I helped one of my friends doing her taxes this week. The past few years she just brought her stuff into H & R Block and had them do it. This year, rather than paying them, she asked if I could do them. There wasn’t anything complex to do with her income earned or expenses incurred during 2014, so the whole file completion process took $20 (the cost of using Ufile) and about 20 minutes to complete. I saved my friend a good chunk of money, all for the amount of time it takes to set up a CRA account (so that she could have a direct deposit on the calculated refund).
I started doing my own taxes when I was 18 and found out it actually cost quite a bit of money to get my own money back as a tax refund. I read the information package that came with the (then paper) tax package and filled out the forms necessary to get my information filed. At the time (1999), filing online wasn’t an option available to me, so I painstakingly entered my tax return into the CRA database over my touch-tone phone (I’m impressed that this technology existed at the time). A few weeks later, a cheque showed up for my return.
There’s always a bit of fear when you hit the “Submit” button on the CRA site, due to the risk of audit. I’ve been audited once, and mailed in the receipts requested with no issues identified. An audit is like most things – as long as you aren’t doing anything “sketchy” with your taxes or income, you’re probably not going to have much trouble with the tax collectors.
Much like doing taxes, most people (including half of my two-person family) would rather just dump off the responsibility of investing onto someone else. A lot of people spend quite a bit of money to other people to invest on their behalf. While I can understand the intimidation factor of the marketplace may be a bit of a barrier to entry, there is more than a little bit of information out there (books, classes, internet sites, blogs) for anyone out could learn.
It is scary to invest by yourself. If you make a poor investment, there’s nobody to blame but yourself. If the entire market collapses like in 2008, it takes a bit of courage to continue buying shares in stocks. It is much easier to just send money to someone else to invest on your behalf, even though it may cost you considerable amounts of commission dollars over time, compared to doing it yourself.
Money “stuff” is more important than most things going on in people’s lives. Not many people want to work until they can’t work anymore. Knowledge in investing and retirement planning, as well as taking an interest in what could be done with the money people spend all of their free time making shouldn’t be as much of a bother as people make it out to be.