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Financial Planning & Tax Useful Links

Click on topic of your choice to go to a useful link – they are organized by topic area.  Use of these links is not an endorsement of their products and services.  My goal is only to assist you in finding useful information that is already available on the web.  Blair Corkum Financial Planning Inc. accepts no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of information presented on these sites.   You should do your own due diligence, and discuss options with your own financial institution’s professional financial planner.  If you need a planner, see my article on Investing Strategies for Individuals.

I have organized the Useful Links under the following headings, in order.  Click on a topic to jump to that section.  You can also use the Search box at the top right to find information on specific topics anywhere on the web site.

General Financial Planning Information

Investing

  • Learn About Investing from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
  • Joint Tenancy and Other Shared Ownership – an article on the Seniors First BC web site about the legal aspects of shared ownership.
  • Investment suitability guidelines from the Mutual Fund Dealers Association (MFDA) – Are you being sold the right products by your mutual fund dealer?
  • Did you lose money because your advisor did not invest your money in the way you understood they were going to do so?  Were you mislead? If you have a complaint, see this website for next steps for an advisor who is a member of  the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization (IIROC).  If you are dealing with a mutual fund representative, see this web site.
  • Investor Tools – Canadian Securities Administrators – Articles on topics such as Investing Basics – Getting Started; Working with Advisors; Understanding Mutual Funds, and more
  • Investment Research for your existing or potential mutual funds (or stocks) – For example, to see Canadian market activity, visit TMX Money to see historical index activity by sector in the Canadian markets. Or visit Trading Economics and and type in your security symbol at the top of the page to get details on performance, etc.   BNN Bloomberg is another site for market research to visit.  Or, use your favourite search engine, such as Google, and type in the full name of the fund, along with the Fund code (if you have it from your investment statement, purchase receipt, or ask your broker), and then also insert the term “Fund Facts.”  With luck, this will provide you with a two page summary of your security, showing performance, risk, etc.  Read it carefully to see if you own what you thought you owned, particularly related to risk and performance.
  • Some great common sense advice on how to invest – read this free “The Little Book of Investment Knowledge“, published by MPL Communications Ltd., authors of the Investment Reporter and the Money Reporter.
  • Is your financial planner using reasonable assumptions?  See the  Projection Assumption Guidelines issued by the FP Canada Standards Council effective April 30, 2021, which are to be used by Certified Financial Planner professionals, although they may be adjusted for unique client or local circumstances.  There are lots of caveats, which you should read, but in a nutshell, for long-term projections (10+ years), assumptions include 2.0% inflation, 3.0% wage growth rate (including promotional increases of 1% plus inflation), 2.3% short-term savings (e.g. 91-day treasury bills) rate; 2.7% fixed income rates (e.g. long-term bonds); 6.2% Canadian equity rates (assuming 33% dividends and 67% capital gains); 6.6% foreign equities in developed markets; 7.8% emerging market equities and management fees ranging from 0.5% to 2.5%.  There is an assumption of no change in foreign exchange rates.  Projected fees to be deducted from the above rates will vary depending on your particular type of investing advice.  Regarding fees, they say, “Transparency around fees is important, in terms of the amount of fees charged (direct or indirect), the impact of fees on investment performance and the value the financial planner provides in exchange.”  In other words, if not told, ask what you are paying, in dollars and percentage, how much they will reduce your returns and what advice you will get annually for those fees.  These assumptions are updated each year, and of course, are no guarantee of future results.
  • Looking for more specific investment recommendations, including which conservative stocks and bonds to buy?  This is a newsletter that I like to follow – and I like their objectivity because they sell no investments themselves, and because of their conservative advice – click here Money Reporter.  Review the site to see other newsletters that may also be of interest to you.
  • Differentiating Exchange Traded Funds from Mutual Funds – an article  by Blackrock, who produce the iShares ETFs
  • Understanding Mutual Funds by the Canadian Securities Administrators
  • Want to know more about MERs and advisor compensation as trailer fees?  This study from 2012 by Investor Economics for the IFIC is a good education on average fees and compensation by types of funds.
  • Financial reports for Canadian Public Companies and Investment Funds – Use the search functions at sedar.com
  • Foreign investments – This CRA link gives you a listing of eligible foreign corporation spinoffs for which you can elect to exclude the value of the spinoff as a dividend from your income taxes

