Ho Hum Budget, Brackets Busted and #MoneyTalk

A very ho hum budget from our government this time with a few more tax “tweaks”  (where tweak always ends up acting like a tax increase, due to the loss of yet another deduction). The big ones for someone like me end up being:

ho hum budget

Ho Hum Indeed

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • Disappearance of the Mass Transit usage tax deduction. Evidently it didn’t cause more folks to take the bus? Guess I can throw out my “bus pants”. I have taken the bus in the past.
  • If I take an Uber, I will have to pay HST on it. It was surprising to me,  that was not the case, no big deal in my book, I take the bus, no wait…
  • I was sad to read about the death of Canada Savings Bonds. I remember when I had CSB’s that paid 19% a year! Those were the days.
  • For RDSP and RESP the rules for what you can invest in, have been tightened. The interesting part is that it is in the section, “Closing Tax Loopholes”? Doesn’t really change anything in my portfolios, but it is sad when loopholes close (usually they make knots then). Nice to hear that they at least know the RDSP exists.

    Extend to Registered Education Savings Plans and Registered Disability Savings Plans anti-avoidance rules similar to the ones applicable in connection with Tax-Free Savings Accounts and Registered Retirement Savings Plans.

  • For Disability Tax Credit (DTC) Eligibility Certification, Nurse Practitioners are proposed to be added to the list of folks eligible to fill in the forms for you. This is really good news, and should make it easier to do the DTC paperwork yourself.
  • Booze and Smokes are more expensive thanks to higher taxes too.
  • Lots of promises for other folks, but nothing else that changes my life.

The good news is that the Capital Gains taxes and Pension Income Splitting haven’t been touched.

March Madness continues this weekend, and Formula 1 racing begins again as well. Yes that audible sigh you hear is Mrs. C8j realizing I will be a true Couch Potato this weekend. March Madness bracket picking is similar to stock picking in my books (i.e. I stink at both of them).

My Writings for Week Ending March 24th

Spring, sprang here in Ottawa, there is still snow on the ground and we had -25C temperatures, but it was Spring! I also wrote about Spring Financial Cleaning (revisited), and some of the things to do this spring.

A Money Thought

More disturbing comics from Dilbert, especially about investing.

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Naughty Banks, March Madness, Big Snow and #MoneyTalk

The CBC is flogging the “Banks are mean” story line, which has been true, but I guess they think it is a new thing. They had a great discussion on the National (see video at the bottom of this page), with Kerry and Bruce Sellery discussing how the bank is not your friend. I have pounded this point home many times, so I am glad to hear others saying this. Your bank is a business, and as a shareholder, a profitable business too. The banks need to keep finding new income streams, and you are that! All you are to your bank is an attractive income stream (and that is it).

Naughty Banks

V is not for Victory ?

Keep those thoughts in mind the next time you think your bank is helping you out, by allowing you to have a new service. The only reason they let you have it, was to make them money.

March Madness has begun, I am cheering for Deep State to take the whole thing. Curious stat I found that this time of year is when the most vasectomies occur (and around time for the Masters), so the patient can “recover” at home and watch the games in peace and quiet. Seems a little extreme just to have the family leave you alone, but, to each his own. One day I will write about my two vasectomies. Might this be March Vasness ?

Have I mentioned how much I dislike finding snakes in my car? As Bugs Bunny said, “Good Bye Florida!”.

It snowed, in Ottawa, too much. That is all.

Snow in Ottawa

It Snowed, Again

My Writings for Week Ending March 17th

I took a week off, given it is March Break. Stay tuned we will be celebrating my 12th year of being the “Cranky old man of Personal Finance”, next week!

A Money Thought

Stan Buell has the correct view on the whole, “The Banks are out to get us” statement.

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Teller Upselling, Auto-filling Taxes, Spring Forward and #MoneyTalk

Upselling Teller

Spring Forward This Weekend (but it isn’t Spring quite yet)

The CBC had a report this week from a TD Teller, who says that he or she is expected to reach goals selling (sometimes unwanted)  services to customers. This teller stated,  ‘I will do anything I can to make my goal‘. Am I surprised by teller up selling ? Absolutely not, every teller I have dealt with lately has engaged me about new services at the bank. I get harder sells at my bank than I have at car dealerships.  As Michael James has said, Canadian Banks are losing income streams, so they must work hard to get new income streams. Expect teller up selling , just have a polite (but firm) negative response ready.

I am not sure how to politely tell the teller, “Sod off, I don’t need credit insurance!”, or “No I don’t want to get another credit card“.

