Gosh Darn it! CPP & EI Again!!!

One of the joys of the new year is the restart of having to pay CPP and EI premiums. It always makes that first pay cheque a bit smaller, and thus that much more annoying. You have just got used to not having to pay them (if you make enough money), and now you are back paying them again, how annoying!

They're back!!! CPP
They’re back!!!

The maximum CPP for 2014 is $2425.50 , that is the easy one.

For EI Premiums there are two possibilities:

  • If you live in Quebec your Max EI premium is $767.88
  • If you don’t live in Quebec your Max EI premium is $937.98

Some folks will pay CPP & EI premiums the whole year, but those who make a bit more, you will eventually hit the max and will stop paying premiums later in the year.

Remember you can have some Fun With Numbers and figure out when you may stop paying these premiums by doing this simple calculation (you’ll need your first pay cheque showing how much you pay each pay cheque):

# Pays  =  Maximum Premium / Premium per Pay

I do that every year and then mark my calendar to remind myself when I stop paying. On that pay you could take that “extra” money and then pay off debts with it, couldn’t you?


Job Hunting Tips

For those who have not been following me on twitter you have been missing out on some helpful (if not sarcastic) job hunting tips that I learned throughout my job hunt a few years back.

Save up to 50% on life insurance.

I have been on both sides of the interview table, so I have interjected a lot of my own pet peeves to this list for candidates that I have met and wondered what they were thinking when they showed up to my job interview.

They are worth a read, and many of them are applicable to all jobs (and some are me being a smart ass). Some of the best Job Hunting Tips:

314Always wear clean underwear to a job interview but never show them to your interviewer either
41Tell someone you are using as a reference before you use them, “… who? That Idiot? I would never hire them!”, could be your reference. Ensure all your naked photos are well hidden on your social media as well.
271Be Precise, e.g. “When I invented the Internet, I was working at…”, no one likes vagueness in job interviews
666Be complimentary with your interviewer: “That outfit doesn’t make you look nearly as fat…”
69Hygiene is important, always shower before your interview, ensure there is no green leafy things in your teeth either.
13If anyone asks you about your religious views, claim to be a Druid or a follower of Zeus
44Humor has a place but don’t do the Uncle Buck mole bit if interviewer has one (don’t be a twiddler)
313One answer that always gets interviewer’s attention “Why the f*ck would you ask me that?”
535Scents make you memorable at an interview, but don’t eat bean burritos 2 hours beforehand, you are too memorable then
345Arguing with your interview about technical issues is OK, but will you being right (in your opinion) get you the job?
478The more the interviewer talks, the better you are doing, except if they are yelling about your lack of skills
87The only person you can “throw under the bus” in an interview is yourself, don’t blame others, explain why
101It’s good to seem to know a lot, but very bad to appear to be a Know-it-all , keep that in mind
311Network more with people who have jobs, not as much with folks who are also looking for jobs
444Over 80% of jobs are found through “connections” and “contacts”, so get out and interact with folks!
665When interviewer asks “Any questions”, do not ask, “What are your sick leave rules like?”, first.
3Think you are indispensable? You may be, until you are dispensed, start looking for jobs before you are dispensed.
129At the interview be sincere (once you can fake it, you are in)!
37Be agreeable but not a suck-up (unless that is what they want, then be one), be yourself once you have the job
333Don’t answer question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” with “Doing your job, or better your boss”
Not sure these are all completely on the level, but you never know.

Foolproof Job Hunting Tips

Hope these help, stay tuned I do have some more coming.


Merry New Year, Please Open Your Wallet

Back to CPP and EI Folks

For anyone who earns anything more than $47,200 annually they have been enjoying a vacation from their Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI) premiums for the past little while, however, given it is a new year (2011), the government is now back collecting these from you.

It is a yearly right of passage to have these premiums raked out of your income, until a prescribed date, when you are on vacation from the fees for the rest of the year.

Wait, you looked at your Quicken and saw how much you made last year? Sorry, the amount you will be paying for each is going up, so you will be making a little less this year:

  • CPP maximum contribution for an employee was $2163.15 ($4326.30 if you are self-employed), however, in 2011 are $2,217.60 and $4,435.20 (self employed). Not a big jump but still a 2.5% increase on the total amount paid.
  • EI maximum payment for folks outside of Quebec was $747.36 for 2010 however in 2011 you will be paying and estimated $780.36 (max) outside of Quebec, a 4% increase in total amount paid.

