300px-Luxury_Car_2Auto insurance is a necessary expense whether you own or lease a car.  In Canada, in order to drive a vehicle the law requires you to have valid car insurance. It provides you and others with financial protection against traffic accidents and any resulting liability. Insuring your car can be costly depending on your coverage type but most importantly on your age and car model. If your car falls in the sports or luxury segment, you can expect your policy to cost more. The same applies if you’re under 25 years old.   As such, you should always be looking for the best deal when it comes to car insurance.

The Benefits of Car Insurance

The benefits of car insurance typically outweigh any costs of the policy – even if just to give you peace of mind.  The biggest benefit of car insurance is that it will pay to repair your car should you get into an accident.  Car repairs can be very expensive – into the thousands of dollars – and with insurance you only pay your deductible. You are basically protecting your automobile, a large investment in one’s life.

Depending on the type of policy you get, car insurance can also pay to replace your car should it be stolen, or even damaged from something besides an accident – like vandalism or a weather related incidents.  This prevents you from having to buy a new car out of pocket.  Imagine if you also had a loan on your old car, and you had to repay that, as well as buy a new car. Your policy will protect you every time you hit the road.

That would not be the only reason on why insurance is so important. Without car insurance, you could spend years paying off medical bills, repair and other expenses to accident victims if you are at fault. That worst case scenario that everyone discounts would drain your assets simply because you did not pay a minimal cost for auto insurance.

Know Your Options

In general, basic insurance policies will meet the legal minimum requirements for third party liability. But that in no way means you have enough coverage to meet your needs. It’s very important to make a list of the optional coverages you want added to your policy. Make sure they are included in every insurance quote you obtain. In order to discover these options, don’t hesitate to speak with an insurance broker. Take the time to understand all of your options as it will allow you to pick the right ones for your situation.

It all starts with getting a car quote; this has become fast and easy thanks to online sites such as Rates.ca. All you have to do is provide your vehicle information and driving history. The site will provide you with multiple quotes and connect you with the insurance providers whose quotes you’re most interested in.

Where to Find the Best Deal

Car insurance can be expensive and in Canada the cost varies from one province to the other. Ontario for example boasts the highest insurance premiums in the country. However, it is possible to save a few hundred dollars by getting multiple Auto insurance Ontario quotes.  Shopping around is the only way to make sure that you are getting the best deal possible. Don’t be afraid of negotiating and don’t forget that you can save an extra 15%-20% more if you combine your home and car insurance.


2 Comments Mich on Nov 20th 2014

The biggest shopping weekend of the year is creeping closer by the day. While Consumer Reports recommends signing up to receive special offers and alerts by email from your favorite retailers, that alone won’t get you everything you want this holiday season. Take some time to check out the best ways to have a triumphant shopping trip this Black Friday.

Make a Game Plan

christmas happy familySome retailers have allowed their Black Friday 2014 ads to be leaked early, giving you even more time to plan your route. Many stores abide by the rule of “flash sales,” where a severely discounted price is only available for a window of a couple hours, while others simple stick to a “first come, first served” sale tactic. Most, however, mix the two, which makes planning your shopping trip carefully more important than ever.

Give yourself ample time to get in and get what you want in the given timeframe. If you’re after a flash sale, try to get there and be ready when it starts—trying to fight your way through while the sale is in full swing could not only result in disaster, it could mean the product you’re after is sold out by the time you make it to the shelf.

Try to get all the shopping at a particular store done in a single trip. If, like most Black Friday shoppers, you intend to hit more than one retailer to mark everything off your list, giving yourself a set amount of time in each store could be the best way to make the most of every minute of the sale. You can use a mapping app to figure out the quickest route to each store and save yourself some fuel in the process. Try to plan your route in a loop if possible, so you start and finish close to home, with the stores in the middle being the furthest away. You’ll be tired and more than a little footsore by the end of the shopping day, to finishing off within easy driving distance of home will make sure you get back safely.

Safety Always Comes First

Speaking of safety, it’s important to periodically remind yourself that no sale is worth physical harm. The Huffington Post reported multiple instances of violence spurred on by the Black Friday shopping frenzy in 2013, and while Wal-Mart reported that it had stepped up security efforts and seen a noticeable decrease in shopping violence as a result, that doesn’t absolve shoppers like you of responsibility. Don’t push anyone, and if you’re the one being pushed do not push back. It’s better to just not get involved—if you witness dangerous behavior or skirmishes, report the issue to a nearby employee and let the people in charge take care of it.

