The age old saying, 'Ignorance is bliss', may apply to many things in life. However, when it comes to your finances, ignorance can be absolutely devastating. Even the government is calling the startling low rate of financial literacy among Canadians an epidemic that can have catastrophic consequences for the nation's economic future.
A lack of knowledge on even the most basic financial matters has already led to a cascade of calamities that will have a far-reaching and long lasting affect on all of us. Among them:
Brent and Darlene really enjoy their 'toys' and their lifestyle. In the last few years, they bought themselves a big screen TV, a stereo system, two expensive new vehicles, a ski boat and took a tropical vacation, mostly on credit. They also used their credit cards to pay for numerous restaurant meals, theatre tickets, hockey games and other expensive outside entertainment. It wasn't long before they were carrying a balance from month to month. The credit charges and payments quickly became a burden.
Alicia was about to sign the papers on her new vehicle when she noticed an additional charge of a little over $3,400 for insurance on the Bill of Sale. When she asked the finance manager what it was for, he said, 'Well, that's for the life and disability insurance for your car loan.' She was left with the impression that the insurance was mandatory. Alicia didn't sign the papers and said she would finish them up the next day. She asked for a copy of the coverage wording to help with her decision.
It is required by the Income Tax Act that a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) must be closed by the end of the year in which the planholder (annuitant) reaches age 71. At that time, the annuitant must decide what to do with their retirement savings. They have three options - cash in the RRSP, buy an annuity, or convert to a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF).