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January 2010

January 21, 2022

Oh no. Not another collection call!

Today, over a million Canadians are receiving collection calls from creditors or collection agencies. You might be one of those receiving these calls. But things are not as bleak as you might think. It is, however, important for you to take action to dig yourself out of your current financial hole.

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January 20, 2022

Would you view a funeral via Webcast?

It seems every technological advance we see brings the following debate: is this cool, or just wildly depressing?

Texting, for example, is a pretty neat advent, but it means our faces have to be plastered to our phones half the day. Or there is Facebook, which keeps us connected but is often nothing more than a portal for half-nude photos and misguided “Leno is a crook!!!!!” status updates.

Sometimes, though, there are new tech initiatives that are tied to the economy. They arrive out of necessity, for better or worse.

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Parents play favourites when helping adult children

Several weeks ago, we talked about how much money some boomers spend on adult children no longer living at home.

Reportedly delivering a regular subsidy approaching $500 a month on average, parents describe down payments, weddings, cars, travel, gap years, and even supplementary pensions as just a few of the ways they deliver a wide variety of aid to their adult children. 

Not all grown children get the same support, and which children parents help most may surprise some people, suggests Purdue researcher Karen Fingerman.

She notes that these subsidies represent “a dramatic increase from 20 years ago, when young adults received much less support from their parents.”

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Ontario auto insurance rates to spike this March

Each January, there always seems to be an unpleasant shoe that drops from the year before.

Monday, we discussed the holiday spending hangover – where all the purchases we’d made in December were popping back up in the form of due credit card bills.

And now, Canadian motorists (in Ontario, at least) will have to open their wallets a little wider based on government approvals made in 2009.

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January 18, 2022

How to rid yourself of the holiday spending hangover

They say today, Blue Monday, is the most depressing slot on the calendar.

Yet, despite all the theories why this is – we’re in the depths of winter, it’s only a few weeks until Valentine’s Day, etc. – no one ever mentions the holiday spending hangover.

As you’ve most certainly learned, this is the week many Canadians will receive their stack of holiday credit card bills. And, if you’re like the high percentage of consumers who typically carry a balance, you’re hip to the grim fact that these debts are soon due.

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Putting your money where your mouth is

A few months ago, we talked about co-workers and friends egging each other by making small weight loss wagers. Some people compete for winner-take-all pots, while others agree to pay a fine if they don't lose weight.

Either way, if you don’t drop more pounds than the competition, you lose a bit cash, most of which is pledged to charity. 

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January 15, 2022

A tale of two real estate markets

In Canada, damn our winters, it’s always been tough to sell a home this time of year.

Not listing your house in the winter has even turned into a real estate rule of thumb. Traditionally, the market just dries up.

So you can imagine the surprise of many realtors today when news broke that Canada had its best-ever December for home sales. Best. Ever.

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January 14, 2022

Economic indicators for the rest of us

To the layman, this recession has come as a whirlwind of high-brow, economic bank-speak.

You’ve pretty much needed a Cornell MBA to read the business section over the past 18 months … that is, of course, if you wanted to learn more about why you’re suddenly without both a pension and job.

But finally there is reprieve. For all the nonsense we’ve read about Consumer Price Indexes and weighted unemployment numbers, there are now economic indicators the average Canadian can understand.

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January 13, 2022

Being poor is bad for your health

It’s no secret that smoking and obesity can lead to a stack of life-threatening conditions, but poverty may be even worse for your health, new research suggests.

According to a group of Columbia University researchers, Americans whose household income is in the bottom one-third of the population, or up to twice the national poverty level, lost more than eight years of otherwise good health.

Dropping out of high school was also a marker for poorer health. High school dropouts had 5.1 fewer years of good health, the researchers suggest. In comparison, obesity only trimmed 4.2 years off health scores, while smokers lost 6.6 years.

Are things any better here in Canada? Apparently not.

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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...