7 Things That Could Reduce Your Car Insurance Premium

Are you thinking about purchasing a new car or need a new insurance policy? When it comes to insurance, car insurance is the most expensive to purchase.  Luckily, there are lots of things you can do to reduce your premiums. Here are 10 ways to reduce your car insurance costs while still getting the coverage you need.


  1. Owning your car

When you lease a car, it’s likely that you’ll be paying a higher price for your car insurance. Remember, you don’t need to spend a lot of money purchasing a brand new car. Many used vehicles work just as well as new models, and may make owning a vehicle easier.


  1. Having a dashboard camera

Having a dashboard camera won’t reduce your car insurance specifically, but it will give you record of any collision that you get into, and that means that it will be easier to make a claim and will protect you from unfair premium increases.


  1. Paying as you drive

If you have a car but find that you don’t drive much, pay as you go insurance is a great option. According to The Toronto Star, “Pay as you go insurance uses a device plugged into a vehicle that connects to a mobile app or web portal used to track data on kilometres driven, time and distance of the trip.”


  1. Having winter tires

You can reduce your insurance premiums by installing winter tires on your car. Winter tires lower your risk of getting into an accident, and insurers reward that accordingly.


  1. Choose a low-risk model

All car models are not insured equally. Vehicles that have a higher propensity for reckless driving are much more expensive to insure. When purchasing your vehicle, check out typical insurance rates to make sure that the cost of driving makes sense for your budget.


  1. An anti-theft system

Installing an anti-theft mechanism in your car makes it less likely to get stolen, and therefore lowers your insurance premiums.


  1.  Hybrid vehicles

Not every insurance company gives you a discount for driving a hybrid vehicle, but some do. Compare insurance policies if your planning on purchasing a hybrid car, and find out which provider will give you a reduced rate.


  1. Low repair costs

Even if a vehicle is cheap to purchase, the parts for repairs may be extremely expensive. For example, purchasing a luxury vehicle used may cost you less than a brand new car that’s less expensive, but your car may still cost more to repair, and insurance companies factor this in to your premium.


  1. Paying per year instead of per month

Insurance companies love when you pay upfront, and they reward you for it. If it’s an option for you, pay upfront instead of per month to save on your premium.


  1. CAA membership

Check with your insurance provider if you’re eligible for a discount on your premium if you have a CAA membership.

You’re all set! All that’s left to do is pick the plan that’s right for you and hit the road

8 Mistakes Drivers Make When Shopping For Used Vehicles

Purchasing a used vehicle is a great way to buy a car at a reduced price, but buyer beware. Purchasing vehicles that are used mean that they may have problems that the dealership or the person you’re purchasing the car from may try to hide. Make sure that you do your homework and check out the entirety of the vehicle before purchasing. Avoid these 8 mistakes so that you purchase the best possible vehicle for your needs.


  1. Not being realistic about what you can afford

When you go to a dealership or have a meeting with a private seller, have a very clear price range. Most of the time, you’ll be able to negotiate with the dealership or private seller, but you’ll still want to have a clear picture of what you’d be willing to spend based on how the vehicle is in person, and don’t forget taxes!


  1. Not having a clear idea of what you want

Don’t go into a dealership without a clear idea of the kind of car that will fit your needs. It’s okay not to know exactly what make and model, but things like size, gas mileage, and price range should be something you decide on beforehand. Make sure that you take a look at the insurance rates so that you know how much your car insurance will cost you before you buy.


  1. Blindly trusting the dealer

Just because a vehicle looks good on the outside, doesn’t mean that it drives well or works the way the dealership advertised. Check the reputation of dealers in your area and choose one that has positive reviews.


  1. Buying without an inspection

If the dealership or private seller refuses to let you have the vehicle inspected, there’s probably something wrong with the car. Any reputable dealership will allow you to check the car from head to toe, and a private seller should be able to provide details on the vehicle and the most recent inspection.


  1. Not test driving the car

It’s easy to get excited about the prospect of a new car, and used car dealerships may not offer a test drive. Test drives are standard practice, so make sure to ask to take the vehicle for a drive before purchasing.


  1. Not asking for a vehicle report

Vehicle reports are an important part of the used car shopping process. They have valuable information such as whether or not it has been in major accidents, had flood damage, or carries a salvage title.


