What to consider before transferring RRSP money to a company pension plan + MORE Jun 8th

How to go about securing the best Retirement Plan in Canada.
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Should you buy back pension service from your employer? Jun 22nd

While defined benefit (DB) pensions are the Cadillac of retirement plans, they also entail a unique set of decisions. Buybacks are one of them. There are a few ways to build up the value of your DB pension: by working to accumulate years of “pensionable service,” of course; by transferring servi.... More »

Should Kathy take monthly payments or the commuted value of her pension? + MORE Jun 15th

Q. I am torn about making a key financial decision in my life. First, a little about myself. I worked for about seven years (actually, six years and 360 days) as a teacher in the Arctic. I resigned this year and have returned to the “south.” Now, I have about a year to decide whether I cash out .... More »

TFSA vs RRSP: How to decide between the two Jun 29th

One of the most common questions out there is whether to invest in a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) or a tax-free savings account (TFSA). Both will help you save, and save on taxes, but each works in different ways. Understanding these investments will help you know when to use one or the.... More »

DIY investing for busy people—the portfolio management tool you didn’t know you needed + MORE Jul 13th

If you’ve been on the fence about managing a self-directed brokerage account because you think DIY investing is too much of a time commitment, think again. While DIY investing certainly can be an all-consuming “hobby” filled with spreadsheets, calculations and trade activity, it doesn’t have.... More »
Q. My husband and I married recently, and we have lived together in a rental apartment since we got engaged and married. He has a condo, which he purchased seven years ago, but he has not lived there for the past three years. I’ve never lived in that condo and he didn’t use the Home Buyers’ Plan to purchase it. If we were to purchase a property together, to live in as our matrimonial home:

Am I eligible to use first-time homebuyer programs? How about my husband?
If I am eligible, but my husband is not, can I buy a joint property and I still use first-time homebuyer benefits?

–Meredith
A. There are a few first-time home buyer incentives from the federal and provincial governments. The Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) allows a withdrawal of up to $35,000 from your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to use towards the purchase of a qualifying home. Both spouses can utilize the $35,000 limit if they qualify.
And to qualify, you must be a first-time home buyer, meaning you did not occupy a home that you or your spouse owned in the four years prior to buying a home…

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Q. A few years ago, I joined a public sector employer with a hybrid defined-benefit, minimum-guarantee pension plan that will allow me to move RRSP contributions made elsewhere, into the employer’s plan.
I have been told that the transferred money would have to remain locked-in until I retire or leave the organization. The total value of the pension plan, including the contribution of employees, employer and returns, is around $2 billion.
Recently, I compared the last 10 years of performance of my RRSP investments with my employer’s DB pension returns, and I noticed the DB pension plan would have offered around 36% more accumulated growth on the original starting capital.
I have 10 to 12 years until retirement and I am seriously considering having my RRSP money transferred to the pension plan. Should I be taking anything else into consideration before making this decision?
–Jaspal
A. Jaspal, great that you are paying attention to your investments and doing a double-check before making a big change…

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