Category Archives: Financing

Helpful tips from BMO Bank of Montreal

Take it or toss it? Six ways to decide what goes or stays before you move

Packing is a great opportunity to purge.


Squeezing all your belongings into boxes may not be a fun way to spend your free time before you move. But, packing can provide the perfect chance to weed out any extra belongings, and start fresh.

Before you wrap up a single cereal bowl or framed photo, try the following tips to avoid moving a ton of unnecessary items into your new home. Continue reading


The savings ladder

Here’s a strategy to maximize your savings that requires minimal effort over a two- to three-year cycle.

Sophie Sylvain recommends using the savings ladder, a strategy to maximize your savings that requires minimal effort over a two- to three-year cycle.

Here’s an example based on an annual income of $55,000. You can do the same thing with a smaller amount.

  • 2013: You invest $3,000 in Capital régional et coopératif Desjardins (CRCD).
  • 2014: You put your $1,350 provincial tax credit in your RRSP (45% credit) right away.
  • 2015: Your RRSP contribution gets you a tax refund of about $518, which you put into your TFSA.

Result: The $3,000 investment is now worth $4,868, not counting the return on your investments.

CRCD shares too risky for you?


Start building your ladder with a $3,000 contribution to your RRSP, then put the tax refund ($1,151) in your TFSA. In two years you will have $4,151.

Slight variation: Instead of contributing to your TFSA, put it all in an RESP to take advantage of government grants.

To find out more about savings, visit

Gilles Drouin | Journalist

Photos: iStock

How Long Should it Take to pay off a Mortgage?

“The faster you pay off a mortgage, the more you save in interest,” says Louis-François Éthier, product manager at National Bank.

The truth is, paying off a $100,000 mortgage in a short period of time is extremely difficult without both a sizable and stable income, and relatively few expenses. A small regular payment stretched out over a longer amortization period (the total time required to pay off the mortgage) is usually considered an expensive strategy. This is because mortgage payments mostly cover interest and little of the principal until the interest is paid, so it can take decades to pay off the balance.

“The amount of your mortgage payments should be based on your overall budget,” says Louis-François Éthier.


How much of your budget should go toward mortgage payments?
Most financial institutions recommend that no more than 30% of your total budget go towards mortgage payments, municipal taxes, and heating. “It’s the classic ratio in the industry: mortgage to total debt,” says Mr. Éthier. “It’s crucial to also consider other debts, such as car loans and balances on credit cards. Mortgage counsellors can help you make the right choice.”

Of course, the expected time if would take to pay off the mortgage directly influences the amount that we spend on our regular payments. Continue reading


Helpful tips from BMO Bank of Montreal

Is buying a vacation property right for me?

6 questions to ask before making a move.

As the weather warms up, a cottage by the lake may sound appealing ― but is owning a second home right for you? If you’re looking to purchase a place, prices will vary greatly depending on where you’re searching.

There are several important factors to consider before purchasing a vacation home, so don’t let the allure of a lake breeze or the excitement of water sports keep you from thinking it through. First, ask yourself these six questions: Continue reading


13 tips for cheaper home insurance

When you see how home insurance has gone up in recent years, it can be tempting to downgrade your coverage or shop around for a better deal. There may be good reasons for premiums going up, but who doesn’t want to spend less on insurance? The good news is you can! Here are a few reasons why home insurance rates are on the rise, and 13 tips to help you pay less.

Why home insurance premiums are going up

There are several reasons why your premiums go up when you renew your home insurance.

  • Your insurance amount generally increases by a certain percentage at each renewal to cover inflation (the cost of materials and labour) as well as new purchases you’re likely to have made.
  • Payouts on home insurance claims are increasing at an alarming rate (up 20% between 2009 and 2013, and 300% since 1990).
  • Payouts for natural disasters have increased six-fold since the 1990s.

So the two main reasons are that there are more claims, and those claims are more and more costly.

“But I haven’t made a claim!” That’s true, but remember that home insurance is like group insurance. You pay to protect other people’s property as well as your own. The premiums that you and other policyholders pay are pooled to pay for any losses incurred, which tend to cost a lot more than your monthly premium.

As a result, the more claims there are, the more you have to pay.

If you have made a claim yourself, there’s a good chance that your insurance will go up at your next renewal. Insurance is there to cover you in case of a loss, but making a low-value claim is not always in your best interest. Continue reading