Oaken Update – April, 2015

We’ve got great things in store…

oakenstore2

At Oaken we’re all about personalized, friendly service, and we’re always looking for ways to make good on that promise. That’s why we’re delighted to announce the opening of our first Oaken store, in the heart of Toronto’s financial district.

The store will be completely different from that of any typical bank branch, replacing a teller-based environment with one that is dedicated to discussion and collaboration. It’s a place where you can come in, have a coffee and chat with us about anything related to your savings. Simply put, our mission for the store is to educate, inspire and engage.

It’s also a dual-purpose space that we’re making available for fundraising events outside of business hours—our way of giving back to the community. So if you have a related need, just get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss it with you.

Special sneak peek event

The store will be opening to the public on Monday, May 11, but for Oaken customers we’re preparing a special sneak peek event on Thursday, May 7. If you’re an Oaken customer, we’d love you to join us for an exclusive preview and reception, where refreshments will be served and all the great features of the store will be showcased. Oaken customers in the Greater Toronto Area will be receiving an invitation by email and regular post, so look out for that if it hasn’t arrived already.

We’re also opening a second store in Calgary this summer. While we haven’t finalized a date for this yet, the work is already well underway, so we’ll be letting you know nearer to the time. Stay tuned for more details in the coming months.


The Federal Budget—good news for Canadian savers

The federal budget was brought down on April 21, and it contained some of the biggest changes we’ve seen in years, especially when it comes to savings and retirement. We’ll go into them in more detail in future Oaken Updates, but for now here are the two main changes you need to know about:

1. You can keep more money in your RIF

Under previous rules, seniors had to withdraw a minimum of 7.38% of their RIF in its first year, with the percentage gradually rising in subsequent years. Now the initial withdrawal required is 5.28%. This means that seniors will find it easier to preserve their capital into old age, as they will potentially face a lower tax bill than they did previously. The greatest benefit will be felt by those retirees who have fairly large RIFs, as they are the ones who are most likely to be able to live on the minimum withdrawal amount. The upshot is clear: there is now an even stronger reason to build up your RSP, as it will benefit from longer tax-sheltering than ever before.

2. You can invest more money in your TFSA

Effective immediately, TFSA contribution limits have been increased to $10,000 annually. This means that you have an additional $4,500 of contribution room for 2015, and starting in 2016 you can contribute $10,000 a year. This is a great windfall for savers, as you can now shelter more of your interest, dividends and capital gains from taxation. We have always encouraged customers to view their TFSA as more than just a vehicle for short-term savings, and this change only reinforces that view. The TFSA is increasingly becoming an important part of long-term investment and retirement planning.


And the winner is…

Spring was definitely in the air at the Vancouver ZoomerShow in March! Held at Canada Place on the waterfront, the show was a great weekend full of fun, music and lifestyle information. We were delighted to welcome so many people to our booth—both old faces and new—and provide information and advice on what Oaken has to offer.

Of course, the ZoomerShow wouldn’t be complete without our regular Oaken prize draw. Our winner this time was (Tiffany) Swee Chen Tang from Vancouver, BC, and she is now the lucky holder of a $500 GIC from Oaken—congratulations!

Our next ZoomerShow will be at the Ottawa Convention Centre on May 9 & 10. If you’ll be in or around our nation’s capital that weekend, we’d love to see you there. To get your free tickets to the show, click here.


Spring is the time to grow your finances (or just your garden)

Our recommended readings this month are all about growth: from a Spring tune up for your finances, to investing in GICs online, to planting for growth in the summer.

This post is intended for informational purposes only. It is not to be considered financial advice. Always do your research before making any investment decisions.

13 thoughts on “We’ve got great things in store…

  1. Within the TFSA, Oaken is only offering GIC’s!
    I would like you to offer your Saving Account also.
    What is the problem in not doing so?
    Andree

    1. Dear Andree, Thank you for your thoughts. We agree with you that not yet offering a true TFSA savings account is a gap in our product suite. While this is important to be able to offer, we have not gotten to building it yet due to a number of other items we have been creating. This includes launching online banking, new stores and now our current focus on creating a completely online account open process to make opening GICS and savings accounts quicker and easier. The TFSA Savings account is definitely in our project roadmap. We, however, are not yet in a position to give you an exact date.

  2. We now have 2 Calgary Oaken Offices… are you considering something in Edmonton, the Capital of Alberta ? You would be pleasant surprised at the response you would get. I do understand the need to control capital expenses with additional “bricks and mortar”, but with due diligence of potential office space in Edmonton, you would thrive successfully amidst the clutter of Big Bank Branches who offer increased service charges to compensate for the lower income from low interest rates.

    1. Dear Stephen, Thank you for your comment. In Calgary we just have one office. We recently moved from Southport to downtown. We do love Edmonton as well, however unfortunately for now we do not have plans to open an office there. We do continually evaluate growth options, and will certainly consider Edmonton next time we look at expansion opportunities.

      1. Oops… yes, you only moved from your original office site to a new Downtown Calgary office… my mistake.

    1. Dear Jean, Like many Canadian cities, we do love Ottawa, and will be there for the ZoomerShow on May 9/10. However, unfortunately for now we do not have plans to open an office there. We do continually evaluate growth options, and will certainly consider Ottawa next time we look at expansion opportunities.

  3. Hello:
    I recently opened two business accounts with Oaken. Is there a time line on when you expect to have the ability for customers to view these business accounts online?
    Thanks

    1. Dear Mike, Yes. This is coming soon. Offering online access to commercial customers has been a big focus of ours over the last several months. We don’t know the exact date yet, but we estimate that this will be in about two months. We will notify all of our commercial customers when we go live.

  4. Re: TFSA’s
    Attn: Mr. Benjy Katchen , Vice President Deposits

    To my knowledge, Oaken Financial only offers TFSA within GIC investments. Most other financial institutions offer TFSA’s within a true savings account. This makes sense if you want to withdraw any amount of money that you have in your account at any time you need those funds. With Oaken you have to wait to withdraw the funds you may need only when the maturity date for those TFSA GIC’s come due. You may yield a higher rate of interest with a GIC however, one of the main features of a TFSA is to have instant access to your money whenever you require it and replace the withdrawal amount after the following TFSA calendar year either all of it or in part, plus the full allowable amount for the new TFSA calendar year.
    Oaken should offer both a true TFSA savings account as well as TFSA GIC’s.
    Is there any good reason why Oaken does not offer both options? Please respond.

    Sincerely

    1. Dear Mr. Boulanger, A TFSA savings account is on our product roadmap. I cannot give you date yet, beyond saying that this will likely be an initiative we commence in 2016.

  5. I get the impression that the limit for T F S A for 2015 has been increaased to $10,000.00.
    I did not know that it was effective immediately. Having already contributed $5,500.00 can I legally contribute an additional $4,500.00. In future years I can now contribute $10,000.00 annually ?

    Terry Eden.

    1. Dear Terry, Yes, the TFSA limit has increased to $10,000 per year. This also applies to 2015. You can contribute $4,500 more if you already contributed $5,500 in 2015.

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