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Contact & Hours

Steve Kirkham CA Professional Corporation
2 - 2345 Wyecroft Road,
Oakville, ON L6L 6L8
647-723-6195 • Fax: 905-469-6534
Opening Hours
Monday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tuesday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Wednesday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Thursday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed

RRSP, RESP, TFSA…..oh my!

Everybody has heard of them (mostly thanks to the extensive marketing efforts of the big banks and investment companies).  But I am pretty sure these things were created for the individuals (aka taxpayers), not the financial institutions.

Hence what I see as a major “conflict of interest” – banks make money if you hold these investments, regardless of whether they are right for you or not.

Quite a few people out there have one at least one of these types of investments, many will have all three.  Don’t get me wrong, these are all very good vehicles for saving, IF they are used (and understood) properly.  Here’s my quick rundown on each:

RRSP

  • will reduce your tax debt in year of contribution (assuming claimed)
  • “may” create a tax refund, but not necessarily
  • different levels of income will benefit differently (the higher your income, the higher the % tax savings)
  • it is possible that you may pay MORE tax when you take the money out vs the tax you save when you contribute
  • it may not make sense to contribute to an RRSP in the early years when not earning much
  • it may not make sense to contribute to an RRSP when nearing retirement

SUMMARY – each individual is just that, individual, and so should be their RRSP strategies. Even with people earning the same income, RRSP strategies may be quite different based on a variety of other influences.

RESP

  • provide an excellent “guaranteed” return from the government in the form of the grant portion (20%)
  • allow for “pushing” investment income to a child to realize probable lower tax rates
  • have no up-front tax break on contribution
  • are quite flexible if path of higher education is not chosen

SUMMARY – these are a great way to put aside funds for education. But, they too, have their limits and pros/cons for certain individuals.

TFSA

  • I think these are probably the most misunderstood/misused
  • no tax break on way in, no tax cost on way out
  • provides tax-free growth
  • to get full advantage, should not be used simply as a savings account

SUMMARY – these can provide a major source of wealth accumulation if used properly.  The main goal is to hold the assets with the biggest growth/earnings potential within.  Simply parking cash in here earning 0.5% does not really accomplish much.

Some may argue with a few of my points, and yes, I have been a little vague in certain areas.  But your take-home from this should simply be – don’t blindly follow the banks marketing promotions.  Take a real look at your own situation and be sure you truly understand what each type of investment can do for you.  It’s YOUR money and if you can do some little things to make it grow bigger, do it!

 

Are you Kidding Me?

It’s been a bit since my last (and first) blog entry, but my one reader has been quite adamant that they are not the only reader and promise that the world is waiting to hear from me again. Posting a blog every month or two will definitely not get me on top of any “hit list” but I’ll try to improve my numbers.   Although, I don’t ever see myself “tweeting” each and every thought I have every day!

My thought of the day centres around what seems to be the only topic in the press these days – the G8/G20.  And although that is all that is in the press, does anyone really know what it is all about?  The only info I get is where and what the latest protest rally is about.  Of course the big issue is the cost – over a billion $ ?? – are you kidding me?  How is these even possible?

I imagine if you are like me, that amount of money is pretty much unfathomable.  I think I heard that the last one cost about $27M.  Even that is a large amount given that the general public is not really sure exactly what takes place.  As on of my colleagues commented – have they not heard of tele-conference?  One thing I know – I did not receive any of the $1B spent!

My other thought on these summits is that as local GTA residents we are really only aware of the issue since it is in our backyard.  These sorts of things take place all the time, and i’m sure wherever they are, the locals are disrupted and huge amounts of money is spent.  I would really hate to add up all the costs associated with these in even just a given year.

Thankfully we have the politicians to take care of all that accounting, and since they are the ones spending it, I am sure they are giving us the true figures!  But don’t be surprised if the Auditor General reports next year that the actual costs were more like $2B!  By the way, is that not the amount spent by BP over the last several months trying to clean up the Gulf?  The fact we can spend that much for a 3-4 day conference is mind boggling.

To Blog, or Not to Blog

…that is my question.  In a way I feel as though I may be giving in to the pressures of the current state of “social media,” yet in another, I feel as though I am simply doing something that makes sense. Putting my thoughts, opinions and  feelings down in writing for all the world (but really mainly just my clients, friends and family) to see. I guess that also begs the question – is anybody out there?

Wikipedia (a popular online dictionary website) defines a Blog as:

“a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material”

I have actually never read a blog before, as I am sure neither have many of you that may read mine. But in discussions with various individuals that feel a Blog is a very good tool to be used to maintain and develop relationships in a client-centred service business, I have decided to see how it goes. As the definition suggests, I plan to maintain my blog by providing a variety of commentary on topics ranging mainly around my practice of accounting and taxes, but can also see me taking the time to comment on other topics such as the news of the day, business-related thoughts and even what may be occurring in my personal life.

I hope to perhaps enlighten, educate and even entertain at times. And as my Blog’s name suggests, perhaps open the proverbial “can o’worms,” or beans in my world, that may spark a lively discussion that we can have some fun with.

Stay tuned, and be sure to check back for more, and of course, please provide me with your two cents worth when you’re in the mood.