Quietly These New Mutual Fund Rules Take Effect in Canada

July 23rd, 2016 Posted in ETFs|Mutual Funds | No Comments »

Canada New Mutual Fund Rules

Canada’s New Mutual Fund Rules

Starting May 30, new mutual fund rules came into place that most mutual fund investors were not aware of. Any investment advisers and institutions selling mutual funds are required to give their clients a document known as Fund Facts before the sale or transaction happens.

This paper or document called Fund Facts should clearly show information about the mutual funds in a simple way such as funds’ investment objectives, managers, historical performance, and most importantly all the fees associated with the funds.

In the past, this information was available online at the fund companies’ websites and it was made available to the investors after the sale had gone through. However, the information was not presented in a clear manner easily understood.

However, under the new rules, investors will have precise and related information at their disposal and this will help them make better decisions.

Author/Copyright: Ahmed Dawn www.adawnjournal.com

The Fund Fact document is a two-page, double-sided document that does not take long to read. If you want, you can have this document long before meeting your advisers by going online or calling the fund company to mail it or fax it to you. This is all free.

Mutual funds in Canada have been known to have one of the highest fees compared to other countries and trends continue to switch from mutual funds to ETFs, which have much lower fees and transparent features that are easy to understand and easier to transact.

World’s Tallest Building

July 14th, 2016 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

World's Tallest Skyscraper Will Be in Saudi Arabia

World’s Tallest Skyscraper Will Be in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia recently announced to build the world’s tallest skyscraper. The multi-purpose Kingdom Tower near Red Sea in Jeddah will stand 1000 meters tall (3,280 feet) and will be located in the centre of the $20 billion dollar Kingdom City Development project. This tower will have office space, a Four Seasons hotel, condominiums, the world’s highest observatory deck, encompassing about 5.4 million square feet of space.

Kingdom Tower will be designed by Chicago-based architectural firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill. The Saudis have awarded this $1 billion plus project to the Saudi construction giant The Binladen Group. The construction of the world’s tallest tower is expected to take about five years.

Once completed, Kingdom Tower would break the record of the world’s current tallest skyscraper Burj Khalifa in Dubai. 828 meters Burj Khalifa is not only tallest building in the world but also the world’s tallest free-standing structure. Canada’s 553 meters CN Tower (completed in 1976) held records for being the world’s tallest free-standing structure and the world’s tallest tower for 34 years until the completion of Burj Khalifa in Dubai and Canton Tower in China.

Saudi Arabia, an oil dependent country, recently trying to emerge from an oil-based economy to a diversified economy. Currently Saudi Arabia is working on various projects to build numbers of economic cities, complexes, and skyscrapers to become an economic hub in that region.

Finally Free Credit Score Comes to Canada

July 9th, 2016 Posted in Credit Cards|Rewards Cards|Debts | 2 Comments »

How to Check Your Credit Score for Free

Canadians have always had access to free credit reports, but not free credit scores. All that has changed recently – now you are able to know your credit score for free and there is no need to pay $24 each time.

Two online loan providers are giving free access to your credit score when you open an account with them. There is no catch, really. Your free account will show your credit score and better yet, you will have an updated credit score every three months for free as well.

These two providers are: www.borrowell.com and www.mogo.ca. I opened an account with Borrowell to try it out and I was surprised at the ease and simplicity of the whole process. Within 5 minutes I was able to view my score on-screen. To make things better, there are free online credit courses and free articles on how to improve your credit score also.

Keep in mind that the credit score you are provided for free is an Equinox credit score, which is a proprietary model of Equinox. This is different than FICO®, which is a proprietary model created by Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO).

It is a good idea to keep an eye on your credit score and since this is free it makes even more sense. One more thing, don’t worry about your score dropping when you check

20 Questions to Ask Before Buying A Condo

July 5th, 2016 Posted in Economy|Mortgage 101 | No Comments »

Condo Buyer's ChecklistPoints to Consider When Buying A Condo

Condo Buyer’s Checklist/Points to Consider When Buying A Condo

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Canadapersonalfinancewebsite.comwebsite (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on Nov 5, 2011

Condo living can be rewarding with minimal headaches. However, it is not for everyone. Today, I am going to present some questions that should be answered and looked at to help you before making any condo buying decisions.

