Golden Girl Finance
 
BDO Canada
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Career

The economics of an aging work force

February 14th, 2017 by

Not retired yet

 
 

As a member of the work force approaching 60, I often hear comments like “Aren’t you retired yet?” or “How much longer will you be working?” Somehow I’ve morphed into an oddity – a square peg still trying to fit into that round hole.

I do see the reasons why people may take offence at my employment status. Smart, highly educated young graduates struggle to find jobs. So I ask myself: “Am I, and others of my generation, holding back our youth from fulfilling careers?”

The young and jobless

Let’s look at some numbers from Statistics Canada (some percentages have been rounded).

  • In 2015 workers 55+ made up 20 per cent of the labour force compared to 14 per cent for those under 25. 
     
  • The largest group was 45 to 54 year olds at 23 per cent, followed closely by 25 to 34 year olds and 35 to 44 year olds at 22 per cent and 21 per cent respectively.
     
  • As of November 2016, for those 15-25, unemployment was at 12.9 per cent compared to the national average of 6.8 per cent.
     
  • Also as of November 2016, almost twice as many men as women remain in the workforce over age 65. 

The median age in Canada (median age being the point where there are the same number of people older than as there are younger) is rising. According to Statistics Canada, the median age in Canada in 1956 was 27.2 years. It climbed to 39.5 in 2006 and is projected to reach 46.9 by 2056. As the population ages, less people will be available for work. The baby boomers – the biggest demographic wave in the country’s history – will be starting to retire in a big way. At the same time the younger demographic will continue to shrink. Close to 70 per cent of Canada’s population has fallen into ‘working age’ (15 to 64) for at least the past 30 years. This is projected to plunge for 2016 and beyond – dropping to close to 60 per cent over the next 15-25 years. This means we have to start passing on our knowledge now.   

If you haven’t started yet

  • Plan for the future and pave the way for future generations with succession planning. Developing a succession plan can involve some tough conversations but help is available from your local tax and business advisor.
  • Don’t own your own business? You can still share your knowledge. Don’t keep secrets in an attempt to protect your job. Increased knowledge is a win/win for everyone.
  • Lead by example and don’t just tell employees how to do something – show them. Becoming a mentor can form a professional bond that helps to eliminate resentment and the impression that you and your ideas are old and no longer relatable.

Whether you’re planning to retire or continue your career in 2017, maybe it’s time to sit back and reflect on the best way to pave a better future for us all.

Contributed by Carol Kruck, CPA, CGA, Senior Accountant BDO Canada LLP, Portage la Prairie

Tax

The year-end tax break hustle

December 8th, 2016 by

Ten tax-saving strategies that will keep on giving

 
 

It’s that time of year again when December is suddenly upon us and the last day of 2016 is now very much in sight.   Even with the hustle-and-bustle that comes with this busy time, there are still some important tax-planning items to consider implementing before December 31. 

Getting started 

Our experts have shared this year’s top 10 things to do before the end of 2016.

Check out them out here to learn more.

Family

Will you get a pie in the face this Christmas?

November 18th, 2016 by

Keep more sugar in the bank with these seven tips

 
 

If you’re like me, Christmas is a time of family, friends and good food. And Christmas is never better than when you have young ones around. The delight in their faces, the excitement in their eyes and—I have to say it people—their joy of opening gifts.

I’m a grandmother of four grandsons between the ages of three and nine. So what excites me is trying to find all the toys they wish for. But when do you cross the line? When are you spoiling them with things they don’t need and/or adding to the commercialism craze? And when are you spending money you don’t have? Here’s a list of what I’ve learned from my past shopping habits.

7 ways to give more without spending more

  1. Make a list and make a budget! If you don’t, impulse buying will get you every time. Before Christmas last year I was shopping south of the border and overheard two women discussing a new game that “every kid wants”. The game was called the Pie Face game and entails trying to avoid (or for a nine year old no doubt trying to get) a whipped cream ‘pie’ in the face. Hoping to avoid the Cabbage Patch doll fiasco of 1983, I grabbed one for my oldest grandson and then had the pleasure of trying to jam it and all my other purchases into my suitcase for the flight home. 
     
  2. There are now numerous helpful apps available to help you stick to a budget. The one I found (called Gift List) lets you a) make a list of each person you want to buy for and the amount you want to spend on them, b) add in what you want to buy each person including a picture of it and where you can buy it, c) record when and where you bought it and d) provide you with an overview of days left until Christmas, amount spent and gifts left to buy. It even keeps track of this information year-to-year. It sounds like a lot of work – but really – what an excellent tool to keep you on track and a wonderful source of information going forward!
     
  3. If you’re thinking of crossing the border for some Black Friday or outlet mall shopping consider this your entertainment/vacation time. I’ve enjoyed doing this many times but probably 80 percent of what I bought was an impulse buy. Then add in the cost of two night’s hotel room and well, it’s unlikely you’ve gotten too many savings.  And with today’s exchange rates please ensure you enjoy your vacation 35 percent more!
     
