Tuesday, January 23, 2024

TFSA 2024 Contribution Limit - $7,000



You can contribute up to $7,000 to your TFSA in 2024 if you are a Canadian resident over 18 years of age and hold a valid social insurance number. If you have not made a contribution to a TFSA and have been eligible since it was introduced in 2009, you can contribute up to $95,000.

With a TFSA you can build your savings faster since you won’t be taxed on your investment earnings. This allows you to save for what matters most to you—whether it's starting your home renovation project, setting aside funds for post-secondary tuition, or planning for a dream vacation. Plus, you have the freedom to withdraw your money when needed without incurring any penalties.

If you are considering opening a TFSA and want to learn more about it, here is a quick primer to help you get started.

What is a TFSA?

A Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), is a flexible tax-advantaged savings account that allows you to earn investment income, including interest, dividends, and capital gains, without paying tax on those earnings. Contributions to a TFSA are made with after-tax dollars, but withdrawals, including investment gains, are tax-free.

What are the key features of a TFSA?

  • Flexibility – You have the freedom to select investment options based on your financial objectives and you can withdraw any amount from your TFSA at any time without incurring a penalty
  • Tax-free growth and withdrawals – Your investment earnings grow tax-free if you stay within your contribution limits and you won’t be taxed on the interest earned when it is withdrawn
  • Rolling contribution limits – The amount you withdraw from your TFSA is added back to your contribution room the following year  
  • Contributions - Contributions are made with after-tax dollars and are not tax-deductible, but withdrawals from your account are tax-free

What are the TFSA investment options?

You can hold any of the following investment options in your TFSA:

  • Cash
  • GICs (Guaranteed Investment Certificates
  • Mutual Funds
  • Stocks
  • Bonds

How much can you contribute?

The TFSA contribution limit for 2024 is $7,000 and the lifetime contribution room is $95,000. You can carry over unused contribution room from previous years provided you were at least 18 years old in 2009, the year TFSAs were introduced by the federal government.

You can find your TFSA contribution room by using CRA’s MyAccount.

Can you over-contribute to a TFSA?

If you exceed your contribution limit, the excess contribution will be subject to a penalty of 1% per month each month the excess remains in the TFSA account.

Talk to a financial advisor

To maximize the benefits of your TFSA contributions and take advantage of the investment earning potential, consider consulting with a financial advisor.

UCU Wealth Strategies Group can help you make informed investment choices. Your advisor will assess your financial situation and work with you to develop an investment strategy tailored to your needs and financial goals.

Information about TFSAs can be found on our website. You can make an appointment with one of our advisors for personalized service.

Monday, January 22, 2024

RRSP Contribution Deadline – February 29, 2024


You have until February 29, 2024, to contribute to your RRSP for the 2023 tax year. An RRSP allows you to save for retirement while taking advantage of certain tax benefits.
To determine your contribution limit, check your CRA Notice of Assessment.

If you are considering opening an RRSP and want to learn more about it, here is a quick primer to get you started.

What is an RRSP?

A Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is a plan created by the Canadian government to help you save for retirement. It is an account that provides you with a means to invest for retirement while offering specific tax-saving features. Think of it as an additional retirement fund to complement your Canada Pension Plan.

How does an RRSP work?

The most important feature of an RRSP is its tax advantages. Here are three tax-related features:

  • Tax-deductible contributions: Contributions made to an RRSP are tax-deductible. This means that the amount you contribute to your RRSP can be deducted from your taxable income for the year in which you make the contribution. For example, if you earned $60,000 in 2023 and contributed $7,000 to your RRSP, you would only be taxed on $53,000. This can result in immediate tax savings, particularly beneficial during higher income years.
  • Tax-sheltered growth: When you contribute money to an RRSP, the investments held within the plan grow on a tax-deferred basis. This means that any interest, dividends, or capital gains earned within the RRSP are not taxed while they remain in your plan.
  • Tax-deferred withdrawals: While contributions are tax-deductible and growth is tax-sheltered, taxes on the funds within an RRSP are deferred until you make withdrawals. When you withdraw funds from your RRSP, you'll be taxed on both contributions and investment earnings. The advantage lies in potentially paying lower taxes during high-income years and reduced taxes in retirement when you might be in a lower tax bracket. It's important to note that you must begin withdrawing from your RRSP by the end of the year in which you turn 71, converting it into a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) with mandatory minimum annual withdrawals.

How much can I contribute?

RRSPs are registered accounts and are subject to contribution rules.  For the 2023 tax year, you can contribute 18% of your previous year’s income or up to $30,780 - whichever is less. If you did not max out your RRSP contributions from previous years' tax filings that unused amount carries over. To determine how much contribution room you have, review the Notice of Assessment you receive from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) after filing your taxes. It states your contribution room for the current tax year. You can also call the CRA Tax Information Phone Service or log into CRA My Account.

When is the contribution deadline?

The RRSP deadline for the 2023 tax year is February 29, 2024.

What types of accounts and investments are allowed in RRSPs?