Keeping safe extends past the store, as well. Expect traffic delays in all major transit areas during the peak hours of Black Friday shopping.

Be a Good Shopper

That doesn’t mean being the shopper that gets every single deal that goes up on BFAds in the weeks leading up to the big day. Rather, being a good shopper means treating other people in the store with respect, especially the employees working to make your experience quick and safe. Remember that retail employees generally have no choice as to whether or not they work on Black Friday—many of them are scheduled to work Thanksgiving evening, in fact, for a shopping day coming to be known as “Grey Thursday.” If you’re mistreated by an employee, Pocket-Lint.com agrees that it’s within your rights to be stern in response, but that doesn’t mean causing a scene by yelling or demanding an employee to do something they’re legally bound to not do. This includes everything from offering a substitution because a sale item is sold out to putting something “on hold” while you shop around the store for the rest of your purchases. Remember that on Black Friday, customer holds on certain products aren’t allowed by 99 percent of retailers, so if you get your hands on something that’s selling out fast put it in your cart or pay for it right away.

Other ways of being a good Black Friday shopper include:

  • Not fighting over sale items if there’s only one left
  • Being aware of quantity limits in advance (and not trying to find ways around them)
  • Not making a mess of a display while getting your items
  • Reporting spills, messes, and slipping hazards to employees if you see them
  • Being gracious and thanking employees for the hard work they’re doing

It’s your responsibility to be the best shopper you can be this Black Friday, whether it’s in the aisles or the checkout line. Never blame an employee for something that’s the fault of the company or another shopper.

Stay Updated

The best way to have a safe and successful shopping trip this holiday season is to stay aware—of your surroundings, of your favorite retailers’ special offers, and of what products you absolutely can’t afford to miss this year. Refer to sites like BFAds to stay abreast of all the best deals as they’re released, and plan your strategy carefully. Getting the most out of Black Friday means taking the least from your bank account and being the best shopper you can be. Stay aware, updated, and don’t miss out.


Comments Off Mich on Nov 14th 2014

Choosing a forex broker that best suits your needs as a trader is not that difficult if you take a few tips in consideration. These tips represent a number of questions you need to answer in order to narrow down your choices before you make that decision to sign up.


Before comparing broker pricing or bonus sign up offers, the first thing you need to find out is whether this broker is registered with any regulating authorities. If the broker is based in the US, make sure it is registered with the National Futures Association (NFA) or Commodity Futures trading Commission (CFTC). For those brokers based in the UK, check if they’re registered with the Financial Service Authority (FSA). If your broker is not registered with any of these regulatory bodies, you might want to think twice before wiring your money, particularly if they’re based on exotic islands. This would be your first step in lowering risk as Forex also has its fair share of scamming.

The Spread

The next point to verify would be the spreads, what kind of spreads are you looking for? Fixed or variable spreads? How do they compare to other Brokers? Remember, the higher the spread, the more you are paying per transaction as this is how brokers make their money. Regardless of your trading strategy, low spreads ensure you keep a larger cut of your profits.


If you’re new to online Forex trading, beware of leverage. It will knock you out of the game pretty quickly when you’re still learning the ropes. Picking a low level of leverage ensures you will be around for longer and while it keeps your winnings small, your losses will also remain small. Successfully trading with virtual money does not guarantee you will do as well with real money.


Speaking of money, make sure you take the time to take several brokers for a demo ride. On one hand you test their platforms and on the other you practice with virtual money. However, when you decide the time is right to start with real money, start with a small amount. Remember, the currency market isn’t going anywhere and it will always offer opportunities. Starting with a small amount is highly recommended for beginners as you will be in a different state of psychology when real money you worked hard for is involved in the game.


Once you narrow down your list of potential brokers, test their customer service by asking questions. Some brokers like the Alpari forex company offer you premium services such as trading tools, news feeds,  market analysis, webinars and tutorials. Most importantly, be prepared to move your money quickly if the live experience does not mirror the demo platform, you might be surprised with reliability issues, slippage or even speed execution.

