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November 2009

November 20, 2021

Misconceptions over family-work conflict hurting women

That thud you may have heard recently is the sound of women continuing to hit their heads on that invisible glass ceiling, according to recent research from the University of Illinois.

One key factor: Too many managers, regardless of gender, believe women have more family-work conflict than men

And this belief, mistaken though it is, leads supervisors to take a negative view of female employees' suitability for promotion and salary increases, maintains Jenny Hoobler, the professor who headed up the study.

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In-flight shopping like you've never known

For all the crap we give airlines, they really do labour in a struggling industry.

Yeah, they batter us over the head with ridiculous fees. And sure, by many accounts their overall customer service could use a shot in the arm.

But if we give them the benefit of the doubt here, all that pestering comes for a reason. Profit margins in the airline biz are generally razor thin, and companies have to push the envelope a bit to stay afloat.

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November 18, 2021

Has your mechanic ever taken you for a ride?

When it comes to cars and sleazeballs, we’re generally led to believe it’s the used automobile salesman who’s the least honest of the group.

But, if you’ve ever been to an unfamiliar mechanic, they sure do make a run at the top spot, don’t they?

Indeed, while most of us have the under-the-hood competency of Peg Bundy, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn a little so mechanics don’t see green money signs every time we walk into a garage.

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Low-tax retirement spots across the border

A stronger Canadian dollar has many people thinking about relocating in retirement, in hopes of enjoying milder weather and generally lower expenses. 

And, fueled by sliding home prices and a certain familiarity, the U.S. Sunbelt is always high on most snowbirds’ lists.

If you’re only going for a winter break, even one that lasts a couple of months, then U.S. taxes aren’t a great concern. But, if you see yourself staying longer than that, then you better start paying attention, particularly when you consider that states with low income taxes often have higher sales or property taxes, and vice versa.

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November 17, 2021

Canadian companies to reverse hiring freezes soon: report

There may be little doubt that the recession has begun to fade, but what does that really mean?

If you pore over the Wall Street Journal, you’ll see encouraging reports of stronger financial markets and a rise in GDP and another in consumer spending, which are great. Yet, again, how are we to make sense of all that?

The Average Joe, known now is many circles as the Average Underworked Joe, doesn’t particularly care about the price of gold because the price of gold doesn’t have an immediate-enough impact on his bottom line.

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November 16, 2021

Finally, a grip on recessionary alcohol sales

If you recall, the recession’s effect on alcohol sales wasn’t always so clear.

Back in April, we discussed how the booze market was faring during the downturn … and couldn’t quite come to a solid conclusion.

In Canada, beer and liquor sales had risen 17.3%. In the States, they were down 9.3%. In Ireland – yes, Ireland – they had “flat-lined to the lowest they’ve been in a decade,” it was said at the time.

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Thinking of switching financial advisors?

Time was, disappointed clients were reluctant to fire their advisors, preferring the devil they knew.

But that’s beginning to change in the wake of deep financial losses and so many “wow, who knew?” scandals.

That’s why, unless you can afford to lose thousands of dollars each year, you need to know how your advisor stacks up, says Warren MacKenzie, whose firm, Weigh House Investor Services, helps investors with unbiased assessments of their portfolios and the advisors that built them.

For a fee, of course. 

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November 13, 2021

The rise of middle-class shoplifting

When you read the bad news of the recession, it’s all extremes.

GM’s laid off another 20,000. Abortions are way up. Lehman Brothers, a financial staple for almost 160 years, has been forced to liquidate.

But, looking back, there may be a deeper depression in discussing some of the more subtle consequences of the downturn.

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How much do pets really cost?

There's no denying that there’s something special going on between animals and their owners. But they sure can be expensive – pets, that is.

I know, I know, you can’t attach a dollar value to things like companionship and warding off depression during those chilly winter months.

And looking at pet ownership in terms of “opportunity costs” seems particularly heartless.

But pets do cost money. Here are some of the numbers you'll need to consider and, if your want to bring kids into the discussion, a worksheet to help you tally them

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November 11, 2021

What things are more important than money?

A hundred years from now, kids will still be reading about the Great Depression in books at school.

In them, they’ll find all the valuable lessons we learned: the risk of the stock market; the significance of consistent work; the importance of bountiful farmland.

But when they stumble upon the little subchapter about today’s recession – the most severe downturn since those 1930s – what will it say?

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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...