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93 Posts
If you think child support doesn't apply to stepchildren, think again

Monthly child support payments from one parent to the other are one of the most common outcomes of a separation. As time goes by, separated parents often re-partner, and step-parent relationships can become part of the matrix of a blended family. But what happens if the parents in the blended family separate? Is a step-parent required to pay child support for a stepchild? In some cases, the answer is yes.

That was the outcome of a recent twelve-day trial before Justice Dale Fitzpatrick of

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If you think child support doesn't apply to stepchildren, think again
How to navigate the financial strain of a divorce
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How to navigate the financial strain of a divorce
Here's how to accelerate your retirement timeline, without taking on too much risk

According to Statistics Canada, the average retirement age for Canadians in 2021 was 64.4 years old. Retirement has been delayed by almost three years since 2001, when the average was just 61.5 years of age. For some, those extra few years of work can seem like an eternity.

There are, however, strategies that those who are approaching retirement can consider to shave time off their financial independence date so they can afford to retire earlier.

For this exercise, we will

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Here's how to accelerate your retirement timeline, without taking on too much risk
Billionaire Michael Lee-Chin shares his secrets on wealth creation and where he’s investing next

In October 1998, the stock market was crashing, but the portfolio managers at Burlington, Ont.-based AIC Ltd. were on the road as planned, travelling across Canada to convince clients that the funds they offered remained good investments, even though some of them had lost half their value.

In the car, the managers clung to their briefcases, looking glum. It had been a remarkable run. They had ridden the wave of the booming wealth management industry so well that they had increased the value

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Billionaire Michael Lee-Chin shares his secrets on wealth creation and where he’s investing next
This Ontario woman wants to buy back into the housing market for retirement, but is renting the better way to go?

A woman we’ll call Margaret, 60, works in Ontario in high-tech manufacturing. She earns $169,716 per year and takes home $9,713 per month after tax. She wants to retire no later than age 65 if she can attain sufficient income and financial security.

Margaret sold her three-bedroom condo last year and got $310,000 net as a way of downsizing. She currently rents. She would like to get back to ownership with an 800-square-foot condo that, she figures, will cost her $750,000. But that purchase

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This Ontario woman wants to buy back into the housing market for retirement, but is renting the better way to go?
FP Answers: How should I invest the $260,000 my father left me in his will?

By Julie Cazzin with Brenda Hiscock

Q: I’m 52 years old, married and have a 12-year-old daughter. Our gross household income is $130,000, and I have a $220,000 mortgage at about four per cent. We have not contributed to our registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) in 15 years and have not started tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs). We only have savings of about $40,000 for emergencies and it’s sitting in a bank savings account in cash, as well as a registered

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FP Answers: How should I invest the $260,000 my father left me in his will?
CRA rules on whether two workplace perks are taxable employee benefits or not

Employees are taxable on their salaries, bonuses and any other type of direct compensation they may receive, but they could also end up paying tax on various non-cash employment benefits or perquisites.

Under the Income Tax Act, employees must include in their income the value of any benefits of any kind received by the employee “in respect of, in the course of, or by virtue of his or her employment.” In determining whether an employee must include the value of a benefit

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CRA rules on whether two workplace perks are taxable employee benefits or not
Thinking of having kids? Get ready for some sticker shock when calculating the cost
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Thinking of having kids? Get ready for some sticker shock when calculating the cost
This couple wants to retire early in their home country. Can they take their Canadian benefits with them?

A couple we’ll call Peter, 41, and Charlotte, 39, live in Ontario with their two-year-old child, Morgan. They bring home $11,200 per month from their jobs, his in corporate development, hers in strategic planning. They have a $2.3 million house, $50,000 in raw land, $65,000 in RRSPs, $20,000 in TFSAs, $25,000 in taxable securities, $37,500 in gold and a $12,000 car. It adds up to $2,509,500. Take off their $820,000 home mortgage and their net worth is about $1.7 million — a very respectable sum.

