All posts by Ben Kaye

September 2021

Here’s a very straight forward idea. Some car insurance policies allow you to make a claim without having an impact on your record. Basically, the first accident is a freebee. This type of policy usually allows you to avoid paying the deductible on the claim.

It’s worth a call to your broker to double check what coverage you have. This type of policy will cost a little more in the short term but is well worth it in the long term.

August 2021

How do you measure financial performance? While we all know numbers aren’t the only measure of success, I update our statement of net worth on an annual basis. I’ve been doing this for the last eight years and it’s proving to be very helpful in measuring my progress against one of my financial goals. While you should always understand your financial status, seeing a trend over a sustained period is very helpful.  

The schedule of net worth allows you to review how your assets are balanced, whether you have enough liquid assets, whether you have sufficient life insurance and other financial objectives.  

Keeping this schedule up to date will be very useful for your executors. After you’ve prepared this statement once, updating it annually is a simple task.


June 2021

Did you claim the $500 credit for a digital news subscription expense when you filed your 2020 personal income tax return?  This is a non-refundable tax credit for amounts paid by individuals to a Qualified Canadian Journalism Organization (“QCJO”) for qualifying expenses after 2019 and before 2025.   A qualifying subscription expense is the amount a subscriber paid in the year for a digital news subscription to a QCJO.  To qualify for the credit, a digital news subscription must entitle an individual to access content in digital form that is primarily original written news.   The credit is entered on Line 31350 of the T1 for the years 2020 to 2024.  Check the “list of qualifying digital news subscriptions” to see if you have an expense which qualifies for the credit.  This results in tax savings of $100 – 120 per year.  It’s not much, but you should claim it, if you’re entitled to it.  

May 2021

One of the first questions I ask new clients is how much they spend in a year. There’s nearly always a look of panic. Most people don’t know what they’re spending. They try to budget by ensuring they don’t spend more than they earn.

It’s a good exercise to review what you spent in the last year. All you need to do is review credit card statements and bank statements, and record the payments in different expense categories. It generally turns out to be a sobering experience.

While this won’t provide a perfect record of where you’re spending your money, it’s a good indication of where the money is going. Having gone through this exercise, you should budget your expenses for the next year.

Furthermore, if you need to Send money to Colombia from the United States, you can do it in-store, online, or using the MoneyGram mobile app, which is available on the App Store and Google Play.

It’s a simple tip, but relevant to everyone!

April 2021

Finally, after more than a year of managing our way through Covid-19, there’s a realistic expectation much brighter times are ahead. I was reflecting on how the past year impacted my future investment strategies. Here are some suggestions to consider:

  1. Diversification of investments is the most important strategy I’d adopted. Diversification is the only “free lunch.”
  2. Limiting exposure to the public markets worked well.
  3. Don’t be only a growth or value investor. Both strategies are important to utilize. The key is to understand the value of what you own and why you own it.
  4. Don’t focus on what worked in the past.
  5. Selling your winners and locking in gains might not be the best strategy. Nurture your flowers and remove your weeds.
  6. Avoid “tips.” By the time they get to you, it’s too late.
  7. While relying on advisors, you’re the CEO of your portfolio. You need to take charge.
  8. Managing your investments needs more time than you’ve allocated in the past. Review your investments on a quarterly basis, at least.
  9. Replacing traditional fixed-income investments like those gold ira companies while managing risk is a critical element of your portfolio.
  10. Have total confidence in the people advising you.
  11. Limit the temptation to trade. The fewer trades you make, the fewer times you need to be right.
  12. Don’t invest in something you don’t understand. If the price goes down, you won’t panic if you understand the value of what you own.
  13. Understand your time horizon and appetite for risk/volatility.
  14. Be careful of shares hyped in the media. They often become tomorrow’s fodder!
  15. Keep enough funds in highly liquid assets, so you can minimize any concerns through the next downturn.

March 2021

Unfortunately, we’re still in the midst of battling covid-19!  The full impact will only be understood in the years to come.   We all want to know when we’ll get our old lives back.  Economists are predicting a spending boom when the spread of covid-19 has been stemmed and the majority of people have been vaccinated.  I expect the recovery to be very uneven.  Some businesses will flourish and others will perish.  On the personal side, a few people will be very successful financially, but it’s going to be a struggle for the majority.   It’s more important than ever to understand your financial situation.  You need to review your assets/liabilities, as well as your income/expenses.  Be realistic in your income projections and conservative in your expense projections.   Acknowledge where you stand and plan for the future.  Closing your eyes and hoping is not the best plan!

