EQ Bank Savings Plus Account

Has the Disability Tax Credit policy changed? The CRA has not made any formal statement that the program has changed, however, the media implies otherwise. There seems to be an increase in stories about folks either having their applications denied or existing DTC holders having their certificates revoked.

A while ago we had to reapply for my son’s DTC and it seemed to go fine, however, that is far too small a data set to draw a conclusion from.

There have been stories of the CRA cracking down on false DTC claims (especially in the area of Autism and Brain disorders). There have been allegations that some “helping firms” have been supplying false applications, and the CRA is investigating these allegations.

There are also stories about an apparent change of policy for diabetics (with type 1 diabetes). If these folks are diagnosed under age 18 they are given the DTC, however, when they reach the age of majority, their DTC has been revoked (in some cases). The argument has been that their disability is not having a significant impact on their daily life (and that is the yard stick the CRA uses for disabilities).

My concern here is that there has not been any statement from the CRA or any apparent consultations with the public about this policy change.

For many folks disabilities there is no question, they are disabled, however there seems to be a push to revisit some areas. If the CRA chooses to change the rules for the DTC there is not much that can be done, aside from contacting your Member of Parliament, The Health Minister and the Minister in Charge of the CRA.

Policy Change ?

Does this apparent change in policy worry me. Yes, and my concern is not simply that my son may lose his “disabled” label (from the CRA), it is the apparent arbitrary nature that the new rules are being implemented, without public consultations.

The CRA can change the rules, but I think they should at least consult the public, or publish these new rules so we know what they are. A statement clarifying things would be helpful as well. It may well be that these are isolated cases, however, they may not be.

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Aging Family Members and How to Deal with their Real Estate


A Guest Post by frequent contributor Sean Cooper.


It’s an honour to speak to the Canadian Personal Finance Blog audience once again. I was speaking with your fearless leader Big Cajun Man trying to come up with a good topic to discuss on the blog when we both realized that we’re dealing with similar life situations. Big Cajun Man is dealing with his mother (who is 90) in a house that she will NOT leave, while I’m dealing with my father who is almost 70 in a house he will NOT leave.

Dealing with an aging family member is never easy. The last thing they want to do is lose their freedom by leaving the family home. But if the family home no longer works for them, some tough decisions need to be made.

Without further ado, let’s look at aging family member and how to deal with their real estate.

My Father’s Story

Five years ago my dad found out he had Parkinson’s disease. This changed our family’s life forever. Suddenly tasks that used to be simple for my father like making a cup of coffee were no longer easy. On some days when his back acts up, it’s even tough for him to get out of bed.

My father lives in a two story home. The stairs pose a big challenge for him most days. He finds it tough to go up and down the stairs without falling. Luckily there’s a restroom on the main floor and upstairs, so my father doesn’t have to go up the stairs as much, but he still has to use the stairs at least a few times a day and doesn’t always have a family member to help him.

Despite the challenges, similar to Big Cajun Man’s mother, my father refuses to downsize. We’re not asking him to move to a long-term care facility; we just think life would be a lot easier if he moved to a condo or even a bungalow with everything on the same floor. We’ve planted the bug in his ear, but so far he isn’t open to the idea of moving.

My father doesn’t want to move because he likes the street he lives on and his neighbourhood. He also sees downsizing as one step closer to losing his freedom. My grandfather passed away at 62 years old, so for my dad losing his freedom is really scary.

Making It Work

Rather than nag my father and pressure him to move, my family is trying our best to support his decision. Instead of moving out, my youngest sister has stayed at home to help my father out. Likewise, my older sister and I stop by the house as often as we can to check in on my dad and run errands for him. We’ll also mow the lawn and shovel the sidewalk and driveway of snow during the wintertime.

When I bought my house, an important factor was being close to my mother and father so I could help them out in their old age. Fortunately, I’m a 15 minute walk away from both of them. This makes it easy to check in on them and make sure they’re ok.

