TFSA For The Win

Whether if you have a specific saving or investing goal, using the TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account) to get you there is your best choice. I was talking about this yesterday to a couple friends at brunch so I wanted to share some of its advantages to savings over an RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) account and why you need to get on board and start saving with it.

The TFSA account allows you to save up to $5,000 per year, without it being subject to being taxed. This is amazing. Note: More in-depth information to explain all the intricacies of the TFSA is available here. This is the opposite for Unlike the RRSP account which if you take out the money it gets taxed immediately. Ouch. I did this last year, when I took out quite a large sum of money (for an financial emergency). It was a bad idea for 3 reasons. Firstly, my investment was doing great and I had made a lot on my principal, so I probably should have left it there. Secondly, I was taxed on it. And thirdly, the money got added to my earned income for this year, thus increasing how much I had to pay in income tax. Brutal. My TFSA on the other hand doesn’t come with any of these many potential burdens, making it the ideal savings vehicle between the two.

Furthermore, as my previous experienced has proved, having money locked in, then getting taxed on it when taken out, wasn’t the best situation for me. If another financial emergencies arises, It is a lot more beneficial to have access to my money quickly without the fear of any tax penalty overhanging.

Since it was introduced in 2009, the limit to investing into your TFSA has now increased to a maximum of $15,000 (A new $5,000 can be added each year). If you do not fill up the $5,000 in space each year, it carries forward. Are there any more reasons you need convincing on?  I hope I spurred my friend on to at least consider it as a possibility.

She has a great, secure job and with her advancing in her career and coming into a higher tax bracket in the not to distant future, the TFSA makes a lot of sense, since it would be ideal place a portion of her earnings away from being taxed. The key here is to start small, with automatic deposits into a TFSA from your bank account on pay day. You won’t miss I thing. However, sorry folks, but the TFSA is only available for us Canadian residents over the age of 18. We gotta have something though…it’s cold up here!

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Ping-pong power

I sprained my hammy. That was the only thought running through my head after over 3 plus hours of ping-pong this past Saturday night. Your only thought probably is how did I end up playing ping-pong for that long. On a Saturday night no less. Well it’s a story that started way back in high school.

High school was at times somewhat awkward for me and my friends. We were a group of immigrants, about 8 guys deep, one of the largest identifiable groups of colour that hung out at my high school by far. We all shared a passion for sports, with specifically soccer being number one, spending virtually our entire 4 years playing indoor soccer in the gym during lunch. Fun times and great memories for sure. However, there was another sport during this time that also had a grasp on me, ping-pong.

Ping-pong in my basement was less of a group affair that indoor soccer was and more of an intense 1 on 1 battle between me and my close friend. We would play a number of games after school, on days where he wanted to delay the dreaded long walk home.

The attractiveness of ping-pong, was simlar to soccer. Both are easy sports to get into. This allowed the competitive juices to flow quite quickly, and soon ping-pong became just as competitve as soccer, as we tried to hit a small plastic ball back and forth at each other, usually with it hitting each others groin or head area. Ouch. But it was fun. Throw in those teenage conversations about girls, the next dance, and the family and ping-pong days became great times to waste a few hours after school.

Now this past weekend, wasn’t like those days. It was way more intense. My friend and I had certainly improved. We both consistently could add spin to our shots, there was more trash talking, and we were even much more competitive than before. No one likes to lose, especially when egged on by a friend who celebrates every winner as the best shot they had ever hit. It was a battle of epic proportions. Even our gallery, consisting of two girls and one referee, were amused with the intensity and focus of our struggle.

After 20 games, with the winner having to reach 21, I surrended. Sore hammy and all I had won 5 of 20 games. A sound beating. However, you had to be there to witness how close the games really were. As well, you would see how my friend, had consumed much less beer than I had, to remain focussed to the task at hand. Nevertheless, a passion in ping-pong was reborn. Maybe the table that’s in the basement needs to be unleashed again, along with training sessions, so that victory will be within my grasp next time?

Memo pad for the win

My Blackberry Torch. Your Iphone 4. His Samsung Galaxy S. Everyone has their favourite smartphone. They all do pretty much the same thing. Text messages, e-mail, camera function, web browsing, and applications or apps. However there is one feature, that doesn’t even come close to being on this list which is more important than them all. It’s the memo pad.

Where would I be without my memo pad on my Torch? Pen and paper beside the bed writing in substandard light, thats where. The memo pad is the most useful thing that I use on my phone. Bar none. Currently, I have 25 different items stored in my memo pad. Things like future blog posts, names of people in books I have read (book reviews to come, check back later), and other random thoughts on things that cross my vision (aka girls).

The memo pad is so useful it makes me feel bad. The more I use it, the more I realize that the other features of my phone are becoming under utilized. The camera, 5MP, sits by idly waiting for some action, apps are checked, but they don’t consume much of my time. Even the browser is mainly used to just burn time . You can only check Facebook account so much in an hour before a different status update appears. Unless you have 1000+  “friends”.

So when I think about it everything just seems to come back to my memo pad. And that is just fine with me. Because when you hear that new song on the radio and are wondering what it was, just open a new note, call it “song” and try and quickly type in a couple of the lyrics. Or I guess you could just Shazam it? Ah forget it. Typing in my memo pad will beat that every time.