1. Know why you want a condo and if condo living is for you.
2. When you live in a condo, there are rules and regulations you have to live by. Ask yourself if
   you will be fine with these rules and regulations and giving up some freedom when compared to
   living in a house.
3. Condo living is associated with paying ongoing fees (maintenance fees). Make sure you
   understand how these fees work and if you will be paying these every month.
4. Is the location right for you? Is it close to those amenities that are important for you?
5. What types of facilities or amenities is the condo giving you? Is it too much or too little?   
   Beware of condos that offer too much. For example, there are some condos in Toronto with
   their own bus services to the station. However, I won’t live there because maintenance fees
   will be too high for the obvious reasons.
6. Does it come with a parking space and a locker or you need to pay for them additionally?
7. Are there any restrictions on occupants? Will you be able to rent out your unit?
8. How many pets are allowed?
9. Is the condominium price reasonable?
10. Are the monthly condo fees (maintenance fees) reasonable?
11. What the condo fees cover and what the fees don’t cover.
12. How old is the building?
13. Who is the builder and is this builder a reputable company or have they had bad records or  
     problems in the past?
14. Is the building in good shape and durable? Does it look attractive?
15. Does the building and surrounding area look clean, neat, and well maintained?
16. Is the condo corporation in good order and are there no legal claims or judgements?
17. How are the condo finances? It is well managed or is the condo board is wasting money?
18. What is the owner-occupied and renter-occupied units proportion?
19. Is the building energy efficient and is a functional fire protection system in place?
20. Will this purchase make you happy living in your unit so you don’t need to look for another condo after 6 months? How many years you are looking to stay in this building?

This Credit Card Sign-Up Trick Gets You More Bonus Points

July 2nd, 2016 Posted in Credit Cards|Rewards Cards|Debts | No Comments »

How to Get More Credit Card Miles

If you are applying for rewards credit cards the traditional way, by calling the Credit Card Company or going on their website, you may be losing out big on additional bonus points or miles. Today, I will talk about how to maximize receiving points or miles when you apply for credit cards.

What you need to know is that there are 3rd party sites that are always offering better offers than credit card companies. To get the most out of your credit card applications, use these sites instead of the credit card companies’ own sites or call centers. Think of it like buying plane tickets. You are likely to get better deals from a 3rd party than the airlines selling tickets themselves.

Here is a real example to help me illustrate. The MBNA Best Western MasterCard was running a promotion recently with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points. However, this promotion was only available through 3rd party websites. MBNA Canada’s own website was offering only 20,000 points. Even when customers called in to apply over the phone, their reps were unable to match the offer that existed on 3rd party sites.

Now the question is: how do you find these websites that offer better promotions? I will provide you with some sites here that are always offering various credit card deals and promotions such as additional miles, points, gift cards, and so on. These are:

Greedyrates.ca

Greatcanadianrebates.ca

However, don’t settle for anything until you do thorough research, as there can be better deals somewhere else. Here are some keywords you can use to search online – “Best credit card offers”, “credit card promotions”, etc.

A little research and effort can make a huge difference between travelling on points for free/paying very little or paying the ridiculous full cost. I choose not to pay and travel on points for free or at a ridiculous low cost.

Why Are Global Real Estate Investors Flocking To BRIC Countries?

June 27th, 2016 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

Bric Real Estate

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the realestateexpedition.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on June 6,, 2011

The BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) countries are the world’s largest emerging economies advancing into the next generation with fast and rapid growth momentum. These countries likely to overtake the US economy and would make up 22 percent of the global economy by 2015. However, the property markets in the BRIC countries are still within reach and expected to flourish in the next 10-15 years. The time may be just right for global real estate investors to make some money investing in these countries.

A recent The Knight Frank Global Cities Survey shows that BRIC cities will rise to the top of the list, pushing top western cities like Washington DC, Geneva, and San Francisco to the bottom. Some present-day world-class cities like Toronto and Vancouver fall out of the list entirely. New York and London remain on the top of the list; however, skyrocketed prices in these western cities will be beyond the reach of most investors.

The biggest winners to lead the upswing in global real estate market would be BRIC cities, especially Shanghai, Moscow, Mumbai, and Sao Paulo. Rapidly developing infrastructure to support industrialization, massive land area, abundant raw materials, and taking futuristic steps in the right direction are some of the reasons that would make accelerated growth possible in BRIC countries.