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This couple wants to retire early in their home country. Can they take their Canadian benefits with them?
FP Answers: How do I get good financial advice so I don’t waste my money?

By Julie Cazzin with Allan Norman

Q: I paid a fee-based planner for some financial advice, but they didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. I feel like it was a waste of money. Am I missing something? — Caitlin in Penticton, B.C.

FP Answers: Caitlin, hopefully you said something to your planner — for both your sakes. Your question got me thinking. In future, what is the one thing you can do to feel like

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FP Answers: How do I get good financial advice so I don’t waste my money?
Cash may be king, but it can cause headaches if the taxman denies your claims

It’s often said that cash is king, but it may not always be the best method of payment when it comes to dealing with the taxman, who may ask you some tough questions to justify tax-deductible expenses or, on the flip side, demonstrate you earned a minimum amount of qualifying income to take advantage of various benefits or credits.

For example, there’s been a slew of recent cases dealing with taxpayers’ eligibility for COVID-19-related benefits, such as the Canada Emergency

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Cash may be king, but it can cause headaches if the taxman denies your claims
How to afford a vacation when money is tight and costs are rising

Many people are getting the urge to travel again as countries reopen and relax their COVID-19 restrictions. Even if travelling wasn’t something you did before the pandemic, two years at home is more than enough time to give anyone the travel bug.

But before you spend hours surfing travel websites and researching where you want to go, review your finances. It may feel less spontaneous than simply booking a last-minute special, but ensuring you can afford to fit your dreams into your budget

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How to afford a vacation when money is tight and costs are rising
This Ontario couple needs to ditch the real estate and boost cash flow to retire at 55

A couple we’ll call Martin, 52, and Sherry, 55, live in southern Ontario. Both government employees, they earn $11,780 per month from their jobs before tax, and have defined benefit pensions to look forward to.

Their question: Can they retire three years from now when Martin is 55 with $8,000 per month after tax?

Family Finance asked Eliott Einarson, head of the Winnipeg office of Ottawa-based Exponent Investment Management Inc., to work with Martin and Sherry. Einarson says

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This Ontario couple needs to ditch the real estate and boost cash flow to retire at 55
FP Answers: What is a 'letter of wishes' and how does it help achieve my estate planning goals?

By Julie Cazzin with John DeGoey

Q: I was discussing updating my will with friends and a couple of them have included a letter of wishes with their wills. They say it will help preserve wealth and clarify details for executors and beneficiaries. Do I need one and, if so, why? — Thanks, Monica

FP Answers: Monica, most people know it is prudent to have powers of attorney (POA) in place for both property and personal

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FP Answers: What is a 'letter of wishes' and how does it help achieve my estate planning goals?
The case of the taxpayer who was dinged with a taxable benefit for taking a business trip

Your employer sends you on a business trip. It happens to be to Cancun, Mexico. You give a presentation, schmooze with clients who sell your products and attend a variety of social activities, including a catamaran cruise. Years later, you get hit with a taxable employment benefit because you went on that business trip.

If that result seems ludicrous, you may be interested in a recent decision by the Court of Quebec, after a BMO Insurance employee was assessed a taxable employment

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The case of the taxpayer who was dinged with a taxable benefit for taking a business trip
Three keys in developing the confidence to handle your personal finance needs

You may feel as though your world has been pulled out from beneath your feet when life changes unexpectedly, whether through the loss of a loved one, a torn marriage, dissolving the family business or an unforeseen illness. Over the past 25 years as an investment adviser, I’ve become a safety net for many professionals when helping a family or individual through difficult times.

Working with women in varying circumstances, from a stay-at-home mother of two, whose high school sweetheart never

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Three keys in developing the confidence to handle your personal finance needs
Can this Alberta couple's six rental condos support their big travel plans in retirement?

A couple we’ll call Frank, 58, and his wife, Kerry, 54, live in Alberta. They have four children, all married and with families of their own. Frank is an administrator in the provincial government, Kerry a part-time shipping manager. Rental income supplements their salaries.

