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January 2011

January 24, 2022

Disinheriting family members can be tough to do

Many Canadians would be surprised to learn they don’t always have the last word when it comes to decisions about who inherits their money.

Will In certain circumstances, lawyers report, the courts are becoming more sympathetic to the rights of estranged family members who’ve been cut out of a will.

Essentially, they’re saying that you can’t, for instance, simply cut one of your kids out of your estate plan unless you have a really good reason.

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January 21, 2022

Smoking can cause cancer-forming process in only 15 minutes: study

You wouldn’t think it, but people these days are still starting to smoke.

Not still  smoking, but actually picking up that initial cigarette and lighting up for the first time. They’re starting a habit that was once commonplace, then panned, then wholly taboo and now, likely as a result of the previous incarnation, kind of trendy again.

Their reasoning? Relax, bra, I’m not going to be one of those hacks smoking for 20, 30 years. It’s not going to harm anyone.

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January 20, 2022

Couples now marrying in funeral homes to save cash

One of the enduring principles of the recession, at least in theory, is that is was the kick in the butt we needed.

1229225_wedding_cake_1 Because we were so spooked, we’d finally get it: we can’t keep blowing our money on stuff we can’t afford! The downturn was lousy, but at least it would change our consumer behaviour for the better going forward.

Well, did it? By many accounts, of course not. Though it’s not entirely been a lost cause. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury …

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Pay-as-you-drive car insurance coming to Canada?

If you drive infrequently, you could save a bundle car on insurance by paying as you go, rather than a flat amount for coverage every six months. According to a report by the Brookings Institution study, the average driver would save $270 per car with such a mileage-based insurance policy.

Driving The theory is that insurance companies can offer lower rates to people who seldom drive and are deemed less risky. The problem, of course, is that few drivers have the option of buying pay-as-you-drive (PAYD) coverage.

But this type of insurance appears to be gaining traction south of the border as some states consider ways to reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions.

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January 19, 2022

Alleged 'gang-rape' may stain Mexico for Canadian tourists

If you’ve traveled to Mexico over the years, chances are, you had a wonderful time.

1322570_tulum_ The beaches are beautiful. The resorts, for the most part, are clean. The food … well, the beaches are beautiful.

Yet every year there seems to be a rash of anti-Mexico stories making news, many of them involving Canadians. The latest, perhaps, is a black eye the nation might not so easily recover from.

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If you only had a year to live...

"If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?"

Those are just a few of the questions posed by Stephen Levine, author most recently of A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last in which he reports on an experiment he and his wife, Ondrea, conducted by living one year as if it were their last year on earth.

If time was short, we’d probably all resolve to fully live each twenty four hours. Work less. Make amends. See the Pyramids. Stop worrying about money.

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January 18, 2022

Would Facebook stock make a good investment?

After the site’s biopic won a host of Golden Globes Sunday night – including the award for best picture of the year, given to The Social Network  and its producers – it’s now officially impossible to get away from Facebook.

N_1234209334_facebook_logo Yet despite its 500 million-plus worldwide users and recent splash into the entertainment pages, the most enduring news regarding Facebook may well centre around Goldman Sachs’ $450 million stake in the company, which it acquired earlier this month.

The Wall Streeter’s buy-in (teamed with another $50 million from a Russian firm) only gets it a reported one per cent of Facebook, but it’s already got the world’s investors frothing for a piece.

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Getting paid to shed those pounds

While Canadians can boast that we're not as fat as our Krispy Kreme-loving neighbours to the south, we’re really not all that far behind. 

Fat So it’s good to know that HealthyWage, which makes money through advertising and sponsorships, is there to help us with the promise of at least $100 if we lower our body mass index from at least 30, which is considered obese, to below 25, the normal range.

If you’re willing to pay $300 of your own money, you can possibly see as much as $1,000 if you realize your weight-loss goal.

But do such inducements work? Apparently so.

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January 17, 2022

Should you ever buy a house with $0 down?

It’s always been said, in sound financial reasoning, that you shouldn’t buy a home unless you have at least 20 per cent of its value ready for a down payment.

1150486_property_for_sale_2 Of course, there’s a reason the world plunged itself into a crippling recession for two years: we ain’t that smart with our money. Even as we recover from the downturn, real estate signs are once again everywhere telling you, the consumer, that you can buy this house with “no money down.”

Should you? Probably not, but is there at least an argument to be made? Should you ever, under any circumstances, buy a house with $0 down?

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Starbucks adds whopping drink size

Starbucks (SBUX) is rolling out an even bigger drink size. The 31-ounce Trenta will be available in all of its U.S. coffee stores by May 3, Reuters reports.

At first the Trenta will be available only for iced coffee and iced tea. It's a monstrously large serving, about seven ounces larger than the Venti already available for iced drinks. It'll cost about 50 cents more.

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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...