There are a number of obstacles that could potentially de-rail a comfortable retirement. These include marriage breakdown, a stock market crash, and being sued. Another huge obstacle would be the diagnosis of a life threatening critical illness affecting you or your spouse. While it might be difficult to insulate yourself against some of the threats to retirement security, Critical Illness insurance goes a long way to mitigate the financial disaster that could result from a change in health as we approach retirement.
Considering that the wealth of many Canadians is comprised of the equity in their homes and the balance of their retirement plans, having to access funds to combat a dreaded illness could put their retirement objectives in jeopardy. Imagine that you are just a few years into or approaching retirement and you or your spouse suffers a stroke. The prognosis is for a long recovery and the cost associated with recovery and care is projected to be substantial. Statistics show that 62,000 Canadians suffer a stroke each year* with over 80% surviving* many of whom would require ongoing care. Since 80% of all strokes happen to Canadians over 60 those unlucky enough could definitely see their retirement funding jeopardized. Read more
One of the most common investment questions Canadians ask themselves today is, “Which is better, TFSA or RRSP”?
Here’s the good news – it doesn’t have to be an either or choice. Why not do both? Below are the features of both plans to help you understand the differences.
Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA)
- Any Canadian resident age 18 or over may open a TFSA. Contribution is not based on earned income. There is no maximum age for contribution.
- Maximum contribution is $5,500 per year.
- There is carry forward room for each year in which the maximum contribution was not made. For those who have not yet contributed to a TFSA, the cumulative total contribution room as of 2017 is $52,000. Read more
If you are interested in creating a legacy at your death by making a charitable donation, you may wish to investigate using life insurance for that purpose. There are different ways you can structure life insurance for use in philanthropy. The most common are:
Gifting an Existing Life Insurance Policy
If you currently own a life insurance policy, you can donate that policy to a charity. The charity will become owner and beneficiary of the policy and will issue a charitable receipt for the value of the policy at the time the transfer is made, which is usually the cash surrender value of the existing policy.
There are circumstances, however, where the fair market value may be in excess of cash surrender value. If, for example, the donor is uninsurable at the time of the transfer, or if the replacement cost of the policy would be in excess of the current premium, the value of the donation may be higher. Under these conditions, it is advisable for the donor to have a professional valuation of the policy, done by an actuary, prior to the donation.
Any subsequent premium payments made to the policy by the donor after the transfer to the charity will receive a charitable receipt.
Gifting a New Life Insurance Policy Read more
Considering that the proceeds of a life insurance policy are received tax free upon the death of the life insured, it is not surprising that the premiums of the policy are not tax deductible. There are two circumstances, however, where premiums would be deductible for income tax purposes:
- If the life insurance policy is assigned to a lending institution that requires the assignment as a condition for a loan, for either investment or business purposes.
- If the life insurance policy is donated to a registered charity and the donor continues to pay the premiums on behalf of the charity.
Life insurance policies used as collateral security for a loan
The conditions under which the owner of a life insurance policy would be entitled to a collateral insurance deduction are as follows:
- The loan advance must be made by a qualified financial institution that is in the business of lending money. This includes banks, finance companies, trust companies, credit unions or insurance companies. It does not include private lending arrangements such as with friends or family members; Read more
If you think your heirs are not quite old enough or prepared enough to discuss the wealth they will inherit on your death, you’re not alone. Unfortunately though, this way of thinking can leave your beneficiaries in a decision-making vacuum: an unnecessary predicament which can be avoided by facing your own mortality and making a plan.
If you have a will in place, great. A will, however, is only a fundamental first step, not a comprehensive plan, point out authors of the 2017 Wealth Transfer Report from RBC Wealth Management.
“One generation’s success at building wealth does not ensure the next generation’s ability to manage wealth responsibly, or provide effective stewardship for the future,” they write. “Knowing the value (alone) does little to prepare inheritors for managing the considerable responsibilities of wealth.” Overall, the report’s authors say the number of inheritors who’ve been prepared hovers at just one in three. Read more
If you are the owner of a private corporation you should be concerned about the commentary that is coming from the Department of Finance. In the Federal Budget of March 2017, Finance expressed their concern that private corporations were being used by high income Canadians to obtain tax advantages that were not available to other Canadian tax payers. That concern has led to the release on July 18th 2017, of a consultation paper along with draft legislation. Finance is currently asking for input from interested parties and stakeholders and has stated that the consultation period will end on October 2, 2017. At this point, whatever happens after that date is anyone’s guess, but speculation is high that changes will be introduced to close what the Department perceives as abusive practices relating to private corporations.
Specifically, there are three specific tax planning strategies employed by private corporations that the department is most concerned with:
Sprinkling income using a private corporation
Income tax paid on income from a private corporation can be greatly reduced by causing that income to be received in the form of dividends by individuals who would pay tax at a much lower rate or not at all. These dividends are usually paid to adult children or other family members who are shareholders of the private corporation or to a family trust. By “sprinkling” the income in this manner the amount of income tax paid can be greatly reduced. Read more