Monday, June 28, 2010

Sharing Banking Tips That Have Helped Me

About once a month someone asks me for a banking tip that will either make banking life easier or less expensive.  The following are a few of the things help me:

Online banking – This is a life saver.  I can pay my bills from home or the office at 7:00 in the morning or 11:00 at night.  It also lets me see all my transactions everyday, so I always know what is in my account.  The rare cheque that I write is scanned (front and back) so I can see online who it was to and for how much.  In addition to have this information readily available to me, it helps me be aware right away if any fraud is committed on my account.  By looking at my account a few times a week, I actually protect myself from fraud and would be able to spot something wrong right away.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)

The second article that I ever wrote for RCU Speak was about RESPs.  You can find it here.  RESPS are probably the best investment option to save for a child’s education, and I would hope every parent/grandparent would look into them to save for their children’s future.

The basics of a Registered Education Savings Plan are:
  • Contributed money grows tax deferred, so it is not taxed until it is withdrawn, usually when the student is in a low tax bracket.
  • With each contribution, up to defined limits, the RESP will receive a bonus from the government of 20% to 40%, depending on the family’s income.  This bonus also earns interest.
  • An RESP can be opened for a person at any age, but can only remain open for a maximum of 26 years.  The CESG is only available if the beneficiary is 17 years old or less.
  • The Canada Education Savings Grant provides anyone who invests in RESPs with an amount equal to 20% of yearly contributions, up to an annual maximum of $500 per child (and to $1,000 from $800 if there is unused grant room from previous years) to a maximum of $7,200.
  • There is a maximum lifetime contribution limit of $50,000.  If you contribute more than $2,500 per year ($5,000 if there is unused room), you only receive the above mentioned amount from CESG per year, but the whole contribution grows tax sheltered.
  • The child/children who is the beneficiary(ies) of the RESP must have a Social Insurance Number from the government to have an RESP.
Some additional things to be aware of:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Graduation Speech For Today

Rick Spence has written an article in the Financial Post about what he would say to grad today if he were asked to give the key note address.  Rick is a Marketing Consultant specializing in helping small businesses.

You can check out his whole article in the link.

A few highlights:

You are a free agent
You are a small cog emerging from a big bureaucratic machine. Most of you will soon exchange your student number for an employee ID badge. But you don't have to be a cog. Think of yourself as a free agent, choosing where and how you work. A job is not your life, just a contract. Many new opportunities will present themselves. Some will be dressed as job offers; others disguise themselves as business opportunities, bad bosses, new technologies or career roadblocks. To stick with one job or one employer is to settle for a

Monday, June 7, 2010

I'm saving money. Now what?

We have been telling members for years to put money away every month. Some of our younger members have started doing just that, but they aren’t sure what to do with the money they save to make it work for them.  I suggest the following:

Mutual Funds – mutual funds are a collection of investments that usually hold a variety of stocks, bonds and seg funds.  Some can be industry specific (focus on the energy or banking sector) and others are much more diversified.  There is risk with mutual funds that you could lose your investment, and you need to be aware that mutual funds charge fees for managing your fund.  In the long run mutual funds can be a good investment for those who want to invest but don’t feel comfortable doing it on your own.  The fee you pay is to have someone adjust your investments for you.  You should meet with your advisor at least annually to make sure they are doing what you want.