You’ve opened an RRSP! Now what?

You’ve opened an RRSP! Now what?

YOU’VE OPENED AN RRSP! NOW WHAT?

March 1, 2024

Congratulations on taking a fantastic leap forward by opening a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)! This trusty vessel is set to guide you toward the tranquil shores of retirement, but it won’t sail itself. How do you ensure your journey is smooth sailing and not adrift in the open seas?

Imagine your RRSP as a garden you’ve just begun to sow. To flourish, it requires attention, strategy, and regular nurturing. But rest assured, you don’t need a green thumb to grow your retirement savings—you need savvy management skills.

Managing Your RRSP

Getting Acquainted with your Investments

First things first, understand what’s in your portfolio. Are you heavy on stocks, bonds, or mutual funds? Your choice should reflect your risk tolerance and the time you have until retirement.

  • For those who can take on the possibility of risk, stocks might be your mainstay.
  • If you prefer to be on the safer side, consider Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs)
  • And for those who like a bit of both, mutual funds or ETFs could provide the balanced diet your RRSP craves.

Regular Contributions: Keeping the Wind in Your Sails

Once you’ve charted your investment course, consistent contributions are key. Whether you opt for an auto deposit or an annual lump sum, remember that even small additions can compound into a hefty nest egg over time. It’s wise to review your RRSP investments at least once a year. However, there’s no harm in checking in semi-annually, especially if market tides turn swiftly. Contribute to your RRSP often and contributing to your RRSP early in the tax year gives your money more time to grow, while systematic contributions can take advantage of dollar-cost averaging.

Weatherproofing Against Taxes

Your RRSP is a tax-deferred haven. You won’t pay taxes on contributions or growth within the account until you make withdrawals. Be mindful of when you are withdrawing from your RRSP and for what reason. You can withdraw from your RRSP any time if your funds are not in a locked-in plan. The withdrawal, however, is subject to withholding tax and the amount also needs to be included as income when filing your taxes.

There are situations in which tax-deferred withdrawals can be made from your RRSP. For instance: If the funds are used for the purchase of a home for the first time through the Home Buyers’ Plan or for funding education through the Lifelong Learning Plan. In Canada, the current withholding tax rates for withdrawing funds from an RRSP are as follows: 10% on amounts up-to $5,000; 20% on amounts over $5,000 up-to and including $15,000; and. 30% on amounts over $15,000. Your taxable income at retirement is likely to be lower than the taxable income you had during your working life; you’ll pay less tax by withdrawing from your RRSP once you retire. It’s therefore more tax-efficient to wait before making a withdrawal.

Rebalancing: Navigating Market Storms

Essentially, rebalancing means selling some assets in your portfolio and buying others to help maintain your target asset allocation. This is especially important during times of significant market volatility. As market conditions shift, so too should your portfolio. We recommend that you consider if you need to rebalance whenever you review your portfolio, or at least annually.

Life After RRSP Contribution

The thrill of starting your RRSP is one thing, but the steady journey of managing it toward a comfortable retirement is another. Over time, you will see the landscape change—it’s inevitable as the markets ebb and flow. 

In the end, managing your RRSP effectively is about staying informed, adjusting as needed, and keeping a long-term perspective. With these navigational skills, your retirement prospects look bright as daybreak on the horizon.

Haven’t opened your RRSP yet? YNCU has more than one RRSP investment option for you. Check out which option would work best for you.

With research and dedication, self-management is totally doable. That said, the more you know, the better. YNCUniversity is here for all your financial literacy needs. Need one-on-one help? We got you! Reach out to our advisors HERE.

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THE FINANCIAL LITERACY GAP WITH INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES

THE FINANCIAL LITERACY GAP WITH INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES

Understanding the Financial Literacy Gap with Indigenous Communities

Monday September 25, 2023

Financial literacy (understanding concepts such as budgeting, saving, investing, and understanding credit) is an essential skill that empowers individuals to make informed and responsible financial decisions. Unfortunately, not every Canadian has equal access to financial literacy resources and support, particularly among minority and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities. This gap in knowledge can have long-term implications on their financial well-being and overall quality of life. Let’s discuss the financial literacy gap and its impact on these communities, as well as ways to address this issue.

