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May 2013

May 31, 2021

Canadians in market to buy condos

CondoWell we're movin' on up. To the east side. To a deluxe apartment in the sky.

The Jeffersons lived the high life, and according to a new report from BMO Bank of Montreal one-third of Canadian homebuyers are looking to purchase a condominium in the next five years.

But what is it that is attracting buyers to the condo lifestyle?

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May 30, 2021

Plant a tree and save money

Who says money doesn't grow on trees.

Well, maybe not on them, but trees can help grow your money when you save on your energy bill.

According to a new study out of Ryerson University in Toronto, planting a tree near your house will reduce your summer energy bills and improve the environment.

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Just how much will it cost to get out of your current mortgage?

Interest rates are down sharply, which means your existing mortgage rate is likely higher than prevailing rate. Is this then a good time to renegotiate?


With a five-year fixed rate now around 2.7% in some spots, the savings can be significant – particularly if you’re still far away from paying things off.

But while the improved interest rate you might get is tempting, it's important to calculate how much you'd pay in penalties and how long it would take you to recoup the cost of financing. 

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May 29, 2021

Canadians love U.S. travel

1414861_51130807Canadians love their American friends.

According to Statistics Canada, overnight travel by Canadian citizens to the United States increased in the last quarter of 2012.

And visiting family and friends tops the list of go-sees with 832,000 overnight trips to U.S. destinations, up 19.4 per cent over the same period in 2011.

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Are tougher mortgage rules keeping you out of the market?

Canadians end up paying off their mortgages in about two-thirds of the time originally intended, according to research from The Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals.

Looking at mortgages paid off over the past three years, the original amortization length was roughly 18  years but, on average, homebuyers ended up with an actual amortization length of just less than 12 years. In other words, we can handle debt pretty well, according to CAAMP's view.

Nonetheless, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty tightened mortgage rules four times in the last five years amid concern that oversupply in some markets could lead to a sharp drop in prices.

The group feels the government's recent changes — raising the minimum down payment for mortgages insured through the government-backed CMHC and lowering the amount of time borrowers have to pay them back to 25 years (it was as high as 40 years only five years ago) — is overdone and is preventing many potential homebuyers from entering the market.

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May 28, 2021

Why men and women continue to misunderstand each other at work

Studies have shown time and time again that men and women have markedly different strategies for conversing, and can easily misunderstand each other -- particularly at the office.

But all is not lost, maintains gender intelligence expert Barbara Annis in her recently published book Work With Me: The 8 Blind Spots Between Men and Women in Business, co-authored with John Gray, of the famous Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus franchise.

The authors argue that men and women are hard-wired differently, so they communicate and process interpersonal information differently thus producing 'gender blind spots' when it comes to understanding their co-workers’ behaviour.

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Save now for your child's education

1395713_25902915The road to education is an expensive one.

And that's why it is important to make sure you have a roadmap in place for funding your child's education.

If you're worried about how you will fund your child's post-secondary schooling, you're not alone.

According to a new report by BMO Bank of Montreal, two-thirds of Canadians share that same concern.

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May 27, 2021

New proposals continue to shrink public sector pensions

In case you missed it, last week marked the most recent skirmish in a much larger battle to bring burgeoning public-sector compensation costs under control.

The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS), the largest pension fund in Ontario , is studying a change that would reduce the key figure used to calculate how much money an employee will receive each year in retirement.

The proposal would reduce the “multiplier” rate now used to calculate when workers would be entitled to full benefit to 1.85% from 2%. Other potential changes include curbs on indexing for inflation and a delay in early-retirement eligibility.

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May 24, 2021

Employers look for personality, skill set when hiring students

298822_6140Students are now winding up their high school and post-secondary education and getting ready to hit the pavement looking for job opportunities.

With almost half of Canadians employers (51 per cent) anticipating on hiring students or recent grads this year, it's good to know just what they are looking for in a candidate.

According to a survey by BMO Bank of Montreal, the candidate's personality trait came out on top with 30 per cent of business owners ranking this characteristic as the one of the most important qualities when selecting a new employee.

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May 23, 2021

Building a nest egg not a top priority for many Canadians

983477_77408376It seems that stashing cash in a cache isn't a top priority for many Canadians.

Growing up, our grandparents and parents always stressed the importance of building that all-important nest egg to have a little something for a rainy day.

However, that doesn't seem to be the case today.

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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...