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When Financial Bloggers Meet

When Financial Bloggers Collide

Another one of the great N.C.F.B.A. summits took place this week with a special guest Preet from Where Does All My Money Go who was in the National Capital region on business and decided he wanted to get his finger on the pulse of some of the most dynamic financial bloggers in Canada (ok, what is the correct font for sarcasm). Preet has been promoted to an honorary member of the N.C.F.B.A., and promises to attend yet another of our “Financial Think Tanks” in the near future.

What do Financial Bloggers talk about when they get together? Finances, ETF’s, Mutual Funds, Get Rich Quick Schemes, Blogging and Advertising, Car Racing,  and many other interesting topics. This esteemed group is also frugal, (some might even say CHEAP) I had two decaf coffees, Michael James had a ginger ale, the Canadian Capitalist had a hot tea, Canadian Money Review had two Perriers, and Preet I believe had a soft drink. Needless to say our server was not enthused by our lack of ordering, but we as Financial Bloggers must show the financial restraint that we espouse (i.e. practice what we preach).


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More tax reminders

I have struck through the no longer valid tips, just so you can see what used to be tax deductible.

Transit Pass Credit

Remember if you take the bus (or your kids do), you can use the Public Transit Tax Credit. Remember if your kids use a bus pass the following as well:

Yes, you can claim the tax credit for public transit passes on behalf of your spouse, common law partner, and your children under the age of 19, to the extent that these amounts have not already been claimed.

So the expense is transferable as well, useful to know that one.

Education

Having a child in University means I can claim her tuition on my taxes, which is not a bad thing. Since this is the first year for me with this, it is important to get all the forms done right, so please read over the web page and such and make sure the student involved fills in all the forms to allow for the transfer of these credits to you. I am still muddling through this one and will keep you posted on my progress. 

The maximum tuition, education, and textbook amount transferred from a child (or fromeach child), is $5,000 minus the amounts that he or she uses, even if there is still an unclaimed part. Tuition, education, and textbook amounts that the student carried forward from a previous year cannot be transferred.

So $5000 max per child is another important point to remember. This is where the High Price of University comes back to help you a little.

Charitable Donations

Now is the time to rummage through your papers to find ALL the receipts that you so carefully stored away when they arrived (yes I am being sarcastic, about myself, I may one day take a picture of my home “work space” to show you just how cluttered and disorganized it is). Each one of these receipts is money back in your pocket, so make sure you find them all. 

I have a cross-reference method, since I use Quicken, I check in Quicken for my Charitable expenses and then go and hunt down the receipt (or send the charity a note asking for a duplicate).

Also make sure this is a valid charity, you can go on the CRA site to see which charities have had their Charity designations revoked.

Manual or Computer?

This is an interesting question I ask folks and sometimes get an interesting answer. I have been using various computer software to do my taxes ever since it was possible (I have a Math degree, not an Arithmetic degree), but I do know that Michael James on Money enjoys doing his taxes manually using forms and pencil.

Does anybody else use pencil and paper still? Do you use a service to make up  your taxes, and if so why? My taxes this year are going to be confusing, but still not complicated enough that I would pay to have someone else do it, but that may change in the future.


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Tax Time Soon

Obsolete Tax Advice

What is interesting, is when you write for long enough, tax laws change. Here is a perfect example, both of these tax credits are now gone. It may be tax time but you can’t claim them, however I leave them here for historical purposes. Maybe they will come back one day?

Child Tax Fitness Credit

Here is one to remember for those of us who either live in Hockey Arenas or Gymnasiums (or soccer fields) most of our days. The Child Fitness Tax Credit allows you to claim up to $500 per year for each child under 16 who is in an accredited fitness program (read the rules and regulations carefully here, evidently there already have been folks claiming that have been told their claim is incorrect).

One important point for me this year is the statement (taken from the web site):

The children’s fitness tax credit lets parents claim up to $500 per year for eligible fitness expenses paid for each child who is under 16 years of age at the beginning of the year in which the expenses are paid.

