Thursday 25 October 2012

Commerce Seminars Rises

Sometimes in life, it's important to step back from a situation, take some time off to evaluate, and then make a move.

In 2003, Mike Daciw and myself graduated from the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba. It wasn't long before the two of us were back on campus and helping other commerce students navigate their way through some of the more daunting courses on the Asper transcript.

We began teaching pre-exam seminars in both Financial Accounting and Corporate Finance and the feedback was overwhelming. Our seminars were working! Students were entering exams with much more confidence, and the experience they gained helped them get through the courses that once appeared to put their degrees in jeopardy.

Mike and I taught these "Commerce Seminars" for 5 years before stepping back to focus on our own careers and personal lives. After a few years off, it has become clear that we can't deny the bat signal in the sky; WE MUST RETURN!

Batman knew he must rise again, and so too have we.
Sharing our experience and knowledge in the financial sector with students, in a way that will helpful find success on exams, is extremely rewarding, and it's the reason we're back. In the past, we collected a fee for our seminars to offset the time and costs of creating the program. This time around, we are excited to share that 100% of our net income - a term you will need to be able to define - will be donated to the Commerce Student's Association (CSA), to help fund student programs, workshops  and activities around the school.

We hope to hold our first session of "Commerce Seminars 2.0", this coming December. Please stay tuned for more details, and we look forward to seeing and meeting new Asper students!

See you soon,


Monday 20 August 2012

Saving is tough, even for NBA players

Helping people plan their investments is a rewarding practice in many ways. The greatest takeaway we can get receive from a client is when they call to say they've successfully achieved or undertaken some type of activity that they've been planning for years. Buying a car for their son, sending their daughter to university, purchasing a warm retirement home.

The financial planning aspect of our business at Madison Financial looks to guide people through the right hoops in order to achieve certain objectives. Creating a solid financial plan takes a good deal of diligence and whether you make $50,000 a year or $5 million, adapting your lifestyle to your budget in a way that will ensure you save money responsibly is difficult.

A recent move by the NBA is a sure testament to the reality that managing finances, big or small, is an important and necessary task. Many of us would have a tough time imagining struggling through retirement based on a $5 million salary, but it continues to happen all the time. See an excerpt from the article below.

* * * * *
NBA Players Forced To Save Toward Retirement For First Time
By Scott Soshnick

National Basketball Association players, who were paid an average of about $5 million last season, will be forced for the first time to save money for retirement.

Beginning next season, players also will surrender 5 percent to 10 percent of their salary for retirement. They automatically will be enrolled in the program and would have to opt-out to keep from participating in the plan, Klempner said.

To visit the full article from Bloomberg, click here.

Friday 8 June 2012

Pricey at the Pump?

Heading into the summer season, Winnipeggers are again set to engage in one of their favourite summer past times: Jumping into the car and getting out of town! For the majority of the city, this clearly means heading out to the lake, while for others, this simply means packing up some gear and heading out on an adventure. Road trips, camping trips, canoe trips, trips to Steinbach... We're an adventurous bunch, and we rely on our vehicles to get us to our destination.

We stop off at the gas station to.. Whaaat? - Is that the price of gas?! Winnipeg pumps continue to spend time up in the 120's, and while we're still a few cents short of the national average of 125.6, the hit to the wallet still hurts! Regardless, we're a resilient bunch and will gladly continue about our summer lifestyles, enjoying the sun and good times with the family. Here's some simple methods and tactics you might be interested in to help reduce fuel consumption and save some gas.

Become a Carpool Champion - Six people in two vehicles? Get all your friends together and take the mini-van!
Find Lower Gas Prices - Don't be afraid to tap into your inner "Bargain Buyer", the website listed below is great for tracking city prices at the pump.
Purchase a New Car - Counter-intuitive yes, but maybe it's time. Think smaller car, diesel engine, manual transmission, fuel efficiency.
Drive Less - Going somewhere close by? Consider walking or taking the bike.
Check Tire Pressure - Over/under-inflated tires aren't good to drive on, and low tires cause fuel-consuming drag. Maintain correct pressure!
Don't Idle - If you're going to idle for more than a minute, then it saves to turn off your vehicle and restart when you're ready.
Drive Slow and Steady - Driving slower uses less gas.
Easy on the A/C - Using A/C only when necessary will help save fuel.
Windows Up - Especially at higher speeds, windows-down causes lots of extra drag.
Be a Shady Parker - Parking in the shade will reduce gasoline evaporation from your tank.
Easy Acceleration - If you can spare the Days of Thunder rush from 0 - 50km/h, you'll save gas.
Going to/from work - Leaving earlier/later will avoid traffic saving 10-15 mins and all that gas.
Becomes friends with Inertia - Good drivers brake far less than ones who are constantly accelerating and braking. Roll up to stop signs, anticipate lights and rely less on constant braking.
Regular Service - Maintain your car regularly including scheduled oil changes, correct oil grade, changing air filter, rotating tires.

When in doubt, just get over to

Enjoy your summer!

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Tax Saving Tips for Business, Professional Corporation

Income taxes are the biggest expense for most Canadian. If you have your own business or professional corporation, your company can help generate tax savings to accelerate your mortgage repayment or boost your retirement savings.

Use Capital Gains Instead of Dividends

If you are planning large cash withdrawals from your company, consider taking the cash as capital gains rather than dividends. Only one half of the capital gains is subject to tax.

Set Up Corporate Health Plan

You can get 45% discount on your medical expenses by setting up your own Private Health Services Plan. It allows your corporation to deduct dental and medical expenses for yourself and family members without any corresponding taxable benefit to you.

Split Income With Family Members

The corporate tax rate is around 10% (depending on your province), compared to the highest personal tax bracket of around 40%. Tax saving can be enormous by channelling corporate income to family members in a lower tax bracket, instead of paying all the income to you alone.

Maximize Deductible Pension Contributions

Consider swithing your retirement savings to an Individual Pension Plan (IPP), instead of the RRSP. You can make larger contributions to an IPP than to the RRSP, especially if you are over 50 and you are also entitled to a large tax deduction for past service contribution.

Deduct Mortgage Interest

If you have a sizable house mortgage, you should look for creative ways to write off the mortgage interest.

Friday 30 March 2012

Jets land, Winnipeg takes off.

When the Jets came back, Winnipeg didn’t just get a hockey team, but more so an economical jump-start.  Over the years Winnipeg’s economy has steadily been increasing, slowly, but steadily. It’s not that we don’t possess the characteristics and charisma of a major city; we just didn’t have the capital or investors, until now.

Since the Jets have come back to Winnipeg, we have seen growth in all major sectors of our economy. From retail to the real estate market, people are buying in Winnipeg as well as buying into Winnipeg.

Downtown Winnipeg alone is a definitive example of our potential for growth. With True North Sports & Entertainment paving the way with new restaurants, stores, and hotels, other investors will surely follow. I can tell you personally the team has had extremely positive effects for us at Madison Financial Services Inc.

If this little social experiment has taught us anything, it’s the positive effect of a sports team on the unity of a community but most importantly to never underestimate the purchasing power of the middle class. In seventeen minutes the Jets sold 13 000 tickets at a five year commitment. The people of Winnipeg have money; they just needed a viable reason to spend it.

So the question is, what will the future hold? Will the Jets become a serious playoff contender, will Portage Place rise from the ashes, and will Mark Chipman replace the golden boy atop the legislative building? Only time will tell, until then let’s just sit back and watch our little city get back on the map.