Minority and BIPOC communities in Canada often face unique challenges when it comes to financial literacy. For many individuals in these groups, access to quality financial education is hard to come by, which hinders their ability to navigate financial systems effectively, limiting their opportunities for economic advancement and financial well-being. Moreover, cultural and language barriers can further contribute to the disparity in financial literacy levels.

To bridge this gap, it is crucial to develop tailored financial literacy programs that cater to the specific needs and challenges faced by minority and BIPOC communities. These programs should be culturally sensitive and designed with input from community members themselves. By providing accessible resources and educational initiatives, we can empower individuals within these communities to build a solid foundation of financial knowledge.

Lack of Financial Literacy for Indigenous Communities Throughout Canada

There is an estimated rate of 15% of individuals without bank accounts in First Nations communities, which was derived from 4.2% of low net-worth Aboriginal respondents to the 2009 Canadian Financial Capability Survey. This percentage was double that of non-Indigenous respondents (Prosper, Canada, 2015).

Historically, systemic inequalities, marginalization, and limited access to resources have hindered the economic advancement of Indigenous communities. As a result, many individuals lack the necessary financial skills and knowledge to manage their finances effectively.

Indigenous people have barriers, unique to them, that impede financial wellness which is influenced by: societal and institutional structures, policies and practices; personal financial literacy and behaviour; and cultural beliefs and values. Historically, trading, bartering, and communal distributions of wealth were central to the allocation of food, shelter, clothing, and tools. These systems were disrupted by colonization and assimilation policies and practices, including Canada’s residential school system. Depending on their geographic location, some communities may also have limited or no local access at all to safe and affordable financial services.

How We Can Make Financial Literacy More Accessible?

To bridge this gap and ensure that financial literacy becomes more accessible to all Canadians, we need to take proactive measures. By promoting education and awareness, we can empower individuals to make sound financial choices. Tailored financial literacy programs ensure that individuals from these communities receive relevant and culturally sensitive education, giving them the confidence to make informed and responsible financial decisions.

One approach is to integrate financial literacy into school curriculums from an early age. By teaching children the importance of money management, budgeting, and saving, we can equip them with essential skills for their future. Providing financial literacy workshops and resources in schools and community centers can also contribute to raising awareness.

Additionally, utilizing digital platforms and technology can play a crucial role in making financial literacy more accessible. Creating user-friendly apps and online tools that simplify complex financial concepts can help individuals better understand and manage their finances. Offering online courses or webinars can also enable people to learn at their own pace, regardless of their geographical location.

Collaboration with Indigenous communities, financial institutions and other organizations is vital in developing targeted financial literacy. These initiatives should incorporate traditional teachings and values while equipping individuals with the tools they need to succeed in modern financial systems.

Understanding retirement planning is also critical to individuals’ financial wellness later in their lives, particularly if they only have limited financial resources. The financial and legal implications of living on- or off-reserve can be very complicated for First Nations peoples, while many people in general are challenged by the increasing complexity of financial products and services, as well as pension and retirement-related government tax and benefit programs. Financial education can help individuals understand how government benefits, employer-sponsored pensions, employment income, investments, and personal savings all fit into one’s overall retirement income.

Building community capacity to deliver tailored financial information, education, and one-on-one support systems is critical to promoting financial wellness within Indigenous communities. This is the only way to ensure that key aspects of cultures and worldviews (such as non-monetary economies, values, customs, and languages) are incorporated to make financial literacy relevant and engaging for these diverse communities. Indigenous Elders and role models can also help to support efforts to enhance community financial information and decision-making, including for Indigenous youth. Developing contextualized curricula that place Indigenous experiences, cultures and values at the core of financial education is essential to any effort aimed at addressing financial wellness barriers faced by these communities.

We encourage you to share some of these financial literacy tools and resources currently available to support financial literacy education for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples:

  • AFOA Canada’s Aboriginal Financial Literacy Needs Assessment and Framework – a comprehensive in-depth overview of Aboriginal financial literacy needs and a guide for addressing these. Visit https://afoa.ca/education/financial-wellness/
  • The British Columbia Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres’ Aboriginal Financial Literacy: Journey to Empowerment is a 250-page facilitator’s guide and curriculum exploring financial literacy topics through an Aboriginal lens. Visit https://bcaafc.com/
  • The Healthy Aboriginal Network’s Game Plan – comic book for Aboriginal youth featuring a teenager named Jake who struggled with financial wellbeing until he was taught a lesson or two in financial literacy. Visit https://istorystudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Game-Plan.pdf

By addressing the financial literacy gap and making financial education more understandable, engaging, and accessible, we can empower individuals and contribute to a financially literate society. Let’s strive towards equipping all Canadians with the knowledge and tools they need to make informed financial decisions, ensuring a brighter and more secure future for everyone. We can help break the cycle of economic disadvantage and promote financial well-being by empowering minority and BIPOC communities through access to quality financial literacy that relates to their individual situations.