  4. Consider donations in a person’s name or request donations instead of presents for yourself. Donate smart. Personally, I am tired of getting asked to donate at every single store I go into these days. It’s true that they can assemble a lot of cash towards a good cause but you’re not going to get a tax receipt. Try to make your donations count – for both yourself and the recipient. Check out our last article on this very topic here.
     
  5. Assess your situation each year. Retired recently? Maybe it’s time to cut back on your spending. I had gotten to the point where I was filling stockings for all my grandchildren plus my adult children and spending ridiculous amounts of money doing so. I was out of control. So I’ve weaned myself off this and am trying to stick to reasonable presents.  
     
  6. Don’t buy all your gifts on credit and spend the rest of the next year paying for them. Save, save, save for it and then you have a better chance of sticking to your budget. If buying presents at Christmas is important to you, start setting aside an amount each month for this purpose. 
     
  7. Christmas is what you make it. I don’t worry about what’s commercial, what’s not. I just try to enjoy it and make it enjoyable for those around me. Pass along a smile, get in touch with old friends and be smart with your money. After all, a hug is priceless.

Contributed by Carol Kruck, CPA, CGA, Senior Accountant BDO Canada LLP, Portage la Prairie

Debt

The truth behind the 'minimum monthly payment'

October 25th, 2016 by

Don't believe the hype

 
 

Have you ever considered paying just the minimum monthly payment on your credit card? To make a long story short – don’t!

Minimum monthly payments provide a false sense of security, as do the variations of the same message from the different credit card companies on the ‘time to pay’. If you check your statement, somewhere will be a note where if you make only the minimum payment each month, it will take you a certain number of months and years to pay off the balance. All this calculation does is take the balance owing and divide it by the minimum payment. The daily interest that compounds each month is not considered.

Minimum payment, minimum progress

Here's an example for you to consider:

  • Ever since receiving your credit card you have been faithfully paying the balance off monthly. However this month you’ve done some house renovations and want extra time to pay off the costs. 
  • You receive a credit card statement for $5,000. The minimum payment required is $10/month.
  • Your credit card provider charges a 20% interest rate. Their ‘time to pay’ is 41 years and 8 months.
  • The interest is calculated on a compound interest basis, meaning that any interest charges are added to the amount you originally borrowed. With 20% annual interest, that is approximately $84 per month (1.67%). 
  • Month one you would pay $10 but be charged $83 interest. Your balance outstanding then becomes $5,000 + $83 - 10 paid = $5,073. Month two the interest is calculated on $5,073 x 1.67% and so on. Your outstanding balance and interest charged will continue to grow.
  • If you paid the $10 a month for two years and then paid off the balance, your $5,000 billing would turn into the $240 being paid over 24 months followed by a final payment at the end of the two years of about $7,150. That’s $2,150 in interest over two years.
  • The longer you wait to pay off this balance – the more out of control it gets. By year five, the increasing outstanding balance accumulates approximately $150 in interest per month. At the end of the 41 years and 8 months, you would need to make a lump sum payment close to $5 million to pay off your $5,000 charge.

While this may seem unbelievable and please note that things such as credit limits and a growing minimum payment required have not been considered here, the take-away is that using your credit card as a lending agency is a bad financial decision. Holding your debt in credit cards can seriously affect your future plans. If there is a reason that you have to spend beyond your means, and sometimes there is a good reason for this, banks and other agencies can offer much better solutions in the form of such things as lines of credit or debt consolidation loans. 

If credit cards are the only answer for you

  • Focus on the one that charges the most interest and pay more than the minimum each month. Get this card paid off first.
  • Change your spending habits – spend less and pay cash for your purchases.
  • Track your spending and find areas to cut back

In closing – Good luck and don’t be afraid to seek help through a financial advisor, your bank or other resource to clear off your costly debt.

 

Contributed by Carol Kruck, CPA, CGA, Senior Accountant BDO Canada LLP, Portage la Prairie

 

Family

Getting to know the new Canada Child Benefit

September 11th, 2016 by

It's the most wonderful time of the year

 
 

July 2016 has come and gone. You may have already received your new child care benefit payment under the new rules implemented by the Liberal government. Here’s what you should know:

The new Canada Child Benefit (CCB)

  • The CCB is tax-free and replaces the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) (I’m sure you were wanting a new acronym in your life, weren’t you?)
     
  • Families can receive up to $6400 per child under age six and $5400 per child aged six through 17 years.
     
  • This benefit is tied to your family household income.
     
  • Once your family income is over $30,000, the CCB starts being reduced.
     
  • Families with household incomes of about $175,000 and over will not receive this benefit.
     
  • Your entitlement to CCB is based on the tax return that your family filed for the 2015 year.
     
  • You must file your tax return to receive this tax-free benefit.
     
  • Not sure how much you will receive or if the amount you received is right? Check out this calculator from the CRA website.

Now, the much more difficult question arises: what will you do with this possibly extra cash inflow in to your household? Pay off debt, add to your child’s RESP, create an emergency fund? These are all great ideas to take advantage of excess cash in your pocket. Spend wisely!