20 Jul 2012

Understanding the “Home Buyer’s Plan”

There's no doubt that saving up enough money to make a down payment on a home can be a tall task. That's why the Canadian government has introduced the Home Buyer's Plan (HBP), a smart way for young professionals to get the money needed to buy their first home.Nearly all employees pay into a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), and it's important to one's financial future to begin contributing to this tax-free account as soon as possible. For those having trouble coming up with a down payment, however, it can be difficult to choose between planning for the future and purchasing a house now.The HBP offers the best of both worlds, according to Moneysense.ca. Buyers can contribute to their RRSP and get all the tax benefits that come with it. When they're ready, they can withdraw up to $25,000 in order to make a down payment on their house. The money must be paid back over 15 years, or it…

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19 Jul 2012

As summer continues on, many students are working at summer jobs hoping to save money for the school year. Moneysense.ca recently offered some tips for students in this position when it comes to saving their paychecks.It can be tempting to spend summer job earnings on entertainment or nights out with friends, but those who save wisely throughout the summer will be in a better position for the numerous expenses that come with a new school year.One tip the news source offers is automating payment transfers with the bank. Many do not realize they can set up an automated system that will deposit a percentage of their payments into their savings account. This way, the student isn't tempted by the money…

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19 Jul 2012

A new study by BMO Financial Group finds that the number of Canadian small businesses with succession plans have doubled in the past two years.According to the study, nearly 30 percent of small businesses in Canada now have a plan in place for when the owner dies or retires. This is up sharply compared to just 15 percent in 2010, but many businesses still don't have a strategy outlined.Among those who did not have a plan, the top reason was that it was "too early" to begin thinking about it. Yet many small business owners are not all that young, and having a plan in place is a "better safe than sorry" type of measure."Just like creating a business plan…

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19 Jul 2012

Businesses offering affordable self storage in Toronto can improve their revenues if they adjust the way they service their customers over the phone, according to a blog post for Inside Self-Storage written by Tron Jordheim, director of off-site sales company PhoneSmart.Toronto natives want to feel as they are valued customers, and not that they are being shipped off-site to call centers. Jordheim wrote that those fielding calls for self storage facilities should be aware of how to talk to Toronto residents. Talking to callers like they are from certain areas in North America, and not particularly Toronto, could lead to lower levels of customer satisfaction.The telephone sales force needs to be trained on talking to people from certain place. Callers…

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18 Jul 2012

New federal rules for small business pension plans will require provincial approval before they can move forward, and many are looking to British Columbia to make the first move, writes The Vancouver Sun.This year, the federal government approved the Pooled Registered Pension Plan. The legislation is aimed at addressing a major problem for small business owners and their employees – 80 percent have no retirement savings plan. The reason is because most pension plans offered to businesses only make economic sense if the company is large and has multiple employees. Otherwise, the administrative costs to set up the plan are just too high.This plan would reduce costs over the versions currently available, and will help middle-income earners who own their…

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18 Jul 2012

According to a recent report from the Canadian Real Estate Association, home sales in Canada are on their way down, while home prices continue to increase.Although home sales may be decreasing, Toronto public storage is still coveted by many homeowners who need extra room to keep some of their belongings.The statistics show Canadian home sales decreased 1.3 percent from May to June, which is the first annual decline since April 2011. Falling home sales numbers are welcomed with open arms by Canadian real estate agents, especially in Toronto, Reuters reported.“Reports of the demise of price increases in Canadian housing have been greatly exaggerated, at least up to this point,” said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist of BMO Capital Markets. “What…

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17 Jul 2012

Canadian small business owners are calling for more stringent regulations on the credit and debit card industry, hoping the Canadian government will change the way businesses are forced to handle these forms of payment.The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which is comprised of more than 100,000 business owners, says that new rules need to be put into place governing how retailers pay the major card companies, according to The Canadian Press. All businesses that accept credit cards pay fees to the companies that make the cards in order to process the payments. However, the card companies charge different fees depending on the exact type of card that's used – credit cards cost more than debit due to the risk that…

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17 Jul 2012

Canadian businesses that fail to use social media as one of their marketing and customer retention strategies may be at a disadvantage, according to recent research conducted by Leger Marketing.The survey found 78 percent of Canadian businesses with 500 employees or more use social media, while 55 percent of all businesses in the country use social platforms for market research, promotion and client relations. "Social media represents a powerful and cost-effective tool that, when used properly, can help any business grow," said Paul Gaspar, director of small business for UPS Canada. "Canadian businesses are operating in an increasingly competitive global market and by using social media, firms can broaden their existing brand equity while building real relationships with current and potential…

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16 Jul 2012

Tim Stobbs, a 34-year-old engineer from Regina, is hoping to retire from his job as an engineer by the age of 42. The Canadian has been blogging about his experiences on Moneyville.ca, and recently offered readers some tips on how to get out of debt.At a time when interest rates are low, Stobbs recommends paying down your mortgage as quickly as possible. As Stobbs climbed the ladder at his company, he decided to keep his lifestyle relatively the same from when he made less money. This meant holding off on a few vacations and improvements to his home, but at the same time doing so allowed him to more than triple what he had been paying in monthly mortgage payments.While…

