Who Takes On Your Parent’s Debt?

The Globe and Mail’s Preet Banerjee discussed last week in an online article the concept of who is responsible for our parent’s debt when they pass on, a subject that creates a good deal of anxiety for many Canadians when they see their mother or father struggling with mounting obligations. “Some people can expect big inheritances when their parents pass away. But when the talk of the town is the record levels of debt Canadians are holding, not to mention how many people are expecting to enter retirement owing money on their mortgages, lines of credit, and credit cards, I’ve been hearing this question more and more: “Am I responsible for my parents’ debts?” Banerjee wrote. He continued, “With longer life expectancies, portfolios that have been beaten down by the recent global economic carnage, and projections for steep increases in healthcare costs, it’s not a stretch to imagine senior citizens with debts that they may never be able to pay off. What if dear old dad has $50,000 in credit card debt when he meets his maker? Can he leave that to his children?” “In general, you cannot inherit debt unless you have previously accepted responsibility for it.” Read the full article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS

Investor Anticipation Runs High Before Bernanke Address

“Ben Bernanke has a lot of hype to live up to this week when he delivers a speech from Jackson Hole, Wyo., the Federal Reserve chairman’s grandest stage,” Kevin Carmichael wrote in a Globe and Mail online article on the weekend. Carmichael continued, “This week’s economic calendar is packed, bringing a revised estimate of U.S. economic growth, new data on household consumption and fresh inflation numbers. Yet what Wall Street cares about most is Mr. Bernanke’s speech at the Kansas City Fed’s annual economic symposium, where his yearly speeches have attained mythic status – a status that has thrown a deep divide between economists who feel the real value of the talks have been exaggerated, and Wall Street, which tends to create its own reality.” Read the full article here.

Historic Astronaut Neil Armstrong is Remembered

“The tributes have been pouring in for Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, who has died at age 82. People are remembering both his achievements and his modesty,” CBC news wrote online yesterday. The report continued, “Armstrong made his lunar landing on July 20, 1969 and uttered the famous quote: ‘That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.’ That was his last space mission. After that he took a desk job, then went on to teach engineering in his home state of Ohio, staying out of the limelight. Armstrong died Saturday of complications from heart bypass surgery he underwent earlier this month.” Read the full article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS

Bank of Canada Governor Urges Corporate Canada to Spend

“Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney has a message for Corporate Canada: Start spending your cash or give it to shareholders to do it for you,” the National Post’s John Shmuel wrote this week. The article continued, “‘This is dead money,’ Mr. Carney said during a news conference Wednesday, following a historic speech to members of the Canadian Auto Workers union. It was a sign that the head of Canada’s central bank is frustrated with the record piles of unused cash Canadian companies hold today. ‘If companies can’t figure out what to do with it, then they should give it to shareholders and they’ll figure it out,’ he said. The comments were some of the strongest Mr. Carney has made regarding the almost $600-billion in unused cash being held by non-financial companies in Canada. Cash hoarding has grown steadily since the financial crisis, as firms feel the need to retain large cash reserves in the face of uncertainty in the global economy.” Read the full article here.

After Nearly Two Decades of Talks Russia Joins WTO

“Russia formally joins the ranks of the World Trade Organization today, after more than 18 years of negotiations, but few analysts expect its membership in the world’s biggest free trade club to produce quick economic miracles. Russia becomes the last of the world’s major economies to join the world trade body. Until now, it was the only member of the G20 countries still outside the WTO. It has the world’s ninth biggest economy, worth $1.8 trillion US annually,” a CBC online news article wrote today. The article continued, “Over time, Russia is clearly hoping its WTO membership will give it the same economic boost China enjoyed after it joined the WTO in 2001. But with an export economy that is dominated by commodities, Russia is not likely to witness the same explosive growth that China’s low-cost manufacturing-based economy experienced.” Read the full article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS

Bank of Canada Grabbing Headlines & Our Attention

“It’s almost as if the stewards of Canada’s monetary policy were determined to grab the spotlight this week — wanted or otherwise,” Gordon Isfeld of the National Post wrote yesterday.

