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June 2009

June 22, 2021

What isn't your financial planner telling you?

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

If you subscribe to the philosophy of Gordon Gekko, greed is good.

Heck, it made the guy a ton of cash in Wall Street  and, were it not for Charlie Sheen ratting him out, fuelled the desire that made him one of the world’s most powerful businessman. Michael Douglas even landed an Oscar for convincing us financial gluttony might've been given a bad name, after all.

But Wall Street  was, of course, a movie. In real life, you don’t want any dishonesty when it comes to handling your money.

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June 19, 2021

Developing countries face tough road to recovery

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

It’s hard to fathom when we’re not exactly backstroking through vaults of cash with Scrooge McDuck, but – depending on where you look – the economy really hasn’t hit us as hard as it could.

That is to say, by comparison at least, Canadians should feel fairly fortunate about their socioeconomic situation as the troubles the global recession has placed on developing countries begin to grow clearer.

According to the National Post, economic hardship in world financial hubs like New York, Hong Kong and Toronto are killing the home nations of many of its employees who wire a “substantial chunk” of their wages to family in their developing countries.

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Anxious cottage buyers getting desperate

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Canadians are willing to make big sacrifices to own a cottage, and more want to use their oasis year-round as a recreational property or even as their primary residence, according to recent research by Royal LePage.

To pursue their dream of buying a recreational property, most would be willing to do just about anything. That includes purchasing a property with family or friends, renting it out to make ends meet, making it their primary residence, buying a handyman special, or downsizing their city home in the hopes of building up equity somewhere on the water.

What didn’t make the list though were fractional cottages, which is surprising since they seem to popping up all over, particularly in Ontario  and B.C.

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June 18, 2021

Air Canada brings small pets on board (for a price)

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

As we discussed earlier this spring, Pet Airways – a new airline set to operate pets-only flights within North America – is set to launch next month.

But Air Canada couldn’t let them hog all the spotlight, could they?

AC announced yesterday that, starting in July, it will now allow some small pets out of the plane’s cargo hold and into the cabin on flights.

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June 17, 2021

Alumni return to college towns in retirement

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

We've all heard stories of people retiring to spots they thought were just right, only to get there and realize they miss their family or friends or the activities that had enriched their lives while working.

Although advertisers and real estate developers might suggest otherwise, it appears that most retirees actually choose to stay put instead of heading off to the beach.

According to a recent AARP report, close to 90% of retirees aged 60 and over say they'd prefer to stay in the same house or county. In fact, currently less than 10% of the people over age 60 actually do move each year. Of those who do, about half remain in the same area, often close to where they went to school. 

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British Airways wants its staff to work for free, but would you?

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

The white flag has officially been raised.

In a move that essentially shouts, “Hey, we’re sorry, we’ve tried everything else!” British Airways has done the unexpected and asked its 40,000 staff to honour their loyalty to the company and work for free as the airline struggles to make it through the recession.

Reeling from a near $750-million loss in 2008, BA’s chief exec Willie Walsh said he will work without pay next month and hopes the airline’s employees might follow suit and volunteer for up to four weeks of unpaid shifts in July.

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June 16, 2021

Rumours of IT demise have been greatly exaggerated

By David Ticoll (guest blogger), Executive Director of the Canadian Coalition for Tomorrow’s ICT Skills (CCICT)

The IT industry will need to hire another 150,000 new professionals by 2015, but enrollments in university and college IT programs are down dramatically — 33 to 40 per cent, in fact. Given the growing demand for professionals in this field, students are missing the prosperity boat by turning away from IT. Parents should reinforce that IT is where students should focus their energy.

IT jobs play a critical and integral role in how well business organizations function, and those who know how to design, manage, implement and lead the use of modern technology are high in demand in the upper echelons of the business world.

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What will happen to all those shuttering car dealerships?

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

You ever randomly think back to The Green Mile  and feel guilty that, no matter what Tom Hanks tried, he had no real shot of saving John Coffey and keeping him from the electric chair?

Well, that’s kind of the way I feel every time I drive by a moribund car dealership these days, knowing George Steinbrenner might have a better chance of making it to 2010 than the gasping auto lot does.

According to recent stats, of Canada’s 700 GM dealerships, somewhere between 240 and 280 will close in the next 18 months. And that’s only General Motors. With auto sales yet to rebound to a level reminiscent of healthy industry, there’s no telling how many lots that hawk Ford, Chrysler, Toyota or whoever’s products may shutter its doors in the coming year, too.

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June 15, 2021

What you should know about household toxins

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

In their recent book Death by Rubber Duck: How the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Life Affects our Health, authors Bruce Lourie and Rick Smith talk about detoxing by abstaining from everyday consumer products known to contain pollutants, and then loading up on the common, brand-name products in order to measure the effect on their bodies.

The result, over a two-day period using brand-name deodorant, toothpaste, soap and shaving cream was a sharp increase in triclosan, a common anti-bacterial agent that, they maintain, has been identified as a potential carcinogen and reproductive toxin.

And their 'things that are bad for you' list goes on.

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The strain relationships face during a recession

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

It’s a funny thing, this recession.

For months we’ve been riddled with bad news, whether it have come in the form of a round of lay-offs or plant closures, or how no one can find work or pay their car insurance anymore.

Yet for the life of me, I haven’t read one story about how a crumbling economy affects us – not the material, rather everything underneath it.

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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...