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13 Jul 2012

As the global economy continues to decline, investors are more reluctant to dish out the cash many entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners need. Nowadays large financial institution’s and venture capitalists are increasing their lending requirements. Successful Toronto entrepreneur lowers operating cost & risk with low rent. Banks need to know several key things before they will part with their cash, says Mike Michell, RBC’s national director for small business. “Help us understand why you’re so excited for the business, what specific use the money is going to, what your revenue projections are, and who is behind the business,” he says. In these uncertain times, nobody is willing to accommodate more risk. The best solution to lowering…

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13 Jul 2012

Just about everyone tries to save their money, but often the allure of spending can be too much to resist. Sometimes, buyers have to argue with themselves in order to make a purchase, and this can result in a bit of self-deception in order to open up the wallet. Moneysense recently named the top "lies we tell ourselves" when spending money in order to justify purchases.One of the more common phrases people tell themselves is "it's an investment." For example, someone buying a new suit can say they're "investing" in their new job. Don't kid yourself, however – spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on an outfit isn't necessary for even the most stodgy jobs.The "once in a lifetime"…

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13 Jul 2012

The U.S. megastore chain Target has confirmed it will be opening locations in Canada next year, beginning with four stores in the Toronto area.Locations at Centre Point Mall, Cloverdale Mall, East York Town Centre and Shoppers World Danforth at Victoria Park Ave are set to open in March and April of 2013, but that's just the beginning of the company's expansion plans, reports The Toronto Star. In total, more than 125 stores will be spread across Canada throughout 2013, with more coming for 2014."Construction has already begun on our first set of stores and we are excited to see the transformation as the Target brand comes to life in Canada," Tony Fisher, president of Target Canada, told the news source.Target…

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12 Jul 2012

Confidence among Canadian small business owners continued to fall in the month of June, as the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) Business Barometer Index dropped to 62.1 from 64.8 the month before.The index is compiled based on answers to survey questions sent to small business owners across the country. The questions cover a variety of topics, including customer demand, expenses, getting financing and more."Insufficient customer demand was the most commonly cited constraint on business performance, although concerns about customer demand have gradually trended downward in 2012," said Ted Mallett, CFIB's chief economist and vice-president. "Meanwhile, concerns over shortages of working capital have increased slightly through the year, and about one business in four appears to have significant difficulties in…

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11 Jul 2012

Toronto has a booming real estate market right now, but so many people wanting to live in one city is having an effect on the size of the available homes. According to a recent report by Urbannation, condos and apartments being built in the city are getting smaller, not larger.The report compares apartments and condos available for occupancy now with those that will be ready for 2014 (currently being built). In almost every category, the apartments are shrinking, reports CBC News.Currently, 63 percent of condos in the city are studios or one-bedrooms, reports the news source. By 2014, that will rise to 67 percent. What's more, the average size of these dwellings are on the decline. Studios average 438 square…

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10 Jul 2012

New resources are now available online for Canadian small businesses, courtesy of the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA).The federal government has updated its taxation website as it relates to Canadian small businesses, making it easier for owners to access the information they need. The online resources are designed to cut through the red tape and help business owners get answers quickly."The CRA has a number of online resources available for businesses to help them manage their accounts and conduct business with the Agency quickly and efficiently," said Finance Minister Gail Shea. "Our Government continues to look for ways to improve these online services and is actively listening to businesses from coast to coast to coast on how to do it."One of…

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9 Jul 2012

Many Canadians with money to spend are purchasing homes in the U.S. in order to take advantage of warm temperatures and low real estate prices. However, Moneyville.ca reports that Canadians need to be wary of buying south of the border.Canadians have several things to consider when buying in America, or any other country. The big financial factor to think about is taxation. Spending more than 6 months in the U.S. per year means you'll have to file a U.S. tax return.Even if the home isn't your primary residence, however, you'll still have to pay property taxes. The taxes change depending on the state the home is located in, and the rules vary. Florida, for example, has no property tax for…

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6 Jul 2012

Real estate agents can be very helpful when it comes to selling a house, but many may not be ready to give up a portion of their profit for the agent's commission. That's why some homeowners are opting to sell their home on their own, reports The Globe and Mail.Bernie Doyle, an investment advisor, is selling his Toronto home at a time when the market is hot. Yet Doyle believes real estate agents are not worth the price – saying that often, they don't even show up to the open house."It's probably going to be that family's largest transaction," he told the news source. "Then, on the day of the open house, they send an assistant who sits there doe-eyed…

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6 Jul 2012

When it comes to kids growing up in a wealthy household, most might assume the children are on easy street. Yet there are many challenges a wealthy parent must face when it comes to raising their kids, and this stress can often cause family problems, according to The Globe and Mail.Franco Lombardo, who works with high net-worth families on a regular basis, recently published the book "The Great White Elephant: Why Rich Kids Hate Their Parents." In the book, Lombardo discusses the reasons wealthy families can often become fractured. Parents want their kids to become financially secure, but if they give the child everything on a silver platter it can destroy their drive and ambition. Alternatively, holding too much back…

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5 Jul 2012

Computers affected by malware could be kicked off the internet on Monday if their owners do not effectively clean them up over the weekend, reports The Associated Press.The situation ties back to a group of hackers who put malware on an estimated 570,000 computers approximately one year ago. The malware was being used to control computers remotely, according to the news source. The FBI caught the hackers, but quickly found out that if they shut down the hacker's servers, all of the affected computers would instantly lose internet access.The FBI ultimately decided to host the infected computers on separate "safety net servers," but those will be shut down on Monday. Owners of infected computers have been contacted, but approximately 277,000…

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