Friday, January 28, 2011

Thoughts on Finances: Income Tax, RRSP’s and Understanding

Here in Canada, people are starting to gear up for the usually dreaded time of year – Income Tax Season. Personal Income Tax returns need to be completed and submitted to the CRA on or before midnight, April 30.

I have, over the years, looked at this time of year with many different feelings: frustration that my slips are so late in arriving; shock at just how much I had to pay in taxes; bigger shock that I actually owed MORE in taxes; satisfaction at finding out that I would get back what I thought I would receive and finally; glee in finding out that I had an unexpected return.

Last year, this year, and hopefully next year as well, I am in the “satisfaction” category. One benefit of being on the Very Low side of the income scale is that not only am I carrying forward deduction amounts year over year, I’m also getting back 100% of what I paid into my taxes.

Part-time employment does have some small benefit!

When I worked in Victoria, BC many years ago, I had the sad experience of seeing women, having just lost their spouses, completely at sea where their finances were concerned.  I promised myself at that point that I wouldn’t let that happen to me – nor would I allow it to happen to the women of my immediate family. The first step for me in this journey was educating myself.

That in mind, I read “The Wealthy Barber” and then, being dissatisfied with the information because at that point it was very “male” oriented, I went looking for information that would support and teach me what I needed to know in order to help me with the “female” side of things.

This led me to locate a book that I have bought and given away a few copies of: “Smart Women Finish Rich” by David Bach.

David Bach (an American) initially wrote this book directed to a female US audience, but had the foresight to understand that women in other countries have the same informational and educational needs, and so his publishing house updated the book to make it attractive to a Canadian audience. He has a number of additional publications out there that are applicable to today’s needs for many people – not just women.

What I found MOST useful about this particular book is that it isn’t a dry textbook listing “how to” – he created an easy to use book with great tools that make the whole process easy to implement AND maintain.

If you are a woman, take some time to think about your position in managing your family’s finances. Are you proactive, or reactive? Do you manage the books yourself? Do you allow your husband, father, boyfriend, girlfriend or significant other to have total control over this aspect of your partnership?

Should you?

Or should you take the time and opportunity to step up and be a partner in the process?

Every partnership is different and what works for one couple is completely inappropriate for the next, but as a human being, you have the right AND the responsibility to know how to look after yourself AND your loved ones where your finances are concerned.

Look forward to the opportunity to learn something new and exciting.

With love across the waters…

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