Since one of my daughters did turn 16 last year but AFTER January 1st, I can still claim her fitness credit for one more year (and that is nothing to ignore). I thought I had lost this for my daughter, but after careful checking of the web site, I am still good for one more year.

For most of us gifted with kids who are on teams, $500 is really only the start of expenses for a lot of sports, but it is not to be ignored either. 

Carrying Charges (aka Safety Deposit Box)

This is one I always almost forget, for those of you who like Paper and Pen methods, this is for line 221 of your return Carrying Charges and Interest Expenses .  The web page says:

Fees to manage or take care of your investments (other than administration fees you paid for your registered retirement savings plan or registered retirement income fund),including safety deposit box charges,

There it is in black and white, so make sure you claim it. What if you have a home safe? I have no idea where that might fit in this, but I do know that Safety Deposit boxes are covered. Anyone care to comment on whether they have claimed a home safe for this same deduction?

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Canadians buying less foreign securities

Stats Canada published an interesting set of figures yesterday reflecting that Canadians (as a group) are getting out of and staying away from foreign debt instruments, but also are selling foreign securities.

Foreign equities were also sold, as Canadian investors shed $6.4 billion of foreign securities over the month. This was the fourth month of divestment in foreign securities. In stark contrast to 20 consecutive years of significant portfolio investment abroad, Canadian investors reduced their holdings of foreign securities in 2008, returning funds to the Canadian economy.

Stats Canada Canada’s international transactions in securities (2009)

So Canadians are taking a “Buy Canadian” policy when it comes to securities, which is interesting, does this mean Canadians don’t trust foreign investments, or simply it is Canadians bailing out of all investments and this is a reflection of the great exodus from the marketplace?

The more interesting remark made at the end of this report was:

Overall, Canadian stock prices retreated 35% in 2008, the largest annual decline since 1931. This translated into moderate net sales for this instrument on secondary markets for the year.

That is a very interesting number, to me, and it makes me ask a few questions of my own investments:

  • Did my investments drop by 35% over this year? If it was more then I need to rethink my investments.
  • If less then maybe it wasn’t such a bad set of investments.

Some more data to compare your performance against is always useful when you are looking at the performance of your investments.

Why are Canadians investing less in Foreign investment vehicles? Any opinions out there?

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Carnival of Personal Finance #192: The Family Day Edition

For those of us in Ontario, it is Family Day and this year, it seems everyone is “celebrating” it (meaning all banks, and stores are closed), so let us also celebrate with a Carnival of Personal Finance.

As this is my first time hosting the Carnival of Personal Finance I figured Family Day would be a good thematic premise to build our list of submissions for the week from.

Family Day
Family Day

Each section will be advice that might typically come from a member of your family (with a rating on the value of the advice as well (at least my point of view)).

Fatherly Advice

We all know what kind of advice this is, “… I remember in my day we lived on $10 a week and we liked it…” and other gems about “… a penny saved is a penny earned…” from our Dad’s. Stoic advice to keep us walking the “straight and narrow” path in the carnival of Personal Finance.

Motherly Advice

carnival of personal finance
Enjoy Family day

This is the emotional advice that tugs at your heart strings and maybe isn’t well based in facts, but is “emotionally smart”, like “… loan your dead beat cousin $300 I know he’ll pay you back…”, and other interesting statements like that.

Brotherly Advice

This is advice that may be a little weird and not exactly the best advice, but always with an interesting angle to make you at least wonder if it is good advice or not:

Matt from StupidCents presents Attention College Students – How to Make Money While at School, an interesting idea, but what if you still need your old books?

Always the Planner asks Cash vs. Credit, never take advice from your brother in this area, do what is right for you.

Trevor from Financial Nut tells us Pros & Cons: Moving From Microsoft Excel To Google Docs For My Budgeting, I guess figuring out where to store your financial info is good on Google Docs, but maybe not…

Spousal Advice

We all know this advice type, “… why did you buy the 1080i HDTV, when the dishwasher is still broken?”, and other useful “buzz kill” type pieces of advice.

Hopefully your family gives you as good if not better advice, from this Carnival of Personal Finance.

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