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Thinking of buying a home? Contribute to your RRSP so you can borrow tax-free!

Blog Image, HBP, December 2018

If you’re planning to buy your first home anytime soon, you may be able to take advantage of a helpful federal government program. This enables you to withdraw money you’ve already contributed to your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) and use it towards anything related to your home purchase, including your down payment, closing costs or real estate fees.

But, the key is that the funds must be in your account at least 90 days before you can withdraw them under the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP).

You can withdraw up to $25,000 ($50,000 per couple) from your RRSPs tax- and interest-free to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself or a related person with a disability.

Continue reading “Thinking of buying a home? Contribute to your RRSP so you can borrow tax-free!”

RRSP, RESP, TFSA or Mortgage prepayment… Which offers the best bang for my buck?

Invest. Return on investment. Financial growth. Technology and business concept

Trying to decide what’s the best move can be difficult… and, I must admit, this isn’t an easy subject to tackle. There are so many opinions! But it’s important enough that I’m going to put my two cents into the discussion. (My final recommendations are listed at the bottom if you want to fast forward.)

First, let’s come to the understanding that we’re all different and have unique needs. You must first ask for professional advice in order to make up your own mind. Having said that, I think that, for me, this is actually a very easy decision. Continue reading “RRSP, RESP, TFSA or Mortgage prepayment… Which offers the best bang for my buck?”

Federal Govt’s rrsp Home Buyer’s plan nets this couple a $15,000 tax refund.

RRSP home buyers planAround 20 years ago, the Federal govt introduced the RRSP Home Buyer’s Plan.   The goal was to stimulate a depressed housing market in the early ’90s.   The plan is really quite simple.   First time homebuyers could borrow up to $20,000 from their RRSP to be used towards the purchase of a home.   Buy with a spouse or your common-law spouse and you’ve doubled the amount to $40,000.

There really is no catch.  You simply have to pay it back to your RRSP plan over a 15 year period.   The minimum payment is 1/15th of the amount that you withdrew payable each year.  That’s it.

Today, the plan still exists with a slightly higher limit and more flexibility.   You can now withdraw up to $25,000 per person… still capped at 2 people max per purchase (married or common-law spouse).   You can also participate in the Home Buyer’s plan if you haven’t owned a home in the last 5 years.  This can work to your advantage if you previously owned but sold.  click here for the full guidelines and qualifications. Continue reading “Federal Govt’s rrsp Home Buyer’s plan nets this couple a $15,000 tax refund.”

RRSP, RESP, TSFA or Mortgage prepayment? Which has the best returns?

HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR MONEY

Trying to decide what’s the best move can be difficult…. and I must admit, this is not an easy subject to tackle.   There are so many opinions…. But it’s important enough that I’m going to put my 2 cents in.  My final recommendations are listed at the bottom if you want to fast forward…

First, let’s come to an understanding that we are all different and have different needs…. you must ask for professional opinions and make up your own mind. Having said that, I think that for me, this is actually a very easy decision. Continue reading “RRSP, RESP, TSFA or Mortgage prepayment? Which has the best returns?”

Death, taxes and interest payments! Part 1 of 2.

Death and taxes… .. the only two things that are certain in life….you’ve heard this one before.   I think there is a third thing that can be just as stressful… ‘interest payments’…. (before this article becomes too depressing, I’m going to share some things that will help to reduce our interest costs and minimize our taxes).

Paying interest on your credit cards, loans, lines of credit or mortgage is something all of us will experience at some point in our lives or, for many of us, for most of our lives…   ‘Paying interest and taxes can be the death of us’.   That’s because taxes and interest payments account for as much as 67% of our gross incomes.  That’s right, 67%!!

Tax Freedom Day (the day in which Canada, as a whole, has earned enough income to pay all their taxes for the year) this yeas was June 6th.   Any income earned up to this point was paid over to the govt.  Any income after this date is paid to yourself.    It’s hard to know exactly how much tax you really pay given there are several hidden taxes such as alcohol, amusement, gasoline tax, property taxes, HST, etc.    That’s about 42% of your gross annual income going towards taxes.

Now let’s add in how much we pay towards carrying out debts.   There are different stats out there but from my experience, I would say that 25% of gross income goes towards paying all debts...

Add the two together and you get 67%.   67% of your gross income goes towards taxes and interest…  Okay, that’s the bad news.. and now for some positive news…. Here come the tax and interest tips….and maybe this will extend your life by making things a little less stressful.

TAX TIPS

Foreward   – I’m going to skip the usually RRSP recommendations…. anyone invested in the stock market over the past 10 years will know that there has been virtually 0% return during this time..  There may be a place for RRSPs but I’m just not a big fan of them…  Remember, RRSPs are not tax exempt like a Tax Free Savings Account.   Tax is still payable when you withdraw the investment.   ..The theory is that your investment can grow within the RRSP, tax-free, and then you can withdraw your investment at a later date and pay taxes only on the amounts you withdraw….

-In general, to reduce the amount of tax you pay, you must take advantage of tax-incentive programs or participate in tax-deductible investments..  One of the proven winners over the long and short term has been real estate.   We all know someone that made money by buying investing in property…

REAL ESTATE RENTALS

buying a rental property will allow you several different deductions and opportunities to build capital and a future income stream….

-rental property purchases will allow you to write off expenses associated with purchasing the property… such as legal fees, any arrangement fees, account set up fees, bank fees, maintenance and repair of the property, etc.

-interest payments and on-going maintenance costs can be deducted from rental income, resulting in reduced rental income or a possible rental income loss that can be written off again your personal income.

-the property can appreciate in value, tax-free…. You ONLY pay tax if and when you sell for a profit.   (Historically, property values increase every 7 years… we are in an unusual period of history at the moment.  There are no guarantees the property will be worth more tomorrow..but I like a proven winner.).  If you plan to buy an investment property, then plan to hold for 7 years.

-when you sell the property, you will have to pay capital gains tax on the net profit (purchase price less expenses such as real estate fees, lawyer fees, moving costs, etc).    At the highest marginal tax rate, you would have to pay around 21.50% of your net sale profit towards tax….  Here’s a link to the formula…  That tax rate is in line with the RRSP withdrawal tax rates…

-let’s not forget that your mortgage on the rental property is being paid down for you by the rental income.… each and every year.   If you buy, rent and hold, then you will have a mortgage-free property in 20 or 25 years.. maybe sooner if you factor in the normal rent increases every year…  Rental income is usually indexed with the cost of living….    This part of the investment is rarely considered or talked about.

Watch for Part 2 for our advice on how to minimize taxes and reduce your interest costs.

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