Oaken Update – February, 2016

RSPs—there’s still (a little) time!

With February coming to a close, we’re heading down to the wire for RSP contributions. Here are three key things to bear in mind before this coming Monday rolls around:

Key date

The deadline for contributing is always 60 days into the new year. But because 2016 is a leap year, that means your last chance is not March 1, as it usually is. This time, it’s February 29.

Key amount

You’re entitled to contribute up to 18% of your earned income for 2014, to a maximum of $24,930. And you can add to that any unused contribution room from previous years. The easiest way to determine your total allowable room is to check your 2014 Notice of Assessment from Revenue Canada. The amount is indicated in a box entitled “Your 2015 RRSP/PRPP Deduction Limit Statement”.

Key tip

In the old days, the mantra of financial planners was “always maximize your RSP.” But with TFSAs, things have changed. A TFSA gives you a different way to shelter your retirement savings, and depending on your situation they could be more advantageous to you than an RSP. Consider both before you make your investment decision. (And to help you with this, we recently posted a comparison of RSPs and TFSAs on our Oaken Blog.)


Tax returns—the season to be happy!

Tax time is around the corner, and with it comes the usual griping about completing returns. But shouldn’t we actually be happy about filling in those forms and sending them off to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)? After all, almost every one of us has already paid our taxes. Filing a return is actually about claiming deductions, and possibly getting some of that money back. So really, we should be happy that it’s tax season!

Okay, maybe we haven’t quite persuaded you. But tax season doesn’t always have to be like a visit to the dentist. The following tips may help things along as you prepare your return before this year’s deadline of April 30:

Make up for past errors

Taking the path of least resistance in filling out your tax returns can mean that you’ve missed out on important deductions. (After all, who hasn’t just stopped reading a note in the CRA tax guide at some point because it was too complicated to figure out?) You can make up for that by filing an adjustment to returns that were filed as far back as 10 years ago. Remember, major unclaimed expenses can add up, and give your refund a welcome boost.

Claim for capital losses

With the rocky ride that markets have been experiencing in the past few years, there’s a good chance you may have racked up some losses on the sale of some of your investments. Turn that pain into gain! You can apply capital losses from previous years against capital gains made during the past three years—or any year in the future. Keep records of your losses, so that you know how much you can claim.

Don’t overlook your expenses

Double check your investment statements to make sure that you’re claiming carrying costs. Things like interest payments on funds borrowed to invest, as well as a portion of investment management fees, are tax deductible and can make a noticeable difference to your refund.


The growing industry of wellness tourism

With increasing awareness of health and fitness, together with the growth of tourism around the world, it’s no surprise that well-being is becoming a larger factor in people’s travel plans. Certainly, the term “wellness tourism” is a bit vague, and hard to define. But there’s no denying that when people travel abroad, they have far more opportunities to emphasize their health than ever before. And that’s especially important if you’re going to be on vacation for a long time—you don’t want your healthy habits to slide just because you’re away for a month or more.

In a recent post on the Oaken Blog, we offered up 7 tips to stretch your travel budget. As an extension to that, here are some things related to wellness that you may want to consider as you’re making your travel plans:

Eating healthy

Let’s face it, throwing dietary caution to the wind when you’re on holiday is very easy to do. Fortunately, though, cruise ships, hotels and restaurants have become increasingly sensitive to the need for healthy menus. Before you leave, look into your options and consider selecting hotels and destinations that offer you good dietary choices. You might even want to think about accommodations that let you make your own meals, so you don’t have to eat restaurant food every night.

Staying active

If you’re going to be taking long hikes through the Rockies on your vacation, you don’t really need any help to get your heart rate going. But if you’ll be lying on the beach a lot, you’ll need to make extra effort to stay active. Look for hotels and resorts that offer golf, tennis, water sports or even just nearby walking trails. And if you’re on a cruise ship, you can be guaranteed they’ll have a fitness centre. So make a visit to the gym part of your exotic destination.

Medical and fitness programs

There’s no shortage of holiday packages that offer medical testing, nutrition and fitness classes, and even healthy living seminars. These can be a great way to kickstart your commitment to healthier living, and can even form the core of a wellness vacation. Research your options online, for everything from pilates sessions, to taking up meditation.


Free tickets for the Vancouver ZoomerShow

The ZoomerShow is coming to Vancouver again on Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, March 20—and we’ve got free tickets for customers and friends of Oaken!

There’s lots to see and do at the show, which is Canada’s largest consumer and lifestyle expo for those over 45. Music, entertainment, financial advice, health and fitness tips. All this and so much more await!

You can learn more about the show by clicking here. It will be taking place at the Vancouver Convention Centre, East Building Hall B & C, at 999 Canada Place. And of course, we’ll be there with our booth, which means that when you stop by for a chat you can also enter our draw to win a $500 GIC.

Click here to book your free tickets. We look forward to seeing you!


Winter reading

From travel tips to preparing for the unexpected, this month’s reading is all about practical ways to manage your money.

 

The information, materials and opinions contained in this Blog are provided for your information only. This Blog does not constitute legal, financial or other professional advice and you should not rely on it as an alternative to specific advice based on your particular circumstance.

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