July 22, 2021

Is your 'latte factor' worth worrying about?

Unless you really don’t pay any attention at all to how much you spend, you’ve probably heard of the ‘latte factor’, a phrase coined by David Bach, the author of The Automatic Millionaire.

He says that too many of us ignore seemingly insignificant purchases (like the jolt that you pick up each morning before you head to work) even though they really add up.

If you spend $4 on a latte every day, for instance, your habit adds up to $20 a week, excluding weekends. That’s the equivalent of a wide screen TV every year.

Click here to see just how easily those little expenses add up. By entering how many times a week (or month) you purchase certain products or services, you’ll come up with a running total that may just surprise you.

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July 07, 2021

How to fix a crumbling monetary system

Long-time federal cabinet minister Paul Hellyer, now 86, believes not only that aliens have been visiting Earth for eons but that they can take credit for numerous human advances.

But, when it comes to the world’s crumbling monetary system, we have nobody to blame but ourselves, Hellyer maintains in a recent op-ed piece for the Ottawa Citizen.

The real source of the problem is a privately-owned monopoly that brazenly produces a constant stream of ‘money’, then quickly morphs it into debt, of which there is so much that the real economy is about to drown in it, he says.

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July 06, 2021

Household products that serve double duty

Joey Green may not be a household name, but he has come up with some widely creative uses for everyday household products, persuading many a talk-show host to test his wacky tricks.

When Green was an advertising copywriter, he was asked to come up with alternative uses for some of the products he was touting. He found that many companies kept files with notes from people detailing the unusual uses for their products and so a cottage industry was born.

His latest self-help epic, Joey Green's Fix-It Magic boasts of containing "more than 1,971 quick-and-easy household solutions using brand-name products."

To prevent insects from sticking to the hood and grill of a car, for instance, spray a thin coat of PAM cooking spray on the hood and grill before you set out on your trip, Green suggests.

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June 24, 2021

Why frugality is making a comeback

If the economy has gotten you down and you’re looking to make some changes, maybe it’s time to join frugal living movement, says Jonni McCoy, author of Miserly Moms: Living Well on Less in a Tough Economy.

Rather than looking for ways to increase the family income, McCoy is convinced that reducing the family budget is still the smartest way for families to ease their financial burden. This is particularly true for those who’ve been laid off and are suddenly living on severance pay or unemployment, she notes.

To stretch your newly limited income to pay the bills, start with food, she suggests:

* Keep track of food prices and shop comparatively

* Prepare meals and eat at home more often

* Avoid convenient mixes and ready made food

* Plan your meals according to grocery sales

* Watch for coupons and rebates

* Cut back on meat

Sounds a bit like my grandmother, but good advice indeed.

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June 18, 2021

Gifts: Thoughtful or a waste of money?

Upside_of_irrationality_cro From a standard economic perspective, gifts are a waste of money. Imagine that you invite me over for dinner one day and I decide to spend $50 on a bottle of wine. There are a bunch of problems:  To start, I am not sure what wine you would like the most.  And besides, maybe you’d prefer something else, like a book, a DVD, or a blender.  This means that the bottle of wine that cost me 50 dollars might be worth, at most, 25 dollars to you. 

If gift-giving were rational I would come to dinner and tell you, “Tom, thanks for inviting me for dinner. I was going to spend $50 on a bottle of wine, but realizing that this might provide you with only $25 of benefits, here is the cash instead and you can decide how best to spend it.”

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May 25, 2021

Can creative types get ahead in a left-brain world?

The phrase "starving artist" may be a bit overused, but it’s no secret that few creative people make a real living with the work they love.

Can creative types, dominated by the right side of the brain, get ahead in an orderly, left-brain world?

California-based author Lee Silber believes they can. And in Money Management for the Creative Person: Right Brain Strategies to Build Your Bank Account and Find the Financial Freedom to Create he tells them how.

Through his writing and speaking engagements, Silber's job is to help creative souls – who often aren't sure how to effectively use their talents – manage their careers and money.

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April 28, 2021

Is there a future in green jobs?

Green jobs are becoming important because of growing recognition that our planet is threatened with disastrous climate change brought on by greenhouse gases. What’s at issue now is not whether we will confront this threat but how. Uncertainty about which green technologies will become most widespread is causing uncertainty about the outlook for green jobs.

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April 12, 2021

The science of 'choking'

Bounce.Matthew Syed Have you noticed how tough it is when facing a life-changing job interview? How surreally difficult it is to remember your lines when giving a career-transforming presentation? How your calmness and assurance seem to desert you when on the verge of nailing your biggest sales contract?

If so, you are not alone. Most of us have experienced — at some time or another — the curious phenomenon of “choking.” Sure, the terminology varies from place to place (in basketball it is called “the bricks,” in academic domains it is termed “cracking” and in the UK it is sometimes called “bottling”), but the reality is always the same: a curious kind of personal catastrophe.

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April 05, 2021

How to live long and prosper

Living well in your later years has very little to do with money, maintains Toronto sociologist Lyndsay Green.

It's all about attitude and how you chose to spend your time.

In her new book, You Could Live a Long Time: Are You Ready?, she chronicles the lives of 40 Canadian retirees identified as role models for aging well. 

What do they have in common? They're as engaged as they were at work. They're searching for ways to enrich their lives by giving back and forging strong ties with those around them -- most of whom are significantly younger.

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January 21, 2022

Oh no. Not another collection call!

Today, over a million Canadians are receiving collection calls from creditors or collection agencies. You might be one of those receiving these calls. But things are not as bleak as you might think. It is, however, important for you to take action to dig yourself out of your current financial hole.

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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...