StudioTax 2014 now available to download – Free tax software

I hate paying for tax software.

This company has released this annually and I have never had a problem and it is free!

It works for Mac and Windows now.

StudioTax is a windows bilingual personal Income Tax preparation software made by Canadians for Canadians. StudioTax is distributed using a free licensing model. No license key or registration is required to download, install and use StudioTax. After you use StudioTax and you find it useful, we ask that you take the time to make a modest monetary contribution toward the support of this product.

StudioTax is made available for individuals who prepare their own tax returns, or returns for a small number of relatives and friends only. Please note that tax professional cannot use NETFILE to file tax returns on behalf of their clients. They must use EFILE certified software.

Note that StudioTax may not handle some uncommon tax situations. Please review the restrictions page for a detailed list of exclusions.

StudioTax is very secure way to prepare and file your return. StudioTax is a Windows program (not a Web site) that installs on your computer’s local hard drive, saves your returns on your computer’s local hard drive, and absolutely NO information, personal or otherwise, leaves your computer.

As always, StudioTax is FREE for personal use, regardless of level of income and no questions asked.

StudioTax 2014 is the version to prepare and file the 2014 (due by April 30, 2015) federal and provincial income tax returns including Quebec provincial returns.

Here is the link to their website.

Top 5 Problems with Mobile Banking Apps

Technology advancements always go through ebbs and flows. There are many tremendous developments with hopes of becoming the norm, but sometimes the technology does not work as advertised. How about mobile banking apps?

digital-banking

Shouldn’t everyone be turning to online banking due to the convenience of 24/7/365 access? There have been some serious problems with cell phone payment apps that have scared some consumers away. Here are the top 5 problems with mobile banking apps.

Mobile Banking Apps Sound Great But …

The World Wide Web and financial industry have made great strides over the last decade, but have kind of gotten stuck in no-man’s land. Financial institutions want more people to try mobile banking apps, but the primary problems have not been resolved. Without customers, banking firms has no incentive to invest in the research & development needed to fix the problems.

  1. Questionable Security

Security is the #1 concern for most online bankers. In fact, one expert estimates that 90% of all mobile banking apps have security issues. Ariel Sanchez of IO Active Labs tested out 40 of the top 60 banking apps on his iPhone and found that nine out of ten failed. The apps could not even protect against common hacker scams, like “phishing.” That is a dire finding.

Solution: Bankers need to hire ex-hackers to develop their apps.

  1. Dropped Calls, Crashes & Bad Connections

Have you ever had a dropped call or bad Internet connection? Imagine if you were right in the middle of a financial transaction. Weather, traffic and who-knows-what can interrupt your online banking transfer. Bill Shipley of Accenture Mobility Services admits that crashes for most mobile banking sites is about 5%.

Solution: More investment to improve up-time rates for mobile banking websites.

  1. Won’t Read Paper Deposits

When Microsoft upgrades its Windows, it needs to have backwards compatibility with older versions. This is a standard technological rule. Unfortunately, banking mobile apps cannot even read a paper check or physical signature. The financial sector is stuck – it promises to go paperless when most people still use paper for financial transactions.

Solution: Add a scanner to mobile devices.

  1. Bankers Don’t Understand Apps

Most bankers are traditionally conservative. Most app developers are fairly independent and liberal. Many financial institutions do not mesh well with the cell phone application development culture. Combining the cultures has been very difficult. Some programming languages are open source; banks require confidentiality.

Solution: Banks must create their own group of industry programmers.

  1. Very Little Standardization

What platform should you develop your banking app on – Blackberry, Apple or Google Android? The investment into mobile banking applications is very expensive with questionable returns. One expert claims Android payment apps are risky. Banks have a tough time forcing their rules upon a world with different languages, technologies and laws. The global village is becoming more parochial.

Solution: International organization to establish uniform banking mobile app rules.

On the Edge of Something Big

Technology goes through stops and starts. Even with the many problems with mobile banking apps, consumers are still gravitating to online banking. Financial institutions might need to do what they did with credit cards: reimburse people for any fraud.

Mobile banking is stuck in “no-man’s land.” It needs to improve the technology, but executives must see online banking as truly profitable. We must remember that “Too Big to Fail Banks” also have many other problems to deal with. The future for mobile banking apps looks bright once the wrinkles have been ironed out.

Jason Kane is a professional blogger who focuses on personal finance and other money matters. He currently writes for Checkworks.com, a leading supplier of personal and business checks.

 

How to watch NHL hockey without cable?

