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Tax Season: Tax Free Savings Accounts and RRSPs
Finance and Romance: Tips on Successfully Managing Both


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The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.

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# Sunday, February 28, 2010
Sunday, February 28, 2010 6:11:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00) ( General Life )
Once again, tax season for Canadians is drawing near. As the past 12 months have been financially challenging for most people, choosing the right financial tax options are especially important this year. The deadline for getting a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is coming up; many people now have to decide whether or not an RRSP is the right choice for them.

Canadians can now choose between a RRSP and a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA). Each option offers its own advantages, as well as disadvantages. Having detailed knowledge about both choices is vital for making the best financial decision for your situation. As financial situations can fluctuate, what was the best choice last year may no longer be the best choice for this year; don’t simply rely on what has worked in the past.

The TSFA has become a popular financial planning tool since it was introduced. The TFSA is being recommended for those who make forty thousand a year and under; at this income rate there won't be very much saved on taxes. As well, there is a possibility of being penalized later on when a large amount is withdrawn from this retirement savings. The TFSA does not penalize any withdrawals at any time, making the money much easier to access if it is needed. The government declares how much can be withdrawn from a RRSP; these withdrawals are then considered income; money withdrawn from a TSFA is not.

When making under forty thousand the TFSA is considered the better savings plan; however when the yearly income grows past this point, this money can be withdrawn and then invested into a RRSP. Conversely, for those making the higher income now with the understanding of making significantly less in the retirement years, the RRSP can be the better savings tool then; it can later be withdrawn and then deposited into a TFSA.

It is important to remember that a healthy financial plan includes the fact that your planning must be flexible in order to accommodate the financial fluctuations that occur. Different financial savings products do become available; research your options every year to find out what is now available that would be beneficial for you. As well, during different stages of life, a different financial plan and budgeting will be needed. Such things as buying a home, starting a family, etc. can all have a major impact on our finances, as well as our financial savings strategy. Consult with a financial advisor or another professional who is educated and well versed in the financial field.

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# Saturday, February 20, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010 7:11:07 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00) ( General Life )
While some people view Valentine's Day as a day that focuses on love and romance, others may view Valentine's as nothing more than a time to make money by companies trying to cash in on 'yet another holiday'. Regardless of what your personal views about Valentine's are, it does seem that a 'successful' Valentine’s does seem to correlate with the amount of money spent. Some people want to have that 'one special night' that can easily run up a huge bill.

Spending a large sum of money on Valentine;s might also not fit in with the couple's yearly budget as. For couples who are planning to buy home, a car, etc. or planning their wedding, financial obligations may mean cutting back on other expenses. Many Canadians also have student loans that have now become payable as well. So while the romantic side of a person may be to spend the extra money and 'go the extra mile', i.e. buying a larger diamond ring that really isn't financial feasible. The more financially responsible thing to do may be to buy a'‘nice, but not extravagant' ring and use any extra savings towards the wedding, honeymoon, purchase of a home, car, etc.

While openly and honestly discussing finances may not be considered very romantic, it can be more beneficial in the long term. It is also important to realize that the larger diamond companies are at their high point in the advertising season; for them this is the number one season for the high sales items. The same also rings true with other expensive items such as cruises, honeymoon getaway packages, etc. This means that for approximately a month before Valentine's Day, the media will be bombarded with advertisements and commercials regarding all the romantic things to do and buy, as well as spending money to impress the other person. But it is also important to understand what each other considers to be a necessity and what is considered a luxury. For some it may be more important to save for a down payment for a home, for some it will be getting out of debt as quickly as possible, and for some others as well, it may be buying a new car or going on an expensive vacation.

Having a successful financial plan may be a little tricky and some hard work, but it doesn’t have to take the romance out of the relationship. By both people taking an equal share in the financial planning, both parties have an equal stake in the couple’s financial health. This can be a great opportunity in making the future plans meet realization, and therefore can actually be a positive bonding experience for both.

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