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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September 20, 2021

Drooling for dollars more than a simple expression: Study

It's not just your imagination. Thinking about money or fast cars does make your mouth water, says David Gal, an assistant professor of marketing at Northwestern University.

Car How much a person actually salivates while thinking about the good life seems to depend on their mindset at the time.

In a recent experiment, Gal randomly divided his subjects into two groups: one that felt powerless (they had to write essays about a time they had no control) and one that felt powerful (they wrote about being on top of their game).

When he exposed the subjects to various pictures, those shown pictures of money began to drool. This was especially true in those remembering the times they felt they weren’t really in control.

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September 12, 2021

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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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...