Saturday, 27 February 2016

RRSP Deadline


The annual deadline for contributing to your RRSP is Monday February 29, 2016. If you still need to make a contribution make sure you get it done ASAP, you never want to be the last person dropping off a cheque at your advisor's office on Monday! 

Isn't the deadline usually March 1st? Yes, it sure is. The actual rule is that you have the first 60 days of the year to contribute for the previous years taxes and since 2016 is a leap year it gets bumped up a day. 

What happens if I'm late? First off, don't be! This really depends on your financial institution, most places should be able to backdate the transaction by a day or two but it can be a hassle. I used to have to do this for client's and it's a bit of a pain. Save everyone some grief and get in there in Monday. 

What if I make contributions the first of every month? March 1st wont count for your 2015 taxes, it'll be for 2016. Just like the above, there's a chance you can get it backdated if you really need to. 

When will I get my contribution receipt? Receipts are usually mailed out to you by your financial institution so if you're only making your contribution on Monday you may have to wait a couple of weeks to get the slip in the mail. Another good reason not to wait until the last minute ;) PS. Don't be the person that contributes on the last day and then calls a few days later wondering where their receipt is...that makes us financial folks a little crazy. 

Any other questions? Feel free to post them in the comments and happy RRSP season :) 

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

February Loves


February is almost over (what the what!?) so I'm due to fill you in on what I've been loving this month. I'm a little all over the board this month but maybe that means there will be something for everyone! 

What about you guys, what's been making you happy this month? 

1. Clinique Chubby Stick
I'm a fairly recent convert to lipstick and I can't handle anything too drying or heavy. These Chubby Sticks have a great pop of colour (this version is the intense but there's also the original and a baby tint) but don't dry out my lips and feel nice to wear. You will have to reapply and will certainly leave lipsticks marks on anything you drink but that's worth it to me. Priorities! 

2. Noisy May Extreme Soft Skinny Jeans
I love a black skinny jeans and these are the most comfortable ones I've ever owned, seriously, the fabric is so soft. They've got the perfect amount of stretch and a medium rise, I'm so over low-rise jeans. Just a tip, the sizing on The Bay's website has given me some grief on my last couple of orders so, if you can, I'd recommend heading to a store. 

3. Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine Cologne Absolue Pure Perfume
I've always been a special occasion only perfume wearer but I decided to up my scent game and began my search for an everyday perfume. This one fit the bill exactly! It smells just like fresh oranges and is light and fresh. If you're not a fan of oranges definitely skip it, but for me it's heaven. There's also a grapefruit version that is divine, that's next on my list. 

4. Cherry Wood Watch
This watch was a Christmas present and I love, love, love it. I find it's a perfect everyday watch and works for the office or casually. The face is made of wood which makes the watch really light and the leather strap is so soft and comfortable. It's from a US Etsy seller so the exchange rate right now is an issue but I still think it's a good deal. 

5. Bose SoundSport Headphones
Now that I'm back at the gym I've been using these headphones a lot more and they really are great. I always had issues with ear buds falling out of my ears with the smallest movement but these stay put even on a run. Plus, they're Bose so you now the sound quality wont let you down. 

6. Lavender Body Butter
This stuff is a life saver for dry skin! I always keep one of the mini versions in my person and the large version beside my bed to moisturize all my driest spots everyday. The lavender scent is my absolute favourite but the lemongrass and juicy cherry are also winners. Rocky Mountain Soap Companies products are all natural and really good for sensitive skin. 

7. Code Black 
I'm throwing in a TV show because it really is something I look forward to every week. I've always liked medical drama and Code Black is one of the good ones. The characters are great and every episode is great. It's kind of like Grey's Anatomy but grittier. 

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Quick & Painless Hair Tutorials

Doing my hair every morning is the bane of my existence (ok, maybe that's a little dramatic). Right now my hair is about collar bone length, a lob (hair people speak for a long bob), but up until December it was a lot longer...I chopped off about 6 inches. It's much easier to deal with now that its shorter and healthier but I do miss being able to pile it up in a messy top knot. I also used to have blunt bangs so I do consider myself well versed in the torture that is growing out bangs. I really liked my bangs and have moments where I would love them back but I've been able to talk myself out of it (so far!) because the growing out process really sucks. 

