Trusted Tips and Resources

Trusted Tips & Resources

Trusted Saskatoon Financial Advisors at Wiegers Financial & Benefits Explain The Importance of Succession Planning

Wiegers Financial & Benefits is one of Saskatchewan's largest private financial planning and employee benefits consulting firms. Their Financial Planning Division provides business owners, households, retirees, and students with expert investment and insurance planning services to help them reach their long-term financial goals. They also have a Benefits and Personal Insurance planning division. 


Whether it’s a well-loved breakfast diner that feels like the hub of the community or a factory that manufactures safety shoes and work gloves, creating and growing a small business is incredibly rewarding and requires a lot of hard work. After toiling long hours to become successful, most owners want the business to continue thriving long after they step away.

A carefully crafted succession plan is important to any successful small business. It can help you clearly identify your company’s goals, protect the business's legacy, plan for the unexpected, and prepare for the financial security of your family and employees. The planning process can feel overwhelming at first, but carefully considering all aspects of your business is time well spent.


There’s no time like the present. Succession planning can clarify how you visualize your future success, even if you just opened the doors to your business. Planning helps you narrow down your goals and objectives, identify the right person to take over one day and prepare for financial setbacks.

Bob Labrecque, a succession planning consultant with Manulife Securities, says business owners often wait too long to begin the planning process, starting when they’re only three or four years away from retirement. “A good succession plan is a five-to-10-year strategy of building the business, and then transferring ownership while it’s in a growth phase – not in a maturity or a declining phase,” he says. “And you want a team of experts in place to help make this happen. An advisor is a key member of this planning team.”

The first step in developing a business succession plan is to self-reflect and ask yourself some critical questions. Consider the following:

  1. When would you like to retire or step back from running the business?
  2. What kind of future would you like to see for your business?
  3. Do you have a successor in mind with a mentoring plan in place?
  4. Are there any weaknesses in your current business operations that must be addressed?
  5. What is your plan for handling unexpected events, such as illness, financial difficulties, or the retention of top employees?
  6. Do you have a team of financial and legal experts to help you with the planning process?



Even though running a successful business can occupy your full attention, looking at the bigger picture and how a business succession plan dovetails into your personal plans is essential. An advisor can help determine a company's financial value and opportunities for growth and also help with retirement and estate planning.

A business owner hoping to step down must plan for adequate retirement income to maintain his or her desired lifestyle, put a savings plan in place to cover future expenses such as a child’s education, and set up life and disability insurance plans so loved ones are well cared for in the event of severe illness or death – all while maximizing tax-planning opportunities.



As you are getting your succession plans down on paper, don’t discount the emotional impact that this major life event might have on you and the entire organization. Labrecque says leaving can be very difficult and emotional for many business owners.

 “Quite often, for a first-generation business owner, this is their baby, and there can be strong protective feelings that nobody else can do what they do.” 

Owners have some crucial decisions to consider:

  • Take an honest look at who can lead the business and compile a short list of candidates
  • Create a succession team to help navigate the financial, legal, and human resource aspects of the transition
  • Explore new opportunities for the organization to ensure continued strength and growth
  • Establish a co-lead to allow the current owner to begin stepping back into a lesser role

If the intent is to transition the business within the family, a specialist called a family facilitator might also be helpful. 

“Family transfers are the most complicated because they involve not only the business but the family dynamics,” says Labrecque. “Families also need to have honest discussions about whether children even want to take over the family business. They may want the money and the lifestyle but do they find the work interesting?”


As a business owner prepares for retirement, there might still be an opportunity to stay involved and active but at a slower pace. A step-down approach is possible, where the ownership is transferred, but the owner stays on in a limited capacity for a set duration to help with the transition. After a lifetime of work, the boss can gradually ease into retirement rather than giving up everything all at once.

Succession planning can be a rewarding process that sets the tone for your business's overall success. For more information about getting started on a succession plan, please contact Wiegers Financial & Benefits to speak with one of our experienced advisors

The opinions expressed are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of Manulife Securities Investment Services Inc.

Trusted Saskatoon Celebrates Partners Who Have Been Trusted in Saskatoon For 5 Over Years


In this series of articles, we continue to shine a bright spotlight on the businesses that have been Trusted Saskatoon partners for five years. This year, we recognize the Trusted Saskatoon Partners that joined us in 2018. We want to thank them for TRUSTING our team, and we are identifying each of them individually for providing five years of OUTSTANDING, trustworthy service to the citizens of Saskatoon and the surrounding area! The latest article celebrates and recognizes three valued milestone Trusted Saskatoon partners - 101 Doors and Windows Inc., Wiegers Financial & Benefits and HTH Accountants.

