Saving and retirement tips, personal finance advice, and other money-related content.

May 20, 2021

U.S. bill provides snowbirds even more time in the sun

Canadian snowbirds may soon be able to spend as much as two months more nesting down south next year.

U.S. legislation now being debated in Congress would allow Canadians aged 55 and older to spend up to 240 days in the country without a visa, almost two months longer than the current 182-day annual limit.

The provision is not yet law, but it has the backing of New York Senator Charles Schumer, a legislator who has long been keen on finding ways to get more Canadians spending their dollars across the border.  

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May 17, 2021

Victoria Day weekend signals the start of summer travel

1414861_51130807It's beginning to feel a lot like summer.

And with the Victoria Day long weekend upon us many Canadians have turned their thoughts to adventure and warmer climates.

Even though there's a lot of excitement about upcoming fun in the sun trips, travellers have three top worries while away: the weather, losing something important and requiring medical attention.

According to a study by BMO Insurance, 83 per cent of Canadians are planning on taking a vacation this summer however, only half actually purchase travel insurance.

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May 16, 2021

Canadians losing sleep over finances

1034045_56715244Life happens.

And with it, so do unforeseen hardships.

That's why it is always good to be proactive and have a plan.

A new report by BMO Wealth Institute reveals that while many Canadians have a financial plan in place, very few have considered what would happen if unexpected life events arose that could cause financial hardships.

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Will tighter family reunification rules actually save taxpayers money?

While some would argue that Canada has gone to great lengths to unite families in the past, those day are gone, it seems. 

The federal government is making it harder for Canadian families to bring their parents and grandparents from abroad. Those seeking to bring older family members to settle in Canada will need to have higher incomes and agree to financially support their extended families for much longer.

The new rules will increase the minimum income requirement for sponsoring a parent or grandparent by 30%, double the sponsorship undertaking period from ten to twenty years, and reduce the maximum age of a dependent to 18. 

They'll also have to agree to cover any welfare or health-care costs not covered by medicare for parents or grandparents for 20 years, instead of the current 10-year committment.

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May 15, 2021

Canada's youth have spending power

Dollar signYoung money.

According to a new report from BMO Economics, Canada's youth will have more spending power than their parents over their lifetime.

Years ago, it seemed the younger you were, the worse off you were.

But now it seems the kids will be all right.

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Check company's history of dividend payments carefully: report

Every Wednesday, Patrick McKeough, editor of The Successful Investor publishes his “Investor Toolkit” series on his TSI Network. These weekly updates are designed to offer specific investment advice ... which you can accept or ignore as you like.

Written in jargon-free English, each update provides a fundamental piece of investing strategy, and shows you how you can put it into practice right away.

Last week, for instance, McKeough warned about some of the dangers in putting too much faith in a company's history of dividend payments. Too many investors think of a stock with a good dividend history as the next best thing to a government bond.

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May 14, 2021

Canadians are sold on safe neighbourhoods

1302218_50183007When it comes to buying a new home, the majority of Canadians are sold on safe neighburhoods.

There's a lot to consider when looking for a new home besides the price and the features it has to offer.

In fact, a safe neighbourhood is the big sell for homebuyers, according to a survey by BMO Bank of Montreal.

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Now's the time to boost CPP payroll deductions: report

The federal government is currently considering increasing CPP and QPP benefits, which would mean a significant premium hike for working Canadians and even more serious impacts for the economy.

But small business owners in particular are concerned about the costs associated with any expansion of benefits, according to Canadian Federation of Independent Business president Dan Kelly.

Earlier this month, CFIB issued an update of its Forced Savings report, examining the so-called 10-10-10 proposal for CPP/QPP expansion.

This plan would hike CPP benefits by 10 percentage points from 25% to 35% of maximum pensionable earnings (MPE), raise the MPE by $10,000 from today’s $51,100 to $61,100, and implement all of this within 10 years.

Trouble is, this double-whammy payroll tax hike could mean that many Canadians see their take home pay drop each year on January 1 for 10 straight years, Kelly maintains.

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May 13, 2021

Will you shell out for a sports camp this summer?

Minor hockey is over and, although summer and soccer are still a few weeks away, weary parents have to decide soon which sports camps their kids are going to sign up for -- and for how long.

The cost of sending your son or daughter away for a week or more can be daunting. Some parents simply need a babysitter but, for many, it’s all about helping talented kids realize their potential. And the sky is the limit in that case.

And, as Mark Hyman documents in recent book, The Most Expensive Game in Town, the lengths to which many parents go in pursuit of that vision can turn it into a nightmare. 

How much are parents plunking down to send Johnny to that hockey camp or to support Tamara's golf aspirations? A lot, says Hyman, who laments what he calls the over-commercialization of children's athletics.

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May 10, 2021

Online investing is the way of the future

1260785_84481055Shopping, reading, gaming, working, researching, banking. 

Today we do just about everything from the convenience of our computers.

As a matter of fact, Canadians spend an average of 30 hours per week connecting to the online world.

So it's no wonder that more and more Canadians are investing online too.

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...