Comments Off Mich on Oct 2nd 2014

sunny-beachWhile you’re living outside of the country there’s no requirement for you to have US health insurance. Once you return this changes. You may be thinking about how you can avoid waiting periods and pre-existing ailment restrictions, when you apply for health insurance on your return.

If you’re coming back to live in the country after a period away you’re probably going to have a lot of issues to think about. So worrying about waiting for your health insurance cover to start, or worrying about whether it covers a condition you’re already suffering from is probably the last thing you need.

Do I have to apply for health insurance when I return to the country?

If you’re back in the country temporarily you may not have to apply for health insurance if you choose not to. There are regulations that control how long you have to be back in the country before you’re required to be covered by health insurance. These regulations state that if you’re back in the country for more than 35 days you need to apply.

You may think that you’re covered by travel insurance if you’re only travelling back to the country temporarily but this isn’t necessarily the case. You would have to have nine months of coverage for that qualifying year even taking into account the short gap rule which allows you to have one break in coverage of up to three months. This is to try and prevent the cost of people coming back to the country on travel insurance solely to benefit from medical treatment, and then leaving again.

How soon can I apply?

If you want to apply for health insurance when you return to your home state there are special rules in place which allow you to do so straight away via the subsidized State insurance Exchanges which have been put in place for people who either cannot afford insurance or cannot get insurance at that time.

You also have the option to purchase health insurance privately but you should note that from 2015 your policy will be expected to cover you for a specified minimum amount of health coverage. The fact that you have access to the State Insurance Exchanges at least means that you’ll not be without health insurance on your return.

What about a pre-existing health condition?

If you’re returning to the country and you already have a health condition you aren’t going to want to face the possibility of not being covered for your health issues. You shouldn’t worry about this as under the Affordable Care Act insurance providers are not allowed to refuse health insurance, or charge higher premiums, because a person is suffering with a health condition. This is the case whether you have been living in the country all the time, or you have been living abroad for a period of time.





Comments Off Mich on Aug 19th 2014

where to investInvesting is an important way to build savings for the future. Investing is not always simple. There are many things to consider when trying to maximize returns and reduce risk like an international money transfer while oversees. Several tips will help you to start investing after graduating or after getting a first job.

Contribute To Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans

Employer-sponsored retirement plans are a good place to start investing. Many employers will match a certain percentage of your contributions to the plan every year so that you instantly increase your savings. Additionally, the money is able to grow tax-deferred through investments so that you can earn more over several years or decades. You should try to start contributing to these plans as early as possible.

Consider Investing in Mutual Funds

Mutual funds are collections of different types of investments all assembled or managed by financial professionals. Mutual funds generally have a diverse portfolio of investments. This helps to minimize the risk of losses if any one part of the economy starts to decline. Mutual funds are an easy investment although you do need to research the different funds available in order to find one with low fees and consistent performance.

Avoid Gimmicks and High-Risk Investments

It’s important to avoid gimmicks and high-risk or overly complex investments. You will find a number of people offering investment opportunities that seem to make no sense. Other types of investments like junk bonds have a high amount of risk attached. Investments like derivatives can just be too complex to understand. You should never invest in something unless you fully understand how the investment works and the risks involved.

Keep Investments Diverse

Something that can be tempting when you first start investing is to place all of your money into just a handful of stocks or other investment vehicles. You need to maintain a diverse selection of investments that include everything from bonds to typical savings accounts that earn interest. This will help to protect your money. It also provides a larger opportunity for you to earn higher returns through different investments.

Maintain Some Liquidity

A final tip for investing is to maintain some liquidity. This means the ability to exchange your investments for cash quickly without taking large loses. Bonds are not very liquid because they mature a certain number of years in the future. You should keep some of your investments in items like money markets or savings accounts that provide you with fast access to cash when you need it for emergencies.

A great way to maintain this level of liquidity is to do some research. It is always a smart move to check online and look at some recent stock market trends. These sites utilize intensive research on the market to provide you with valuable useful information regarding the trends of certain markets. Keep in mind that there is no way to be 100% accurate when it comes to predicting the future of any market, but understanding their trends will prove to be an immense help in the future.

