In the early 1990’s, a phrase came into being: “The Mother of all….” to mean the ultimate. This is a nod to the power of motherhood. Mother’s Day is a salute to all moms. Caring children make it a point to pamper their mothers with gifts, brunch or breakfast in bed. Sales of cards break all records. Phone traffic is the highest of the year. One quarter of all holiday flowers are purchased for that day – especially roses and carnations.

On Mother’s Day (May 13) show your appreciation for your mothers and mother figures to recognize the important contribution they make to our families.

Review your tax situation

Yes, I know you think you’ve put tax season behind you and have already spent your refund. However, with the details fresh in your mind, now is a good time to review and see what you can do to reduce your 2018 tax burden.

Line 435 of the tax return is the figure you need to know. What did I pay in taxes last year?

If you’re tapping into your investments for cash flow, make sure you’re using the “tapping up to bracket” to strategically withdraw from your RRSP/RRIF, TFSA and non-registered accounts to minimize taxed income.

Your employer should be deducting the correct amount of tax. If your deductions resulted in a large tax refund, or there will be changes to your situation this year (new baby, perhaps) you may want to submit a revised Form TD-1.

Make sure to deduct home office expenses for your side gig.

Take a look at your portfolio. Are your investments tax efficient? Could you increase your monthly RRSP contribution?

Are there credits you could take advantage of? If you think you qualify for the disability tax credit you need to fill out and submit a Form T2201. Likewise, if you would benefit from CPP sharing, you must apply for it.

Finally, set up a system to file your receipts and other documents to make tax filing easier next year.

Be prepared – plan for emergencies

In your day-to-day living, disasters seem like a distant possibility. Yet last year we were besieged by severe weather and natural disasters across Canada – fires, flooding, ice storms, tornadoes – many causing the need for families to evacuate. Even if you don’t need to leave your home for an extended period, power failures can strike at any time.

Your best protection in any emergency is knowing what to do. Find out what natural or technological disasters could happen in your community and then plan for them.

When we first moved to Kelowna we experienced a 16-hour power failure. It was a good thing it was pitch dark – I couldn’t see Mr. Boomer’s face when I told him our candles and big flashlight were stored in our basement storage locker. Don’t let this happen to you!

Visit Emergency Preparedness Canada to help you make a plan and prepare an emergency survival kit.

Make sure your home is covered

Increasing severe weather in Canada has made changes to home insurance that could leave you unprotected. Some natural disasters (Acts of God) are covered – hailstorms, lightning, wild fires – but not others, like earthquakes.

A standard home insurance policy protects you against a sudden release of water in your home (e.g. burst pipe). But, unless you take optional coverage, you will likely not be covered for “overland flooding” or water seepage into your home. You don’t need to live close to a river of lake to be at risk. Water damage can be caused by backed up sewage systems, heavy rains and fast melting snow.

I read of a fellow who converted a barn into his home. When it burned to the ground in a wild fire, the insurance company only paid him for the cost of an outbuilding.

Make sure you read the fine print. You don’t want to find out you have no coverage after disaster has struck.

Flooding

Take advantage of these Best Buys for May

Stores follow a yearly sales cycle. Here’s what you can expect to find on sale this month.

New models are coming and older ones that didn’t sell have got to go. Watch for deals on these last year’s models:

Look for all kinds of cookware – a popular wedding gift.

Barbeque season is coming upon us so stock up on grilling and summer party supplies and decorations.

Other posts in this series:

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