Additional financial literacy tools, resources, and events can be found on the Canadian Financial Literacy Database.

Our goal is to ensure every one of our members is equipped with the knowledge and confidence to make responsible financial decisions. Our financial advisors at YNCU are always available to provide educational advice and are happy to assist wherever they can. For all your general financial inquiries and how you can plan out your financial goals, come in and talk with an advisor at your nearest YNCU branch.

INFLATION AND BACK TO SCHOOL

INFLATION AND BACK TO SCHOOL

INFLATION AND BACK TO SCHOOL

Friday, August 26, 2022

At YNCU, we know back-to-school can cause a lot of stress during this time of inflation. Rising costs have caused people to have to limit their spending and focus on the essentials. With the upcoming school year fast approaching, parents are concerned about how they are going to pay for these expenses.

A recent Deloitte study says that parents are planning to spend roughly $661 to prepare their families for back-to-school. More than 35% of respondents said they won’t be able to afford back-to-school spending this year. The study also stated that 33% of parents have said their financial situation has worsened over the last year, increasing 11% from 2021.

Schools have been unable to support parents through this difficult time because they themselves are pressed for funding. Some people have needed to work overtime in order to cover the cost of going back to school. Many parents and caregivers are unsure of how they will pay for all the supplies that are needed.

At YNCU we want to help take some of this stress off you by providing tips for the back-to-school shopping season:

Make a plan: Only buy things you need

Oftentimes it is easy to make a new list of school supplies every year and buy everything on that list. Make sure you are taking a look and what you already have from the previous school year. There is no need to buy a brand-new set of pens or rulers if you already have them. Ensuring you are not buying multiples of something that can be reused can help lower the cost of back to school. Teachers will also often provide a school supply list for their classroom, if something isn’t on the list, you don’t need to purchase it.

Set a Budget and Stick with It

Plan a reasonable budget for back to school. Keep your regular expenses in mind when you are creating a budget. Having a budget will ensure you are still meeting your financial goals. Just because your child’s backpack needs to be replaced does not mean you need to spend your entire back-to-school budget on a brand name one. Look for deals or discounts, and switching from your usual brand can be a good way to reduce cost.

It is also important to remember you are not forced to purchase materials for the whole year. It is okay to cut back and buy enough for the first half of the year and allow yourself time to save for the second half. Giving yourself this time will also allow you to stick to your budget and understand what your child is using the most or what they are not using at all. This way you can target your spending during the second half of the school year and reduce cost.

Shop Without Your Kids

We know your kids want to be a part of back-to-school shopping but oftentimes that makes the trip even more expensive. Your kids will beg for things that are not on the list or ask for brand name items. If you shop alone, you are able to ensure that you are only getting the essentials. If your kid really wants brand name items, pick up a couple of items they can wear often like a backpack or shoes. This way your child is able to get what they want but do not have to do a part of the process.

Refurbished Tech Gets the Job Done

Starting early can also help you find the best prices and deals for tech items. Tech is a much-needed item nowadays and people are always on the hunt for the best price. Purchasing refurbished computers or laptops is an option in order to stay within your budget. Laptops and computers can cost upward of $1000 brand new. Refurbished or second-hand technology can make a big difference in the cost of back to school and is also more environmentally friendly. Not everything has to be brand new for the new school year.

Buy in Bulk and Split with Friends

As the cost of almost everything is rising, school supplies are no different. Buying in bulk and splitting the cost with friends can make a huge difference in how much you spend. This can also make shopping more fun as you are able to go with your friends and decide what you both have on your list. Things like pens, pencils, rulers, and notebooks are things that almost all students need. So, if your child has friends from school, get their parents together to save cost on supplies.

