#CentsAble

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February 21 - It's RRSP Time! Expand/Collapse

RRSPCan you believe that it's been 60 years since the RRSP was introduced as a retirement savings tool! Many people today still use an RRSP as place to put extra money such as a bonus, or to reduce income on the tax return.

There are common mistakes to avoid when considering an RRSP or if you have existing RRSP's.

  • Dipping into funds:
    • Dipping into an RRSP for expenses other than retirement income
    • Making random withdrawals from your RRSP can give you a unexpected tax bill in April
    • Now there are two expectations to dip into your RRSP funds and they are for:
      • First -time homebuyers plan
      • Lifelong learning plan

Remember no tax is withheld from these withdrawals so you will need to repay the money over a period of time.

  • Putting in too much money:
    • There are limits to how much you can invest in an RRSP
    • Make sure you know what your limit is- this can vary for people without or with a company pension plan
  • Starting too late:
    • The earlier you start sticking that money away the better
    • It is understandable that it may be hard to begin when you may be working at part - time job - but it does not need to be large sums it can be as simple as tucking away$25 per month

  • Not revisiting your plan:
    • It’s not enough just to open an RRSP and make a yearly, lump sum contribution
    • You need evaluate your retirement goals on a regular basis

February 13 - Breaking up with Winter! Expand/Collapse

Why is February the month people look forward to after Christmas? February

First of all, by the time February rolls around many of us are ready for a break from winter.

Other reasons for its popularity:
  • It's the shortest month in the year
  • It has a mid-winter break from university and school classes
  • There is a Family Day long weekend
  • And of course, Valentine’s Day!
It’s also the time for the vacation you’ve been planning and saving for since last February.  Don't have a vacation planned for February but want to go somewhere? Well, it's never too late  to start planning!
 
To help you get started with building a plan, here are some questions to ask yourself:
  1. How can you get better financial understanding to achieve measurable financial goals that you set?
  2. How you can take a whole new approach to your budget and improving control over your financial lifestyle?
  3. Did you know that savings created from good planning can prove beneficial in difficult times?
Check out these 10 basic steps to help answer questions and create a #CentsAble plan.
 
No matter what your financial goals are putting a  plan in place is essential for your financial well-being.

February 6 - To Save or Not to Save that is the Question Expand/Collapse

RRSP vs TFSARetirement
 
Wow did January just fly by or what! Don't let February do the same without taking advantage of a great way to save for retirement. Two popular ways to do this are either an RRSP or a TFSA. You're probably saying hang on a second – what’s the difference and how do I choose which is best for me?
 
RRSP BENEFITS
  • Contributions to your RRSP are tax deductible
  • Pay no tax on interest or other monetary growth until the day your funds are withdrawn
  • A variety of investment options depending on your personal preferences and needs
  • Complete deposit insurance on term deposits
  • Pre-authorized contribution programs make it easy to build a strong retirement fund
 TFSA BENEFITS
  • No minimum contribution required
  • Contribute up to $5,500 per year (as of 2016)
  • Any investment income you earn is tax-free
  • Withdraw money at any time with no tax penalty
  • Unused contributions are carried forward to the next year
  • Choose from a variety of investment options
Both RRSPs and TFSA's have a similar purpose to save for retirement but go about it in different ways, depending on your goals and the stage of life your at.

So let's chat about the difference of each, first an RRSP is meant for your retirement savings and a TFSA can be used for any kind of savings goals.

Another variation is that RRSP deductions are tax deductible and TFSA's – not so much.  You can deduct your RRSP contribution on the income you report on your tax return. A TFSA you can't, however withdrawals are free because you made the contribution with after tax money and RRSP you pay tax on your withdrawals since you made the contribution with pre tax dollars.

Another thing to consider is that when you turn 71, you need to move your money from your RRSP into another investment like an RRIF, with TFSA's on the other hand, there is no age limit.
 
Here is a Retirement Planner and a TFSA calculator to help you!
 
Now you  have a start to see which works the best for your future financial saving goals!

January 23 - Where has all my money gone and it’s only Monday? Expand/Collapse

Do you know where your money goes?Spending

Imagine this, it's payday, one of the best days of the month! You've worked hard for your money and now it's sitting in your bank account. You check a couple weeks later and it's almost all gone, but you aren't really sure where it went. Sure you bought that new shirt, filled your car up with gas, got groceries and went to the movies, but you didn't spend that much. Then again, you also went out for lunch a few times and you did stop by the ATM once or twice and you… Sound familiar? It can be really easy to let our spending get away from us. But a little here and a little there can really add up in the end. Fortunately, our online banking PFM tool is here to help! With it, you can track exactly where your money goes each month and since you already have a budget in place, especially after last week's post, you can see which buckets you're spending a bit too much in. 