101 Door and Windows: Trusted Saskatoon Window & Door Pros for five years.

101 Doors and Windows Ltd: Celebrating 5 Years of Trusted Service in Window and Door Manufacturing and Installation in Saskatoon. 

In the heart of 'Toon Town,' a local success story has quietly made waves in the window and door industry. 101 Doors and Windows Ltd, owned by Jesse Singh, Tom Knudtson, and Sebastian Aicher, is marking a significant milestone as it celebrates its 5th anniversary as a Trusted Saskatoon window and door partner.

At the core of 101 Doors and Windows Ltd's ethos lies a simple yet powerful belief: relationships matter. Since their inception, the company has held this principle close to heart. The founders have adeptly cultivated meaningful relationships with their suppliers, resulting in a "preferred client" status with many. This translates into robust buying power and ensures their clients benefit from superior service and top-quality materials.

Industry knowledge and experience are the cornerstones on which 101 Doors and Windows Ltd stands. Jesse, Tom, and Sebastian collectively bring decades of experience. They go beyond being a mere service provider; they encourage potential clients to reach out with any queries regarding window and door performance, installation techniques, or design advice tailored to their homes. Their dedication to personalized support sets them apart in an industry where one-size-fits-all solutions often prevail.

What They Say:

"Our goal at 101 is very simple. We want to run a successful enterprise and think it takes great people, products, knowledge and experience to do that—the right kind of people. We hire for attitude and work ethic. Product knowledge and skills can be taught. Attitude and work ethic can't. We believe if we take good care of our employees, they will take good care of our customers. We are continuously working to find the best products and are always adding to our knowledge and experience. We appreciate the Trusted Saskatoon team’s support and promotion, and we are proud to be part of community of locally owned businesses that is built on a foundation of integrity — Tom Knudtson

A word about 101 from Sara, owner of Trusted Saskatoon

I couldn't be happier to sing the praises of 101 Doors and Windows. They embody everything you'd want in a contracting company. First and foremost, their commitment to manufacturing locally sets them apart. In an age when so much is outsourced, it's refreshing to find a company that takes pride in crafting their products right here in Saskatoon. Their reputation in the construction industry is nothing short of stellar. They are a preferred client with their suppliers for a reason. They remain humble and approachable and they're always ready to answer questions and offer advice. 101 Doors and Window is  a breath of fresh air. They are a company that lets their work speak for itself!”  

As we mark their 5th anniversary as Trusted Saskatoon Window & Door Pros, they can celebrate that we have never heard of or received a complaint about their products or service! Here's to five years of a successful partnership and the many more ahead.Thank you to the 101 Doors and Windows team for your trust and embodying what it means to be an integrity-driven local contractor and an outstanding, Trusted Saskatoon Partner in the window & door category.

The Trusted Saskatoon team proudly recognizes & celebrates Wiegers Financial & Benefits' 5th anniversary as a Trusted Saskatoon Partner. 

The dynamic duo Deb and Cliff Wiegers founded the company more than 30 years ago, and this award-winning, locally-owned family business stands as a beacon of trustworthiness and excellence in the Saskatchewan financial planning and employee group benefits industry. Anchored by their vision, the Wiegers lead a dedicated team of professionals driven by passion and care, all united by a common goal – to provide tailor-made financial and benefit solutions that empower businesses, households, and individuals to thrive in the present and future.

At the heart of Wiegers Financial & Benefits lies a commitment to delivering more than just financial services; they craft personalized journeys toward prosperity. This mission is deeply embedded in their work philosophy, where understanding clients on a profound level forms the cornerstone. The Wiegers team delves into their clients' aspirations, goals, and dreams by forging close partnerships. This holistic comprehension enables them to offer financial planning and employee benefits solutions that are not just transactional but transformative.

The Wiegers legacy expands to encompass the next generation – Colton and Randi Wiegers now work in the family business and are committed to continuing the family's dedication to service excellence. 

