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FINANCIAL FACELIFT: Can this couple still retire in three years after their investments took a major hit?

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Below you will find a real life case study of a couple who are looking for financial advice on how best to arrange their financial affairs. Their names and details have been changed to protect their identity. The Globe and Mail often seeks the advice of our VP, Wealth Advisor, Matthew Ardrey, to review and analyze the situation and then provide his solutions to the participants.

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Written by:
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published April 10, 2020

Robert and Rachel have worked hard, raised three children and – thanks to high income and frugal living – amassed an impressive portfolio of dividend-paying stocks, which they manage themselves. When they approached Financial Facelift in February, their combined investments were worth about $2.7-million.

After the coronavirus tore through financial markets last month, their holdings tumbled to a little more than $1.8-million by late March, a drop of roughly $900,000, or 33 per cent. Markets have since bounced but are still well below their February highs.

“The recent market downturn caught us by surprise,” Robert acknowledges in an e-mail, “but we are hoping we can weather the storm.”

Robert, a self-employed consultant, is 57. Rachel, who works in management, is 52. Together they brought in about $285,000 last year, although Robert’s income prospects for this year are uncertain. They have three children, ranging in age from 9 to 19.

“We feel burned out,” Robert writes, “but we have no company pensions or other safety blankets. Can we retire now?”

Leading up to retirement, the couple want to do some renovations costing $100,000 and take up recreational flying, which they estimate will cost about $150,000. Their goal is to quit working in three years with a budget of $100,000 a year after tax. Can they still do it?

We asked Matthew Ardrey, a vice-president and financial planner at TriDelta Financial in Toronto, to look at Robert and Rachel’s situation.

What the expert says

“The rapid decline and subsequent volatility of their investments is a result of how they are investing,” Mr. Ardrey says. Their portfolio is 85 per cent common stocks and 15 per cent preferred shares, the planner notes. “Of the common stock, about 90 per cent is Canadian. This lack of diversification in their investment strategy will affect their retirement plans.”

For the first quarter, major stock markets were down more than 20 per cent, he says. “The fixed-income universe in Canada was up 1.56 per cent for the quarter.” Having some fixed-income securities “would have mitigated the couple’s losses.”

In preparing his forecast, Mr. Ardrey weighs some different situations. He assumes their investment returns from this point forward equal the long-term average for this type of portfolio of 6.25 per cent. This rate of return continues until they retire from work in three-and-a-half years.

When Robert and Rachel retire, the planner assumes they reduce their exposure to stocks and switch to a balanced portfolio of 60 per cent stocks and 40 per cent bonds. This would give them a return of 4.5 per cent. “From there we can compare how much impact this market decline had on their portfolio.”

Their original $2.7-million would have given them a net worth at Rachel’s age 90 of $10-million, adjusted for inflation, including their residence and rental property valued at $5.4-million, Mr. Ardrey says. If they chose to spend all of their investments, leaving the real estate for their children, they could have increased their spending from $100,000 a year to $136,000, adjusted for inflation, giving them a comfortable buffer.

With their current portfolio – about $2.2-million as of April 6 – they would have a net worth of $8.4-million at Rachel’s age 90, including $5.4-million in real estate. They would have the option of increasing their spending to $118,000 a year. “This is half of their former buffer, which is a significant difference,” Mr. Ardrey says.

Even if the markets returned double the couple’s historical rate of return, or 12.5 per cent, from now until they retire, “it would still not make up all of the difference of what they have lost,” the planner says. Their net worth at Rachel’s age 90 would be $9.5-million and they could increase their spending to $130,000.

This market downturn speaks to the value of a balanced, diversified portfolio and professional money management, Mr. Ardrey says. “In so many cases, people try to invest on their own without truly understanding their ability to tolerate risk, or without a financial plan in place” to help them understand the implications of market returns on their retirement.

He recommends Robert and Rachel gradually shift to a professionally managed portfolio that includes both large-capitalization stocks with strong dividends, diversified geographically, and a fixed-income component comprising corporate and government bonds. This strategy could be supplemented with some private income funds – which do not trade on financial markets – to stabilize their returns and potentially enhance their income.

By making this change, they could increase their rate of return in retirement from 4.5 per cent to 5.5 per cent, giving them an additional financial cushion of $12,000 a year. “This would be especially beneficial if markets take a long time to return to their former highs,” Mr. Ardrey says.

