Monday, June 20, 2011

Children's Arts Tax Credit - new in the Canadian federal budget

In addition to the Children's Fitness Tax Credit there will now be a 15% Children's Arts Credit available for the 2011 tax year.

The next time you file your income tax return you will be able to claim a federal tax credit for your child's drama, music, sculpting or painting classes. The maximum benefit is $75 ($500 x 15%.) and  you should keep your receipts. Eligible children will be 16 or less at the beginning of the tax year.

The definition of “eligible activities”  covers most non-sports related programs that contribute to the development of creative skills or expertise in artistic or cultural activities.   The child has to be registered for eight consecutive weeks or five consecutive days and the activity cannot be part of their regular school program.  For more details go to the CRA website at Children's Arts Tax Credit. For more on the new budget see Budget 2011.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pay yourself first and build a nest egg of savings - the easy way

There is a certain Buddhistic calm that comes from in the bank. ~ Tom Robbins

See how the power of starting early and saving even small amounts regularly can make an enormous difference to your wealth. To get an idea of  the benefits of investing on a regular basis you can use this tool from Fiscal Agents- Savings and Investment Centre:

Calculator: Advantage of early investing
Even a small sum like $50 a month can build a nest egg of over $100,000 if you start at the age of 21 and stop at age 65, starting with an initial sum of $1000 and assuming a 5% rate of return. Try out some possible scenarios on the calculator above to see how you can benefit from regular saving and investing.

Your funds could be regularly invested in high quality mutual or segregated balanced funds and/or a ladder of GICs. In Canada,  up to $5000 per year of these funds could be be tax sheltered in a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA). For those who are comfortable taking on a bit more risk you could allocate a larger portion of the money to mutual funds and/or segregated equity funds. Contact us at Celesta Financial for some options in these areas and kick start your savings plan right away.

"A penny saved is a penny earned."  Benjamin Franklin

Friday, June 3, 2011

The most precious gift you can give your child is a good education.

"The main hope of a nation lies in the proper education of its youth." Erasmus
Much of your child's success in the future depends on their post-secondary education and this is becoming increasingly costly. By 2027 it could cost you more than $114,063 for a 4-year university program if your child is living away from home. Your child may be faced with huge student loans that take years to pay off unless you plan ahead to make funds available for them.

A Registered Education Savings Plan(RESP) is a tax-sheltered plan in which you can save for the post-secondary education of your child. You can also take advantage of the Canadian government grants of up to $500 per year and in the case of lower income families, an additional amount as a Canada Learning Bond.

By starting early to save in an RESP you can help to ensure you have the funds available when your child is ready to attend college or university.  CONTACT US  for more information on how to start an RESP plan that will help you fulfill your dreams for your child.
"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." John Dewey