Friday, 16 September 2016

Musings ~ September 16, 2016

Imagine the power of emoticons, now  or also called emoji's!!!
See the following links for additional information on each concept...

I wonder when the name changed and what was the reason ...

Something as simple as :) to express something....

As simple and sweet as a smile...

Something that I use in emails, on the net....

Almost, like the PDF feature in Republic Bank's (Limited) option to print the transaction detail slip in online banking... Some smart alec probably suggested it...

Probably on a morning when a person says "PDF it" and it clicks!!!

For no apparent reason than you use Adobe as a programme and the end result is a PDF file, if not some other type of file.

Now, the reason you try not to buy/pay for certain products online, make that services* may be  because of the inherent risks of:
  • withholding tax being applicable and may not be deducted and 
  • the possibility of transfer pricing occurring..
And you try to resist..

You come off (that is you stop),  paying for coins on FaceBook games and you resist because:

In local parlance, "there is a fine line" between the concepts and ideas used in the online games and the games in the casino and:
  • The art work in the game such as: the icons or images used, the sounds or music in the game, the animation of the character(s)
  • The skills of the programmers, the original and the current
  • The skill of the designer of the play of the game, such as the plays per lines, the second screen game, the bonus element, the number of ways the game can "pay"
  • The service element embedded in it all
And you wait patiently!!!!

*(marketing MBA, you purchase a good for the service which is provided, its intrinsic value)
© copyright Jennifer N Bailey
P.S. The source of the copyright symbol was  Wikipedia

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Originally posted on Facebook as "Financial Planning Tip - Sept 2015 - 001 - Use vouchers to reduce your grocery bill"

"Massy Stores has a card system which allows you to earn points when you purchase groceries at their locations!

On Wednesdays you can earn double points on your purchases. Today I discovered that right now you can redeem the points for vouchers which can be used to purchase groceries or school items.

Even better the vouchers come in as small a size as $20.00 So the next time you redeem points, consider using some of the vouchers in the following ways:

Saving a $20 voucher for the supplies which your child needs in the middle of "your most cash strapped time"

Use the vouchers at the start of the month (especially on a Wednesday) so that you reduce your use of cash or you can reduce the debt on your credit card. If you can save the cash which you have not used, then it can become part of your emergency fund, that is those funds which you put in another account such as a Unit Trust Money Market Fund Account from the UTC (this part applies to us Trinis.)

PS I buy what is economical and practical for me to buy at Massy Stores

Originally posted on Facebook as "Financial Planning Tip - Sept 2015 - 002 "

Consider eating out your existing supplies of groceries over the next few months and save the funds which you would have spent on groceries. Christmas is coming in a few months and for some of us there is cupboard cleaning and discarding.

Therefore, right now if you can get creative with the menu based on what is in the cupboard and the need to keep your family healthy, At the end of this time,  you may have a nest egg for the new year or enough to make a payment to your tax savings plans in this year. 

Also consider your cash flow planning and your level of comfort when contributing to your "committed funds" as in Trinidad and Tobago there are implications for early withdrawals from your tax savings plans. So what might be good for me at a point in time may not be good for you at this time and vice versa!

Originally posted on Facebook as "Financial Planning Tip Nov 17, 2015 - 002 Easy Money!"

"I've been trying to grow ginger, garlic (sprouts) and tumeric on a small scale! At this time, I am considering transplanting the plants into the ground so that they can spread! To reap any benefit on this action may take months and I may end up using the harvest in the home!

On the other hand, I can try to get the garlic, turmeric and ginger to sprout, sell them as gifts or use them as ornaments on my desk!

The second skill may mean record and book keeping, another set of learning and a skill which is portable being developed!

However due to my lack of certification in this area, I may not be able to list this area on my application for a Certificate from the Caricom Single Market Economy!"