You can hold many types of investments in an RRSP. They include:

  • Cash
  • GICs (Guaranteed Investment Certificates)
  • Mutual Funds
  • Stocks
  • ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds)
  • Bonds

What happens when I over-contribute to an RRSP?

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) imposes a penalty for overcontributions to an RRSP. It is 1% per month on the amount that exceeds your RRSP contribution limit by more than $2,000. This penalty is calculated for each month the excess contribution remains in the account. The CRA allows a $2,000 lifetime overcontribution allowance. This means you may not be penalized for the first $2,000 of overcontribution. However, you can’t claim a tax deduction for any portion of the $2,000 over contribution.

Talk to a financial advisor

To maximize the benefits of your RRSP contributions and take advantage of the investment earning potential, consider consulting with a financial advisor.

UCU Wealth Strategies Group can help you make informed investment choices. Your advisor will assess your financial situation and work with you to develop an investment strategy tailored to your needs and retirement goals.

Information about RRSPs can be found on our website. You can make an appointment with one of our advisors for personalized service.

 

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Tips for Managing your Holiday Spending

 

With the holiday season gearing up and eagerly anticipated family celebrations just around the corner, it's easy for expenses related to Christmas gift buying, entertainment, and travel to get out of hand. Before you begin your Christmas shopping, consider these valuable tips to manage your holiday spending wisely.

Create a realistic budget

The simplest and most efficient way to keep your holiday spending under control is to create a budget. Determine the total amount you can afford to spend and set a hard spending limit to stay on track. Utilize budgeting tools such as spreadsheets or budgeting apps to help you manage your finances effectively.

Consider all holiday expenses

Gift buying is a major expense, but don't forget to factor in other costs such as decorations, food, and travel expenses when creating your budget. Having an overview of your total holiday expenditure will help you stay on track and within your budget.

Set a per-person spending limit

To keep your spending within budget, establish a per-person spending limit for everyone on your list. If your budget is tight, discuss setting spending limits with your family members. Alternatively, consider pooling money with others to buy larger group gifts as a cost-effective option.

Shop with a list

Create a separate list for each holiday spending category and carry these lists when you shop. Take the time to research gift prices and shop at stores with the best deals. A detailed shopping list will keep your shopping organized and within budget.

Use a credit card that earns rewards points on selected purchases

Pay for purchases with a credit card for added security, purchase protection and extended warranty on eligible purchases. With a UCU Collabria Cashback Mastercard®, you can earn reward points on everyday purchases, maximizing your spending benefits.

Track your holiday spending

Keep a record of all your expenses to ensure you adhere to your budget. Subtract each purchase from your holiday budget total, allowing you to make necessary adjustments between budget categories if needed.

Plan for next year’s holiday spending

Prepare for next year's holiday season by building better year-round spending habits. Set aside monthly savings specifically for holiday spending and consider opening a ucublu High Interest Virtual Savings Account to earn more interest while saving for future holidays.

 

 

How to Avoid Holiday Scams


When shopping online this holiday season, and at every other time of the year, be on the lookout for scams.

Fraudsters are using increasingly sophisticated tactics such as sending requests from fake charities, various online shopping scams and deceptive communications about shipping problems on your purchase orders.

Protect both your money and your personal information with these tips to stay scam-free throughout the year.

Practice Good Cybersecurity Habits

  • Avoid Suspicious Links: Don’t immediately click on suspicious links or attachments sent in emails, texts, on websites, or on social media. Verify the source is legitimate before you click.
  • Protect Personal Information: Don’t disclose personal information such as your name, bank account number and password in an unsolicited request. Contact the sender directly to verify the authenticity of the request.

Know the Sellers

  • Verify Website Legitimacy: Before making any purchases, verify the legitimacy and security of the website by checking the URL. Look for 'https' in the web address; if it's missing, refrain from entering any personal information.
  • Research Merchants: If you’re buying from a new company, do your research and read reviews to ensure the company is credible.
  • Evaluate Sellers: When using platforms like online marketplaces or auction websites, confirm the legitimacy of the sellers by checking their feedback ratings.

Be Careful How You Pay

  • Use Credit Cards: Opt for credit cards for online shopping and regularly review your statements. If you notice any suspicious transactions, contact your credit card company immediately to dispute the charge.

Monitor Deliveries

  • Track Your Orders: Get the tracking numbers for items purchased online so you can monitor the delivery process closely.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Secure Your Finances: Keep Your UCU Accounts Safe Online

 

In today's digital age, online banking has become an integral part of our lives. More and more of our Members are using UCU Online banking and the UCU app to conduct their everyday banking transactions. It is a secure, efficient and convenient alternative to in-person branch banking.

Having access to your accounts 24/7 gives you the freedom to manage your accounts from anywhere around the world, at any time. Whether you need to transfer funds, pay bills, or simply check your balance, UCU Online Banking and the UCU app provide a seamless experience.

