RRSP contributions are one of the most-worthwhile tax planning strategies available to Canadians. As you may know, contributions reduce your taxable income for the year; yielding a refund of the taxes that were withheld at source.

This article describes ways in which we can direct our dollars and our attitudes towards greater life satisfaction; which, after all, is truly the UPotential way!

Calculating your affordable lifestyle may be the single most difficult aspect of personal finance. Prior to the pandemic, Canadians had record levels of household debt. Lately, Canadians have become world-leaders in saving. Which way will the pendulum sway when we can finally resume shopping, travelling, dining and spending normally again?

Join me on Tuesday, January 19th for a webinar which will help you to calculate your household’s affordable lifestyle and implement a reasonable savings strategy in real time so that when the economy opens up, you can be confident in the lifestyle that you can afford to enjoy.



Click here to read the full article on The Financial Post

Months ago, I suggested that individuals obtain a T2200 (Declaration of Conditions of Employment form) from their employers in order to claim some of the same deductions that self-employed persons do. The Canada Revenue Agency answered my prayers by providing a default deduction of $2 per day (up to a maximum of $400) that requires no back-up documentation and a streamlined form for those who might be eligible for a more robust deduction.


Click here to read the full article on The Toronto Star

Over the last 9 months, Canadians have become world-leaders in saving. This is a nice contrast to the record high household debt-to-earnings ratios that were so prominently written about not even a year ago. However, the new emphasis on saving might simply reflect the absence of opportunities to spend rather than a true sea-change in people’s personal financial habits. This would mean that our pent-up demand could manifest as tremendous spending when restrictions are lifted. This article gives a terrific outline of how to use this unusual (and hopefully never to be repeated) period to reset your personal financial situation and set yourself up for success.


Click here to read the full article on The Globe and Mail

Despite coursework that is entirely online this term, my son opted to return to his university campus for the second year of his degree. He is sharing a “house” (read: glorified slum) with 3 other boys and 4 more young people live in the completely separate, second story unit. This year’s education in cleaning, cooking and basically keeping himself alive may actually be more useful than the coursework itself. Among the skills that he has had to acquire is budgeting for groceries etc. I shared this article with him and it appealed to his young sensibilities. He also enjoyed the ad campaign from The Real Canadian Superstore with the tagline, “Shop Like a Mother(source: Canadian Grocer) although that one was arguably more targeted to my generation with its Heart-inspired guitar riff and it’s spotlight on every bad shopping habit that I have.


Click here to read the full article on Daily Hive

I have only purchased one item using a “buy now, pay later” offer. It was a book-case for a television and I was on maternity leave with my son. Money was tight. What was tighter was the feeling in my chest that if I missed the deadline to repay, interest would be charged back to the date of purchase. I decided then and there that it wasn’t worth the bother.

This article provides valuable context in light of the strain that the pandemic has placed on many household’s cash flow. Newer deferred payment options have cropped up and the research sited in the article shows that consumers are spending more if they can pay by instalments over several months. Furthermore some of the retailers that are offering these plans likely have younger client bases who might lack the discipline to repay on time – costing them interest and the integrity of their credit rating.


Click here to read the full article on The Globe and Mail

I love to learn about families that have successfully separated and reinvented themselves. This article highlights the key aspect of successful separation: keeping the children’s interests top-of-mind. While not all ex-spouses will spread love and accolades about a new wife, this article shows that when the children and civility are the highest priority, Family 2.0 doesn’t have to be wrought in conflict and contempt.


Click here to read the full article on Distractify

Charitable giving has been important to me since my days at The Hospital for Sick Children Foundation in Toronto. The Foundation offered me my first taste of tax-effective charitable giving and estate planning. Working with colleagues and clients who share my love of philanthropy is one of the greatest pleasures of my career. I am privileged to have clients on both sides of the fence: donors and fundraisers. The pandemic has had a very powerful effect on the charitable sector as donations have either dropped considerably (and understandably as a result of job losses and instability) or been diverted to the health-care sector (again, profoundly understandably). With the holiday season quickly approaching, it will be interesting to see whether donors will be as generous and diversified as they have been in the past. This article is an interesting reminder of some of the metrics that can help us to direct our charitable giving.


Click here to read the full article on The Financial Post

I attended the 2020 CIFPs National Conference last week. With no budget to discuss, the conference focussed on discussions of the US Federal election and the manners in which the Canadian government will pay for COVID-related stimulus. Before making strategy decisions to ward off possible increases in the capital gains inclusion rate (the portion of a capital gain that is taxable), GST increases and the elimination of the principal residence exemption, consider the argument put forth in this article. The article suggests that as long as interest rates are low, and the government is the primary purchaser of domestic bonds, funding stimulus on borrowed money will help the economy to grow its way out of this very deep and pervasive recession.


Click here to read the full article on The Globe and Mail