Statistics

Pensions

Seniors, Estate Planning and Senior Care Information

Retirement

  • Is your financial planner using reasonable assumptions?  See the  Projection Assumption Guidelines issued by the Financial Planning Standards Council of Canada effective April 30, 2020.
  • Need some help thinking about the non-financial issues in retirement.  See this workbook published by Hartford Funds, which provides very useful topics to help you navigate through the four phases of retirement.  Note that is from an American source – 8,000 Days Workbook.
  • Retirement Income Calculator from Service Canada – this calculator is very good because it is more thorough than many, and if you are doing your own retirement planning, it is a good starting point.  Retirement calculators are used for planning – remember than none of them can reflect what will really happen because no one can predict the future.  IMPORTANT – Many simple retirement calculators require you to tell them how much income you need in retirement – Income needed will be the amount required to pay all of your living expenses, including loan payments and periodic vehicle purchases, as well as occasional unexpected costs (e.g. helping children, paying medical bills, unexpected house repairs) and also income taxes.  Do your expense budget, and figure out how much pre-tax income you need to pay those expenses using an average retirement tax rate.  Average tax rates can be calculated at the E&Y website here.  You will also need to estimate your sources of retirement income – typically being your CPP and Old Age Security (available from Service Canada), company pension, investment income and annual RRSP withdrawals.  Another interesting retirement planner is by Morneau Shepell which allows you to calculate how much money you can spend each year.
  • RRSP / RRIF / LRSP / LIF /TFSA Information
    • RRSP and TFSA limits, and other such limits, for each year on this CRA site
    • RRIF minimum withdrawal limits – see the second column (titled RRIF/LRIF/
      pRRIF/LIF/RLIF Minimum) on this RBC Wealth web site
    • RRSP or Mortgage payments – which is better? Should you pay down your mortgage or make an RRSP deposit – read this MoneySense article and try one of their recommended calculators.  (My advice varies on individual circumstances such as tax rates and debt load, with a bias to eliminate all of your debts by your retirement age.)
    • Minimum Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) withdrawal requirements – a RRIF is typically created by money transferred from your RRPS, which is required by the end of the year in which you turn age 71, but may be done earlier (such as at age 65 to access the pension amount tax credit and pension income splitting opportunities for persons without other eligible pension income.)  See the withdrawal rates at  GettingSmarterAboutMoney.ca by the Ontario Securities Commission, or use this minimum payments RRIF calculator, not only to determine the amount but how long your RRIF may last – see  VanCity RRIF calculator
    • Locked-in Plans – LIRA, LRSP, LIF, and more – see this great review by RBC titled Locked-in RRSPs and your Options
    • Minimum and maximum Life Income Fund (LIF) withdrawal rates – a LIF is similar to a RRIF, but is typically created by transfer of funds from a Locked In RRSP or a Registered Pension Plan.  The maximum withdrawal rates are set by either federal or provincial legislation, depending on the type of pension plan from which the funds originated.  A useful site for minimum – maximum withdrawals is provided by RBC Wealth web site.  (This site worked in 2021 and if it no longer works, use your search engine to find “Registered plan minimums and maximums – RBC Wealth”). Also, see the web page from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (Question #2).  Finally, you may want to look at this TaxTips web site for more info and follow the links to find the rates for which you are looking.
    • Unlocking (getting money out early) of your Locked-in retirement accounts – see the options explained for “Unlocking funds from a pension plan or from a locked-in retirement savings plan” (particularly question 2) by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

Life Insurance and Annuities

Canada Child Benefit, Education Savings Plans and Tax-Free Savings Accounts

Savings Accounts – High Interest  (examples only)

  • Online banks often pay significantly higher rates than your traditional financial institutions.  You may wish to check some of these out, but always look at more than rates – for example, are they CDIC insured or covered by other deposit insurance (e.g. through the provincial credit union association); are there limits on how much you can withdraw at any one time; how often will rates change or are current rates time limited offers; are there fees to transfer funds, etc.?
    • Click here for a website showing comparisons of various banks’ high interest savings accounts, GICs and other info – To see the institutions with the highest rates, click on the Rates heading twice to sort in order of high to low.  Some institutions with the high rates include:

Cash flow and Debt Management Help

Tax Information

Disability Program Information

Housing, Mortgages, Loan Calculators and Information

Notes: Loans are calculated differently than mortgages, so select the correct calculator for your needs.  Also note that Canadian mortgages are calculated using semi-annual interest compounding, and American mortgages are compounded annually – so ensure you do this correctly also.

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