December 2014
Happy Holidays!




Our office is wishing you and your family all the best in this upcoming holiday season. As we reflect on this past year, we should take all that we've learned and make it a goal to become more 'hands-on' with our finances and our life. We hope that this month's collection of articles will help you do just that.


We look forward to hearing from you in the New Year.


Be well.



Peter, Claudio and Joanna

Here's Your Year-End Financial Checklist

by Marie Engen - November 2014,


The approaching year-end offers a great time to reflect on 2014 and look forward to 2015.


It's a good time to get organized and give some consideration to your finances. There are always changes that might be worth making to better your overall situation.



Take a look at your spending pattern for the year.

  • Did you stick to your budget?
  • Were there unanticipated expenses?
  • Did you meet your savings goal?
  • Are there areas where you can cut costs or increase your spending?
  • Where do you need to make refinements?

Review your plans and goals and establish a new budget for next year.



Arrange a meeting with your financial advisor. Prepare for it by creating a list of topics to help you get the most out of your discussion.


Review your progress on your financial goals to ensure you are on the right track.


Review and rebalance your portfolio, adjust your current asset allocation as required and ensure your strategy still aligns with your financial goals.


Did you make the maximum allowable contribution to your RESP and TFSA (or as much as you had planned)?


If you turned (or are turning 71) this year make arrangements to switch your RRSP over to a RRIF or annuity before year-end.


If you are using the bucket approach to manage your income stream during retirement, it's time to think about how you'll top up your liquid pool of assets.



Create your tax file now.

  • Out of pocket health-care costs.
  • Plan your charitable donations.
  • Organize receipts for tax credits and deductions such as transit fares and children's art and fitness programs.
  • Self-employment expenses

Realize capital gains and losses. To maximize tax advantages, use capital losses to offset capital gains, first this year, then any three preceding years or any future year.


Employee benefits

Review your employee benefits. If you have "flex" spending for medical and dental expenses make an appointment to take care of your medical needs before they expire. Some plans can carry over from year to year, but others do not.


Understand the choices you've made and make sure you're getting the full use of any benefits you are eligible for. You might want to renew your prescriptions. Some deductibles reset at the beginning of the New Year.


If you didn't take all your vacation days this year, check with your HR department to see if you can roll them over into the next year. If not, take them now, or cash them out instead. Put this extra money aside to spend on upcoming vacation plans.



Some people like to calculate their net worth at year-end. This lets you know what you need to focus on in the next year, such as increasing your savings or a more speedy pay-down of your debts.


Check your credit score or request a free credit report from or Make sure there are no mistakes.


Evaluate your insurance policies - auto, home, health, life - to make sure you're getting the coverage and service your need.


Is your beneficiary information updated and correct?



If your year-end review shows you've got things under control, congratulations. If you need to make changes, start putting together your plan for next year.


Checking these items off your to-do list can help you be more organized and give you a sense of accomplishment. You'll feel in great financial control, which should help you enjoy the holidays even more - a good end to the year.


To view the original article, click here.

12 key documents you need to gather

by Brenda Spiering - December 2014,


Can you imagine what would happen if you died and your beneficiaries didn't know where to find your will? Or your money?


It happens all the time according to Jim Yih, author of the personal finance blog, "When someone dies, there are a whole bunch of questions that need answers but the only person with the answers is not here anymore." You really love your family and friends, says Yih, so take the time to get your estate organized so you don't leave them with a big mess to sort through during such an emotional time.


To make sure this doesn't happen to your family, always have the following key documents safely stored together in a place where they can easily be found:


1. Your will: Outlines who gets what when you die. It also appoints guardians for your underage kids. Without a will, your assets will be divided according to provincial law, not your own wishes. Worse, your kids might end up not living with the guardian of your choice.


2. A living will: Spells out how you want to be treated if you are unable to make decisions about your own health (e.g., whether you want to receive life-sustaining treatments like respiration or resuscitation or whether you want organs donated).


3. A power of attorney: Gives someone the power to make financial decisions for you in the event you're no longer able to do so. Without this document, the courts will have to appoint a guardian to look after your affairs, and that can take a lot of time - and money.


4. Proof of ownership: Gather together all documents that show you own your house, land, vehicles, stocks and any other assets. Without these, your family might not know what you own or be able to prove it. Spell it out for them.


5. Six years of tax returns: Tax returns give your executor a sense of the assets and finances that are part of your estate.


6. A list of bank accounts and safety deposit boxes: According to the Bank of Canada, there are approximately 1.3 million unclaimed balances in Canada worth some $465 million. You want your family to be able to find your money - show them where it is by listing all your accounts.


7. Stock certificates and savings bonds: Hang onto your investment account statements and store them safely with your certificates (if you have any on paper), so your family can easily determine exactly what you own.