Frank and Kerry would like to retire within five years and maybe in as soon as a year, and visit perhaps 25 countries in the following 15 years, take five cruises at a cost of $12,000 per cruise over that span, then

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Can this Alberta couple's six rental condos support their big travel plans in retirement?
If you thought the CRA wouldn't follow up on improperly claimed CERB and other benefits, think again

This week, the Canada Revenue Agency began sending out Notices of Redetermination, advising some Canadians who may have received COVID benefit payments for which they may have not qualified, of debts that have been established on their CRA accounts. This follows the Notices of Debt that Employment and Social Development Canada began sending out in November 2021 to various benefit recipients who received an advance payment of $2,000 of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) in 2020.

You’ll

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If you thought the CRA wouldn't follow up on improperly claimed CERB and other benefits, think again
Canadians are clinging to cash as a savings strategy during the pandemic: RBC

The pandemic has not spelled the death of cash as many suspected it would. In fact, demand for hard currencies as a savings vehicle has gone in the opposite direction as demand reached its highest level in 60 years.

Cash withdrawals surged at the onset of the pandemic as circulating notes increased twice as much as expected in 2020 and remained elevated in the following year, according to an April 14 Bank of Canada report.

The Royal Bank of Canada

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Canadians are clinging to cash as a savings strategy during the pandemic: RBC
Fly snowbird fly, but there are some things to know before you settle
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Fly snowbird fly, but there are some things to know before you settle
Studying the market pays off for savvy couple with 12% gains and 'bulletproof retirement strategy'

In Ontario, a couple we’ll call Leo, 63, and Rose, 55, are moving into retirement. Leo left his job with a bank a few years ago while Rose continues to work. They bring home $8,400 per month. They have three children, two in their early 20s and one age 30. Their net worth is $4.45 million including a $250,000 mortgage with a modest 1.9 per cent interest rate.

Email andrew.allentuck@gmail.com for a free Family Finance analysis

Leo and Rose have spent

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Studying the market pays off for savvy couple with 12% gains and 'bulletproof retirement strategy'
FP Answers: Am I on track to retire in 25 years if I have $350,000 saved now?

By Julie Cazzin with Brenda Hiscock

Q: I’m 40 years old and want to retire at age 65 with an after-tax net income of $70,000 annually. I currently earn $120,000 as an engineer. I recently did a quick calculation, and assuming I live until age 100, I will need to save close to $2 million to afford this retirement plan. That’s a lot of money for me to save. Right now, I save $25,000 a year for retirement, and have about $350,000 between my registered retirement

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FP Answers: Am I on track to retire in 25 years if I have $350,000 saved now?
These are the tax-sheltered savings options first-time homebuyers need to know about
Jamie Golombek: RRSP Home Buyers' Plan is so arcane, even the CRA can have trouble explaining it
Family law faces double-dipping dilemma when it comes to stock options, other deferred compensation
Laurie H. Pawlitza: Courts have drawn a distinction between whether the 'double dip' is for the purposes of paying child support or spousal support
Jason Heath: There's an upside to higher interest rates, despite the pain to borrowers
One eventual benefit is that borrowers will have a more realistic monthly payment for their debts
Couple in their 40s with $3 million in assets must diversify if they want early retirement
Because of bad experiences in stocks, they have put most of their savings into property
FP Answers: Am I paying too much in portfolio management fees?
Margarite pays $30,000 in fees for the management of her $2.5-million portfolio. Is that too much? If so, how can she lower those fees?
How to potentially save thousands on your tax bill ahead of CRA's prescribed interest rate hike
Jamie Golombek: The CRA’s prescribed rate is set to double to two per cent on July 1, but if you act quickly, you can lock in the current rate
Ontario couple needs to plug a leak in their finances before settling in to a five-star retirement
Robert and Elly should ensure that they have their own life insurance, expert says
Ontario couple needs to plug a leak in their finances before settling in to a five-star retirement
Turning your tax return into a year-round help, not just a one-off
When in doubt, allocate your tax refund to your emergency savings account
Turning your tax return into a year-round help, not just a one-off
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