I like to go with some sort of style that keeps my hair out of my face but I also need something that is acceptable for the workplace. This combined with my utter lack of hair styling skill means that I'm constantly on the lookout for easy tutorials...thanks Pinterest :) I've rounded up a few of my go to's, and trust me, if I can get them to work so can you (I only figured out how to french braid last year...serious novice). 

Super quick and easy and if you don't make it too messy it is office appropriate. I like to pull it off center a little for a side pony. 

Image Credit: cupofjo.com
Casual Bun
Kate from 'The Small Things Blog' is an absolute master at hair tutorials and this one is a total winner. Easy to do and keeps your hair out of your face. 

Image Credit: www.thesmallthingsblog.com
Low Chignon
Another great tutorial from Kate that looks pretty and polished and is perfect for dressier occasions. I love how her tutorials are always just the right amount of undone, I hate a stiff hairdo. 

Image Credit: www.thesmallthingsblog.com
The Gibson Tuck
Emily from The Freckled Fox has the most amazing hair I've ever seen. Her tutorials are always gorgeous but I just don't have nearly enough hair to pull most of them off. This one though works for medium length hair, just with a little less oomph. 

Image Credit: www.freckled-fox.com
Braided Crown
Once I figured out the art of french braiding this became my go to style when I was growing out my bangs. Holds those pesky bangs in place and lasts the whole day. The post this is from has a bunch of great ideas, another favourite of mine is coming up next. 

Image Credit: manouvellemode.com

Simply Twisted 
A second winner from the same post that I used a ton in the bang growing out process and still use now to keep my hair back. It's a great way to wear your hair down but not have it drive you crazy. I find it holds better on second day hair, or use a little texturizer.

Image Credit: manouvellemode.com

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

RRSP Loans


February means RRSP season and if you already have an RRSP somewhere it's very likely that you've been receiving some communications promoting RRSP loans and all the wonderful things they can do for you! Let's talk about this and figure out if taking out an RRSP loan is actually something that will be beneficial to you. 

First off, it's still a loan and you're going to have to pay off the principal and interest. Sure, you'll get a beefed up amount on your tax return but there's really only a few circumstances where it's actually worthwhile. 

As we've discussed before, RRSP's are the most beneficial when you make contributions in your highest possible tax bracket and then withdraw the funds in when you're in the lowest possible tax bracket. That means that if you're just starting out in your career and will potentially be earning way bigger bucks down the road it makes sense to hold off on contributing to (TFSA's are great to use in the meantime). This is especially true if you are considering an RRSP loan. To make up for the interest you are going to have to pay, you want your refund to be as big as possible and this means you want to be in a high tax bracket. I'd recommend skipping the RRSP loan unless you are in a high tax bracket. If you want to play around with the numbers a little CIBC has a nice (and simple) RRSP loan calculator

RRSP loans can also catch you in a bit of a loop where you need to keep getting a new one every year just to keep up with your contributions. If you're making payments on your loan of $250/month that's $250/month that you could instead be depositing directly into your RRSP and not playing catch-up all the time. Your goal with an RRSP loan is to be able to make your payments and also be able to contribute enough to avoid having to get a loan year after year. If you find yourself in your peak tax bracket and want to make up for missed years maybe you can deposit two (or even three!) times as much. Tip: making monthly contributions help to break this up instead of having to do a huge lump sum at this time of year. 

Banks can also be a little tricky when pricing products like RRSP loans and they often have special interest rates that will only apply for the first year. Avoid this and keep your interest payments low by paying back your loan within one year instead of extending the term. If the payments are too high on the amount you want it's a pretty good sign that you're biting off more than you can chew. 

Chances are pretty good that you shouldn't get sucked in by promotions on RRSP loans and you can most likely catch up on past years room with just a little extra saving each month. 