Nice to think that the government will be pulling a little more out of your wallet this year, or have their big hands in your pockets.

Tax Rate Updates Might Help (a little)

Another better thing with the new year comes a change in Personal Income Tax brackets as  outlined in this fact sheet from the CRA. Each bracket is due to slide up 1.4%, so your tax bill may be a little lower in the new year, but check to make sure.

  • 22% Bracket now tops out at $41,544 up from $40,790
  • 26% Bracket is set at $83,088 up from $81,941
  • 29% Bracket now starts at $128,800 up from $127,021

Deductions increase as well with:

  • Your basic personal amount now goes up to $10,527 from $10,382, so again a little less tax there.
  • Your Spouse is worth a $10,527 deduction up from $10,382 last year

There are many other number changes that you should go and check out. If your income hasn’t changed in the past year, you may pay a little less tax (but a little more on CPP and EI), so it may end up a wash, you’ll have to check your first pay cheque to figure that one out yourself.


Disaster Planning or the Worst Case Scenario

Given the Pandemic of 2020, I think we can safely say, Disasters are not planned, so disaster planning is that much more important.

Disaster Planning?

Any financial planning you may be doing , needs to include a Disaster Recovery plan. I have had a few folks tell me that this is morbid, but as a Project Manager I have learned that you are being naive if you do not have some kind of disaster recovery plan in place, to deal with unexpected events in your life, in general, and in your financial life, in specific.

What kind of catastrophic financial events? Some simple examples might be:

  • Bread winner loses job, if your household’s main income earner loses their job, what might happen? If you don’t have a plan in place for that, and an emergency fund to deal with this, you are asking for trouble. I used to think I couldn’t lose my job, but it eventually happened, and luckily I was taken care of, but I was not prepared, and it could have been much worse. Different experts suggest 3-6 months pay in reserve, I’d say a year’s pay is your ultimate goal, having lived through it. If you think you don’t need an emergency fund because your company pays severance, that is what I thought, but then I saw what happened to my Co-Workers when Nortel went very south.
  • Bread Winner passes away, again, if you have a family and don’t have Life Insurance, or a big packet of money hidden somewhere, you are living on the edge. Does your loved ones know whether you have life insurance and what to do should you die? They need to know (as well). As soon as you get married, get life insurance (Term in my opinion), yes it’s an expense, but you need it. Is there an up to date will? Hope there is, or there could be a big mess financially to follow.
  • Bread Winner disabled, disability insurance is a tricky topic with me. I have it through work, and bought it at my former employer, and my opinion is that you should get it, if you don’t have it, but I have seen compeling arguments that simply building up savings enough is just as good a way to deal with this contingency (I don’t agree, but it is another option). What about a power of attorney? Once someone is disabled mentally getting a power of attorney is a lot harder to put in place.
  • Stuff Gets Broke, a generic topic covering stuff like Home Insurance, Car Insurance and the like. Again, you need this insurance if you care about your stuff, and in most instances in a lot of places you must have these insurances (Car Insurance at least). If your house is paid off do you need Home Insurance? I think so, if just for the liability side of things, but for unforeseen things like fire and such as well.

Why Have These Stop Gaps?

Having these financial stop gaps in place you are protecting yourself and your family’s interests, but it is worthwhile doing a plan about each of these scenarios, to see how things might work. You don’t need to go into gross detail, but if you walk through the scenario you might learn the importance of:

  • Keeping your loved ones informed on where things are. If your spouse doesn’t know about your banking, or where your insurance is with, how will he or she find out? Where is your will or power of attorney? Again, are they up to date?
  • Are you sure you have enough insurance coverage? If you run through a scenario you might realize that you need both spouses incomes, and thus you might need to have the same coverage on each spouse.
  • If you go through the scenarios and feel confident you are prepared, you then have given yourself the great present of peace of mind, and that is important.

Saying that you did this 10 years ago and it was fine is asking for trouble as well, many things change over 10 years, review it and make sure your plans are still up to date and current.


Better Late than Never, Employment Hovers in October

Due to my mind being a little preoccupied, I completely missed my buddies from Stats Canada publishing the October 2010 Labour Survey. My apologies to my regular readers who enjoy my nonsensical commentary on these interesting Statistical figures.

It was another month where the statistical values remained relatively the same, with gains in Full Time employment being offset by losses in Part Time employment, which makes me scratch my head (every month). If they could put together some kind of Index that weighted the value of Full Time employment in a better manner I think I’d be happier with the numbers.