  1. Shopping at just one dealership

Shopping at multiple dealerships gives you a great frame of reference for the going price of a vehicle you’re looking to purchase, and it also gives you an idea of how much to negotiate when you’re ready to buy.


To save extra money when purchasing your used vehicle, check with your automobile insurance and find out which models will save you money on your premiums. If you’re not satisfied with your current policy, compare your policy with other insurance companies to ensure you receive the best rate possible.

3 Tips for Giving The Perfect Wedding Gifts Without Breaking The Bank

Weddings in general are pretty expensive. Both for those getting married and those going to the wedding festivities, everyone’s going to be shelling out at least some money for the affair. But while the couple knows that they’ll be spending money on things like wedding rings and a reception, those attending the events often have a hard time knowing how much money they should be spending on each wedding they’re involved with. So to help with this dilemma, here are three tips for giving the perfect wedding gifts without breaking the bank.

Know How Much You Should Or Can Spend

Before you even begin thinking about the exact gifts you’re wanting to give, you should first determine how much money you can spend or how much money you feel obligated to spend. According to Jaimie Mackey, a contributor to Brides.com, there are some guidelines that can help you determine what you might want to spend for a wedding. Some traditions say that you should give a gift equal to what the couple is spending per person for the event, while others that you should subtract what you’re spending to actually make it to the wedding. Naturally, you shouldn’t spend more than you can afford, and it’s a good rule of thumb to consider how well you know or how long you’ve known the couple to help determine the type or quality of gift you’d be comfortable giving.

Give Yourself Time

Once you’ve decided what type of gift you want to give to the couple, you might find that it’s more than you can afford right now. Luckily, Amy Beal, a contributor to Real Simple, reminds us that you technically have a year from the wedding date to give the couple their wedding gift. For those who need more time to scrape together the necessary funds, this gives you the perfect chance to create a budget and start saving. However, don’t give yourself too much freedom that you forget about their gift completely and end up spending that money on something else instead.

Follow the 20-20-60 Rule

Especially if you’re being invited to multiple parties as part of the wedding celebrations, you may not be sure about how to space out your gift giving. To help with this, Colleen Barrett, a contributor to Refinery29.com, recommends that you follow the 20-20-60 rule. This rule means that you set a budget for gifts for the entire wedding and you spend 20 percent on the engagement gift, 20 percent on the bridal or grooms gift, and 60 percent on the wedding gift. This can help ensure you don’t go overboard with your spending at each event.

If you’re concerned about giving gifts for the upcoming weddings you’re invited to, consider using the tips mentioned above to help make this a little easier on your wallet.

How Social Payments Are Transforming Financial Transactions As We Know Them

In honor of arrival of the Year of the Dog in February, I sent my nephew in China a gift of money through a chat app on my phone. He pocketed it happily, using the same app to express his appreciation, thanks and best wishes back at me for the new year.

It was another day, another dollar, as they say, or the everyday sort of transaction that people in some countries like China don’t think twice about. For people in most Western nations, though, this sort of payment system is still something of a curiosity.

That’s changing fast, though. And as the social sharing economy continues to evolve, look for such peer-to-peer transactions over people’s social feeds to become the norm. It quite possibly may disrupt the traditional banking system as we know it.

Venmo, PayPal’s free digital wallet, was an early player in Western economies, launched in 2009, but really taking off in 2014 as Android Pay and Apple Pay made their much vaunted debuts. Other entries since – Facebook Pay, Google Wallet, Square Cash – speak to a concept whose time has come. Case in point: Venmo handled $17.6 billion in transactions in 2016; that almost doubled to $34.2 billion last year.

If there’s a model for the rest of the world to follow, it’s China’s. Its system was a response in a country that had no credit card use, and whose banks were inefficient and underused. In less than 10 years, two rival payment services, Tencent’s WeChat and Alibaba’s Alipay, have transformed China’s financial ecosystem by making mobile payments – especially social mobile payments – an easy and accessible option.

As social payments continue to catch on in the U.S., the U.K., Canada and other nations, it’s moving us ever closer to becoming cashless economies. In fact, Sweden may be an example today of how we’ll all be operating in the not-to-distant future. A mere 1 percent of the value of all payments made in Sweden are in coins or notes. Its citizens live for their bank cards, but over half Sweden’s population depends on the leading social payment smartphone app, Swish.

