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Online advertising is a fickle thing. It accounts for 20% of the ad industry’s total spending, and over 90% of revenue for the internet giants Google and Facebook. That said, no one seems to have any idea whether it actually works.
That uncertainty reached a new high this week, as Google announced that 56.1% of ads served on the internet are never even “in view”—defined as being on screen for one second or more. That’s a huge number of “impressions” that cost money for advertisers, but are as pointless as a television playing to an empty room.
This is not a big revelation. The web metrics company ComScore reported last year that 46% of online ads are never seen. Spider.io, an ad fraud company acquired by Google in February, has pointed out that a large portion of ads are “viewed” only by robots, revealing that one botnet of 120,000 virus-infected computers viewed ads billions of times, running up the tab for advertisers without offering them the human eyeballs they sought.
Still, the acknowledgement by a heavyweight such as Google that ad viewability is a problem could shake up the industry by delaying possible IPOs of ad companies and requiring new ways for advertisers to gauge the effectiveness of their ads.
The nineteenth-century retailer John Wanamaker famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is I don’t know which half.” In this case, it’s the obviously the half that pays for ads which are never seen, and now advertisers are looking for new tools to figure out which those are.
It’s worth noting that Google made this acknowledgement of the deficiency of the model it has profited richly from while also offering a new model to advertisers: In July it introduced its Active View product, which measures only viewed ads.
A tax avoidance strategy has been growing in popularity in recent years. Although CRA has been aware of the strategy for over ten years, its increase in popularity and the Federal government’s current focus on reforming the taxation of insurance means that the life of the strategy may be coming to an end.
There are several good reasons for life insurance to be owned corporately rather than personally. A business owner is typically a key person of the business, and any buy-sell agreements or business interruption applications may require that the policy be owned corporately. Corporate ownership also allows for the payment of premiums with corporate dollars, which for small businesses generally have a lower tax rate than if the policy is owned personally.
There are of course also downsides. The loss of creditor protection, a potential impact to the capital gains exemption, additional complexity and accounting requirements, and the potential taxation of the death benefit are among the impacts to consider. Properly planned, these issues can be minimized, making corporate ownership an attractive option.
The corporately owned policy can be a newly issued policy, or could be a personally owned policy that is sold to the corporation. The latter may be the only option if health concerns make it costly, or even impossible, to obtain a new policy.
The sale of a policy from personal ownership to corporate ownership introduces a little used, until recently, tax savings opportunity. In exchange for the policy the corporation pays the individual the fair market value of the policy. The gain reportable to the individual is based on the cash surrender value of the policy rather than the fair market value, the two of which may differ substantially.
In many cases the taxable gain to the individual is zero, effectively resulting in a tax free disbursal of earnings from the corporation.
Overview of the transfer
A shareholder transferring a policy to his or her corporation is making a non-arm’s length transfer and therefore subject to Section 148(7) of the Income Tax Act. In exchange for the policy the company pays the shareholder the fair market value of the policy. The tax consequences consist of four parts:
Deemed Disposition – The shareholder who owns the policy is deemed to have disposed of the policy for the cash surrender value (CSV). The taxable income to the shareholder will be the CSV minus the Adjusted Cost Basis (ACB).
New Adjusted Cost Basis – Section 148(7) also deems the new ACB after the transfer to be equal to the CSV. The corporation has acquired an interest in the policy at the new ACB.
Payment for the fair market value – The corporation pays or provides a note to the shareholder for the fair market value of the insurance policy. There is no tax to the shareholder and the company has a reduction in retained earnings.
Payment of the Death Benefit – Upon the death of the life insured, the death benefit is paid into the Capital Dividend Account (CDA) to the extent that the benefit exceeds the ACB. The ACB will typically have enough time to decrease to $0, so the entire death benefit is paid into the CDA, which can then be distributed tax free.
Best Policies to Value
An actuary specializing in fair market valuation can provide advice on the potential value of a policy. The best policies to transfer will result in little or no taxable income upon disposition, and have fair market value that is greater than the cash value. There are several factors which contribute to a policy having a fair market value that is greater than the cash surrender value.
Deterioration in health – Any health problems that reduce life expectancy will increase the value of a life insurance policy.
Policies with guaranteed costs – Policies with guaranteed level premiums build up value over time, as the initial premiums exceed the cost of insurance in order to keep the premiums lower at higher ages when the cost of insurance exceeds the premiums. The reduction in interest rates has further increased the value of such policies, as they premiums were set assuming higher interest rates, and the premiums are guaranteed. Examples of these policies are Universal Life with level cost of insurance, term to 100, and whole life non-participating policies.
Although the CRA has stated that they agree with the tax treatment described above, they also feel it is an anomaly and referred the matter to the department of Finance. This position has been confirmed several times in the past ten years. While Finance has yet to take any action, the issue does now appear to be on their radar. The next budget may very well put an end to this opportunity.
November is Financial Literacy Month here is your chance to learn more about mortgages and debt financing from a 40 year veteran that knows more, tells all and shows the dedicated few that want the facts, the proof and the truth about mortgages, financing, interest rates and contracts.
