31, 2024.

Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

The 2023 budget included updates to the AMT, with proposed changes outlined in the summer of 2023. The budget suggests revising the charitable donation tax credit for AMT calculations, increasing the claimable amount from 50% to 80%.

Further proposed changes to the AMT include:

  • Permitting deductions for the Guaranteed Income Supplement, social assistance, and workers’ compensation benefits.

  • Exempting employee ownership trusts (EOTs) entirely from AMT.

  • Allowing certain tax credits, like federal political contributions, investment tax credits (ITCs), and labour-sponsored funds tax credit, to be carried forward if disallowed under the AMT.

These changes would take effect for tax years beginning after December 31, 2023. Additionally, the budget proposes technical amendments that would exempt specific trusts benefiting Indigenous groups from the AMT.

Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) Tax Exemption

The budget proposes a tax exemption on up to $10 million in capital gains for individuals selling their businesses to an EOT if certain criteria are met:

  • Sale of shares must be from a non-professional corporation.

  • The seller, or their spouse or common-law partner, must have been actively involved in the business for at least two years prior to the sale.

  • The business shares must have been solely owned by the seller or a related person or partnership for two years before the sale, and mainly used in active business.

  • At least 90% of the EOT’s beneficiaries must be Canadian residents after the sale.

  • If multiple sellers are involved, they must jointly decide how to divide the $10 million exemption

  • If the EOT doesn’t maintain its status or if the business assets used in active business drop below 50% at any point within 36 months after the sale, the tax exemption may be revoked.

  • For Alternative Minimum Tax purposes, the exempted gains will face a 30% inclusion rate.

  • The normal reassessment period for the exemption is extended by three years.

  • The measure now also covers the sale of shares to a worker cooperative corporation.

This exemption is valid for sales occurring from January 1, 2024, to December 31, 2026.

Home Buyers Plan (HBP)

The budget proposes enhancements to the HBP for 2024 and beyond, effective for withdrawals after April 16, 2024. These include:

  • Raising the RRSP withdrawal limit from $35,000 to $60,000 to support first-time homebuyers and purchases for those with disabilities.

  • Extending the grace period before repayment starts from two to five years for withdrawals made between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2025, deferring the start of the repayment period and thereby providing new homeowners additional time before they need to commence repayments

Interest Deductions and Purpose-Built Rental Housing

The budget proposes a selective exemption from the Excessive Interest and Financing Expenses Limitation (EIFEL) rules for certain interest and financing expenses related to arm’s length financing. This exemption is for the construction or purchase of eligible purpose-built rental housing in Canada and applies to expenses incurred before January 1, 2036. To qualify, the housing must be a residential complex with either at least four private apartment units, each with its own kitchen, bathroom, and living areas, or 10 private rooms or suites. Additionally, at least 90% of the units must be designated for long-term rental. This exemption will be effective for tax years starting on or after October 1, 2023, in line with the broader EIFEL regulations.

Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) – Purpose built rental housing

The budget introduces an accelerated CCA of 10% for new rental projects that start construction between April 16, 2024, and December 31, 2030, and are completed by December 31, 2035. This accelerated depreciation applies to projects that convert commercial properties into residential complexes or expand existing residential buildings that meet specific criteria under the EIFEL rules. However, it does not cover renovations to existing residential complexes.

Additionally, these investments will benefit from the Accelerated Investment Incentive, which allows for immediate depreciation deductions for properties put into use before 2028. Starting in 2028, the regular depreciation rules, including the half-year rule, will apply.

Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance (CCA)- Productivity-enhancing assets

The budget introduces immediate expensing for newly acquired properties that become operational between April 16, 2024, and December 31, 2026. This applies to specific categories such as:

  • Class 44- Patents and rights to patented information

  • Class 46- Data network infrastructure and related software

  • Class 50- General electronic data-processing equipment and software

Properties that are put into use between 2027 and 2028 will continue to benefit from the Accelerated Investment Incentive.

To qualify for this accelerated depreciation, the property must not have been previously owned by the taxpayer or someone closely connected to them, and it must not have been received as part of a tax-deferred deal. Also, if a tax year is shorter, the depreciation will be adjusted accordingly and will not carry over to the next year.

