Creating Financial Wellness

GSI supports plan members in leading healthy lives and achieving financial security.

Better Health Through Better Living

Creating Financial Wellness – here and now

As your group plan sponsor, GSI is committed to supporting overall financial wellness for members at all stages of life, both during employment and into retirement.

What is Financial Wellness and how do we achieve this?

There are four general elements of financial wellness:

  1. Having control over day-to-day finances
  2. Having the capacity to absorb a financial shock
  3. Being on track to meet financial goals
  4. Having the financial freedom to make choices to enjoy life

Financial stability may be having the ability to pay our monthly bills and even save for the future, but financial wellness may mean taking a holistic approach and ensuring that we balancing our current financial needs with our future financial needs.  It also means having the ability to align our financial decisions to reflect our (sometimes changing) values.

How does GSI support your financial wellness?

By providing tools, along with the information you need to make healthy financial choices.

One of the tools we are providing is the newly created ELCIC Group Investment Account – your Pre-Retirement group plan option.

Starting April 1, 2019, ELCIC plan members have the opportunity to contribute to a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) or a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) through Great West Life.

Enroll smart. Save smart. Retire smart.

Join the ELCIC group tax-free savings account plan (TFSA) or the group registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) online and maximize a great savings opportunity.

Watch this short video to see how easy it is to start saving.

 

How to Contribute to a TFSA or RRSP through your ELCIC plan

A TFSA is a great way to help you save for your financial goals and supplement your savings in addition to your pension plan.  Our service provider for these programs is Great-West Life.

A group TFSA is a flexible investment savings plan that can be a short-term or long-term savings strategy depending on what you want to save for.  Contributions are not tax-sheltered, but the investment income is.

With the ELCIC group TFSA, you can decide how much you want to contribute each month or even make a lump sum contribution.

Contribute to a TFSA or RRSP through Great West Life

A group TFSA or RRSP is another great way to help you save for your financial goals and supplement your savings in addition to your pension plan.  Our service provider for these programs is Great-West Life.

A group TFSA is a flexible investment savings plan that can be a short-term or long-term savings program depending on what you want to save for.  Contributions are not tax-sheltered, but the investment income is.

Download the employee TFSA handbook here. 

Starting in 2009, Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) has determined annual contribution limits for how much Canadians may contribute to a TFSA with the amount accumulating every year to the following dollar limits: 

 

Year  Limit $ 
2009, 2010, 2011, 2012  5,000 
2013 and 2014  5,500 
2015  10,000 
2016, 2017, 2018  5,500 
2019  6,000 

 

A group RRSP is a long-term savings program meant to provide income for you when you retire.  Your contributions and investment income are tax-sheltered until you withdraw them.  The CRA contribution limit for 2019 is 18% of your previous year’s earnings less your pension adjustment (your previous year’s contributions); check your notice of assessment for your carry forward amount.  Your pension plan contributions plus your RRSP contributions cannot exceed the CRA maximum.

Download the employee RRSP handbook here. 

With either plan, you can contribute using online banking or by lump sum.  Attached is a document to help you set up online banking to make contributing effortless for you.  If you want to make a lump sum contribution or consolidate other savings into your plans, visit www.formsforsaving.com to get started.

Joining the TFSA and/or RRSP is quick, secure and convenient. Sign in to GRS Access with Access ID SG90ELcic and password 38382signUP, and then click on Enrol to get started. The tool will guide you through the enrolment steps.

Please drop GSI and e-mail to info@elcicgsi.ca saying you have signed up as we need to authorize you as a member of the ELCIC group.

After you join, you’ll have your own ID and password for easy online access to your account, investment information, plus a variety of educational tools and resources.

 

Watch this short video to see how easy it is to start saving.

Need help?
Call Great-West Life’s Access Line at 1-800-724-3402, Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

Download the full description here.

