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Carrick on Money -

May 30, 2017

Carrick newsletter: Half of Canadians are making this unforgivable money mistake - If you don’t have a will, make getting one your No. 1 personal finance project for the rest of 2017

One of the great mysteries of personal finance is why so many people fail to have a will drawn up. Fail is exactly the right word here. Epic fail.

The latest evidence of this behaviour comes in a poll from Toronto-Dominion Bank that suggests half of Canadians don’t have a will. Almost 30 per cent of those who lack a will are between the ages of 53 and 71, an age range when people may have accumulated significant assets. Without a will, your assets are distributed according to a formula that varies by province. You would have no say in how much your spouse or children get.

If you don’t have a will, make getting one your No. 1 personal finance project for the remainder of 2017. A 2015 fee survey from Canadian Lawyer Magazine says simple wills cost $441 on average, while complex wills for a couple averaged $1,357. For most people, the time of life to start thinking about a will is when they have kids. Update the will as you get older to reflect the changing needs of your children and the assets you’ve accumulated.

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Why it feels like getting ahead is dead
Here’s a problem affecting both Americans and Canadians – weak wage gains at a time of reasonably strong job growth. The old relationship between falling unemployment and rising wages seems to be broken.

Avoid these rookie barbecuing mistakes
Meat’s bloody expensive. Get your money’s worth by avoiding these blunders.

How to spot a housing bubble
Look for a lot of talk about flipping properties for a profit, says the widely respected Yale economics professor Robert Shiller. Sounds like Toronto and surrounding areas.

Backtracking on the “dementia tax”
A proposal to have seniors pay more of their care costs was introduced during the British election campaign recently by Prime Minister Theresa May. Now, she’s backtracking after a big drop in the polls. Keep your eye on this storyline. In countries with aging populations, like Canada, governments are going to be under pressure to contain spending on health care.

Today’s featured financial tool
InterestPiggy.com bills is a free online marketplace where people can have banks, credit unions and other financial players bid for their GIC, savings and loan business. You say what you want, then see what rates you’re offered. If you try InterestPiggy, let me know what you think.

Ask Rob
The question: “When I make a TFSA withdrawal, I have to wait until next year before putting it back in. Does that mean I have to wait a full 12 months from the data of the withdrawal?”

The answer: “You can put the money back starting at the beginning of the year after you made the withdrawal. Here are the Canada Revenue Agency’s rules for making or replacing withdrawals from a TFSA.”

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length.

In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance stories
- Why it’s now a scarier environment for investors than ever before
- What happens when the kids don’t want the family cottage?
- Is dollar-cost averaging a smart way for millennials to invest?

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About Carrick on Money
This is Rob Carrick’s newsletter guide to investing smarter, saving more and avoiding common mistakes.

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