“While the country’s top central banker prepared to make a much-anticipated — and historic — overture to organized labour, his deputy was beating the drum for a stable financial system amid a growing global crisis. And then there was the hot-button, $100-note ‘ethnicity’ controversy. Those issues will no doubt be on Mark Carney’s plate at a critical lunchtime gathering Wednesday in Toronto, where the Bank of Canada governor will address members of the Canadian Auto Workers union. The speech — titled Globalization, Financial Stability and Employment — will be his first public address before a labour-based group. It will also be the first such appearance ever by a Bank of Canada head. ‘The CAW invited the governor to speak during its convention,’ said a Bank of Canada spokesman. ‘Governor Carney considers it important to meet with and speak to a range of business, industry, academic and labour groups.’ For sure, that audience will be anxious to hear Mr. Carney’s views on the manufacturing sector and the impact of the resurgent Canadian dollar on the country’s auto industry,” Isfeld continued. Read the full article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS

Proper Tax Planning Can Reduce the Amount You Pay

“The reason many people consider transferring property before death is to avoid or reduce the amount of tax their heirs will have to pay when the will is probated,” Advisor.ca reports. “Probate is the legal process of dealing with someone’s estate and ensures their wishes, usually contained in a will, be carried out. In Ontario, the tax payable on a probate application is $5 per thousand up to $50,000 of estate value and then $15 per thousand for anything over that. Therefore, the probate tax for an estate of $1 million would be $14,500.” The estate planning article continued, “With proper tax planning, you can reduce the amount of tax payable. Improper planning can cost you a whole lot more.” Read the full article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS

Georgia Golf Club Welcomes First Female Members

“For the first time in its 80-year history, Augusta National Golf Club has female members,” CBC Sports reported yesterday. The news site continued about the Georgia golf club, “The home of the Masters, under increasing criticism the last decade because of its all-male membership, invited former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore to become the first women in green jackets when the club opens for a new season in October. The move likely ends a debate that intensified in 2002 when Martha Burk of the National Council of Women’s Organizations urged the club to include women among its members. Former club chairman Hootie Johnson stood his ground, even at the cost of losing Masters television sponsors for two years, when he famously said Augusta National might one day have a woman in a green jacket, ‘but not at the point of a bayonet.'” The high profile women, Rice and Moore, both accepted the offer of which Martha Burk had this to say, “Oh my God. We won. It’s about 10 years too late for the boys to come into the 20th century, never mind the 21st century. But it’s a milestone for women in business.” Read the full article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS

Female Senator Slams Ignorant ‘Legitimate Rape’ Remark

  “A row has erupted in the US after a congressman said women’s bodies were naturally able to prevent pregnancy in the case of ‘legitimate rape’. Todd Akin, who is also running as Republican candidate for the Senate, made the comments in a TV interview to explain his strict views on abortion,” a BBC News online article wrote today. The BBC article continued with a statement from Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill who said it is ‘beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape’. Read the full article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS

A Snake In the Grass…

…and we’re not talking about Barclays bankers.

“The biggest Burmese python ever caught in Florida — 17 feet, 7 inches (5.18 metres) long and 164 1/2 pounds (74.4 kilograms) — was found in Everglades National Park, the University of Florida announced Monday,” the National Post reported today.

It continued, “The snake was pregnant with 87 eggs, also said to be a record. Scientists said the python’s stats show just how pervasive the invasive snakes, which are native to Southeast Asia, have become in South Florida.” “‘It means these snakes are surviving a long time in the wild,’ said Kenneth Krysko, a snake expert at the Florida Museum of Natural History, where the euthanized snake was brought. ‘There’s nothing stopping them and the native wildlife are in trouble.'”

Read the full article and see more stomach-turning pictures here.

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