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September 2011

September 13, 2021

More young adults living with parents now than in past 20 years

51 per cent of Generation Ys between the ages of 20 and 29 lived with their parents last year, according to the latest Statistics Canada data.

Kid That’s compared with just 31 per cent of Generation Xers and 28 per cent of late boomers who lived at home during that same age period.

And while it may be easy to view them all as permanent 'basement dwellers', Generation Y is just more financially savvy than past generations, says CIBC economist Benjamin Tal.

The gang in this cohort simply know when they've got a good thing going.

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September 12, 2021

New site lets you set goals, put your own cash up as incentive

Pop quiz: what’s dustier, Angela Lansbury or your gym membership?

744491_bathroom_scale Indeed, your fitness regimen probably goes as many other Canadians’ does, which is poorly. Or, after a few weeks, not at all.

But what can we do? Every day across the country, some Canuck makes a New Year’s-like resolution to lose weight, stop smoking, drink less or whatever. More times than not, it’s assumed, they fail. For one reason or another, we can’t stay out of our own damn way.

Though perhaps Canadians ought to familiarize themselves with StickK, a new web service that puts your money where your mouth is. In order to complete your goal, the site puts your own cash up as a stake – achieve your goal, and you get your dough back. Don’t? Well, there are a few places it could go …

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Is being drunk ever an excuse for anything?

Whether it's an embarrassing text sent or breaking all those windows when the team loses the big one, it’s not hard to pinpoint something dumb you simply wouldn't do while sober.  

GlassAnd while there are lots of myths as to how alcohol affects us and what to do about it, there's really only one question: Why do people do such stupid things when they’re drunk?

University of Missouri researchers have found alcohol dulls the brain signal that warns people when they’re making a mistake, ultimately reducing self-control.

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September 09, 2021

In defence of playing, and losing, the lottery

Wouldn’t you know it, but Americans are flooding to their national lotteries again.

10492306-10492306-lottery-balls In the face of their economy, which insists on returning to strength about as quickly as British Columbia warms up to the HST, Yankee consumers have given the lottery biz a major boost of late – 17 states set all-time sales records in the fiscal year ending 2011, according to a recent USA Today survey.

Many detractors, of course, are hot on the prowl on this one. Lotto players, many with income levels familiar with the poverty line, just throw their money away, they say. It’s an investment akin to a Pete Rose autograph.

But let’s flip this thing around, shall we? In defence of lotto players, let’s look at the lottery not as an investment, but as a throwaway consumer purchase. Perhaps we can come to a conclusion where playing the lottery makes sense, even if you lose.

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September 08, 2021

Lower tuition costs lead to less sex, drugs among teens: report

The idea of going to college or university in the States is scary, isn’t it?

16620805-16620805-graduation-caps-thrown-in-the-air Consider: the average tuition for schools in Ontario or Manitoba falls in the $3,000-$6,000 range per year, as of 2006-07. Go across the border to Michigan State or even down to somewhere like George Washington University and we’re looking at $11,722 and $40,437 per year, respectively. Frightening.

In the face of that kind of economic commitment, then, it’s no wonder some kids write off the idea of post-secondary education altogether. I can barely afford food and clothes now, how can I possibly justify, or secure, $50,000 at minimum over the next four years?

And, according to a new research paper, that higher tuition certainly has its effects on teenage behaviour. In the U.S., the study suggests, higher tuition costs leads to increased sexual partners and higher cigarette/drug use among graduating high school students.

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Bankrupt divorcees can renege on equalization payments

Thinking of splitting up? Make sure you know what you’re doing – particularly if your soon-to be-ex is having some financial troubles.  

Thanks to a recent Supreme Court of Canada, declaring bankruptcy after a divorce may help get you out of making certain settlement payments to an ex-spouse.

Going bust won't excuse a divorced man or woman from making alimony or direct support payments, but the rules are a bit different when it comes to equalization payments, a process designed to ensure that both spouses end up with similar net worth after they split.

Here’s a recent example that, on the surface, seems simply unfair. 

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September 07, 2021

Should HOV lanes be turned into toll lanes, too?

Asking a Canadian if he’d be in support of toll roads would be like asking a Penguins fan if Sidney Crosby should take next season off, too.

No, you idiot, I already pay taxes higher than Rob Ford’s cholesterol. Find a way to make traffic work with the 80 per cent of my paycheque you’re already taking.

Fair, but what can we say about Canadian traffic? In the country’s largest metropolises, congestion seems to be far worse than our population should suggest it be, and some highways in the GTA are among the worst in North America (the dreaded 401 being the most used roadway on the entire continent).

What can we do, then? Go back to square one. As suggested again by a C.D. Howe Institute report, Canada needs to add high-occupancy toll lanes to reduce traffic and generate revenue for municipalities.

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Can you still afford to eat out regularly?

On average, Canadian households visit a restaurant for a meal or snack 520 times a year, according to the most recent StatsCan data. And that number is expected to grow.

Dinner Even though their parents steered clear of eating out, many boomers have raised their kids to think that eating out in restaurants or from the take out window as Swiss Chalet is no big deal … something you do, well, when you're hungry.

But can you really afford it, asks MELISSAB, who blogs at Beating Broke. She doesn’t think so, particularly when you consider all the costs. 

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September 06, 2021

Swank L.A. bistro has entire menu devoted to bottled water

Los Angeles gets a bad rap, certainly, though much of it may be unfair.

For every greasy studio exec and real housewive are probably a thousand hardworking, genuine Americans. Hollywood may seem like L.A., but it’s a district of only 65 square kilometres – just 0.000005 per cent of the size of the entire City of Angels.

Still, come on, L.A. How do you expect us to defend you with things like this floating out there?

Indeed, every Tinseltown detractor, pile on here, because recently spotted at a posh L.A. eatery was an exercise unparalleled in hoity-toityness: a menu especially reserved for bottled waters.

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Do you split the cheque or try hard to pay separately?

Eating out with a group of people from work or your softball team can be a real hoot.

Cheque You know what's not much fun though? Trying to figure out who owes what when the cheque hits the table, particularly when you realize that how you pay often affects how much you pay.

A study done a few years ago found that people who dined out in a group spent more if they knew the bill was going to be split evenly. If each person settled up individually, the group as a whole ordered less.

Not surprisingly, if everyone knew that someone else was picking up the tab, they ordered twice as much.

But that still doesn't address the issue of you paying more than your fair share. So even split or separate cheques?

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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...