Shop With a Cash Back Credit Card

When you are back to school shopping, use a cash back credit card. This way you are able to make money when you make purchases. YNCU has a Collabria no fee MasterCard that can help you with your back-to-school shopping!

For all your general financial inquiries and how you can plan out your financial goals, come talk with someone at your YNCU branch!

DEBUNKING CONTROVERSIAL MONEY MYTHS

DEBUNKING CONTROVERSIAL MONEY MYTHS

DEBUNKING CONTROVERSIAL MONEY MYTHS

Monday, July 25, 2022

At YNCU, we know that you take your finances seriously. You want to protect your financial assets as best as you can. There are a lot of widely held ideas about money that are simply not true. We want to help you achieve your financial goals by debunking some of the most controversial money myths. Here are five of the top money myths out there:

1. All Debt is Bad Debt

One of the most common money myths is that all debt is bad debt. This is simply not true. There is both good and bad debt. Good debt is money that has the potential to increase your net worth. Taking out a mortgage could be considered good debt because you are able to make more money off that asset as time goes on. Bad debt involves using money on something that slowly loses its value. Some purchases that depreciate in value, like buying a car to commute to work, can be critical. Bad debt is debt for frivolous items that depreciate in value and don’t help you earn money. Furthermore, these debts can often hold very large interest rates.

It is a common belief that all debt is bad debt, but good debt can actually help you gain more money by borrowing. In order to make more money, you need to use outside resources and rely on other people to help. Good debt has the ability to enhance your life in a positive way.

2. Buying a Home is Better Than Renting

It is a long-held belief that your home is your biggest asset. Renting is considered to be throwing your money away. The truth is renting provides you with flexibility, since it is a lot easier to move when you are renting. The prices of houses have been skyrocketing for the last few years and many people do not even have the funds to consider buying a home. There are a lot of benefits from renting that are often overlooked. With the housing market and taxes, buying a home versus renting might not be the best way to achieve your financial goals in the future.

3. Only Save Big Amounts, Don’t Waste Time with Small Sums

Some people believe it is a waste of time to set aside small amounts into your savings every month. They think you should only set aside money when you are able to put aside large sums of money. This is far from the truth. Saving little by little will make a huge impact in the long run. Savings accounts hold interest and the longer you hold money in the account, the more interest you will accumulate. This means that putting aside small sums can add up to more than what you put away over time.

4. Don’t Need to Look into Retirement When You are Young

When you are first starting your career, you may not be considering retirement savings. You may think that because you are so young, you do not need to look into retirement right away. In reality, starting to save as soon as possible will allow you to not have to worry about retirement. You will achieve your goals earlier when you start earlier. Life is unexpected and you will never know when you want to pull out your retirement savings. Starting a plan now could mean you are able to retire sooner.

5. Avoid Credit Cards

People often avoid using a credit card because they believe it will lead to large amounts of bad debt. This is not necessarily true as, if you pay your credit card regularly, there will be no issues and you will be able to build good credit. Having a good credit score will help you get approval for mortgages or other loans. This score proves you are able to pay back bills. By avoiding a credit card, you are also avoiding building good credit.

There are a lot of money myths and bad financial advice out there. If you are looking for a financial institution that tells you the truth about your money, become a member online!

WAYS TO FUND YOUR EDUCATION

WAYS TO FUND YOUR EDUCATION

ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO FUND YOUR EDUCATION OTHER THAN STUDENT LOANS

Friday, June 17, 2022

At YNCU we know planning how to fund your education is stressful. Everyone’s situation is different, so if you’re looking for alternative ways to pay for school, other than family or government loans, here are some tips that may help:

Applying for Scholarships and Grants

One of the best ways to fund your education and reduce your future debt is applying for a scholarship or grant. Scholarships are given out based on financial need and merit. There are many different scholarships you can apply for, all with different criteria. Although scholarships are very helpful in funding your education, they are also very competitive as many other students are applying as well, so it’s important to put in the work to make sure your application stands out. Check out our recent blog on How to Make Your Scholarship Application Stand Out!

Work During School

Many students decide to hold off on getting a job in order to solely focus on their studies. We know working while in school can be difficult, but ultimately it will help you take on less debt by helping to fund your everyday spending. Working while you are in school also provides you with an advantage after you graduate, because you are gaining experiences while also balancing school. This will look good on your resume and impress future employers.

