Useful advice to keep in mind when joining a new gym

When you are joining a new gym, it really can be a big commitment. On one hand, you want to ensure that all of the facilities are there that you need to reach all of your fitness related goals, you want to get an affordable and competitive price, as well as having a good atmosphere to work out in and socialise in. It is important to find the right balance between these three factors, as one without the other will lead to a sub optimal experience in the long run. You want to be motivated by the thought of going to the gym, not dreading it every time whether due to the people who also use the facilities or the lack of certain equipment. It can be a substantial investment so you want to ensure that you make the right choice the first time around. You can think of the decision process like you would when trying to find a new restaurant, you need to look at options that suit your tastes and desires, rather than simply choosing the one that is closet to your home or the cheapest option that is available to you. This is why you should always have a list of questions to ask at hand when you are checking out a new gym and also make sure that you get a tour of it before joining so you can scope out the extent of the facilities and the people that also use them. Here is some further advice that will help you along during the process. Think about the area in which the gym is located While you don’t necessarily have to choose the gym that is closest to your home, you should also not choose one that is way too far from your home or place of work. As you will be far more likely to slack off and skip days at the gym. You want to minimise as many barriers to success as possible, and location is one of the biggest ones that there is. Ideally you will choose a gym that is somewhat conveniently located between both your workplace and your house. Check the opening hours Certain gyms only operate during working hours or very limited hours on the weekends, while other will be open twenty four hours a day, every day of the week. You need to determine what times you will be using the gym and make sure that you don’t join a gym that can’t cater to these needs. If you require early morning or late night access in order to achieve your fitness goals, don’t join a gym that means you will be rushing your workouts due to the closing time. The other members It is always a good idea to talk with members of your potential new gym to see what they have to say about the place. You should ask them about both the advantages and disadvantages of joining the place, to get a better idea of what it is all

RRSP season is nothing to sneeze at

Enough about flu season – it’s time to stop sniffling and start seriously thinking about RRSP season. The deadline date for making contributions to the Registered Retirement Savings Plan for the 2012 taxation year is just around the corner on March 1. An RRSP is a plan that helps you save for retirement while offering you some other great tax benefits. For instance, deductible RRSP contributions can reduce the amount you owe on your income tax or even give you a bigger refund (depending on your income). And, as long as the funds remain in the plan they are exempt from tax as it grows. You don’t have to make one annual lump sum to contribute to an RRSP either. RRSPs can be made easier to carry through monthly payments that suit your budget needs. However, if you are considering making a lump sum contribution before the March 1 deadline but don’t have the on-hand cash, another option is to talk to your financial advisor about an RRSP loan. There is a maximum amount you can contribute to an RRSP based on your income and how much you previously contributed. You can contribute 18 per cent of your previous year’s income, up to a maximum of $23,820 in 2013. But keep in mind, if you didn’t contribute the maximum in previous years your deduction limit will be higher. Also, if you contribute to a workplace pension plan your deduction limit will be lower.You can set up a RRSP through your financial institution such as a bank, credit union, trust company or insurance company. You may also want to consider setting up a spousal or common-law partner RRSP. The bonus to this plan is that if the higher-income spouse or common-law partner contributes to the RRSP for the lower- income spouse/common-law partner then the contributor gets the short-term benefit of the tax deduction while the spouse or common-law partner receives the income and reports it on his or her income tax return. While we’re on the topic of income tax, the deadline for personal income tax is April 30, 2013 while those who are self-employed have until June 15 unless there is a balance owed and then the deadline is April 30, 2013. As with everything in life, make sure you do your research and find out more about Registered Retirement Savings Plans and the benefits. Click on the Canada Revenue Agency link for some helpful information on RRSPs. Will you be considering contributing to an RRSP this