8. Pension, retirement and annuity documents: Help your family access any remaining retirement benefits they are eligible for through your retirement plan. If you're getting money from an annuity, the contract will help your beneficiaries understand what they are entitled to and from which company.


9. Insurance policies: You bought insurance so your loved ones would be financially covered when you die, so be sure to keep copies of all insurance-related documents on hand so your family will know what policies you have.


10. A list of your debts and loans: A list like this will ensure your family won't end up having any unwanted surprises down the road, such as debts they did not know about.


11. Marriage licence and/or divorce papers: Legal proof of marriage and divorce can make it easier for the executor of your estate and for your family.


12. Your user names and passwords: With social media and online accounts becoming increasingly important, you want to be sure your loved ones will be able to access your accounts.

View original article here.

Boosting Your Financial Fitness

by Sarah Milton - December 2014,


With 2015 just around the corner, it seems only natural that our thoughts should turn to creating change and making resolutions to "do better" next year in some way. Often those resolutions are connected to health and fitness and this might explain why gyms and fitness studios always tend to be so busy in the early part of the year. The dictionary definition of fit is, "to be healthy: sound physically and mentally" and, while we tend to use the word fitness in relation to physical well-being, I think that many of the areas we focus on when trying to improve our physical fitness can also be applied to improving our financial health:


Create a Positive Relationship With Money

Often, the most powerful barriers to achieving physical fitness lie in our perceptions of ourselves and the way we feel about our bodies. It doesn't matter how clearly we understand that eating right and exercising will improve our health and help us get into shape or how many books and gadgets we buy. If deep down, we don't believe that we can ever achieve that level of fitness or become the kind of person who is fit and healthy then our chances of success are very small because our best intentions will be sabotaged by our core beliefs. It's exactly the same with money.


The basic principles of managing money and building wealth are very simple: pay yourself firstspend less than you earnkeep track of your money, invest wisely and give every dollar a purpose. However, if you don't think of money in a positive way, if you don't see yourself as a good money manager or someone who is capable of building and growing wealth then your chances of achieving financial success are very small. Creating a positive relationship with money is a key step to boosting your financial fitness.


Make Good Money Management a Habit

People who achieve a high level of physical fitness don't do it through committing to a series of fad diets and exercise crazes. They make fitness a habit. Working out becomes something they enjoy and so they make time for it in their daily routine. They eat foods that they enjoy which also happen to be healthy and help them achieve their fitness goals. They don't abandon "unhealthy" food altogether, they just limit the amount they eat to the occasional treat rather than an everyday indulgence. Exercising and eating well become part of their lifestyle; something that is easy to maintain because it's a habit not a hassle.


In the same way that you can make exercise a habit, you can also make good money management a habit. Start by developing a money management plan and keeping track of your spending. Set clear financial goals and then put an action plan in place that will enable you to achieve them. Don't rein your spending in too tightly - give yourself a buffer zone to take care of unexpected expenses and make sure you incorporate some "fun money" into your budget so that you can enjoy your money too.


Cut Yourself Some Slack

One of the things I learned very early on in goal setting is that sometimes your perceptions of what you can achieve are out of sync with the reality of what you can actually accomplish. In theory, getting to the gym or down to the treadmill in the basement for an hour every day might be reasonable but in reality a late night, a random snowstorm or a sick child can throw off your best laid plans in an instant. It's just the same with finances; the best budget can be thrown off by an unexpected expense, an irresistible sale or a forgotten bill. What's really important though, is not that you missed a workout, splurged on a night out or ate a huge piece of cheesecake but what you do next.


Rather than using it as justification for giving up ("I knew I couldn't do this!) just acknowledge that you got (temporarily) derailed and then set the intention to get back on track. One strategy that I really like is James Clear's, "never miss twice" mindset which means acknowledging that you might get off track once but committing not letting it happen twice in a row. This means that, rather than beating yourself up for getting off track, you commit even more strongly to doing better. For example: I might have missed a workout this morning but I definitely won't miss tomorrow or, I might have splurged on eating out today but I'll pack a lunch tomorrow.


Financial fitness, like physical fitness, is a process. It takes a little time, a little research and a little commitment but once it becomes a habit, it can be a powerful tool in reducing stress and increasing well-being.


What could you do this week and over the next year to improve your own financial fitness? I challenge you to set some goals and see what you can accomplish!


View original article here.

Issue: 49
Financial Markets
In This Issue
Here's Your Year-End Financial Checklist
12 key documents you need to gather
Boosting Your Financial Fitness

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Peter Bailey
Wealth Advisor
Worldsource Financial Management Inc.
272 Lawrence Avenue West, Suite 203
Toronto, Ontario M5M 4M1 

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