Golden Girl Finance
Standard Life Canada
Posts (7)


5 ways to relieve your tax aches next year

July 8th, 2014 by

The most important trick to ease your taxes next year is...


Tax season is over… which means tax planning season has just begun. There are certainly tricks to easing those formidable tax aches - the most effective and important of which is to start planning for next year... RIGHT NOW.

We know what you’re thinking: Why didn’t I know about this last year?!

Well, it’s never too late! To help you get closer to tax ease, Karine Précourt, Eastern Regional Director of Retail Tax and Estate Planning for Standard Life, has some tips to keep at the forefront of your mind this tax planning season. Let’s take a look...

Tax tips to keep in mind (and keep you at ease)

  1. Contribute to an RRSP to reduce and defer taxes. If you happen to contribute to a spousal RRSP, position yourself to split income in the future. Contributing to an RRSP early leads to higher returns in the long-term. Learn more from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) here.
  2. Contribute the maximum allowable amount to a TFSA. Your TFSA deposits and returns grow tax-free. You can transfer funds to a spouse so they can contribute to their own TFSA as well. As a couple, you can double your tax savings and, within a few years, build up a considerable tax-free nest egg (second honeymoon, anyone?). Learn more from the CRA here.
  3. Invest non-registered savings into “corporate class” funds. You can receive tax-efficient capital gains or Canadian dividends. Further, you can defer taxes on inter-fund transfers until you sell your assets. Speak to your advisor to find out how.
  4. Did you buy your first home? Benefit from a federal non-refundable tax credit if you’re a first-time home buyer in 2014, and you’ve been a non-owner tenant since 2010 (those who took advantage last year enjoyed a $750 credit). Learn more from the CRA here.
  5. Stay single even if you're in a relationship. If you get into a relationship in 2014 and both of you have a child, you can file as single this year and each claim the full amount for one eligible dependant on your federal tax return (in 2013 this amount was $11,038 per taxpayer). Learn more from the CRA here.  

Need some help?

For more information about any of these tips, talk to a tax expert. For more about Standard Life for individual investors, visit


How to access portfolio growth in uncertain times

May 2nd, 2014 by

Consider a global outlook - with global dividends...


Unfortunately, no one can predict the future – otherwise we’d all be rich. Uncertainty in market fluctuations seems almost inevitable for investors.

Dividends create confidence

Dividends are profits that companies pay out to shareholders. They are attractive to investors because dividends show signs of a company’s confidence in their future growth. Historically (from 1986 to 2011) dividend-paying companies have shown less volatility and higher returns than companies who choose to retain profits and not pay them out to shareholders.

In recent years, we have seen income portfolio managers show an interest in companies that have growing dividends. Increasing dividends are attractive to investors because they provide a growing rate of income over time along with potential for capital appreciation as the company grows. Investors like to watch their original investment grow and receive an income payout (in the form of dividends) at the same time. 

Global dividends create opportunities

Investing globally gives portfolio managers access to growth in a wide range of sectors and regions around the world. This is something especially important to Canadian investors because in the past Canada’s economic performance has been primarily dominated by three sectors: financials, materials and energy. One solution to Canada’s limited investment options is to offer investors more variety through geographic diversification.

Investing in global dividends gives Canadian investors access to a larger range of investment sectors and locations which can offer investors a smoother ride if there were downswings in some markets offset by upswings in others.

Preparing and planning for change

As for predicting the future, the only thing we can be certain of is that market situations will change. Portfolio managers can invest in global companies that deliver good returns for investors by relying on an in-depth, fundamental dividend stock selection. In turn, this will also help investors be more resilient to market fluctuations by investing in global dividends.


This document is intended for general information only. It should not be construed as legal, accounting, tax or specific investment advice. Clients should consult a professional advisor concerning their situations and any specific investment matters. While reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that this information was accurate as of the date hereof, Standard Life Financial Inc. and its affiliates make no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of this information and assume no responsibility for reliance upon it.


Your RRSP starting point: Retirement savings options explained

January 31st, 2012 by

How to make choices that make sense to you


It’s completely understandable if your eyes glaze over at the thought of sifting through all the available information on what to put in your RRSP: there is a lot of information out there. Even though RRSPs themselves are a pretty stable product – they’ve been doing what they were designed to do since their introduction in 1957 – the amount of choice and options multiplies every year.

The answer to the information overload is to arm yourself with the basics, give some thought as to what your goals are, and then ask as many questions as you can. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a product that’s right for you. To find it, you’re going to have to start with the most basic evaluation – where are you in your savings timeline, and what do you want your retirement plan to accomplish? With this in mind, your advisor can help you through the next step, which involves deciding what type or types of product to hold in your RRSP.