It’s not just the world’s more privileged societies that stand to benefit from this evolving financial ecosystem. Social payments stand to bring much needed financial services to countries with significant populations of unbanked or underbanked people. Financial inclusion, of course, is key to lifting them from poverty.

Even if traditional banking services aren’t available to such populations, mobile phones increasingly are. Their pace of adoption is on a positive trendline, at 37 percent of the populations of underdeveloped economies.

Not surprisingly, both Tencent and Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial (formerly known as Alipay) see an opportunity to make inroads in countries where people may be unbanked, but not unphoned. Both are moving aggressively in Southeast Asia as part of that quest; at the end of last year, the Alipay service reportedly had 280 million users of its four local payment platforms in Thailand, India, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

The sharing economy is real and expanding rapidly. By 2025, a PricewaterhouseCoopers study found, spending in the five components that comprise it (travel, car sharing, staffing, streaming and, no surprise, finance) may hit $335 billion – or half of total spending in those areas.

It’s not just social payments that will help to reshape the financial sector. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin will be another facet, a means for settling payments directly and without much hassle or effort.

Either way, though, if this new social order we’re developing can advance those who currently have no access to things the rest of us take for granted like financial services, then it’s all to the good.

How You Can Learn to Trade on Rules-Based Trading

We are creatures of habit. Habits form patterns that become rules of a sort for how we live our lives in a dependable way.

One of the most compelling illustrations of this is Danish photographer Peter Funch’s “42nd and Vanderbilt” project. He stood at that corner in New York City and from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. between 2007 and 2016 took photos of commuters on their daily pilgrimage. Many of them were the same people, day in and day out, just more grey and grizzled over time. Their faces always had the same expressions, mostly grim. Many wore the exact same shirts in 2016 that they wore in 2007, or shirts in a similar color and style. They also consistently did the same things, like holding a to-go coffee cup the same way.

That sort of habitual consistency is also frequently seen in the stock market. People who figure out how to read the patterns and act accordingly can make a lot of money, and because of that consistency, they can do so in a way that mitigates a lot of the risks of playing the market.

It’s called rules-based trading, and I should know because it’s a strategy I’ve used and share.

Rules-based trading is really a dependable approach for beginners and those with a low appetite for risk. It’s quite simple, actually, for those who do their homework and who are mindful of and keep to schedules.

It’s a way to piggy-back off the seasonal buying and selling that marks the activities of the institutional investment community, and reflects both bullish and bearish environments. Here are some examples.

On the bull side, take a look at Rockwell Automation. Between Nov. 13 and Dec. 26 in 21 of the last 23 years, the stock has gone up, with an average return of 5.76 percent. The return on options plays: 50 percent to 100 percent.

On the bear side, there’s Skecher, whose stock has declined between Sept. 14 and 27 in 17 of the last years, showing an average 6.82 percent decline. Putting options on that play will get a return of 50 percent to 100 percent.

Here’s why this system is a good one to put in place. You know what you’re getting. It’s designed to “set and forget.” You place your trade and don’t do anything more with it until it’s stopped out, the target is reached or you hit a trailing stop loss. You’re set as long as you keep it all within the precisely defined windows.

You avoid the psychological pressures of trading, but still get the fun of watching how it’s going without having to constantly be monitoring and analyzing new information. However, you do have to do your homework to identify likely targets (through data available on platforms like Yahoo Finance and Bloomberg) and apply the option strategy that fits.

Rules-based trading is an excellent way to build market knowledge and discipline that, over time, you’ll be able to take to the proverbial bank.

Certus Trading makes it easier to get into rules-based trading with our Profit Scheduler Club for options. We do the data analysis and show what options strategies will apply best, equipping you to comfortably make the trade.

What Should You Do If You Are Arrested For Drug Trafficking In Winnipeg?

