ATM Santa Cash is back
From December 1 until Christmas Eve we’ll be replacing some of the $20 bills in our ATM with $50 bills. The more you use the ATM, the better your chance of receiving $50. Good luck! Please let us know of your good fortune if you receive the extra cash.
Santa Nite Thursday, December 7, 5-8 p.m.
Come and get your picture taken with Santa at the Great Sandhills Caboose located behind Triod Supply. Enjoy the festivities downtown
and grab a roasted hot dog courtesy of the Chamber of Commerce.
Christmas Holiday Hours
Monday, December 25 – closed
Tuesday, December 26 – closed
Wednesday, December 27 – regular business hours resume
New Year’s Holiday Hours
Monday, January 1 – closed
Tuesday, January 2 – regular business hours resume
The Sandhills Credit Union staff & board wish everyone a Happy & Safe holiday season and a prosperous New Year!
We look forward to being your Financial Institution of Choice.
Sandhills Credit Union celebrates Credit Union Day with its members
On Thursday, October 19, we served coffee and donuts to our members. It’s always nice to take time to visit with the people that help our
organization grow and prosper.
International Credit Union Day has been celebrated on the third Thursday of October since 1948. The day is recognized to reflect upon the credit union movement’s history and to promote its achievements. It’s a day to honour those who’ve dedicated their lives to the movement, recognize the hard work of those working in the credit union industry and show members our appreciation.
Saskatchewan credit unions continue to look for new ways to contribute to their communities
From charitable donations to scholarships to charitable fundraising, credit unions work to improve their communities.
One of the big differences between credit unions and banks is that credit unions are owned and democratically controlled by their members. That means decisions about the direction of the credit union are made locally, by the very same people affected by those decisions. It also means that concern for community (one of the seven International Co-operative Principles) is an inherent part of our DNA.
Examples of that concern for community are readily apparent throughout Saskatchewan. Last year, Saskatchewan credit unions made more than $7.34 million in charitable contributions around the province. These contributions included donations, sponsorships, scholarships and bursaries. What’s more, 92% of credit unions encouraged their employees to participate in community activities and support community organizations as part of their paid work, contributing nearly 27,600 volunteer hours in 2016 alone. The vast majority of credit unions (95%) also reported that their employees participate in community activities during their time off.
Community support takes other forms as well. More than 9,400 Saskatchewan community organizations received discounted financial services in 2016, typically through reduced or waived service charges. That’s an estimated savings of more than $724,600. Scholarships and bursaries accounted for another $229,425 last year.
Credit unions concern for community extends beyond Canada and across the world
Through partners like CDF Canada, credit unions are making a difference for people across the globe.
Credit unions’ concern for community extends far beyond provincial or even national borders. Through the work of partner organizations like the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF Canada), Saskatchewan credit unions and our members are improving the lives of people in developing countries across the globe.
CDF Canada undertakes co-operative development projects across the world. Over the past 11 years, CDF Canada has run development projects in 35 countries in Africa, Asia, South America and elsewhere.
Saskatchewan has contributed in a couple of important ways. For starters, the province’s credit unions have made significant donations to CDF Canada, helping to ensure the organization can continue to reach out to marginalized communities in developing regions by providing loans, seed funds, vocational training, and expertise in co-operative management.
A number of Saskatchewan credit union staff have participated in many of those projects over the years, travelling to many different countries to lend their expertise to fledgling credit unions.
Credit unions have also welcomed participants in CDF Canada’s Women’s Mentorship Program, an annual, month-long professional development program for women managers of financial cooperatives from developing countries in Africa and Asia. CDF Canada recently launched an ambitious three-year campaign to change the lives of 500,000 women, men, children and their communities through cooperative development. Find out how you and your credit union can contribute, at http://cdfcanada.coop
Take your investments to the next level with the magic of GIC laddering
Guaranteed Investment Certificates, or GICs, are a terrific investment vehicle for anyone looking for a safe, dependable return on their money. They’re secure and guarantee you 100% of your original investment. One disadvantage of GICs is that they don’t offer much liquidity, meaning it can be hard to free up your money in the event of an emergency.
That’s why many GIC investors employ a strategy known as ‘laddering’ by dividing their investments into multiple GICs with staggered terms and maturity dates. This way, you always have at least one GIC maturing each year.
Let’s say you have $50,000 to invest.
If you invest the entire sum in a single five-year GIC, your money is locked in for five years and so is the interest rate; if rates rise in the interim, you can’t take advantage of them.