Beyond the savings accounts and GICs offered by your bank, there are plenty of options to consider.

Guaranteed Funds

Secure and predictable, guaranteed funds are available in different forms from banks, governments and insurance companies. Each supplier has their own name, and each product has its own features, but the bottom line is that guaranteed funds provide a safe place to put your money when markets are volatile.

Mutual Funds

These pool your money together with money from other people and invest it into a collection of stocks, bonds and other investments as defined by each fund’s objective. Pooling your money leads to a number of advantages:

  • Diversification: These funds can invest in many more securities than you could on your own. By holding many investments at once, there’s a good chance that while some will fall in value, others will rise and smooth out the fund’s performance. Diversification can lessen the risk that your investments will lose value.

  • Professional management: The assets of a fund are managed by a professional investment manager that invests them on behalf of all the investors. While you likely couldn’t afford this kind of expertise on your own, it comes with the territory when you purchase a mutual fund.

  • Growth potential: This is what it’s all about, isn’t it? Diversifying your investments and using a professional manager may help you to achieve better long-term investment growth than you could achieve on your own.

Segregated Funds

Like mutual funds, segregated funds give you access to a collection of stocks, bonds and other investments, and you get the same benefits of diversification, professional management, and growth potential. What makes segregated funds different is that they’re offered through an insurance contract. They can only be sold by insurance companies. They offer you death and maturity guarantees that mutual funds do not.

For example, all segregated funds have a set “maturity date.” If you keep them until that date, a maturity benefit guarantee dictates that you’ll receive back the greater of a percentage of your investment (75% or 100%, depending on the product you choose) and the market value. These guarantees can minimize your exposure to market downturns and potential for losses. There are even segregated funds that can guarantee your retirement income will last as long as you need it.* And, of course, with guarantees come higher management fees.

Find the answers you need

An advisor can help you sift through your goals and attitudes and pinpoint your investor profile. You’ll need to consider:

  • Are you an aggressive investor? Or reluctant to take on risk?

  • Are you interested in taking an active role in managing your investments, or are you happier to rely on experts?

From there, there will be even more choices to make, including the specific funds you want to choose.

Don’t hold back on the questions – keep searching until you get the answers that satisfy you.

Standard Life offers a wide range of products to hold in your RRSP. To learn more, ask your advisor or visit


* Subject to certain conditions.

To learn more consult the Information Folder for Ideal Segregated Funds or the Simplified Prospectus for Mutual Funds. Subject to any applicable guarantees, any part of the premium or other amount allocated to an Ideal Segregated Fund is invested at the risk of the contractholder and may increase or decrease in value. Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.

The Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada, February 2012.

Standard Life Mutual Funds Ltd., February 2012.

The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as advice.


The benefits of segregated funds at each stage of your life

January 10th, 2012 by

Specialized products can help meet your retirement goals - whether you're saving for retirement, approaching it...or already there


Financial headlines are pretty mixed these days – a particularly frightening prospect for people starting to think about, or even about to enter, retirement. The bad news? Canadians fear that they aren’t saving enough to retire, and that they will spend beyond their means when they do retire. The good news? With so many people in the same boat, companies are stepping up to the plate with products designed to help people meet their goals and retire in financial comfort.

Standard Life is one such company. It’s enhanced Ideal Segregated Funds – Signature Series offers death and maturity guarantees*, flexibility, growth opportunities, even a guaranteed lifetime income. In short, all the features you need to help prepare for comfortable retirement years.

Inflation, longevity and volatile markets are challenges that people face today when planning for their retirement. Since Canadians are living longer lives, they need to save more money to last their lifetime. Ideal Segregated Funds – Signature Series can help Canadians meet these challenges with optimism and confidence.

Tailor a financial solution that’s right for you

Ideal Segregated Funds – Signature Series is remarkably flexible, meaning you can customize it to reflect your life stage and needs. The product is made up of three individual series: Ideal 75/100, Ideal 100/100 and Ideal Income Series. Some key benefits to consider:

  • The series have different death and maturity guarantee levels that can protect all or part of your initial investment or even, in the case of Ideal Income Series, deliver a guaranteed retirement income for life*.

  • Your advisor can help you pick the series or combination of series that works best for you.

  • Within each series, you can also pick funds and portfolios that reflect your investment style and goals*. (Not all funds are available in all series)

  • And you can combine series to achieve different goals – Ideal 75/100 and Ideal 100/100 Series offer the potential to grow your savings, while maintaining flexibility to take out money at any time.

