Equifax Canadian debt report reveals non-mortgage debt levels are declining
With the Canadian dollar reaching three-year-highs around 80 cents U.S. over the past week, now might be the right time to expand the international presence in your portfolio. With strong oil prices providing support to the loonie, this could give investors who are heavy Canadian stocks in their portfolio a chance to diversify. Personal Finance Columnist Dale Jackson said shifting some of your portfolio to stocks that trade in U.S. dollars is not only good for diversification but it may also provide a leg up to your RRSP or TFSA.
CRA error in some tax slips lists repaid CERB as taxable
Many CERB recipients who were not eligible to collect the benefit are noticing that their repayments are being taxed. The Canada Revenue Agency confirmed that some Canadians received incorrect tax slips which listed portions of the repaid benefit as taxable income, according to a report from The Canadian Press. CERB recipients who repaid before Dec. 31 should not have to pay tax on those amounts on 2020 tax returns.
Increase in online fraud activity surges during pandemic
Cyber-crime is on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic as Canadians spend more time and money online due to lockdowns. Close to one-quarter of all Canadians said they've been targeted by scammers more often since the start of the pandemic in a poll conducted by RBC. "Romance scams" became the top fraud type impacting Canadians, costing them $18.5 million in 2020, according to The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Does age impact the way you perceive debt?
A poll by Bromwich+Smith found that age largely informs people’s views on why others get into debt. Six in 10 poll respondents over the age of 55 believe Canadians get into debt because of poor financial habits, while younger Canadians believe it has to do with the lack of financial literacy. Bromwich+Smith said in a release that the most common reason people borrow money is because they are faced with unforeseen circumstances such as illness, a family death, divorce or job loss.
Delinquencies rise amid 'pockets of financial stress': Equifax
Canadian consumer debt levels rose 4.1 per cent year-over-year due to increased mortgages and rising home prices, according to Equifax Canada. Despite the increase, Equifax found consumer debt excluding mortgages declined during that period. However, as relief programs put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic begin to close, signs of early stage delinquencies are starting to emerge. As CTV Chief Financial Commentator Pattie Lovett-Reid noted: “The numbers suggest the pandemic didn't reduce delinquencies so much as it deferred them.”
New flat-rate making it simpler to claim work-from-home costs
The federal government added a simpler way for Canadians to claim work-from-home costs in addition to the detailed method typically used before the pandemic. The new temporary flat-rate allows those who worked 200 days to claim $400 and doesn't require proof of receipt. Some tax experts say that though the flat rate may be easier, the detailed method may yield better results since returns aren’t capped.
“I think it’s all about end objective and a balanced approach to it.”
- David Trahair, personal finance expert and author of "The Procrastinator's Guide to Retirement" on the balancing act between paying down debt and piling up savings as retirement approaches.