But if you take that $50,000 and divide it into five equal $10,000 investments, and stagger them across one-, two-, three-, four- and five-year GICs, you’ll always have one investment maturing each year. This allows you to create a rolling schedule of new investments. This means you can take advantage of higher rates on at least part of your portfolio while continuing to limit your exposure to risk or falling rates.
If you’d like more information on GIC laddering and how it can work for you, contact us today. We’d be happy to explain your options to you.
Common investment terms explained
In the investment world, GIC isn’t the only acronym floating around. There’s a veritable alphabet soup of investment choices out there. Understanding what these terms mean, and why you might want to invest, is one of the first steps toward soundly investing your money.
Here are some of the more common terms:
A Registered Retirement Savings Plan is an investment account that allows you to save for your retirement on a tax deferred basis. This means contributions made to an RRSP (up to an annual limit) are tax free, allowing you earn compound interest on your savings without paying taxes on the gains.
A Tax-Free Savings Account is an investment account that allows you to set aside money tax-free. Contributions to TFSAs are not deductible for income tax purposes and money contributed — as well as any income earned in the account — is tax-free, even when it’s withdrawn.
A Registered Education Savings Plan is an investment used by parents (and others) to save for a child’s post-secondary education. RESPs allow you to defer tax. Interest income and investment growth aren’t taxed as long as the funds remain in the plan. Withdrawals are made by the student, which means they’re generally taxed at a much lower rate, if at all.
The Canada Education Savings Grant is a federal government program that matches 20% of all annual contributions to an RESP to a maximum of $2,500 each year.
A Registered Disability Savings Plan is a savings plan to help parents (and others) save for the long-term financial security of a person eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC).
Investing can be a daunting prospect for first-time (and even experienced) investors. We can simplify things. Talk to us today!
Recent scam involving money transfers
T he Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is warning the public of a recent scam involving email money transfers. Remember that CRA will only send payments by direct deposit or cheque, never by email money transfer. There have been reports of a couple of related phishing scams:
- Texts and emails from an unknown number asking the user to click on a link to deposit their income tax return. Do not click on the link.
- A text message telling people that they need to unlock their account. Do not click on the link.
You may occasionally receive, either by telephone, mail or email, a communication that claims to be from CRA but is not – usually requesting personal information, such as credit card, Social Insurance Number, bank account or passport numbers. It may:
- say that the personal information isneeded so that you can receive a refund or benefit payment
- refer you to a website, like the CRA’s website, where you’ll be asked to verify your identity by entering personal information.
You should never respond to these communications. Keep in mind that the CRA will never:
- request personal information of any kind from a taxpayer by email
- divulge your information to another person unless you provide formal authorization
- leave any personal information on an answering machine
If you’re in doubt ask yourself the following:
- Am I expecting additional money from the CRA?
- Does this sound too good to be true?
- Is the person on the other end asking for information I would not include with my tax return?
- Is the person on the other end asking for information I know the CRA already has on file?
- How did they get my email address?
- Do I really know the person asking for the information?
Cash gifts to children: Avoid the pitfalls
While the notion of leaving a cash gift to a beloved child is admirable, it must be handled correctly to avoid unintended consequences. If you leave a cash gift in a Will to a child who has not reached the age of majority, the funds may have to be paid into court, to be administered by the Official Guardian. To avoid this scenario, use one of the strategies to leave a cash gift to a child through your will:
- Use your will to leave the gift of cash in a trust administered by a named trustee for the child’s benefit. The will establishes parameters for the operation of the trust, including what the funds can be used for and when they can be distributed. The size of the cash gift should be considered when selecting this option.
- Use your will to leave the gift of cash to the parent/legal guardian of the child or another trusted individual. The will would include a “wish” for the funds to be used for certain of the child’s activities or held until the child attains a certain age. The advantage is the executor and trustee are relieved of the responsibility of a long term trust. The disadvantage is that there’s no guarantee the parent/guardian/other individual will hold the funds as requested.
- Use an infant clause in your will to authorize the trustee to pay any cash gifts for children under the age of majority to the child’s parent/legal guardian or another trusted individual. This will relieve the executor and trustee of the ongoing obligation of a trust, but doesn’t guarantee the funds will be used as intended.
If you’re contemplating a cash gift to a child under the age of majority, we encourage you to consider these options before seeking the advice of a lawyer.
RRSP contribution deadline
RRSP contributions made during the first 60 days of 2018 may be claimed as a deduction from income for the 2017 taxation year. The deadline for 2017 contributions is March 1, 2018.
RRSP contributions made after March 1, 2018 are not eligible for deduction for the 2017 taxation year.
RRSP Contribution limits
- 2017 taxation year – $26,010
- 2018 taxation year – $26,230