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Monthly Archives: December 2013

Odette Morin

Give now (and reap this little-known reward)

This is the time of year when temperatures drop, but hearts seem to get warmer. It’s a time when thoughts turn to dinners, decorating and festivities with family and friends. It’s also a time when our thoughts turn to sharing with others less fortunate.

Generally, this isn’t the time when our thoughts turn to taxes – unless, of course, you’re me!

Then again, I have something important to share that can be applied to your 2013 income tax return. It’s a little known tax break that adds 25% to the rates calculated in the Charitable Donation Tax Credit (CDTC) for up to $1,000 of monetary donations.

That’s a 40% federal credit for donations of $200 or less, and a whopping 54% federal credit for the portion of donations over $200 but not exceeding $1,000.

It’s called the First-Time Donor’s Super Credit (FDSC), but the good news is that you don’t have to be a first time donor to qualify. As long as neither you nor your spouse, or common-law partner, have claimed the credit since 2007, you’re eligible. The same holds true if you made a donation, but didn’t claim it.

This gift from the government is a great incentive, but it does come with a bit of red tape, or red ribbon (let’s keep it festive!):

Gift box

Donations must be cash only. The credit can be shared between spouses and common-law partners, but their total claim can’t exceed $1,000, even though single Canadians can each claim up to $1,000. Only donations made in the same year of claim can qualify.

With the year’s end fast approaching, I suggest you donate to your heart’s content as soon as possible. After all, you’ll be rewarded on so many levels.

For information, feel free to visit the Canadian Revenue Agency.

 

 

 

Odette Morin

It’s official, the QE tapering is beginning in January

In a surprise move, the Federal Reserve has decided to reduce its stimulus for the U.S. economy because the job market has shown steady improvement. The Fed will trim its $85 billion a month in bond purchases by $10 billion starting in January. The shift could lead to higher long-term borrowing rates for individuals and businesses.

The Fed announced the move in a statement after it ended a policy meeting Wednesday. At a news conference afterward, Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed expects to make “similar moderate” reductions in its monthly bond purchases if economic improvements continue.

“It likely will be appropriate to maintain the current target range for the federal funds rate well past the time that the unemployment rate declines below 6-1/2 percent, especially if projected inflation continues to run below the committee’s 2 percent longer-run goal,” the Fed statement said.

The market surprisingly rallied on the news. We like the small and gradual move too.

Odette Morin
Terry Broaders

Weekly Update

“There Is No Death, Only A Change of Worlds” -Chief Seattle

 

Slow Day In The Markets

The Toronto stock market closed little changed Friday with buyers not inclined to do much on hopes that a meeting of the Federal Reserve next week will provide clarity on whether the central bank is set to start reducing its monetary stimulus. The S&P/TSX composite index was 11 points higher at 13,125. The Canadian dollar closed up 0.4 of a cent at 94.38 cents US. U.S. indexes were similarly lacklustre after three days of losses as the Dow Jones industrials edged 15 points higher to 15,755 the Nasdaq added 2 points to 4,000 and the S&P 500 index slipped 0.18 of a point to 1,775. Expectations about the Fed tapering its US$85 billion a month of bond purchases have changed over the last month. Previously markets largely expected that the U.S. central bank would hold off until March when incoming chair Janet Yellen is settled in her new job. But a string of strong data last week, capped by a solid employment report for November, has raised concerns that the Fed could act as soon as next week when the Federal Open Market Committee meets Dec. 17-18. The U.S. stimulus has lifted stocks over the past few years and its potential reduction has jolted markets since May when outgoing Fed chair Ben Bernanke first mentioned the possibility of tapering. However, any cutback in asset purchases would be gradual and is expected to be accompanied by a renewed commitment by the Fed to keep interest rates low.

 

Fewer Canadians Want To Be Snowbirds

While 73% of pre-retirees still plan to travel during their golden years, only 27% plan to remain south for the entire winter, finds a poll by RBC. The reality is that fewer Canadians plan to become snowbirds and only 16% of those who are already retired actually are. Also, there were marked differences between how the genders expect to spend their retirement years. Women were much more likely than men to say they will work as volunteers (63% vs. 52%) or spend more time with their friends (50% vs. 39%). Men, on the other hand, planned to spend more time with their spouse/partner (61% vs. 53%). Despite these very different expectations, over one-third of couples have not talked to their spouses/partners about what they want to do when they retire.

If you are within five to 10 years of your ideal retirement date, it’s time to focus on what’s really important to you — your family, your health, your lifestyle, your legacy — and start preparing now for the retirement you have in mind.

 

Sources: Bloomberg, RBC, Investment Executive, advisor.ca

Terry Broaders

Weekly Update December 10 2013

“It Always Seems Impossible Until It’s Done” -Nelson Mandela

 

Markets Close Higher

North American stock markets registered solid gains Friday amid stronger than expected employment reports in Canada and the United States. The S&P/TSX composite index ran up 80 points to 13,281 as Statistics Canada reported that the economy added 21,600 jobs during November; almost double the number that had been expected. The jobless rate held steady at 6.9%.

