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Should I Sell my Cottage and Rent Instead?

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Benefits of Renting instead of Owning Cottage Ever wondered if you should hang on to your cottage or sell it? What are the benefits of renting a cottage instead of owning it?

A cottage brings great joy to many people, but along with the joy can be a fair bit of grief. The more clients we talk to, the more we hear people complaining about the upkeep and the cost, and the family squabbles. There must be a better way. Today, there is a way to have your cake and eat it too. Simply type in “cottage rentals” in Google, and you can see thousands of cottages in minutes.

So here now are 5 reasons why we think you should consider selling your cottage and renting:

1. Avoid big tax bills at death. This is one of the biggest estate planning problems. The family cottage was bought for $40,000, 40 years ago. Today it is worth $600,000. The older parents want to keep it in the family and pass it to their 3 children. When the second parent passes, there is a tax bill of $135,000. Only 2 children want to keep the cottage. Only one of the kids has the money available to pay the tax bill. Lots of headaches (although proper insurance planning can help).

2. Avoid big family conflict. Examples abound in terms of one child’s family using the cottage much more than another, and creating conflict. One family looks after the cottage well, while the other leaves everything a mess.

3. Avoid all that work by just renting for 2 or 3 weeks. A window needs replacing, and the deck needs new wood- owning a cottage can be hard work, not to mention expensive (and we haven’t even talked about property taxes!) Instead- rent a cottage and there is no fixing, few worries.

4. By renting, you can easily get the right cottage each summer for your stage of life. The right cottage for a young family is different than for a family with teenagers, which is different than the right cottage for a retired couple.

5. Feel free to see the rest of the country or the rest of the world during the summer. What if you weren’t tied to the cottage? You could take a summer vacation anywhere in the world, whether at a cottage or in the city. You could even use the extra wealth from the sale of your cottage to fund this.

We are not suggesting that selling the cottage is the right decision for everyone, but when you look at the list above, it certainly makes you think. To understand if this is the right option for now, why not try out our “Creation of True Wealth” Questionnaire? It helps you understand what “wealthy” means to you, not in a financial, but philosophical sense. This can help you decide if owning a cottage is part of that equation or not.

The RSP: Minimize Your Biggest Future Tax Bill

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In the future, your biggest tax bill will be your RSP taxes.

We all know of the benefits of tax refunds and tax-free growth for RSP, but what happens after you retire?

Here is how the RSP taxation works:

• Your RSP grows tax-sheltered until you draw out money. Any money you withdraw each year is considered “yearly taxable income” for tax purposes.

•If you wait to withdraw your money, the year you turn 72, your RSP turns into an RIF, which means that the government mandates you must withdraw at least 7.48% each year and pay tax on it. If you are married and you pass away, the RSP/RIF will simply transfer over to your spouse.

• The year the surviving spouse passes away, the entire value of the RSP/RIF is considered one year’s taxable income. If you have a $500,000 RIF left at that point, the government will take $212,000 in taxes!! This is often shocking to the estate.

A few tips to help you avoid your biggest future tax bill

How do you avoid this huge tax hit?

1. Don’t save so much in your RSP in the first place. Unless you are in the top tax bracket (and enjoying the maximum RSP refunds), saving too much now can lead to a massive tax hit at the end. In low income years, put less or nothing into your RSP.

2. Draw more money out while you are alive to enjoy it. From a pure financial perspective, you want to draw out registered money in years when it can be done at a lower tax rate – those years when you have very little other income. From a philosophical point of view, you want to draw out the funds when you are still able to enjoy it.

3. You can use strategies like the RSP meltdown to effectively draw out more money from your RSP by creating a tax deduction equal to the amount withdrawn. This strategy can be quite effective for many people, but does require some leveraged investing, and you might require professional advice.

The main message here is that you need to have a long-term tax minimization strategy, instead of simply saving up RSP funds.

One quick and free tool is the The Tridelta Retirement 100, which helps you see your likelihood of running out of money, your likely estate size and lifetime tax bill. By playing with RSP numbers, you can see the impact yourself.

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