  • The Ideal Income Series also offers growth potential – and includes things like a 5% bonus** that is credited to your guaranteed income base for every year you don’t withdraw money*. This means your savings can grow even if markets are performing poorly, and you can end up with an increased retirement income that is guaranteed for your lifetime and that of your spouse’s if you choose joint life coverage.

Finally, Ideal Segregated Funds – Signature Series is offered by an insurance company. (In fact, it’s actually an insurance contract.) This means that it offers death and maturity guarantees and features not typically offered by mutual funds. These include the guarantees that can protect your initial investment at death and maturity, and may also include estate planning advantages, or even creditor protection*.

Making the process easier

Saving for retirement is definitely a challenge and choosing products that make sense in today’s financial environment can be a daunting task. Companies like Standard Life want to help make the process easier by designing products to help people meet their retirement goals.

Find out more

You can learn more about retirement challenges – and how Ideal Segregated Funds – Signature Series can help solve them, at


* Subject to certain conditions. Please read information folder for complete details.

** The bonus is calculated on a pro-rated basis in the series’ first year.

Ideal 75/100 Series, Ideal 100/100 Series and Ideal Income Series are offered on our Ideal Segregated Funds – Signature Series contract, which is an insurance product. A description of the key features and the terms and conditions of Standard Life’s Ideal Segregated Funds – Signature Series is contained in the Information Folder and Contract. Please refer to the section on Resets for more information on the rules governing this feature. The information has been simplified for the purposes of this document and, if there are any inconsistencies between the information presented in this document and the Information Folder and Contract, the Information Folder and Contract will prevail. Subject to any applicable guarantees, any part of the premium or other amount allocated to an Ideal Segregated Fund is invested at the risk of the contractholder and may increase or decrease in value according to fluctuations in the market value of the assets of the Ideal Segregated Fund.

The Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada, February 2012.

The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as advice.


A new style of diversification

January 1st, 2012 by

Why diversifying by portfolio manager investment style makes sense


Everyone has heard the expression “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. The same applies to building an investment portfolio. By diversifying amongst different asset classes such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and commodities, you can spread out and reduce your overall risk.

Another important, but sometimes overlooked technique is to diversify by portfolio manager investment style. As such, Standard Life Mutual Funds Ltd. has recently added two new portfolio managers to complement the style of their principal manager, Standard Life Investments Inc.

Three value-style funds

Value-style fund management focuses on investments that are believed to be undervalued by the current market.

Now available:

  • Standard Life Canadian Equity Value Fund

  • Standard Life U.S. Equity Value Fund

  • Standard Life Global Equity Value Fund

These funds focus primarily on quality companies with stable, growing businesses and strong balance sheets. The value investing approach should result in funds that perform defensively in volatile markets, while capturing a significant portion of the market’s upside.

Standard Life Mutual Funds Ltd. has designated Beutel Goodman & Company Ltd. as portfolio manager of these funds. Serving investors since 1967, they specialize in applying a value approach to the management of domestic and global equity, balanced and fixed income mandates. They manage over $20 billion for institutional and individual investors.

A GARP–style fund

The GARP (Growth at a Reasonable Price) strategy is a combination of value and growth investing. While value managers search for stocks that are undervalued, GARP managers look for companies that are undervalued and have solid sustainable growth potential.

GARP–style fund now available:

  • Standard Life Canadian Equity Growth Fund focuses on companies using fundamental analysis to evaluate growth potential, financial condition and management. It invests in those securities which have the potential for long-term capital growth that can be obtained at a reasonable price.

Guardian Capital LP manages this fund for Standard Life Mutual Funds Ltd. using its GARP approach. Servicing investors since 1962, Guardian manages $15.1 billion for both institutional and retail clients with the confidence that comes from a highly disciplined investment process and a constant awareness of risk and fiduciary responsibility.

Our core offering

These new funds and managers were carefully selected to ensure they complement our core offering, which is managed by Standard Life Investments, an affiliated company and premier asset manager with an expanding global reach.

Standard Life Investments’ wide range of investment solutions is backed by its distinctive ‘Focus on Change’ investment philosophy, disciplined risk management and shared commitment to a culture of investment excellence.

Now available:

  • Standard Life Tactical Income Fund – Focuses on generating income, with the potential for long term capital growth, by actively adjusting the portfolio’s asset allocation among various fixed income and equity asset classes in keeping with the market outlook.

Add a little style to the mix

With all these options, it makes sense to find out more. Talk to your advisor about the ‘new style’ of diversifying your portfolio.


Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. The information has been simplified for the purposes of this document and, if there are any inconsistencies between the information presented in this document and the Prospectus, the latter will prevail.

Standard Life Mutual Funds Ltd., February 2012.

The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as advice.