Will you be flying south this winter to spend some time in the warm parts of the U.S.? You’ll have arranged to get your snow shovelled and mail picked up, but what about some of the small details of financial planning?
Banking. Arrange to do your banking through ATMs, the Internet, or telephone. List all your upcoming bills and make plans to pay online, through pre-authorized payment, or otherwise.
For easy access to U.S. funds, consider opening a U.S.-dollar chequing account if you don’t already have one.
Income planning. For a steady stream of income from your Registered Retirement Income Fund or other investments, you can establish a systematic withdrawal plan, with automatic deposit of payments.
You can also arrange for direct deposit of Old Age Security or Canada/Quebec Pension Plan benefits.
Out-of-country health insurance. Comparison shop for supplemental private medical protection — similar coverage can vary in price from provider to provider.
Tax planning. For tax purposes, make sure you understand the “substantial presence test,” which is used to calculate the number of days spent in the U.S. over a three-year period. The test is based on the following criteria: the number of days you are present in the U.S. in the current year, plus one-third of the days present in the preceding year, plus one-sixth of the days present in the second preceding year. If this totals 183 days or more, and you have spent more than 31 days in the U.S. during the current year, you will be considered a U.S. resident for tax purposes.
Remember to see your advisor before you leave to discuss any short-term issues and to ensure they have contact information on file in case anything arises.