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    Personal Financial Checklist for 2014

    With much of the country caught in a deep freeze, it may be just the weekend to stay indoors and make progress on your planning for 2014.

    To help you, our wealth management team has updated this handy month-by-month calendar of tasks, ‘to dos’ and reminders to help you get and keep on top of your financial affairs. Even if you’re already in good shape, you’re likely to find something on the list that could help you improve your overall picture — and peace of mind.

    Click on the attached link for your 2014 Month By Month Personal Financial checklist.

     

     

    10 tax saving tips to do before year end!

    clock 150x150 10 tax saving tips to do before year end!With the arrival of December, our attention often turns to holiday preparations — but it’s not too late to save money on your taxes if you act soon.

    Here are ten tax planning ideas to consider before year end:

    [read more >>]

    A window of tax saving opportunity is closing.

    We have written before about the “unprecedented window of opportunity” for wealthy families to save tax as a result of CRA’s historically low 1% rate on prescribed rate loans.  See our blog post A window of tax saving opportunity…for how long? The prescribed rate dictates the minimum interest that must be charged on income-splitting loans to spouses and family trusts. A popular, low-risk form of tax planning with many of our clients.

    Truth be told, when we wrote that blog piece back in 2010 we didn’t expect the 1% rate would still be in effect in 2013. And from what we hear, it won’t be much longer. [read more >>]

    How to get better organized financially – a month by month guide

    checklist How to get better organized financially – a month by month guideJust a reminder the March 1st deadline for RRSP contributions is rapidly approaching. We also encourage our clients to make their annual TFSA contribution early in the year to maximize the benefits of compounding. Then it’s tax time – gathering receipts and organizing files for the preparation of your annual tax return.

    To help you get organized, here’s our month-by-month guide to finances – updated with 2013 dates.

    Perhaps take a moment to update your calendar with some of these important dates. Moreover, take the initiative to do these tasks for more peace of mind about your finances.

    Personal finance checklist for 2012

    A new year, new resolve, new goals.  Each January about 40-45% of us, research shows, make new year’s resolutions.  Among the more common resolutions:  get better organized and take greater control of financial affairs.

    If those are on your list for 2012, we’ve updated our handy month-by-month calendar of tasks, ‘to dos’ and reminders to help you get and keep on top of your financial affairs. Even if you’re already in good shape, you’re likely to find something on the list that could help you improve your overall picture — and peace of mind.

    January

    Review balance sheet for all family entities (i.e. trusts, corporations, family members) and take action to:

    • Redeploy cash effectively either to reduce debt or to obtain higher returns.
    • Review prior year’s investment portfolio results against appropriate benchmarks and determine strategy for the coming year.
    • Review relative capital inside versus outside the business and take appropriate action.
    • Restructure balance sheet to minimize non tax-deductible debt and consolidate where appropriate.

    Revise pre-authorized corporate tax remittance.

    Pay interest on prescribed (PS) rate loan by January 30th. If you don’t have a PS loan, consider it; rates continue to be at their lowest levels.

    Establish priorities for charitable giving rather than rush giving decisions at year end. Revise preauthorization of payments for changes in giving accordingly.

    Caregivers should maintain accurate records of expenses to claim the new Family Caregiver Tax Credit.

    February

    Maximize RRSP, TFSA & RESP contributions for all family members to take advantage of tax sheltered compound growth.

    Consider spousal RRSP and RRSPs for kids over the age of 18.

    Make contributions to TFSA accounts.

    Collect receipts and other information for tax filings in March (trusts) and April (personal).

    Arrange for medical in preparation for ‘health management’ plan for self and family members.

    Consider paying out a taxable /capital dividend to preserve your company’s qualifying small business corporation status.

    RRSP deadline for 2011 is February 29th.

    March

    Remit Q1 personal tax installment by March 15th.

    File trust tax and information returns by March 31st.

    April

    File personal tax returns for all family members and pay any outstanding liabilities by April 30th (April 15th for U.S. filings).

    Revise personal tax installments for the balance of the year.

    Review Q1 investment portfolio results.

    May

    Review ‘health management’ plan and assess related insurance needs for all family members.

    Review amount of emergency funds and arrange for line of credit or put cash into savings to ensure you have a minimum of 3 months of living expenses.

    Discuss income/family expectations for university/college kids returning home to set expectations for the summer and September enrollment.

    Review your notice of assessment and take appropriate action.

    June

    Remit Q2 personal tax installment by June 15th.

    File personal tax return by June 15th if self-employed.

    Pay out any prior year accrued bonus from company by June 30th.

    If over 40, consider setting up an Individual Pension Plan (IPP) or Retirement Compensation Arrangement (RCA).

    Explore opportunities to sprinkle the capital gains exemption on shares in your business to other family members.

    July/August

    Review Q2 investment portfolio results.

    Consider mid-year reflection on longer-term plans for you and family members through family summit or family council.   Reflect on personal, business, family and financial goals, philanthropic/stewardship objectives etc. and develop action plan for implementation in Q3 and Q4.

    Determine most effective tuition funding strategy for upcoming school year. Also, review student living accommodation and opportunities to buy vs. rent.

    Encourage and support your children in establishing their own savings and investment plans.

    September

    Remit Q3 personal tax installment by Sept 15th.

    Review estate plan (e.g. will, power of attorney, life insurance).

    Review shareholder’s agreement.

    Consider the merits of incorporating and/or an estate freeze.

    Consider transferring property to other family members to minimize current and future tax liability. If you have a child turning 18, there are additional opportunities.

    October

    Review Q3 investment portfolio results.

    Review cash balances and invest surplus cash.

    Review medical expenses for the past 12 months (including those of dependent parents) to determine if there are tax deduction benefits.

    November

    Begin year-end tax planning:

    • Review status of unrealized capital gains and losses on investment portfolio and take appropriate action to minimize taxes for the current and prior years.
    • Consider a private or community foundation to shelter large capital gains.
    • Consider flow through shares or other tax sheltering opportunities.
    • Ensure at least minimum RRIF and IPP (new) withdrawals are made prior to year end.

    December

    Make all charitable, political donations (in cash or publicly-traded securities), IPP contributions and unused RESP and TFSA funding by December 31st.

    Determine bonus/dividend policy for your company.

    Ensure amounts paid or payable from trusts to beneficiaries are properly documented.

    Income splitting: ensure family members are paid for work done during year.

    Any loans from the company to shareholders should be eliminated prior to year-end.

    Final review of tax loss selling opportunities. Remember carryback of losses to shelter 2009 gains expire at year end.

    Individual Pension Plans revived

    With Hallowe’en just passed, it brings to mind another spectre that appears to have been revived: Individual Pension Plans (IPPs). And it’s good news for business owners.

    As we have written previously in this blog (See previous articles), IPPs have long been one of the most favourable tax strategies for business owners to save for retirement.
    However, this year’s federal budget, which proposed new funding rules for IPPs, significantly reduced their attractiveness. Recently however, the rules were modified to restore most of the tax benefits that make these retirement vehicles so attractive.

    [read more >>]

    Choosing an Investment Professional

    Last week, John Heinzl of the Globe and Mail wrote a good piece on The Difference Between Advisors and Counsellors. He did a nice job of spelling out the key aspects of what it means to work with a professional investment counsellor versus a commissioned salesperson.

    [read more >>]