TFSA - a Building Block to Financial Wellness

A Tax-free Savings Account 

A Building Block to Financial Wellness 

 

Personal wellness takes many forms, including financial stabilityOne of the building blocks available to creating ongoing financial stability is contributing towards a Tax-free Savings Account (TFSA).  

Being disciplined and putting money into a TFSA every month has long-term benefits. With a TFSA, you have already paid taxes on the funds you deposit. Therefore, you are not taxed when you make a withdrawal. It affords you the opportunity to save money, earn interest and not pay additional taxes on the investment earnings.  

 A TFSA is also a great place to put extra money, such as an inheritance or a bonus, until you have had time to consider how best to use it.  Keeping it in a separate account allows you to be more intentional about spending it on something that is a prioritysimilar to the concept of having your kids put their birthday money in a separate jar for something special. You can also watch and track how the investment grows and see your windfall working for you. 

Everyone wants to stress less about money. Consider using a TFSA is a way to pay yourself each month and in doing so, take control of personal finances. 

To learn more about how CRA determines TFSA annual contribution room, have a look at these CRA examples. 

To read the full article on TFSA as a building block, please click here.

Benefits of a TFSA

Benefits of a TFSA

 

The Tax-free Savings Account or TFSA started in 2009. According to moneysense.ca, even after 10 years “a large number of people still don’t understand what they are or how to use it.” If you find yourself in this category, learning more about a TFSA is well worth your time.

In their article “What is a TFSA?”moneysense.ca points out that a TFSA is closer to an investment than a savings account. Given this categorization, one of the biggest questions people have is, “How is it different than an RRSP?”

The main difference is that money in an RRSP is taxed when you make a withdrawal using your tax rate at that time. The presumption is that if you take it out in retirement, your tax rate will be lower than when you are working and therefore you have saved some money that has had the opportunity to grow.

With a TFSA, you are not taxed when you make a withdrawal, because you have already paid tax on the deposited funds Therefore, there is no deduction on your tax return when you contribute, like with an RRSP. What you do get, is the opportunity to save money and not pay additional taxes on the investment earnings.

As with an RRSP, there are limits to how much you can contribute annually to a TFSA. Your financial institution generally also has information on their website explaining the difference between these two investment opportunities. Take the time to do the research to find the best one for you.

Download the full article here. 

Additional Information

Statement of Investment Policies & Procedures for the ELCIC Group Investment Accounts

To download the full Statement of Investment Policies & Procedures for the ELCIC Group Investments Accounts, please click here.

  1.  Overview and Purpose

The primary goal of the group investment accounts is to provide members and spouses of the ELCIC Pension Plan with a means to manage and invest their additional savings and use those savings to fund major purchases, manage significant life events or create an income stream in their retirement.

The Plan Sponsor is responsible for establishing the group investment accounts which may include:

  • tax-free savings account (TFSA),
  • registered retirement savings plan (RRSP),
  • registered retirement income fund (RRIF),
  • life income fund (LIF).

This statement outlines the principles by which the group investment accounts are managed.

 

2.  Roles and Responsibilities

 

Responsibilities of the Plan Sponsor

The Plan Sponsor ensures that the plan funds are managed in accordance with the applicable pension legislation, CAPSA guidelines and this document.

The Plan Sponsor will review this document and the investment options at least once every two years and will amend this document and/or investment options as required to reflect significant changes to the management investment principles.

The Plan Sponsor will employ the services of an authorized life company or financial institution (Fund Holder) to invest all of the assets of the group investment accounts, provided the appointed Fund Holder agrees to abide by the guidelines given in this statement. The Plan Sponsor may also employ the services of legal counsel, actuaries, a performance measurement firm, and other agents and consultants as necessary.

Responsibilities of the Fund Holder

The Fund Holder will provide the Plan Sponsor with reports on the gross rates of return for each investment option periodically. The Fund Holder will maintain an account for each plan member, receive transfer of funds and issue a certificate. The Fund Holder will issue personal statement semi-annually to each plan member and a consolidated statement to the Plan Sponsor.