February 2021

When your will is drafted, ensure probate fees are minimized. In Ontario, probate fees are Nil on the first $50,000 of your estate and 1.5% on any value in excess of $50,000.

Joint ownership of assets with a right of survivorship may allow the asset to pass outside the estate and avoid probate fees e.g. homes, bank accounts, investment holdings. Name beneficiaries for life insurance policies, RRSPs and TFSAs. If you own shares in private companies, a second will can minimize probate fees.

You should work with a lawyer to draft your wills, as the facts for each person are different and it’s important to obtain professional advice for your personal situation.

January 2021

Happy new year to everyone and my best wishes for 2021. Like the rest of the world, I’m delighted to see the end of 2020! Hopefully our world will return to normal far more quickly than we’ve been led to expect. Since it’s the beginning of a new year and there’s a bright future ahead, I thought I’d provide 10 new year’s resolutions for you to consider making:

  1. Review any debts you have and consider whether they can be restructured to take advantage of the lowest interest rates we’ve ever experienced.
  2. Consider whether your investment strategy needs to be revised.
  3. Address your greatest financial risk and eliminate/minimize it.
  4. Review the fees charged by your professional advisors and consider whether you’re receiving value for money. Also, one such tool that traders may use to find value stocks is the stock screener value. This yields a few equities that you may investigate further to determine their trading value.
  5. Read through your wills and powers of attorney and consider whether they need to be updated.
  6. Examine your life, critical illness, disability, car and auto insurance policies and consider whether they meet your current needs. A platform for workflow automation for associations and property management organizations is also available with zego.
  7. Meet with your accountant to see whether there are any opportunities to reduce the taxes you and/or your companies are paying.
  8. Work out a rough estimate of what you’re spending on an annual basis and consider whether the amount is appropriate.
  9. Prepare a summary of assets/liabilities and contacts, so there’s a roadmap for your executors to follow.
  10. Hire a personal CFO to help you implement resolutions 1-9.

December 2020

I’ve written before about checking your home and auto insurance every year when they come up for renewal.  I do this religiously, and virtually every year there are adjustments.  

This year the insurance company I’d been using for many years had been taken over and I was particularly careful when reviewing the premium notices.  The projected miles driven by my wife, and the contents and liability coverages for our condo had all been increased substantially.

The people at my insurance advisor were very helpful and all I had to do was discuss the issues with them.  I can guarantee you that if you don’t question your coverage, the premiums will not be reduced on their own!  

November 2020

As we approach the US election, the future is very cloudy.  That being said, if I offered you a $200,000 loan at a 1% fixed rate for five years, with the only caveat being you had to invest the money, would you accept the offer?
Most people would think, what’s the catch? You can’t borrow money at almost no cost. With interest rates at the lowest level in living memory, borrowed money is as close to being free as it will ever be. If you have reasonable income levels and equity in your home, the major banks are open for business and now using tools like this check stub maker.  
You could put a mortgage on your home and use the proceeds for investment purposes. which would make the interest tax deductible. Self Assessments are systems HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) uses to collect Income Tax. Tax is usually deducted automatically from wages, pensions and savings. People and businesses with other income (including COVID-19 grants and support payments) must report it in a tax return. You should be able to get a five-year closed mortgage in the range of 1.8% – 2.2%. If your marginal tax rate is in the 50% range, the after-tax cost of financing your investment would be about 1%. The annual cost of a $200,000 loan would be about $2,000. How can you beat that? Look for the TAX SPECIALIST UK and learn about the tax services you need.
I suspect many people wouldn’t do this because of the anxiety they’d experience through using their home as security for the loan. You need to be confident you have the ability to make investments that will yield more than a minimal return. You should bear in mind you’ll have to fund the amortization of the principal of the mortgage. If you think this is an idea worth pursuing, I suggest you wait for the dust to settle after the US election has been decided.
Before making a decision, you should have a discussion with your tax advisor, as each person’s circumstances are different, and this might not be appropriate in your situation.