When the Time Comes

There will likely come a time when my father has to leave the family home. I’m not sure when that will be, but it’s a time my siblings and I want to make as simple and stress-free as possible.

My older sister is a real estate agent, so selling the family home won’t be a big deal. She can list my father’s home and stage it so that it sells for top dollar.

The toughest part will be convincing my father to downsize. Perhaps he will come to the realization on his own. If not, most of my friends are facing similar situations. Instead of pressuring my dad, I’ll tell him about how much better my friend’s parent’s life is since downsizing.

If push comes to shove there will be a time when my father has to downsize, but I’d much prefer the carrot over the stick approach. I’d like to exhaust the carrot approach before even considering the stick approach. That being said, you have to be ready to have the tough conversations if needed.


About the Author

Sean Cooper
Mr Cooper

Sean Cooper is the bestselling author of the book, Burn Your Mortgage: The Simple, Powerful Path to Financial Freedom for Canadians. He bought his first house when he was only 27 in Toronto and paid off his mortgage in just 3 years by age 30. An in-demand Personal Finance Journalist, Money Coach and Speaker, his articles and blogs have been featured in publications such as the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Financial Post and MoneySense. Connect with Sean on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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CPP and EI for 2020

One of my most popular posts in 2019 was CPP and EI rates for 2019, so I figure I’ll keep going with a winning combination.

As we start 2020 (a new year and a new decade), all we folks who receive pay cheques (I believe the Japanese term is Salaryman), we get to start paying CPP and EI premiums again, hooray! Taxes make us strong!?! I resolved to pay less taxes legally this year.

If you pay CPP and EI premiums all year long, this is not for you, however, for those lucky enough to earn more than that, read on.

EI this year is again a bit lower:

  • The maximum insurable earnings for 2020 is $54,200, up from $53,100 in 2019.
  • The rates have lowered a little as well:
    • Workers rate (self-employed folks should research further, or if you live in Quebec) $1.58 per $100 earned.
    • Maximum premium paid $856.36 , once you reach this point no more EI will be deducted from your pay
    • Max difference from 2019 -$3.86

CPP rates continue to rise. Given the number of retirees, not surprising really.

  • Maximum Pensionable Earnings: $58,700
  • Employee Contribution Rate : 5.25 % (rate is up 0.15 % over 2019)
  • Maximum contribution for year: $2,898.00

Guess How Much Bill Makes

Somewhere around July, Bill (a friend) says he has paid off his CPP & EI, can we construe from this how much Bill makes (given he lives in Ontario and is not self-employed)?

MonthBi-Weekly PaysApprox Gross IncomePer Pay EIPer Pay CPP
January3$469,733.33$285.45$948.50
February5$281,840.00$171.27$569.10
March7$201,314.29$122.34$406.50
April9$156,577.78$95.15$316.17
May 11$128,109.09$77.85$258.68
June13$108,400.00$65.87$218.88
July 16$88,075.00$53.52$177.84
August18$78,288.89$47.58$158.08
September20$70,460.00$42.82$142.28
October22$64,054.55$38.93$129.34
November 24$58,716.67$35.68$118.56
December26$54,200.00$32.94$109.44

So from this helpful table, we can guess Bill makes less than $88,100.00. Isn’t this a fun game to play? Also if Bill told you what the approximate EI deduction is on his pay cheque, you can also guess his gross income, using this cool table.

Past CPP & EI

Yes, it is a topic I write about, as it is important to me. Here are a few from the past years, to compare and contrast (hint see how much CPP has gone up).

Reference:

These are the sites I gleaned the information from

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Christmas All Year Round

It seems the advertising and hype machine has succeeded, it is Christmas year round. No, it is not a wonderful family time, but the hype to spend is pretty much year round.

Let’s wander through our Calendar Year of spending, shall we?

New Years

This really end up being an extension of Black Friday/Christmas spending, but New Years sales go on for a good long while.