Originally posted on Facebook as "Financial Planning Tip November 17, 2015 -003 Withholding Tax"

"Here is an extract on withholding tax and those to whom that tax applies and the process which is used to assess whether you are required to pay the tax:

"Individuals and companies are required to register with the Inland Revenue Division (IRD) and obtain a Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) file number before taking up employment or star...ting operations in Trinidad and Tobago.

Nonresidents must visit the International Tax Unit of the IRD for evaluation and to determine their tax liability in Trinidad and Tobago.

A non-resident is a person who is employed or a company that is operating in T&T for a period of less than 183 days in any year.

Non-residents are subject to tax on their total income unless they qualify under a specific legal exemption. Non-residents are not entitled to tax deductions." 

Here is a link to view the information which has been provided above and additional information on the topic :

Originally posted on Facebopok as "Financial Planning Tip November 17, 2015 - 004 Availability of Acts of Parliament"

"Just a bit of reminiscing! In the old days, to obtain a copy of an Act of Parliament, one would visit the Government Printery which was located at Victoria Avenue and Tragarete Road, Port of Spain and purchase a printed version of the Act.

With the change in location of the Govt Printery and the availability of the ...Acts online, the individual bears the cost of printing the Act!. Other pieces of legislation are also available online! 

Here is a link to the Board of Inland Revenue site, where one can access the (17) Treaties on Withholding Tax. These are treaties which were signed between Governments of different countries and which offer relief from double taxation. 

The earliest treaties were signed in 1969 and were between Denmark & Trinidad and Tobago and Trinidad and Tobago and Norway. In 1971 there were treaties signed between Trinidad and Tobago and Italy and between T&T and the United States of America.

Understanding and applying the concepts which are covered in the treaties, takes the relief which is offered under the treaties to another level. Here is the link to the page with the treaties:"

Originally posted on Facebook as "Financial Planning Tip November 17, 2015 - 005 Information Technology Literacy"

"Every so often, something which you learn in one area can assist you in another. Here is an example of advanced knowledge of Excel benefiting someone!

On the BIR site, there is an EXCEL spreadsheet which can be used as a learning tool, in that you can enter the country to which the payment is made and the type of payment and then the rate of withholding tax appears!

So that if I have to or my funds in Trinidad and Tobago are used to pay alimony to someone in Anguilla, up jumps the rate of withholding tax of 15%. Here is the link to the website:

If I had conceptualized such a spreadsheet, I would consider copyrighting same,  accepting royalties and I may choose to pay withholding tax should I transfer my money abroad or use some of funds received as an expense which was allowable for tax purposes. LOL!"

Originally posted as "Financial Planning Tip November 23, 2015 -001 Alimony Payments~"

"Here is some information in relation to Alimony Payments. This was extracted from the "Instructions on Preparing the Income Tax Returns"

"17. Alimony or Maintenance

Complete Schedule B, on Page 3.

(a) The full amount of maintenance or separation  allowance paid to a spouse under a Deed of Separation or  by a Court Order including a Magistrate’s Court Order  is allowable."

One of the good things about the form is that there are references to page and line numbers which make it easy to track where amounts are placed. A ruler comes in handy along with pencils and  erasers for your draft return..

Remember to keep a copy of your final signed return along with your attachments for your files.

See the following link for more information..

Originally posted as "Financial Planning Tip November 23, 2015 - 002 Joint Ventures & Partnerships"

"In Trinidad and Tobago, there is an Income Tax Return for "PARTNERSHIPS, JOINT VENTURES, TRUSTS AND ESTATES OF DECEASED PERSONS" which has been
Approved by the Board of Inland Revenue under Section 76 of the Income Tax Act, Chap. 75:01."

The content and layout of the form is quite similar to that used by the Non Emolument Income earner, in that there are sections covering:

Green Fund Levy (Schedule Q),

Gross Payments & Distributions (Payments made Residents and non Residents and requires details on Withholding Tax) Schedule E.