The plan assumes Robert will get 85 per cent of Canada Pension Plan benefits and Rachel 75 per cent, starting at age 65. They will both get full Old Age Security benefits.

Fortunately, this couple have ample resources, including real estate, that they can use to insulate themselves against unexpected expenses, Mr. Ardrey says. Many other Canadians who have been investing in the same manner do not. Worse, many investors may have other financial stresses such as a lost job or mounting debts that could force them to liquidate their portfolio at an inopportune time, the planner says.

“What the past month has shown is that there are significant risks to do-it-yourself investing and not having a proper asset mix in place – especially as you approach retirement.”

Client situation

The people: Robert, 57, Rachel, 52, and their three children.

The problem: Can they retire in about three years without jeopardizing their financial security?

The plan: Retire as planned but take steps to draw up a proper financial plan that includes a more balanced investment strategy.

The payoff: Lowering potential investment risk to better achieve goals.

Monthly net income: $16,720

Assets: Cash $32,875; stocks $589,775; capital in his small business corporation $157,080; her TFSA $82,220; his TFSA $57,035; her RRSP $446,145; his RRSP $621,755; her locked-in retirement account from previous employer $76,405; his LIRA from previous employer $184,825; registered education savings plan $81,260; residence $1,800,000; recreational property $650,000. Total: $4.78-million

Monthly outlays: (including recreational property): Property tax $1,215; home insurance $125; utilities $495; maintenance $240; transportation $650; groceries $1,105; clothing $435; gifts $215; vacation, travel $325; dining out, entertainment $385; pets $45; sports, hobbies $625; piano lessons $160; other personal $415; doctors, dentists $200; prescriptions $70; phones, TV, internet $140; RRSPs $1,830; RESP $630; TFSA $915; savings to taxable accounts $7,460. Total: $17,680.

Liabilities: None

Want a free financial facelift? E-mail finfacelift@gmail.com.

Some details may be changed to protect the privacy of the persons profiled.

Matthew Ardrey
Presented By:
Matthew Ardrey
VP, Wealth Advisor
matt@tridelta.ca
(416) 733-3292 x230

These unfair tax policies are putting a burden on women and seniors and need to be changed now

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Here’s a scenario I’ve seen several times in my career as a wealth manager. A retired couple that receives two full CPP payments and two full Old Age Security (OAS) payments is able to fully split their income for tax purposes. Then one spouse dies. The survivor only receives one CPP payment, no OAS, and often has a higher tax rate on less family income because they now have one combined RRIF account that must withdraw more funds on a single tax return. It hardly seems fair, because it isn’t.

The scenario highlights just one of a number of thoroughly unjust tax policies that negatively affect hundreds of thousands of Canadians each year. Many of the policies are particularly harmful to older women because they hit those who are single/widowed and over the age of 65 — a group that contains a much higher percentage of women than men.

As we head into a new decade, and in the spirit of eternal optimism, I am providing a list of four main offending policies in the hope that some political titans vow to fix them.
Without further ado, here are the festering four:

1. Income splitting of a defined benefit pension, prior to age 65

THE SITUATION: If you receive a defined benefit pension at any age, you can split the income with your partner for tax purposes. However, if you convert some or all of your RRSP to a RRIF and withdraw money before age 65, you can’t split the income. You have to wait until age 65.

WHY IT MATTERS: Income splitting is another way of simply saying “pay less in taxes.” If you can income split you will most likely keep more of your pension money than if you can’t. As a simple example, if one person earns $120,000 in Ontario, their tax bill will be $32,895 (with no deductions). If instead, that person is able to fully split income and two people now show $60,000 in income, the total tax bill is $22,050. On the same amount of income, the tax bill is $10,845 lower.

WHO IT AFFECTS: Everyone who does not have a defined benefit pension. These days, most employees who have a defined benefit pension work for the government or a quasi-governmental organization. The private sector now has a very low percentage of employees in a defined benefit pension. To oversimplify, working for the government provides a sizable unfair tax advantage for those under 65 compared to those working in the private sector, without a defined benefit pension. It also benefits couples over singles.

