December 09, 2021

Sandwich generation starting to feel the pinch

Caring for aging parents while managing their own lives is leaving many middle-aged Canadians stressed and stretched.

Sand 56-year-old financial planner Mary Ann Jenkins, for instance, is providing support for two children in their 20s and four parents in their 80s.

She and her husband spend at least $500 a month to support their children through school, she tells the Globe and Mail. They also spend a couple of hours a week doing chores for their parents, and are anticipating bigger shoes dropping, especially since her mother’s heart attack in January.

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October 28, 2021

Why economic predictions are a shot in the dark

In a speech Wednesday, Charles Bean, the deputy governor of the Bank of England, admitted the bank had failed to see the Great Recession coming. But the same was true of virtually all other forecasters, he said. And it would happen again. "One should not expect to be able to predict the timing and scale of these sorts of events with any precision," Bean said.
Given the evidence, every forecaster should be as humble as Charles Bean. But they're not. When I watch business TV, or read commentary in newspapers, or browse the best-sellers at book stores, I see a parade of fast-talking experts who know what's coming. They're certain of it.

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October 07, 2021

Wedding rules: Is it ok to ask for cash?

Since many couples establish a household together before marriage, they often aren't in need of traditional gifts like towels, dishes and sheets.

So it’s not surprising that whether and how to ask for money as a wedding gift, without it seeming too tacky, is becoming a pressing issue for many couples formalizing their living arrangements.

The key to pulling it off without offending anyone is in how the ask is made, says Anna Post, the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, and the author of Do I Have to Wear White? Emily Post Answers America's Top Wedding Questions.

Here's her take on how to set the stage.

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September 30, 2021

Well, I’m actually thinking about buying a franchise

Canadians looking for work are unlikely to get much comfort from job figures as the unemployment rate is expected to stubbornly hover around the eight per cent mark for the foreseeable future.

After a few months of futility, some of these formerly employed will come to believe that the only way that they can hope to match their past salary will be to start a business of their own – more than likely by buying a franchise.

Good luck with that.

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September 29, 2021

Attention travelers: The top 10 pickpocket cities

Nothing can ruin a vacation faster than having your pocket picked, warns Smarter Travel’s Carl Unger.

Unfortunately, in some European countries in particular, pick pocketing seems to be the second oldest profession, with several cities popular with North American tourists garnering a reputation as a place where dollar-heavy wallets go to be snatched.

Those spots include …

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September 14, 2021

How 97 percent of leaders achieve the impossible

When a tragic mountain-climbing accident left me stranded on Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand, I turned to my faith and the leadership principles that I had been teaching as a university business professor to survive the longest night of my life. 

Alone, with temperatures plunging to -30 degrees Celsius and dressed only in a T-shirt and shorts, I first broke the night into five thousand five-second intervals. I decided to deal with only one interval at a time -- a strategy based on knowledge that effective leaders break big challenges into smaller, more manageable ones. Then, stepping back to see the bigger picture, I relied on vision, intuition, and faith to keep me alive. 

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September 06, 2021

Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

Although not everyone buys the idea, studies show that successful entrepreneurs share a number of common personality traits that are the predominant indicators of success, outweighing education, family ties, skill, and experience.

Could you be one of them?

There’s obviously no foolproof aptitude test that can tell you if you’re suited to entrepreneurship but you'd be wise to think about 'who you are' as you contemplate what you'd like to become. 

Which means, if you’re considering turning your hobby into a business, it’s worth asking yourself a few questions to determine if you have what it takes, says Barry Moltz, author of “You Need to Be A Little Crazy: The Truth about Starting and Growing Your Business.”

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August 31, 2021

How to survive a toxic workplace

Are you doing more than your fair share at work, but still being ignored? Are you upset watching your boss bullying you and your peers? Are you starting to dread heading into the office each day?

If so, you’re not alone. Talk to occupational health physicians and they’ll tell you that at least half of their caseloads are related directly or indirectly to mental health concerns from those trapped in a toxic workplace.

And there’s no shortage of them. The Mental Health Commission of Canada, for instance, estimates that between 10% and 25% of workplaces are characterized by conditions and environments that are considered “mentally injurious.”

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August 24, 2021

When boomers ruled the earth

Christopher Buckley’s satirical novel ‘Boomsday’ takes place in a not-so-distant future in which the U.S. is facing a multi-trillion-dollar deficit and massive tax hikes to pay for the retirement of all those resource-hogging baby boomers.

Fed up with shouldering the burden of this pampered group of ‘wrinklies,’ Buckley’s 29-year-old protagonist devises a plan: Pass a law urging and handsomely rewarding boomers to kill themselves — suicide is to be known as “voluntary transitioning — at the ripe old age of 70.

Of course, he was just kidding around. But those worried about aging boomers’ effect on the welfare state aren’t — not by a long shot. Predictions for the nation’s health care system have been nothing short of apocalyptic.

Here’s the latest: Four in every five Canadians believe that the demands placed on the health system by aging boomers will result in reduced access and lower quality care, according to a recent study by the Canadian Medical Association.

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August 04, 2021

Achieve aims and ambitions in less than a minute

Richard Wiseman, in his recent book, "59 Seconds: Think a little, Change a lot," suggests that we are far more like somebody watching ourselves than somebody in charge of ourselves.

As a result, much of the book seems to be based on the idea that you can trick yourself into being happier and more successful. And effective change doesn’t have to be particularly time consuming, he maintains.

In fact, it can take less than a minute and is often simply a question of knowing exactly where to start.

A simple touch on someone’s upper arm makes them more responsive to requests, for example; forcing your face into a smile and holding the expression for 20 seconds will trick your brain into being happier.

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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...