For example, Brazil is now at investment grade status, so investors will probably not be reluctant to pour money into its property market. China recently approved a property tax to tame its overheated real estate market.  These are some of the elements that show this is the time to realise the future potential of the BRIC real estate market. Global real estate investors are keeping watchful eyes on these BRIC cities, as property prices are still within reach and it makes sense to invest in these cities before prices start to skyrocket.

The share of BRIC countries in global GDP is rapidly rising, and so is its real estate market’s potential. As the entry barriers are easing, global real estate investors are slowly and surely moving into BRIC countries.

Credit Card Travel Emergency Hacks You Were Not Aware Of

June 25th, 2016 Posted in Credit Cards|Rewards Cards|Debts | No Comments »

How Your Credit Cards Can Help in a Travel Emergency

When you are travelling, if you run into unexpected troubles or in the event of emergency, travel credit cards can help you in foreign lands 24/7 and help is only a phone call away. You can even make free collect calls from foreign countries. Today, I will go over some of these free services that travel credit cards come with that can be lifesavers if you run into troubles.

You Lost Your Luggage – You can go through the traditional system in place and file a complaint that usually ends up with you making endless calls or spending a lot of time talking to the airline counter OR you can just call the concierge service provided by your credit cards and they will take care of the rest. Better yet, you may be eligible to receive coverage for expenses that incur due to lost luggage if your card provides lost luggage insurance.

You Are Stranded at Airport – A call to your concierge can sort things out for you and you may be eligible to receive coverage for costs such as hotel, transportation, food, and others if your card provides Flight Delay insurance.

You Need Medical Help – If you need medical assistance in foreign lands, travel credit cards can offer referrals to doctors, hospitals, consultation, medical transportation to the nearest facility or to your home country, transport your family from home to you, air-transport you from a foreign country to your home country if required, provide payments for all these costs and much more. Just make sure your travel credit cards come with a solid medical travel insurance from a reputable insurance provider.

You Need Legal Assistance – If you run into legal problems in foreign countries such as involved in car accidents, detained by local authorities, and so on, your travel credit cards can arrange to seek help from lawyers, embassies or consulates, assist with bail bond and so on.

You Lost Everything – You lost your passport, travel documents, cash and are stranded in the middle of nowhere? Relax and take a deep breath. Your travel credit cards can arrange and provide emergency cash, card replacement, assist with replacement travel documents, tickets, visa, immigration, customs, and much more.

What I mentioned above and possibly more can be covered by your travel credit cards. The art is to pick the best travel credit cards that meet your needs and make sure the concierge and insurance benefits are provided by reputable providers with adequate coverage. A Dawn Journal has lots of credit card articles that are unbiased and without any affiliations to any credit cards, unlike most other sites (meaning I do not collect any commissions for referring or providing links to credit card companies). And also keep an open for my next book Credit Card Hacks: What Credit Card Companies Don’t Want You to Know.

What Is OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program)?

June 22nd, 2016 Posted in Investing|Personal Finance | No Comments »

The Ontario Student Assistance Program

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ontario Student Assistance Program

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Canadapersonalfinancewebsite.comwebsite (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This articleoriginally published on the above website on Sep 29, 2011

The Canadian Government does not want any students stop going to college or university because of the lack of financial support. In order to prevent that, the Government provides financial assistance to eligible students in paying for their post-secondary education through various programs and services throughout Canada. OSAP or Ontario Student Assistance Program is the main source of assistance in the province of Ontario. OSAP is a student loan program which is made up of both federal and provincial funding for the eligible post-secondary students living in Ontario.

OSAP Loan Amount

The amount students receive will be based on their financial need. This amount is designed to cover expenses such as tuition, books, living costs, transportation costs, and so on. There are various factors that determine the loan amount such as parent’s income, marital status, student’s own or spouse’s income, course type (full-time, part-time) course length, and so on. There is a financial aid estimator or calculator available to give you an approximate idea of the amount based on your scenarios. To find out more, check Government of Ontario OSAP website.

OSAP Eligibility

There are many criteria that need to be fulfilled in order to be eligible for OSAP. Some of them are:
– You have to be a Canadian Citizen, permanent resident, or a protected person.
– You have resided in Ontario for the last 12 months
– You academic standing is satisfactory
Visit the OSAP site mentioned above for full eligibility criteria.

How to Apply For OSAP?

There are two ways to apply for OSAP: via paper application and online. Online application is quicker and therefore the preferred way. There is a cost of $10 to apply via paper application.

