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September 2010

September 23, 2021

Is hiring a private tutor really worthwhile?

Although students have only been back in school for a few weeks, the tutoring business is already in full gear, the New York Times suggests.

In the U.S., the number of tutors being certified has jumped approximately 18 per cent in each of the last five years. And, judging by the number of flyers in the mail this week, Canada doesn't lag far behind.

But, with these increasing numbers, comes a changing landscape.

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September 22, 2021

Should robbery alarms be mandatory on all ATMs?

For people of a certain generation, the defining ATM burglary moment was when Will took a bullet for Carlton on that watershed episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Okay, there are probably a few more serious examples than that, but the fact remains we’re all exposed when we withdraw cash in a public space.

So we want security at an ATM – and, to a certain degree, we have it. Keypad covers to disguise your PIN; mirrors to see if anyone is lurking behind; dings on bank vestibule doors so you can hear if someone else enters. But is that enough?

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Morning people better positioned for career success: study

Are you the first one into work on Monday morning? Well, perhaps you should be.

Recent research by Christoph Randler, a professor at the University of Education in Heidelberg, suggests that those who prefer mornings are better positioned for career success.

Randler quizzed university students, a notoriously sleepy bunch, asking them when they were most energetic and willing to change a situation. It was the morning people who were more likely to agree with statements such as “I feel in charge of making things happen” and “I spend time identifying long-range goals for myself.”

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September 21, 2021

Smoking ad joins the ranks of distracting, new wave of billboards

You get the sense that, with each new innovation, marketers aren’t nearly done with their billboard experiments.

Consider: that sign in Charlotte earlier this year that spewed the smell of peppercorn steak with a fan and some air cartridges. Like the scented ads in magazines, only fifty feet high in the air, right?

Well, it appears advertisers aren’t finished with their billboard tinkering, after all. Last week, in South Dakota, drivers met the world’s first smoking billboard.

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Physically demanding jobs hamper retirement prospects: report

When someone looks like they may be coming up short in reaching their retirement goal, the easiest fix – aside from boosting the expected returns or severely cutting the desired retirement income – is delaying the retirement date.

Work a couple of years longer and you should be alright, you’ll hear.

After all, what’s the big deal? We’re all living longer, you’re a knowledge worker, and you’ll miss all your friends at the office anyway.

But many workers with more physically demanding jobs simply won’t be able to work longer than they currently do.

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September 20, 2021

Book your flights early, not late, this holiday season

It’s one of the greatest debates in the consumer’s calendar: when booking airfare, is it cheaper to get your tickets last-minute or way in advance?

Certainly, there is no definitive answer here. In my own travels, even, I’ve seen it both ways. Sometimes you see seat sales days before a flight takes off, other times a fare that costs X dollars to book two months in advance shows up as X dollars + $200 should you wait to buy.

This holiday season, though, maybe there’s no debate. By most every industry expert’s take, buy early this year, and don’t even think twice.

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The ongoing search for deadbeat parents

Unpaid child and spousal support now tops $2.7 billion across the country, according to recent Statistics Canada data. 

As of March 31, 2010, there were roughly 408,000 cases, most involving children, registered in various provincial maintenance enforcement programs, which process cases and ensure support.

The province with the highest compliance rate was Quebec, at 80 per cent whereas Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta had compliance rates of 62, 63 and 64 per cent, respectively.

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September 17, 2021

The perilous economics of high-class modeling

In the world of high fashion modelling, the rewards afforded the best-of-the-best are well documented.

Kate Moss. Gisele Bündchen. Heidi Klum. All these women, based on their looks, personalities and marketability, rake in somewhere north of $10 million ($25 mil if you’re Gisele) each year.

But maybe that’s where the glamour stops. According to one new report, in-demand models have no problem stuffing their pockets with cash, but for the rest of the ubiquitous, often homophonic industry, talent likely has trouble making ends meet.

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September 16, 2021

Germany uses Oktoberfest to fight deflation

Oktoberfest, of course, is big business. Even in September.

Indeed, while its name may mislead you as to when the thing actually starts, the world’s largest annual fair means a lot to the people of Munich – and not just when it comes to beer and schnitzel.

With six million attendees each year, there’s big cash to be made at Oktoberfest, sure, but never before has the fair’s revenues meant so much to the German economy. This year, it’s Oktoberfest vs. deflation.

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Couples disagree when it comes to retirement: study

Do men and women view retirement differently? It would seem so.

Fidelity Investments has found that while married couples generally agree on the types of retirement products they've earmarked for retirement, they frequently disagree on their plans and expectations for their later years.

The study also found that while couples may not be giving each other the silent treatment, they aren’t having many conversations about serious financial matters either.

That’s too bad, since women are more likely than men to spend part of their retirement alone, making it even more important for them to participate in retirement discussions.

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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...