Rethinking your financial plan? We asked the experts
Published Monday, February 27, 2017 8:59PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 28, 2017 8:22AM EST
Wednesday is the deadline for your 2016 RSP contribution – and it’s also the time of year when many people start to rethink their finances.
We reached out to financial experts to answer some of your pressing questions.
In Quebec, a mere 25 per cent of people who work contribute to a retirement savings plan, close to the national average.
The average annual contribution in Quebec is about $2,700.That amount invested over 35 years at 7 per cent interest would equal $428,193.11. Considering inflation, it will be worth less: $214,108.32.
“I'm always flabbergasted by how people pay so little attention to their finances,” said certified financial planner Caroline Nalbantoglu.
It's a shame schools teach nothing about managing money, said Nalbantoglu, adding she sees people who earn more than $200,000 per year and still have money problems and no savings.
“It doesn't occur to them that they should get a cheaper car because they've always driven a BMW or a Mercedes,” she said.
Nalbantoglu’s rules are simple and classic:
- Before spending any money off your paycheck, pay off your debt
- Don't get sucked into getting a new credit card, no matter how many bonus points they offer
“The more credit cards you have, the more debt you get into,” she said.
Household debt is a major problem according to the credit agency Equifax. The average Canadian owes more than $24,000 in debt other than mortgages.
Getting credit under control is a must, said Nalbantoglu, especially since interest rates are at all-time lows. When they go up, borrowers could face major headaches.
- Put money into savings, but not necessarily an RSP.
For most people earning less than $75,000 per year, Nalbantoglu prefers the tax-free savings account.
With RSPs,while you may get a tax break when you put it in, when you take the money out, you'll pay a lot of those taxes back.
“With the TFSA, when you put it in there, it's tax-free. No matter when you take it out, it's always tax-free,” said Nalbantoglu.
How much do you need to retire?That depends on the lifestyle you want, said Nalbantoglu, adding that $1 million doesn't go as far as people think.
“If they retire at 55 and they have another 40 years, $1 million isn't going to get them that far,” she said.
What about people who live paycheck to paycheck and can't afford to save?
Especially for lower income earners, saving tax and finding lower interest loans is key to starting to save now, explained Babis Chronopoulos of Investors Group.
“Sometimes it's creative financial planning, so there's always something that can be done,” he said.“I haven't met many people who I could not find something to help them with.”