The Dow Jones industrials gained 139 points to 15,961 even as the U.S. employment report left intact concerns the Federal Reserve will start to cut back on a key stimulus measure sooner than expected. The U.S. Labor Department reported that 203,000 jobs were created during November, on top of a revised 200,000 in October. Economists had expected a gain of around 180,000. The solid American jobs number added to other data that came out this week showing an improving economy, including strong manufacturing and housing reports and stronger than expected third quarter economic growth.

Self Employment Increases

Canadian self-employed numbers are on the rise. Following several years of little growth, the number of self-employed Canadians has increased 1.7% year-to-date, outpacing the 1.3% rise in paid employment, finds Scotiabank. Self-employment is on track to account for about one-quarter of net job creation in 2013, significantly higher than its 15% share of the overall workforce. The recent upswing appears to reflect improving confidence in the economy, rather than weak labour market conditions pushing Canadians into self-employment. There are currently about 2.7 million self-employed individuals in Canada, accounting for 15% of the total workforce. Sixty per cent of self-employed workers are owners of unincorporated businesses, including independent workers such as childcare providers. The vast majority (86%) do not employ any paid help. The other roughly 40% are owners of incorporated businesses, with a fairly even split between those with and without employees. The likelihood of being self-employed increases with age, with one-third of workers aged 65 and over choosing self-employment over paid work compared with less than 10% for those aged 25-34. The majority of self-employed workers are between the ages of 35 and 64.

 

Market Update as of December 6 2013

The TSX closed at 13281, down -114 points or -0.85% over the past week. YTD the TSX is up 5.90%.

The DOW closed at 16020, down -66 points or -0.41% over the past week. YTD the DOW is up 22.25%.

The S&P closed at 1805, down -1 points or -0.06% over the past week. YTD the S&P is up 26.58%.

The Nasdaq closed at 4063, up 3 points or 0.07% over the past week. YTD the Nasdaq is up 31.45%.

Gold closed at 1228, down -22.00 points or -1.76% over the past week. YTD gold is down -26.90%.

Oil closed at 97.71, up 4.70 points or 5.05% over the past week. YTD oil is up 5.55%.

The USD/CAD closed at 1.0639, up 0.0025 points or 0.24% over the past week. YTD the USD/CAD is up 7.73%.

 

Sources: Bloomberg; Investment Executive; advisor.ca

Terry Broaders

Weekly Update December 3 2013

“Shopping is Cheaper Than a Psychiatrist” -Tammy Fay Bakker

 

TSX Closes Higher

The Toronto stock market ended higher Friday amid a stronger than expected showing for third-quarter economic growth in Canada, while indications pointed to a successful start to the U.S. holiday shopping season. The S&P/TSX composite index was up 24 points to 13,395. The Canadian dollar weakened despite higher commodity prices and a report from Statistics Canada that gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of 2.7% in the third quarter. That was better than the 2.5% pace that was expected. GDP growth in September was ahead 0.3% from the previous month versus the 0.2% rise that had been expected. The loonie lost 0.3 of a cent to 94.16 cents US as the greenback gained ground against other currencies.

U.S. indexes largely ran out of steam as New York markets operated on a shortened post-Thanksgiving session, which ended at 1 p.m. ET. The Dow Jones industrials closed down 10.92 points to 16,086.41, the Nasdaq ran ahead 15.14 points to 4,059.89, and the S&P 500 index was 1.42 points lower at 1,805.81. Black Friday has been traditionally the start to the busy shopping season, sandwiched between U.S. Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was named Black Friday because that is when retailers are said to begin moving out of the red and into the black, or becoming profitable.

 

Canada’s Economy Grows at Fastest Pace in Two Years

Canada’s economic growth was stronger than expected in the third quarter. Statistics Canada says the national gross domestic product grew at a 2.7 % annual rate, two-tenths of a point above estimates. The pace of growth was the fastest in two years, when the economy expanded by 3.5 %. For comparison purposes, the U.S. economy is expanding at a 2.8 % annual pace. The mining sector was a strong performer, as mining and oil and gas extraction were up 2.2 % in the quarter. There were also gains in the manufacturing, retail, and wholesale trade, finance and insurance sectors.  The loonie gained a fifth of a cent to 94.67 cents US following the release of the data.

 

Market Update as of November 29, 2013

The TSX closed at 13395, down -83 points or -0.62% over the past week. YTD the TSX is up 6.81%.
The DOW closed at 16086, up 21 points or 0.13% over the past week.YTD the DOW is up 22.76%.

The S&P closed at 1806, up 1 points or 0.06% over the past week.YTD the S&P is up 26.65%.

The Nasdaq closed at 4060, up 68 points or 1.70% over the past week.YTD the Nasdaq is up 31.35%.

Gold closed at 1250, up 7.00 points or 0.56% over the past week.YTD gold is down -25.60%.

Oil closed at 93.01, down -1.82 points or -1.92% over the past week.YTD oil is up 0.48%.

The USD/CAD closed at 1.0614, up 0.0100 points or 0.95% over the past week.YTD the USD/CAD is up 7.47%.

 

Sources: Bloomberg, Investment Executive, advisor.ca