AAPS Financial Wellness 2016—Resources

I would like to learn more about:

Link to the CRA website to check your TFSA and RRSP contribution limits: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/myaccount/

Health Benefits Presentation prepared by AAPS' benefits consultant

UBC Benefits and Services:

The AAPS 8

1.      Everybody’s faking it
2.      You can’t skip steps
3.      Financial wellness exists on a continuum (and is self-defined)
4.      It isn’t about the money (psychology, knowledge and behaviour)
5.      We’re blind and we’re blind to what we are blind to
6.      Men and women are different (language, neurology, circumstances ad socio cultural expectations)
7.      We can miss the forest for the trees (also called “fuss factor”)
8.      Enough

9. The truth is the truth

Financial Wellness Mantra

I am enough
I have enough
It is enough
And it is what it is


“You can’t overspend and be mindful at the same time”

“There are thousands of different ways to solve a problem that hasn’t been identified yet”

AAPS 9 “The truth is the truth”

2016 Desired Outcomes

  • Decision-making skills
  • Financial Administrative Architecture
  • Investment Options
  • How to handle surplus
  • Cash Flow Strategies
  • Paying of Debt
  • How, where, when, and with whom to seek professional advice
  • Myths around money
  • How to stay on track with goals and dreams
  • What to do now to ensure the future you want
  • How to keep up to date and on track
  • Reduce stress
  • Learn what questions I need to be asking myself about my finances
  • Learn where to start

Tracy Theemes

Financial Tracking Programs

Pay Structure and Salary Administration

  1. Find out your job family and pay grade, from their you can determine your letter grade and where you fall on the salary scale
  2. If you are between minimum and mid-point, you are progressing towards mid-point on an annual basis. You must be at mid-point by your 4th year based on satisfactory performance
  3. If you are above mid-point you are on the performance based merit pay model
  4. Regardless of salary all AAPS Members receive negotiated General Wage Increases, and they are treated separately from mid-point progression and merit

More information can be found here: http://aaps.ubc.ca/member/news/otr/11/1#understanding%20ca

Premium Rates for M&P Staff

A list of the various premium rates for M&P staff benefits is listed on the UBC HR website. Please note the MSP premium rate will be changing as of July 1, 2015.

Extended Health and Dental

At the AAPS Spring General Meeting our benefits consultant gave an excellent overview of the Benefits provided to AAPS Members through UBC. Please request the link to the webcast of the Spring GM from aaps.office@ubc.ca


Article 13.2 of the Collective Agreement states that:

"Participating employees shall pay one hundred percent (100%) of the premiums to the Medical Services Plan, subject to its statutory waiting period, upon meeting conditions of eligibility."

Health Spending Account

$125 in 2015 to be used for medical expenses. For more information about the Health Spending Account, carry-over, and what it covers, please see the UBC HR website.

Basic and Optional Life Insurance

Disability Benefits Plan

The long term disability plan for eligible M&P and Administrative Executive members is called the Disability Benefit Plan (DBP).  This Disability Benefit Plan (DBP) is a mandatory, employee-paid plan that provides a non-taxable monthly income for those who meet the definition of disability, and who have been unable to work for a period of six months (the elimination or qualifying period) as a result of the disability.  This monthly income replacement benefit, which is based on a percentage of income, is paid during the period of disability, up to age 65. This insured plan is administered by Sun Life Financial, with oversight from the DBP Governance Committee. Premiums for this plan are deducted from each pay cheque.

Staff Pension Plan

Mandatory after three years of service, but optional before that if you meet the eligibility requirements. The UBC Staff Pension Plan is a Defined Benefit (DB) plan. There are options for withdrawing your contribution if you leave UBC before retirement. There are pension workshops and information sessions available throughout the year.

Travel Benefits

Corporate Discounts

A wide range of Health, Fitness and Family discounts both on and off campus are available to UBC staff. This page is often updated with new discounts, check back regularly.

Free Health Workshops

UBC HR provides free and low cost courses and services with the aim of improving employee health and well-being.

Employee and Family Assistance Program

Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is serviced by third party provider Shepell. Your service usage and conversations are confidential. The service is free and part of your benefits.

EFAP is here for 24/7 support and short-term clinical counseling. You can access EFAP at any time by phoning 1.800.387.4765 or visiting workhealthlife.com. You can also instant chat for matters that are:

  • Personal
  • Couple
  • Family
  • Work Related
  • Addiction Related

EFAP is also here for planning and prevention. You can also use EFAP services to take positive action for yourself or your family in areas such as:

  • Stress Management
  • Financial Planning
  • Legal Support
  • Health Coaching
  • Career Planning
  • Resource Support for Childcare
  • Resource Support for Eldercare

Professional Development

Department Funding

UBC departments are responsible for providing sufficient professional development funds for members of staff.  Each department budgets funds accordingly. AAPS members should approach the person they report to with any plans for professional development and should seek departmental funding to support those plans.  The individual funds provided for in the AAPS collective agreement are NOT a replacement for departmental PD funds. Rather the individual funds are in addition to departmental funds.

As per article 14.3.1 in the Collective Agreement, In those circumstances when the University requires an employee to have and to maintain professional accreditation as a condition of employment (such as Registered Psychologist, Medical Doctor, Chartered Accountant), the University will pay the professional accreditation fee. The M&P Fund should not be used meet this requirement.

