Five Investment Themes for 2015 and Beyond

Five Investment Themes for 2015 and BeyondSince this is the season for prognostications, I thought I would make a few of my own as this is my last column for 2014. But rather than attempting to predict specific events or pick specific stocks that will be winners in 2015, here are five macro themes that you might want to watch carefully next year — and beyond. 1. Oil All Canadians are aware that oil prices have…

Read More >>

Must-Make Year-End Tax Moves

Must-Make Year-End Tax MovesWe may be approaching the most wonderful time of the year, but December is also when to make moves that could save you money come tax time. “Most people think of tax time as April, but it’s really all year long,” says Caroline Battista, a senior tax analyst with H&R Block Canada. “You want to be keeping your receipts all year long, but there are few things you can do at…

Read More >>

Cashless Buying Poses Financial Risk For Those Without Self-Control

Cashless Buying Poses Financial Risk For Those Without Self-ControlFinancial planner Victor Godinho said goodbye to his wallet four years ago and hasn’t looked back. The 23-year-old adviser at the VTAG Financial Group Inc. in Toronto was one of the early adopters of the “cashless” lifestyle, a move to ditch pocket change and bills in favour of plastic cards and mobile phone payments. “I simply decided that change and cash were too frustrating to deal with,” he said. New…

Read More >>

The Perils of Being House Poor

The Perils of Being House PoorYounger homebuyers don’t want to max out on their mortgage payments, according to a recent TD survey. Could it be that Gen Xers have learned a few lessons from older home owners who qualify as house poor? The survey found that Gen X Canadians overwhelmingly consider themselves “house plus” buyers who want enough flexibility in the budget to afford things like travel after their monthly payments. Just 14 per cent…

Read More >>

Know What Fees You’re Paying and How to Minimize Them

Know What Fees You're Paying and How to Minimize ThemFew things in life are free. Sure, there are free samples of protein bars at grocery stores and free hand-me-downs from grandma, but it costs you time to wait in line for the snack and effort to drop unwanted items off at donation centres. So it should come as no surprise that it costs you money to manage your money — whether it’s banking fees, ATM fees or mutual fund…

Read More >>

5 Major Differences Between Cheap and Frugal

5 Major Differences Between Cheap and FrugalIn response to my recent post about splitting expenses with friends, one commenter wrote that there is a fine line between cheap and frugal. I happen to agree. For example, when dining in a group, I recommend that each individual calculate tax and tip based on what they ordered, but I would never dream of leaving less than a 18 percent tip on my tab, unless service was abysmal. I…

Read More >>

12 Really Crappy Ways to Lose Your Money

12 Really Crappy Ways to Lose Your MoneyA few years ago, when I went to a spa resort in Arizona to de-stress, I accidentally left my phone on in my purse for four days. While I hiked in the desert, played with horses and performed yoga sun salutations, my phone checked for updates on Facebook, tracked Twitter mentions, found tagged photos of me on Instagram, etc. When I returned home, I had racked up $400 in data…

Read More >>

RRSP Ages and Stages

RRSP Ages and StagesEveryone knows it’s RRSP season, but what’s less obvious is how to best direct your contributions over the years. Different ages and life stages call for different strategies. There’s an overarching theme, though: anything you can put toward your retirement is a good thing. “When it comes to contributions, it’s a journey, not a sprint,” says ?Wade Stayzer, vice president of retail banking and investment services at Ontario’s Meridian Credit…

Read More >>

Mortgage First RRSP Later

Mortgage First RRSP LaterJudging by the barrage of Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) information you would think making a contribution before the March 3rd deadline is a slam dunk no matter who you are. The truth is; it doesn’t make sense for a lot of people – especially if you’re young. In most cases it’s better to pay down debt than contribute to a registered retirement savings plan. In some cases paying down…

Read More >>

Take Full Advantage of Tax-Free Savings Accounts

Take Full Advantage of Tax-Free Savings AccountsRecent data indicate that Canadians are saving more. Statistics Canada reports the Household Savings Rate is currently 5.4%, a 0.4% increase from the previous year. Likewise, a recent BMO Bank of Montreal study found that 48% of Canadians are now investing in tax-free savings accounts, a 23% increase from 2012. It’s good that Canadians are saving, but unfortunately too few are making the most of it. Part of the problem…

Read More >>