I am a big hockey fan (playing not watching) but many fellow Canucks love to watch the NHL.

debt-slave

I wanted to share the various ways you can watch without an expensive cable subscription in Canada.

1. Try HockeyStreams and get all the games streamed live!

Or this one, or Reddit.

2. Purchase GameCenter at a discount.

GameCentre Live isn’t really an option for some as many games are blacked out (only shown on Sportsnet).

3. Rogers customers who have either Internet or Rogers Cellphone, can take advantage of the following promo:
Enjoy a free subscription to Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE until December 31st with any internet or wireless data plan.

What other options are there?

debt-savings

Alternatives to Payday Advances

Many consumers try to do everything possible to avoid having to take out a payday advance. This is because there are high fees and high interest rates associated with them. The loan is often close to the amount of an entire paycheck.

debt-savings

When you’re already on a limited budget, it is a big financial risk to take a payday advance because it can put you further behind.

Auto Title Loan

Auto title loans are paid back in installment payments over time.  The loan amount is determined based upon the value of your vehicle. The value is determined by the age and condition based upon Kelley Blue Book values. The loan amounts are broken down into small payments on a monthly payment schedule. In the beginning, most of the payment goes toward the administrative fees and interest.

Online Installment Loan

Some consumers with poor credit can get a short term online installment loan. These will have high interest rates attached to them. It comes with the territory of having poor credit and needing funding for emergent situations.

These loans are typically paid off over a 12 month periods unless it is a significant amount.

Organize a Sale

If obtaining a loan is not an option, you can always organize a sale. When preparing for the sale, watch for free items advertised online and decide whether they are in good enough condition to resell. You can also post online via social media or Craigslist that you are looking to have a yard sale to help buy groceries, pay a utility disconnection notice or pay the rent/mortgage. Advertise the sale and mention that if anyone has items to donate to help raise the funds to contact you. This may bring in a lot more items that you can sell to pay the bill, purchase prescriptions with or purchase groceries with.

Another option that may seem easier is visiting a pawn shop with valuables to sell or obtain a short term loan on.  This may not get you as much money but it is something to start with. When you need money and can’t wait on a traditional loan, use some of these options. Creativity helps pay the bills sometimes. If you have nothing to sell and don’t have a bank account to get a loan, consider offering services such as skilled trades, house cleaning and shopping services. These can end up being a lucrative part time job.

Get $250 Cash for transferring to Questrade

You’re in the market to build your assets. Kick start your portfolio with up to $250 in cold hard cash when you open a new account.

$250 CASH

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Fund a new account with a minimum of $100,000

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Plus transferFOR FREE

Move an account from another Canadian broker with at least $25,000 and we’ll pay your transfer out fees up to $150.

And you’ll enjoy Canada’s lowest commissions

  •  stock trades with the Questrade Advantage®
  • New, even lower option commissions: from $4.95 + 75¢ / contract
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  • Mutual fund rebates up to 1% (or more) per year
  • Trade USD in your RSP
  • Never any annual fees

Offer is available here.

Insurance concept

What You Need to Consider When Buying Life Insurance

Life insurance is an essential component of nearly all financial plans. Having this coverage in place can help to protect income, and to keep assets in place – where they belong – in case of the unexpected.

Insurance concept

Yet, prior to purchasing a policy, it is important to know how much coverage will be necessary, as having too much or too little life insurance can turn out to be an irreversible financial mistake. This is something that survivors don’t want to discover after it’s too late.

Evaluating Your Life Insurance Needs

The proceeds that are received from a life insurance policy can be used in a variety of ways, depending of the purpose of the coverage. With that in mind, it is wise to estimate how much would be needed for survivors or beneficiaries going forward.

Unfortunately, many people far underestimate how much their loved ones may need in the event of their death. While there are several “rules of thumb” such as simply purchasing a policy that is double the amount of your annual income, this typically has nothing at all to do with the amount of coverage that a person actually requires.

Rather, when determining an appropriate amount of life insurance, you will be much better off considering actual financial needs of what it is you are covering. For example, if the policy will be purchased to cover final expenses, it’s a good idea to do some research on just how much you may need. In this case, the average funeral today is estimated to cost around $9,000. (1)

Likewise, if the policy will be purchased to replace income for a spouse and children in the event of a breadwinner’s death, there are a number of factors to keep in mind, such as the amount of annual income to replace, as well as how long that income would need to be replaced. In addition, rising future inflation must also be considered.

As Your Life Changes, So Should Your Life Insurance Coverage

It is also important that as your life changes, so should your life insurance coverage. This is especially the case as your family expands and your current – and future – expenses tend to increase. Future college and wedding expenses should be allocated for, as should ongoing living costs like maintaining the family home, utility payments, and the cost of food and clothing. It all adds up.

