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My question is: Are annuities with the large insurance companies guaranteed, are they as safe as a government pension? Is an annuity the best choice for me? I am 58 years old and hope to pull out the pensions at 60 years of age although I may still work part time. I also have two other small defined benefit pensions. Thanks!

A: You can transfer your government pension into a Locked-in RSP and manage the assets yourself (or with the help of your investment advisor). You do not necessarily need to purchase an annuity especially right now when interest rates are historically low. I would only consider doing this if you are concerned that your government pension is at some risk (which I highly doubt). You need to also research to see if your other retirement benefits such as healthcare are tied to you keeping your government pension.

I suggest you get a second opinion from another financial professional to go over your specific details and numbers to help you analyze your situation.

Q: Thank-you for taking the time to look at my question. I am having trouble determining which investment losses would qualify under the “Capital Loss” criterion. I have the CCRA documents but its so technical, I am not sure. The term “Canadian small business” has me concerned. I have mostly Canadian mutual funds as investments but some of them contain almost all non-Canadian interests. Two examples are “TD Latin American Growth” and “BMO European Equity”. Would losses on these funds be eligible as a “Capital loss” or does the fund have to contain all Canadian entities? Thanks.

A: Regardless of the types of holdings within your mutual funds, if they are sold at a capital loss (i.e. at a lower price than purchase price), then you can declare the capital loss deduction. This can then be written off against any present or future capital gains.

The loss can also be carried back to a maximum of three years against past declared gains. This applies to all investments whether they are issued by Canadian mutual fund companies or foreign ones. Take your investment transactions to a tax professional if you are unsure.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide commercial, financial, investment, accounting, tax or legal advice. The information may not be appropriate to your individual needs and you should seek advice from your financial adviser before making any financial decisions.