Comments Off Mich on Aug 18th 2014

trading onlineMany people invest their money online. They do this because it is easy and it is a safe way to grow your retirement savings. There are many online trading sites that are trustworthy. These online sites are also designed for the average investor. You do not have to be a sophisticated stockbroker to be able to buy and sell stocks. This article will provide an overview of how investing online works.

Choose an Online Broker

The first step is to choose an online broker. You want one that gets good reviews. There are many different ones out there. The best ones are those that are meant for the casual investor. You do not want an online broker that is meant for professional traders because it can be very complicated. The majority of national banks have their own online investing sites that are discount brokers because rather than working with an individual broker you are able to complete you’re your trading transactions through their online trading.

Setup and Fund Your Account

The next step is to setup your account and fund your account. Then, once the account is setup, you can deposit money. Some places require you to wire money in. Others will let you deposit by check.

Research What Stocks You Want

Now you are almost ready to invest. The important decision is to figure out what stocks you want to buy. You might not want to buy stocks. Some people prefer to buy ETF’s or bonds. Most online brokers have free research tools that will help you decide what investment choice is best for you. If you are looking to invest conservatively and diversify your investments, then you might be interested in an Index Fund. These will invest your money in a large allotment of stocks.

Purchase Stocks

The final step is to purchase stocks or index funds. The important thing to remember is that you want to set a price range. You don’t want to input an order for 100 shares. You must be specific and quote a price range you are willing to pay. If you simply put in a buy order for 100 shares you will pay whatever the market demands. This can end up costing you money. Every online broker offers you the ability to input a limit order. Always purchase stocks and funds using limit orders.


Comments Off Mich on Jul 4th 2014

Money_TreeTimes are hard for savers and investors at the moment. Interest rates have been incredibly low for some time now, and people are being punished for looking after their money. However, instead of leaving your capital at the mercy of high street savings accounts, it may be time to invest in a VCT.

What is a VCT?

A venture capital trust is a publicly traded company that invests in start-up firms and unlisted businesses. They provide much-needed capital for expansion and growth, and in return they get portions of the businesses they invest in. You can buy shares in these trusts, and grow your capital through the value of those shares. And just like any other type of public company, your shares will earn you a steady stream of dividend payments.

Avoid income tax

When you earn an income from dividend payments paid by regular companies, you are liable for income tax. However, the special exception afforded to a VCT investment means that any income you earn through dividends is completely tax free. If you spread your capital across several VCTs through the same provider, you could be able to earn a very healthy income whilst escaping the clutches of HMRC.

Leave more to your loved ones when you’re gone

Inheritance tax currently stands at 40 percent, and it kicks in on estates over £325,000. That may sound like a lot, but add an average house in the south of England to any inheritance, and your loved ones could already be looking at losing a hefty chunk of their legacy. However, invest in a trust of this type, hold your shares for at least two years before you die, and you can leave your investment to loved ones without your heirs being liable for inheritance tax.

Avoid capital gains tax

Venture capital trusts look for potential, great ideas and motivational leadership. And because they invest at the very early stages of a company’s development, the returns can be significant. In normal circumstances, if you were to sell your shares at a profit, you would be liable for capital gains tax. However, because the government is keen for savers to plug the investment gap left by major banks, any profit you make will be exempt from capital gains tax. As these schemes often involve many years’ of share growth, the tax you could save is significant.

Get back a slice of your income tax

Of course, venture capital trusts give you the opportunity to grow capital and earn an extra income – and those benefits alone are reason enough to get involved. However, perhaps the most eye-catching benefit involved is the ability to claim a tax rebate from HMRC.

You can claim up to 30 percent of your investment back as an income tax rebate – as long as you have paid at least that much in tax. For instance, if you have invested £10,000 in VCTs in a financial year, you can claim up to £3,000 from the tax man.

Young and ambitious entrepreneurs have fantastic business ideas in the fields of technology, renewable energy and healthcare. Unfortunately, the reticence of the banks to lend after the banking crash of 2008 has meant much of this potential has been lost. The government has moved to improve this chronic lack of credit by providing investors with some very lucrative tax benefits. Make your hard-earned capital work for you, and you can cut your tax burden in the process. It makes sound financial sense.

1 Comment Mich on Apr 9th 2014

HRB horizontal 376C_BLACK Canadians get a big break when we sell our homes.

Complaining about taxes is almost a sport in Canada, especially when we look to our U.S. neighbours for comparisons. But there are some areas in which we actually win the tax race, and one of these is our Principal Residence Exemption provision.

