Financial independence is a goal for many people. Financial independence is when work becomes optional. It’s when your investments are large enough to support your annual spending indefinitely, without the need for employment income. Reaching financial independence frees you from the typical work/money/time equation. When you reach financial independence you no longer have to trade your time for money.
How much you need to reach financial independence is different for everyone, but the quick and most common metric is 25 times your annual spending. Once you reach this level of savings and investments (not including your home) you can withdraw 4% of your portfolio indefinitely. With the right portfolio your investments will grow enough each year to pay you 4% of the original principal and still keep up with inflation.
Taxes are obviously a big consideration when growing your investments. Tax free growth allows your investments to grow faster and lets you hit your goals earlier.
In Canada we have two main accounts that provide tax free growth, the TFSA and RRSP. With the TFSA you pay tax now but don’t pay tax later. With the RRSP you don’t pay tax now, but you do pay tax later. Regardless of when you pay the tax, the investment growth within an RRSP or a TFSA is tax free. Using your TFSA and your RRSP to its full potential means you can hit financial independence much faster.
Goals are important. Financial goals are especially important.
Having a goal gives you something to focus on, it gives you direction. Goals provide motivation, they get you moving.
We’ve had big financial goals in the past. Years ago my wife and I set a goal to pay off our mortgage early. That was our first BIG financial goal. Once we achieved that goal we were hooked.
We find financial goals to be very motivating. They give us a reason to stick to our budget. They give us a reason to control our spending and look for new ways to save. They help us avoid purchases that don’t align with our goals (especially impulse purchases).
We currently have one HUGE financial goal. Our goal is to have $1 MILLION in our TFSAs by the time we turn 55.
Even though it’s a long way off, many young people think about retirement planning.
Twenty-five percent of young people list retirement as one of their top two financial concerns. Top two! They’re more concerned with retirement than debt, expenses, unexpected emergencies or losing their job.
When young people think about retirement their biggest concern is “running out of money.”
To be honest, I’m not surprised.
Saving for retirement is something we’ve been told to worry about again, and again, and again.
The good news is that starting early makes a HUGE difference. Starting early is basically retirement savings on “easy mode.”
The best way to ease your retirement concerns is to make a plan and start saving today (even if it’s just a small amount).
In this post we’ll go over a ‘quick and dirty’ way to create a retirement plan. This “retirement plan” is perfect for a young person. It isn’t a replacement for a full financial plan, but it’s a good way to put yourself on the right path and start saving.
Both TFSA and RRSP are great, but they’re also different. These tax-advantaged accounts each have their own pro’s and con’s.
If you only have a set amount to invest each month, it’s important to pick the “right” account.
The “right” account can change over time as your income and personal circumstances change.
Each account, TFSA vs RRSP, deals with taxes differently. Choosing the right account will help you save $100,000+ in tax over your lifetime. Who would say no to $100,000?!?
By choosing the right tax-advantaged account, you can actually save less each month and still achieve all your financial goals.
Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) are relatively new. They were introduced in just 2009. Even though they’ve only been around for a short time they’re already the most used out of the major tax-sheltered accounts. There are over 5.5 million households in Canada that have an active TFSA account.
(Authors Note: I love it when people use their tax-sheltered accounts. Good tax planning is a key component of any financial plan and can add $100,000’s to your net worth)
The average usage rate for the TFSA is pretty impressive at 40.4%. This is relatively consistent across both age and income. The highest usage rate is in Ontario where over 45% of the households are using a TFSA. The median contribution to a TFSA in 2016 was $5,765.
All-in-all these are impressive numbers for a new tax-sheltered account.
Given the high usage rate the TFSA must be pretty great, right?!?!
In this post we’ll cover exactly how a TFSAs works, the benefits of a TFSA, as well as some of the drawbacks of a TFSA.
RRSPs are one of the three major tax shelters available to Canadians. They were created in 1957 and since then RRSPs have been a key way to delay and avoid taxes. There are many benefits to an RRSP but also a few drawbacks.
In general Canadians aren’t taking full advantage of this tax shelter. As of 2015 there was over $1 trillion of unused contribution room. That’s an average of $41,560 per tax payer!
Each year the unused contribution room continues to grow. Over the last 5 years unused contribution room has grown by $1,900 per person per year.
This begs the question….
Why aren’t we using the RRSP to its full advantage?
Out of all tax payers only 22.9% used an RRSP last year. While this might seem low it’s important to note that RRSPs aren’t for everyone. There are drawbacks to using an RRSP and it’s because of these drawbacks that some people choose a different tax shelter instead, like a TFSA.
Still, there is a huge potential for tax savings out there. Even at the lowest federal tax rate the potential tax rebate is about $150 million or roughly $6,000 per person. Who wouldn’t like to get a $6,000 tax refund?!?
In this post we’ll cover how RRSPs work. We’ll also cover both the benefits and drawbacks of an RRSP.