The Wiegers Financial & Benefits team is deeply rooted in Saskatchewan and is dedicated to strengthening the local community. They support an impressive number of important causes and non-profits and have a particular focus on supporting local children's charities through their charity, Care for Kids by Wiegers Inc. Since 2009, they've raised over $1.3 million for the Jim Pattison Children's Hospital Foundation, funding a pediatric surgical suite and outpatient area. The Wiegers's commitment to our community remains unwavering. Whether it's causes close to their heart, businesses striving to expand, households securing their future, or individuals chasing their dreams, the Wiegers team takes the journey together, equipped with expertise and empathy.

What They Say:

“ Being trusted is of the utmost importance to us. We work in an industry where trust is the foundation of success; to serve our clients effectively, they must trust us enough to share openly with us, including about issues that might be very private and sensitive. They must also be able to trust that we will guide them on the path to financial well-being and that their businesses and families will be looked after, too. This is why we are so proud to be a Trusted Saskatoon partner. Trusted Saskatoon is a highly respected local business committed to recommending other businesses of the highest integrity and ability. Their endorsement means a lot, and we look forward to continuing to earn it for years to come.” - Deb Wiegers

A word about Wiegers from Sara, owner of Trusted Saskatoon.

"I've been a client of Wiegers Financial & Benefits for several years, and I appreciate them managing my company's group benefits. I am confident my employees are receiving the best coverage and support. We especially appreciate the personal level of service Deb Wiegers and the group benefits division offer, and the Wiegers Wellness Partner Program is a great perk! 
On a personal level, Cliff Wiegers and the financial services team have helped me navigate my financial goals with precision and care. From retirement planning to investment strategies, their guidance has given me confidence in my financial future. The team at Wiegers is not just a service provider; they are Trusted Partners who genuinely care about their clients. Their attention to detail, proactive communication, and commitment to finding tailored solutions make them stand out. I highly recommend Wiegers Financial & Benefits to anyone seeking top-notch financial and benefits management. They have made a significant positive impact on both my business and personal financial well-being.”
As they reach the milestone of 5 years as Trusted Saskatoon Partners, Wiegers Financial & Benefits stands as a testament to what can be achieved through vision, integrity, philanthropy and an unwavering dedication to client success. The Wiegers team is not merely in the business of finance and benefits; they are in the business of transformation, growth, community support and a brighter future for all they serve.

Thank you, Cliff & Deb, for your trust and for showcasing that you are an integrity-driven local business and an outstanding, Trusted Saskatoon Partner in the Saskatoon financial services and Insurance categories. 

In a world where financial trust is paramount, HTH Chartered Professional Accountants leads the way. HTH stands for Hounjet, Tastad, and Harpham and is led by the founding partners Roseline Hounjet, Allyn Tastad, and Dustin Harpham. More recently, Hope Fremont and Hanny Cooper were announced as partners. Roseline Hounjet, a founding partner who contributed significantly to their success, announced her retirement, marking a significant milestone in the firm's journey.

HTH Chartered Professional Accountants has mastered the art of building trust. With many decades of experience under their belts, the team at HTH understands that public practice accounting is not just about numbers; it's about fostering relationships based on trust and understanding. One of the cornerstones of HTH's approach is taking the time to comprehend and reach the client's needs and goals. Whether you're seeking assistance with personal tax matters, a small or medium-sized business owner navigating complex financial landscapes, or a not-for-profit organization seeking financial guidance, HTH offers the same unwavering commitment to providing high-quality service tailored to your needs.

While HTH Chartered Professional Accountants is based in Saskatoon, they serve individuals and businesses across the prairies; they've garnered a reputation for delivering consistent excellence in the accounting field. No matter where their clients are located, HTH is dedicated to ensuring that each interaction is marked by professionalism, reliability, and trustworthiness.

What They Say:

“We are proud to be one of the partners at Trusted Saskatoon for the last five years. To us, being ‘trusted’ holds a significant importance – it means we are trusted by our clients and the community to provide quality service and we are able to maintain that trusting relationship that keeps our clients coming back year after year. This helps them to refer their friends and family to us and know that they are in good hands. We appreciate all the support we’ve received from Trusted Saskatoon over the last five years, and we look forward to continuing to build our relationship within our community.” - Hanny Cooper, HTH

Sara's Experience with HTH 

“ As a client of HTH Chartered Professional Accountants since I moved to Canada in 2006, I can attest that HTH is more than just an accounting firm; they are a comprehensive business resource. Their level of care, commitment, knowledge, and experience, coupled with a dedication to understanding their clients' needs, allow them to provide invaluable support. I am extremely grateful for their wonderful support and assistance for both my personal and business accounts." 