Canada Carbon Rebate for Small Businesses

The budget introduces a Canada Carbon Rebate for small businesses, offering a new refundable tax credit automatically. To be eligible, a Canadian-controlled private corporation must:

  • File a tax return for its 2023 tax year by July 15, 2024, for the fuel charge years from 2019-20 to 2023-24. For subsequent fuel charge years, it must file a tax return for the tax year that ends within that fuel charge year.

  • Employ 499 or fewer people across Canada during the year that corresponds with the fuel charge year.

The amount of the tax credit for each eligible business will depend on:

  • The province where the company had employees during the fuel charge year.

  • The number of employees in that province multiplied by a rate set by the Minister of Finance for that year.

  • The CRA will automatically calculate and issue the tax credit to qualifying businesses.

We can help!

Wondering how this year’s budget will impact your finances or your business? We can help – give us a call today!

Easy Exit: Business Succession in a Nutshell

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Getting into the world of business is a meticulous task, but so is getting out of it

Whether you’ve just hit the ground running on your business or if you’ve been at it for a long time, there is no better time to plan your exit strategy than now. Although the process may seem taxing, we’ve answered a few questions you may have about planning your business succession strategy. 

1. Who do I talk to about this? 

Deciding on how to go about the transition requires careful planning, and you need to consult no less than people who are well equipped to help you out. First, talk to your key advisors such as bankers and financial partners. You could also use some advice from your accountant and lawyers. If your company has an advisory board, better consult them as well. You may also hire a specialist or a consultant, depending on how you choose to go about your business succession plan. 

2. Who should I choose as a successor? 

There are several ways to go about this, and your decision will ultimately be your personal choice. You may pass on your business to a family member or to your top executives or managers. You may also choose to sell it to an outsider. Whichever path you choose, you can also decide on how much you want to be involved in the business after you pass it on. That is, if you want to be involved at all. 

3. When should I inform my successor about my plans? 

While a surprise inheritance may be heartwarming, it’s not the same with inheriting a business. Getting a successor ready—whether it’s a family member or someone from your company—requires careful planning and training. As soon as you’ve chosen a successor, better get started on getting them ready for the big shoes they’re about to fill. This includes helping them equip themselves with the necessary skills, knowledge, and qualifications necessary to run your business. 

4. How do I plan the transition itself? 

The transition will be twofold—transferring ownership and handing over the business itself. As far as transferring ownership is concerned, you need to consider legal and financial details. These include valuation, financing and taxation. You also need to consider if you wish to keep your current legal structure (corporation, sole prop, partnership, etc.) or if you (or your successor) would like to change it. You also need to plan how to prepare various stakeholders in the business for the transition. How will you prepare your customers, clients, and employees? What would be their level of involvement? Make sure that you put different strategies in place in order to ensure transparency and consistency in communicating changes in your business, especially something as drastic as succession. 

5. Now that I have a business succession plan ready, can I go back to business as usual? 

Not really. Your business and your customers’ needs may change over time. This means that you need to keep reviewing and adjusting your plan as your business also evolves. 

Do you have enough for retirement?

Many of us dream of the day that we can retire and have the time to ourselves that we have dreamed of for so many years. But, to have a genuinely contented and relaxing retirement, you need to ensure that you have the means to afford it. So, now’s the best time to consider the three critical stages of retirement planning.

Accumulation

This is the stage you save for your retirement – essentially, the majority of your working life. So, naturally, if you start saving for your retirement early, you will have the ability to save a larger pension for the future, though this is not always achievable for young people or those on a low income.

Pre-retirement

At this point, you are making the final plans for your retirement. Although you are potentially making less money at this late stage of your career, it’s still a necessary time to continue saving and making sure that your investments are fit for purpose.

Retirement

Once you are no longer working, your retirement income will usually come from three key sources:

  • Government benefits: Canada Pension Plan or Old Age Security

  • Employer pension or retirement plan

  • Personal savings: Registered Retirement Savings Plan, Tax-Free Savings Account, Non-Registered Savings

Your concern will be to ensure that your money lasts the length of your lifetime.