Responsibilities of the Consultant

The Consultant will provide information on the various options available to the plan member based on their jurisdiction. The Consultant will also assist with the application process and initial set up of the member account, as well as, respond to any ongoing enquiries from the members with an account.

 

3. Investment

 

Investment Purpose

The overall purpose is to provide the plan member with an appropriate assortment of investment options for the member to develop their personal portfolio within their risk tolerance, to meet their financial objectives.

Investment Beliefs

The Plan Sponsor has provided investment options based on the following investment beliefs and principles:

  • diversification provides an opportunity to reduce risk and potentially increase returns;
  • investment managers selected based on demonstrated strengths, can potentially add value;
  • a reasonable number of available funds for selection assists the plan member in decision making;
  • it is desirable to invest in corporations that demonstrate environmental responsibility, social justice and strong governance practices.

Permissible categories of investments

The group investment accounts will offer a selection of funds that are specifically provided by the Fund Holder as selected by the Plan Sponsor, in accordance with the criteria set out under applicable federal or provincial legislation and regulations.

Each investment manager included in the available options must be a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investing or have internal policies and procedures whereby the ESG criteria form part of their investment making decisions.

 

 4. Member Accounts and Investment Selection

 

Each member will determine the investment allocation for their account. Each of the selected investment funds is described in detail, including return objectives, in the Investment Policy Statements of the Fund Holder.

The rate of return and degree of risk for each plan member’s investments will vary based on the investment allocation made with respect to that member. Plan members are advised to get professional advice and/or use decision making tools provided by the Fund Holder or Consultant. Members may make changes to their investments from time to time if their risk changes, however if the Fund Holder deems that a member is trading excessively, a frequent trading fee may be assessed or the trade disallowed, as per the terms of the contract, as this activity may be detrimental to other investors.

The Plan Sponsor imposes no restrictions on the asset mix of any member’s account. An application must be completed, including the member’s initial investment choices, in order to set up an account. Therefore, the default investment option chosen by the Plan Sponsor, would only be used on a temporary basis while an account is being set up.

Members will receive semi-annual print statements from the Fund Holder. Members also have secured internet access to their account to review their balances and make changes to their investment selections.

Factors that may affect Value of an Account

Due to the nature and objectives of the investment options, each member’s account may be exposed to varying degrees to the following financial risks: credit risk, liquidity risk and market risk, including currency risk, interest rate risk and other price risk. Plan members receive semi-annual statements with their account details, giving them opportunity to review their options and contact their financial planner to discuss any concerns or modifications that may be required.

All investment options are subject to fees (except Guaranteed Accounts) which are posted and are disclosed prior to making an election within the post-retirement account. These fees will impact the annual rate of return and value of the investment account.

Notice of Assessment - Take a Second Look

For each year you file taxes, CRA sends out a Notice of Assessment. And if you take a second look at your assessment, you might see that CRA highlights some pretty important information.

Every Notice of Assessment is an indication of how much room you have in your RRSPs and what you are eligible to contribute in the coming year. According to the CRA website, “Your available contribution room is your deduction limit minus any unused RRSP/PRPP contributions you reported in past years that you can deduct for next year.”

Below is an example of what your notice looks like. On the bottom right hand side is line A outlined in red. This tells you your RRSP deduction limit for the coming year. Directly below line A, is line B which tells you how much you have left to contribute after last year’s investments.

When looking at your own Notice of Assessment for 2017, check-out the figure on line B. That amount is what you could still contribute this year as an eligible deduction. Considering that you have until Feb 28th to make RRSP contributions for last year, you still have a little time to maximize your investments and contribute that amount into an RRSP.

Fund Returns and Fees

Great-West Life Group Retirement Services Investment performance for segregated funds

Gross annualized returns as of March 31, 2019

Click here to download the latest table of fund returns and fees