Drug trafficking is a very serious offense in the City of Winnipeg. Those who are charged with trafficking can face severe and swift consequences if they are found guilty. Drug offenses are outlined in the criminal code separately from other types of crimes in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

There are specific things that someone who is facing drug trafficking charges in Winnipeg should do – and others that they definitely must not do – in order to protect themselves from prosecution and to prevent their punishment from being greater if they are found guilty. The first thing that you must do is to hire a Winnipeg lawyer who specializes in handling drug trafficking charges.

Hiring a lawyer

There are some crimes where you can defend yourself, but since drug trafficking is a major offense that can leave you facing some serious jail time and has the potential to ruin your future, finding a lawyer who knows how to handle a drug case is imperative to securing your freedom.

It isn’t enough just to hire a criminal lawyer; you need someone who understands the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act from cover to cover and who has experience specifically with drug trafficking cases. There are ways to beat trafficking charges, but building a defense takes expertise and knowing which defenses to use to poke holes in the prosecution’s case.

Don’t say anything to anyone

It might be tempting to talk with people about the charges you are facing, but that is a serious mistake. Not only do you want to keep silent when talking to law enforcement officials – but you  want to keep your mouth quiet when talking to anyone.

Remember, anything you say can and will be used against you in court. If you think that your private conversations will remain private, that isn’t always the case. If other people are involved in the charges, like accomplices, stop contact with them and don’t say another word until you have the advisement of your drug trafficking attorney.

Being released pending your trial

Unlike other criminal charges, when you are being accused of drug trafficking in Winnipeg, you have what’s called the “reverse onus.” That means that you have the obligation to make a case that you should be released pending your trial, not that the prosecutor has to make a case why you shouldn’t. To be released, you have to prove why you should be let go on your own recognizance.

Surety is one way to find your way out

Surety is a process where you ask someone to be responsible for you and to ensure that you will show up for your court date. The person who becomes your surety – usually a family member – promises the court that they will ensure that you make it to court.

Often, you will have to live with them until your trial date, so be prepared to move in with whoever serves as your surety. If you are denied a surety, then your Winnipeg criminal lawyer might ask for the Superior Court to review the ruling and plead a case for it to be overturned. Your lawyer would have to show that the lower court made a judgment error, which is not always easy to do.

If your case was mishandled, then you might be able to have your charges dismissed

There are very specific rules related to search and seizure of your home or property. If those specific guidelines have not been followed or any breach of them has been made, then any evidence collected would not be admissible in court – which could leave the prosecution without a case. That is why talking over the specifics of how things were handled with your lawyer is imperative to help them to build a defense that might get your charges released.

If you are arrested on drug trafficking charges, it is very serious. The only way to save yourself from the consequences of being found guilty is to hire an expert drug criminal lawyer who knows the ins and outs of criminal drug cases in Winnipeg.

Amazing Money Making Ideas For The Near Year

With the New Year in full swing, it is now time to begin getting your finances back in order. You’ll need to get your taxes filled out and submitted to the IRS. Then, it is time to find ways to generate more money. The options are plentiful, but some methods are far better than others. What methods can be used to generate money in the New Year? You’ll learn about some of the most amazing money-making ideas for 2018 below.

Debt Counseling

First and foremost, you should understand that consumers are always going to face debt problems. Millions of Americans have gotten themselves into debt and they need assistance digging themselves out. There is where you could enter the picture. By becoming a debt counselor, you’ll be able to instruct people how to remove late payments and get their credit score improved in a jiffy. You’ll help improve someone’s life and they’ll be grateful for your assistance. On top of that, you’ll make money every step of the way.

Online Surveys

Over the past few years, online surveys have gained a bad reputation. Nevertheless, they’re still going strong and they can still be a great way to earn a little money on the side. Of course, you’ll need to work diligently to find the survey websites that are actually worth your time. The good thing about online surveys is the fact that they’re accessible to everyone and anyone. Whether you’re fit as a fiddle or you are wheelchair bound, you can still make money with online surveys. They might not turn you into a millionaire, but they’ll help you generate a little extra money from week to week.

Renting Your Home

Do you often find yourself away from your home? If the answer is yes, you should consider putting your home to work for you. Airbnb has become incredibly popular during the past few years and it can help you make a good amount of money for doing virtually nothing. The company will even protect you from property damage! So, you’ll be able to make money and maintain your peace of mind all the while. Just make sure that you’re comfortable with a stranger being in your home, before signing up.

