Sarah Stipkala, right, was one of the Island Savings Staff welcoming guests including Tiffany Auvinen at the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce’s first mixer of the year held at Island Savings’ Trunk Street branch. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)

Business notes: RRSP deadlines: don’t panic

We’re just two weeks away from the 2019 Business Expo and Community Social and if you’d like to be a part of this important event you’d better act fast.

There are only a handful of exhibitor spaces remaining so if you would like your company to be represented it would be a good idea to contact the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce as soon as possible.

The Business Expo takes place on Wednesday, Feb. 20 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ramada Hotel & Conference Centre.

This is an excellent opportunity for Chamber Members to showcase and sell their products and services to the community.

• • •

The Chamber’s second business mixer of the year takes place on Thursday, Feb. 6 at the Old Farm Market. Always a fun time, this mixer runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

• • •

The Chamber has added a new feature to Dine Cowichan.

“This year we’ll be introducing the ‘Dine Crawl’ and as the name suggests this group dining experience is a bit like a pub crawl only with food,” explains membership manager Alec Wheeler.

“The Dine Crawl will feature a three-course meal spread across three different restaurants. We’ll be holding two separate Dine Crawls, advance tickets will be required and spaces will be limited, so keep an eye out for announcements and more information,” Wheeler says.

“Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be featuring tantalizing food photos and daily video teasers to get you in the Dine Cowichan spirit. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for all the insider details and sneak peaks.”

With more than restaurants participating, countless culinary adventures and unbeatable prices, Dine Cowichan has something for everyone.

• • •

Once upon a time, February was RRSP panic month. Taxpayers scrambled to buy RRSPs in the madness of pitches from financial institutions, tax consultants and others touting the potential tax savings.

Things have changed somewhat. People have begun to understand that tax planning is a year round exercise and financial advisors have other options to present that make more sense than the last minute RRSP investment.

But apparently, according to Coast Capital Savings, many British Columbians experience feelings of guilt and anxiety just thinking about retirement savings as this year’s deadline approaches.

A Coast Capital Savings poll conducted by Mustel Group Market Research finds that one-third of British Columbians experience either anxiety or guilt when hearing the acronym “RRSP. Twenty-one per cent felt anxiety and 13 per cent felt guilt.

“RRSP season is a time when people are assessing their retirement savings. For many, that assessment doesn’t line up with where they had hoped to be,” says Daryl Hosein, Coast Capital Savings’ vice president of Treasury.

“Our poll found that 67 per cent of British Columbians have a hard time saving for retirement because of day-to-day living expenses, which helps explain why people are feeling overwhelmed.”

Hosein says that people might be stressing unnecessarily.

“RRSP season can leave people with the impression that maxing out your annual contribution is something everyone should be doing,” explains Hosein. “The truth is, contributing to an RRSP isn’t the right approach for everyone. At Coast Capital Savings we encourage people to invest with their financial goals front of mind. Goals-based investing takes into consideration the stage of life you are at as well as your financial priorities in informing your investment approach. Sometimes there are other things that top the priority list, such as paying down debt, and that is OK too.”

People who take a holistic approach to retirement savings and have a long-term financial plan generally are more at ease this time of year because they aren’t driven by a deadline when making important financial decisions, Coast Capital suggests.

Hosein offers the following tips for people to help them relax around RRSP season: slow and steady wins the race. Saving for retirement isn’t a sprint. Start planning for 2019 by putting away a small amount each month towards your RRSP so you’re not trying to find a large lump sum at next year’s deadline. Even $20 a month over the long term adds up quickly.”

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