Questions from our 2015 Series


Question: I currently have a small amount of cash in a TFSA at ING and a RRSP at TD (where I also do all my other business). I am also less than half way to having the cash reserve that I need. Question 1: Can I open up a TFSA at TD as well as have one at ING, or do I need to close one to open the other? Question 2: Should I pull the cash out of ING's TFSA and put it into my cash reserve, and should I stop contributing to the RRSP until I have the cash reserve in place?


Stop contributing to the RRSP (unless you have employer matching) until you have cash reserve. Consolidate your accounts at one institution for easier tracking. Just transfer the ING one to your bank. The bank will do the transfer process. Then you lessen the risk of an over-contribution.

Question: Andex Charts: both the dark blue (US small stocks) and light blue (US large stocks) gained the most overall, but there is still a considerable spread between the two. To maximize gains over a 30-60 year horizon, one would have had to initially invest in US small stocks index.  What about in the future?  If I wanted to invest over a long frame would US small stocks still outperform every other benchmark consistently?


If we knew the future we would be very rich indeed. So, no there is no guarantee. That is why diversification matters.

Question: Are RESPs really the best mechanism for helping to save for my children?  I'm not convinced that helping with their education is my primary goal in setting aside money for them, and yet I diligently deposit a monthly amount into an RESP.  Would a TFSA be an appropriate alternative (given a 10-12 yr timeframe)?


Yes, a TFSA could work or a regular investment account appropriately diversified. Then you would have the freedom to support them for other things than education such as starting as business, equipment or services they might need for learning or a trip that you think would benefit them. If they don’t go to school you would have access to the funds yourself as well.

Question: Today you mentioned that TFSAs can be a good starting point for investment as a tax-free investment tool (not as a savings account). However, I am a U.S.citizen and I am taxed by the IRS on any income made through my TFSA. This essentially negates the tax-free benefit of TFSAs that I am allowed by the CRA. I'm wondering what other investment tools you would recommend in this situation for someone who has just built up enough cash reserves to start investing.


You are correct. If you are a US person stay away from the TFSA. Just open a regular investment account. But make sure you tell your advisor of your US status so they can steer you into investments that are less problematic for reporting.

Question: What would be your advice on what percentage of your monthly income to spend on mortgage and investments, after all the other expenses are taking into account?


It really depends... people commonly spend (in this town) up to 50% on mortgage and top ups. After you have done your cash reserve, then ALL the rest goes into investments and long term planning needs.

Question: Today you mentioned having at least 100K invested (or to invest) before meeting with a financial planner, or at least no longer dealing with a bank. Does this imply at least 100K positive net worth? Does this include things like pension plan?  I am in a spousal relationship where between pension plans, RRSPs, RESPS and savings we definitely have 100K.


The answer is that at about $100,000 in investable assets...I think you should no longer just use a mutual funds specialist at a bank. Most banks and credit unions will give you access to a certified financial planner at about $50,000 in investable assets. It sounds like they should be interviewing financial planners at the bank or credit union where their portfolios are held.

Rebuilding Your Credit History

Question: What steps can I take to improve my credit rating soon after coming out of bankruptcy? I want to move forward and create a beautiful nest egg with my current no-debt situation!

Tracy: This response comes from MNP Ltd. and it is sourced from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.  

How to rebuild your credit history

1.        Apply for a secured credit card. Secured credit cards require you to leave a deposit with the credit card issuer as a guarantee. The deposit is usually equivalent to the card limit, but can be higher. For instance, if you want a limit of $500, you may be asked to leave a deposit of $500. Once you’ve shown that you pay the balance regularly and have built a payment history, you can ask that the security requirement be dropped and that the deposit be returned.

2.        Make at least the minimum payment by the due date. If you cannot pay off your balance in full each month, make at least the minimum payment on each of your debts on time. Late payments will count against you and negatively impact your credit score and credit report.

3.        Do not apply for too many credit and loan products. Having too much credit can also negatively affect your credit report. Try to use less than 35 percent of your available credit. Do not fill in too many applications for credit and loans because every time you do, your credit history is checked. Each credit check can affect your credit score.

4.        Review your statements. When you are in debt, avoiding your monthly statements may cost you. Mistakes happen and you only have a limited time to correct them. Always review your statements to make sure there are no transactions charged in error and that your payments are recorded correctly. Report any mistakes as soon as possible.

5.        Check your credit report. You can order a free copy of your credit report from either one of Canada’s two credit rating agencies, Equifax and TransUnion. Keep in mind that each agency may have different information about you in their files so check your credit report from both agencies at least once a year for possible errors and get them corrected as soon as possible. Consider requesting your report from one agency and then waiting six months before you order from the other agency. By spacing out your requests in this way, you may be able to detect any problems sooner.

Prepaid cards do not help you build credit. You may choose to use a prepaid card as a payment option, but its use is not tracked by the credit rating agencies.

Communicating About Money

Question: How do you move money coversations along with a partner who avoids talking about money due to negative childhood experiences with their parents?


Not talking about money in a marriage is not an option. Having a discussion that leads to divorce is not fun. So where does a couple turn to when they have hit a roadblock? Two options... first discussion is to ask the reluctant partner under what conditions might they be willing to have a discussion and what would make it okay for them? And if that fails or is impossible, it must be stressed that not talking isn't feasible so then we would hire a mediator (or trusted third party) to ensure that space was held so both people could express their feelings and thoughts fully and safely.

Money and the Media

Question: There is an interesting article on CBC today.  I would like to hear Tracy's thoughts on this:


Canadians aren’t saving enough for anything. They don’t save.