The new rules governing CPP were introduced in 2012 and they take full effect in 2016. The earliest you can take your CPP Pension is age 60, the latest is 70. The standard question regarding CPP remains the same – should I take it early or wait?
While you can elect to start receiving CPP at age 60, the discount rate under the new rules has increased. Starting in 2016, your CPP income will be reduced by 0.6% each month you receive your benefit prior to age 65. In other words, electing to take your CPP at age 60 will provide an income of 36% less than if you waited until age 65.
CPP benefits may also be delayed until age 70 so conversely, as of 2016, delaying your CPP benefits after age 65 will result in an increased income of 0.7% for each month of deferral. At age 70, the retiree would have additional monthly income of 42% over that what he or she would have had at 65 and approximately 120% more than taking the benefit at age 60. The question now becomes, “how long do you think you will live?” Read more
In bull markets some investors develop unhealthy expectations as to the long term yields their investments should provide. Ten years ago, some came to accept returns as high as 15% to 20% per annum as the base return their fund and portfolio managers were expected to provide. Of course, these expectations came crashing back to earth in 2008 as the bull was chased away by a very large bear. Today, many fund managers are of the opinion that double digit returns are going to be very difficult to achieve with any consistency over the long term.
Is it time for us to lower our expectations?
If we have to accept lower rates of return, do we still want to be exposed to the same previous level of risk? There can be tremendous volatility in the equity markets and, as a result, many wonder if they are on the right track with their investment strategy.
4 Questions to ask yourself about your investment strategy
What are my goals?
Many of us set New Year’s resolutions for ourselves and often those resolutions have to do with finances. January is the month we say, “Ok, this year I am going to save more and spend less”. This article won’t tell you how to spend less, but it will outline two government sponsored programs available to help you save for retirement or even just a rainy day! Of course these are not the only vehicles you can accumulate money with – those include anything from putting dollars under the mattress to the most sophisticated tax shelter schemes – but these two are the most popular.
Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA)
This is the new kid on the block established by the government as of January 1, 2009. Canadian residents age 18 or older could contribute up to $5,000 into a TFSA. The funds would grow tax free and although there is no tax deduction for the contribution, withdrawals can be made at any time without paying tax. Also, there is no earned income requirement for an individual to contribute. For those years where no contribution is made, it can be made in later years. Any withdrawals can be paid back in addition to current contributions. Be careful not to do this in the same year as the money was withdrawn so as to avoid a tax penalty for over payment. Read more
Growing your estate without undue market risk and taxes
Often we see older investors shift gears near retirement and beyond. Many become risk adverse and move their assets into fixed income type investments. Unfortunately this often results in the assets being exposed to higher rates of income tax and lower rates of return – never a good combination.
Or maybe the older investor cannot fully enjoy their retirement years for fear of spending their children’s inheritance.
The Estate Bond financial planning strategy presents a solution to both of these problems. Read more
One of the most common investment questions Canadians ask themselves today is, “Which is better, TFSA or RRSP”?
Here’s the good news – it doesn’t have to be an either or choice. Why not do both? Below are the features of both plans to help you understand the differences.
Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA)
- Any Canadian resident age 18 or over may open a TFSA. Contribution is not based on earned income. There is no maximum age for contribution.
- Maximum contribution is $5,500 per year starting in 2013 ($5,000 per year for the period of 2009-2012). The contribution must be made by December 31st.
- There is carry forward room for each year in which the maximum contribution was not made.
- The deposit is not tax deductible, but the funds accumulate with no income tax payable on growth.
- Withdrawals may be made at any time on an income tax-free basis. Withdrawals create additional deposit room commencing in the year after withdrawal.
Investing today is not for the faint of heart. Fortunately for Canadians, segregated fund products offered by many life insurance companies provide a safety net for nervous investors.
Segregated Fund products present some interesting opportunities for people looking to get more security in their investment portfolios without sacrificing their potential for growth.
100% Maturity and Death Benefit Guarantee
At a time when most companies are reducing their guarantees to 75%, companies like Standard Life are offering 100% guarantees for both maturity value and death benefit.