By reviewing your current coverage at least once per year, you can determine whether or not any additional life insurance should be purchased in order to cover your expanded business or personal needs.

Taking the Next Step

While coming up with an approximate amount of necessary coverage is a good start, it is always a good idea to meet with a life insurance professional prior to actually purchasing a policy. This way, you will be able to obtain a more accurate figure, as well as determine what type of life insurance protection may be best for your specific situation and needs.

Pay Day Loans Getting Out.

Tips for Getting Out from Under a Payday Loan

Once a payday loan is taken, most consumers get into a cycle of paying one off and getting another. In some cases, another payday loan is taken to pay a different one off.

Pay Day Loans Getting Out.
Pay Day Loans Getting Out.

This is a vicious cycle that costs consumers a lot of money in administrative fees and interest. It is best to get out from under these loans as quickly as possible to reset your finances. In Canada, financial emergencies happen and the easiest way for those with less than perfect credit to secure the funds needed is through payday loans.

Repay the Loan on Time

Repaying a payday loan on time is absolutely important. If you fail to make the payment, the lender will deposit the check left with them into your bank account. If the check is declined or comes back as nonsufficient funds, collections actions begin and eventually, you’ll be summoned to appear in court. The consequences of not paying back a payday loan are far more extreme than paying the high interest you agreed to pay when taking the loan.

Do Not Obtain another Payday Loan

Once you pay a payday loan in full, refrain from getting another. This is how that vicious cycle begins. So you might be a little broke financially for a week or two, you’ll find a way to make ends meet. Payday loans are designed to help those in need of funds with a stable job to get the emergency funds needed. They are not intended to be used like a revolving door obtaining one to pay another and so forth.

Consider Selling Unneeded Items to Replace the Funds

When you know that the payday loan is going to strap you slightly after paying it back, organize a yard sale or take items of value to a pawn shop to sell. There are several ways to get around being left short after repaying a quick cash loan. It takes a lot of will power to not go and get another loan. Simply find items around the home that never get used and advertise a yard sale.  Offering items for sale in an online Canadian classified situation is another option. It will help to offset the funds lost paying back a payday loan.

Payday loans are great when you’re in a pinch but paying them back causes more financial strain. Those that seek the financial assistance of payday loans are generally unable to obtain a traditional personal loan. Some consumers feel trapped by these types of loans and find it impossible to get out from under them. It takes a lot of strength on your part to stick out having a little less money for a week or so.

Tips for millennials to stay out of debt

While many young people may be concerned about their financial future, this could be put on hold due to mounting debt issues. It is important to stay on top of debt, as it can become dangerous if they let it go too long.

debt-slave

 There are many aspects of debt that can end up hurting young people. According to NerdWallet.com, one of the major issues is dealing with interest payments. When using credit cards, this can become a significant problem, as it will be harder to pay these bills back, and they will not be able to use these funds to save.

Many young people worry about debt

Debt dangers can be a big issue, as there are many who are already struggling. According to Wells Fargo, 40 percent of those polled noted that their debt levels were overwhelming. Just 23 percent of baby boomers said the same.

“The silver lining of the recession that started over five years ago is that a majority of millennials get that saving is a necessity and even equate it with ‘surviving’ tough times,” said Karen Wimbish, director of retail retirement at Wells Fargo. “But millennial women are starting out their working lives making far less than men and, as a consequence, are saving less and feeling less contentment at the start of their working lives.”

Some solutions available

It is important to keep in mind that those who are taking advantage of options that will cut their debt may be in the best position to not only keep their personal finance plan in good shape now, but also come closer to securing a financial future.

 It can be important to create a financial strategy, as it will help determine how the money an individual earns is being used to take care of necessary expenses, NerdWallet.com noted. It is also crucial to consider paying more than just a minimum payment each month. Doing this will help cut down the level, even if the increase is not that much more significant. It also may not be easy, but looking for a job that pays more can also make a difference.

 Being patient and seeking out a number of ways to cut debt – while preventing significant additions of other debt – may be a good strategy going forward. There isn’t usually a quick fix, so staying mindful of the importance of discipline may be best.

digital-banking

Celebrating the Digital Banking Revolution

Do you remember a time when you needed to go to the bank just about every week to cash your paycheck and to withdraw money?

digital-banking

With the advent of digital banking, the world has changed, and for all of us, it has gotten so much more convenient! The money that is ours is virtually always available, and it has never been easier for you to get things done! Don’t believe us? Look at some of these changes.
Digital Point of Sale Machines
Instead of simply sticking with cash and checks, vendors large and small can now take their wares on the road while meeting credit card demands. Devices like the Square turn your smartphone into a single-step card-taker, and this can change the way you do business.

