From Old Age Security (OAS) reform to cutting pennies, literally, many cuts and some incentives came through largely as predicted in the federal budget today. Here are some budget highlights:
Cross-border shop ’til you drop - starting in a few months, Canadians can bring home more. For trips between 24 and 48 hours long, the tax exemption rises to $200 from $50. For trips between two and seven days long the exemption doubles to $800. Sounds pretty good, although they didn’t increase the exemption for alcohol.
The death of the penny - the Royal Canadian Mint will cease production of the penny. Transactions be rounded off to the nearest five-cents. Works for me.
Tax the GG, finally - the Governor-General’s salary will be subject to income tax in the same manner as other Canadians, starting in 2013.
More flexibily to those in need - changes to the Registered Disability Savings Plan were announced today that will make the program more flexible and easier to use.
Loss of public sector jobs, jobs and more jobs - 19,200 jobs, about a third in my National Capital Region will be gone over the next few years across various government agencies. Many of these axed positions are coming from retirement and other voluntary departures but many are not. The cuts are between 5% and 12% for most departments. Ironically, I read the Ministry of Finance is cutting the deepest.
Old Age Security – social program overhaul began this year, delaying the age at which Canadians can start receiving Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement payments from 65 to 67. Anyone over age 54 today will not be affected, and Canadians under 50 will not see OAS payments until they turn 67. While these changes will be phased in, it looks like us 30-somethings better start saving more.
On the topic of old age and financial security, I want to remind readers time is running out to win a FREE copy of Derek Foster’s book The Worried Boomer. I want to thank Derek again for sending me a copy of his book to review and giveaway to you.
Now, onto some great blog articles from this week. Have a great weekend!
Teacher Man had a fine post on Dividend Ninja, talking about indexing while promoting his new ebook entitled ETF Investing. Teacher Man said “He (like many dividend investors) believes that the huge advantage dividend stocks have is that they generate a solid income, and this income can be compounded over time (ideally through ultra-efficient DRIP programs). Many dividend investors believe that capital growth is irrelevant to their strategy as a whole.” I don’t follow this thinking actually – since capital growth is also relevant to my portfolio growth strategy. I like dividends because of the income AND the capital upside. I win both ways.
Million Dollar Journey had an article about preparing to become a pet owner.
Canadian Finance Blog argued it might be worth it to spend the money on some things. I totally agree with his comment about appliances. A good washing machine, a good fridge or stove, is worth the extra money in my opinion.
Dividend Monk shared 4 dividend growers with almost zero credit risk. I own one of these companies.
Passive Income Earner said: Why Dividend Investing? Great article.
My tax-related blog, The Blunt Bean Counter highlighted some of the personal income and corporate tax measures released in our Ontario budget this week.
Canadian Capitalist told us if you have foreign stocks or ETFs you might have to file a certain tax form to CRA. Find out more here.
My buddy Steve told us about the 5 most expensive athlete homes. Wow, check out these awesome cribs!
WDAMMG said not all news moves the markets.
Andrew at 101 Centavos was busy this week doing everything else but gardening, planning and planting. I hear ya. We want to get our garden started soon as well.
The Loonie Bin said man cannot invest by yield alone. Agreed.
Beating The Index told us why he’s selling his shares in NAE now that Pengrowth Energy took over.
The Dividend Guy wrote about the power of dividend growth.
Sustainable Personal Finance had an informative post about building your home food storage.
Dividend Mantra had some confessions from a dividend junkie.
MoneyCone takes my prize this week for the most detailed and informative post: Handling Royalty Trusts in TurboTax.
Michael James on Money shared some details on timing his RRSP contributions.
Susan Brunner reviewed one of my favourite stocks, one that I own, Fortis.
Young & Thrifty told us why coupon codes and promo codes are awesome. I agree, I love coupons and use them often.
Financial Highway gave us some smart tips to manage your tax refund. That reminds me, I need to write a post about what we did for this tax year. I hope to have that ready for you in the next week or so.
Balance Junkie asked: Are you ready for a change?
My University Money shared the easiest way to save $3,000.
Prairie EcoThrifter offered some tips for line drying clothes.
Big Cajun Man wondered where the tipping point is for insurance deductibles, after his Church was robbed. Seriously people, that’s wrong.
Canadian Couch Potato wondered if your ETF just added more risk.
Retire Happy Blog entertained one of the eternal questions: active investing or passive investing.
Boomer & Echo told us how not to move back in with your parents. Not that Echo was thinking about this (?) but instead he meant he reviewed Rob Carrick’s new book. Echo said: “I had a chance to read the book earlier this month and was impressed with the straight-talk and realistic advice from Carrick on the financial challenges and opportunities facing young people today. Not only is this book a young person’s guide to financial empowerment, it’s a great read for parents as they prepare to send their kids off into the real world.” Sounds like buy to me.
Invest It Wisely had a guest post by Teacher Man about the dangers of diversification. Teacher Man said “One interesting thing that I have seen lately, is that even so-called advocates of ETF investing can over diversify. I think that 5-7 ETFs should be the absolute maximum that you need in order to effectively track the world’s stock markets.” He probably has a point there.
Finally, congratulations to Kevin from Invest It Wisely who is celebrating his second blogiversary! In celebration of this event, Kevin is giving away a new iPad and a host of other great prizes! Go visit his site this weekend for your chance win.