More Money in Your Pocket – Sensible, Easy, Painless

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Many of us are looking for creative ways to spend less and enjoy more.  Today’s podcast goes from toilets to taxes with plenty of fun in between!

While researching for this weeks show on your money, I found some great ideas that make sense for saving cents, my favourites are:

  1. Decide if you what you are about to purchase is a want or a need, if it’s a want consider practicing the 30 day rule. If you still want it 30 days later, fine. Most times the urge will pass and you end up deciding you can do without it.
  2. Hide your credit cards (not in your wallet!), I like the freezer idea – put them in a container of water and freeze it.
  3. Stores and shopping centers are not entertainment – try these free ideas – parks, hikes, beaches, amore-making over the campfire, tennis courts, libraries. F-R-E-E and fun!
  4. Keep a visual reminder (like a progess bar) of you debt reductions/wealth creation plan. Keep it somewhere you can see it often.

An interview with best-selling the author of 50 books (yes that’s five – zero) Evelyn Jacks take a different twist on this week’s Your Life, Unlimited radio show.  Always a cheerleader for helping you take control of your finances, this financial expert gives us a new way to look at our money and gives us her top tips for keeping more in your pockets now. She asks us tough questions like like – how much is enough and challenges us to figure out the numbers. She is a passionate believer in  how absolutely empowering financial education can be.

You can listen to the whole show (sans commercials) here:

CJOB August 23, 2013 Integrity & Your Money Stephanie Staples and Evelyn Jacks

You can stay current with the financial news through weekly blog post delivered right to your inbox from Evelyn’s company, The Knowledge Bureau.  Meanwhile, enjoy Evelyn’s guest blog here …

The Urban Dictionary calls it “intaxication”… the euphoria of getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your own money to start with.  “Intaxicated” people give up control of the first dollars they earn. Take charge people, on the other hand, make it their business to create bigger dollars to work with every day. . .they ”detax” if you will.  “Detaxication” is especially important when you file your tax return, and right now – mid summer is a good time to make sure you didn’t overpay when you filed your 2012 tax return.

Did you remember to claim these 7 Top Tax Changes if they applied in your situation?

  1. Claim the New Family Caregiver Tax Credit.   This is a $2000 additional “bump up” to the normal credits for your spouse, minor child, or other adult dependant are stricken with a mental or physical infirmity, as well as the Caregiver amount. You make the new claims on revised Schedule 5 on the 2012 tax return and a doctor’s verification is required.  Make that appointment quickly to file your returns in time, and remember, if the doctor charges you a fee, claim it as a medical expense.
  2. New Medical Expense Claims.  Claim the costs of blood coagulation monitors used by individuals who require anti-coagulation therapy this year.  This includes associated disposable peripherals such as pricking devices, lancets and test strips if they are prescribed by a medical practitioner.  For those who travelled out of their local communities for medical care, a “simplified method” of claiming auto expenses is possible.  The per kilometer rates for 2012 changed as they do every year:  for Ontario the rate is 55 cents per kilometer; Quebec 57 cents and Manitoba 47 cents, for example.
  3. Employee Profit Sharing Tax.   If you are related to your employer or have a significant equity interest, you could be paying a new tax on contributions to an employee profit sharing plan.  You will be considered a “specified employee;” if contributions to the plan exceed 20% of the salary you received in the year. You’ll claim an offsetting deduction in this case on a new form.
  4. Changes to the EI.   You may not have been expecting this, so if you collected regular EI Benefits last year you may have had to pay some of them back when you filed your tax return.  This happened when your net income exceeded $57,375. Avoid this in 2013 by making an RRSP contribution to bring your net income down below $59,250.  There are also changes to the interpretation of who is insurable. If you are working in a family business, you may not be insurable, as you are not dealing at “arm’s length”.  You will want to check with your tax accountant before paying into a plan in which no benefit will accrue to ensure your contract and remuneration fits the criteria.
  5. Maximize OAS & Increase Your Future Income.   Starting on July 1, 2013, Canadian seniors will have the option to defer receiving their OAS pension for up to five years. If you elect to do so you will receive a proportionately larger pension when you do start to receive it.  It’s good retirement planning, too, as you might decide to withdraw other taxable amounts first, like deposits in an RRSP.  Also try to avoid a clawback of your OAS which happens when net income exceeded $69,562 in 2012; the number is $70,954 in 2013.  Splitting qualifying pension income with your spouse can help eliminate the clawback of OAS.
  6. Opt Out of CPP Premiums. The way you contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) changed in January 2012. If you are between 60 and 64 you must continue to pay premiums if you work,  even if you are drawing benefits from the plan. From age 65 to 70 you may elect to opt out by filing a new form CPT30. The self-employed, however, will do this on newly revised Schedule 8 of the T1 return. In either case, additional contributions made will be saved in a “Post Retirement Benefit” (PRB) account to bump up your monthly pension benefits beginning the following year.
  7. Take a Tax Course to Keep Current with Change.  It pays to keep up with tax changes.  Knowledge Bureau offers tax deductible, online, certificate tax courses you can take anytime and learn on professional tax software, too.  Most of the non-refundable and refundable tax credits change every year due to indexing;  the dividend tax credit calculations, taxation of Individual Pension Plans withdrawals, and the mechanics behind the RDSP and RESP rules, are effected too.  If those acronyms are familiar – but Greek to you—consider taking a course.  It’s a life skills you need to know, as we don’t expect taxation to end anytime soon.  Visit www.knowledgebureau.com

Last year, the average tax refund was close to $1700; a number that seems to get bigger every year, and squeezes out saving room.  By taking the time to  come up to speed on every tax deduction and credit you are entitled to, reviewing prior filed returns for mistakes and most important, investing your tax refund wisely – perhaps into an RRSP or a TFSA – you’ll be sure to keep more of the first dollar you earned in 2013 for your future benefit.

And that’s intoxicating, financially speaking, of course.

 Evelyn Jacks is President of Knowledge Bureau and author of 50 books on tax and personal wealth management.  Follow Evelyn on Twitter at@EvelynJacks.

To your financial health and wellbeing,

Steph  🙂

Stephanie Staples, CSP* is the author of When Enlightening Strikes – Creating a Mindset for Uncommon Success and an internationally acclaimed motivational speaker. She empowers audiences & clients across North America to bring their ‘A’ game to work and to life. Stephanie has a special interest in working with and empowering nurses and healthcare providers. She happily calls Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada home.  You can get loads of complimentary resources to help with issues such as work/life balance, wellness, stress management and happiness in general, as well as find out more information about her coaching and speaking services at http://www.YourLifeUnlimited.ca.

* Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), conferred by the National Speakers Association is the speaking profession’s international measure of professional platform proficiency. Less than 10 percent of speakers have earned this credential and are recognized as some of the best in their fields. Stephanie was one of only five professional speakers in  Canada (and the only woman) to attain this designation in 2013.

 

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