Banking Apps
Do you want to check your balance? Do you want to make sure that your money is exactly where it needs to be? That is what a banking app is for. Suddenly, everything you can do at the bank is available to you except for getting out actual money!

Quick Account Transfers
There was a time when it could take as long as twenty four hours to make changes to your account. That could make things a little dicey if you had rent to pay and you needed to get your money from one account to another. At the time, it was easy to get annoyed because, after all, that was all your money! Now you can move money from one account to another without a single bit of trouble and with a bare second’s worth of delay!

Better Business Opportunities
For a long time, the only people who could do business were those who were willing to go through exhaustive processes with banks. Now, instead you can simply set up a merchant account with a service like Paypal and be ready to go. Services like this allow people to pay you with no risk whatsoever to yourself, and they make a huge difference for small business owners everywhere.

Instant Payment
If you are a freelancer or if you simply sell goods or services through the mail, you may remember how long you might go between paychecks. Things could get lost in the mail or people would tell you that they were. With instant pay services available everywhere, you can see the money in your account in a very short amount of time!

Invest Yourself!
With the advent of the digital banking revolution, you have also been placed in control of your own investing. Through the use of direct investing, you can invest your money through a digital interface, making all of your own decisions and deciding on what you are going to do with your cash.

Digital banking equals independence, so figure out what you might not have been doing and join in!

cash-back-cibc

CIBC Promo – Get $400 cash back with new VISA and new bank account

You should at least get $300 profit from this, depending on how long you keep the account.

cash-back-cibc
All the information for the promotion is here.

The tim hortons double double visa card have the following welcome bonus:
-Receive $20 in Tim Cash as a Welcome Bonus when you spend $200 anywhere2.
-That’s enough for 11 large coffees.


Here’s the complete terms and conditions, in case anybody needs the details:

† The offer period begins on July 2, 2014 at 12:01a.m. (EST) and ends on October 31, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. (EST). Only offered to residents of Canada who: (i) have reached the age of majority; (ii) at the start of the offers period, were not a holder (or joint holder) of a CIBC chequing account; and; (iii) have applied to be the primary cardholder of the new CIBC Tim Hortons Double Double™ Visa Card during the offer period (and, within 3 calendar months of such application, have been approved). With the exception of the CIBC Everyday® Banking Bundle and the CIBC Homeowner™ Banking Bundle, the offer cannot be combined with any other offer or rebate. To qualify, an eligible client must first open a: (i) CIBC EverydayPlus™ Chequing Account; (ii) CIBC Unlimited® Chequing Account; or (iii) CIBC PremierService® Account. Next, within 3 calendar months; register for CIBC Online Banking or CIBC Mobile Banking and then pay a bill or send an Interac e-Transfer® to be eligible to receive a $100 CAD cash reward; and/or set up at least one (1) eligible recurring direct deposit or at least two (2) different eligible recurring pre-authorized debits to be eligible to receive a $300 CAD cash reward. Further terms and conditions apply, see the Terms and Conditions for full offer details.

1 Tim Cash is earned on all CIBC Tim Hortons Double Double Visa Card credit purchases less returns, and not on cash advances, interest, fees, balance transfers, payments, CIBC Convenience Cheques or Tim Cash redemptions. Double Double Visa Card program may change without notice. Taxes, fees and other charges may apply to redemption of Tim Cash. Tim Cash is awarded to the primary cardholder’s Tim Card® Account immediately upon processing of CIBC Tim Hortons Double Double Visa Card credit purchases, provided that your card is open in good standing at the time of purchase). See Program Terms for details.

2 Interest rates will change from time to time on at least 30 days prior notice to primary cardholders. “Cash” means cash advances, balance transfer and convenience cheques.

3 CIBC Mobile Banking ranked first in Canada by Forrester Research Inc., “2004 Canadian Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark” Report, May, 2014.

4 Within 3 months of the New Account open, ensure that at least (1) eligible recurring direct deposit; OR at least two (2) different and eligible pre-authorized debits goes through your New Account. Other conditions apply.

Canadian personal finance website in simple terms from a Canadian perspective. Focusing on savings, investing, budgeting, taxes, and more. Includes Investing, Loans, RRSP, RESP, Credit Cards, Money Savings, Tax Savings, Retirement, Real Estate.