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July 2012

July 31, 2021

Voluntary retirement system remains deeply flawed: report

When it comes to looking after their retirement, people are pretty stupid, maintains economics professor Teresa Ghilarducci in the New York Times. And the more they're left to do things on their own, the worse off they're likely to be.

Depressing? Yes, a bit. But don't just take her word for it. Take a quick look around you, she suggests. 

Most people don't don’t have enough savings, don’t know how much “enough” is, make inaccurate assumptions about the length of their lives and their ability to extend their working careers, and aren’t able to find qualified help to help them make more appropriate savings decisions.

In fact, much of what passes for retirement planning is really just an exercise in denial, leaving too many dopes to look after their own affairs.

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July 30, 2021

Scams popping up in wake of 'Dark Knight Rises' shooting

Scammers are a heartless bunch, which is news to no one.

1144456_bullets_1But while everyone knows to keep an eye for fraudsters targeting seniors or surfacing ‘round the holidays, thieves know how to leverage tragedy, too.

They popped up after 9/11, and there they were following Norway’s massacre last year, pulling on heartstrings to pry on wallets.

Now? Merciless con men are turning the deadly Colorado Dark Knight Rises  shooting into an earning opportunity.

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If your salary doubled, would you be twice as happy?

Would making twice as much money make you twice as happy? Probably not, according to the authors of the forthcoming book Happy Money: The Science of Spending.

Most people anticipated that they would feel twice as happy if their salaries more than doubled.

But when researchers polled participants at two different income levels, they found that those making more than twice as much were only 9% happier than those making the original threshold amount.

The study’s authors, Michael Norton and Elizabeth Dunn, found that when it comes to spending and happiness, doing with a little less is the key.

If you indulge yourself sparingly—thereby lowering your baseline spending, and increasing your potential pleaure each time you buy—you'll feel happier overall, they suggest.  

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July 27, 2021

The most commonly used passwords on the web

Today there is a necessity, if not an obligation, to hold a thousand different accounts for a thousand different services.

158376_linux_loginMost of these are inconsequential logins and passwords – access to gossip sites or fantasy sports forums – but not all, like those for email and online banking, should be so hastily used.

Though if there’s one thing we can take from a recent widespread hack of online logins, it’s that many of us insist on employing some pretty weak passwords.

What are among the most commonly used passwords on the web? Click through to find out.

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Is there anything you wouldn't buy used?

Most people understand that buying a new car is generally a poor financial decision. Buying used almost always provides more savings over the long term.

Sometimes though, you end up paying more in repairs and replacements, not to mention foregoing that 'new car' smell.

But there's a limit somewhere. You're not, for instance, going to buy secondhand cribs or bicycle helmet. 

Or would you? It seems that there's a growing number of folks who try to buy everything used. Or if not everything, then at least as much as possible. But where do you draw the line?

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July 26, 2021

Certain careers linked with risk of passing along birth defects

So much of our lives are defined by work.

We work in banking, we stress over Financial Post headlines. We work in landscaping, our hands show the days of our labour.

But it isn’t just our  lives, in fact, that the workplace affects.

According to a new report in a British medical journal, certain careers are more often linked than others with birth defects passed onto children.

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Employees entitled to benefits long after getting fired: report

Even though they may have fired you months ago, employers may still be on the hook for short-term and long-term disability claims if you subsequently get sick, an Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled.

Here's the story: After working for 24 years at the same spot, an Ontario man was fired without cause.

In addition to one week of severance for each year worked, he received eight weeks’ pay in lieu of notice and the continuation of his benefits for just that eight-week period.

Although he found work quickly, he had no benefits. Which is why, after he found that he had cancer 16 months later, he went back to the original employer to see if they would cover his treatments.

Not surprisingly, the answer was no, you don't work here anymore. So, he sued and eventually won.

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July 25, 2021

Going to London for the Olympics? Better bring your own cash

Last month, London had an influx of tourists flood the U.K. capital for its Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

The city’s no stranger to visitors, but this particular event brought with it a dooming harbinger for things to come.

In celebrating the Queen’s 60-year reign, dozens of ATMs reportedly ran out of cash over the four-day holiday weekend, sapping many visitors of their spending plans.

Get out your violins, we know, but the hiccup surely cost the city plenty, making some wonder if London can possibly keep enough cash on hand when the big, bad Olympics kick off Friday.

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How much do you think you spend on kids' sports?

The cost of sending your son or daughter away for a week or more to a sports camp this summer can be daunting. But, for many, it’s all about helping talented kids realize their potential. And the sky is the limit in that case -- particularly when it comes to athletics.

According to the latest research by Investors Group, Canadian parents invest an average of $1,658 per year on their children’s athletic pursuits, although it's not unheard of to hear tales families spending four or five times that.

Forty-seven per cent spend at least $1,000 or more on lessons, equipment, camps, tournaments, and other expenses involved in supporting athletic extracurricular activities.

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July 24, 2021

'Fifty Shades of Grey' boosting sign-ups to 'sugar daddy' site

Rare is the modern book that stakes a long-term claim in the public consciousness, but this Fifty Shades of Grey  thing is still happening.

The novel trilogy is a bestselling smash, and in this space we’ve covered the economic impact of the books, which have boosted the sales of everything from sex toys to grey ties.

Though perhaps E.L. James’ novels, in addition to filling financial headlines, are matchmakers, too.

By one measure, the Fifty Shades of Grey  phenomenon has boosted sign-ups to an online dating site that connects “sugar daddies” to “sugar babies.”

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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...