DEC 28, 2012

CAR LOANS DRIVE PERSONAL DEBT

BY KEITH THOMSON

A recent report revealed that Canadians’ personal debts have reached a new record high, according to the Toronto Star. The average total debt, excluding mortgages, rose to $26,768.  This is an increase of 2.1% from the previous quarter and a 4.6% increase from the third quarter of 2011.  These numbers represent the fastest growth rate in 2 years. It is the fastest growing and also…

DEC 19, 2012

PERSONAL FINANCE GRADE

BY KEITH THOMSON

Canadians are considered to be more knowledgeable this year than last year about financial terms and personal finance, according to the BMO Financial Literacy Report Card and the Canadian HR Reporter. Most Canadians would give themselves a passing grade on their personal finance knowledge. Three-quarters give themselves a B or C, with only 10% awarding themselves an A grading. Three percent of Canadians thought they…

DEC 7, 2012

LORD OF THE FLIES COMING TO TORONTO

BY KEITH THOMSON

The Lower Ossington Theatre presents a production of Lord of the Flies from December 1-9, 2012 based on the novel by Nobel Prize-winning author William Golding. Not familiar with the story of the Lord of the Flies? The following is a quick synopsis: A plane crashes on a lonely, uninhabited island, and the only survivors are a group of schoolboys. There are no houses or…

DEC 1, 2012

TORONTO'S HOLIDAY BAKING BONANZA

BY KEITH THOMSON

The City of Toronto Museums presents the Holiday Baking Bonanza on December 1 and 2, 2012. Children are welcome to join in the fun at the Scarborough Museum from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. on both days! Bake holiday treats using traditional methods in the woodstove and at the hearth. Kids take home a recipe booklet and selection of goodies to share with the family!…

NOV 27, 2012

WANT TO SAVE ON AIRFARE?

BY KEITH THOMSON

Five million Canadians have already figured out how to save money on airfare – cross the border.  Every year, millions plan to cross the border into the United States for cheaper flights.  Because of the issues surrounding the Canadian airline industry, people are gravitating to the United States for flights. 1 million more travelers used U.S. airlines in 2011 than in 2010, according to the…

NOV 20, 2012

“NOW, DON’T SPEND IT ALL IN ONE PLACE…” THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE SPENDING YOUR TAX RETURN

BY KEITH THOMSON

In a previous post, we talked about some great tips for saving money on your tax return.  Now that you have saved all that money, you might want to consider a few things before you spend it.  It makes more sense to make a plan for your money so that it doesn’t go to waste.

NOV 12, 2012

CAVALCADE OF LIGHTS!

BY KEITH THOMSON

A well-loved Toronto tradition for 45 spectacular years, the Cavalcade of Lights celebration kicks off the holiday season in the city.  Every year, audiences gather for the first lighting of the decorated Christmas Tree. The event is located in Nathan Phillips Square showcasing thousands LED lights in colours of red, white and silver.

NOV 2, 2012

TORONTO CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL

BY KEITH THOMSON

Chocolate lovers, the weekend of your dreams as arrived – The Toronto Chocolate Festival is back.  Throughout October you will find special deals at chocolatiers and pastry shops throughout the city. Here are some events you should definitely check out!

OCT 25, 2012

TORONTO DEMOGRAPHICS TO CHANGE

BY KEITH THOMSON

Toronto citizens should prepare themselves for a demographic shift with an influx of seniors.  Many preparations will be made to maintain safety and accessibility for everyone, especially senior citizens.  Councillor Josh Matlow recommended that Council and city staff create a plan to carry out this change.  They developed a workbook to take residents through their comprehensive plan.  The workbook features how they will build on…

OCT 24, 2012

5 TOPICS TO INCLUDE IN A FINANCIAL PLAN

BY KEITH THOMSON

Budget A budget is probably the most important part of your financial plan.  There are many strategies for creating a budget, and you might have to try a few before you find the strategy that works for you.  Whatever your approach, the goal should be the same: to allocate your finances and help you keep track of how much money you have to spend. Insurance…

