Albert Einstein once said, "The hardest thing in the world to understand is income taxes." -- you can rest assured that it is not a simple subject. Taxpayers are expected to understand it well enough to be able to make good decisions about our own financial situation. But if understanding basic income tax isn't enough of a headache, the taxes on investment earnings (such as in your RRSP) represent a whole new territory.
Over the past two days, Canadian entrepreneurs and American venture capitalists met at Venture North, a conference that aims to introduce U.S. VCs to Canada's tech ecosystem. Mayor John Tory started off Wednesday's proceedings by stating that Toronto is a startup-friendly city, and its tech leadership is "simply a story we haven't told yet."
Since debt became super cheap after the Great Recession, we all have taken on a ton of of it. Nationally we have an average of $27,000 in non-mortgage debt -- and $190,000 in mortgage debt. Here is how we all can get rid of our debt in 10 years so we can enjoy our retirements and our lives debt-free.
For the past few years, Canadians have been taking advantage of our dollar being worth about the same as the U.S. dollar. From buying up real estate to cross-border shopping, being on par with the U.S. dollar has had its advantages. However, in the last few months, economic factors have driven the Canadian dollar down. It may be time to regroup and look at some strategies to make the weakening dollar work for you.
For most young parents, approaching the new school year means getting the family prepared and equipped, and that comes at a cost -- on average, Canadians spend $428 per child to get them ready for school. While the annual cost of sending your children to school is high, there are some much larger costs coming down the road if your child plans on attending college or university.
As a business, dealing with assholes can be annoying. As a small business, dealing with assholes can be derailing -- if we let them. And we know firsthand that they will try. It's taken me years of practice, and sadly, much too much experience to even feel like I have enough expertise in this department to write this "how to" post.
Canadians may be able to save more in their Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA) but most are still confused by how the account actually works. Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA) seemed like a simple concept when it was announced in 2009. Canadians over the age of 18 were allowed to save up to $5,000 per year in a TFSA. But the rules are easily misinterpreted. I know several people who have been hit with overcontribution fines.
Spring is officially in full swing and we are starting to see two specific outdoor trends that are definitely taking over the market place. The question of "lifestyle" vs. "investment" is driving outdoor renovations. It seems that there is an even split between homeowners who are making lifestyle choices for their backyards and those homeowners who are focusing on improving the value of their homes. This direction has even been impacting the products that we are spending money on.
Are you an investor? Although this might seem like a simple question, the answer isn't so straightforward. One way is to ask some fundamental questions about your financial decisions, what's informing your strategy and how you're putting a plan into place. In other words, think about attitude, aptitude and action.
Where once we took pride in turning out engineers, architects, doctors, accountants and lawyers who built bridges, buildings and companies and helped better and even save lives, now we venerate those whose single pursuit is great wealth. It's hard to see what purpose Wall Street quants and click-driven Web virologists serve except to further the notion that all that matters is money.
Sort through the statistics and the surprise is how consistently Ontario and Quebec now mimic the weak economic opportunities in the Maritimes instead of the bright economic opportunities available in the West. There's no great mystery as to why. Provinces with substantial private sector investment -- something the West has attracted with pro-entrepreneur policies and by simply saying "yes" to resource extraction in specific -- end up with enhanced employment opportunities, higher incomes and better prospects to enjoy a middle-class lifestyle.
Once the carbon bubble, like the tech or housing bubble, pops it would bring dramatic re-evaluation of oil companies, resulting in massive layoffs and major industry restructuring. In Canada, the oilsands represents two per cent of the country's GDP and 90 per cent of the economic benefit goes to Alberta.
The biggest lessons I've learned about investing have come from the biggest mistakes I've made. I bought a pre-construction condo unit in a popular Toronto neighbourhood. I forked over a 20 per cent deposit to make the purchase. That was four years ago, the property still hasn't been built so I can't sell it or rent it out.
No one likes permanent loss of capital and no one seeks to have a drop in the value of his or her assets. What we need to understand is if you can sleep at night when your monthly statement value has dropped by some amount. More importantly, will it impact your ability to enjoy your life and meet your personal financial obligations, if this were to occur?
The Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) has become the most underused, yet indispensable tax shelters designed to make post secondary education more accessible to children and grandchildren. Unfortunately, many of us don't use the RESP and if we do, we typically don't maximize the benefits available.