Maximizing spousal RRSP contributions in your 70s + MORE Mar 23rd

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“Where do we pay income tax if we retire abroad?” Apr 27th

Q. We’re thinking about moving to Mexico full-time when we retire. Where would we pay income tax on our monthly Canadian pensions? –Marianna A. Many Canadians dream of a retirement that includes travel abroad. Some even move abroad part of the year, most of the year, or give up their Canadian r.... More »
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Skipping the starter home for the next size up? Be financially savvy about it May 4th

Taking on too big a debt load can leave first-time buyers house poor, unprepared for retirement and stressed by ordinary purchases for things like car repairs and vacations, Lesley-Anne Scorgie writes..... More »

Marriage or mortgage: Which is the better investment? Mar 30th

Weddings can be expensive, but so can many of the things that come after a wedding—like a home purchase, starting a family and saving for retirement. And so money is an important relationship issue even before a couple ties the knot.  Both weddings and home purchases can both cause people to thin.... More »

How much real estate should you have in a balanced portfolio? May 11th

When investors talk about income-producing assets, the first that come to mind are dividends and interest, with capital gains a close third. But what about investment real estate? If you hold an asset allocation ETF, it will be chock full of stocks and bonds but offer little real estate exposure apa.... More »
Q. My wife will turn 71 in 2022. She has three spousal RRSPs that we will arrange to mature on the same day: Feb. 8, 2022. On that day, we will convert all the RRSPs into a RRIF.
Between now and then, I wish to take full advantage of my ability to continue making contributions to spousal RRSPs. I am 71, and still earn a modest income (less than $10,000 a year) from a government board appointment.
Question 1: Would it be possible for me to make a spousal contribution on, say, Feb. 8, 2022, and convert to a RRIF on Feb. 9, 2022?
Question 2: Although my RRSP room is based on the previous year’s income, I will know in February 2022 what my 2021 earnings were, even though my contribution room will not have been adjusted by that date. Can I make a contribution based on what I know what my earnings were in 2021 (that is, 18% of $10,000), even though my “room” does not include them?
–Don
A. There is a lot to unpack here, Don, so I will start by answering your two questions briefly, and then elaborating…

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Life insurance can be a necessity for ensuring your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone. It can help them pay for funeral expenses, the costs of everyday living and much more. But one of life insurance’s main advantages is that it can pay off outstanding debts, including a mortgage. So, life insurance vs. mortgage insurance? Which is better?
How do mortgages work?
First, a mortgage is the debt you owe when you can’t pay the full price of a home or other property—it’s the difference between what you offer as a down payment and the purchase price. Usually, lending institutions advance the difference to the seller, who then receives the full sale price upon closing of the deal. Then you sit down with the lender to work out your repayment terms. 
What is life insurance?
An individually owned life insurance policy provides tax-free money following the death of the insured. It can be used to pay off your mortgage, either in whole or in part. 
“Life insurance may completely pay off this obligation if the borrower passes away while there’s still an outstanding balance,” says Peter Wouters, director of tax, retirement and estate planning services at Empire Life Insurance Company in Burlington, Ont…

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A MoneySense reader writes:
If a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) is left to a named beneficiary, will the beneficiary have to pay income taxes on the RRIF amount?
I read in an earlier MoneySense article that all the taxes on the RRIF would be included on the deceased’s final income tax return. Does that mean the estate, and not the beneficiary, pays the income tax on the amount in the RRIF? 
FPAC responds:
The consequences of taxes and beneficiary designations on registered accounts like RRIFs can be confusing. Throw in questions about probate and they become even more so. Sometimes this confusion results in estate goals not being carried out as intended.
Let’s illustrate using some examples of Josie, her husband, Manwar, and her brother Noah. Josie has $100,000 in her RRIF and has recently passed away. 
Scenario 1
Josie lists her husband, Manwar, as the direct beneficiary on her RRIF contract. What happens upon Josie’s death? (For the purposes of this illustration, we did not distinguish between designating your spouse or common-law partner as a beneficiary versus a successor annuitant, although both can accomplish the same objective of a tax-free rollover of your RRIF…

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