HOW TO FIX IT: Apply the same income splitting age on RSP/RIF withdrawals as on defined benefit pension payments. If that is deemed too expensive for the government, do an income-splitting cap of something like $20,000, but apply it equally to all those of a specific age regardless of what type of retirement pension plan they have.

2. Couples tend to receive more dollars per person than singles in Old Age Security (OAS)

Older woman calculating her taxesTHE SITUATION: Current OAS is more than $7,300 per person per year. If you are collecting OAS starting at age 65, your income can be up to $79,000 before any of your OAS is clawed back. At an income of $128,000 it will be fully clawed back.

WHY IT MATTERS: This is significantly unfair to retired singles. If you are single and your income is $130,000, you will collect no OAS. If you are a couple with household income of $130,000, and you can fully split your income, you will collect about $14,700 of OAS every year indexed to inflation.

WHO IT AFFECTS: Single/widowed seniors get the short end of the stick, and they are more than twice as likely to be female. I have seen many cases where a couple receives two full OAS payments. When one passes away, the survivor suddenly receives $0 in OAS because all of the income (usually RIF income) now sticks to one person instead of being split. According to Statistics Canada roughly 70 per cent of those in long-term care and retirement residences are female. As far as private residences (houses, apartments, condos), 40.2 per cent of women aged 80 to 84 live alone, while only 18.6 per cent of men in the same age group live alone. However you slice it, it appears that at least twice as many single seniors are woman as opposed to men.

HOW TO FIX IT: Have the OAS clawback be based on a dual-person rate or a single-person rate, such that two-person families might see a little more clawback and single-person families see a little less. Given that the current clawback kicks in at $79,000 for one person, the two-person ‘family’ rate could be set at a little less than double that, say $145,000 (with full splitting, the current cutoff for two people is effectively $158,000). The new single-person clawback cutoff could then be raised to about $85,000. The idea is to massage the clawback criteria so that people are much less likely to go from double OAS payments to zero when one dies or gets divorced.

3. Effectively losing the CPP Survivor Pension

THE SITUATION: If two people in a couple are both collecting a full Canada Pension Plan benefit and one of them dies, the other will receive a one-time $2,500 death benefit, and then they will lose the entire CPP payment of the person who died. On the other hand, if the same couple has one person who is collecting a full Canada Pension Plan and their partner never paid into the plan and collects $0 of CPP, and either of them die, the net result is that they will continue to collect one full CPP amount. The reason is that no individual is able to collect more than 100 per cent of a CPP benefit. However, if one person is currently receiving less than 100 per cent, and let’s say her partner dies, that person is able to top up her CPP payment up to 100 per cent out of the amount that was being collected by her partner.

WHY THIS MATTERS: A full share of CPP in 2019 is over $13,800 a year. This is a significant amount of money. To go from receiving up to $27,600 a year and having it drop to $13,800 is a big impact when both people have contributed a lot to CPP over the years.

WHO IT AFFECTS: These rules almost provide an incentive to only have one working partner over the years. It hurts couples in which both partners worked full time. It especially affects couples who both work and in which the male is much older than the female, as this will lead to a longer period of one CPP payment as opposed to collecting two.

HOW TO FIX IT: Most defined benefit pensions have a survivor pension that pays out 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the pension to a surviving partner. You could change the CPP so that if a survivor is already receiving a full CPP payout based on her own contributions and her partner dies, she should receive 60 per cent of their partners’ CPP as well. Essentially make the maximum payout to an individual up to 160 per cent of a full CPP payout. In order to fund it, we could slightly lower a full CPP payout for everyone. In cases where only one person contributed to CPP, and one of the couple dies, then that person would be capped at receiving 100 per cent of the CPP. In this way, a lifetime of CPP contributions doesn’t go for naught if one spouse dies.

4. The Canadian dividend gross up costs OAS dollars

THE SITUATION: In simple terms, Canadian dividends from public corporations are more tax efficient than interest income and foreign dividends. For example, at $70,000 of income in Ontario, the marginal tax rate on income or foreign dividends is 29.65 per cent but the marginal tax rate on eligible Canadian dividends is just 7.56 per cent. This is a very big positive for investing in Canadian stocks that pay dividends. However, there is one nagging problem. The CRA likes to make things complicated, and in order to sort out something called tax integration for corporations, they have set up a complicated way to tax Canadian dividends. The tax formula is to ‘gross up’ a dollar of Canadian dividend income by 38 per cent and then apply a dividend tax credit to get to the right amount of taxation on the dividend. When the CRA determines your income for a variety of income tests, they take your net income — which includes the grossed up dividend income.

