Mortgage Risk – What You Should Be Aware Of

Mortgage Risk Management

When taking out a mortgage it is important to be aware of the way that it will affect your future right from the start, in order to avoid messy situations later on. A mortgage is one of the most binding commitments you can make financially, as it ties you to a debt that will be with you for the foreseeable future, and maintaining payments to it is a non-negotiable part of your daily life for the period of the loan. Getting a mortgage that will suit your personal situation is essential because if you fail to make payments you risk losing your home and putting yourself in a situation where it will be impossible to get credit for the next several years.

It is genuinely of the utmost importance that you are aware from day one that these risks are real and serious. Although there are drawbacks to poor credit conduct on any kind of borrowing, the drawbacks on unsecured lending are considerably less. If you fail to meet the payments on a credit card then the card will be blocked and you will not be able to use it. This is not an ideal situation, but as long as you can make reduced payments for a specified period you will at least be able to maintain your way of life to a certain extent. The risks that come with a mortgage are proportionately increased by the fact that you have secured the loan against a property where you are living, and failure to meet those payments will see you evicted from your home if you cannot come to some kind of negotiated settlement.

In order to manage this risk, it is important to consider right from the start that a situation may arise where your income from work will be reduced. Do you have other sources of income that will allow you to at least maintain your mortgage payments? Will a claim on the insurance enable you to keep the account ticking over until your situation improves? Are you going to be eligible to claim on the insurance at all – this is dependent on what your current health and work situations are – or will you be turned down and need to rely on another source of income?

There are many questions that you need to ask yourself, and getting satisfactory answers in your mind for each of them is an absolute essential if you are going to successfully manage a mortgage account. If you are confident of living up to whatever is required of you, then you can be happy in the knowledge that one day, the house that currently belongs partly to the bank will be yours 100%. A mortgage is something that requires a lot of maturity and financial common sense to give you the best possible chance of owning your property and maybe one day realizing a profit on it. You don’t want to be paying off debt after you retire, so keep all of your most important questions in mind when looking for the right mortgage for you.

Real Return Bonds (RRB) and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS)

Real Return Bonds And Their Place In Your Future

First Published Date : October 25, 2009

With governments around the world insisting that their recessions are over and that the green shoots of economic recovery are now visible, there is an increasing line of opinion holding that there is no better time than now to start investing – or to call a halt to a self-imposed period of no investment – in order to see the benefits of this recovery period for all they are worth. However, caution is also a concern for many given how recent the recession’s lowest points were. At this time, a secure investment with a reasonable return is the absolute ideal for anyone looking to secure a bit of money for the future.

When it comes to secure investment, it is tricky to be absolutely sure of getting what you need for your money. While the economic indicators show that the recession has finished to all intents and purposes, buying shares at the present time is still a little perilous, with companies still having to make cutbacks to deal with the realities of a post-recession age. A secure investment, it must be said, is also an investment which is unlikely to bring a massive pay-off. High returns are still only likely from high-risk investments.

If you are in a position where a comparatively low return for no risk sounds like a good idea, however, then your best choice may well be a real return bond (RRB). Very similar in nature to the American TIPS (Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities), the real return bond is an investment which links your savings to the rate of inflation. As well as this interest is paid on the bond to the rate of interest. Practically speaking, this means that if you buy a $1,000 bond and at the six-month mark the interest rate is 4% and inflation at 2%, the principal of your bond will rise to $1,020 and you will receive a further interest payment of $20.40. As the interest rates climb, payments will continue to accrue based on the principal of your bond.

The important thing for an investor with an RRB is to hang on to it until it matures. If you do that, the realization price is based on the interest rate at maturity while if you sell it prior to maturity you will find that the price is based on the prevailing interest rate – and may be less than you originally invested. This poses problems for some, as the typical life of an RRB is thirty years. If you have the patience to wait this out then the return at the end can be considerable – although it is possible for the RRB to return less than face value if, over the life of the bond, there has been a net deflation.

The above warnings are simply worst-case scenarios however, as the fact of the matter is that should you invest in an RRB you will most likely be in it for the long run, and there have been almost no 30-year periods which have seen a net deflation in the market.

What RRBs should guarantee you is an above face value payout on maturity. This is useful if you are looking to support a future venture. With the 30 year life of most RRBS, many people buy them in their mid-thirties as a potential cushion for their retirement. As no-one is quite far-sighted enough to predict market behavior by the year for the next three decades, there is little benefit in assuming exactly how much you will get for a matured bond after it matures, but it is enormously unlikely to be any less than its face value and, with interest and inflation behaving normally, it can be considerably more.

