Oaken Update – February, 2017

It’s still not too late for RSPs!

If you haven’t yet invested in your RSP this year, the window is still open. The deadline for contributions for the 2016 tax year is Wednesday, March 1.

The annual contribution limit allowed by the Canada Revenue Agency is 18% of your earned income for the previous year, up to a defined maximum. And for 2016, that maximum amount is $25,370. However, most Canadians don’t even come close to contributing up to the limit. That means their allowable room keeps growing, because unused contribution room is carried over from year to year.

Lots of room? Fill it up!

If you have a large amount of unused room, don’t kick yourself for not saving enough. Instead, think about borrowing to contribute more this year than you normally would. Depending on your tax bracket, you could be saving yourself a lot of money down the road, as well as seeing your RSP investments grow tax-free today (and every year until you reach 67). If you then use your tax rebate to pay down existing debt—like your credit card, mortgage, or even the loan that you used to make the RSP contribution— you’ll be making great progress on planting for your financial future.

RSPs can be a complicated subject, and they’ve been made even more complicated since the introduction of TFSAs in 2009. We won’t overload you with information here, especially since many of you will already be well up to speed on the basics of RSPs. But if you need a refresher, take a look at our blog post that’s all about the choice between RSPs and TFSAs, as well as a more recent post that covers splitting income with a spousal RSP. These contain a wealth of knowledge about RSPs in general, including lots of informative links.

And of course, you can also call on us at any time to open an RSP, or contribute to an existing one. We’re always here to help!


It’s never too late to secure your passwords

Earlier this month, Yahoo revealed that a large number of Yahoo email accounts had been hacked. And if you found yourself wondering if this was an old news story or something new, you weren’t alone. This was in fact the third time in just a few months that Yahoo had admitted to a major data breach. The largest was announced in December, and involved over a billion accounts.

These hacks occurred several years ago, and Yahoo has taken measures to neutralize them. But they underline just how pervasive cyber-hacking is. And Yahoo isn’t alone in being a target of cyber criminals. Governments, companies and email providers are all under constant threat.

Strong passwords are up to you

It’s up to companies that operate online to meet that threat. Here at Oaken, we employ the most rigorous security procedures and the most up-to-date encryption technology, to ensure that transactions are safe and identities are secure. But customers have a part to play as well. There are many things you can do to protect yourself from cyber-crime, and one of the most important is to choose strong passwords, memorize them, and then change them regularly.

Obviously, that can be more than a little inconvenient. Regularly changing and remembering dozens of different passwords is almost impossible, and inevitably most of us re-use the same password for multiple accounts. That may not matter much for some sites, but when it comes to banking it’s a big no-no. For your Oaken Online Banking access—as well as for any other important sites, such as other financial institutions, your primary email account or the Canada Revenue Agency—you should always use a unique password. On top of that, you should change it regularly (at least twice a year), and ensure that it is strong. Believe it or not, the most common password in 2016 was “123456”! While in the UK, over 50% of people use one of the 25 most common passwords, which include entries such as “111111”, “qwerty” and “password”.

Not sure how strong your passwords are? You can test them for free at The Password Meter. And for further information about password security, check out the article to be found below in this month’s reading list.


Guts, glory… and homes

This month was a special one for Oaken, as we joined numerous corporate colleagues in sponsoring the 2nd annual Covenant House Guts + Glory Corporate Challenge. As Canada’s largest agency dedicated to helping homeless and vulnerable youth, Covenant House does invaluable work in the community. It not only delivers emergency shelter for young people in need, but also runs long-term residential programs that provide a safe, welcoming environment for those who are most at risk.

The Guts + Glory Corporate Challenge is a major fundraising event for Covenant House, and this year it was hosted at Ryerson University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre (better known as the former Maple Leaf Gardens) on February 8. Guts + Glory pits teams of competitors against each other in a friendly contest of strength, endurance and sheer hard grit. In addition to competing for the Guts + Glory trophy, teams vie to be the top fundraisers as well.

And fundraise they did! Teams and sponsors were aiming for a target of $450,000 this year, but blew past that benchmark with a grand total of $526,230.50. That’s 117% of the target, and an achievement we can all be proud of. Click here for more information on Covenant House, or to help them with a donation.


Spring into spring with the Vancouver ZoomerShow

It’s almost that time of year again…The west coast always leads the country into spring, and there’s no reason to expect 2017 will be any different, so we’re happy that our first event of the year will take place in Vancouver. March 11 & 12 are the dates, and the Vancouver Convention Centre is the place. More specifically, it will be in the East Building, Hall B & C, at 999 Canada Place.

For those who don’t know about the ZoomerShow, it’s Canada’s leading lifestyle expo for those aged 45 and up. There are literally hundreds of exhibitors, in categories that include Health & Vitality, Lifestyle, Money and Travel, and a great range of performers and entertainers throughout the day. Toss in a food pavilion, seminars, product demonstrations and our own Oaken booth, and you have every reason to expect a great time and learn a thing or two as well. Click here for free tickets, compliments of Oaken. We look forward to seeing you!


Reading list

Here’s our regular list of readings to round off the month, as we get ready for spring…

 

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

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