WHY IT MATTERS: We discussed the minimum OAS clawback at net income of $79,000. Let’s say you have $70,000 of taxable income from RRIFs, interest and global dividends. At this amount you would receive full OAS. Instead, if you had the same $70,000 of income but it was all Canadian dividend income (an unlikely scenario but good for making this point), it would be grossed up by 38 per cent, and your net income would be considered $96,600. Now your OAS would likely be clawed back by $2,640 a year.

WHO IT AFFECTS: This is an issue that exists for no good reason. At the end of the day, it isn’t the worst of the festering four, but does slightly punish seniors who invest in Canadian companies that pay dividends, especially those who check in around the $80,000 income bracket and are already having some OAS clawed back.

HOW TO FIX IT: I am sure that the strategies around corporate tax integration are complicated, but on a personal tax return, is it that hard to simply tax Canadian dividends using personal tax rates without any gross up? If there was no gross up calculation on a personal tax return, then there is no longer an OAS net income issue. Problem solved.

Reproduced from the National Post newspaper article 23rd January 2020.

Ted Rechtshaffen
Written By:
Ted Rechtshaffen, MBA, CFP
President and CEO
tedr@tridelta.ca
(416) 733-3292 x 221

The maximum OAS a couple can get is $19,600. Here’s how to collect all of it

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Old Age Security (OAS) is a funny part of Canadian retirement planning.

Many Canadians assume they won’t receive it, or even if they do, they believe it won’t last many more years.

The truth of the matter is that for a couple, it can generate as little as $0 or as much as $19,600 a year if you receive full OAS and delay receiving it until you both turn 70.

The basics on the OAS are as follows. You will qualify for a full OAS:

1. If you have lived in Canada for at least 40 years after the age of 18. You will receive partial OAS if you have lived in Canada at least 10 years after age 18.

2. If your taxable income (your net income on line 236 of your tax return) is under $77,580 in 2019. For every dollar above this amount, you will lose 15 cents of OAS up to roughly $125,000, at which point your OAS will be fully clawed back.

3. If you delay receiving your OAS from 65 to age 70, you will receive 36 per cent more or a maximum of $9,815 a year.

There are some people with so much wealth from pensions, investment income or minimum RRIF withdrawals that they are far past the $125,000 a year in income and will simply not receive OAS. Having said that, there might still be some strategies to help.

On the other hand, there are many Canadians whose income in retirement will not be close to $77,000 and who will always receive full OAS benefits.

Senior couple examining their financesIf we start with the premise that you want to receive the most OAS possible, then you will be deferring OAS to age 70. This may or may not be the right decision for you. In general, it is the right decision if you are in good health and believe that you (and likely both of you if you are a couple) will live past age 85 and do not have immediate cash-flow requirements for OAS funds.

The risk is that if one person in a couple takes deferred OAS and the other passes away younger, the survivor is no longer able to split income and depending on their assets, that survivor may now have OAS clawed back, even on the larger deferred amount.

(As a sidenote, the CPP is a better deal as far as deferral past age 65 is concerned. If you defer CPP to age 70, it grows 42 per cent as compared to the 36 per cent growth of a deferred OAS.)

Getting back to the “How do I get the most” question, it is certainly easier if you are a couple as opposed to being single. The five best ways to maximize OAS would be:

First, split income as much as possible in order to ideally keep both individuals’ net incomes under $77,000. If you are able to fully split income, this means your household income could be $154,000, and you would still qualify for full OAS.

Second, use all tax deductions possible to lower taxable income. This includes making RRSP contributions if you have room. One trick is that even if you are over 71, you can possibly make a contribution to the younger spouse’s spousal RSP account if they are under that age. Where possible, be sure to deduct interest income on loans and investment expenses (when investing with an investment counsellor or in a fee-based taxable account). These deductions will not only lower your taxes, but if you are in the OAS clawback zone, they will add 15 cents of OAS for every dollar deducted.

