Monday, November 14, 2016

Don’'t let the RRSP contribution deadline sneak up on you

While holiday shopping is top of mind for most of us this time of year, it’s worth remembering that the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) contribution deadline is just around the corner. The RRSP contribution deadline for the 2016 tax year is March 1, 2017, meaning there are just a few short months left to make a contribution for 2016.
Contributing annually to an RRSP will enable you to reduce the tax you pay on your current employment income. As well as being tax deductible, annual contributions to an RRSP will grow, tax free, keeping you ahead of inflation and maintaining valuable purchasing power for your retirement years. All RRSPs share the same basic features of tax deductibility and tax deferral, but they vary in terms of flexibility and control of investments, risk and return.
There exists a wide range of investment choices for all types of investors — from the most aggressive (who will buy mutual funds or, often, choose to manage their own portfolio through self-directed RRSPs), to those primarily interested in guaranteeing their principal (who might lean towards fixed-income plans), to those beginning the process of building an investment base.
If you’ve got questions about RRSPs, we’d be happy to help you. Visit North Winnipeg Credit Union today to discuss your RRSP options.

Credit unions put big emphasis on small business

According to a recent report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), credit unions are the financial institutions of choice for Canada’s small- and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The CFIB research report, released in October, revealed that Canada’s small businesses rank credit unions number one among financial institutions when it comes to things like financing, fees and account manager issues. But what really sets credit unions apart from their bank competitors is one of the staples of the credit union model: service.
When asked to score credit unions and banks on a scale from 0 (worst) to 10 (best), SMEs gave credit unions an overall score of 7.2, well ahead of the first Big Five bank (Scotiabank, 4.8). Credit unions also led the way in service, with a score of 8.8, ahead of every other financial institution.
Among small businesses (defined by CFIB as businesses with five to 49 employees), credit unions’ service score rose to 9.1 out of 10. Mid-sized businesses (50 to 499 employees) were even more taken with credit unions, giving them an overall score of 9.6, more than two full points ahead of the next closest financial institution.
That commitment to providing SMEs with industry-leading service is likely part of the reason why another CFIB report found that Manitoba and Saskatchewan credit unions had a 39.2 per cent share of the SME market in 2015, up 2.5 per cent from 2012 and well ahead of any of the big banks.

Snow tires: winter essential or marketing myth?

There was a time when everyone drove around on the same set of tires year round. Of course, there was also a time when we drove without things like power steering, ABS brakes, GPS, traction control and backup cameras. But vehicle technology has changed over time and tire technology has changed too.
These days, it’s quite common for drivers to switch to winter tires once the snow flies, especially here in Manitoba where driving in icy conditions is the norm for several months of the year.
But do you really need winter tires? After all, with all the other technology at our disposal in modern vehicles, isn’t a set of all-season tires good enough?
Well, consider this: true winter tires are made with a softer rubber compound that’s designed to remain flexible even in colder temperatures, whereas all-season tires get hard and inflexible — and provide far less traction as a result — in temperatures below 7 C. Winter tires also have a more aggressive tread design that pushes snow and slush out to the sides, providing more grip than all-season tires in snowy conditions.
Lastly, it’s important to keep in mind that while winter tires are an up-front expense, you will extend the life of your summer tires — and possibly save the cost of an Autopac deductible.

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