“The average Canadian pays too much interest”.
Charles S. Bell covers the basics and deals with the serious issues of debt reduction and mortgage elimination with tried and true methods that have proved to make, save and preserve millions of hard earned dollars for the average Canadian over the many years working with one client at a time.
Join “The Mortgage Killer” for a one night only in NOVEMBER pre-scheduled Mortgage Seminar at The Toronto Airport Marriott Hotel on Wednesday November 13, 2013 at 7:15 pm.
The small print is put into precise focus and the fuzzy math that most people don’t read or understand is carefully interpreted and explained for the benefit, privilege and advantage of the average Canadian.
There are so many variables and offerings that have can have many complex issues when it comes to money, credit and financial contracts and obligations. Finally it is the person and the circumstance with best case scenarios and forward moving plans that make for a more enjoyable home ownership and balanced life.
On Wednesday September 11th at 7:30 pm Charles S. Bell invites you to the one of a kind “Mortgage Seminar” that reveals the truth and thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars of savings with simple, legal financial equalization action techniques. “The Mortgage Killer” financing that brings harmony to your life, assets and property.
Toronto Airport Marriott Hotel by popular demand – Charles Bell will be speaking about the truths and misconceptions of mortgages in Canada. Refreshments served RSVP [email protected].
Anyone who has a Canadian mortgage owes it to themselves or their family to see if they qualify. Mortgages Canada not all mortgages and debt financing is the same in Canada. Do yourself a favor and learn more about what a difference a day makes. A top notch Canadian Real Estate Seminar highly recommended for the biggest element in property ownership “financing”.
Richard Kiernicki of MONEY sets the record straight about a revolutionary idea that can save thousands and the man who has the plan to do it.
On occasion when opportunity collides directly with preparedness, that moment, has often been defined as “luck”. I am lucky. Being open-minded and being an effective listener have, on quite a few occasions, provided an opportunity for luck to materialize in my life. I accepted an invitation from an acquaintance of mine to attend a small informal meeting a few weeks back to hear about an “opportunity”. There I was introduced to Mr. Charles S. Bell, President of Financial Equalization Action Techniques and Mortgage Killer Ltd. from Toronto, who made a presentation on a subject that, quite frankly I wish I had known about during the quarter century I offered financial planning services to my clients, called the Financial Equalization plan. Now I consider myself even luckier. Charles’ presentation was like a throwback to an era that existed before the creation of hi-tech presentations containing Powerpoint images and graphics that command such presence where the actual presenter can almost get lost somewhere in the hype. Charles was live, a mix of personal stories that led to the research and creation of the plan he masterminded along with a few unrelated vaudevillian style “stories” and jokes. He was genuine. You just got the feeling that this guy was honest, his word on a handshake, a trusted representative of an era slowly fading into history. When you are told that the power behind the creation of the plan was the direct result of great personal and family adversity you just know that Charles speaks directly from his heart. He will prove it! Affectionately known as “The Mortgage Killer” Charles obtained a copyright for the Financial Equalization Plan in 1987 from the government proving that it is the most unique and powerful plan in the mortgage and debt reduction industry. Since then, over 35,000 Canadians have used his process to save millions of dollars in mortgage and debt interest charges they were legally obligated to pay their lenders. This plan CANNOT be purchased. You can only apply to see if you will qualify. There are no fees or out of pocket costs for you to apply. If you do not qualify, you cannot participate. It is as simple as that. Well, with promises like that, I left the seminar determined to expose a fake. After all, when it seems too good to be true, most often it is too good to be true, right? I had to find the flaws. Even though I detest doing due diligence, I had to know. In summary, it’s all good.
Don’t miss this unique opportunity to meet Charles S. Bell the one and original great performer who challenged the government, the status quo, the queen and her representatives. Learn more about the thousands of well-to do and wanting to do better Canadians who have already successfully employed these important, legal techniques to make, save and preserve more money more often on the way to being debt free and equity rich.
Do you keep your money to yourself, the old what’s mine is MINE or do you share your finances and the responsibility with your partner? This is a great conversation starter, which often evokes a highly emotional response.
Over the years I have met with couples and in the process of discussing values and personal /financial goals, there has come that awkward, frightening moment when I present the completed twelve month budget. The responses have been memorable in the situations where each partner is keeping their finances separate. I have shared in the sorrow, disbelief, and sheer panic as the full financial picture is revealed. Honesty and openness is a must when dealing with finances as a couple. I have come to the opinion that the most successful way to manage your finances as a couple is to utilize each other’s strengths and to make a plan where each person is held accountable.
Some people truly are not the least bit interested in finances and will live in a world of denial where they honestly do not know how, when or even IF the bills are paid! You can ask them their mortgage interest rate or how they paid for their last vacation and they will just shrug because they have no idea.
So what is a success strategy that has been proven to work over and over again? Both partners in the relationship have to take responsibility.
