Yasmin Jaswal

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Blog Posts by Yasmin Jaswal

  • Approaching retirement? Get your money right

    Retirement: no more mindless meetings, early mornings hunched over your BlackBerry or back pain due to long hours at your desk. You've saved diligently and are now ready to make the move from saver to spender. But how do those in retirement, or approaching retirement, best manage the accounts they took decades to build?

    Whether you plan on traveling the world or moving to a smaller home in a quiet neighbourhood, you need to make sure your plans won’t cause you to run out of funds too soon.

    “As you enter retirement, it’s not about the number or how much you’ve built up any longer,” says Cynthia Caskey, vice-president and portfolio manager of TD Waterhouse Private Investment Advice. “The whole conversation pivots and changes into ‘What’s my lifestyle? What income and cash flow am I going to be able to draw to pay for that lifestyle?'"

    You should start managing your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) long before you plan to retire, says Howard Kabot, vice-president of financial

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  • More Canadians expect to work past age 65

    Canadians once thought they would be able to retire by 65. Now, almost 60 per cent of Canadians say they will be working past that age, according to the Sun Life Financial Unretirement index.

    The poll shows only 27 per cent of Canadians between 30 and 65 years of age say they will be retired at 66, which is almost 50 per cent less compared to survey results five years ago.

    Other highlights include:

    • 26 per cent of Canadians expect to be working full-time past 65
    • 32 per cent say they will probably be working part-time age 66
    • 15 per cent of respondents weren’t sure what their futures looked like

    While some Canadians work to keep active or to have a little extra spending money, 63 per cent of respondents say they will work past 65 in order to cover expenses.

    The 2008 financial crisis, low interest rates, and living longer have all made it more difficult to save enough money for retirement, says Kevin Dougherty, president of Sun Life Financial Canada.

    “The last few years have been very hard on

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  • Canada’s grad students: overeducated, underemployed

    After years of toiling in Canada's hallowed halls, the future looks bleak for the country's postgraduate students thanks to an anemic labour market with few job prospects for teachers, lawyers and surgeons.

    As of January 2013, the youth (ages 15 to 24) unemployment rate sits at 13.6 per cent – almost double the national average of 7 per cent.

    Adding an extra layer of stress, young Canadians now owe more than $15 billion in student debt, according to the Canadian Federation of Students and 58 per cent of students plan to graduate with $20,000 or more in loans, says a recent BMO poll.

    In Canada, law school can cost anywhere from $7,000 to $25,000 per year while education programs start at a minimum of $6,000. Yearly med school fees can range anywhere from $6,000 all the way to $20,000.

    High levels of student debt and a lack of employment opportunities have created a perfect storm of delayed adulthood or boomerang kids - adult children forced to move home with Mom and Dad. More than 25 per

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  • Valentine’s Day: Canadians shell out to show love

    Canadians are willing to shell out big bucks to feel the love on Valentine’s Day, according to the results of a new survey from eBay Canada.

    Engagement rings and loose diamonds were the most popular purchases across all provinces, with overall sales rising 21 per cent compared to last year, says the release, which analyzed the online and mobile purchases of thousands of Canadians leading up to Feb. 14.

    “Some lucky person is getting two seven-karat loose cut diamonds for a total of $28,000,” says Andrea Stairs, country manager for eBay Canada.

    Saskatchewan is the province that hopes to hear the most “I dos” this year, buying 55 per cent more engagement rings and diamonds than last year. Quebec’s engagement ring sales also increased by 49 per cent. Newfoundland residents shied away from commitment, purchasing 40 per cent fewer rings compared to last year.

    Another popular choice for Valentine's Day: lingerie, although sales did decline 59 per cent compared to the previous year, the

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  • Gen Y careers stifled by lack of corporate innovation?

    By 2025, Millennials will account for 75 per cent of the world's workforce. As Gen Y gains more prominence in corporate Canada, Baby Boomers are struggling to find a balance between the innovation this demographic craves and the legacy ways of doing business coveted by the generations that came before.

    A recent Deloitte survey, completed by 5,000 Millennials from 18 different countries, shows 78 per cent of Generation Y believes innovation is crucial to corporate growth, yet only 26 per cent believe executives are fostering a culture of change.

    In stark contrast, those in positions of power believe they're making innovation a priority. Ninety-one per cent of global business leaders believe innovation is of critical concern for their company, according to the latest Global Innovation Barometer study by General Electric.

    Millennials have been painted as the entitled generation: They expect early career advancement and are reticent to learn from Baby Boomer bosses. Millennials would argue

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  • Marijuana legalization: Is Canada missing out on billions?

    A new draft policy paper from the B.C. branch of the Liberal Party is calling on the government to end prohibition of marijuana in Canada and is providing answers on job creation and government tax and licensing revenues should the province go the way of our friends across the border.

    In November, Colorado and Washington State voted to legalize pot smoking without medical justification. It's estimated the marijuana market in Washington State alone will generate more than $1.9 billion over five years, the policy paper notes.

    One economic analysis conducted by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy found that the initiative will generate upwards of $60 million per year in new revenue for the state and localities,” says Mason Tvert, director of communications for The Marijuana Policy Project in Colorado, a lobby group in the state.

    Should B.C. follow suit, it's estimated the province could count on an additional $2.5 billion in tax and licensing revenues over the same time period,

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  • 7 red flags that could trigger a CRA audit

    Tax season is upon us, and so is another chance to make a mistake that may lead to an audit with the Canada Revenue Agency.

    Inquiries into tax filings happen at random, meaning there is no guarantee you won’t hear from the CRA. "We compare selected financial information for current and previous years of taxpayers engaged in similar businesses or occupations. From computer-generated lists of returns for potential audit, we then choose specific returns," the CRA's website states.

    That being said, there are ways to lower your chances of an audit once you’ve submitted your taxes. Want to stay under the radar of the CRA? Avoid these red flags:

    Income mistakes
    Misstating or understating the amount of income you've made can land you in hot water. The CRA receives copies of all T-slips mailed to Canadians.

    “The government does review returns to match up the tax slips you are reporting on your tax returns with the tax slips that they’ve received copies of,” says Cleo Hamel, a senior tax analyst

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  • Budgeting, credit options may be your best debt-fighting tools

    Fifty per cent of Canadians who currently carry a balance on their credit card say they almost never pay their account in full, according to a Harris Decima survey released this week.

    To make matters worse, 25 per cent of respondents say they will need more than a year to pay off their balance, while another 5 per cent believe they will never be able to pay off their credit card debt, says the survey conducted on behalf of credit counselling and bankruptcy trustee firm Hoyes, Michalos & Associates Inc.

    Canadians are drowning in debt. The latest figures from Statistics Canada show the average debt-to-income ratio for Canadian households is a staggering 1.64 per cent. For every dollar made, Canadians owe $1.64 in secured and unsecured debt, prompting many to make 2013 the year for debt reduction.

    “A lot of people are becoming conscious about their debt levels and wanting to put a plan in place that helps them do something about it,” says Jason Round, head of financial planning support

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