It’s Tax Season

Not sure what documents you need in order to file your taxes? Today I’ll share some tips on what you need, and how to make tax time easier for you.

At this time of the year, all your T4s are arriving in the mail. Be careful, these documents are very flimsy and it may look like there’s nothing in the envelope. What should you do once you receive them? Place all documents together in a large envelope or a folder; keep it in a safe place. When it’s time to prepare your taxes you’ll have all supporting documents you need in one spot.

If you have changed employers and changed your home address in the past year, you should contact your previous employer and have them send your documents to your new address. Come tax time, you cannot omit a T4 from a previous employer because of an address change. That’s not a valid excuse. The government will find out and you will be fined, and forced to pay interest on that fine. Remember it’s your, money keep it.

We are allowed to file electronically and it’s a great idea to take full advantage of doing so. While we are given the privilege of doing just that, the government can pull your name in a random audit. If you are randomly chosen, you will be sent a letter that will require you to forward all supporting documents to the government. Therefore, it is imperative you keep all documents even after filing your taxes.

One of my biggest concerns during this time, is with tax preparation companies. You are promised your refund as soon as they file your taxes. Be careful – in most cases, it is advertised that it’s free to get your refund the same day. What is often left unsaid is that your refund will be significantly smaller (they take a portion of it as payment for the quick turnaround). That means, if your refund totals $500.00, you may only take home $450.00. In some cases even less. I know it’s wonderful to get your refund as soon as possible, but if you have paid the company $65.00 to prepare your taxes, why not just wait a few days and get your full refund? Again, it’s your money, keep it!

Another way to save money on doing your taxes is to share the cost of the tax-filing program. You can split it with family and friends, making that $29.95 plus taxes significantly smaller. In fact, this is what I do. I have my family; a few friends and our taxman come over to my house. I prepare a big pot of spaghetti; we take turns sitting with him, while the others enjoy the spaghetti and conversation.

It’s fun, inexpensive, and get’s our taxes done properly.

As always, let me know if you have any questions. I’m here to help.

Tessa-Marie     tessamarieshillingford46@gmail.com

 

SOWINNG FINANCIAL SEEDS

 

Sowinng Financial Seeds

I would like to dig a little deeper into my last blog SETTING UP THOSE SPECIAL SAVINGS ACCOUNTS. There was a flood of questions about setting up multiple saving accounts.

In gardening a seed represents growth, development, and strength. If you don’t tend to that seed and give it attention which it needs, the seed won’t grow. It doesn’t matter how small the seed is, only that you tend to it, water it and encourage it to grow.

When I was setting up my multiple savings accounts, I was planting many tiny seeds and I knew that I needed to invest in them in order to see them grow.

In this blog I will address 2 of the top questions from my previous blog.

  1. Why would I only save between $3.75 & $11.75?
  2. What can that small amount of saving do for me?

In order for me to answer those questions, I have to first give you a background on those five savings accounts.

When I opened those accounts in 1970, we had very little money to spare and our income in those days was not bountiful by any stretch of the imagination. Cost of living was also significantly less expensive than it is now.

After paying our bills, all we had left to save was $18.75 bi-weekly. I had to divide that into the five categories, which I convinced my husband was perfect for our future financial needs. Now my husband was not in favour of five accounts, he too thought that only saving $18.75 was meager and useless. He had no idea how to tame me, so he shrugged his shoulders and left me to my own financial devise.

And so I tended to my financial garden.

Here’s how the funds were divided:

  1. Buying a home   = $3.75
  2. Vacation               = $3.75
  3. Emergency           = $3.75
  4. Starting a family = $3.75
  5. Buying a Car       = $3.75

Total                                         $18.75

The next step was making sure that each raise we received was placed into those accounts. Seven years & several raises and job changes later, we were eventually able to save $82.00 bi-weekly.

At that time, our home buying account had $7,000.00 in it. We purchased our home with $5,000.00 down, paid our legal fees and shopped for used appliances on Queen Street with the rest. We bought a stove with a solid white door but no glass, a fridge, and a washing machine but no dryer. We hung our clothes out to dry in the basement. We bought nails and twine at Honest Ed’s, and used a brick as our hammer to set up our dryer line.

Honest Ed’s was our shop of choice – we were there every two weeks. We also frequently shopped at Knob Hill Farms, Bargain Harold’s and Bi-Way because back then they had the best deals. We kept saving and being cautious with our money.

All that I have financially today comes from that $3.75. Without it I could not be here in my present financial situation.

My small bi-weekly savings didn’t seem like much, but I was sowinng my financial seeds. My small savings were lettuce seeds.

As an avid gardener I can tell you lettuce seeds are tiny, but from that miniscule seed grows this huge head of lettuce.

I’m reaping what I sowed and I am helping thousands of people start their successful financial journey.

We’re all inherently gardeners in some form or another, but ask yourself, are you sowing your financial seeds?

