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Dale Jackson

Personal Finance Columnist, Payback Time


The best thing about the “Canadian Dream” is that it’s whatever we can dare to dream.

We come from every imaginable background yet there are two things just about every one of us strives for: security and prosperity.

Achieving those goal requires a country that provides opportunity.

Here are four uniquely Canadian opportunities that help Canadians thrive:   

Registered Retirement Savings Plan

RRSPs have been around since 1957. They are an incentive to save because contributions are not taxed as income, and all that tax-free money can grow until it is withdrawn. The intention is to withdraw from an RRSP in retirement, when the plan holder is in a lower tax bracket.  

Tax Free Savings Accounts

TFSA were first introduced in 2009 and as of this year the total contribution amount hit $52,000. Like an RRSP, contributions can be invested in just about anything. Unlike an RRSP, gains are never taxed.  

Gains on a principal home are like a TFSA because they are also never taxed.

Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation

Few Canadians even knew what the CDIC was until news surfaced about the struggles of alternative mortgage lender Home Capital in June. To address concerns over the company’s solvency, Home Capital was forced to jack up its guaranteed investment certificate (GICs) to nearly three percent for a five-year term – more than a percent over the going rate.

Thing is: GICs up to $100,000 are backed by CDIC – a crown corporation with the backing of the federal government. For mom and pop Home Capital investors squeezing out a little extra yield, there was never a risk of default.         

The Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation was created in 1967 – on Canada’s centennial. It’s just one measure that makes Canada’s financial system among the most stable in the world.

Health Care

Health care considerations are just part of financial planning for Canadians because we have universal health care. It’s rare that lives are ruined in this country due to health care costs. By comparison, health care in the United States is a mess. According to U.S. health care provider HealthView Services, lifetime retirement health care premiums, deductables and other fees not covered by Medicare for an average 65-year-old couple retiring this year total $404,253 in today's dollars.

For many Americans just worrying about health care costs can be damaging to their health.

In Canada, all major political parties support universal health care – first introduced in Saskatchewan in 1947. Thanks Saskatchewan.