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Perfectly Polished Flats

I've always had aspirations of being one of those ladies who can wear sky-high, pointed toe pumps to work every day and look seriously bad-ass. You know just like the ladies in 'Suits' who kill it the work wear department...because obviously comparing your real life wardrobe to a TV wardrobe is totally practical...
Image Credit: Wikipedia

But alas, I am not that girl. I am just not a heel-wearing girl, never have been and am pretty sure I never will be. For starters, I'm already tall (5'8) and wearing heels makes me feel like I'm towering above everyone else and I'm just not comfortable with that. And because I've always felt awkward in heels I've just never worn them that often so my feet have no tolerance to being cranked at such an angle. 

This means that I'm always on the hunt for flats that are polished enough to wear to work (my work isn't suit and tie fancy but dressing professionally is important). There are a few things I look for in flats that I think makes them more work appropriate. I really like a pointed toe and really think it looks more polished, and makes your legs look longer. I also like to keep colours fairly neutral, I'm willing to add some colour but usually keep it in the darker, more jewel-toned realm as opposed to bright. Quality is also key; good quality materials (think leather, or suede) will look more sophisticated and will last you longer. 

I've rounded up a few great options from around the web in case you need to refresh your shoe wardrobe! 

#1; #2; #3; #4; #5; #6; #7; #8; #9; #10

Now, there are times when you need (or want) to dress it a little so having a couple pairs of heels isn't such a bad idea. I like a wedge heels to keep thinks comfy or even a mid-heeled pump can serve it's purpose without putting you in to much pain. Here's some of my recommendations in this department; I own the Clark's booties in grey and absolutely love them, and these Aldo pumps are just high enough make you feel fancy but not so much that you'll fall over (I have them in black and nude...enough said). 
#1; #2; #3

You'll notice that quite a few of the links are for SHOEme.ca, and that's for good reason. I've had really good luck ordering from them and it's usually the first place I look when I need new shoes. They offer free shipping (always), free and easy returns, and there always seems to be a good sale. No paid advertisement here or anything, I just find think the site's a good resource for Canadian shoe shoppers! 

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

RRSP Contribution Deadline is Fast Approaching

Ok guys, it's February...how the heck did that happen! That means that the RRSP deadline is coming up quick so let's make sure you've got your contributions ready to roll. 

The deadline this year is actually February 29, 2016. Usually it falls on March 1st but the rule is actually the first 60 days of the year and because we're in a leap year it gets bumped up a day. Keep that in mind and don't be the person that shows up at your advisor's office with a cheque on March 1st, or be even more awesome and get it done early this month ;) 

If you need some help figuring out how much you can contribute to your RRSP you are going to want to grab your Notice of Assessment from last year. Got it? Look for that number in the little red box: 

That will be the maximum amount you can deposit for year. If you contribute regularly to an RRSP throughout the year you'll also want to figure out how much you've already deposited. If you've got some extra cash and also some extra room you can go ahead and top up your RRSP. 

If you're one of the rest of us who has more room than you have money don't fret, you'll never lose that room and you can always pay catch up down the road when you're earning the big bucks! 

You may also be wondering if an RRSP is the best place for you to be saving money, if that's your mindset right now then you should check out this post to help you decide. 

RRSP contributions are a great way of decreasing your tax bill if you're going to owe a chunk of money or maybe even get you into the refund category. If you want to see what impact a contribution will make to your refund TurboTax has a good basic calculator here. This is a great resource to take advantage of and get a good estimate of how much money you will get or owe when you file. 

Another thing that's important to remember is making sure you are on top of your contributions if you've pulled money out for the Home Buyer's Plan. I talk more about the HBP here but it basically let's first time home buyer's pull money out of their RRSP tax free to buy a house. You do have to repay this amount over the next 15 years and these don't count as regular RRSP contributions (it's a repayment, you already got the tax break on it the first time around). To find out how much you have to repay you will want to pull out that handy Notice of Assessment again and you'll find a page listing how much you have to pay back each year. 

Any questions? Let me know in the comments below and if you're looking to get a head start on your 2016 RRSP contributions, my best tip is to set-up a regularly monthly deposit so you don't feel as much pressure to scrounge up the money this time of year.