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Posts Tagged ‘Economic Planning Board for Ontario’

2018 Tax Clinics

February 14, 2018 Leave a comment

Tax season is upon us and once again, the Economic Planning Board for Ontario (EPBO) will be offering Tax Preparation Clinics to Jamati members.

*Clinic times have been updated*

Saturday, March 10 9:00am – 3:00pm Jubilee Gardens
Saturday, March 17 9:00am – 3:45pm East York
Saturday, March 24 9:00am – 3:45pm Don Mills
Saturday, March 31 9:00am – 3:00pm Etobicoke
Sunday, April 1 9:00am – 1:30pm Pickering
Sunday, April 8 9:00am – 3:00pm Jubilee Gardens
Sunday, April 15 9:00am – 3:45pm East York
Saturday, April 21 9:00am – 3:00pm Jubilee Gardens
Sunday, April 22  9:00am – 3:45pm Don Mills
Sunday, April 29 9:00am – 3:00pm East York

In-person registration will be available in all Jamatkhanas starting Friday, February 23. For online registration, please click here.

Interested members of the Jamat are asked to review eligibility and documentation requirements prior to scheduling their appointments. 

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Don’t Hit Your Debt Ceiling Because of Your Mortgage

January 11, 2018 Leave a comment

In cities where housing prices are high, like Toronto, Vancouver and surrounding areas, buying a home is extremely expensive. Fueled in part by the “Fear of Missing Out,” home buyers are routinely maxing out their mortgage debt, just so they can get into the market.

“The problem is that substantial mortgages are pushing many people right up to their debt ceiling. The downside of taking out a large mortgage used to be about being house poor. Now maxing out your mortgage is causing people to live dangerously close to their debt breaking point in a paycheque- to paycheque environment with little or no cash savings,” says Jeff Schwartz, executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.

Here are some ways to keep clear from your debt ceiling by maintaining mortgage and other debt low.

Set your housing budget and stick to it

In a hot market that is characterized with bidding wars, it is normal for house hunters to suffer from buyer’s fatigue as they deal with the emotions of trying to buy a home and lose out multiple times.

“For the sake of your budget and your financial health, you need to let your head rule your heart when it comes to buying a home. It can be tempting, especially if you’ve been looking for a home for a while, to push your budget up, just so you can secure a house,” says Schwartz.

According to a study from HSBC, 42 per cent of buyers ignored their budget and spent more than they intended on their home purchase. Doing so may seem like a good idea at the time because you secure a home, but the more mortgage debt you assume, the more vulnerable you are.

You need to establish a budget that will keep your mortgage payments manageable and take into account the possibility of rising interest rates. You also need to have the cash flow to be able to put money into savings. That means staying well below your debt ceiling.

Get rid of high interest debt

It is preferable to be debt free when you buy a home, but that isn’t always possible. What you should do though is get rid of your high interest debt as a minimum before you purchase a home. Your credit cards and lines of credit are also vulnerable if interest rates go up, which will push your debt ceiling higher.

Pay debts off, consolidate on a lower interest card, or get a consolidation installment loan.

Don’t rely on credit to cover costs

You need to consistently spend within your means. That means not using credit as a way to extend your budget. Don’t rely on credit as your emergency fund or as a means to tend to your housing repairs and maintenance.

Find ways to cut your housing costs

Your mortgage isn’t the only cost that you’ll need to manage as a homeowner. In addition to repair and maintenance, you’ll need to spend money every month on energy and water bills. Get in the habit of conserving water and energy wherever you can, which will greatly reduce your bills.

Discover your individual score to help assess your current financial fitness level by taking a quick Financial Fitness Test

For more information on this and other financial literacy and credit issues, visit the Money and Finances – Canada.ca and iiCanada Financial Literacy resources page OR the Jamati Budget Lounge, a web‐based financial education centre that has been set up exclusively for our Jamat through Consolidated Credit Counselling Services of Canada, a national non‐profit organization. The Jamati Budget Lounge offers unbiased debt‐counselling service and offers alternatives to help people get their debts under control. In addition to offering solutions to alleviate and eliminate debt, the site also focuses on financial education and understanding. Strategies include teaching basic, but vital concepts such as how to: budget; understand credit; and manage money. The toll‐free number 18443293834 has also been set up for our Jamat to speak to a trained credit counsellor from Consolidated Credit in English, French or Farsi on a confidential basis.

Although all communications will be confidential, any connections via the Jamati Budget Lounge or via the toll‐free number to Consolidated Credit will be tracked for statistical purposes.

Achieve Financial Security

September 1, 2017 Leave a comment

If you are dealing with debt and are living paycheque to paycheque, you tend to focus on just getting by in the moment. However, it is your actions in the present moment that can help you achieve financial security for the future.

“What does financial security sound like to you? Living debt-free? Having a nest egg of savings to rely on? Having healthy cash flow that lets you not live paycheque to paycheque? Not having to manage the stress that goes along with debt? All of these are positive lifestyle attributes, which may not be what you are experiencing living with debt,” says Jeff Schwartz, executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.

“Visualize what your picture of financial security looks like and set that as your goal. By changing your approach to spending and saving today, you can build the foundation for financial security for tomorrow,” says Schwartz.

Stop Using Credit

The very first step to achieving financial security is to stop the debt pile from growing. In addition to developing a plan to pay down your debt, change your financial direction by adapting a cash-based lifestyle. That way, all the money that you put down on your debt can work to erase, not reduce your debt.

Spend Well Below Your Means

On paper, it’s simple. Your household budget dictates how much you are able to spend on expenses without having to go into debt. However, in daily living, applying that budget can be more challenging, especially if you subscribe to the “buy-now-pay-later” mentality.

In order to achieve financial security, not only do you need to spend within your means, you need to create a gap of wiggle room to cover you in the event of unexpected expenses or job loss. That means spending well below your budget-driven max.

Some ways to accomplish this are to move towards more simple living. Buy a used car instead of a new car. Eat at home instead of the restaurant. Downsize your home and save on your mortgage/rent and operating costs.

Smart Saving Strategy

You may already be aware that having emergency savings on hand is a crucial part of a debt repayment strategy. But as you look towards creating financial security, you need to be a little more specific with your savings goals. You need to contribute to your emergency savings fund every month, but also diversify your savings into something longer term as well- like your retirement.

Every dollar that you save for your long term future means one less dollar that you might need to turn to debt to cover expenses in your golden years. It may seem like retirement is a long way off, but you can benefit over the long term from investing your money today.

Saving for your retirement also has more immediate benefits which can help you create financial security. You can withdraw from your RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) to use as a down payment for a home. You also get a tax deduction for your RRSP contributions, which you can use to pay down debt even more or build up other savings.

Get Educated

Create your own path towards financial security by becoming aware of the options that are available to you. The more you know, the more you can take advantage of tools that are available to you, which will only benefit you

Discover your individual score to help assess your current financial fitness level and get useful information. Financial Fitness Test

For more information on this and other financial literacy and credit issues, visit the IICanada Financial Literacy Resources page or the Jamati Budget Lounge, a web‐based financial education centre that has been set up exclusively for our Jamat through Consolidated Credit Counselling Services of Canada, a national non‐profit organization. The Jamati Budget Lounge offers unbiased debt‐counselling service and offers alternatives to help people get their debts under control. In addition to offering solutions to alleviate and eliminate debt, the site also focuses on financial education and understanding. Strategies include teaching basic, but vital concepts such as how to: budget; understand credit; and manage money. The toll‐free number 1‐844‐329‐3834 has also been set up for our Jamat to speak to a trained credit counsellor from Consolidated Credit in English, French or Farsi on a confidential basis.

Although all communications will be confidential, any connections via the Jamati Budget Lounge or via the toll‐free number to Consolidated Credit will be tracked for statistical purposes.