OCT 17, 2012

TORONTO TEMPO SHOWCASES TORONTO IN ALL ITS SPLENDOR

BY KEITH THOMSON

As a previous board member and still active participant of the Toronto Community Foundation, I have immense pride in the city of Toronto. In my opinion—and I’m sure you’ll agree—Toronto is the greatest city in the world: full of life and wonder, with a vibrant community and an abundance of culture, art, sports, local food, and spontaneous kindness. Each day, I am ever more grateful…

OCT 12, 2012

WHAT’S FINANCIAL DIVERSIFICATION?

BY KEITH THOMSON

Financial Diversification is really just a fancy way of saying, Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversification is the practice of spreading your money around in different types of investments to reduce your overall investment risk. There are many types of investments, with some carrying more risk than others. Those include stocks, bonds, cash (like savings accounts) and property. How you diversify and…

OCT 10, 2012

7 WAYS TO SAVE ON YOUR TAX RETURN

BY KEITH THOMSON

Everyone has their tax return ritual that they do every year.  It probably involves a few aspirin, but lets make this easier for you.  Maybe filing your taxes will be a happy moment you will look back on and remember how much money you saved.  Who wouldn’t want to save money??  This year, seven new tax laws were added or amended that allow you to…

SEP 24, 2012

TAX REDUCTION OPPORTUNITIES

BY KEITH THOMSON

Any time is a good time to think about reducing your taxes.  Even though the April 30th due date for personal tax returns is far off, here are 5 tips for reducing your taxes. 1.  Children’s Expenses Children come with their own set of financial expense, but there are also tax deductions available.  A maximum of $7,000 can be claimed for each child born in…

SEP 15, 2012

MANY BUSINESSES DON’T SURVIVE THE INHERITANCE

BY KEITH THOMSON

As a business owner, you certainly want your business to survive. In fact, you hope that it continues on for generations. However, that is an aspiration that fails to come true for many business owners. Business can be thriving only to fall apart as part of an inheritance. According to a recent article in the Financial Post, only one in three family-owned businesses successfully transitions…

AUG 29, 2012

FEAR OF ILLNESS AFFECTS SAVINGS

BY KEITH THOMSON

How much should be saved for retirement? And how much of that should be earmarked for the possibility of an illness that requires nursing home care? These are questions that have Canadians wringing their hands in worry, as the fear of illness haunts their financial planning decisions.

AUG 27, 2012

5 BUDGETING TIPS AND TRICKS

BY KEITH THOMSON

A budget is a plan meant to help you balance your income with your expenses.  Creating a budget is not difficult in itself is not difficult, however creating a plan that works for you and sticking to it can be a daunting task.  Whether you are writing your first budget or perfecting your long time budget, here are some basic steps to keep you on…

AUG 20, 2012

CANADIANS SLOW TO MOVE

BY KEITH THOMSON

In an age where Canadians have more debt than ever—the debt to income ratio is 152%—few move to a different city with a lower cost of living or lower taxes. A recent article reports that Canadians are slow to move, even if it would better their finances. A World Bank study found that under 1% of Canadian workers move among the 10 provinces. In comparison,…

AUG 12, 2012

BASIC GUIDE TO CHARITABLE GIVING

BY KEITH THOMSON

Everyone has a cause that interests them. Like many Canadians, you may want to donate to a charity or a cause that you deeply care about. However, you may not know how to go about doing it. You may wonder what to look for when donating to a charity, how to make your donation, or how your donation will affect your taxes. The Better Business…

JUL 21, 2012

CANADIANS HAVE MORE CONSUMER DEBT THAN EVER

BY KEITH THOMSON

Debt is often a large obstacle to the preservation of wealth. According to a CBC News article, the current trend for Canadians is that their debt is growing. The article reported that, “Although Canadians’ disposable income increased during the first three months of 2012, it did not rise as much as their personal debt did, on average, according to Statistics Canada.

