November 23, 2021

Will new pooled pension plans boost retirement savings?

Despite the best of intentions, many people spend virtually all the money they have, says economist Richard Thaler, in his book Nudge. 

AdThaler believes that when faced with certain options, most people will consistently make the wrong choice. 

Therefore, when it comes to something as important as retirement savings, all of us need to be coaxed into developing more self-control, willingness to battle procrastination and the ability to handle short-term sacrifices. 

That’s tough to do. For most people, saving for a distant goal such as retirement is a challenge. Setting aside even a few dollars each month is difficult in the years of raising children and buying a home, when the need for cash is greatest.

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November 17, 2021

The rush to develop caregiving products for boomers

Plastic bands that restrict movement and harnesses that make the body hunch over painfully may sound like just another late Saturday night for some, but they're just a few of the tools researchers are using to get a glimpse of what the aging of the baby boom generation might look like.

AdTo see what the future might feel like, MIT’s Age Lab, a research center designed to develop technologies and services geared to today’s aging population, created a high tech suit that’s designed to inhibit movement and sensation to better understand the physical challenges associated with aging.

Dubbed AGNES, an acronym for Age Gain Now Empathy System, the suit is worn by product developers and marketing folks looking to feel what it might be like to be a lot older and, in many instances, well heeled. 

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November 10, 2021

How to write a persuasive message

Suppose you must write a message that you want the recipients to believe. Of course, your message will be true, but that is not necessarily enough for people to believe that it is true. It is entirely legitimate for you to enlist cognitive ease to work in your favour, and studies of truth illusions provide specific suggestions that may help you achieve this goal.

The general principle is that anything you can do to reduce cognitive strain will help, so you should first maximize legibility. Compare these two statements:
Adolf Hitler was born in 1892.
Adolf Hitler was born in 1887.

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November 07, 2021

Does the "last-name effect" affect how you shop?

Looking to sell those double-booked tickets in a hurry? Why not try the Zoltan family?

AaAccording to a new study, your last name is a good indicator of how quckly you're likely to buy stuff. What could possibly explain this phenomenon, which the study authors dubbed "the last-name effect"?

Researcher Kurt A. Carlson believes this habit is linked to childhood and constant alphabetizing during school. Children with late-letter last names tended to wait longer for things, and therefore compensate later in life, he believes. 

“For years, simply because of your name, you've received inequitable treatment,” says Carlson, an assistant professor at Georgetown's McDonough School of Business. “So when you get to exercise control, you seize on opportunity. It's a coping strategy, and over time it becomes a natural way to respond.”

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November 01, 2021

Do women prefer to work female advisors?

Whwn it comes to money, do women prefer to work with female advisors?

AaaNot necessarily, according to a report entitled The Financial Lives of Girls and Women. When women seek out advisors, they look for competent firms and shared values. Gender tends to be secondary.

Female advisors may offer common ground and a sense of safety for women investors, but it’s no guarantee the advisor-client relationship will stick.

They may, however, have a better sense of the balls a female client has in the air, advisor Teresa Black Hughes told “They understand the way to help women manage stress is to provide clear information about the family goals you’re trying to achieve beyond the numerical aspect.”

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October 31, 2021

Why several small pleasures beat a few large ones

Researchers have found that the types of purchases we make, their size and frequency, and even the timing of that spending all affect long-term happiness.

AaaOne major finding is that spending money for an experience — like concert tickets, Spanish lessons, white water rafting — produces longer-lasting satisfaction than spending money on plain old stuff.

There are situations where having cash to spend helps, of course, including for those who become sick or disabled, another study found; for them, money matters. But that's a different kind of spending.

The enemy of happiness is adaptation, says Psyblog. Unfortunately we get used to things and they give us less pleasure; after a while we start taking them for granted.

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October 17, 2021

People without significant assets less likely to marry: study

It’s no secret that Canadians have been getting married later in life and are becoming more likely to forego marriage altogether.

AdThose with at least some level of post-secondary education are more likely to tie the knot, so perhaps as more people become more educated, they’re simply delaying marriage until they’re more established in their careers.

Or, according to a recent Princeton University study, maybe it really has more to do with money.

People who lack personal wealth in the form of a car or financial assets are significantly less likely to enter into a marriage, says Princeton's Daniel Schneider.

Several studies have found that having a steady job and a good income are important factors in determining whether someone gets married. But income only explains a part of these gaps, he says.

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October 14, 2021

No shortage of pet peeves around the office: study

If hell really is other people, particularly those that are pigs, then the fact that one of the top complaints among professionals is dirty shared microwaves or refrigerators won't come as much of a surprise.

AdThat's one of the findings of an admittedly non-scientific survey conducted by LinkedIn, a high-profile social network for professionals, to find just what gets under office workers' skins.

To undercover these irritants, the study polled over 17,000 LinkedIn users in 16 countries, including 1,228 in Canada.

Other top pet peeves include:

1. People who don’t take ownership of their actions

2. Constant complainers

4. Boring meetings that start late or go way too long

5. People who consistently seem to miss your email

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October 11, 2021

Should you bail out those spendthrift parents of yours?

Although you hear lots of stories about parents supporting their grown offspring, sometimes positions are reversed and it's the kids that have to carry the load. 

We're not talking here about parents who fallen on hard times because of disability or ill health.

No, this is more about dealing with those who've simply lived too high on the hog, leaving their grown children to pick up the tab for their irresponsibility -- whether through addiction or poor money skills. 

What do you do when your parents ask for money? Just say no, advises Dave Ramsay, a syndicated radio show host who's known for his black and white views.

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September 22, 2021

Investors more risk-averse in winter than summer: Study

There's some evidence that the stock market's performance is tied to the time of year and even the days of a month.

Leaf But, as the leaves change, you may actually want to pay more attention to your own seasonal clock, says U of T finance professor Lisa Kramer.

People with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) tend to stick to safer investments in the fall and winter when days are growing shorter but take bigger risks with their money in summer, she believes.

SAD is a disorder that causes varying degrees of depression due to reduced levels of daylight; it affects about 15 per cent of Canadians, to varying degrees.

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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...