Monthly Archives: February 2014

Taxes: This weekend’s project

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SONY DSCWho wants free money? Well, okay, it’s not free – but it is money entitled to you if you qualify, and for those that don’t know, that would be your TAX REFUND. How do you get more money, you might ask? You do this by filing your taxes! If you have everything ready, perhaps even this weekend! No time like the present for a weekend a project, and if you are feeling very adventurous (wait for it) you can even stop by the post office, and pick up a booklet so you can file your taxes. Yourself. Granted there are other options. Turbo Tax is probably the most common way to file yourself with easy step by step instruction to make sure you get everything in check. This is an online software that guides you through the entire tax return. Your 3rd option would be to go to a place like H&R Block, with accountants on demand and no appointment necessary (but advisable to help with your wait time) and further if you at that stage, you can hire an actual accountant.

Granted, there is another option. Chinatown is full of tax-filers that are willing to do your return for 20 dollars. And they probably got near perfect scores on the SAT yet you’re able to catch them in a break and get a break on fees.

 

It’s up to you, but just see this as a reminder to get it done! God luck and happy tax season!

An Exemplary Life

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This past weekend, by grandfather passed away. He was the head of a clan-like family that included 13 children, over 30 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. He was born of an immigrant family, became the first of his family to obtain a university degree (before him, even a high school education was not necessarily a given), enlisted and fought in the war created a great business and raised and cultivated an incredible mix of family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, all touched by his incredible devotion to life, family and quality time spent with others. In a world where we are constantly busy, focused on where we are headed to to and what we want to accomplish, so much so that we barely have time to maintain proper and healthy relationships in our lives, here was a man that was all about personal relationships. With people from as young as 5 years old to as old as 90, he made his time spent with everyone in his life memorable and lasting, in that everyone that had the chance to spend time with him has unique and special memories. So much so that in his obituary (http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/newsday/obituary.aspx?n=patrick-j-magee&pid=169843858&fhid=27199) they don’t even have time to go into his professional career, and how he spent his time providing. In North America this is unheard of, when we can’t even go to a cocktail party or event without knowing the first question most of the time from a new acquaintance will be a dry ‘So what do you do for a living?’. Is it possible to develop relationships with people in a way that allows us to develop as a person, as opposed to just further developing our network, and adding those that will help us achieve what we have set out to achieve. Patrick Magee has shown us yes, over the course of a long life, that we should re-focus on the person, and our relationships will flourish from there.

Saving for an Education: What you need to know and where you need to start first

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IMG_00000160You have or are having a child – congratulations! Besides basic shelter, love and food, an education could be the most valuable thing you are able to give you child, and luck for you, you have 20 years forewarning to start saving for it. Anyone that makes excuses and can’t help out even a little for this very important part of your child’s life is fooling themselves into thinking it is harder than you think. Even starting small will lead to some gesture that allows your child to see how important it is to pursue some post-secondary education, and allow them to not be in as much debt as some of their peers. If you can help them so they don’t have to worry about debt at all, even better. However that’s another story, and we’re talking about STARTING a plan first.

First things first, your child needs a Social Insurance Number, or SIN. This will entitle any ‘extra’ bonus money from the government to be deposited into an education fund in your child’s name. These are things like the CANADA LEARNING BOND. This allows you to get 500.00 in your RESP account JUST FOR OPENING UP THE ACCOUNT! Yes, it is THAT EASY. And then every year until your child is 15, the government will put 100.00 extra in the account. The other common ‘bonus’ you receive when it comes to opening up an RESP is the CANADIAN EDUCATION SAVINGS GRANT. This is a bonus that entitlement is calculated based on how much is being contributed each year. This number is 20% of your annual contribution, to a maximum of 500.00 each ear. This means for this savings vehicle to be most efficient, it is best to aim to contribute 2500.00 each year, which would be about 210.00 each month, or 100.00 by weekly (You can do it!). If you can aim to have at least 50,000.00 to help out towards education costs, your child will already be ahead.

The other option for education saving is to set up a trust fund, and while there are no extra saving bonus’s from the government, it does allow you to save money in a child’s name, and at age 18, they have the funds available to use towards their education cost or whichever it might be.

Things to note: ANYONE (not just parents) can set up an education fund for anyone with a Social Insurance Number. And so, if you are not doing anything with your refund this year, perhaps consider channeling it towards someone’s education. Costs of education will only rise!

FEB 21: How are we doing this month?

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spendingSometimes it’s nice to take a look at the budget mid-month and see how we are doing, or rather to see where the bleeding is occurring! As for the first couple weeks on maternity as we await the new addition to our family I find I am not doing too terribly. My goal for this week however, would be to curb eating out and restaurant spending, and dedicate more time to home cooking. While I have the time, I may as well invest in my own domestic skills and get some dishes ready to impress!

Do you have any budget related goals? For this week or perhaps to implement this month?

Creating Winning Relationships

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SONY DSCSomeone once told me the secret to a good partnership is to give 100% of your time and effort, all of the time. It seems to straight forward and simple, yet it is surprising how so many people don’t take this advice to heart, whether in their business partnerships, relationships or in their team environment in general. As a result, we see the majority of new business’s fail, soaring divorce rates and championship caliber teams facing upsets on a daily basis.

 

Too many people enter into a business with the wrong person, get married for the wrong reasons or join a team as they think shared responsibility and having extra support will make things easier to achieving their goals. The thing is, if you were to ever watch the training regime and practices of a championship team, you would see the ease they seem to appear to have is hard fought and well-earned in many hours of solid preparation, conditioning, discipline and self-improvement. A successful marriage is not one that is easy going and laid back but one where both partners are mature enough to tackle decisions jointly, no matter how hard it might appear, and when we have to face something difficult, knowing that the other person will face it with you, helping you to get through difficult items, not avoid these. And finally, no one would ever willingingly take on a business partner that was lazy, wanting to ride off the success of someone else or simply was trying to make his or her life easier.

 

So what should we be looking at to create wining relationships? Part of this comes down to finding the people that truly are willing to give 100% all the time. Too often people think arrangements are 50/50, however if two people are giving half of what they are capable of, no one will ever be truly satisfied. If the Canadian men’s hockey team showed up to play at 50% effort, they would never come home with Olympic gold. Those that recognize that hard work, effort and sacrifice produces superior results will rise above the top, live lives they are proud of and see more satisfaction in all of their relationships. It’s about respect for the effort each are putting towards a joint goal, and trying to match that. It’s like Ignatius once described about meeting your vocation – trying to find that thing or person that allows your talents to meet your passion, that’s when you actualize what you truly want and will be able to see the results you want.

SONY DSCSeanna is a freelance writer passionate about helping people on their path to taking charge over their money. Find her on twitter @financeyourlife and continue the money conversation there. 

 

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