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).
Risk management is an important consideration in any financial plan. There are many risks that must be managed to have a solid financial plan. For example there is investment risk, inflation rate risk, longevity risk… and of course the risk of an unexpected death.
To help reduce the risk of an unexpected death we can use life insurance, but there are many types of life insurance to choose from, so what type of life insurance is right for your situation?
Although it can be difficult to think about, reducing the risk of an unexpected death is very important to consider when creating a long-term plan. This is especially important in certain circumstances. For example, life insurance is extremely important when there are dependents who need to be provided for in the event of an unexpected death, or when there is a large tax liability that could be triggered by an unexpected death.
In this post we’ll explore the different types of life insurance that are available and some of their important features, but first it’s important to understand the purpose behind life insurance.
The Tax-Free-Savings-Account (TFSA) is a great way to save and invest for the future. In our opinion, it’s the best tax advantaged account in Canada, and probably the first tax advantaged account most people should use (versus an RRSP or RESP). But with all the rules it can be very misunderstood.
To get the most out of your TFSA you have to have a good idea of how it works, what the benefits are, and what the limitations are.
The Canadian government introduced TFSAs in 2009 as an incentive to help any Canadians 18 years or older save more money. Although called a “Tax Free Savings Account”, the TFSA is more than an average savings account.
Even though the TFSA has been around for 10+ years, there is still a lot of confusion about how TFSAs work and what the benefits are.
In this post we’ll do an ELI5 for the TFSA (ELI5 = explain it like i’m 5-years old) and share some of the important considerations when using a TFSA.
There are three main pension arrangements in Canada and most people, if they have a pension plan, have one of these three main types. There are defined benefit pensions, defined contribution pensions, and group-RRSPs. Each of these have their pros and cons. (There are also some unique pension plans but these are typically intended for high income executives or business owners.)
Having an employer pension plan can be a huge benefit for retirement. An employer pension makes saving for retirement easier by taking deductions directly off your income, plus it also typically comes with employer matching. This employer matching can be worth anywhere from a few percent of your salary all the way up to 18% of your salary (depending on the plan and the retirement benefits provided).
The automatic nature of pension contributions make them a great way to save for retirement. This “forced savings” is a huge benefit in itself, regardless of the employer matching.
Depending on the type of pension you have, this money gets paid out in different ways at retirement. Some plans cannot start before a certain age while others can be accessed earlier. Depending on your retirement goals this flexibility (or lack of flexibility) is an important consideration in your financial plan.
Some pensions, specifically defined benefit pensions, may also come with health benefits, travel benefits, or life insurance benefits after retirement. This can be another important benefit of a defined benefit pension plan, one that shouldn’t be ignored (especially when deciding between a defined benefit pension and a commuted value option).
It pretty much always makes sense to participate in an employer pension plan, but the different plans do have their pros and cons. Let’s explore the three main types of plans in Canada and their pros and cons.
At some point in their life many investors are faced with deciding how to invest a large sum of money. This large sum of money could be from something like an unexpected bonus, or the proceeds from downsizing a home, or from something unfortunate like the passing of a family member.
Investing a lump-sum can be a daunting experience for even the most experienced investor. There can be a lot of fear and worry when it comes to investing a large lump-sum. Fear of what could happen if the market drops right after you invest.
Often this fear and worry can cause delays. Sometimes these delays can extend for months or even years, with large piles of cash sitting in a savings account waiting for the “right time” to invest.
These fears are understandable. There is a fairly good chance when investing a lump-sum that you could see the balance drop in the future. In the example below you’ll see that during approximately 67.3% of historical periods investing all at once is the better financial decision, but that means 32.7% of the time it is not.
There are two main methods when it comes to investing a lump-sum. Which method you choose will depend on how you’re feeling. Are you worried about what might happen if you invest a lump-sum all at once? Or are you ok with the risk because there is a good chance of higher financial gain?
When deciding how to invest a large lump-sum there are two common methods. One method is to invest the entire lump-sum all at once. This is mathematically the best option. The other is to dollar cost average smaller amounts into the market over time. This is psychologically often the best option.
Psychology is one consideration when choosing how to invest a large sum of money. Probability and expected return is another consideration. These are two important considerations when choosing how to invest a lump-sum.