Joining Uber

Uber and other similar companies have managed to attract millions of customers. These companies offer rides to those in need. As long as you’ve got a car and a license, you too can become an Uber driver. This is a great job because you’ll have complete control over your schedule. The only downside is the fact that you’ll have to put a lot of wear and tear on your automobile.

Social Media

Finally, you should understand that social media is now more popular than ever before. If you’re able to establish yourself as a social media influencer, you’ll be able to make a lot of money. You can market other company’s products for them and you’ll make a lot of money. Alternatively, you may want to consider becoming a social media coach or manager for a big company. With social media, the possibilities are nearly endless.

TFSA or RRSP? Cutting through the Confusion

When it comes to choosing between a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), there are plenty of details to keep you up at night. It’s important to look at the pros and cons of each plan, so you can develop a financial plan that’s right for you.

Your personal Financial Plan should include the income per year you will need after you retire to have the retirement lifestyle you want. Your Plan should also calculate the amount you will need to contribute to TFSA or RRSP per year to achieve this.

This will help you determine the difference between your current tax bracket and the tax bracket you will experience after you retire. It’s easy to assume your income will be less, so your tax bracket will be less, but that is not necessarily accurate. Many government income programs allow clawback provisions that put many seniors in shockingly high tax brackets!

Clawbacks are just like a tax and they can be an unexpected cost. If you look at the breakdown of the three most common clawbacks, you can see the difference between having a TFSA or an RRSP. Here’s how the three clawbacks break down:

1.      Low income (less than $20,000) – 50% clawback on GIS

2.      Middle income ($35,000-$85,000) – 15% clawback on the age credit

3.      High income ($75,000-$120,000) – 15% clawback on OAS

You can own the same investments in your TFSA as your RRSP. The main difference is that RRSP contributions and withdrawals have tax consequences, while TFSA contributions and withdrawals don’t.

Therefore, the answer to TFSA vs. RRSP is primarily based on your marginal tax bracket today compared to when you withdraw after you retire.

Rule of Thumb

RRSP is better if:

  • You will be in a lower marginal tax bracket during retirement. Example: Today you’re making $100,000 and you will receive $35,000 during retirement, you can get a tax refund of 43% on your current deposits and pay only 20% tax on your retirement withdrawals, giving you a gain on the actual value of your RRSP of 23%.

TFSA is better if:

  • You will be in a higher marginal tax bracket during retirement. Example: Today you’re making $40,000 and you will receive $20,000 during retirement, you can get a tax refund of 20% on your current deposits and pay out 70% when you make retirement withdrawals. This figure includes lost GIS from the clawback. This saves you a 50% loss on your entire RRSP.

You can choose either an RRSP or a TFSA if:

  • You will be in the same marginal tax bracket during retirement.

Other Details to Consider

If you are still unsure if an RRSP or a TFSA is right for you, answer these two important questions:

1.      How will I use my tax refund?

  • TFSA is best if you plan on spending your RRSP tax refunds. Example: if you deposit $10,000 to either a TFSA or an RRSP and then spend the refund, the TFSA will give you a higher retirement income. You need to reinvest your tax refund for RRSPs to provide you the same after-tax retirement income as TFSAs.

2.      Is the withdrawal flexibility from my TFSA a pro or a con?

  • Flexibility is good, but if you are tempted to withdraw before retirement, RRSP might be a better choice.

Sound Financial Planning

It is advisable to plan on retiring with a taxable income in the low-to-mid level tax brackets. Since the cash that you live on can vary from your taxable income, it’s important to remember that TFSA withdrawals that are non-taxable. They can give you cash income that is not taxable income. Other tax deductions must be factored in to figure out the tax bracket you will be in.

Example: Basic government pensions are $20,000. OAS is $7,000 maximum, based on your number of years residing in Canada. CPP can range from $0 to $13,000, depending on how much you’ve deposited in the past. From here, calculate your income from your RRSP and TFSA and any other investments. You can generally withdraw 3-4% (depending on how you invest) of your RRSP or TFSA each year and have it last as long as you live.