Here is a link to the form which was issued for Year of Income 2014 if you are interested in viewing the form and familiarizing yourself with a scope of work which may be outside the norm. See the link for access to the form

Many persons tend to be exposed to corporation and income tax returns, while for many years in Trinidad and Tobago, partnership returns would have  been required for professionals such as accountants, actuaries, attorneys at law. Some of these partnerships may have had partners with limited liability and partners with "unlimited liability".

Originally posted as "Financial Planning Tip November 23, 2015 - 003 Market Entrants ~ "

"The concepts of entrants into the market may be covered under Management and Strategy or Marketing.  In some instances a market may be a physical location or it may be accessed online..

While the creation of online markets and accessing same may challenge current thinking in terms of the phrasing of the laws, the movement or non movement of cash and or the physical location of the person  may be a determining factor in the taxation of transactions in markets.

If one is evaluating the concepts of entrants into the market, one may look at the theories which are covered in the study of  "economics" with respect to entering a market. Some of these theories may cover actual needs  such as infrastructure, equipment which is required to produce items in the short term and in the medium term, factors which may be held constant over a period of time and one  may be required to use the terms which are covered in their course work.

Thus many persons may be familiar with Porter's Five Forces and may have learnt to use the concepts in Business Plans or other documents to document their understanding of risks. Here is a link to Mind Tools for those who are interested in learning more about the Five Concepts covered under Porter's Five Forces."

Originally posted on Facebook as "Financial Planning Tip December 6, 2015 -001 New Years Resolutions starting now! "

I am going to budget my time and energy wisely in the next year. Many persons have this area of their life in a great state and there are benefits all around! However for me, this is an area where there is room for improvement! I will be making a list of things that occupy my time and see how best I can tweak them to add value to other areas of my life."

Originally posted on Facebook as "Financial Planning Tip December 6, 2015 - 002 Giving wisely!"

"I am going to look for thrift shops and soup kitchens to donate either dry goods and, or some of my time! If I give items that can last, are economical and are multipurpose, then I will be sharing a bit of myself as well ( add a note explaining why the donation was made)!

P.S. There is a thrift shop and a soup kitchen on the grounds o...f Our Lady of Lourdes RC Church in Maraval (operated by the Society of St.Vincent de Paul Maraval Conference). Also Living Water Community and the other Conferences of the SVP operate thrift shops. Start planning now! If Christmas is not a good time for you to meet this need, January or February will be good also. Donation of a skill may be useful also."

Originally posted on Facebook as "Financial Planning Tip - April 9,2016 -001 Tax - Residency 101"

"According to Jamison Aldcorn, author of Contemporary Practices in Financial Planning (CCH/Advocis Education Programm) "Canada imposes tax on the twin basis of residency and income source.

For example, Canada taxes its residents on their world wide income. It taxes non - residents on income earned in Canada"

The question therefore arises "Where do I fit in relation to income which is generated in Canada?

Think: dividend income from companies which are traded on the T&T Stock Exchange whose parent company is registered in Canada;

Bank accounts which hold Canadian dollars, rental income from properties located in Canada....

Was tax deducted at source on the funds (income) earned over the year?" How do I report on same?

Originally posted on Facebook as "Financial Planning Tip April 9, 2016 -002 Tax - Dual Resident - I"

"According to Jamison Aldcorn, author of Contemporary Practices in Financial Planning (CCH/Advocis Education Programm) "Under Canadian Law it is possible for an individual to be resident of more than one country for tax purposes."

This is kind of hard for me to grasp given that in some countries, residency is partially determined by... the number of nights spent in a country, with 183 out of 365 nights being a determining factor which is used by many lay persons.

Then what is the definition of a night? In this case, is it the twelve hours from 6:00 pm of the one day to 6:00 am of the following, or can it be considered a three hour span?

Perhaps passports may be checked to determine residency under this category with counting of the hours becoming important!"

