Sometimes it can feel like managing your investments is a part-time job. Remembering RRSP contribution deadlines, staying on track for your saving goals and knowing how much TFSA room you have left is hard to fit into day-to-day life, on top of cooking, cleaning, exercising and working. It can start to feel overwhelming and just too easy for things to slip. That's why we decided to create an investment checklist with everything important you need to keep top of your mind. At the end of every year (or more often if you choose) is a great time to review the checklist to make sure you're on track to meet your financial goals. So, take a deep breath - you got this!
Contribute to your registered accounts
Investing inside your registered accounts is a great way to build wealth by deferring taxes or avoiding them on withdrawal. Canada has a few different investing vehicles available, but each of them have their own rules and deadlines. Don't forget these key dates:
- RRSP contribution deadline: March 1, 2021
- Annual increase in the TFSA contribution limit takes effect: Jan 1, 2021
- RESP contribution deadline for government grant eligibility: December 27, 2020
- Check your RRSP, TFSA and RESP contribution limits by logging into your My CRA account, or check last year's Notice of Assessment
Review your emergency fund
Having three to six months of living expenses tucked away in an emergency fund can help bring you peace of mind and give you a resource to turn to if you should ever need it, like if your car breaks down or your roof gets a leak. You should review your emergency fund annually to make sure that your automatic contributions are depositing correctly (think about contributing a certain percentage from each paycheque by setting up pre-authorized contributions) and that it's someplace where you can easily access the money at any point, like in a High-Interest Savings Account, Cashable GIC or a Redeemable GIC. Calculate how much more you need to contribute next year in order to reach your savings goals, or if you've reached it - amazing work! Now you can redirect your savings elsewhere, perhaps towards other goals like house renovations, a new car, retirement, children's tuition or debt repayments.
Choosing if you want a GIC, high interest savings account or both?
Keep debt on track
About 75% Canadians have some sort of debt, whether it's their mortgage, line of credit or a car payment. There are different approaches to paying it off – you could aggressively pay off debt as fast as possible or pay your debt off more slowly. It depends on your goals, lifestyle, risk tolerance and how much debt you have. Consult a financial advisor to talk about what will work best for your unique situation.
Here's some general things you can cross of your list every December to make sure your debt stays manageable:
- Make sure you have a credit card that is right for you. Is there a new one out with rewards that suit your lifestyle?
- Is your debt growing or shrinking? Consider changing how much you're paying every month depending on what works for you (ex. if you’ve gotten a promotion – it might be the right time to up your mortgage payments)
- Is your mortgage renewing? Talk to a home financing advisor to find the rate that will work best for you.
Investing doesn't have to be stressful if you stay organized and take the time to go through this checklist to make sure you've covered your bases and crossed off the main things on your investment-related to-do list. Remember you can always connect with your financial advisor to help make sure you are on track with your saving and investing goals.