As HTH Chartered Professional Accountants in Saskatoon celebrates its 5th anniversary as a Trusted Saskatoon Accountant, their commitment to building trust, understanding client's needs, and delivering high-quality service remains unwavering. In a world where financial guidance is essential, HTH stands as a shining example of trust and reliability, ready to guide individuals and businesses toward financial success for years to come. will save you time, save you hassle and save you money. Our local Trusted Saskatoon team is committed to finding outstanding businesses like the Partners we have highlighted above. Be assured ALL the companies featured on our Saskatoon directory have been checked and verified,  and in addition, they are annually contracted to uphold the 5 TRUSTED GUARANTEES of service! 

5 Trusted Guarantees

  1. Provide the service and quality promised.

  2. Complete the job on time.

  3. Charge the price quoted with NO surprises.

  4. Communicate honestly and be responsive to customer needs.

  5. Resolve any issues with customer satisfaction in mind.

Trusted Saskatoon was founded on the principle that great local businesses deserve promotion. 

Please help us by nominating your favourite Saskatoon businesses here.

Saskatoon Group Benefits pros at Wiegers Explain How Group Benefits Helps Employees and Their Families

Wiegers Financial & Benefits is one of the largest private financial planning and employee benefits consulting firms in Saskatchewan.. They  have a Saskatoon Benefits and Personal Insurance planning, division. In this latest Wiegers Group Benefits expert tip, they explain how the group benefits plan you provide employees helps look after their loved ones too. Wiegers Financial & Benefits are Trusted Saskatoon Insurance and Group Benefits experts.



When most people think about what it takes to help protect their loved ones’ financial security, they tend to think about life insurance – and it makes sense. Owning insurance that pays out a lump sum benefit to your beneficiaries in the event of your untimely death is the most effective way to ensure that even when you’re no longer here to contribute to them financially, they’ll be looked after. When an individual wants or needs to purchase life insurance, he or she typically contacts a financial advisor or insurance representative who then conducts a needs analysis to determine the individual’s life insurance needs, applies to one or more insurance companies for it, and then if the individual’s insurance application is approved (including potentially a medical questionnaire and tests), begins paying insurance premiums to keep it in-force.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that as important as it is to purchase sufficient life insurance to protect their loved ones’ financial security after their gone, the group benefits plan you provide your employees likely includes a number of benefits that are also important in helping. Your company’s benefits plan, for example, likely includes a life insurance benefit that amounts to a flat amount or a multiple of each employee’s gross annual income, and that is partly or entirely guaranteed regardless of the employee’s health. This can amount to a relatively significant benefit, though for most people, it is not enough on its own to adequately look after their loved ones financially. A qualified advisor will want to include a person’s group life insurance benefit in a thorough analysis of how much insurance he or she has, and how much is still needed.

But beyond the life insurance you likely provide in your company’s group benefits plan are other benefits that directly or indirectly help care for your employees’ loved ones. Most plans, for example, include short and long-term disability insurance for employees that pay out a benefit each week (in the case of short term disability) or each month (in the case of long term disability) when an employee becomes disabled and is unable to work for an income. This is as beneficial for your employees as it is for their families, given that most families cannot sustain the loss of an income for even a short period of time. When you consider that group disability insurance – unlike Workers’ Compensation Insurance – covers disabilities sustained both on and off the job, the financial security it affords your employees and their families becomes even more apparent.

Most group benefit plans include more than just insurance, though, that benefits the employees’ families. Plans that include Health, Prescription Drug and/or Dental benefits, for example, almost always include coverage (or the option for coverage) for each employee’s dependent spouse and/or children. And in cases when an employee dies when he or she still has coverage under a group benefits plan, there is usually a survivor benefit that continues to afford the employee’s dependents with coverage for one or two years following the death with no insurance premiums required.

In order to really stand out as an employer who cares, you have options to take your benefits plan beyond what’s become standard and, in the process, help improve your competitive position in the war on talent. As just one example, you can supplement your company’s benefits plan with a Health Spending Account and/or Personal Spending Account as a means to providing your employees and their families with the flexibility to choose how to spend wellness dollars. You can add an Employee and Family Assistance Plan (EAFP) to provide a number of important services, including but not limited to counselling. You can add Critical Illness Insurance coverage to your plan – either as a mandatory or voluntary benefit – that provides a lump sum financial benefit to an insured person diagnosed with a covered critical illness. There are other benefit options too that your group benefits advisor should recommend or at least advise you about so you can make the most informed and impactful decision for your own team.