This should help you determine which plan is right for you. You can plan to be in the right tax bracket. If you currently earn $80,000 and will retire with $50,000, you may be tempted to think TFSA is best since you will get a refund of 31% today but will pay 34% at withdrawal. However, with only $5,000 per year from non-taxed TFSA, your taxable amount is down to $45,000 which puts you in the 23% category, so RRSP is actually better. In this example, you need enough TFSA for the $5,000 per year but the rest should go into RRSP.

Important Note

Don’t forget to adjust for inflation! All of your retirement calculations need to factor in inflation. It will roughly double your cost of living in 20 or 25 years.

Forgetting to include inflation is the most common error many people and advisors make in estimating retirement income and how large of a nest egg you will need.

What about non-registered investments?

In some cases, non-registered investments may actually be better. Just maximizing TFSA and RRSP is not always the best answer. If your taxable income in retirement will be in a higher tax bracket than now, non-registered investments might be a smarter choice. If using your TFSA to the maximum will still leave you in higher tax brackets, non-registered investments will give you more cash at lower tax brackets than RRSP.

Example: Currently you make $80,000 and you plan to retire with $80,000, you get a 31% refund now but will have to pay as much as 44% when you withdraw because of the OAS clawback. Upon retirement, you can only get $45,000 at lower tax bracket rates than your current tax bracket.

If you plan on getting $20,000 from government pension, then you need to plan now for enough RRSP to give you $25,000 income. The rest should be in TFSAs. However, that won’t be enough. You will still need $35,000 more. That’s when non-registered investments might pan out better for you than RRSPs.

But don’t forget the taxes. Non-registered investments are not always tax free, depending on how they are invested, and the interest is always taxable. Capital gains, however, are only half taxable. Dividends are given preferred tax rates but they also get higher clawbacks because the income for determining clawbacks is the “grossed-up dividend”, which is 38% more than the dividend.

Let’s look at a worst-case scenario for non-registered investments: a senior making $20,000 gets a dividend of $1,000 which has a clawback of $690 (50% of $1,380). In this case, there is no income tax, but you still lose $690 out of the $1,000 in reduced GIS income.

If you sell a bit of your non-registered investments each month, you can get a nice, low tax rate on the cash. My term for this is “self-made dividends.” Since your cash income is made up of your capital gains and your original investment, the tax is very low, often only 10% of your withdrawal.

Bottom Line

1.      RRSP –

  • medium working income $50-80,000 and modest retirement savings
  • high working income over $90,000

2.      TFSA –

  • low working income under $45,000
  • medium to high working income with no retirement savings
  • medium to high working income with large retirement portfolio

How much should I save?

Generally speaking, a modest savings would be $500,000-$700,000 when you retire. Factoring in inflation, this would amount to approximately $1 million to $1.4 million if you plan to retire in two decades.

Plan in Place

Now is the time to prepare a Financial Plan that will help you sift through the options while understanding all the details such as tax brackets, clawbacks and inflation. In my experience, when my retired clients have a portfolio consisting of a good RRSP or pension, a strong TFSA and some non-registered investments, we can come up with a good plan for how much they can withdraw annually while minimizing the amount of taxes that are required.

With a mix of fully-taxed, low taxed and non-taxed sources of income, we can plan effectively for you to receive the cash for the retirement you want, while remaining in lower tax brackets.

A sound financial plan that cuts through the confusion of TFSAs and RRSPs set you up for a comfortable and worry-free retirement. It will have the optimal strategies that are right for you.


RRSP.ORG Registered Retirement Savings Plan

Registered Retirement Savings Plan – RRSP.ORG the original website that best describes everything you wanted to know about Canadian registered plans and schemes has taken a turn for the best. The information and knowledge base on RRSP.ORG is more than ready for change and a complete overhaul.

MONEY.CA the leading Canadian money and personal finance website has acquired the aging website for all the right reasons. RRSP is just one of many keyword subject sites that most of Canada wants and needs. For over 20 years this small and meaningful site providing news and information in the world of Registered plans for Canadians has now been taken over by people who know and care dearly about the subject matter and the benefits and advantages it brings to Canadian’s, the government and the country as a whole.

Look forward to the changes and updates as Canadian financial consumers will learn how to make, save and preserve more of their hard earned wealth. The advisor channel is more than welcome to contribute news, information, stories and articles that make sense and pays dividends to the average Canadian.