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2020 Financial Checklist

To better position yourself for financial success in 2020 and beyond, here are some top tips to consider.

1. Automate your savings and investing

  • Setting up a Pre-Authorized Chequing Plan (PAC), i.e., a regularly scheduled contribution that comes right off your paycheque or out of your bank account, can help build your savings with minimal effort

  • By investing regularly and following a consistent investment plan, you can take advantage of the benefits of compound growth, regardless of how much is invested

  • Don’t forget to increase your PAC or contribution amounts as you receive raises and get promotions

2. Education Savings – take advantage of the government incentives

  • Did you know Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) savings can be supplemented with government education savings initiatives? Read “Are you leaving money on the table?” to find out more.

  • If your child turns 15 this year and has never been a beneficiary of an RESP, you need to contribute at least $2,000 before the end of the year in order to receive the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) for 2020 and be eligible to receive the CESG for 2021 and 2022. Find out more at Special CESG rules for beneficiaries age 16 and 17.

3. Ensure your beneficiaries are up-to-date

  • The beneficiary is the person or entity that will receive the proceeds from your account when you die. By naming a beneficiary, you eliminate any doubt as to whom you want your money to go. 

  • If you haven’t specified one, the default is your estate – and there could be significant delays and paperwork involved to release the funds.

  • It’s up to you to make sure your beneficiaries reflect any changes in your life. Do they take into account any life events that have happened?

4. Make use of your company benefits

  • Many companies offer employee savings or contribution matching plans. Check with your Human Resources department to see if you can take advantage of any employee programs that will help you build your savings faster.

5. Consider a TFSA for any of your savings goals

  • Maybe you want to save for a dream vacation. Or a new car. Or to renovate your kitchen.

  • Does it really make a difference if you put the money into a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), which can be used for any financial goal?

The chart shows the same amount of money ($500/month) being invested in the same product (a hypothetical investment with a 5% annual return). The only difference: Investor A chose a TFSA account, while Investor B chose a non-registered account. After one year, the amount may not seem significant, but it makes a big difference over a longer time period.


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