Really, then, by helping to take care of your employees with a group benefits plan, you’re helping take care of their families too. At a time when employees are in the position to choose who they want to work for, and when working for an employer who actively demonstrates care and concern for his or her employees is non-negotiable, it’s important that you make clear what you do for your team. To learn more, please speak with your benefits advisor.

Amanda Getzlaf
Benefits Account Manager, Wiegers Financial and Insurance Planning Services Ltd.

Wiegers’ Benefits Consulting Division includes many consultants and support staff who custom-design the most employee-valued and cost-effective group benefit, personal insurance, employee assistance programs, and retirement plans available. Contact them today for a no-obligation consultation to determine how they can help you.

Wiegers Financial & Benefits are Trusted Saskatoon Insurance and Group Benefits Advisors 

Trusted Saskatoon Financial Advisors at Wiegers Financial & Benefits Discuss US Residency Rules for 'Snowbirds'

Wiegers Financial & Benefits is one of the largest private financial planning and employee benefits consulting firms in Saskatchewan. Their Financial Planning Division provides business owners, households, retirees, and students with expert investment and insurance planning services to help them reach their long-term financial goals. They also have a Benefits and Personal Insurance planning division. 


Every year, over 1 million Canadian seniors and retirees pack up and move south for the winter to enjoy the warm weather and avoid the freezing temperatures at home.

However, while warmer climates can be a welcome escape, Canadian snowbirds need to be very careful about how much time they spend in the United States, as overstaying can result in being deemed a U.S. resident for tax purposes and subject you to paying taxes in the United States even if you’re not a U.S. citizen.

The good news is that proper planning and awareness of the correct U.S. residency rules can help you avoid falling into the snowbird tax trap.

NOTE: If you have dual Canadian – U.S. citizenship, you should already be filing a U.S. tax return to report your worldwide income, no matter how much or little time you spend in the U.S., so the options below won’t apply to you.

The Wrong Way to Avoid Being Considered a U.S. Resident

Unfortunately, many Canadian snowbirds have been misinformed that if they simply spend fewer than 183 days in the U.S. in any given year, they will not be considered U.S. residents for tax purposes.

This information is not true, and has caused thousands of Canadians to unknowingly violate U.S. residency rules, often leading to serious financial and emotional stress.

Don’t think you’ll just slip through the cracks. Canadian and U.S. border officials are sharing more information than ever, making it virtually impossible to hide from the IRS.


The Right Way to Avoid Being Considered a U.S. Resident

Canadian snowbirds have three options to avoid being considered U.S. residents for tax purposes by the IRS. The first option is to avoid being considered a U.S. resident for tax purposes in the first place, while the second and third options offer exemptions if you could be considered a U.S. resident.

The three options below are listed from simplest to most complex. The right option for you will depend on your unique situation:

  1. The Substantial Presence Test
  2. The Closer Connection Exemption
  3. The Canada – U.S. Tax Treaty

Option 1: The Substantial Presence Test

The easiest way for Canadian snowbirds to avoid being considered U.S. residents for tax purposes is to make sure you don’t meet the IRS’s Substantial Presence Test. Under the Substantial Presence Test, the IRS considers Canadians to be U.S. residents for tax purposes if you are physically present in the U.S. for:

31 days in the current calendar year; AND
183 days during the three-year period covering the current calendar year and the two preceding calendar years on a weighted basis.

To arrive at your three-year total, you include:

  • All days spent in the U.S. in the current calendar year,
  • One-third of the days spent in the U.S. in the preceding year, and
  • One- sixth of the days spent in the U.S. in the year prior to that

While the test is odd and confusing, it actually allows you spend significantly more than 183 days in the U.S. over the three-year period by giving less weight to days in previous years.

If your total over the three-year period is 182 days or less, you will not be considered a U.S. resident for tax purposes, as you don’t meet the Substantial Presence Test.

However, if your total for the three-year period is 183 days or more, you will be considered a U.S. resident for tax purposes under the Substantial Presence Test, which would require you to seek an exemption under Option 2, and possibly Option 3, below.

TIP: For U.S. residency calculation purposes, a day is considered to be a calendar day, not a 24-hour period! For example, if you enter the U.S. at 11:00 pm one night and return to Canada at 1:00 am the next morning, it counts as spending two days in the U.S. even though you were only there for 2 hours.