Buying an RRB is something worth doing if you have a pot of money for investment and are content for it not to be liquid for an extended period of time. As long as you fit these criteria, it is an excellent way to feather your nest for the future. Most usually, the face value of a new RRB is $5,000, but there are many available for a lower price. There is also nothing to stop you from holding several bonds if you have the liquidity to invest in them. If you decide to invest in a real return bond, then your first stop should be the Bank of Canada website to consult the figures there for a bond’s “real yield” and “real price”. This will enable you to calculate the amount that you will have to pay for a bond, and how much you will get on maturity if the market behaves realistically.

Once you have gleaned this information it is time to call your broker and have a conversation, asking for information pertaining to the current and potential future benefits of buying the bond that you have identified. Once you are invested, settle in to see what the market has in store for you and be conscious that this is a long game.

As mentioned at the beginning, RRBs are not dissimilar to the American TIPS. It is possible for Canadians to cut out the middleman and directly purchase a TIPS from an American broker or the US Treasury. However, unlike an RRB, a TIPS bought from the US Treasury cannot be held inside a tax-sheltered account such as an RRSP, so it makes little sense to do things this way. It makes considerably more sense to buy direct from a broker. The major substantive difference between these bonds is that TIPS are guaranteed to pay out at least face value on maturity. Additionally, the US and Canada have different tax rules and regulations, so when deciding which you should buy it is beneficial to check the market rates in both countries.

Naturally, each possibility has its advantages and disadvantages, and the two countries will often see different economic performance over the course of an economic period. Both should, however, see you with a creditable return on your investment for very little risk.

Tax Credit and Tax Deduction

What Is The Difference Between A Tax Credit and A Tax Deduction?

First Published: November 5, 2009

Tax Deduction

A tax deduction is an amount of money which lowers your taxable income.

Tax deductions reduce taxable income.

Tax deductions may make your taxable income zero by exceeding your employment income.

Tax deductions reduce more taxes for those who are in higher tax brackets than for lower tax brackets.

If you live in Ontario and in the highest federal tax bracket (29%), your federal and provincial combined marginal tax rate is 46.41% – as of 2009. If you have $100 tax deduction = you will save $46.41 in tax. If you are in a lower bracket, you will receive less savings.

Tax deduction examples: RRSPs, Childcare expenses, Capital losses, Moving expenses.

Tax Credit (Non-Refundable)

A tax credit is a dollar for dollar deduction which is subtracted from the amount of tax you pay.

Tax credits lower taxes payable at the lowest tax rate

Tax credits may not make your taxable income zero because it only reduces taxes payable at the lowest tax rate.

Tax credits are fixed amounts, so they reduce same monetary value to all taxpayers – if you have enough taxable income to make the deduction.

Tax credits are calculated based on the lowest federal and provincial tax rates. For 2009, lowest federal and provincial rates are 15% and 6.05% (Ontario). Therefore, if you have $100 tax credit, you will save $15 + $6.05 = Total $21.05 – regardless of tax bracket.

Tax credit examples: Medical expenses, Eligible dependent, public transit credit, Caregiver amount, Tuition and education amount, Charitable donations.

Tax Deduction or Tax Credit – which one is better? The answer can be a tricky one and it may not as simple as it looks. In general, tax deduction seems to favour the higher income group, but I would suggest you to consult a tax professional. For more Info,
please visit – Canada Revenue Website.

How To Use Canada Revenue Agency Website

Canada Revenue Agency Website

First Published: Nov 9, 2009

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Website provides tax related information, publications, guides, forms, and other services that educate general public and promote compliance with Canada’s Tax system. CRA website has a vast amount of information, and it can be overwhelming. Here is a video clip showing how to easily navigate throughout CRA website and find tax information you need quickly and efficiently.

5 Money Tips for Financial Success

Five Personal Finance Tips You Need to Know Right Now 

In order to become financially successful, you don’t need to spend year after year pursuing an MBA. Doing simple things consistently and religiously year after year can lead to the path of financial success. Today, I will describe 5 such things. 

Spend Less Than You Earn
 – Stick to spending less than your income, and financial success will come to you. This is the most important financial tip ever. If you can’t do this, doing everything else will be meaningless. 

Pay Yourself First
 – Depending on your ability, save 5 – 15 percent of your gross income into an investment account, mutual funds, registered account, etc. Stick to this plan as long as you can afford to.

Build An Emergency Fund – Set aside six months’ (or more) worth of living expenses in a savings account or in an investment that is comparatively safe and can be withdrawn in a short notice without paying any penalty. 
Set Goals - Know exactly when you would like to accomplish various goals throughout your life such as buying a house, paying off mortgage, retiring in the future, and so on. Take necessary steps to realise these goals. 

Review Progress
 – Review your progress at least once a year. If you are not on the right track towards achieving your goals, change and readjust your financial roadmap. Consult a fee-based financial professional if necessary. If you don’t have the knowledge to invest by yourself, seek professional help. I recommend fee-only financial professionals.