Schools often have jobs available specifically for their students. Looking for part-time student jobs at your school is a great way to ensure you can balance your school schedule with your work hours.

Work Study Programs

As schools have part-time jobs for students available, there is also the option of a work-study program. These programs are great ways to gain first-hand knowledge in your chosen field and allow you to see how your studies will translate into real world experiences.

A work-study program may have certain restrictions on hours you are allowed to work and the pay can be a set amount, so make sure you thoroughly understand the details of the program before you enroll.

Employer Sponsorship

Certain employers are willing to contribute to your education or help you get an advanced degree. These employers typically offer to pay or reimburse you for your tuition if you work for their company for enough time. If you’re interested in advancing your career, it never hurts to ask a current or potential employer if this is an option for you.

Save Your Money!!!

An important tip to funding anything is saving your money and being conscious of your finances. Saving in advance of your post-secondary education can take away the stress of having to figure it out later. Making a budget can be a useful way to ensure you are saving as much money as possible to fund your education. Use YNCU’s household budget tracker to organize your finances. Make sure you are realistic about your budget so it’s easier for you to stay on track.

If you are interested in getting advice on how you can fund your education, visit your closest YNCU branch and talk with one of our advisors. 

MAKE YOUR SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION STAND OUT

MAKE YOUR SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION STAND OUT

HOW TO MAKE YOUR SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION STAND OUT

Friday, June 3, 2022

At YNCU, we know thinking about starting post-secondary education is stressful, especially when thinking about how you’re going to pay for it. The Ontario Credit Union Foundation is providing funding for Ontarians looking to focus their studies in academic, vocational, or technical at an accredited post-secondary institution in Canada or abroad. CU Succeed Youth Bursary applications are NOW OPEN, you can apply here!

Applying for a scholarship is a smart way to reduce and stay out of student debt! Here are some tips on how to make your scholarship application stand out:

Know The Criteria

Before you begin your scholarship application, ensure you know the type of scholarship you are applying for. There are usually two types of scholarships:

Need-based scholarships: This type is awarded based on financial need. Grades and test scores are also considered but it is mainly based on your family income.

Merit scholarships: This type is awarded based on accomplishments in academic excellence, community involvement, leadership, extracurricular activities, or other factors.

For both of these types of scholarships, it is important to include all necessary documentation in the application. Read the directions carefully – they will tell you what you need to know. Note the deadlines, requirements, application demands, and any fine print. This information will help you stay on track to shine in your application. It is critical to submit by the proper day with all the items needed – this is the first step in making sure your application gets noticed.

Request Letters of Recommendation Early

The sooner you ask for your letters of recommendation, the more time you give your references to write your raving review. This way, you also have time to ensure it fits with your applications.

You may have general letters of recommendations for previous jobs, but this letter needs to be application specific. The people recommending you should write with your award requirements in mind.

Pay Attention to Detail

Once you finish your application, proofread everything. Ensuring your application is free of spelling and grammatical errors will help you look more professional. Read it out loud to hear how it sounds and have someone else read it over as well. Schools receive thousands of applications, and these small steps make a big difference in scholarship applications – so it’s important to pay attention to every detail.

Find Out What Makes You Unique

Scholarship applications are just about the academic requirements. Figure out what makes you unique so you stand out in the sea of other applicants. Why are you applying? What are you particularly good at? What inspires you? What are you passionate about? What do you do that not many other people do?

Don’t be afraid to ask your family and friends for help on what they think makes you unique.

Showcasing who you are allows schools to see your interests outside of academics. A well rounded student who has experiences outside of the classroom is ahead of the game. Many applications will ask you to write an essay, this is where you can really highlight your personality. Ensure you are answering the questions directly but add in your own personality and experiences. Your experiences have shaped who you are and organizations offering scholarships want to see that.

Know Your Audience

Knowing the criteria of the applications is important, but it’s also important to know who your application is going to. Doing research on the values and mission of who is offering the scholarship can help to make your application stand out further. By knowing your audience, you can highlight your interests that align with the organization and communicate more efficiently and effectively.

Writing an application that stands out will help set you up for not only academic success but financial success as well.

For all your general financial inquiries, visit your closest YNCU branch and talk with one of our advisors.