Third, when drawing investment funds to cover your cashflow, consider drawing TFSA or non-registered assets which will not incur any taxable income, rather than drawing extra funds from your RSP, RRIF or corporate account.

Fourth, lower your taxable investment income. If you have taxable investments (non-registered accounts), be sure and focus on tax efficiency in this account. This would probably mean a focus on ETFs and stocks that do not have any or small dividend distributions, meaning a focus on growth stocks. Some ETFs now are structured not to distribute income for this purpose. There are still some REITs that do generate decent yields, but the yields are structured mostly as return of capital. One last thought is to either gift some of these assets to adult children if you won’t need them in your lifetime, or invest them in an insurance policy that will likely have a much higher after-tax return for your estate. If you don’t have the taxable assets in your hands, you will have a lower income.

Fifth, shift income earlier. If you are under 65 or if you are planning on deferring OAS, this would apply up to age 70. You may want to draw funds from your RRSP in the years before that income will qualify toward an OAS clawback. For example, rather than draw CPP and OAS at age 65, you could defer it five years, and in that time draw from your RRSP instead. This will allow you to have a lower RRIF minimum in later years, and possibly help to maintain full OAS at that time. There may also be capital gains on a second property or other unrealized investment gains that you might want to claim in a year prior to it affecting OAS clawbacks.

It is important to keep in mind that these strategies will all be beneficial to maximizing OAS, but still may not be the right strategy overall for you. What is interesting is that all of these strategies to lower taxable income can still apply to you regardless of the OAS strategy.

As you deal with retirement income planning in your late 50s and 60s, these tax and benefit strategies and ideas could easily add $100,000+ to your long term assets. Now is the time to think about them and to take the appropriate action for your personal situation.

Reproduced from the National Post newspaper article 30th April 2019.

Ted Rechtshaffen
Written By:
Ted Rechtshaffen, MBA, CFP
President and CEO
tedr@tridelta.ca
(416) 733-3292 x 221

These are the eight sources of retirement income you need to know about

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In RRSP season there is a lot of focus on your RRSP — surprise, surprise.

As most of you know, the RRSP will ultimately turn into a RRIF and be a key source of your income in retirement. What many people don’t always think about is other potential sources of retirement income.

In our work with retirees, we see up to eight different sources of funds that they can pull from to meet their monthly or annual expenses. Some are not thought of that often, but can become important. Not all will apply to everyone, but each one will be important to a segment of retirees.

Without further ado, here are the eight sources of retirement income:

1. Government Pensions — CPP, Old Age Security (OAS), GIS. For some individuals this can be more than $18,000 a year. It can be even higher if delayed receiving until past age 65.

2. Your Investment Portfolios — RRSPs, RRIFs, TFSAs, Defined Contribution Plans and Non-Registered accounts. The key is to determine which ones to draw on and when to minimize taxes. It will be different depending on your age, your health, your relationship status, and your current and expected level of income.

3. Your Defined Benefit Pension Plan — You may be one of those who have a plan through your work that pays you a fixed monthly amount — that may or may not increase based on inflation.

8 sources of retirement income.4. Your Corporate Investment Account — If you have a Corporation, pulling money from here will likely be considered as ineligible dividend income, but could possibly be tax free due to the size of your capital dividend account or shareholder loans. Often there is an opportunity to use insurance for estate planning or even in some cases for Retirement Planning where funds can come out tax free.

5. Annuities — These are essentially lifetime GICs with a locked-in rate that becomes a monthly source of cash flow. They have been less popular due to low interest rates, but for those who bought Annuities thirty years ago and are still alive, they will definitely sing their praises as an option for retirement income.

6. Your Home — If you own a home you can use a Home Equity Line of Credit to draw down cash over time, or maybe a downsize or sale of real estate is a key source of funds for your retirement. In some cases it may even allow for rental income.

7. Insurance Policies — This is sometimes an option and usually a forgotten one. Policy holders can often access cash through the cash surrender value of a policy without hurting the core insurance coverage. Sometimes you can borrow against the policy, or for those in their 30s to 50s, you might even be able to take out a policy on your parents as a form of retirement planning.

8. Your Kids (or other family) — This is usually not a preferred option, but depending on your needs and the family situation, this can be an important source of income.

