Our Financial Resolutions for 2015

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This time last year, we shared our financial resolutions for 2014 with you. The best part of publishing posts like that is it gives us the opportunity to review/reflect on all we’ve accomplished, so we can take account of where we are and set goals for the new year.

Alyssa didn’t end up buying an investment property, but she did get engaged/married and bought her first home with her husband! KL also bought her first home in the city, with her partner (now fiance!). I crossed all 3 of the goals off my list, including building up a $10,000 Emergency Fund. And Idriss setup an automatic savings plan for his son’s post-secondary education.

We weren’t all successful in achieving our goals, though. Chris had resolved to waste less money on things that are avoidable. Unfortunately, according to Mint, he spent over $500 on parking tickets. (Oops!) And Kurtis opened both a TFSA and RRSP, but still hasn’t started contributing to them on a regular basis. At least there’s room for improvement!

After giving them a chance to review last year’s post, I asked the team what their financial resolutions were for 2015. Here’s what everyone said: Continue reading

Our 5 Favourite Posts from 2014

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Since joining the RateHub.ca team back in 2012, I’ve dedicated the last two weeks of December as a time for reflection on the blog. We work hard all year to try and bring you the content you want, on the topics you’re searching for more information on, with a little insight on our personal lives and interests sprinkled in.

This is one of the posts I love piecing together the most: a list of our favourites from throughout the year. In 2014, we published 100 blog posts (101, if you include this one). To choose just 5 of our favourites is no simple task, so posts have to meet some specific criteria: they should be informative and insightful, and it helps if they got a little media attention.

Without further ado, here’s what made the list. Continue reading

A First-Time Homebuyer’s Guide to Property Taxes

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Congratulations! You’ve finally purchased your first home. If you’ve been a lifelong renter, up until this point, it’s important to be aware of the new responsibilities that come with being a homeowner. As a renter, all you had to worry about was paying your rent and possibly some utilities each month. Not only does homeownership come with a lot more responsibilities, there are extra monthly carrying costs you’ll need to budget for – the biggest one of which will likely be your property taxes.

Property taxes are charged by the municipality you live in, and are used to pay for services such as garbage and recycling collection, snow removal, street lighting, policing, fire protection and more. How much you have to pay depends on the municipality you live in, as well as the value of your property (not the size!) and of the other properties around you.

Here’s more on how your property taxes are calculated each year, and how you can pay them: Continue reading

How Do Rent-to-Own Situations Actually Work?

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At quick glance, the words “rent-to-own” might sound perfect for some hopeful homebuyers. This option allows you to live in your dream home, slowly save the down payment for it and get the rest of your finances in order, so you can buy the property later.

There are no bidding wars. No fear of big price hikes. It sounds great, right? So, why isn’t everyone jumping on board and getting this type of property? Because, while it can prove successful for some people, there are a lot of risks and costs associated with these transactions. Continue reading

Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement: December 3, 2014

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This morning, Governor Stephen Poloz announced that the Bank of Canada (BoC) would leave its overnight lending rate at 1.00% for another seven (7) weeks. Since any change to the overnight rate would directly result in a fluctuation of Prime rate, this is good news for variable rate mortgage holders and anyone who carries a loan attached to Prime.

Before each of the BoC’s interest rate announcements, Bloomberg polls 20-30 economists to see what they think the announcement will include. This time, Bloomberg polled 22 economists, all of whom believed the overnight rate would remain unchanged – and they were correct. But many also made it clear they would be paying attention to how the BoC characterized recent improvements in the economy. Here’s what Poloz included in today’s press release: Continue reading