Originally posted on Face book as "Financial Planning Tip April 9, 2016 - 003 Dual Resident II"

"According to Jamison Aldcorn, author of Contemporary Practices in Financial Planning (CCH/Advocis Education Programm) " Canada has signed treaties with many different countries that mediate ultimate residency for tax purposes. Each treaty maintains a tie- breaker rule to determine ultimate residency for the purposes of avoiding double taxation."

Thus, now may be a good time to start searching for those treaties if you plan to hold or trade in foreign currencies. 

You may need to know if the income earned may be subject to tax of some sort.

Here is a link to the BIR website which provides access to the various Double Taxation Treaties (DTT), ( T&T signed a DTT with Canada in 1976)

Originally posted on Face Book as "Financial Planning Tip - April 15, 2015 -001 Rethinking your buying "portion" sizes"

"Over the last two years, due to several changes I have had to rethink my buying strategy in terms of: the size of what I buy, the frequency with which I buy certain items.

This change has been designed to benefit from specials or to purchase just enough so that I can change what I eat from week to week, as being a creature of habit I tend to eat the same things week on week and so forth. 

Taking all of the above into account, I now try to purchase several items which are priced under TT$10.00, except when there is a saving to be achieved if I buy a larger size and if I know that I will consume the item within a month.

This allows a locally packaged pack of cream of wheat (check for the iron content in the pack) (or rolled oats) to go a long way within a week, as flavored with different spices, I can drink it several times for the day, either as a pick me up or as part of a meal (think dessert). Beans and peas go great in a soup or with potatoes in a pie.

So consider trying out a change in the composition of your meals. Pretend that you are on the go a lot and you need to warm food which you have cooked in bulk and let me know where you saw the greatest change!"

Originally posted on Facebook as "Financial Planning Tip April 15,2016 Emergency Fund "

"For some of us, building an emergency fund can be challenging, as we may need time to build the habit, exercise caution with our spending and generally refrain from activities which invite spending!

However rather than feel discouraged, I will consider the value of my emergency fund as the tax refunds I have to collect.. In this way, I will try to submit the 2015's return earlier than I did last year's (2014 return) which was on April 30, 2015, so that when I collect on that year's refund, I will consider the refund for 2015 as my new emergency fund, held safely by the Govt..."

Originally posted on Face book as "Financial Planning Tip April 23, 2016 - 001 Becoming Self sustaining in these times"

"If I were running a business, in this age where I can provide services to customers who are willing to pay me in a foreign currency or who are located in another country,   I would open a foreign currency account according to the currency in which I am being paid, according to the service which is being provided and perhaps according to the geographical location of the client.

In marketing and in auditing this is known as dis-aggregating the population, with the population being defined by the funds which I hold in the account!!!! 

This would provide an easy way to track my customers and provide follow up service!!! P.S. It would aid in an comparison of year on year values and customers, fast track the analysis process and allow for documenting changes year on year and perhaps prompt an inquiry into the reasons for changes.

Imagine if I were exporting a service instead of a good then I may not be able to charge VAT on the transaction!!! Of course I may not want the headache of getting items to the airport, too cumbersome!!!"

Originally posted on Face Book "Financial Planning Tip April 23, 2016 - 002 VAT ( Value Added Tax) Planning Strategies"

"For most businesses which are registered for VAT, April 25 is the due date for filing their return for the preceding  two month period. At this time ( April 25), the company or individual is already into the first month of their next VAT cycle!!! So how about investing some time in your business and start looking at the export market for items where there may be a demand for the good which you have!!!

I know that for some products you may not think that there is demand, however given that, persons' tastes are changing, according to season and age (think demographics) then look at what pairings you can provide: oats and cinnamon, ginger (tea powder) a small pack of dark brown sugar, currants or pineapple in the tin and liquid full cream (evaporated) milk! Offer the option to remove any one of the items and increase the quantity of another according to the customer's preference and request.

Another option that I am currently trying for flavor is cream of wheat, cinnamon and tumeric ( recipe is provided upon request :) ).