Drawing up a retirement plan

A retirement plan is a crucial process to undertake during your working life, as it will help you outline and achieve your financial goals for the future. However, making such a plan doesn’t have to be daunting – here are our key steps to success:

  • Work out how much income you’ll need in your retirement. This is a key starting point to ensure that you save enough to meet this need.

  • Start early. If you can, invest any spare money into your retirement fund and keep going. Small amounts grow over time and can help you create a savings fund to meet your needs in retirement.

  • Diversify as much as you can. The best way to reduce your risk and exposure to poor market performance is to spread your investments. We can help you create a strategy that focuses on your attitude to risk.

  • Contributing to a TFSA or RRSP is a great place to start. Contribute the maximum amounts you can, and don’t forget to contribute on a consistent basis.

Talk to us today about your retirement goals.

Do you need an estate plan?

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Managing your finances raises a number of topics but none as tricky and potentially unpleasant as planning for your family and finances in the event that you pass away or become incapacitated. Understandably, these questions are often ignored by many—but don’t fall into the trap of avoiding these difficult matters. Good estate planning will help to make sure that your wishes are carried out, and your family and assets are well protected.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the key areas that you should consider when designing your estate plan:

  • Choosing a guardian – One of the most important considerations is who you select to become the legal guardian of your children. This is a very personal and complex decision, and you will consider several unique factors depending on your circumstances, but your principal concerns might be how physically able the person is to look after your children, as well as such practical matters as how close they live to you and their personal and financial situation and stability.

  • Life insurance and trusts – Life insurance gives your family the financial security to continue their standard of living and fulfil their dreams in the event that you are unable to provide for them yourself. Life insurance payouts can be used in various ways, including paying off debts, paying for college education, or simply helping with general living costs.

 

A trust is a way of specifying how and when you wish to pass money and other resources to your children. It can be an excellent way of ensuring that their inheritance reaches them before the age of eighteen or twenty-one, unlike a court-controlled process, as you will stipulate who manages and distributes the funds.

·      Choosing someone to make decisions on your behalf

It is crucial to make sure that somebody trustworthy is nominated to manage and distribute your various assets according to your wishes. This executor can be anybody, though spouses, older children, or close friends are often common choices. Similarly, if you become too sick to make your own decisions about your finances or your family’s care, a health care directive and a power of attorney will give you peace of mind and go a long way towards protecting your assets.

Now that we understand the key areas that should be considered in estate planning, here are some of the important components or documents involved in the process:

·      Will, trusts, and beneficiary forms

Both a will and a trust should detail your assets and how you wish them to be distributed when you die, as well as assigning the guardians of your children. However, one benefit that a trust has over a will is that a trust does not have to go through probate prior to being executed, as well as the option of coming into effect before you pass away; it remains under your control and transfers the role of trustee to someone else when you decease.

Beneficiary forms are slightly different. They assign designated beneficiaries to specific financial accounts such as mortgages and bank accounts. As this information holds more legal weight than a will itself, it is crucial to regularly ensure that your beneficiaries are up to date.

 

·      Durable powers of attorney

The term power of attorney refers to the person, or persons, that you nominate to act on your behalf in the event that you are too ill to state or carry out your own wishes. There are various ways to implement this; you can choose specific individuals for particular roles, such as one person to look after your finances and another to make your healthcare decisions, or you can designate one person full power of attorney to manage all of your affairs.

 

·      A living will

Not to be confused with a last will and testament, a living will details the type of medical treatment that you wish if you were ever incapacitated. Along with a general or healthcare power of attorney (see above), this document is known as your advance health care directive, and it not only provides you with peace of mind that your medical wishes will be respected, but it also gives direction and support to your family when faced with difficult decisions about your care.

 

·      Letter of intent

This document is not legally binding and can offer a more personal touch alongside an official will or trust. As the letter is less formal and binding than other documents, many people use it to express their wishes about more personal aspects such as their requests for funeral arrangements, or even preferences and desires for how their family should be brought up.

As with any financial arrangement, changes over time, not only in process and legislation but in your own personal situation, mean that it is imperative to keep your estate planning strategy under review and regularly updated to ensure it’s fit for its purpose and accurately reflects your wishes. 