Behind each of these sources of income is often a fair bit of thought and planning to maximize the income in a tax efficient way. For example, some individuals want less income in retirement. They don’t need the cash flow and they want lower taxes. In that case, they may look to fund Insurance policies in order to lower annual income and increase the estate.

Another scenario is the person with a large RRSP who is in their late 50s or early 60s. A lot of thought might go into the idea of drawing down the RRSP meaningfully over the next 10 years, and delaying taking CPP and OAS until age 70. If they do this effectively, they may be able to receive full OAS instead of getting clawed back, and in addition, they will have a smaller RRIF balance when they die and will face less tax at the end.

Even your home has important retirement income questions. We see people who received full OAS for several years, and then they sold their home and decided to rent. They now have significantly more investment assets and taxable income than they did before selling the house. Suddenly their tax rate goes up and they lose their OAS. In these cases, much more effort needs to go into tax efficient investment, and possibly gifting some assets to family or charity earlier than through the estate.

To help with issues of Retirement Income I have seen a few great Canadian web tools.

The Government of Canada has a solid tool to help manage your Government Pensions.

A website called Savvy New Canadians has a fairly detailed overview of RRSPs, TFSAs, CPP and OAS.

And my firm TriDelta Financial recently put out the 2019 Canadian Retirement Income Guide which provides further insight into how best to manage your various forms of retirement income.

Just like the game of hockey is much more complicated than simply shooting at the net, remember that your retirement income is about much more than simply an RRSP or RRIF. There are hopefully many sources of income for you, but the more sources of income, the more complex some of the tax and planning issues become.

May your biggest challenge be figuring out income sources number one to seven, and not about how to ask for funds from number eight.

Reproduced from the National Post newspaper article 4th February 2019.

Ted Rechtshaffen
Written By:
Ted Rechtshaffen, MBA, CFP
President and CEO
tedr@tridelta.ca
(416) 733-3292 x 221

Managing the Drawdown of your RRIF/RRSP

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Many of us have worked hard all of our lives to build up our retirement nest egg in our RRSP funds. We’ve been successful enough to build a RRSP nest egg in excess of $1million to see us through our retirement.

Now we are at the stage of flipping the RRSP into a RRIF and managing the drawdown of our funds, which requires a balance between CRA’s required minimum withdrawal, lifestyle needs, longevity, and tax efficiencies. Some things to consider include:

  1. You can flip your RRSP into a RRIF as early as 60 and as late as 71. Once you’ve changed it into a RRIF you must make the minimum withdrawals per CRA or face penalties. You can leave your funds as RRSPs during your early 60’s, still make withdrawals to meet your lifestyle needs, but not have to meet CRA imposed minimum standards.

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    At age 65, when you are eligible for a pension income tax credit, you may want to consider transferring a portion of your RRSP to a RRIF to take advantage of this credit.

  2. Historically we’ve been taught to leave our RRSP untouched as long as possible to maximize the benefit of the deferred tax bill. However, you are eligible for Old Age Security (OAS) payments after age 65, which are income tested.

    You might be better off to start your RRSP withdrawals in your 60’s so that when age 71 hits and you have an annual Required Minimum Distribution (RMD), you’ve reduced the total RRIF and subsequent annual RMD to the point that it is under the income threshold for OAS clawback. Alternatively, if your RMD is large enough that your OAS will be clawed back 100% for the balance of your life, you could trigger a one-time liquidation of a portion of the RRIF now, to get your RMD below the OAS clawback threshold.

    Finance professor Moshe Milevsky says Canada’s Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) rates from tax-sheltered accounts are higher than most countries, including the U.S. At age 75, Canada’s RMD is 7.85%, versus 4.37% for the U.S., 6.31% for the U.K., 6% for Australia and 3% for Ireland. Canada’s RMD is also highest at age 90: a whopping 13.62%, versus 8.77% for the U.S., 6.31% for the U.K., 11% for Australia and 3% for Ireland. (Financial Post)

    There are tax strategies that you can use to reduce the taxes on a one-time significant RRIF withdrawal.

  3. When the first spouse passes away, the RRIF/RRSP passes to the surviving spouse (assuming that is the beneficiary choice) without tax consequences. However, when the second spouse passes away the remaining RRIF/RRSP is dissolved and taxed at normal tax rates. In Ontario, the estate of an individual leaving a RRIF/RRSP greater than $509,000 to anyone other than their spouse will be subject to the maximum tax rate of 49.53%. Imagine an estate with a RRSP/RRIF of $1million – and half goes to Ottawa.

