Financial Planning Advisor


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This financial planning stuff used to confuse me a lot.  Every time my friends talk about stocks, mutual funds, GICs... I used to get intimidated and pretended I understood what they were talking about, right?

My friend introduced me to Mrs. Pantoja.  She spent lots of time educating me and my partner about this financial stuff.

Now, I often start the conversation about these things!  Hah!

Baptist Pastor




Have a system for storing your important financial information and documents. This will include a safe box, a home filing system, and a method for keeping track of your spending, debts, and investments.


Develop a set of short-term and long-term goals that will guide your financial decision making.

What Are Your Goals?
The first step in achieving success in any endeavor is setting goals. In planning for financial success, you need to set specific goals. Joji Pantoja will guide you to list your financial goals. Some of your goals will require money, such as, "Save $200 per month in my retirement plan." Others will be things to do, such as, "Review my retirement benefits" or "Set up a monthly budget."

Saving for Your Specific Goals

  • Determine how much you will need to save to reach them.

  • Approximate the total dollar amount you will need for each goal.

  • Determine the appropriate investment return for your time frame.

  • Calculate how much you will need to save on a regular basis to reach your goal.

Joji has a worksheet which can be used for determining how you will reach any future financial goal. It will take into account the effect of inflation on reaching your goal.


Make sure you can easily afford your necessary debts, such as mortgages and car loans, and avoid credit card and consumer debts.


Pay yourself first by making your contributions to your savings plan the first expenditure you make every month. The first place to start is by taking a look at your current employment benefits and the savings plans your employer makes available.


Use the appropriate forms of insurance to control your financial losses due to illness, property loss, disability, premature death, or personal liability. Use an attorney to write your estate documents and a professional tax preparer to help you with any tax problems.



10 Costly Estate Planning Mistakes
and How To Avoid Them

Everyone can benefit from a will or some other form of estate planning. Avoiding or reducing estate taxes, saving estate administrative costs, specifying who will receive your estate and protecting your family are just a few of the benefits a will can achieve.

Despite some financial costs associated with implementing an estate plan, for the vast majority of us, the benefits from a will or some other estate planning technique far outweigh the initial costs.

Once a person recognizes the fact that they could benefit from some sort of estate planning, they often wait until it is too late. Unexpected death or disability can occur at anytime. 

Do-it-yourself estate planners often add children or others to bank accounts, investment accounts, real estate deeds and other property in an attempt at a cheap method to avoid probate and/or plan for disability.

Adding others to titles and accounts can have serious unintended consequences. For one, the added person's creditors may be able to access the property to satisfy their debts. You may even find a child's spouse in a divorce claiming a portion of the property. In addition, gift taxes may be triggered as well as the loss of significant tax benefit such as a stepped up basis upon your death. Further, by adding the person you have given up significant control of that property. If, for example, you added your child to the deed of you home, it may be impossible to transfer the property should the child withhold their consent.

A revocable living trust can avoid probate and plan for disability without exposing you to the pitfalls of adding children or others to the title of your assets.

Most people do not realize that life insurance proceeds are normally included in the estate of the deceased.

Individuals often implement a well thought out estate plan only to have it undermined by an incorrect beneficiary designation. The most common, but certainly not the only mistake, is naming minor children as contingent beneficiaries.

For example, assume parents have wills that specify that in the event of both of their deaths that their estate be placed into a trust for their children's benefit until the children reach age 25. This is done to avoid the children receiving a large sum of money at age 18 as the parents recognize the negative effect that a large inheritance could have on a child.

Unfortunately, with the children named as contingent beneficiaries of the life insurance they will receive the proceeds at age 18. In addition, the courts will normally require that a court supervised and costly conservatorship be created to control the money while the child is a minor, which will have the effect of depleting the insurance proceeds.

An alternative is to name your estate or a trust directly as the contingent beneficiary. However, the exact beneficiary designation that is appropriate will depend upon the type of will or estate plan that you have in place, as well as other factors. Beneficiary designations are more difficult that they appear and you should consult you're your estate planner for specific advice concerning this matter.

People are living longer and therefore the risk of being disabled sometime during your lifetime is increasing. A disability can be far more financially devastating than death. Nevertheless, disability planning is often ignored.

Just imagine that you are involved in a car accident, and although you will survive and fully recover, you will spend a month in the hospital and during that time you are unable to manage your own financial affairs. If you are married and your spouse has access to your finances and important assets then this may only be a minor inconvenience. However, if you are single or your spouse does not have complete access and control to an important asset this could be devastating. What if you owned a business and an important business decision needed to be made? Or what if you had intended to sell some stock or other investment but now were unable to do so?

Or imagine that you or your spouse has a serious stroke and are now permanently disabled. Without a disability plan it is often necessary to hire an attorney and commence a formal and costly judicial proceeding to have a conservator and guardian appointed.