UCU Digital Banking is Safe and Secure

At UCU, your security is our top priority. We understand the importance of safeguarding your financial information, and that’s why we implement the latest security measures. When you use UCU Online and Mobile Banking, you can be confident that your data is protected by cutting-edge encryption, advanced firewalls, and multi-factor authentication.

Be an Alert Consumer

While we are committed to providing a secure online banking environment, your active participation is essential in safeguarding your accounts.

Follow These Steps to Protect Your Financial Information Online

You can protect your personal and financial information by taking these simple steps to safeguard your accounts.

Protect Your Devices, Systems and Data

  • Protect your computer – Stay up-to-date with the latest operating system and web browser updates. Install them as soon as they become available.
  • Create unique passwords - The best way to protect your account information is by choosing strong passwords that are difficult to guess. The strongest passwords include a combination of numbers, upper/lower case letters and symbols, and are at least 12 characters long.
  • Keep antivirus software current – Install and update antivirus software that will safeguard your computer and mobile devices such as Sophos, Bitdefender or Avast. The antivirus software will detect and remove malicious malware. 

Protect Your Connections

  • Avoid public Wi-Fi when banking – Public Wi-Fi networks are generally not encrypted and are not considered secure. Only use secure Wi-Fi networks, such as the password-protected networks in your home for banking transactions.
  • Don’t use public computers for banking – Computers in public places like libraries, airports and hotels are not safe for online banking. Never store your passwords in the web browser of a public computer.
  • Log out when done: Always log out of your account and close the tab or browser window on your computer.  On your phone, log out of the app and close it.

Protect Your Money and Personal Information

  • Enable Two-Step Verification - Enable 2 Step Verification for an additional layer of security. This involves receiving a verification code on your phone or email that you need to enter after logging in with your password.
  • Enable UCU Alerts – Stay informed about your account activity by enabling UCU Alerts. UCU will send you email or text message notifications only on the security alerts you select.
  • Beware of phishing scams – Fraudsters send fake emails or texts – known as phishing scams – claiming to be from legitimate organizations such as UCU. They will ask for your personal information to steal your identity and enter your bank account. Don’t click on the link of a suspicious email or text and never respond to unsolicited requests for your confidential information.

Reminder

  • UCU, other financial institutions and government agencies will never ask for your social insurance number, PIN or other banking information. Never give out that information if solicited.

Report Suspicious Account Activity Immediately

If you notice suspicious activity on your accounts, contact the UCU Contact Centre at 1.800.461.0777 or email: ucucentre@ukrainiancu.com.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Webinar Series - The Cost of Pursuing an Education in Canada



If you missed our latest Welcome Ukraine webinar series - The Cost of Pursuing an Education in Canada, you can watch the full webinar on our YouTube channel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQk_axFNu-E

During this webinar, you will gain insights into the different levels of education, the costs associated with pursuing your education, and the many approaches available to fund your education.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Серія вебінарів UCU Welcome Ukraine - UCU Welcome Ukraine Webinar Series


 Запрошуємо вас на безкоштовний та інформативний вебінар у четвер, 7-го вересня 2023 року, о 19:00.

 Фінансові аспекти отримання освіти в Канаді 

Дізнайтеся про освітню систему Канади. Під час цього вебінару ми окреслимо різні рівні освіти, вартість отримання освіти та способи покриття цих витрат.

На цьому вебінарі ви дізнаєтесь про:

  • Систему освіти в Канаді
  • Отримання початкової та середньої освіти
  • Отримання вищої освіти
  • Способи покриття витрат на вищу освіту в Канаді
  1. Державне фінансування освіти
  2. Доступна допомога студентам
  3. Освітні податкові відрахування та кредити
  4. Позики
  5. Заощадження та дотримання бюджета

Для участі в цьому вебінарі, будь ласка, заповніть реєстраційну форму, перейшовши за посиланням нижче.

 https://events.teams.microsoft.com/event/ca8713a4-33ad-4fc4-ae01-e00f50d89672@b53ba5b2-e8c2-4a7b-9034-9fed5c4c1436


Скористайтеся тим самим посиланням, щоб приєднатися до вебінару 7 вересня 2023 року о 19:00.


You are invited to this free and informative webinar on Thursday, September 7, 2023 at 7:00 pm EDT

The Cost of Pursuing an Education in Canada

Learn about Canada’s education system. During this webinar, you will gain insights into the different levels of education, the costs associated with pursuing your education, and the many approaches available to fund your education.

In this webinar, you will learn about:

  • Canada’s education system
  • Elementary and high school education
  • Post-secondary education
  • How to fund your post-secondary education

  1. Government funding
  2. Student Aid
  3. Tax deductions and credits
  4. Loans
  5. Savings and budgeting

To participate, please fill out the webinar registration form by clicking the link below:

https://events.teams.microsoft.com/event/ca8713a4-33ad-4fc4-ae01-e00f50d89672@b53ba5b2-e8c2-4a7b-9034-9fed5c4c1436

 Use the same link to join the webinar on September 7, 2023 at 7:00 pm EDT