Essential tips for paying less tax and keeping more of your retirement income

Essential tips for paying less tax and keeping more of your retirement income

Most of your retirement income sources are taxable; Canadian Pension Plan (CPP), your personal pension plan (if you have one) and income from your RRIFs. However, if you’ve set up a TFSA in addition to your RRSPs, then you’re in luck – money you take out of your TFSA isn’t taxable!

We have some tips on combining savvy withdrawal strategies with retirement-related tax deductions to keep more of your retirement income.

Make a Plan

Determine all the different sources of retirement income you’ll have – don’t forget about things like annuities, GICs or income from a rental property if you have one. Once you have a complete list, a professional financial advisor can give you tips on when it’s best to start collecting pension income as well as how much to withdraw from your taxable investments. A strong plan can help reduce the amount of tax you have to pay and extend the life of your retirement income!

Split your pension income

If you have reached the age of 65 and have a pension, you can split up to 50% of the pension income with your spouse. Splitting your pension with a lower-income spouse can add up to savings, as this will cut down on the amount of taxes you’ll have to pay overall.

While rewarding, the process to split your pension income can be complicated, so it’s best to get professional advice before starting this process.

Buy an annuity

Annuities are a financial product that will provide you with a guaranteed regular income – a good choice if you are worried about your retirement savings running out.

These are the most common types of annuities:

  • Life annuities provide you with a guaranteed lifetime income, with the option for the annuity to be paid to a beneficiary after you die.

  • Term-certain annuities provide guaranteed income payments for a fixed period. A beneficiary or your estate will receive regular payments if you die before the term ends.

  • Variable annuities will provide you with both a fixed income and a variable income. The variable income will be based on the return of the annuity provider on the performance of the investments your annuity provider invests your money in.

All types of annuities will spread out the income from your retirement savings to lessen the tax you pay each year.

Take advantage of tax breaks

Now that you’re retired, there are retirement-related tax breaks you need to know about. Here are some of the tax breaks or credits you may be eligible for:

  • The age amount

  • The home accessibility tax credit

  • The medical expense tax credit

  • The disability tax credit

  • The pension income tax credit

We can help!

We can put together a plan that helps you keep more of your retirement income – call us today!

Demystifying MER’s (Management Expense Ratio)

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Investing in a fund requires a good understanding of its associated costs, including the Management Expense Ratio (MER). In this article and infographic, we’ll break down the different components of the MER.

Understanding the Management Expense Ratio

The Management Expense Ratio is a percentage of the total assets in an investment fund that covers the cost of managing and operating the fund. It’s essential to remember that the MER is deducted from your investment returns. Therefore, a higher MER means lower net returns for you.

For instance, if a fund’s expenses added up to 2% of its assets, its MER would be 2%. It’s essential to keep in mind that your returns are reported after the MER is deducted. Therefore, a higher MER can lead to lower net returns for you. Understanding a fund’s MER is important in making informed investment decisions and ensuring you’re getting the most value for your money.

Components of the Management Expense Ratio

There are several components of the MER, including:

Investment Management Fee

The investment management fee is the cost of professional investment management, fund administration, and support services. Investment fund managers and analysts conduct research and analysis of current and potential holdings for the fund, providing investors access to their expertise, education, and experience.

Trailing Commission

The trailing commission compensates the investment dealer and financial advisor for selling the fund and providing ongoing financial advice and service to the investor. The commission also covers trade confirmation, account openings and closing, issuance of statements and communications, and regulatory compliance activities.

Operating Expenses

Operating expenses are essential for the smooth operation of the investment fund, and they ensure that investors receive the information they need to make informed investment decisions. These expenses cover day-to-day costs, including record-keeping fees, accounting and fund valuation costs, custody fees, audit and legal fees, reports and prospectuses, and filing fees.

Taxes

Investment funds are required to pay taxes on their management and administration fees. In addition, they must also include GST/HST in their fees.

It’s essential to comprehend the different factors that comprise the Management Expense Ratio to make informed investment decisions and maximize your investment’s value.

To obtain further details, please do not hesitate to contact us.