When properly applied, gifting can be an extremely effective way to reduce estate taxes. However, many individuals incorrectly assume that gifting is simple and fail to obtain competent advice. T

Even if a self-prepared will or trust is legally enforceable, estate planning is a complex legal process requiring knowledge in several legal disciplines, including estate law, tax law and property law. A proper estate plan involves evaluating a persons estate to determine the correct type of document (Will, Trust, ect.), drafting the document to accomplish the objectives and then coordinating the titling of assets and the beneficiary designation of life insurance, RRSPs, annuities, etCs. to be consistent with the estate plan.

When hiring a doctor, attorney, mechanic or any type of service profession, I strongly recommend hiring a specialist. Almost without exception, the specialist will have more experience and skill in their area of specialty than will a generalist. This usually translates into higher quality services provided in the most cost effective manner possible.



RRSP Simply Means...

An RRSP, or Registered Retirement Savings Plan, is a Canadian Government- approved plan that lets you save money for your retirement years. Your contributions are tax deductible (within certain limits), and the income earned is sheltered from tax.

FACT: Not only do you invest money that would otherwise be paid in taxes, but the earnings of your plan aren't taxed until you withdraw them.





  • Many taxpayers think of income tax only in April. Tax planning is a year-round process. April may be the last month to file individual tax returns -- but by then it's too late to start hunting for ways to reduce the amount of tax you owe. Make tax planning part of your everyday life and you'll reap the benefits in April.

  • Get in the habit of thinking in terms of after-tax dollars, instead of gross income. This way, you'll work with money you actually have to spend and you'll also become more aware of how much you lose to taxes. To calculate after-tax dollars, use an estimated average tax rate based on your last tax return. Average tax, expressed as a percentage, is the total amount of tax you paid divided by your total gross income, multiplied by 100. For example, if your gross income was $30,000 and you paid $5100 in taxes last year, your average tax rate would be ($5,100 ÷ 30,000 × 100) or 17 per cent, which means roughly 17 cents of every dollar goes to taxes.

  • Having written proof for each claim is an important tax basic. Collect receipts and other documentation throughout the year so that you'll be prepared for all allowable claims. Don't think you're off the "paper" hook once you've sent in your tax return. Although Revenue Canada usually assesses claims within months of filing, keep returns and related papers for at least six years, just in case.

  • You are responsible for including income whether or not you get a T4 or T5 slip. Technology makes it easy for Revenue Canada to match employees and employers through the T4 and T5 forms filed by businesses. If you don't list all income, you may have additional tax to pay, plus interest compounded daily from April 30 and perhaps other penalties as well.

  • One step towards keeping more of your income is learning how to take advantage of available tax reduction opportunities. Professional advice may be necessary to implement specific tax strategies.

    Tax deductions, such as union or professional dues and contributions to registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs), reduce taxable income. Deductions tend to favor those in higher tax brackets.

    Tax credits benefit all tax brackets equally. Credits like charitable donations or property tax credits reduce the amount of tax payable.

    Tax exemptions allow you to make tax-free profit or tax-free capital gain. Home ownership becomes attractive, since any profit made on the sale of your home, or principal residence, is tax-free.

  • Consider Revenue Canada a resource, not an enemy. Phone in your questions (1-800-668-7622), visit a local Revenue Canada office, attend a community seminar or check out Revenue Canada's Web site. Revenue Canada employees can't give you financial planning advice, but they can help you understand how specific tax issues apply to your situation. Ask for a copy of the information bulletin or tax form relevant to your questions. Then you'll be sure to understand all the details.

  • File, even if you owe no tax. Build up RRSP contribution room. You may need it in a more profitable year.

  • Last, file your return on time -- even if you don't have enough money to pay the taxes you owe. While you'll still owe interest on the balance owed, if it's postmarked no later than April 30, or filed electronically by the end of that day, you avoid late-filing penalties. Call to find out which Canada Post Offices plan to stay open on April 30. In addition, some local Revenue Canada offices stay open late to accept returns. If you don't file on time, Revenue Canada will charge you a a late-filing charge of 5 per cent of any outstanding taxes you owe as of the April 30 deadline. In addition, you will be charged 1 per cent on your outstanding balance for every month your return is late -- up to a whopping maximum of 12 months.



What's This Thing Called Mutual Funds?

Millions of Canadians are working toward their financial goals by investing their money in mutual funds. Whether it's saving for retirement or putting aside cash for a down payment on a home, mutual funds are becoming the investment of choice for a growing number of people.

Simply put, a mutual fund is a pool of investments made on behalf of a large group of people. Here's how it works: When you buy a mutual fund, you're actually putting your money together with that of many other people who like the same sorts of investments as you. A professional investment expert, known as a portfolio manager, takes that large pool of cash and invests it for the whole group. If the manager's choices of investments make a profit, you share that profit with everyone else in the group. If the investments lose money, everyone shares in the loss.


The Investment of Choice
Whether it's saving for retirement or putting aside cash for a down payment on a home, mutual funds are becoming the investment of choice for a growing number of people.

