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Showing posts from August, 2016

Is home ownership right for you?

With skyrocketing prices in many major cities, owning a home has become more of an option than a given. For some, homeownership is the best investment they'll ever make, while it's not the way to go for others. Here are some questions to ask yourself before taking the plunge. Do you really want to own? It sounds great, but are you sure you want to be a homeowner? It's not only a huge expense, it's a lifetime of maintenance, renovations, paperwork, and dealing with neighbours. Remember that ownership isn't the only way to build equity. Regular retirement contributions can also serve you well down the road without the headaches that come with that white picket fence. Can you service the debt? The hardest part of affording a home isn't saving for the down payment — though that's not exactly a cinch. It's affording the over 25 years of mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and home repairs that'll really test your finances. Meanwhile, owning a ho…

Do you know how much you're paying for your investments in Canada?

Whether you're investing for your retirement, your kids' college fund or a fabulous vacation, you need your investments to work for you. That means knowing exactly how much you're paying for the management of your investments. You may think this is easy to figure out just by looking at your statement, but the reality isn't that simple. In the past, Canadian financial firms weren't required to disclose the details of their investment fees, which often made it difficult for investors to tell what their total costs were. Some experts believe this lack of transparency is one reason Canadians pay some of the highest mutual fund fees in the world. But change is coming soon with the Client Relationship Model — Phase 2. CRM2 is a series of investment reforms that are being phased in over three years by Canadian regulators to improve disclosure. “CRM2 responds to a need for much greater education and transparency in the industry,” says Silvio Stroescu, vice president of de…

5 secret ways to save on car insurance in Canada

All drivers need auto insurance and many know the common tips for saving money on your premium, like bundling home and auto policies, keeping your driving record clean, and installing winter tires. But here are five secret ways to save you may not know about: 1. Smarty pants discount. Are you a bright college or university student? You may qualify for a “Good Student Discount.” That's right — some insurance companies will cut you a break for hitting the books. Depending on the provider, certain averages will need to be maintained. Those late nights in the library could pay off sooner than expected. 2. Private parking discount. If you have access to a private garage, your ride is less likely to be damaged. This means you may qualify for a discount on your premium. 3. Empty nester bonus. Enjoy more than a little peace and quiet when your kids have left the nest. If your son or daughter isn't a full-time driver on one of your vehicles, ask your broker about the “Student Away from H…

How to reduce household noise for stress-free living

Life can be noisy, but your home doesn't need to be. Traffic and everyday noise from plumbing, HVAC systems and household appliances are just some of the sounds that invade your peace and comfort. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce unwanted noise without a major renovation. Start by eliminating air leaks around doors and windows with weatherstripping and rubber gaskets around exterior door sills and frames. “Noise reduction is a significant issue for single-family residences. A home's fibreglass insulation helps reduce noise but most is placed in exterior walls even though noise transmitted from room to room can be the biggest nuisance,” explains Damon Bennett, home renovation expert. He recommends insulating floor and ceiling joist cavities to reduce airborne and household impact noise, and wrapping pipes with fibreglass insulation to deaden structure-borne noise. To absorb interior noise, exchange hollow interior doors with solid wood doors. Upholstered furniture, heavy …

Free national park passes for all in 2017 to mark Canada's 150th anniversary

The federal government is making entry into the national parks and historic sites free in 2017 as a way to mark the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation. In an emailed statement, Parks Canada said it means any passes purchased this year are valid for two years. “As a first step towards celebrating Canada150, Discovery Passes for 2016 will be valid for 24 months, rather than 12 months,” wrote Parks Canada’s Natalie Fay. “All Parks Canada Discovery Passes purchased in 2016 will be valid for 24 months from the date of purchase. “The passes will incorporate the purchase of one year’s admission and free admission to Parks Canada places in 2017.” It means an annual pass bought today would be valid until January 2018, rather than January 2017. Or visitors can just wait until January 2017 and get a free pass for that year. Providing free entry into national parks in 2017 was first mentioned in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mandate letter to Minister of Environment and Climate Change…