By Rob Carrick
The signature personal finance-related move by the Liberal government so far was arguably to lower income taxes for the middle class and increase for them for high earners. Other moves may have a bigger dollar impact on some individuals, but re-jigging the tax rates speaks to a willingness to re-distribute income by taxing some people more and others less. This calculator will help you see whether you're on track to pay more or less tax in 2016 than you did in 2015.
The accounting firm Ernst & Young offers a detailed free tax calculator that is updated every year. Here's the 2016 version. Find out your total tax payable, your average tax rate and your marginal tax rate. Here's a good little primer on average and marginal tax rates.
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Rob's top web links
50 nifty house fix-ups for less than $100
> Make that less than $100 (U.S.), which is still pretty affordable. For more affordable decorating ideas, check out these "meat pillows." No, that is not a euphemism for something disgusting.
Delusions of happiness and Vancouver's housing market
> Vancouver's a special city, but is it special enough to justify an average $1.1-million price for houses? I say no, and so does some work by a respected academic who has looked at what makes people happy.
Millennials and banks? It's complicated
> Everyone in the financial industry is trying to figure out what young adults want in terms of banking and investing. Here's some intel that suggests they want slick digital banking tools, and it doesn't matter much who offers them.
How money arguments can ruin your marriage
> How to work through the inevitable disagreements that couples have over money. Yes, even couples where one spouse is a personal finance columnist.
> A fascinating comparison of two major names in Canada's robo-adviser business, Wealthsimple and Nest Wealth. As you'll see here, there are many details to consider when choosing a robo-adviser, which manages your portfolio online using low-cost exchange-traded funds.
This is how hard it was to find a job in the Depression
> If you want to see what hard times look like, check out this photo gallery.
Today's featured investment tool
Here's a handy screening tool for investors who want to build a portfolio with low-cost exchange-traded funds, but need to narrow down the number of funds available. For further information on ETFs, follow my ETF Buyers' Guide. Here's the first installment, which covers Canadian equity ETFs.
The question: "I've always had an accountant do my taxes but I feel like I should be doing them myself. Do you have any suggestions for getting started and for making sure I'm doing a good job at it?"
My reply: Here's what to do. Try one of the free tax software programs I looked at in a recent column. If you find you need more assistance, consider paying for a product like TurboTax Premier or UFile – both use a friendly, accessible interface to help you make your way through the taxform.
Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Questions and answers are edited for length.
What investments can go in a tax free savings account, or TFSA? Answers here. Sorry, no real estate.
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