Back to school—at any age
It’s that time of year again, when students and their parents get ready for school. But you don’t have to be a kid—or have kids of your own—to be involved in this annual fall ritual. School can be for everyone, as more and more adults are discovering.
Reconnect. Many universities have discounted tuition fees and offer specialty classes tailored to mature students. From completing a degree to pursuing a personal interest, adults have more opportunities for growth and enrichment than ever before. Connect with your alma mater, or check out the colleges and universities in your area.
Branch out. You don’t have to enter a formal program to expand your horizons. There are endless avenues for pursuing your passion—cooking classes, wine appreciation, pottery workshops—that are found outside our education system, and some could be just down the street from where you live.
Go online. The internet is a treasure trove of resources for studying everything under the sun. In addition to websites for your local college or university, it can guide you to online courses from institutions around the world—thousands of which are now free. Plus you can find local courses on whatever it is you’d like to study.
So as the kids start heading back to school this year, think about joining them. It’s a great way to feel young again!
Back to basics—know the rules for your TFSA
Almost 55,000 Canadians were penalized by the Canada Revenue Agency in 2013 for something pretty simple—over contributing to their TFSA. While this number is down almost 50% from 2010, it’s still too high. Don’t let yourself make a basic mistake—know the rules about withdrawals and contributions:
- You can withdraw your money at any time, tax-free.
- If you withdraw an amount, you can only put it back in the same year if there is sufficient contribution room from previous years still available. In other words, withdrawing money from your TFSA does not increase the year’s contribution room by that amount.
- Your contribution room for the following year will be equal to: the maximum allowable for that year + any unused contribution room + the amount you withdrew in the previous year.
For examples on replacing withdrawals, visit Canada Revenues Agency (CRA) website.
Tips for managing you TFSA
- It’s up to you to track your contributions and withdrawals during the year. (Financial institutions can’t do it because they don’t know how much you might have contributed somewhere else.)
- If you made a withdrawal this year, there’s a simple way of keeping track of your contribution room and avoiding a penalty: just wait until next year to put it back.
- Plan your contributions and withdrawals ahead of time, many get caught by treating their TFSA as chequing account withdrawing and depositing at will.
- While you’re waiting to put that money back, park it in an Oaken Savings Account or a short-term GIC. You’ll earn a competitive interest rate and have the money ready in the New Year.
Back in the community—the Kerby Expo and the ZoomerShow
The Kerby Expo in Calgary is taking place on September 10 and 11. The Expo is full of great things geared to Canadians who are 55+, including lectures, workshops and a wide array of exhibitor booths (where you can find us). Admission is free, and it takes place at the Kerby Centre, 1133-7 Avenue SW. For more information, click here.
We’re also coming out into the community for the 2014 ZoomerShow in Toronto. This premiere event for the Boomer generation features speakers, musical acts, entertainment and lots of interesting exhibits about everything from health and fitness to travel and money. It’s set for October 25 and 26 at the Direct Energy Centre (Hall A), and we’ve got tickets to give away! But don’t delay, because we only have 250 available—click here to get yours.
Articles of interest
Given that it’s still summer, we’ve kept the reading list light this month. First an article about the TFSA withdrawal rule that recaps our item above, continuing reading.
And next an instalment from the Globe and Mail’s retirement blogger, showing you just how easy it can be to stretch your dollar after you’ve stopped earning.
Check out Coursea.org to find out more about free online university courses to keep your mind sharp and your bank account full. Just one of the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) out there aimed to keep people learning in easy low cost or free!