In October, employment remained virtually unchanged for the second consecutive month, as full-time gains offset part-time losses. The unemployment rate edged down to 7.9% and has been around 8% for the past seven months.

Unemployment rate dropping is always a good thing to read about, and given the rates seen South of the Border, it’s good to see Canada is slowly creating more jobs (or losing less jobs).

Employment Graphic

Employment Graph for the Past Little While

The graph seems to suggest that our employment numbers have recovered from the Great Economic Plotz of 2008, but that remains to be seen as well.

The unemployment graph gives us a little more optimism too.

Unemployment Numbers

Canadian Unemployment Graph

The most interesting comment in the report, is:

The number of people working full-time continued to rise in October, up 47,000, bringing gains to 164,000 over the past three months. At the same time, the total number of hours worked has edged up.

Part-time employment fell by 44,000 in October, with losses totalling 132,000 over the past three months.

A final interesting graphic, does kind of give me a better view on this whole Full Time vs. Part Time argument:

Hours Worked

Hours Worked Graphic

The Big Table

As most of my regular readers know, I love the Big Tables from these kind of data sets, and this months table shows some interesting info as usual:

Sept 2010 Oct 2010 Sept to
Oct 2010
Oct 2009
Oct 2010
Oct 2010
Oct 2009
Oct 2010
Seasonally adjusted
thousands change in thousands % change
Both sexes, 15 years and over
Population 27,809.6 27,840.4 30.8 407.3 0.1 1.5
Labour force 18,702.7 18,698.4 -4.3 319.1 0.0 1.7
Employment 17,209.7 17,212.7 3.0 375.2 0.0 2.2
Full-time 13,862.6 13,909.8 47.2 218.6 0.3 1.6
Part-time 3,347.1 3,302.9 -44.2 156.5 -1.3 5.0
Unemployment 1,493.0 1,485.7 -7.3 -56.0 -0.5 -3.6
Participation rate 67.3 67.2 -0.1 0.2
Unemployment rate 8.0 7.9 -0.1 -0.5
Employment rate 61.9 61.8 -0.1 0.4
Part-time rate 19.4 19.2 -0.2 0.5
Youths, 15 to 24 years
Population 4,409.3 4,409.8 0.5 10.7 0.0 0.2
Labour force 2,821.0 2,827.4 6.4 17.0 0.2 0.6
Employment 2,401.6 2,402.7 1.1 20.3 0.0 0.9
Full-time 1,250.1 1,251.1 1.0 -44.6 0.1 -3.4
Part-time 1,151.6 1,151.5 -0.1 64.8 0.0 6.0
Unemployment 419.4 424.7 5.3 -3.3 1.3 -0.8
Participation rate 64.0 64.1 0.1 0.2
Unemployment rate 14.9 15.0 0.1 -0.2
Employment rate 54.5 54.5 0.0 0.3
Part-time rate 48.0 47.9 -0.1 2.3
Men, 25 years and over
Population 11,447.7 11,462.5 14.8 196.6 0.1 1.7
Labour force 8,443.1 8,411.5 -31.6 150.6 -0.4 1.8
Employment 7,841.1 7,834.5 -6.6 235.2 -0.1 3.1
Full-time 7,213.3 7,220.3 7.0 191.1 0.1 2.7
Part-time 627.8 614.3 -13.5 44.2 -2.2 7.8
Unemployment 602.1 576.9 -25.2 -84.7 -4.2 -12.8
Participation rate 73.8 73.4 -0.4 0.1
Unemployment rate 7.1 6.9 -0.2 -1.1
Employment rate 68.5 68.3 -0.2 0.8
Part-time rate 8.0 7.8 -0.2 0.3
Women, 25 years and over
Population 11,952.7 11,968.0 15.3 199.9 0.1 1.7
Labour force 7,438.5 7,459.5 21.0 151.5 0.3 2.1
Employment 6,967.0 6,975.5 8.5 119.7 0.1 1.7
Full-time 5,399.2 5,438.4 39.2 72.2 0.7 1.3
Part-time 1,567.7 1,537.1 -30.6 47.6 -2.0 3.2
Unemployment 471.6 484.1 12.5 31.9 2.7 7.1
Participation rate 62.2 62.3 0.1 0.2
Unemployment rate 6.3 6.5 0.2 0.3
Employment rate 58.3 58.3 0.0 0.0
Part-time rate 22.5 22.0 -0.5 0.3


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