St. Valentine’s Day

Also known as Love Day, Valentine’s Day is an orgy of overspending in the name of keeping your loved one happy. The easiest way to show love is by spending lots of money, we all know that.

Easter

Hasn’t been completely conscripted as an orgy of spending yet, but things can change quickly. Easter is always a good time for change, or starting new things, but isn’t associated with over-spending. It is associated with new clothes though.

Mother’s Day

You can’t love your mother unless you spend a lot of money on gifts for her, right? The guilt pulled out to sell things for this is disgusting, but it does seem to work quite well.

May 2-4 Weekend

In the US it is usually around Memorial Day, and this holiday is when you need to spend enormous amounts of money on Cottages and outdoor projects. Also a big excuse for buying booze, and also buying Bar B Q’s, too!

Father’s Day

You know what your Dad wants for Father’s Day? Not all the the crap you are told by the media. He wants to know you are happy, safe and doing OK, that is about it, so don’t bankrupt yourself for this reason.

Canada Day (or the 4th of July)

Ain’t it great? The Fathers of Confederation were surely thinking it would be a great time to buy a new car, or possibly an RV, when Canada was formed. Seriously, that is a selling point for that weekend.

Back to School

Yes, that starts pretty much in June and runs the entire summer. The kids haven’t even finished Grade N, when you should start buying stuff for Grade N+1 (or maybe Grade N again). Remember it is a great time to think about RESPs, because your kids will need that money sooner thank you think!

Labour Day

Back to school and the last long weekend of getting drunk at the Cottage or while on vacation, so let’s splurge!

Thanksgiving

C’mon, it’s almost Christmas, for Pete’s sake, but you need to splurge for this one. Get the 50 Kg turkey and enough food to feed the Minnesota Vikings, because, that is what you do to say Thank You!

Halloween

Now it is getting crowded. Halloween really starts around Labour Day, but Thanksgiving kind of gets in the way as well, but Halloween is another huge money pit. If you don’t have $2000 worth of inflatable crap on your front lawn, you are an awful person. Halloween is ripped down at 1:00 AM on November 1st, in preparation for the big day!

Singles Day

Seriously folks, this is the biggest orgy of spending worldwide, and it is completely made up. I got as much email about this, as I did about Black Friday. It is a little off putting given in overlaps with Remembrance Day here in Canada.

Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Giving Tuesday

American Thanksgiving, is the trigger for more huge spending. It is the start of the Christmas season, and another excuse to buy stuff you really don’t need or even want! Black Friday is the reason for the season, right?

Christmas

Hence my thesis that it is year round Christmas. Is there any week, where I don’t receive a flyer with a plausible excuse for bankrupting myself? I doubt it.

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The British tradition of the Christmas Cracker is something I plan on continuing. Today, we will celebrate the horrible puns found in the Crackers, with these Terrible Financial Crackers.

Inside Christmas Crackers, there was a toy, a paper crown and usually a bad joke, pun or sage advice. These ideas for some sage financial advice are supposed to make you groan and wince when you read them.

Cracker 1:

I used to be a banker, but I lost interest.

Cracker 2:

I once got into so much debt that I couldn’t even afford my electricity bills, they were the darkest times of my life.

Cracker Next:

I had an account with a bank in the North Pole, but they froze all my assets.

Cracker for Uncle Stan

A bank manager without anyone around may find themselves a-loan.


Care to buy some? Available from Amazon

Some Other Bad Financial Puns

You get the idea, the Financial Christmas Cracker needs a financial pun (or worse a groaner) as its message.

Cost of living balloons due to high inflation!

Two banks with different rates have a conflict of interest.

Christmas Crackers

Irresponsible financiers must be discredited.

During an earthquake in California a bank went into default.

Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won’t expect it back.

OK One More

There was an extra one in the box:

Money talks …but all mine ever says is good-bye.

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