Auto-filling has come to the world of Canadian Income Taxes, isn’t it great! I did get a cautionary comment from a reader, to be very careful and make sure the CRA has all of your tax slips before you auto-file. Strangely you can’t blame the CRA for not having all your forms ready.

How goes your Lenten Financial journey? Mine so far is stinking it up big time, but there is time to adjust and fix my plans. Remember it is a journey, not a true false test.

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My Writings for Week Ending March 10th

A quieter week than last week with only 1 article, but an important reminder that it is Tax season with, Tax Tips to Remember 2017 (which is for tax year 2016). Lots of new wrinkles in the system, make sure you get back all the money you are owed. I have had discussions with other financial writers about the TFSA being misnamed. The TFSA makes people think it is a Tax Free Banking Account , which it can be, but not necessarily. Is it just semantics? Not if you are trying to save money.

A Money Thought

An excellent Dilbert cartoon about your level of Risk Tolerance

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Lent Begins, Loose Money and #MoneyTalk

Lent for 2017 has begun, and as usual I am hoping folks use this period to enrich and change their lives (spiritually and financially). This is an excellent time to try out new lifestyle and financial ideas and concepts. The period is only 40 days, which allows for a short-term experiment.

Loose Money

Not just loose money policies set in Ottawa

The Bank of Canada has decided the Inflation scare from Stats Canada is to be ignored for now. The happy world of loose money continues on, but for how much longer? The Bank did comment on the current economic state:

“In Canada, recent consumption and housing indicators suggest growth in the fourth quarter of 2016 may have been slightly stronger than expected. However, exports continue to face the ongoing competitiveness challenges described in the January MPR…. In this context, Governing Council judges that the current stance of monetary policy is still appropriate and maintains the target for the overnight rate at 1/2 per cent.”

The days of incredibly loose money policies may be numbered, but I have been saying that for about 10 years now.

Ontarians will be paying less for electricity soon (17% less?), but will be paying for it later. What will lower hydro bills in Ontario do to the Inflation numbers? Will this somehow salvage the Liberals chances in the next provincial election?

RRSP season is over, but it has also begun again for 2018. What if you put a little away every pay cheque, and adjusted your tax at source to reflect that? That way you are not loaning the government money this year.

It is Crashed Ice weekend here in Ottawa. Crazed skaters go up and down a roller coaster of an ice track racing each other? Luckily it has cooled off. What better way to help celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday?

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My Writings for Week Ending March 3rd

It was a busy week for me, with plenty to write about. I started off with Gasoline Pushed Inflation to 2.1 %, which of course is from our friends at Stats Canada. The good news is that fresh fruit and veggies are cheaper. With RRSP season coming to a close on March 1st, I felt it important to remind folks about 5 Things to Remember about RRSPs. Finally with Lent starting on March 1, I gave a few good ideas of things to try out during Lent with, Money and Lent : Clutter too ?

A Money Thought

I sometimes like making flow charts, and this is one of my favorites. Yes the box shapes really mean something.

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RRSP Season, Tax Time, and #MoneyTalk

RRSP season is slowly coming to a close, if we are to believe the advertising campaigns from the banks and mutual funds. RRSP season is actually all year round, however March 1, 2017 is the deadline for contributing to an RRSP for the 2016 tax year. It is bad planning (in my opinion) to buy RRSPs at this stage of the game, but if you find money (and don’t have debt to pay off), it is an OK place to put found money. I have over the years written plenty of articles on RRSPs, and here are a few for you to read:

RRSP Season disliker

Not an RRSP Season Fan?
Image used without permission of JK Rowling or Warner Bros.

If this is RRSP season, remember that it is tax season as well. For folks in Ottawa who work for the Federal Government, there are tax problems. Over 50,000 have had issues with their T4 slips from the new Phoenix pay system. Ironically the CRA (who are also part of the Phoenix Pay system) say that there will be no dispensations for them. The CRA was kind enough to put up an FAQ Page for Tax Questions.

The ultimate concept in the #Fakenews? The status bar and how long it says it will take to install your software (several minutes, my arse!)

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My Writings for Week Ending February 24th

Given we are in the RRSP Season, I had my own poke at the topic, which I borrowed from a discussion I had with Preet B. and Michael James about how so many folks seem to forget that an RRSP is a Tax Deferral Savings Plan. How many times have you heard someone tell you how much money they have in their RRSP and never mention the taxes they might have to pay on that sum?

A Money Thought

Kerry from Squawkfox is getting tired of being up sold services at the banks by tellers (and ATMs)

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