Sold in units
When you invest in mutual funds, you're buying a piece of the fund called a unit. Together these units make up the mutual fund, which is operated by mutual fund companies. Mutual fund companies keep track of all the individual investments by recording how many units each investor owns. The more money you put into a mutual fund, the more units you get. The price of a unit changes every day, depending on how well the investments are performing. When the investments are doing well, the price of a unit goes up. When the investments aren't doing as well, the price of the units goes down.

You make money on mutual funds if you buy your units at one price and sell them later at a higher price. Of course, you lose money if you sell your units for less than you paid for them.


What do mutual funds invest in?

Mutual funds invest in many of the same things as individual investors - everything from treasury bills to shares on foreign stock markets. Mutual fund companies offer a variety of funds that let you put your money into many types of investments. For example, there are funds for people who want to buy short-term fixed-income investments and funds for those who want their money to go into Canadian stock markets. There are funds that specialize in buying shares in a specific sector, such as financial services companies, and funds that invest in a specific geographic region, such as Japan.

Portfolio managers buy many types of investments. While there are thousands of different investments available, they generally fit into two basic types: debt and equity.

Debt securities
Debt securities (or fixed-income securities) are obligations for an issuer to repay a sum of money, usually with interest. The issuer is typically a company or a government. Probably the most familiar kind of debt security is a guaranteed income certificate (GIC) from a bank. The bank uses your money for a set length of time and in return, agrees to pay back the original money with interest.

Debt securities are also an important way for companies and governments to raise money. They frequently sell debt securities called bonds and use the cash for major projects, or just to meet their daily expenses.

The government or company usually agrees to pay back the amount of the debt security within a set amount of time. If that period of time is about a year or less, the investment is often referred to as a money market instrument, which is a specific type of fixed-income security. Examples are short-term bonds and government treasury bills. If the length of time is more than about a year, the investment is often referred to as a fixed-income investment. Examples are corporate and government bonds and mortgages.

Equity securities
Equity securities are investments that give the holder part ownership in a company. When a mutual fund buys equity securities, it is buying a piece of a business. The most familiar example is common shares traded on the stock market.

Equity securities can earn money in two ways. The value of the shares can rise (or fall) as people buy and sell them on stock exchanges. If a company appears to be doing well in its business, more people may want to buy a piece of it and the price is likely to go up. On the other hand, if a company's business doesn't seem to be doing well, investors may decide to sell their piece of the company and the price is likely to go down. Some kinds of equity securities also pay you a portion of any profits the company may earn. These payments are called dividends.


What advantages do
mutual funds have?

You could make many of the same investments that managers of mutual funds make. So why bother buying mutual funds? There are several advantages.

Professional management
For one thing, professional portfolio managers make all the decisions about exactly which securities to invest in and when to buy or sell them. It's their full-time job, so you don't have to spend the time making these investment decisions on your own. Professional managers also have access to information and research that isn't readily available to individual investors.

A second advantage is something called diversification. Diversification means owning several different investments at once. Here's why it's important: The value of your investments will go up and down over time; that's the nature of investing. But not all investments are likely to go up or down at the same time, or to the same extent.

Diversification may help your portfolio achieve better returns over the long term. Since mutual funds typically hold 30 or more investments, they offer a simple way to diversify your portfolio.

Easy access to your money
Unlike some other types of investment, mutual funds are liquid. This means you can sell your units at almost any time and get your money when you need it (even though you may get less than you invested).

Record keeping
And finally, mutual funds make your investments easier to keep track of. Mutual fund companies help you with the details by sending you regular financial reports, tax slips, and statements.




Guaranteed Investment Certificates are issued by banks, trust companies and credit unions in Canada. The Guarantee refers to insurance cover by Canadian Depositories Insurance Corporation (banks and trust companies) or the Member Protection Fund (credit unions). Maximum coverage under this guarantee is $60,000 per person under CDIC coverage and $100,000 under MPF coverage, subject to certain restrictions and exceptions. GICs pay a stated amount of interest to the investor. Interest can be compound (adding to the principal on the payment date) or regular, meaning that interest is paid to the investor. Terms can range from 30 days to 5 years.



10 Facts About RESP

  1. Earn an immediate return of 20% on annual contributions up to $2,000 with the Canada Education Savings Grant.

  2. Carry forward unused Canada Education Savings Grant room.

  3. Open an individual plan, or a family RESP for more than one child.

  4. Contribute a maximum of $4,000 per child, each year.

  5. Maximum lifetime contribution of $42,000 per child.

  6. Accumulated earnings grow tax sheltered.

  7. Accumulated earnings are taxed at the child’s lower personal rate when withdrawn.

  8. Use RESP savings to pay for tuition, books and living expenses.

  9. You can change the beneficiary.

  10. Withdraw unused contributions any time; earnings can be transferred tax sheltered to your, or your spouse’s, RRSP.





Investment is like growing a tree.  You plant the seed, water it,
watch it sprout, nurture it, watch it grow, watch it bear fruit...




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Davao City, Philippines