2020 was a special year at all levels, financially speaking is no exception! here is a walkthrough of what you should be watching for:
April 30: Income tax deadline
if you have received CERB payments!
The CERB payments are a taxable income! you need to report it when you file your income tax for the 2020 tax year. Keep in mind, the governement did not deduct any income tax from your CERB payments, so it’s important to report them.
If you were contacted by CRA to return a portion of the CERB payments, please refer to our previous post Paying back the CERB money, what you need to know
COVID-related claims for your home office
Check CRAs website and your employer for what can be claimed. Below is the official CRA link discussing this matter.
Jan. 1: TFSA contribution limit extension
Tax-free savings account holders can start the new year by contributing another $6,000 to their TFSAs.
If you have never contributed to a TFSA and you were at least 18 years old in 2009, then your contribution room is $75,500.
Any capital gains or dividends realized within a TFSA are not taxable. This is a great advantage. The only time you will taxed under a TFSA is if you overcontributed (exceeded the allowable contribution amount of $75,500). A lot of people misunderstand this rule and think falsely the value of their TFSA should not exceed the $75,500. This is totally false, the limit is on the contribution and not the value of your TFSA.
March 1: RRSP contribution deadline
If you are not familiar with the RRSP, please check our previous post What’s an RRSP? Everything you need to know
Advice: don’t take a loan to contribute to your RRSP! I recommend saving and contributing to your RRSP using your savings. It’s called discipline!
The contribution amount can be deducted from your 2020 taxable income. The higher your marginal tax rate, the bigger the tax savings.
Max your RESP contribution!
Parents with a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) should try to maximize their government grants for the year. RESPs are a generous a program!
Watch out for the Fees. There is fees everywhere in the financial industry. It’s a fact, but we still need to compare our broker-bank-insurance company with competitors.
If you own a mutual funds with 3% MER: ask yourself is it worth it? can you switch to a different mutual fund with lower MER or even buy an Index funds or ETF!
If the fees you pay for trading stocks are too high (9$ or more)! check other brokers especially online brokers, they are more and more popular, the difference in the fees paid with a traditional bank and an online broker is simply huge!
If you have high-interest-rate debt, like credit cards or unsecured lines of credit, you may be better off focusing on repaying those first before investing. Consider consolidating your debt into a loan or a secured home equity line of credit, or add high-interest debt to your low-interest mortgage; any of those moves can help you reduce the interest charges.
please also consult with non for profit organizations dedicated to helping Canadian families renegotiate the interest rates in their debt and with consolidation.
Rebalance your investment portfolio for the new year
Make sure your investments are still aligned with your risk tolerance and financial objectives.
If you have let’s say an unexpected big expenditure coming up, then you have to review the terms/duration of your portfolio investments.
Mortgage deadline coming up, shop early for a better rate!
Mortgage rates have gone down to new lows (for instance 1.7% for a fix 5 year term, even lower rates for variable). If your mortgage term is coming up, make sure you start shopping. Always contact your banks and independent mortgage broker by email, and receive their offers by email. Use then their offers to create a competition, you will be surprised how they will quickly beat the competition offer (as long as it’s written).
Watch out for your credit score
Watching regularly your credit score is important. The general rules to keep your score high are:
- don’t apply for credit cards you don’t need or just because they have a special bonus offer;
- never cancel your oldest card. Your score depends on the length that you have been using credit!
- subscribe to a service that will allow you to access your credit score report! it’s crucial to check the report for any activity. Identity theft is on rise, you want to be ahead of the curve and address any issue before hand. Most service have a alert system in place to advise of any big change in your score
You can access for free to your credit report with Borrowell* Checking your credit report does not have any negative impact on your credit. For more info on this subject, visit our previous post How to access your full credit report for free in Canada?
*The Asterix is a reference to an affiliate marketing link. I promote the use of Borrowell services in exchange of a small commission. I recommend only services that I used and satified with.
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