Dividends from Canadian corporations receive some special tax treatment that can make them an attractive investment in non-registered accounts. This special treatment means that they can help lower your average tax rate, especially in retirement.
But this special tax treatment makes it a bit confusing to understand how dividends are taxed. To calculate tax on Canadian dividends there are things like “gross ups” and dividend tax credits to consider.
Despite the extra confusion caused by this special tax treatment it can be very attractive to invest in Canadian companies. For most people there is a significant tax advantage when receiving Canadian dividends. For example, in Ontario, a retiree in the lowest tax bracket will experience a negative tax rate on eligible dividends!
The way these eligible dividends are taxed can help offset other income from CPP, OAS, pensions and RRSP withdrawals. With a bit of tax planning this advantage could add thousands in after-tax income for a retiree.
In this post we’ll look at how dividends are taxed, the difference between eligible and non-eligible dividends, and we’ll look at an example of how eligible dividends can help lower taxes in retirement (all the way to zero!).
Lastly, we’ll also look at how the dividend gross up can also trigger OAS clawbacks for high income retirees. A surprising negative of the way dividends are taxed (although it’s still an attractive form of income).
With investments values moving up and down 5% to 10% per day this investment volatility can feel like a roller coaster both financially and emotionally. If you’ve been watching your investment portfolio day-to-day you may be feeling a bit nauseated by now.
Thankfully there is a fool proof way to manage this investment volatility, just don’t look.
Not looking at your investment portfolio is simpler said then done of course, but it’s the best way to manage investment volatility.
It’s been proven that we put more weight on negative experiences than positive experiences. We feel the impact of negatives more than we feel positives.
Even when they’re the same size, a loss feels worse than a gain. Losing $50 feels worse than gaining $50.
So with markets jumping up and down 5-10% per day this can lead to some VERY negative emotions. The positives just don’t out weight the negatives and we end up feeling worse and worse with each rise and fall.
But not looking at your investment portfolio can be surprisingly hard to do. So what can the average investor do to help themselves feel better during a market correction? What strategies can they use to avoid looking at their investment portfolio? What routines can they implement?
This post looks at a few different ways to help you manage the emotional impact of investment volatility.
At some point every retiree with an RRSP is going to need to make a decision about converting their RRSP to a RRIF. The Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) works very similarly to the RRSP with a couple notable exceptions.
One of those exceptions is that there is a minimum RRIF withdrawal. Retirees need to make this minimum withdrawal from their RRIF each year. This minimum withdrawal escalates each year as the retiree gets older. By the time a retiree reaches their mid-90s they are forced to withdrawal 20% of their RRIF each year!
Because the withdrawal is a minimum, and conversion from a RRSP to a RRIF is mandatory, this often leads retirees to believe that keeping money in a RRIF is a good idea. After all, if they’re being forced to take money out, wouldn’t that suggest that keeping money in is a good idea?
For many retirees, taking out only the minimum RRIF withdrawal each year is actually a bad idea. Many retirees would benefit from a different RRIF withdrawal strategy. Many retirees would benefit from taking out more than the minimum each year. They would increase their financial flexibility, they would decrease the tax on their estate, and they could even qualify for certain benefits late in retirement.
RRIF withdrawal strategy is especially important now. The federal government just announced that the minimum RRIF withdrawal for 2020 will be reduced by 25%. This may lead many retirees to “take advantage” of this opportunity when it’s not necessarily in their best interest.
In this post we’ll look at RRIF withdrawal rules, the minimum RRIF withdrawal percentage by age, and we’ll explore two scenarios where we show how a retiree can benefit from RRIF withdrawals that are larger than the minimum.
We’ll also explore how this strategy is even more impactful now, after a large stock market correction.
They say the best time to plant a tree was 20-years ago but the second best time is now.
The same goes for financial planning. The best time to build a plan is before a crisis/recession/depression but the second best time is today. A good financial plan will help ensure that you’re prepared for a recession or financial emergency.
Having a financial plan provides an incredible amount of peace of mind. A good financial plan will already have anticipated a scenario like this and will ensure you’re still successful. It will highlight how to prepare for a recession and what changes you need to make to ensure you are successful over the long-term.
There are a few best practices that can help improve the ‘robustness’ of a financial plan. These are practices you can start using right away, even if they weren’t previously part of your plan.
Some of these best practices focus on behavior. They help manage your financial routine during emotional periods like this. Some focus on flexibility. They ensure that you have room in your plan to absorb the unexpected, whether that be changes in income, changes in expenses, or changes in investment returns.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in retirement, starting a family, or just starting to save and invest, there are a number of ways that you can prepare for a recession that will help you feel better about your finances and your long-term plan.
This post will touch on many of these best practices. These are best practices that we’ve covered in previous posts, so we’ll cover the basics here and link to past posts for more detail.
When planning to reach a financial goal, one very important aspect is the timeline. How much time do you have until you want to meet your goal? Is it 1-year, 3-years, 5-years, 10-years or maybe it’s a long-term goal like 25+ years.
Your timeline is a very important factor to consider. Your timeline is going to help inform decisions about how much risk you should be taking and the best way to invest.
One common mistake people make is that they make investment decisions without thinking about their timeline. They’re mostly focused on getting the highest return, making the most of their money, and not leaving anything on the table. But they don’t fully appreciate the short-term risk associated with a decision to “maximize returns”.
Over the long-term, taking on more risk can be a smart decision, but over the short-term that extra risk can cause some wild swings.
If you need access to money within a few years then you need to choose a good way to invest short-term.
Maybe it’s for a down payment, or maybe it’s to pay for post-secondary education, maybe it’s to pay for an expensive once-in-a-lifetime trip in retirement, or perhaps it’s a wedding gift for your daughter and soon to be son-in-law. Whatever the reason, if you need access to a large amount of cash within the next 3-5 years then you need a good short-term investment.
Both the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) are tax-sheltered accounts offered to Canadians by the government as a way to help save and invest without the drag of income tax on annual returns.
Although both are great ways to help grow your money, it can be difficult to decide which one is best for you.
Often one type of account (either TFSA or RRSP) is better for an individual than the other. In most cases we would prefer to maximize one of these accounts before moving on to the next.
Which account we choose, TFSA or RRSP, will depend on a number of factors. These factors may change over time. It’s reasonable to assume that a new grad entering the work force would be better suited to maximizing their TFSA first but as their income grows they may prefer to start focusing on their RRSP instead.
This decision between TFSA or RRSP often involves looking at your marginal effective tax rate today and your marginal effective tax rate in the future. You marginal effective tax rate is your income tax rate PLUS the claw back rate you experience from government benefits.
Making the right decision between TFSA or RRSP can help save $100,000’s over time.
It can mean paying thousands LESS in income tax and it can mean qualifying for thousands MORE in government benefits (like the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) or the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) or one of dozens of other government benefits that are available).