Glenn spends 120 days in the U.S. in 2020 (the current year), 120 days in the U.S. in 2019 and 120 days in the U.S. in 2018, he would calculate his three year total as follows:

120 days in 2020
+ 40 days in 2019 (120 ÷ 3)
+ 20 days in 2018 (120 ÷ 6)
= 180 total days
In this example, Glenn would not be considered a U.S. resident for tax purposes, as he is under the 183- day threshold for the three-year period. He should still consider filing Form 8840 to document this with the IRS.

NOTE: If you spend a fair amount of time in the U.S. each year, you should still consider filing Form 8840 to document and certify to the IRS that you were not substantially present in the U.S. under the Substantial Presence Test. You are not required to have a U.S. tax identification number to file Form 8840.


Option 2: Form 8840 & The Closer Connection Exemption

Even if Option 1 above doesn’t work for you, you can still get an exemption from being considered a U.S. resident for tax purposes if you qualify for and file a Form 8840 with the IRS.

The official name of Form 8840 is the “Closer Connection Exemption Connection Statement for Aliens”.

Essentially, filing Form 8840 allows Canadian snowbirds to stay in the U.S. for up to 182 days every year without being considered a U.S. resident for tax purposes (assuming you meet the criteria and file on time).

In order to qualify to file Form 8840 and receive this exemption, you’ll need to meet ALL of the following criteria:

  1. Be present in the U.S. for less than 183 days in the current calendar year
  2. Be able to establish a home in Canada in the current calendar year
  3. Be able to establish a closer connection to Canada than the U.S. during the calendar year

Form 8840 is a short form that asks you a number of questions to support your claim that you have closer economic and personal ties to Canada than the United States.

Questions cover a broad range of topics including, but not limited to:

  • Where your permanent home is
  • Where you keep your belongings
  • Where your family lives
  • Where you’re registered to vote
  • Where your driver’s license was issued
  • Were your banking and financial accounts are located
  • Where you’re covered by a government health plan

Form 8840 must be filed with the IRS no later than June 15 in the year following the year in which you qualified as a U.S. resident for tax purposes under the Substantial Presence Test. If you fail to file on time, you may be considered a U.S resident for tax purposes and subject to other penalties.

If you meet all of the criteria to be eligible for the Closer Connection Exemption and file your Form 8840 on time with the IRS, you will avoid being treated as a U.S. resident for tax purposes.

If you don’t meet all of the criteria for the Closer Connection Exemption, and you are ineligible to file a Form 8840, you must look to Option 3 below as your third and final option for relief from being deemed a U.S. resident for tax purposes.


Option 3: The Canada – U.S. Tax Treaty

Canadian snowbirds that spend 183 days or more in the U.S. in the current calendar year have one last option to avoid being declared a U.S. resident for tax purposes: file a U.S. Nonresident tax return (Form 1040NR) and claim an exemption under The Canada – U.S. Tax Treaty.

In order to claim an exemption under the Canada – U.S. Tax Treaty, Canadians must file a non-resident U.S. tax return Form 1040NR and attach a properly completed Form 8833, called the “Treaty Based Return Position Disclosure”. You will need a U.S. Individual Tax Identification Number (referred to as an “ITIN”) to file these forms with the IRS.

This option is by far the most onerous and complex to complete and will likely require you to incur the time and expense of hiring a U.S. tax professional to assist and advise you.

Form 1040NR and Form 8833 must be filed with the IRS no later than June 15 in the year following the year in which you qualified as a U.S. resident for tax purposes. If you fail to file on time, you may be considered a U.S resident for tax purposes and subject to other penalties.


The Bottom Line

Whenever possible, Canadian snowbirds should avoid being considered U.S. residents for tax purposes.

As mentioned previously, your best options are to ensure you do not meet the Substantial Presence Test or to qualify for the Form 8840 Closer Connection Exemption. Avoid having to rely on the Canada – U.S. Tax Treaty whenever possible.

While filing a Form 8840 Exemption may be a little more work than simply not meeting the Substantial Presence Test, the filing process isn’t particularly difficult or time consuming, and allows you to spend more time in the United States. It’s a common practice, and thousands of Canadian snowbirds file a Form 8840 every year.

