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Canadians are Charitable

Stats Canada posted some data in 2009 that confirmed my guess that Canadians are charitable when they donate to charities (one of the reasons I love living in this country).

The statistics show that there is a core of about 25% of folks who give most of the money, but also the most time to these charities, but on a whole, Canadians still are very charitable folks (when they can).

Canadians donated a total of $10.0 billion in 2007, up from $8.9 billion in 2004. In 2007, the average donation was $437, compared with $400 in 2004. These increases were not adjusted for inflation.

The total amount of time volunteered through groups and organizations amounted to about 2.1 billion hours, which was equal to almost 1.1 million full-time jobs. On average, volunteers contributed 166 hours each.

Volunteering your time can be just as valuable to any organization. I give money to some charities and I give my time to organizations that want my help (and talents) as best I can. Most of the time I have so much fun, I think I am the one getting the most out of the time.

Where does our time and money go?

Where do Canadians Give their Time and Money?
Where do Canadians Give their Time and Money?

This graph lines up pretty much how I give. Most of my monetary donations are to my Church because my time is given to Recreation activities.

More Interesting: Start Young

According to the survey, people were more likely to volunteer and donate to charities or non-profit organizations later in life if they had participated in a range of community or youth activities during their primary or secondary schooling.

These activities included participating in student government, a religious organization, a youth group such as girl guides or scouts, or an organized team sport.

This data is very useful, and topical for me, as my wife did a talk on the youth stewardship program at our Church and made that exact same point. You need to get kids and teens to understand WHY they should give, and that giving their talents (not just money) is an incredible gift they can give their community. Simply forcing kids to give won’t teach them the importance of the gift (and more likely those kids won’t give later in life either), get them to understand why, and they will gladly give when they are adults.

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Stewardship or Charity with Kids

My wife is doing a talk to a group of adults on how to get kids to actually give to charity (by choice). Surprisingly if you simply tell your kids, “You must give $10 to the Church“, they might cough up the money once, but will resent it and more likely never give much again (even as Adults).

Giving Tuesday
Charity is a good thing

Explaining to kids that they don’t just have to donate money, they can donate their time and talents, instead,  is a first step. Getting kids to understand the importance of charity (and how they have so darn much anyhow) and helping those who need help is not easy and if anyone has any good stories about when they tweeked into the importance of Charity (and what age they were at the time).

Charity is a learned skill in many ways, teaching your children that Stewardship is an important aspect of giving. Give of your time, give of your skills, and give money when you can.

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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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Two Days Left to End of Year

The end of the year is fast approaching, and here are a couple of points that you might want to think about before you close the books on this year.

Charitable Donations

Why not top up your charitable donations for the end of the year and take advantage of the holiday season to give to folks who might need your help (and give you a more significant tax credit as well).

RESP Top Up

Given RESP Grants are paid quarterly, it isn’t as important. It is a good idea that if you have extra money or if you were given money for Christmas or Hanukkah, put it in a savings vehicle that will help you save for your child’s education?

TFSA

Go to your bank and get set up for a TFSA, but make sure there are no hidden fees, as I found out when I went and talked to TD about their TFSA. Does this make a lot of sense for anyone who will save or use it as a place to store your Christmas fund every year?

Christmas Fund

Start a Christmas Fund for next year. See how much you spent this year, divide it into chunks for each paycheque and set up an automatic savings vehicle to put money aside so that you have money for Christmas next year. I did this with CSB’s for the longest time, and it worked very nicely.

RDSP

The Registered Disability Savings Plan do you have room left to put in to get more money for your loved one? Check your RDSP Statement of Grant Entitlement and see how much you can deposit and get matching grants!

Remember only two days left this year!

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Finance Advent Calendar: Day 15

On Day 15, we renew an essential part of Advent for end-of-year finances, so we open the box and find a kettle.

SALVATION ARMY KETTLE

The Kettle is a sign of the Salvation Army’s Christmas Appeal, and in general, is a symbol of Charity.  Charity is essential every day of the year, but at Christmas, when some people seem to think Overspending is the norm, remember some folks are not as lucky as us, and maybe you need to think about them too.

Charity is a cornerstone of Advent and of living a good life.

On the finance side of things, your charitable donations are deductible for the current tax year up to December 31st, so keep that in mind, too (make sure you choose a charity recognized by the CRA if you are going to give to get the deduction).

Personal Finance Advent Calendar

The complete Personal Finance Advent Calendar box postings.

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