OSAP Loan Repayment and Interest

Once students graduate, stop attending school, or reach lifetime maximum, repayment of OSAP will start. Loan repayment starts 6 months after the student ends full-time status. The loan is interest-free and interest is paid by the government as long as students remain full-time.

Last Word

OSAP is no different than any other loan and as such, you should treat it with responsibility and care. Not handling the OSAP properly can affect your credit rating. If you have difficulties paying OSAP, don’t wait for the last moment. Contact the National Student Loan Service Centre (NSLSC) at 1-888-815-4514 or visit their website at NSLSC.

Global Real Estate Gets $1 Tn Injection

June 19th, 2016 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

Global-Real-Estate-Updates_thumb.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Global Real Estate Updates

China’s Global Real Estate Hunger Continues – A Chinese site, Tencent Finance, reports that Chinese investors continue to grab global real estate and these are some countries with the highest investments:

South Korea: Only in Seoul real estate purchased is 160,000 square meters and 9.14 million square meters in vacation destination paradise Jeju Island.

Japan: 2 billion last year.

Singapore: At least 10 percent of the properties in recent years.

USA: Top destination for Chinese investors. At least $110 billion in the last five years, excluding purchases made by business entities.

Canadian Office Real Estate Company Is Among The Top Five: Canadian office space company Brookfield and Ivanhoé Cambridge are among the top five office real estate owners in the world. Some of the landmark properties owned by Brookfield are in Toronto, New York City, Los Angles, London, Sydney, Perth, and Berlin.

Global Real Estate Investments Skyrocket: Property consultant CBRE reports that global real estate will receive more than $1 trillion investments in 2016, which is 6 percent higher than last year.

North America is on the top list for global real estate investors at 48 percent, ahead of Western Europe, which receives 26 percent of investments.

U.S. Retailers Are in Deep Push into the Global Retail Real Estate Market: Another report by CBRE points out that U.S. retailers have expanded faster in 2015 than 2014 into the global retail property market. American retailers’ presence is more in the global retail space than Europe and Asia combined. Italy and the UK were at 2nd and 3rd position.

The Tallest Skyscraper In Canada

June 15th, 2016 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

The Tallest Building In Canada

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the realestateexpedition.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on Apr 14, 2011.

Canada is not-known for skyscrapers, even though it has one of the tallest buildings on the planet; The CN Tower. However, if there is going to be a tallest building in Canada, then it should come as no surprise that it is found in Toronto, the commercial and cultural centre of the country.

First Canadian Place is the tallest skyscraper in Canada, sitting in the financial district of Toronto. It is the headquarters of the Bank of Montreal and it stands at 951 feet. It is the 11th tallest building in North America and the 68th tallest in the world. Within Canada, it is the third tallest free-standing structure after the CN Tower and the Inco Superstack in Sudbury, Ontario.

The building was designed by Bregman and Hamann  Architects (Image via Wikipedia) and constructed in 1975, when it was called the First Bank Building. It  sat on the site of the Old Toronto Star Building.
It took many years for the skyscraper to be built, before anything was dug because of bidding wars for the entire block during a revitalization of the area in the 1960s and the 1970s. Eventually however, the building was built and completed. It is identical in appearance to the Aaon Center in Chicago, which itself was built only two years earlier.

When you factor in the spire on the top of the skyscraper, the building is 1,165 feet. It has a total of 72 floors, and four floors that are below the ground. The building is served by 29 elevators and has a total floor area of 2.7 million square feet.

When the building was completed, it was the 8th tallest building to the structural top and the tallest building outside of Chicago and New York. It was also the tallest building in the British Commonwealth, until the Petronas Towers in Malaysia overtook them.

Until 1997, the ‘M’ sign of the Bank of Montreal on the building was the highest sign in the world.

In 2009, the building underwent a complete revitalization. Over 45,000 marble panels were replaced with new glass panels and white ceramic frits, along with bronze tint corners. New landscaping, handrails and water features were added in to change the look of the building even more and make it look more modern among the other buildings in the area. The total cost of the project was $100 million and it was paid by the owners of the building.

Canada may not be known for tall buildings but its three tallest structures just happen to be three of the tallest structures on the planet. That should say something about Canada, even though the world may not know that we have these structures, we find a way to sneak up onto lists and take them over.

While First Canadian Place may be the tallest skyscraper in Toronto, it is overshadowed greatly by the CN Tower. However, if you are in Toronto, make sure you check out this very tall building for yourself.

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