Also with Eid and Divali coming at later times in the year, packages of the components of sawine can be exported from now as persons may be interested in having an alternative dessert or easy drink or better yet parsad!!!

Originally posted on Facebook as "Financial Planning Tip April 23, 2016-003 ~ Scenario Planning"

"For some persons there is a plan for today's living, there is the worst case scenario and there is the "absolutely worst case scenario"

In some instances the "absolutely worst case scenario" may be living on retirement income (read T&T NIS retirement benefit) for an absolutely long time, (which some persons have committed to at this time).

For an optimist, living on that amount of income may not be much of a challenge as there may be things that they learnt that  will come back "naturally" into play and which may have a positive impact on their life financially.

Perhaps it may be  because they may work by instinct in lots of ways and there is the creation of a flow to things that makes everything seem effortless to others. 

On the other hand perhaps when they retire, things may have changed in the country and their skills at the time of retirement may take them into retirement effortlessly.

For them, during the "absolutely worst case scenario time" they may take the "bull by the horns" and try to make the "retirement life" work at this time and spend time on resolving some of their current costs (read outflows).

This evaluation may make allow persons able to  face the next phase of their actual retirement in a better position!!!  They may take the opportunity to learn new skills, such as gardening, planting stuff which they can learn to eat or which they like to eat, balance their long term harvests with short term growth items (develop planning skills on a small scale.)  For example cassava is a root crop which can take 6-9 months to harvest, the risk being that  the yield on the crop may be uncertain... One of the good things about growing cassava is that you may try to put the plant  back in the soil if you are not happy with the harvest and see if  it (the plant) will re start growing or perhaps you can check discretely or growth of produce from time to time prior to harvesting...

Melongene, beans and tomatoes are good short term crops, each with their own challenges.... One of the challenges of growing melongene to eat as a means of saving funds  might be  that  the  cost of the complementary items being exorbitant and may remove any savings which you may have earmarked for putting away.  For example, the prices of cheeses may rise over time or imports may make items in a recipe a bit pricey which may impact on the use of this item as a frequent meal item.

Tomatoes may require skills and equipment for a bountiful crop. This  may make it a second year investment, especially if you are evaluating the quality of the soil where you live, the weather and  your choices for the next year. 

Thus beans may be a better choice for you  in the first year as it may be fairly effortless to manage for some persons, can be sold and may have as much if not more dining options than tomatoes, that is on  a cost savings basis... One of the challenges of beans is that it may require a bit of permanent structure tor the vines to spread. This may impact on the expected yield. These requirements  may make the cost and cash outflows  of beans higher than those involved in growing tomatoes.

Of course the optimist  may have fun along the way as they enjoy challenges and creating solutions!!!! The trick may be to determine when you are willing to try something new and having someone to tell you, ok, let's try something else!!!

June 19, 2016 Financial Planning Tip 001 - Planning for uncertainties:

The following post was initially published in Facebook on June 19, 2016. While the post is titled Financial Planning, it covers risk, managing risk and alternatives to traditional choices.

"No one knows when a person may die and sometimes people spend tons of money on certain products which last until the age of 65. Unfortunately, age 65 reaches and the event does not materialize and all of the worry which lasted for so many years goes to zero in an instant, along with some hard earned cash!!! Not that you were praying for the event to materialize as the life was more precious than the possible cash inflow which would have arisen from the death of the loved one.

Right now, my strategy is to manage my greatest risk and continue to deal with that, until I can improve on another area so as to reach a level of comfort!!!

After that, I will deal with another risk and move on with time!!!

So in real terms, I am not going for the largest category of protection in the Family Indemnity Plan (right now). At this time I will purchase a smaller level in the plan and invest in another product which provides cash inflow which will be designed to meet another need and a third product which will meet a third need.

With all of these products, I will try to have monthly commitments for cash outflows and at least one commitment for an annual cash flow so that all of my cash outflows are not tied up and tracking them does not become burdensome!!! Enjoy!!!!"