Before you leave Canada, you need to take care of your finances. Use this checklist to get ready:
1. Take care of your money
- Set up online banking, telephone banking, or both.
- If you are going to the US, set up a US dollar account at a Canadian or US bank. Many US companies will only accept cheques from US banks.
- Get a credit card for US dollars. It often costs more to buy things in the US with a Canadian credit card.
- If you carry more than $10,000 (US) in or out of the US, in any form (including traveller’s cheques), you must file a report with US authorities when you enter the country.
- If you have a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF), arrange to have automatic withdrawals made from the RRIF into your chequing account while you’re away.
- Arrange to have your government pension and any GST credits put into an account in the US or Canada.
- If you have GICs that will mature while you’re out of the country, tell your bank how you want to transfer or reinvest the money, or plan to follow up by phone from your winter home.
- Take stock of all your investments. You may want to review them with an adviser before you leave Canada.
- You can also arrange for online access to your investment accounts. No matter where you are, you may find an Internet café you can use to check on things.
2. Arrange to pay your bills
- Set up withdrawals from your bank account to pay your bills while you’re away. This includes your insurance payments as well as utility bills and taxes.
- If you have online banking, you can arrange to receive and pay most of your major bills online.
3. Plan ahead in case something happens to you
- Make sure you know how long you can stay out of Canada and still keep your provincial health coverage and your status as a resident of Canada.
- Make sure you have enough travel and health insurance.
- Make sure your life insurance, will, and estate plans are up to date. Make sure you have a legal power of attorney. Bring copies of all these documents with you.
Remember: You can avoid problems if you get your finances in order
You’ll also have a lot more peace of mind. There’s lots of information to help you plan on the Internet:
Content in this section is provided in partnership with the Investor Education Fund, a non-profit organization promoting financial literacy to Canadians. To find out more go to GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca.