by Sheila Henn, CPA, CA – Paterson Henn CPA –
As the past year showed us, we cannot control everything that is happening around us. But we can mitigate risks, follow guidelines and we can try to take advantage of the situation. The now commonplace phrase “Be Kind, Be Calm and Be Safe” can be applied to all aspects of your life, including your finances.
Be Kind. Listen to others and their advice, but remember that each person’s or business’ situations are different. A small amount of taxes for some may be difficult for another person to pay. What one person should invest in may not be right for another. Professionals in all areas have had challenges this past year, so seek their help early. Being organized will help everyone.
You could also check out local charities. Ensure their charitable status is valid if you donate, but if you don’t have the funds, see how you can help in other ways.
You will be surprised at the work being achieved on the Peninsula. Being kind to your local charity can also potentially reduce taxes.
Be Calm. Dealing with your finances, budgeting and just making ends meet this year is difficult for most. Take a breath and work at it in small pieces. Start by checking the bank statements each month to make sure there are no fraudulent charges. Make a list of cash in and cash out. Educate yourself but also work with your advisors.
When you start receiving your tax slips, set up a folder or an envelope. Knowing what the government changes are, on a basic level, is a great start. Staying organized and having your finances in control can calm you in other areas of your life.
Be Safe. Consider your risk levels and where and what you are investing in. Consider your debt and if you are carrying a balance on high interest debt such as credit cards. Do you have a current will? For taxes it may seem obvious to follow the guidelines, but there were many new rules with the government assistance. Do you have back taxes or back filings that need to be dealt with? Have you called the CRA and set up a payment plan? Being safe during uncertain times can help you achieve kindness and calmness for you and your family.
There are many resources available. Find COVID-19 financial resources at www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/covid19-emergency-benefits.html. Remembering there are professionals and assistance available is the first step in being kind, being calm and being safe with your finances.
For more information, visit www.patersonhenn.com.