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First Choice Savings’ financial experts have answers to your questions



If you have more questions about the different types of investment boxes, April can offer greater detail. them as the different kinds of boxes they can invest in.

“So, you have the RRSP box, your tax-free savings box and then your non-registered boxes that are not in one of those plans.

The money that goes into an RRSP box or a tax-free box, can be invested in multiple ways. The advantage to an RRSP is that every dollar you put into it is like a dollar you haven’t technically ‘made’ and you get a tax rebate at the end of the tax year on the amount that you’ve contributed. So, you get the tax break upfront with the RRSP and that money is meant for long term – meant for retirement, meant for when you don’t have your regular income coming in and you can start to withdraw from that. So, think of that as the long-term saving.”

“The Tax-Free Saving is more for large amounts that you want to invest, that you could access sooner that retirement or, could also be saved for extra income at retirement or extra savings for retirement. Every dollar that you put into that, which you earn interest on, you don’t pay tax on – even when you take it out.”

A growth tax shelter, is the same as the RRSP, but when you need access to your money in your tax-free savings account (TFSA), you don’t have any tax penalties.”

With interest rates so low, is it worth investing?

April says the short answer is yes, “In the boxes, you can invest in multiple ways – for example, there’s GIC is a guaranteed investment (Guaranteed Investment Certificate) – it has a lower interest but you know what you’re going to get at the end of the term. Those can be invested in both the RRSP and the Tax-free savings, you can invest in mutual funds that give you potential higher returns, if you’re in it for the long-haul, and that can also be in an RRSP or Tax-free savings. So, the myth of an RRSP or a tax-free savings account is low interest is not really accurate. It’s what you’re investing inside those boxes.”

What about young people who are just leaving college or university, who may think they don’t have to worry about investing yet?

April dispels that myth, “Starting early means you have more time for your money to compound and grow. So, the ‘rule of 72’ is the amount of interest divided by 72 is how many years it takes your money to double, so the longer time frame you have to invest, the higher your money will grow. The longer time you have in any investment, whether it be GIC’s or the market such as mutual funds, the longer your money ha to grow.”

“Start early – that’s the big one. I love helping young get started, they’re my favourite cause they’re moldable, they want to learn, they listen to you. I often say, just get into the habit of putting something away – $20 a month, $20 a pay-cheque – just get that habit and as you get raises over the years, you can increase that amount, but you can start seeing your money start to grow and you’re paying yourself first. Money is going into investment, to pay you – it’s your money.”

When people are looking for information about investing – how does that work?

“Anyone who comes in, they are more than welcome to sit down and have a conversation and we show them different calculators, show them physically how their money can grow, we can tech people and educate and we don’t charge anything for that service. We are a Credit Union, we’re locally owned and operated, we help our communities that we live in, we pay back to our communities, so we are here to help the people who live in those communities.”

There is a specific product they are featuring over the first few months before tax time.

“We are featuring this new investment product from January to March 6. It’s really exciting because it give people options and some flexibility and we’re calling it “Flex Invest” and it is a five year term product that you invest your money in and it’s still completely guaranteed, so all the money you put in is 100 per cent safe and guaranteed and he interest floats with prime. So prime, minus one-and-a-half per cent is what the interest rate will be. So, if interest rates go up, your investment rate will go up and if the rate goes down, it will follow that as well. But, keep in mind that the investment that you put in is always going to be guaranteed, so you won’t lose any of the principle or interest that you earned.”

It’s a five-year term, but can the money be accessed before the term ends, in the event of an emergency?

“Yes, this one is really unique. We’ve never had an option like this before so on the anniversary date of when you put the money in, you’re allowed to redeem 20 per cent of the balance that you put into it. You’re also allowed to contribute more to it on the anniversary date and that gives it a nice flexibility to if you can’t always put in the amount that you want to start with, every year, you can add to it and help it to grow.”

“Another cool thing about the Flex Invest is that it is eligible for all the boxes, so it’s eligible for the Tax-Free savings, the RRSP and for non-registered money, and the non-registered just means that it’s not in a sheltered growing investment, so you do pay the tax on the interest that you earn.”

One other thing to note, is that with the RRSP’s and the Tax-Free savings, you do have maximum contribution limits, so we always advise people to check their notice of assessment or call CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) to make sure they know how much they are allowed to put into the investment.”

“First Choice Savings is locally owned and operated in Southern Alberta – with locations in Taber, Lethbridge, Cardston and Magrath – and we really help our communities by giving back to school functions, to rodeos, sports teams, or individuals. When you become a member of First Choice Savings, you actually become a member-owner and that gives you a voice in the say of what we do in our communities. We really appreciate our members, value our members and help them reach their financial goals.”

For more information or to set up an investment discussion, contact First Choice Savings

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Dogecoin dropped after Elon Musk calls it a ‘hustle’ on ‘SNL’ show



By Alden Bentley and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK (Reuters) -The value of dogecoin dropped sharply in early U.S. hours on Sunday, after Tesla chief and cryptocurrency supporter Elon Musk called it a ‘hustle’ during his guest-host spot on the “Saturday Night Live” comedy sketch TV show.

Dogecoin was quoted as low as $0.47 on crypto exchange Binance, down 28% from levels around $0.65 before the show.

The billionaire Tesla Inc chief executive hosted the show at 11:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday (0330 GMT on Sunday).

