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June 2011

June 15, 2021

Investors employ lifeboat drill to develop a sense of the future

The last few weeks in the Canadian market have been difficult ones and you can’t be certain as to
what’s in store in the near future. In the mean time, investors are being told to resist the temptation to pull the trigger.

Life Trying to control your portfolio in response to world events provides a short-term illusion of sound decision-making, but may come at a long-term cost, warns David Crowder, a consultant at Russell Investments.  

It’s important to understand that it's changes in your life, often made by choice, that have a far greater impact on your wealth than any collection of current events.

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June 14, 2021

Would you cross a picket line to work?

Canadians might be tired of three things right now: overcast June days, Roberto Luongo’s road play and any news story involving the word “strike.”

Istockphoto_1090904-on-strike Indeed, at a time when we’re still recovering – and, according to some, bracing for a double-dip recession – the lion’s share of Canucks don’t want to hear what they may consider whining from Canada Post and Air Canada workers, who have both, in a most high-profile way, walked off the job.

So here’s a fun, little discussion to have in light of the work stoppages among two of Canada’s more noteworthy employers: if you needed the pay, would you cross the picket line and act as a replacement worker during a strike?

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Retailers move to put carbon footprint labels on products

There are plenty of so-called green products on the market, from natural phosphate-free dish soaps to bleach-free coffee filters, but promoting the low-carbon nature of retail products in Canada has yet to take hold.

Bull Has the time finally arrived?

“It’s a really interesting question,” Andrew Pelletier, vice-president of sustainability at Walmart Canada, told Corporate Knights. “So far, we’re not really seeing a big movement from people going out and spending more on products that are sustainable.”

But, around the world, consumers have more information to work with. U.K. grocery giant Tesco already puts carbon labels on more than 500 products — from milk to toilet paper.

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June 13, 2021

Why the 'breastaurant' model is so successful

During the clutches of the recession, when consumers tightened up and their spending followed suit, no one knew what to make of the restaurant biz.

Istockphoto_5224766-super-sexy-sports-bar-waitress-with-beer Some said we wouldn’t eat out at all. Others claimed we’d only buy McDonald’s Dollar Menu items. Some suggested the restaurant industry would bear the worst of the spoiled economy.

But as the dust of the downturn continues to settle, one thing has become clear. When money is tight, diners will still eat out, but they’re more likely to do so at restaurants that feature hot waitresses, cold beer and 45 plasma TVs. They’re more likely to visit the “breastaurant.”

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Habitual refinancers may be forced to sell their homes

New mortgage rules that lowered the loan-to-value ceiling on refinances to 85 per cent from 90 have begun to cull the number of habitual refinancers. And that means the number of forced listings may soon follow, mortgage brokers predict.

Housde Frustration is growing as cash-strapped borrowers watch their disposable income shrink and are forced to use more of their income to service higher-interest debt, rather than tap lower-cost mortgage money.

“Each transaction has added to their principal with an increased insurance premium, which has whittled away at their equity," broker Bob Smith told Mortgagebrokernews. “It means that with a forced listing, they will have little or no equity available to downsize after legal and selling expenses.”

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June 09, 2021

NDP leader promises gas price cap if elected

A few months back, when pump reads were really getting out of hand, MSN wondered if Canada should consider regulating its gas prices.

In effect: capping what the price of gas can max-out at if oil prices spike, though exposing Canadians to the risk of paying more than usual should oil prices sink.

It’s a radical ebb-and-flow strategy – it sounds great on the one hand, readers responded, but other commenters weren’t thrilled about paying a locked-in price if oil prices dropped – and at least one political leader is trying to make it reality.

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Are green mortgages starting to take off?

While Canadians are interested in reducing their impact on the environment, the decision to buy a "green home" is really being driven by saving cash, according to a recent survey.

Green Despite saying all the right things, more than 59 per cent of respondents cite financial savings as the main reason for making eco-friendly upgrades and purchases.

The trend toward green living has encouraged Canadian banks to start offering "green mortgages," which offer home buyers a discounted interest rate and other incentives to buy more environmentally sensitive houses or perform upgrades aimed at lowering their environmental footprint.

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June 08, 2021

What tricks do you use to get through airport security?

Going through the airport in 2011 is tough. Like, cheap steak-, Canada Post trying to get its way-tough.

Istockphoto_8871331-airport-security But the seasoned traveller chalks up airport struggles with inexperience. Well, idiot, you got sent to the back of the line because you tried to bring shampoo in your carry-on. Of course you got pulled aside: you had your iPod headphones in in front of security. What, are you still wearing shoes?

Indeed, everyone has their ways to make travelling a little less hectic. Though could breezing through security a little faster come down to something simple – like maintaining eye contact?

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Are you or your partner lying about money?

According to the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), roughly one in three couples have deceived their partners when it comes to money

Among the offenders, 58% hide money from their spouse. 30% hide bills or sCheattatements from their partner. 16% lie about a major purchase. 15% have a hidden bank account. 11% of those surveyed lie about how much they earn or owe.

Men were significantly more likely to say that their partner was lying about a purchase, while women were significantly more likely to say their partner was lying about income or debt.

Sound familiar?

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June 07, 2021

Good news: Cdn. execs say summer hiring on its way

The federal budget is here. Good news for taxpayers? Maybe. Bad news for public workers? Definitely.

Istockphoto_9614995-fired-hired-sign In a bid to find $4 billion in annual savings, Harper’s Conservatives look primed to start slashing government positions by the thousands, according to media reports, a move one detractor likened to “transfer(ring) $4 billion from vital public services to corporate bank accounts.”

Forget for a moment that this was a widely supported strategy when we discussed it here last month, because these are real people at risk here. Where they will land isn’t clear yet, but at least it appears a warm job market may be waiting.

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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...