Need help to understand what spending habits are ? Here's a great example: Every morning on your way to work you find yourself in the lineup or the drive thru at your favorite coffee shop buying your morning cup of java. That's a habit!
 
Where do these spending habits come from? Lots of places:
  • We see how our parents or other important people in our lives spend their money
  • Our own personalities and experiences
  • The things we see on the internet, the TV or from the media
  • We see how people we admire and want to be like spend their money
All of us have different spending habits because we are all different people, but we all have something in common. We all need to understand how we spend our money and PFM is a great tool to help with that.

January 30 - Haven't taken charge of your money yet? Expand/Collapse

recapHere's a quick recap for another look at PFM
 
"When it comes to finances, most people fall into three groups:"
  1. You understand the importance of budgeting, and have one set-up. You watch your spending and have a pretty good awareness of where your money is going.
  2. You see your money come in and you see it go back out. You know you should have a budget and know more about your money, but right now it's not a priority.
  3. You fall somewhere in the middle.
Conexus has created an online tool, Personal Financial Management (PFM), that can help you, whichever group you fall into.

Let's take a quick recap of information this week to help you start, modify or maintain your plan.

Are you ready to roll? Here we go!
  • What is PFM- Personal Financial Management - an online banking tool to help you better understand your finances.
  • How can it help – it can show you how to set up a budget and monitor your spending
First you should revisit the budgeting and spending videos on the PFM page to remind yourself what’s possible.

Okay, now that you’ve got that, let's move on to the many great online apps that can help you like this app that sends you all the weekly flyers and can help with your weekly budget.
 
Remember you can always view your spending and budgets on our Mobile Web and Mobile App features to help you keep on track.

January 16 - What’s the best cure for a debt hangover? Nope, it’s not orange juice. Expand/Collapse

Are you thinking there is a lot more month left after your payday than there is money?budgeting

You’re not alone and you can turn this around; all you need is a plan – like a budget!

A budget:
  • Gives you control over your money
  • Is a way of being intentional about the way you spend and save your money
  • Keeps you focused on your money goals
  • Helps you avoid spending unnecessarily on items and services that do not contribute to attaining your financial goals
  • Can also keep you out of debt or help you work your way out of debt if you follow it.
Here are six step to get you on your way:
  1. Assess your financial resources – how much money do you have coming in each month?
  2. Determine your expenses - how do you spend your money? Separate your fixed expenses that you must meet (mortgage, rent, car payments, insurance) from variable expenses (food, clothing, entertainment, charitable gifts). Once you see your spending patterns, you may be able to make adjustments to certain expenses.
  3. Set goals – what do you want to achieve with your money? Establish a list of the goals, either long-term like purchasing property or short-term like home improvements or car maintenance.
  4. Create a plan - Once you've figured out how much money is coming in and where it's going, you can put together a plan that matches your goals with your financial situation.
  5. Pay yourself first - When you pay yourself first you simply set aside a certain amount of money each month to go into an account that you will not touch. For those infrequent but anticipated expenses, such as property taxes, vacations, automobile insurance or car maintenance.
  6. Track your progress - At the end of each month, re-evaluate your budget. Compare your actual expenses and income to your budget. And remember, a budget is only a guideline.
Check out our Personal Financial Management in online banking. With it, you can create and manage your budgets based on your spending habits.

Budgeting doesn’t have to be complicated, here’s 8 more tips to help improve your budget plan.

Remember, a budget is only a guideline and is great for a debt hangover; orange juice is for breakfast!

January 9 - PFM – Your Resolution Secret Sidekick Expand/Collapse

NullThe hustle and bustle of Christmas is over, and those expenses are starting to arrive at your door. What a better time to check out our new exciting online banking Personal Financial Management tools.

What is Personal Financial Management (PFM)? It’s a set of financial management tools designed to help members better understand their finances and inform their overall financial decisions. 
So what does it mean for you? With PFM you can:

  • Track and categorize your spending
  • Set up a budget based on actual transactions, allowing you to set realistic limits based on your current needs and future goals
  • View your spending and budgets on our Mobile Web and Mobile App features

The best part? It’s absolutely free to members and is already completely integrated into the online banking that you all know and love!

You’re probably thinking “great idea” but where do I start? How about 5 easy steps to get control of your finances.

If budgeting and taking charge of your money was one of your New Year’s resolutions, or even if it wasn’t, our PFM tool can help get you started.

What a great way to start 2017!