20 best places to retire in the world – Canada places above U.S

“When it comes to retirement, the Europeans prove once again that they know something the United States doesn’t, according to the recently released Natixis Global Retirement Index. For the second year in a row, the U.S. barely made it into the top 20 in its capacity to meet retirees’ financial needs and expectations. European nations, meanwhile, took eight of the top 10 spots. The index, now in its second year, is put together by Natixis Global Asset Management and CoreData, and measures the ability of 150 countries to care for their retirees”,  according to the February 27, 2014 article on the Financial Post website. Read the full article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CH  

Our country’s current account deficit widens to $16 billion

“Statistics Canada says the country’s current account deficit widened to $16 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, as exports lagged and foreign investment fled Canada.

In figures released this morning, the agency said the deficit on international trade in goods widened $1.4 billion to $2.7 billion in the fourth quarter” according to a cbcnews.ca article. “Exports declined led by a downturn in exports of crude oil, metals and mineral products. For 2013 as a whole, with the current account deficit totals $60.7 billion, a $1.5 billion improvement from 2012. The current account has remained in a deficit position since the fourth quarter of 2008. The fourth quarter current account deficit also reflects the flight of foreign investors from money market instruments. After the U.S. Fed began the process of tapering, announcing in December it would reduce its monthly bond-buying program to $75 billion US  in January, money began moving out of Canadian Treasury bills toward U.S. instruments.” Read the full article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CH  

Canadian men’s hockey team captures gold with shutout win over Sweden

“After the gold medals had all been awarded, after the players had posed for the obligatory centre-ice photograph, Jonathan Toews accepted a Canadian flag from one of their supporters in the Bolshoy arena and circled the ice – briefly – waving it back and forth. It was about as wild as the on-ice celebration ever got, the Canadians handling the aftermath of Sunday’s gold medal-winning performance over Sweden with the same quiet efficiency they used to handle all six opponents they faced en route to defending the gold medal they won back in 2010 in Vancouver.” writes Eric Duhatschek for The Globe and Mail. “Now that was a party – at home, in overtime, playing in front of a crowd that erupted when Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal. But Canada was so much in control of Sunday’s 3-0 victory over Sweden that the final period involved mostly clock-watching. It was that methodical. It was that dominating. ‘You had to do something to try and engage the fans a little bit there,’ Toews explained. ‘I’m not really the flashy guy who does those sorts of things, but I was pretty excited out there.’ History is rarely on the minds of players when they win something as significant as an Olympic gold medal. The experience is too fresh, too new and really just too much fun in the here-and-now to think about its significance or long-term impact. Ultimately, each of the most recent men’s hockey golds resonate in their own unique way.” Read the full article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CH    

Canadian women’s hockey team wins Olympic gold!

“It may have been the strangest women’s hockey game ever played. It may well have been the most exciting. It most certainly had to be the happiest and unhappiest for the two countries involved – happy for Canada, winning a fourth consecutive gold medal in women’s Olympic hockey, unhappy for the United States, which outplayed and outscored Canada until, with only 3:26 left in the game, their seemingly sure dream turned into the worst imaginable nightmare.” writes Roy Macgregor in a Feb.20th article for the Globe and Mail.

Macgregor continues ” Marie-Philip Poulin scored with 55 seconds left to play in regulation, then put away the winner 8:10 into overtime as Canada edged the United States 3-2 to capture the gold medal in Sochi.

Four years ago in Vancouver, some fools in the media went after Poulin for drinking beer under age. This time, an entire country is toasting the fabulous 22-year-old star – even if they do so in a bit of a state of disbelief. ‘She’s the best player in the world,’ longtime Canadian team veteran Jayna Hefford said of the player teammates all call ‘Pou’.”

Read the full article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CH



Legislation for financial advisers tabled in Ontario

“Financial advisers who give advice about securities, mutual funds and insurance should be regulated to protect Canadian consumers from unethical operators, according to a voluntary group that represents financial advisers. Advocis, The Financial Advisors Association of Canada, is supporting a private member’s bill introduced in the Ontario legislature by Liberal MPP Rick Bartolucci that would regulate both who can practice as an adviser and the quality of the advice. Currently, anyone can hold themselves out as a financial adviser in the province without any professional designation. Advocis has been calling for consumer protection in the sector for decades, says its president and CEO Greg Pollock according to CBC news website. ‘We would like to see financial advisers properly regulated and the Canadian public knowing just who they are dealing with,’ he said in an interview with CBC’s Lang & O’Leary Exchange. Currently insurance and securities are regulated by different entities, with a focus on the products sold, rather than who sells them.” Read the full article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS    

In your 50s? Avoid the RRSP tax trap

“For most, hitting your 50s is a period marked by expanding waistlines, mounting aches and pains and the first genuine bouts of nostalgia. It is also the time to get serious about establishing a retirement nest egg. Most Canadians earn more money in their 50s than in any other decade, a statistic that, when combined with a honed investment strategy and a retirement game plan, can make for a very lucrative window of opportunity.” Simon Avery writes in his special for the Globe and Mail. “Unfortunately, not everyone makes the necessary adjustments to their investing strategy at this milestone, which can prove to be a costly oversight. RRSPs serve as a good step in bridging the gap between expenses and government payments in retirement (see chart). But getting prepared for retirement is not as simple as opening an RRSP account and making an annual contribution. ‘The industry has taught us to think about how much money we have accumulated in our RRSP. But it’s really all about the plan,’says Doug Dahmer, founder and chief executive officer of Emeritus Financial Strategies, in Burlington, Ontario” continues Avery.   Read the full article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS

Bank of England governor interest rate policy adjustment

“Bank of England governor Mark Carney has overhauled the Bank’s interest rate policy to reflect falling unemployment and the economic recovery,” a BBC News online article wrote yesterday.

“He said the Bank’s forward guidance policy ‘is working’ and had helped to secure growth. The Bank’s rate policy will now be determined not just by unemployment, but by a wider range of indicators. But Mr Carney warned the recovery was not secure and that when rates rose, they would do so only ‘gradually’.

However, investors took this as an indication that rates could rise next year, sending the pound higher on the money markets.

Introducing the Bank’s forward guidance policy last August, Mr Carney said that the Bank would not consider raising interest rates from their current low of 0.5% until unemployment had fallen to 7% or below. He said the policy had reduced uncertainty and encouraged businesses to hire and spend. ‘Forward guidance is working – expected interest rates have remained low even as the economy has recovered strongly, uncertainty about interest rates has fallen, and most importantly, UK businesses have understood the message,’ the governor said.” Read the full article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS      

Finance Minister Flaherty Waivers on Income-Splitting

“Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty suggested today he no longer supports bringing in income splitting for couples with children, kicking off a debate over whether the Conservatives are stepping back from a 2011 campaign promise,” Laura Payton wrote yesterday for a CBC.ca article. Payton continued, “The Conservative promise to introduce income splitting was a major part of the last election campaign and was tied to bringing the budget back into balance, something the government will likely have achieved a year from now. ‘It’s an interesting idea. I’m just one voice. It benefits some parts of the Canadian population a lot. And other parts of the Canadian population virtually not at all,’ Flaherty told reporters following an event in Ottawa. ‘And I like to think I’m analytical as finance minister, so I will, when we discuss it eventually in cabinet, in caucus, I will present my analysis to my colleagues.’ Earlier, Flaherty said the measure needs ‘a long, hard, analytical look’ by experts ‘to see who it affects in this society and to what degree. Because I’m not sure that overall it benefits our society.'” Read the full article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS  

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