JUL 15, 2012

CANADIANS SHOULD MAKE SAVING
A HABIT

BY KEITH THOMSON

In a great article on CNN Money International, Canadians are advised to “Turn saving into a habit.” Often, Canadians may struggle to save sufficiently, especially if they do not have a financial advisor to help them meet their financial goals. Saving, however, is incredibly important: it not only increases your net worth but also helps to ensure financial well-being.

JUL 6, 2012

BIG ENOUGH? EXHIBIT EXAMINES SPACE, LIVING IN TORONTO

BY KEITH THOMSON

A photography exhibit, BIG ENOUGH? examines the living spaces in Toronto and how people use their space when it’s at a premium. The exhibit, features a variety of homes and living spaces, and is described this way: How much space do we need to live in the city? When considering the homes we live in, do we desire more or less space? Is the idea…

JUN 15, 2012

TFSA OR RRSP: FIND YOUR BEST OPTION FOR RETIREMENT SAVINGS

BY KEITH THOMSON

Since the introduction of Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) in 2009, there have been many questions asking whether a TFSA is better for retirement savings that the long standing RRSP strategy.  TFSAs and RRSPs both offer tax advantages and can be great tools to help you reach your retirement savings goals.  If you can afford it, the best strategy would be to contribute as much…

MAY 14, 2012

ARE WE BUYING OUR CHILDREN'S LOVE?

BY KEITH THOMSON

A recent article in the Financial Post begs an interesting question: are we buying our children’s love?

MAY 1, 2012

WHAT HAPPENS IF I FORGOT TO FILE MY INCOME TAXES?

BY KEITH THOMSON

April 30 at midnight… the deadline for most Canadians to file personal returns for the 2011 tax year.  Hopefully, the majority of us did this.  But what happens if you missed it?  Unless you have made it a personal choice to never pay your taxes again, there are a few things you should do within the next few months.

APR 4, 2012

ANNUAL SUGARBUSH MAPLE SYRUP FESTIVAL RUNS THROUGH APRIL 9 AT VAUGHAN

BY KEITH THOMSON

If you haven’t been yet, the annual Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival is still going strong. The festival is in two locations: Kortright Centre in Vaughan and Bruceís Mill in Whitchurch-Stouffville. It’s fun, family-friendly event that gives you a taste of all things Maple Syrup, a Canadian staple. In fact, the festival organizers say Canada produces 85 percent of the world’s Maple Syrup. The festival includes…

FEB 22, 2012

BLOOR-YORKVILLE ICEFEST COMING BACK

BY KEITH THOMSON

The Seventh Annual Bloor-Yorkville IceFest is back on Feb. 25 and 26 at the Village of Yorkville Park at Bellair and Cumberland streets. The festival will feature ice sculpture displays, ice carving demonstrations and a street-skating performances. From noon to five you can watch as the Winter Wilderness Exhibit comes to life as sculptures work 30,000 pounds of ice. It will include an Ice Log…

FEB 5, 2012

CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW AT THE METRO TORONTO CONVENTION CENTRE

BY KEITH THOMSON

The annual Canada International Auto Show will be back at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Feb. 17 through Feb. 26. The state-of-the-art Autoshow will feature new, classic, exotic automobiles. This year a brand new feature is the Eco-Drive Showcase, which will showcase new and soon-to-emerge fuel-efficient vehicles and tech. The AutoShow, one of Canada’s biggest, will have a shuttle to help people get around, and…

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Keith

Thomson

    CFP®, CIM®, FCSI®

15 York Street, Second Floor,
Suite 101
Toronto, ON M5J 0A3

Phone: (416) 681-7152
Fax: (416) 681-7170
Email: kthomson@stonegatepc.com