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts had for days been eager to see what he would say, after his tweets this year turned the once-obscure digital currency into a speculator’s dream.

Asked ‘what is dogecoin’, Musk replied, “It’s the future of currency. It’s an unstoppable financial vehicle that’s going to take over the world.”

When a show cast member Michael Che countered, “So, it’s a hustle?”, Musk replied, “Yeah, it’s a hustle.” And laughed.

Musk is the rare business mogul to have been asked to host the venerable comedy TV show. The timing puts Musk back in the spotlight just as Tesla’s stock is losing steam following last year’s monster rally.

The unconventional CEO has posted numerous comments about cryptocurrencies on Twitter and criticized regular old cash for having negative real interest rates.

“Only a fool wouldn’t look elsewhere,” he said in February.

His cryptic tweets “Doge” and “Dogecoin is the people’s crypto” that month kicked off a rally in dogecoin – created as a parody on the more mainstream bitcoin and ethereum.

On Thursday, Musk tweeted: “Cryptocurrency is promising, but please invest with caution!” with a video clip attached in which he said, “it should be considered speculation at this point. And so, you know, don’t don’t go too far in the crypto speculation …”

But he also said, in the video, that cryptocurrency has a “good chance” of becoming what he called “the future currency of the Earth.”

On crypto data tracker, dogecoin has jumped more than 800% over the last month and is now the fourth-largest digital currency, with a market capitalization of $73 billion. It hit a record high Thursday above $0.73.

It has overtaken more widely used cryptocurrencies such as litecoin and tether.

Tesla said in February it bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin and would soon accept it as a form of payment for its electric cars, a large stride toward mainstream acceptance that sent bitcoin soaring to a record high of nearly $62,000.

Tesla shares closed 1.3% higher at $672.37 on Friday.

(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Alden Bentley in New York, and Noel Randewich and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco Additional reporting by Joe White and Vidya RanganathanEditing by Matthew Lewis & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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Wealthsimple hits $4 billion valuation on funding from Ryan Reynolds, Drake




(Reuters) -Wealthsimple said on Monday it has raised C$750 million ($610.40 million) in its latest funding round, which more than doubled the Canadian fintech company‘s valuation to C$5 billion.

The latest funding round included participation from celebrities Drake, Michael Fox and Ryan Reynolds, according to the company.

The Toronto-based company that has helped make stock trading, peer-to-peer money transfers and tax filing easily accessible, said it will use the amount raised to further expand its market position, product suite and team.

The latest funding round, led by venture capital firms Meritech and Greylock, also includes investments from iNovia, Sagard, TSV and Redpoint.

The funding consists of C$250 million primary fundraising by Wealthsimple and a C$500 million secondary offering by holding company Power Corp of Canada, its largest shareholder.

Wealthsimple said it has seen rapid growth in the past 14 months as Canadians took an interest in stock trading during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year, the company said it plans to grow revenue by adding premium features for its clients.

($1 = 1.2288 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Eva Mathews and Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Shounak Dasgupta)

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Ethereum breaks past $3,000 to quadruple in value in 2021



SINGAPORE (Reuters) –Cryptocurrency ether broke past $3,000 on Monday to set a new record high in a dazzling rally that has outshone the bigger bitcoin, as investors bet that ether will be of ever greater use in a decentralised future financial system.

Ether, the token transacted on the ethereum blockchain, rose 3% on the Bitstamp exchange to $3,051.99 by lunchtime in Asia. It is up more than 300% for the year so far, easily outpacing a 95% rise in the more popular bitcoin.

In part, the big rally is a catch-up to late 2020 gains in bitcoin, said James Quinn, managing director at Q9 Capital, a Hong Kong cryptocurrency private wealth manager.

It also reflects improvements to the ethereum blockchain, he said, and a growing shift towards “DeFi”, or decentralised finance, which refers to transactions outside traditional banking for which the ethereum blockchain is a crucial platform.

“At first, the rally was really led by bitcoin because as a lot of the institutional investors came into the space, that would be their natural first port of call,” Quinn said.

“But as the rally has matured over the last six months, you have DeFi and a lot of DeFi is built on ethereum.”

The launch of ether exchange-traded funds in Canada and surging demand for ether wallets to transact non-fungible tokens such as digital art have also pushed up the price.

The ether/bitcoin cross rate has soared more than 100% this year and hit a 2.5-year high on Sunday, pointing to a degree of rotation into the second-biggest cryptocurrency as investors diversify their exposure.

“Surging DeFi volumes continue to push ethereum prices higher as investors gain confidence in crypto and see ethereum as a safe second-place asset,” said Jehan Chu, managing partner at Hong Kong blockchain venture capital firm Kenetic Capital.

Illustrating the momentum for such new transactions, Bloomberg reported last week that the European Investment Bank plans on issuing a digital bond over the Ethereum blockchain, while JP Morgan plans a managed bitcoin fund.

Bitcoin, the world’s biggest crypto asset with more than $1 trillion in market capitalisation, regained the $50,000 mark last week and hovered around $58,000 on Monday, up about 3% but well below its record high at $64,895.22.

The U.S. dollar was broadly steady. [FRX/]

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook and Vidya Ranganathan; Editing by Himani Sarkar & Shri Navaratnam)

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