Give it a try: make note of where you are today, date the page in your notebook and write the exact amount of savings you have today. The next step is setting up automatic transfers into a savings account. Calculate whatever amount you’re able to put away bi-weekly for one year. At the end of the year, compare your savings to what you had at the start. I can guarantee a big a-ha moment and a huge smile on your face.

To answer your question “what can a small amount of saving do for me? It can eventually give you financial freedom. Such a simple concept, with monumental results.

Let me know if you are going to take on the challenge. I will be here for you every step of the way.

Send me an email if you want to talk further about growing your financial lettuce.

tessamarieshillingford46@gmail.com

Thanks

Tessa-Marie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Pay Off Your Credit Card

How to Pay Off your Credit Card

With this post, I promise that I will show you how to pay off your debt before January 31,2018.

Last week I showed you how to save money for the Holiday season. Many of you wanted to know why I did not give a tutorial on paying off the debt instead.

My reason for showing you how to save money first is because we are told to pay ourselves first. By saving money you are honoring yourself.

The first step is to get familiar with the amount you owe. Do not guess the amount, look at the bill or bills and total the amounts.

For example, if you owe $2,600.00, the table below shows what you need to pay monthly in order to pay off your debt in 1 year. You can also see how much interest you are paying monthly, as well as your total interest paid for the year.

It’s important to pay your bills as you get paid, either weekly or bi-weekly.

Let’s use that $2,600.00 debt again plus $282.51 interest over one year. If you get paid bi-weekly, divide that amount by 26 [2,882.51/26 = $110.89] every payday.] If you’re paid weekly, divide that amount by 52 [$2882.51/ 52 = 55.43. ] Your credit card payment is monthly but you can choose to pay those amounts every payday. When you pay your bills as you get paid you will notice that your cash flow is more evenly distributed.

The reason why we incur debt is simply because of the lack of cash flow. Remember you have also been saving, so you now have cash on hand to do your holiday shopping next year.

Payment Summary

Event Amount Term Period
Loan $2,600.00 1
Payment $246.11 11 Monthly
Payment $174.23 1
Payment Schedule

Event Loan Payment Interest Principal Balance
Loan 1 $2,600.00 $0.00 $0.00 $2,600.00
Payment 1 $246.11 $39.87 $206.24 $2,393.76
Payment 2 $246.11 $40.64 $205.47 $2,188.29
Payment 3 $246.11 $35.95 $210.16 $1,978.13
Payment 4 $246.11 $33.58 $212.53 $1,765.60
Payment 5 $246.11 $29.01 $217.10 $1,548.50
Payment 6 $246.11 $26.29 $219.82 $1,328.68
Payment 7 $246.11 $22.56 $223.55 $1,105.13
Payment 8 $246.11 $18.16 $227.95 $877.18
Payment 9 $246.11 $14.89 $231.22 $645.96
Payment 10 $246.11 $10.61 $235.50 $410.46
Payment 11 $246.11 $6.97 $239.14 $171.32
Payment 12 $174.23 $2.91 $171.32 $0.00
Grand Total $2,600.00 $2,881.44 $281.44 $2,600.00 $0.0

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me.

Thanks,

Tessa-Marie | tessamarieshillingford46@gmail.com

New Cost of Living Increases for 2017

Here they are folks; hold on to your money.

2017 comes roaring in with a vast amount of increases. These increases are in every area of our life, and each and everyone will hit us in the wallets, where it hurts the most.

I am here to help you navigate through 2017 with positive financial results.

In order to get where you plan to be financially throughout 2017 you have to follow a plan. Just like going on a trip. You need a navigator. Especially since you are getting into unchartered waters.

I will remind you of what the major increases coming your way this year, and I am here to help you navigate through them. I am your financial GPS.

First let’s look at the list of items going up.

  1. The cost of fueling up or vehicles.
  2. The cost of electricity.
  3. The cost of heating our homes.
  4. The cost of feeding our families.
  5. The cost of public transportation.

Well the big five. What can we do to help us come out on the positive side of these life-changing situations? I will discuss each item with tips to help you move forward in a confident manner.

The cost of fueling up or vehicles

  • Make sure the tires on the vehicles are properly inflated according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • Keep up all service recommended by your mechanic.
  • Change your oil and filters when needed.
  • Avoid driving when walking is within normal limits.

The cost of electricity

  • Look for sales on energy saving light bulbs and take advantage of opportunities to replace your bulbs with low energy ones.
  • Turn off the lights and TV when not in the room.
  • Cook meals for at least two days when using electricity before 7pm or after 7am.
  • Do laundry on weekends or after 7pm in the evenings.

The cost of heating our homes 

  • Lower the thermostat by 2 points, by 3 points when no one is home.
  • Wear warmer clothing when at home. Like track suits and socks.
  • Make sure you are not losing heat through windows and doors left open for long periods at a time.
  • Replace your furnace filters regularly.
  • Lower the heating cycle on your hot water heater.

