Friday, February 24, 2012

Financial Security in Retirement

Term Deposit and Savings Account rates have dropped to 50 year historic lows.  The Federal government is talking about adjustments to various pension programs.  How do you ensure that you have a financially secure retirement with all of this uncertainty?
Establish your financial foundation - Many people have an idea of when they would like to retire but have little idea how much money they have already saved up.  Between work pension plans, mutual funds, term deposits, RRSPs and TFSAs, people can have money spread out among many investment options.  Before you decide when to retire you should know how much you have available to you today as a starting point.
Determine how much you need in retirement - Some people plan to do a lot of travelling in retirement and others plan to stay close to home and family.  Some will still have debt going into retirement and others will have been out of debt for years.  Your retirement can sustain any of these choices if you have planned and prepared for it.   To begin planning start by figuring out how much you will really need to live on during retirement.  Take into account that your health costs may increase over the years. Once you know how much you will need to live on each month you can work those numbers back to determine how much you will need to have saved upon retiring.  A financial planner can help your numbers be realistic and they can help determine any potential OAS and CPP cash flow into your monthly budget.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

CPP, EI and Tax Rates for 2012

It is a new year and the new tax rates are in.  There were not a lot of changes from last year.  Most money ranges and limits moved with the government's inflation index.

Federal Income Tax Rates 2012 2011
Basic Personal Exemption  $          10,822  $          10,527
15% on the first:  $          42,707  $          41,544
22% on the next up to:  $          85,414  $          83,088
26% on the next up to:  $        132,406  $        128,800
29% on the income over:  $        132,406  $        128,800

Alberta Income Tax Rates 2012 2011
Basic Personal Exemption  $          17,282  $          16,977
Tax rate 10% 10%

CPP 2012 2011
Maximum Pensionable Earnings  $          50,100  $          48,300
Basic Exemption  $            3,500  $            3,500
Rate 4.95% 4.95%
Employee & Employer Max.  $            2,307  $            2,218
Self Employed Max.  $            4,613  $            4,435

EI 2012 2011
Maximum Insurable Earnings  $          45,900  $          44,200
Employee Rate 1.83% 1.78%
Employee Max.  $               840  $               787
Employer Rate 2.56% 2.49%
Employer Max.  $            1,176  $            1,101

2011 RRSP contribution deadline is February 29, 2012. The contribution limit is $22,450, although if you have not contributed to the maximum in past years you have additional contribution room. You can contribute to RRSPs until you turn 71 when RRSPs must be converted into something else like a RRIF (Registered Retirement Income Fund).  The limit for 2012 is $22,970.

2012 TFSA contribution room is $5,000. If you haven't contributed in past years you can contribution up to $20,000.