When does it make sense to pay off debt with investments?

There is no hard or fast rule BUT if the cost of borrowing increases to 5% you may want to consider cashing in investments to reduce exposure to debt.  If rates are lower, and taking into consideration where we’re at in a market cycle whether we’re in a bull or a bear market, it makes sense to use debt and stay invested.

Robert Ward presents Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017

We had the honor of listening to Robert Ward of WardChisholm, P.C. speak about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and its impact on Canadians doing business in the US and US citizens living in Canada. On December 22, 2017 President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law. This is the most significant piece of United States tax legislation in over 40 years making meaningful changes to the ways in which individuals and businesses in the United States are taxed.



What have we learned?

  • U.S. tax reductions do not help if the same income is taxable in Canada.
  • U.S. tax planning is critical if the United States taxes assets or income Canada does not.
  • When the tax effect of different structures is approximately the same, non-tax considerations become determinative
    • Limit liability
    • Limit U.S. tax reporting
  • At death, Canada taxes unrealized gain. The United States taxes the entire fair market value.
  • U.S. citizens living in Canada have to contend with both countries taxation of world-wide income while alive and world-wide assets at death.
  • Residents of Canada who are not U.S. citizens only have to pay U.S. taxes on:
    • U.S. source income while alive and
    • Assets present or deemed present in the U.S. at death:
      • Shares of U.S. corporations
      • Debt obligations
      • Taxable property
  • Estate, Gift, and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Exemptions of U.S. citizens doubled in 2018, but will be halved in 2026.
  • For Canadian citizens owning U.S. assets, the higher one’s net worth, the lower the US Estate Tax Exemption provided by the Canada-US Tax Treaty.
  • U.S. Real Estate is best acquired through a Trust, properly designed and funded.
  • U.S. Real Estate purchased without a Trust can be mortgaged to avoid U.S. estate tax. Must be non-recourse debt.

Click here for Robert’s full explanation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

About the speaker

Robert E. Ward, JD, LL.M., is a nationally recognized authority on tax, business and estate planning. Mr. Ward has taught law as an adjunct professor at the George Mason University School of Law, where he conducted classes in Estate and Gift Taxation, Estate Planning, and Business Planning from 1986 until 2015. He has also taught as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Baltimore School of Law: Fiduciary Income Taxation (1988) and at Golden Gate University’s Masters in Taxation Program: Taxation of Corporations and Shareholders (1982). He currently teaches US Taxation in the Graduate Tax Program at UBC’s Allard School of Law.

Budget 2018

The new federal budget includes several measures that target the cornerstone of the Canadian economy: small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). How will the new budget affect you and your business?

The restrictions on income splitting introduced in 2017 and the new passive investment income rules from this year’s budget legislation are the most significant developments that will put pressure on many businesses to make adjustments to their structure and operations. A reduction in the small business tax rate will provide some relief, while other changes may require close attention from you and your tax team.

SMEs are very important to the Canadian economy, meaning that the policy changes incorporated in this budget can have far-ranging consequences.
As a business owner, you are a leader in your corporation and your community. Your objective may be seeking meaningful, effective tools for protecting your employees, growing your business, supporting your communities and effectively funding your own retirement.

Grant Thornton works with SMEs to manage challenges and realize opportunities – to help business owners navigate through these tax measures in this new environment.

To review the full impact of Budget 2018, see the Grant Thornton executive briefing.

Should I pay for my insurance annually or monthly?

Save premiums on your term life, disability and critical illness insurance by paying annually instead of monthly. The insurance companies charge almost a full 13th month for the privilege of paying on monthly through pre-authorized chequing (PAC).  If you can afford it from a cash flow perspective, you can make the change anytime throughout the  year, and pay less for the same coverage.

Cindy speaks at St. George’s School Career Day

Cindy had the honor of presenting at the annual St. George’s Careers Day event on March 9, 2018. This year’s theme – Finding your Purpose: Not Just a Job – corresponds with their efforts to help their students strive for purpose and meaning in the planning of their post-secondary studies and future careers.  This goes far beyond individual pursuits and includes working towards goals that will make a positive difference in the lives of those around them.  The following quote by Mark Zuckerberg aptly sums up the theme of this year’s event:

“Purpose is that sense that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, that we are needed, that we have something better ahead to work for. Purpose is what creates true happiness…But it’s not enough to have purpose for yourself. You have to create a sense of purpose for others.”


The students walked out with more wisdom, guidance, and a true appreciation for the speakers.

Structured Settlements

A structured settlement is a payment to an individual for injury or death. They are approved by CCRA to be tax free income to the recipient. Funds are protected from creditors, cannot be assigned, commuted or transferred so that the income stream is available for life. Clients need to deal with “approved” advisors in order to get access to the special quotes provided by insurers. We are happy to help anyone who may be in need of this service.

Call us today!

Cindy is the Top Individual Fundraiser for JDRF Ride to Defeat Diabetes!

Personally being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D), I’ll do anything in my power to help find a cure so that young people do not have to deal with this very serious disease. I’m so proud to announce that I have been named the top individual fundraiser for this year’s event! In addition to the $5,855.50 I personally raised, Raymond  James Canada Foundation will also be donating $5,000 on my behalf, which brings the total to $10,855.50!

Thank you all for your support!

About This Event

The 2017 Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Revolution Ride to Defeat Diabetes is a high-energy stationary cycling event. This event supports funding towards crucial research into cures, better treatments for, and prevention of type 1 diabetes (T1D).

26th CALU Annual General Meeting (AGM)

One of the key highlights of CALU membership is the opportunity to attend the annual meeting, held each May in Ottawa. Regularly attended by more than 400 CALU members, main platform and workshop sessions feature top Canadian and international subject-matter experts who provide updates on the application and marketing of financial products and services in such areas as Risk Management, Investment Strategies, Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation, Retirement Planning, Charitable Giving, Succession Planning, Business Continuity, Estate Planning and Personal Financial Planning. Particular emphasis is placed on legislative and public policy issues with Members of Parliament, Senators, Cabinet Ministers and government department officials invited to speak on issues of current importance and to mingle with CALU members at the annual Parliamentary Reception.

The 2018 AGM, Chaired by Marty McConnell, will be held Sunday, May 6 to Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at the Westin Ottawa.


Cindy with keynote speaker, Canadian Astronaut Julie Payette.


Cindy with Geoff Regan, member of parliament for Halifax West.


Cindy with Terry Zive & Lisa Raitt, Conservative Party Member of Parliament for the Ontario riding of Milton.


Update on the Genetic Testing Bill

In case you haven’t heard, the Genetic Testing Bill has been passed by the House of Commons. However, the federal government subsequently announced its plans to refer the Bill to the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) to determine if it is constitutional. A ruling by the SCC on this issue is expected to take a year or longer, and the Bill may not receive Royal Assent in the interim. If the Bill is found to be unconstitutional the federal government will likely engage in discussions with the provincial governments on how to deal with genetic discrimination.

Click here for more details.