The cost of feeding our families

  • Check the pantry I mean all your pantries. Like the places you put the extra toilet paper, pasta, rice and flour.
  • Open the kitchen cupboard; make a list of the items in your cupboard.
  • The fridge, checks it out, what do you have in there. Can it be used?
  • The freezer; how much meat is in there? Chicken, Pork, Beef and Seafood.
  • Make a list of the items on hand.
  • Use them before purchasing anything new.
  • Watch your vegetable purchases. Do you like kale; because someone said it’s good for you is not a good enough reason to buy it. You must eat it.
  • Only purchase items you will consume.

Public transportation 

What can we do about it? If you have to use it you must pay. Make sure you are using it to your advantage.

  • Do your math, is it better to purchase a monthly pass?
  • Is it better financial sense to purchase a weekly pass, if you do not use public transportation on weekends? Work the cost out and choose the one that suits your needs.

These are a few tips to help you navigate through 2017. I trust that you find them helpful, or at the very least trigger you to make some changes to keep more of your income.

Tessa-Marie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is a Tax Free Savings Account?

Recently I have noticed a trend that many Canadian and especially new Canadians are not taking the advantage of owning a Tax Free Saving Account.

With this in mind I have decided to write about a TFSA .

Who Can Open a Tax Free Savings Account?

Any individual who is 18 years of age or older and who has a valid social insurance number is eligible to open a TFSA.

What is a Tax Free Savings Account?

A Tax Free Savings Account is a special account where an individual is able to save money over their lifetime without any tax implications.

The Tax Free savings account started in 2009. The government of Canada created the account to encourage Canadians to save money and no matter what the growth of that account no interest will ever be paid.

This account started in 2009. The limit from 2009 to 2012 is $5000.00

From 2013 – 2014 it increased to $5500.

Then in 2015 the government increased it to $10,000.

The amount was decreased by the new governmentin2016 back to $5500.00

If an individual has not made any contributions and was 18 years or older in 2009 they may make the contributions from 2009 to 2016. You do not lose the contribution if it was not done in the prior years.

The money contributed to a Tax Free Savings account is NOT tax deductible.   The contributed amount cannot be deducted from your taxable income.

Any amount contributed or any investment income made is non-taxable.

You may have more than one TFSA but the amount between the account may not exceed your annual contributions.

Withdrawals

Depending on the type of investment held in your TFSA, you can generally withdraw any amount from the TFSA at any time. Withdrawing any amount from the TFSA does not reduce the total amount of contributions you have already made for the year.

Replacing withdrawals

If you decided to replace, or re-contribute all or a portion of your withdrawals into your TFSA in the same year, you can only do this if you have available TFSA contribution room. If you re-contribute but do not have contribution room you will have over-contributed to your TFSA in the year. You will be subject to a tax equal of l% of the highest excess TFSA amount in the month, for each month that the excess amount remains in your account. Before doing a re-contribution talk with your financial institution about your re-contribution.

After following all the rules a TFSA is a wonderful savings vehicle to assist you in meeting your future financial goals.

Tessa-Marie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASK, KNOW AND FOCUS

In last week’s blog post, Lisa told her story. She spoke about the choices she made which enabled her to alter her financial situation.

Here are three decisions Lisa made which changed her financial circumstances.

Decision #1   She Asked For Help

Many times we are confronted with problems or situations in our lives where help is needed. At times, we hold ourselves back by not asking for advice.

I am frequently told the reason for not seeking assistance is the fear of what the person may think. This never is a good reason to prevent anyone from seeking guidance.

What did Lisa do right? She asked for help.

Lisa did not stop to consider whether I would judge her. She did not let fear take her opportunity for a better financial life away from her. She mustered up the courage, approached me, and asked for assistance.

This is all that has to be done. Never be too scared or secretive to seek advice. Especially when dealing with a situation you are not trained to manage.

Decision#2 Know What You Want

Lisa knew what she wanted. In her own words, she said. “I am overwhelmed with my financial situation. I want to pay off my credit card debts and take my family on a vacation.”

She gave me two clear and concise goals.

I asked her whether she was prepared to work towards those goals on a daily basis? Lisa agreed.

I became her Financial Planner or her navigational system. Our journey together began. Lisa met with me every Tuesday from 6pm to 8pm. This went on for one year.

As a Financial Planner, we are on the journey with you. It is our job to show you the gains and the pitfalls of your choices. She told me what she wanted and I showed her how to get it. We are an essential part of making sure you achieve the goals you set.

She knew she needed guidance, saw an opportunity and took it.   Today Lisa is reaping the benefits of seeking assistance.

Decision #3 Focus On Attaining You Goal

  • Hold your goals in the forefront of your mind.
  • Attend all the appointments you make.
  • Do the homework that is given.
  • Celebrate small successes.
  • If you meet a detour on your way, reroute but stay focused on your destination.
  • Let the important people in your life know what you are working on.
  • Talk to the children in the family about the goals.
  • Empower them with minor task.
  • Let them choose the vacation spot.
  • Have weekly family meetings about the goals.
  • Discuss what changes will be made once the goals have been achieved.
  • Where appropriate share with others the details of your journey.

Most of all re-visit your goals regularly. This should be done at the very least annually.