If you are not the one responsible for the finances (you know who you are) then here are your strategies for success which will reduce the questions and the arguments:
Show your appreciation towards the one who is managing the finances;
You MUST make yourself aware of the financial Goals.
Know what the budgeted weekly amounts are for groceries, etc., and what account you access that money from.
For those of you managing the finances here are your success strategies:
Have a system in place so your partner can easily access all the information without causing you stress.
Have one account just for groceries, and spending money. Transfer in the weekly or bi-weekly amount into an account that each person can access with their debit cards. There is definitely NO overdraft protection attached to this account! This is the easiest and most successful method I’ve seen.
My recommendation to all couples: discuss and plan who is going to be responsible for which bills, and to have a system in place that makes this a simple task. Secrecy will not produce financial results; and living in ignorance will only result in frustration for one or both of you.
The solution? Teamwork and using each other’s talents. I have client’s using this method for success. The husband transfers money into both a savings accounts and a spending account (groceries and other expenses).He ensures that the bills are paid on time. It doesn’t matter if 95% of these transactions are automatic debit: it still counts because he has taken ownership!!! The wife does the grocery shopping and takes out the spending money for the week for both of them. They have agreed on set goals and each of them is motivated and feeling involved and appreciated.
The moral of this story? Couples that work together planning and managing their financial future are the most successful, financially, and in their relationship as well. Together or apart: you decide.
Not exactly what you had in mind when you think elephants but this analogy turned idiom is a great way to describe and explain the complexities of personal finance in an easy and manageable way.
Frank Wiginton has developed a reputation as an easy-to-understand financial educator and has written an interesting book entitled “HOW TO EAT AN ELEPHANT – ACHIEVING FINANCIAL SUCCESS ONE BITE AT A TIME” that includes access to a self-help website (http://www.howtoeatanelephant.ca) that takes people through his entire process. His chosen title is very appropriate as developing a sound financial plan is perceived as a daunting exercise for most people.
Frank uses a variety of stories and scenarios to share his thoughts and perspectives on each part of your plan. Frank takes people through a logical process beginning with setting goals followed by that most feared word – budget! To his credit, his process helps relieve people of the much of the stress that often accompanies this challenging exercise.
Frank takes his readers on a journey through all of the important parts of a sound plan including debt and cash-flow management, life and disability insurance along with critical illness and long term care needs. He discusses pensions and other retirement resources including OAS and CPP/QPP, your RRSPs and TFSAs. He provides sound guidance on savings for education requirements and the legal niceties required to ensure our wishes are carried out in the event we are unable to act for ourselves and after we pass away.
After reading the book, I came to a series of conclusions about his process and style:
a) he emphasises that achieving your own definition of financial success is a journey, not a destination;
b) each person is accountable for their own successes and failures;
c) working with a professional team of advisors will reduce your overall level of risk of failure and enhance your probability of success, but you can’t abdicate your own responsibility to your team;
d) common-sense is your greatest ally;
e) you need to have patience – starting with the patience to devote time each month to your own financial affairs; and
f) you need to monitor your progress regularly against your goals and make needed adjustments as soon as the need becomes apparent.
Like every effective author, Frank has strong personal beliefs and has done a very good job at sharing them with his readers. Even if you choose not to agree with his perspective or views, the process he uses to explain each part of the plan ensures that you go through a logical evaluation of the various options before making a decision rather than shooting from the hip.
Throughout the book, there are “One Frank Thought” boxes in which his personality shines through while sharing some unique perspectives on the topic in question – they add greatly to both the material and the concepts he presents.
There are two advantages to RRSP investing. The first is tax deferred growth, which allows the effects of compounding to grow your assets far in excess of non-sheltered assets. The second is the assumed reduction in your personal tax rate at older ages when the assets will be withdrawn. Both of these benefits may not be as advantageous as they used to be.
RRSP funds should be invested in income generating assets, such as bonds and GICs, which would attract the most tax outside of an RRSP. Assets which return capital gains are best kept outside of the RRSP due to the more favourable tax treatment of those gains. With interest rates at multi-decade lows, and projections that these rates will continue for the foreseeable future, compounded growth will be severely hindered.
With growing government debt loads and lower projected growth rates, we also face the real potential for higher taxes. This may be especially true with respect to retirement assets, which will draw the attention of future politicians struggling to pay for the debt load which, as far as many voters will be concerned, was created by a wealthy retired class.
In analyzing a retirement strategy, it would therefore be prudent to consider the possibility of low investment returns, and higher tax rates. For instance, a 50 year old, earning only 3%/year, with a marginal tax rate increasing from 46% to 60%, by age 71 would have been slightly better off without an RRSP. Assuming investments are based on capital gains the RRSP effectiveness drops significantly.
Most scenarios for the future do still show RRSP investing to be beneficial, especially if it is likely that you will find yourself in a lower tax bracket at retirement. Nonetheless, based on age, investment return, and future tax rates, there will be a percentage of Canadians who would have been better off without registered assets. Those fortunate enough to expect to remain in the top tax bracket should consider whether deregistering all of their assets now would reduce their total tax bill, if tax rates do increase in the future.