The Canada Child Benefit is one of the most generous government benefits in Canada and it just increased! Unlike many government benefits, the Canada Child Benefit is available to low, moderate, and also some high income families.
The amount you receive from the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) depends on a few factors, one is the taxable net income for the family (line 23600 on your tax return), another is the number of children in the family, and the final factor is the age of each child.
The Canada Child Benefit is an “income tested” government benefit. The higher your taxable net income is, the lower your Canada Child Benefit will be. For some high income families, at a certain level of income the Canada Child Benefit will be reduced to $0. Anyone with income above that income level will not receive any benefit. The tricky thing is that this income level is different depending on the number of children and their ages.
The Canada Child Benefit also changes every year. New benefits start in July and are based on prior years tax return (the first payment of the updated benefit is July 20th).
The Canada Child Benefit also increases with inflation. The new 2023 Canada Child Benefit has increased by 6.3% versus 2022.
So how much Canada Child Benefit can you expect in July? We’ve got a table below that shows the Canada Child Benefit based on family taxable net income (line 23600) in $10,000 increments, so you can figure out generally how much you can expect in July.
When we talk about retirement planning with our clients one topic that inevitably comes up is tax planning.
Income tax is often the single largest expense in retirement. Larger than travel, food, or medical expenses.
Income tax often comes up when we talk about retirement planning because many people are worried about paying too much tax in retirement and negatively impacting their retirement spending goals.
Many people do not realize that in retirement there are new tax credits that can help reduce income tax, sometimes to zero. It’s understandable that people aren’t aware of these tax credits because they’re mostly available to those over age 65, so they’re not necessarily on someone’s radar if they’re under age 65.
Paying less tax in retirement is nice, but what if you could pay NO TAX at all in retirement? With some pre-retirement planning that is easily possible.
There are three important tax credits that can help you earn over $25,000 per year as an individual, or over $50,000 per year as a couple, and pay zero tax in retirement.
In this blog post we’re going to look at three important tax credits in retirement, two of which, for most people, are only available after age 65. We’re also going to work backward to craft a retirement plan that provides $75,000 per year in spending with zero tax.
In this blog post we’re going to look at an average retirement plan with $1,700,000 in financial assets. Why $1,700,000? Because that’s what a recent bank survey suggested that the average Canadian feels they need to retire.
Now, banks are in the business of selling financial products, so they may be somewhat biased when it comes to how much you should be saving for retirement. They’re probably happy for you save and invest more for retirement because it means more investment fees for them. But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and let’s see if $1,700,000 is really the right retirement goal for the average Canadian household.
Having done many, many, advice-only retirement plans I suspect that this number is grossly overstated, and a much smaller amount is likely sufficient to have a comfortable retirement for the average household.
To test if this is true, we’re going to build an “average retirement plan” with $1,700,000 in financial assets.
Of course, no retirement plan is ever average. Some people have more CPP, some less. Some people have defined benefit pensions, others do not. Some people want to spend more in retirement while others are content with spending less. There is no such thing as an “average retirement plan” but we’re going to make some broad assumptions to test whether or not $1,700,000 is a reasonable goal for retirement assets or if it’s grossly overstated.
The RRSP deadline is quickly approaching on March 1st, and you should get ready for advertisements selling you all sorts of RRSP products over the next few weeks. But despite what the advertisements suggest, should you actually make an RRSP contribution this year? Maybe, but maybe not.
In this blog post we’re going to highlight 5 reasons why you SHOULD NOT make an RRSP contribution this year.
As we build financial plans with clients, we sometimes come across situations where RRSP contributions were made to the detriment of the client. The client was in one or more of the situations below, but they were still advised to make RRSP contributions, or they were advised to split contributions between RRSP and TFSA, or sometimes they were not given any tax planning or government benefit advice at all.
Depending on the situation, this has cost a number of clients $10,000’s in extra income tax or reduced government benefits.
So, as the RRSP deadline approaches, watch out for these five situations where RRSP contributions may not be the best option, and always seek the advice of an unbiased advice-only financial planner to create a thorough income tax and government benefit strategy before making $1,000’s in RRSP contributions.
You may have noticed a new term starting to creep into the mainstream financial media, that term is FIRE, and you might be wondering, “What the heck is FIRE? And how is it related to personal finances?”.
FIRE is an acronym that stands for Financial Independence/Retire Early. The basic idea is that if you pursue FIRE you can eventually stop working for money. You can be financially independent. You can do anything, retire early, keep working, volunteer, basically you can have more freedom.
The idea is that with enough savings/investments you’ll eventually reach the point where you can live off your investment income indefinitely. Once you reach this point you’re considered financially independent, you no longer NEED to work for an income, and can retire to a life of leisure (although you may choose to continue to work, change roles/professions, start a business, or volunteer).
While the concept of early retirement sounds amazing, it does take quite a bit of focus and determination to get there. To reach FIRE it requires a high savings rate, very high.
The typical financial advice given to the public is to save and investment approximately 20% of your net income (part of the simple 50/30/20 budget).
But to reach financial independence retire early you need to save more, much more. To reach FIRE you need to have a savings rate somewhere in the 30%-70%+ range. The higher your savings rate the faster you can stop working for money.
Because it’s easier to reach financial independence/retire early with a high savings rate, the path to FIRE is made easier with an above average income. With an above average income, basic expenses are easily covered, and it becomes more about managing lifestyle inflation. People who pursue FIRE try to limit their lifestyle inflation to maintain a high savings rate.
FIRE is also possible with a below average income, but requires a lot of creativity to reduce basic expenses. This may include house hacking, avoiding car ownership, and more extreme lifestyles. To reach financial independence/retire early with a low-income you need to live an alternative lifestyle.
Reaching FIRE is one of those extreme personal finance goals, it’s a goal that isn’t for everyone.
Even though the end goal sounds appealing, it requires a lot of hard work and dedication along the way. Reaching financial independence retire early means living way below your means for the rest of your life. It’s a lifestyle more than it is an end goal. It’s a lifestyle with a lot of freedom, but it’s also a lifestyle that requires a lot of control.
If you’re able to control your spending, and save a large % of your income, then reaching financial independence might only be a few years away.
To find out how far away you are from financial independence you can make a copy of our FIRE calculator and quickly calculate how many years it will take to reach FIRE in your situation. It will help you estimate how many years from FIRE you are based on your net-income, current expenses, and existing savings.
We’ve used our FIRE calculator to create four examples of how to reach FIRE.
Goals are a fantastic way to motivate yourself. Having a big, ambitious goal will help you prioritize other things in your life. It gives you something to work toward. Something that you care deeply about. It helps you balance what you need today with what you want to achieve in the future.
Financial goals have made a huge difference in my life. Setting powerful financial goals has helped me focus on the things that matter to me and ignore the things that don’t. They’ve helped me prioritize my spending to better align with my short and long-term goals.
Because of these financial goals, I’ve cut $1,000’s per year in wasteful spending. Spending that really didn’t provide much value to me. Spending that was mostly driven out of habit. Spending that I’d gladly cut in favor of my long-term goals.
Once you have a financial goal then you have to track it. And this can be a challenge on its own.
One thing that helps me reach my financial goals (or any goal for that matter) is to track my progress visually.
Maybe I’m a visual person but I find it helps me to “see” where I’ve come from and where I’m going. It’s super motivating to see that I’m hitting my monthly goals and that I’m on track to hit my long-term goal.
There are a few different ways to visualize your goals. I’m going to share my three favorite visualization techniques with you.