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

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 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

As a fee-for-service financial planner, I have luxury of looking at investment portfolios in an unbiased manner. In so doing, it becomes easier – but by no means “easy” – to see when assets are over-concentrated in a portfolio. However, commenting on the over-concentration of an investment is one thing; convincing a client to act upon it is quite another. I wonder how many clients I spoke with last year (prior to the pandemic meltdown and economically-unsupported rebound) are still sitting on huge swaths of employer stock holdings, cash, real estate and other often over-concentrated positions.

 

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

This wonderful article describes the difficulties faced by working mothers in the US who are trying to “balance” the needs of isolated children and a work-from-home ideal. It also offers some interesting suggestions to help us manage through this time.

Closer to home, FP Canada recently published a study of COVID-related financial stress which also identified a gender gap in the pressures felt by men and women. In their study, women are 17% more likely to say that their level of financial stress has been impacted by COVID-19. Furthermore, unlike the recessions of the past – which disproportionately affect male-dominated fields such as manufacturing and construction – COVID-19 has devastated mostly female-dominated fields such as education, childcare and the service industry.

 

Click here to read the full article on Entrepreneur

The message of this article is (unfortunately) universal right now: “don’t touch your face, don’t touch your (edit: 401k) RRSP.”

 

Click here to read the full article on Today

One of the most contentious issues for separating spouses and common-law partners is how to support two households when many had difficulty managing one. In costly cities such as Toronto and Vancouver, purchasing separate properties can be down-right impossible. A recent change to the treatment of the Home Buyer’s Plan upon relationship breakdown may ease the burden.

 

Click here to read the full article on The Common Sense Divorce

Although we like to focus on the joy and excesses of the season, a year-end must remind us of some looming deadlines as well. With increasing wealth accumulated in RRSP and RRIF accounts and their punitive tax treatment upon death, it is important to note that there are some time-limited rules that must be respected when distributing funds from the deceased’s registered accounts. Delays could tamper with the spousal and qualifying beneficiary rollover provisions and should be avoided wherever possible.

 

Click here to read the full article on Advisor’s Edge