A Money Coach in Canada

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Iseafood.jpgf you read my post on Friday, you’ll know that my next Personal Praxis regarding money is a simple one: to plan out meals for November. I’m taking it a couple steps further:

1. I’m going to incorporate healthy eating, and shed a few extra pounds when I’m at it (any nutritionists care to give opinions?).  I want to become a lot more thoughtful about my eating – Isabella’s post connecting our own eating habits with world hunger has inspired me.

2. I’m offering a $25 gift certificate to Safeway/IGA/Choices (you choose) to giveaway to 1 person who makes a plan, and sticks with it the entire month of November. In other words, you could Eat Better, Save Money and Win $25 to boot. Interested? Leave me a comment (wooly woman, I know you’re in!) and keep posted for info on participating via a forum on my website. Note: this is provided at least 10 people participate, so invite a friend!

PS: happy birthday to Krystal, one of Canada’s most delightful young personal finance bloggers.

This is Part 2 of Corrina’s story.  She is a young professional in Vancouver whose husband had an accident and became a quadriplegic last year.  This is her story of how she managed the financial implications.  (Part 1 was posted last Sat.)

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I don’t even know where to start. In the event that a catastrophic injury should happen to you or someone you love you WILL get financial assistance from somewhere. If the injury was sustained in an automobile accident your funding (as they call it) will come from ICBC. If the injury occurred on the job the funding will come from WCB. If it occurred at home or in a private residence this is the worst case scenario: the funding will come through the ministry…the government. And I’ve been told (but I have not confirmed) that we are unable to privately insure ourselves in anticipation of something like this.

If a catastrophic injury should happen to you or someone you love you should know a few things. I have learned:

1 – Your insurance carrier is your friend

2-    Your insurance carrier is not your friend

3 – Your insurance carrier is bound by policy – in the case of WCB it is legislated policy and there is no getting around it. You can either work within it or challenge it at the Supreme Court level. Good luck with that.

4 – Your insurance provider will withhold information. For example, they may choose not to tell you that you are eligible for some financial benefit. If you learn about it on your own and ask for it you’ll get it. If you don’t learn about it on your own you may not be informed by the insurer.

5 – Do your own research. There are organizations out there to educate you. In the case of an injured worker you should definitely contact the people at the Workers Advisors Group. They can help you interpret policy, appeal decisions, etc.

6 – If you are deemed to be permanently disabled you are eligible for your Canada Pension Plan benefits right away. This is worth around $1000 per month, give or take. Apply for it right away – they pay from the date of application, not the date of injury.

7 – If you are thinking about getting back to work, each insurer (or funding provider) has a program to help you reintegrate into the workforce through vocational rehab or placement assistance.

8 – Vancity has a great program for small business loans for persons with a disability.

9 – There are government grants out there available to persons with disabilities for the purpose of starting a small business.

10 – There are tons of breaks out there for these folks, too. Things like an ACCESS TO ENTERTAINMENT membership, which gets you half price rates for movies etc. If you require a care attendant that person will get in for free (this includes spouses, children, and friends accompanying you to the event).

I am still very much in the information gathering stage, but my husband has applied for his CPP, and is in the process of getting back to work. For him that means starting a small business. I am on the Your Money by Design program and getting a handle on day to day money management. I can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner. For the long term financial stuff….well, that’s what I am still working on, but I am feeling pretty good about it these days.

Thanks for reading & I hope this was helpful,
Corina

Do you eat out too much? And half the time it’s not because you really want to, but because you were too busy to have food on hand, and it’s easier just to buy a meal? I struggle with this constantly!

So…. I’m joining a couple Canadian graduate students who are tackling their debt in November Meal Planning Month!

tuna-sandwich.jpgGoodbye to paninis on the fly (I used to love them ’til they became a habit), goodbye to Starbucks snacks to fill the gap …hello to my own nutritious home-made food. Hello to spending more on groceries and way less on eating out. Net savings = more in my Christmas Stocking Fund 🙂

Care to join us? Leave a comment! And if I get really organized, I may even set up a forum – like the Savings Forum in the spring – on my business site, Your Money by Design.

Each Wednesday, the Amazing Accountant who does my personal and business taxes, Mindy Abramowitz, highlights an accounting topic many Canadians encounter.  Today she dives into the frequent question:  to pay down my mortgage or contribute to my RRSP?

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This is hotly debated question in Canadian personal finance circles and the answer will differ according to the asker’s situation and temperament.

From a tax reduction perspective, the mortgage payment will yield no immediate benefit, whereas an RRSP contribution will minimize taxes payable in the year it is made. Over the long term, the decision to pay down the mortgage will save you interest but will deprive you of tax-free compound growth in your RRSP.

However, if the following conditions apply to you, the mortgage payment route will likely be the more helpful option:

  • your annual income falls into one of the lower tax brackets; or
  • the interest rate on your mortgage is higher than the return on the investments in your RRSP; or
  • your retirement will come sooner than your last mortgage payment; or
  • you simply cannot tolerate carrying debt.

Assuming you are in a high tax bracket, bumping up your RRSP contributions will give you the most bang for your buck. In some cases, you’ll get to have your cake and eat it too: you can use the resulting tax refund to pay down your mortgage.

Crunch the numbers to figure out what would work best for you — easy-to-use RRSP vs. mortgage calculators abound on the internet (try the one at taxtips.ca) — or talk to your financial advisor.

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It’s Wednesday … time to check out current deals or freebies in the Vancouver area!

1. LaptopJust discovered: Laptops in Vancouver which sells cheap, refurbished laptops at wholesale prices. I’ve never used them so can’t endorse them, but it looks like a potential winner! (and mac users, if you look on the bottom right, you’ll see a steal on a widescreen macbook).

2. “My Mother’s Story”, as heard on CBC radio, is being performed at Unity of Vancouver church on Fri. Oct 12th at 8pm. By donation.

beach-chairs.jpg3. Need a real break from raining vancouver, at cheap, cheap prices?Drop Everything! Last second deals from $199