Avoiding U.S. tax issues should never be a problem for snowbirds as long as you plan ahead and take the time to understand and follow the IRS rules. Talk to an advisor for more information. 

The opinions expressed are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of Manulife Securities Investment Services Inc.

Trusted Saskatoon Financial Advisors at Wiegers Financial & Benefits Explain How To Make The Most of Your RRSP

Wiegers Financial & Benefits is one of the largest private financial planning and employee benefits consulting firms in Saskatchewan. Their Financial Planning Division provides business owners, households, retirees, and students with expert investment and insurance planning services to help them reach their long-term financial goals. They also have a Benefits and Personal Insurance planning division. 


Matching each saving option to your specific financial situation

Building savings can be challenging; there are plenty of other things to spend your money on.  That being said, the satisfaction of watching your savings grow will likely outlast the thrill of your latest online purchase.  To maximize your savings potential, you can add guaranteed investment certificates (GICs), mutual funds, segregated funds, stocks and bonds to your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) or tax-free savings account (TFSA)[1]

Accelerate your savings

Here are a few options you can consider to make the most of your contributions:

  1. Pay yourself first with a pre-authorized chequing contribution plan.

A pre-authorized chequing (PAC) contribution plan helps you make regular, automatic contributions to your investments. It’s “paying yourself first” by treating regular savings like any recurring payment. This strategy is more effective because contributing more frequently gives you the advantage of dollar-cost averaging.[2]

Talk with your advisor or investment representative about adding an option that gradually increases the amount you contribute over time. It’s like giving your investments an annual raise, which can make a big difference to your savings.

  1. Catchup on unused RRSP contribution room with an RRSP loan

An RRSP loan can boost your savings by allowing you to catch up on RRSP contributions[3]. By catching up on contributions using a loan, you’re giving your investments the most available time to grow[4]. It helps you now and in the future because it:

  • It gives you more money earlier to grow your investment.
  • Potentially creates a larger nest egg down the road.
  • Reduces this year’s tax bill through an income deduction equal to the amount of your allowable RRSP contribution.

Borrowing your RRSP contribution doesn’t have to be costly. You can use any tax refund to help pay down your RRSP loan, which means you’ll benefit from tax advantages right away.

Despite the advantages, RRSP loans aren’t suitable for everyone.

  1. Contribute to a spousal RRSP

In a spousal RRSP, the higher-income spouse makes an RRSP contribution and claims the tax deduction, but the other spouse owns the plan and the money in it. Spousal RRSPs are generally used to equalize income during retirement, lowering the overall family tax rate as a result.

This type of plan can be advantageous if one spouse earns a higher income than the other. Any contributions made by the higher-income spouse will reduce his or her individual RRSP contribution room for the year but won’t affect how much the lower-income spouse can contribute to his or her individual RRSP.

If a spousal RRSP annuitant withdraws an amount from the account, all or part of the withdrawal would be taxed to the contributing spouse and not the annuitant to the extent that contributions were made in the year of the withdrawal or the previous two calendar years.

When it comes to investing, the earlier you start, the better.  If you have any questions, please speak with your financial advisor.

Taylor Szeto, B.Comm.

Insurance Representative, Wiegers Financial and Insurance Planning Services Ltd.

Account Representative, Manulife Securities Investment Services Inc.

Contact them today for a no-obligation consultation to determine how they can help you.

Wiegers Financial & Benefits Is A Trusted Saskatoon Financial Advisor 

The opinions expressed are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of Manulife Securities Investment Services Inc.

Mutual funds are offered through Manulife Securities Investment Services Inc. Insurance products and services are offered through Wiegers Financial & Insurance Planning Services Ltd. Banking products and services are offered by referral arrangements through our related company Manulife Bank of Canada.

[1] If you want to add segregated funds to your RRSP, you must be 16 years of age (18 in Quebec). If you want to add segregated funds to your RRSP, you must be 16 years of age (18 in Quebec).

[2] Dollar cost averaging means investing smaller amounts at regular intervals, rather than saving up to invest in one lump sum. It can help you avoid jumping into the market at peak times by purchasing more fund units when values are low and fewer fund units when values are high.

[3] While borrowing to invest has many potential benefits (investing an initial lump sum creates greater potential for compound-growth compared to making smaller regular investment purchases), leveraging also has potential risks (market volatility may result in poor investment returns and the possibility of owning more on the loan than the investments are worth).

[4] RRSP loan proceeds cannot be used to fund TFSA contributions


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