Americans, for example, pay capital-gains tax on the sale of their residence for any amount exceeding $250,000. In Canada, there is no monetary limit on the size of the capital gain that can be excluded from income tax following the sale of a principal residence. Full capital-gains taxes apply to the sale of other properties, so the designation of a principal residence represents significant savings.

There is one downside: Canadians cannot claim a capital loss if money was lost on the sale. But real estate typically goes up in value, so this is rarely an issue.

So what is a principal residence? For tax purposes, it is simply the home you tell the Canada Revenue Agency is your main abode. You must occupy it at some time during the year, and you can actually choose a seasonal residence such as a cottage if that saves you some tax dollars. The occupancy requirement must be met for each year you want to make the designation.

There are some restrictions, of course. Only one property can be claimed as your principal residence, regardless of how many properties you occupied during the year, and only one can be selected per family unit. (A family unit includes your spouse or common-law partner, unless you were separated throughout the year, and children younger than 18 who are themselves not married or common-law). If you have more than one property, you select the principal residence once per year. That means you can wait until you sell a property to decide if it was your principal residence that year.

If you are lucky enough to own a large property, there is a size limit on the savings: if your land is larger than 0.5 hectares, the excess portion will usually not be covered by the exemption. If you can demonstrate that all that space is necessary for the use and enjoyment of the place as a residence or that there was an external factor—such as a minimum lot-size restriction when you made the purchase—the government may grant an exception.

The rules become more complicated if you convert a property from personal-use to an income-producing use. If, for example, you moved out of a house and began renting it, the tax authorities will consider it sold for its fair market value at that time. But it is possible to elect for the change of use not to have officially occurred and defer the disposition until you actually sell the property. This election also allows you to continue to designate the property as your principal residence for up to four years, even though you are no longer occupying it, or for six if your employer moved you.

The catch is that you must still report the rental income and you cannot claim a deduction for capital cost allowance if you want the election to continue in effect. The election must be made with your tax return for the year in which the change of use occurs.

If, on the other hand, you convert a rental property to your principal residence, it will be considered as sold for market value on the day you make the designation. And again, there is an option here: you can elect to defer the capital gain resulting from the deemed disposition until you actually sell the property.

The ins and outs of the principal residence rules can be confusing. But most people own only one property and actually live in it, so for them the process is simple: there is no additional tax bill on the profit made when a house is sold. See the CRA’s Principal Residence page for any forms you need. Once you own multiple properties, it is probably best to seek the help of a tax professional or use tax software.

Consider an online program like H&R Block’s Tax Software (www.hrblock.ca), which will identify your tax situation and calculate deductions or credits as you go. Or if you would rather leave it to an expert, drop by an H&R Block office. A tax professional will even review your previous returns for free.

Comments Off Mich on Mar 18th 2014

Did you overspend on the holidays?  If so, don’t despair.  It happens to the best of us at least once, and for some of us, more than once.  If there’s one time when it’s easy to cave into spending peer pressure, it’s the holiday season.  After all, you don’t want to be seen as the one giving a skimpy gift when others are giving generously.

If you’re facing a stack bills, hold your head high and know that with a few months of discipline, you can dig your way out and make wiser decisions next holiday season.

Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment Guest on Jan 10th 2014

Canada money

$20 Bills, image src:AFP

Irresponsible and unmindful spending leads to debt. Nowadays, people prefer to use their credit cards in purchasing instead of cash. Because of this, they tend to overspend and abuse the purchasing power their credit cards hold. Only when this unconscious habit has been translated into accumulated credit card notification letters do they realize their overindulgences.

It does feel less painful and easier to swipe a credit card instead of taking a few $20s out of the wallet. At the same time, that pain will be felt once the bill arrives in the hundreds of dollars!

Fortunately there are ways to avoid a great deal of debt. By employing smart purchasing practices, you will be able to prevent yourself from experiencing impending financial anxieties, as well as cram for debt relief programs that would help you save your finances. As a consumer, it is anticipated that you know your spending limits whether you use cash or credit card. To help you practice smart spending, here are simple suggestions to help you avoid debt and improve your finances. Read the rest of this entry »

2 Comments Guest on Nov 2nd 2013

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