    There are tax and estate planning strategies to help manage this tax bill – either before you get to that stage or at the time of passing.

Most of us have a goal, while we are still employed, to build up our retirement nest egg to fund a comfortable lifestyle in our retirement. Once you have retired, you now need to manage the drawdown in a tax efficient manner. It’s not just a matter of calculating what your minimum RMD is each year.

If you work with a financial planner, discuss with them options you can put in place now on how to minimize your taxes and maximize the value of your estate. TriDelta Financial has expertise to assist you with tax strategies, which may save huge dollars. Contact us for a no obligation consultation.

Gail can be contacted by email at gail@tridelta.ca and by phone at (905) 399-2035.

Welcome Home!

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Are you a Canuck residing in the US, but planning to return to Canada?

We have had many inquiries recently from Canadian citizens living in the US, who are considering moving back to Canada, wanting to know their options.  There are many things to consider before returning home.

While Canada offers many wonderful things to those returning home, such as safety, great public services, freedom, being close to family, seeing old friends and a system you can trust. It is also a move back to the land of taxes, rules and regulations, rain and snow. Whatever your reasons for returning, there are many things to understand before making this move.

The biggest question is Why do you want to move back to Canada?  The answer to this involves learning about what is important to you – what you want life to offer you and what changes you are willing to make and what costs you’re likely to incur if moving to Canada is the right choice for you.

Once you have answers to the following questions, you will be able to make a more informed decision:

Where do you plan to settle in Canada. Different provinces offer different amenities, services, and taxes. Will you buy or rent. Did you know that only Canadian sources of income are considered for a Canadian mortgage.

Understand the changes to your tax situation. How will your income be taxed, do you need to file  tax returns in both Canada and the US and for how long? Understand when you are deemed a resident and the tax consequences of this. Have you done a before and after tax comparison. How will a move affect your estate plan.

Prepare your finances. Prepare a summary of Lifestyle expenses. What costs more, what costs less and determine if you can afford the move and changes. Did you know you may be able to combine US Social Security and the OAS payments. Is this the right option for you. How does this fit with your capital preservation goals.   Are assets joint for estate purposes. If you have a foreign Pension, can it be paid into a Canadian account. How will you access these funds.15882723_s

Do you have a US green card? Should you keep it and what are the implications of this.

Do you have insurance i.e. life, disability and/or long term care? If so, is it good for services in Canada, or only within the USA.

Will you keep funds outside of Canada? What are the implications of this.

Do you have pets?  Understand what is required to bring these into Canada.

Do you have a drivers Licence and vehicle? Can you  “convert” your current licence to a driver’s license in the province you will be living in. Can you bring your car with you. You can only import cars from the U.S. and only under certain conditions.

Understand Health Care in Canada. Know the rules in different provinces. There is no coverage for the first 3 months if you move to British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, or New Brunswick. Other provinces do not require a waiting period. You may need to buy 3 months of health insurance in Canada or go three months without health insurance. You assume the risk and potential costs of any health issues that come up within that time period.

Research the availability of medical services. What are the services and availability of a family doctor in the area where you want to live. Some doctors in are not taking on new patients. Some services have a 3 to 6 m delay.

Friends?  If you have made deep friendships in the U.S., you will have to make new friendships or renew old ones in Canada. The older you get the harder it is to make significant friendships. Is it worth coming back to Canada?

Quality of Life. Will your quality of life and bottom line improve by moving to Canada vs. the US. What are you are giving up. Some feel Canada is expensive, cold, and dark in the winter. Some things do cost more , such as taxes, gas and groceries, however other things may cancel that out, such as not having to pay for costly health insurance premiums and deductibles and at 65, receiving minimally costing drugs.  Only you can determine your cash flow and what makes sense for you.

As long as you have weighed your options and know what the bottom line looks like, the next step is to make the decision about returning home.

Regardless of your choice, TriDelta Financial can assist you in managing your assets on both sides of the border and connect you with a team of mortgage, tax, investment and legal specialists to assist you in making your transition smoother.

Heather can be contacted by email at heather@tridelta.ca and by phone at (416) 527-2553.

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