« February 2009 | Main | April 2009 »

March 2009

March 23, 2021

Should Canada limit immigration during a recession?

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

There’s a hotly-contested issue surrounding this recession that hasn’t seemed to draw much media attention, subsequently gliding a bit under the social radar.

And it’s a two-pronged matter, really: what impact is immigration having on the struggling Canadian economy, and – because of the downturn – should the federal government now tighten the valve that lets those from foreign countries inside the border?

The matter appears to have divided Canadians into two fairly radicalized groupings. One thinks we need to focus on helping native Canucks find work instead of giving a fresh group of immigrants a crack at those jobs. The other suggests new immigrants can help boost the economy by offering more federal tax revenue to work with.

Continue reading »

Creating the ideal retirement portfolio

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Sadly, many people have found out too late that stocks are suitable only for money that they won't need for several years. No one knows the ideal time horizon for holding stocks but you can be certain that it's extremely risky for money that you think you'll need in a year or two.

And if you didn’t know this before, 2008’s meltdown brought it home with a vengeance.

Older investors, in particular, need to be wary of market downturns as they enter what York University prof Moshe Milevsky has labelled the "retirement risk zone" — namely, the period just before or after they leave work.

Continue reading »

March 20, 2022

CRA using YouTube to chase down tax cheats

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

While the financial markets are struggling on a global scale, the underground economy is thriving. According to consumer advocate Dale Goldhawk, millions of Canadians are fiddling their taxes, either by working under the table or hiring somebody who does.  

That’s a stack of lost revenue — which is why Canada Revenue Agency is sponsoring a YouTube video contest to target those that avoid taxes by working off the books.

Continue reading »

Deals for the laid-off

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

When a friend of mine was hired on as a reporter at a major Canadian newspaper last year, she didn’t flinch when she was required to provide her own vehicle for work.

Of course, some eight months or so after she leased a brand new Honda, her job was wiped clean by sweeping company layoffs that left her stuck with monthly car payments she could no longer afford.

Her union wasn’t able to help her by making the newspaper ease the burden of the lease because she received “just” cause for her termination, ie. the layoff was deemed necessary and didn’t breach the terms of her contract.

Continue reading »

March 19, 2022

Canadian-educated statistician taking heat for Wall Street meltdown

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

You knew the finger pointing was coming. The auto execs, definitely. The investment traders, sure. The labour unions, likely. This guy, though, not many could predict.

Finding himself under heavy fire of late is David X. Li, a Canadian-educated statistician being largely blamed for the collapse of the American economy.

Li has been the subject of several blame-it-on-the-greed media articles recently, including a feature in yesterday’s Toronto Star and an extended periodical in Wired magazine entitled, “The Formula That Killed Wall Street.”

Continue reading »

March 18, 2022

Will you ever get to retire?

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Although there’s no shortage of bleak predictions about the financial future of retirees, some experts in retirement demographics favour a more optimistic view.

Despite this, a recent survey reveals that 50% of Canadian women are considering postponing retirement by an average of six years due to current market conditions.

How do you see your own future unfolding? Has the market’s meltdown changed your outlook on retirement? Does your partner feel the same way?

Continue reading »

March 17, 2022

Free haircuts if you buy their shampoo

By James Havers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Excuse me if I don't get excited by the offer of a free haircut.

The last time I got this offer, it was from a roommate in university. And I learned then and there the best things in life aren't free at all.

Continue reading »

U.S. recession 'probably' over in '09, but what about Canada?

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

A few conflicting reports floating out there on when the recession will end, who’s going to bounce back first and who will struggle to reassemble an effective economy.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told 60 Minutes the downturn is “probably” over this year, if American stimulus packages can successfully bolster its fractured banking system.

But, that is in the States. Can that outlook transfer to the economic prospects here, at home?

Continue reading »

March 16, 2022

Down $14,000 each, Canadians still spending

James Havers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Anyone with RRSPs or a brokerage account has learned to dread the arrival of their monthly statements over the past six months. Now, thanks to StatsCan, we know our fellow Canadians share our pain.

Canadian household net worth fell 4.4% in the final four months of 2008, making it the biggest drop on record.

Continue reading »

Quick ways to trim expenses

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

With job losses taking both salary and benefits, people are once again learning to live on a tight budget … just like a student.

And while this may bring back fond memories of KD and cheap vodka, your expenses are probably a bit higher than they were then. Here are a few suggestions to stretch those dollars.  

Continue reading »


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...