Family finances

November 03, 2021

Canadians all over the map on retirement withdrawal rates

It's no secret that most Canadians are unsure how much they should be saving for retirement.

AdBut a new study by investment firm Edward Jones suggests we may be equally clueless about how much we can safely spend once we get there.

When asked what percentage of their savings they think they can afford to withdraw every year, only one-third (32%) appeared to have any realistic spending expectations.

According to the poll, almost half (49%) of respondents thought they would need to withdraw 6% to 20% of their savings each year, a number most planners would describe as "a bit high."

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October 26, 2021

How long could you manage without a paycheque?

It seems most Canadians can’t go very long without getting paid.

Ad57% of Canadians admit they’d in a tough spot if their paycheque was delayed by just one week, according to a recent survey from the Canadian Payroll Association.

That's a lot of stress. People who are strapped can’t afford to switch jobs or get laid off because they're just barely making enough to squeak by.

What’s more concerning though is that that number has remained fairly steady for the past two years and is quite evenly distributed among provinces. Here’s what things looked like last year

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October 20, 2021

Canadians' sense of well-being? Depends on who you ask

A couple of week ago, we talked about the Misery Index, a measure of how Americans feel about their bleak economic prospects.

Now, however, Canadians have their own index and it's much broader than the U.S. version -- but not really any less gloomy.

The measure is based on 64 indicators from eight separate areas: living standards, community vitality, democratic engagement, education, healthy populations, environment, time use, leisure and culture.

Overall, the index suggests the quality of life in Canada has actually decreased since 1994, the starting point for the new measure which is based out of the University of Waterloo.

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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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October 04, 2021

Are more doctors instituting annual patient fees?

Aah, another growth industry.

Ad An increasing number of primary-care physicians are hitting their patients with a new charge: an annual "administrative fee" of $100 to $300 to help them defray the costs of running their practice.

It's not not clear how many doctors are charging extra fees, but the number seems to growing -- as are the fees, say health critics.

And some practioners do seem to be taking things to extremes. A Toronto doctor will face a disciplinary hearing for charging patients a $1,000 a year to receive care. And there are those collection agencies.

There are now at least four companies specializing in helping doctors collect annual fees from patients, according to the Canadian Medical Association Journal

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September 27, 2021

Divorce decree: Both parents responsible for child's financial welfare

75 per cent of children of divorce live with their mother and more than a third of them ended up in households with incomes below the poverty line, according to recent U.S. data. And the Canadian numbers really aren't much better.

D What's sad about this statistic is that children didn't ask to be put in this situation, says Lee Block, a post-divorce consultant and author of The Post-Divorce Chronicles.

Hers is a controversial take: Instead of focusing on where the money is being spent each month, focus on the lifestyle of your children. Is it fair for them to go without because the child support is not enough, she asks. 

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September 19, 2021

Human hair trade soars on celebrity culture

Talk about a crime wave.

Hair Discerning thieves have decided that high-end human hair is now a worthy target, forcing some hair retailers to take precautionary measures.

High-quality human hair retails for as much as $200 per bundle, with the average individual needing two to three bundles to complete a hairdo, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

And prices are rising as the growing desire for the glossy, long locks of celebrities has driven demand for hair through the roof, according to e-commerce site Alibaba.

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September 13, 2021

More young adults living with parents now than in past 20 years

51 per cent of Generation Ys between the ages of 20 and 29 lived with their parents last year, according to the latest Statistics Canada data.

Kid That’s compared with just 31 per cent of Generation Xers and 28 per cent of late boomers who lived at home during that same age period.

And while it may be easy to view them all as permanent 'basement dwellers', Generation Y is just more financially savvy than past generations, says CIBC economist Benjamin Tal.

The gang in this cohort simply know when they've got a good thing going.

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September 08, 2021

Bankrupt divorcees can renege on equalization payments

Thinking of splitting up? Make sure you know what you’re doing – particularly if your soon-to be-ex is having some financial troubles.  

Thanks to a recent Supreme Court of Canada, declaring bankruptcy after a divorce may help get you out of making certain settlement payments to an ex-spouse.

Going bust won't excuse a divorced man or woman from making alimony or direct support payments, but the rules are a bit different when it comes to equalization payments, a process designed to ensure that both spouses end up with similar net worth after they split.

Here’s a recent example that, on the surface, seems simply unfair. 

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September 07, 2021

Can you still afford to eat out regularly?

On average, Canadian households visit a restaurant for a meal or snack 520 times a year, according to the most recent StatsCan data. And that number is expected to grow.

Dinner Even though their parents steered clear of eating out, many boomers have raised their kids to think that eating out in restaurants or from the take out window as Swiss Chalet is no big deal … something you do, well, when you're hungry.

But can you really afford it, asks MELISSAB, who blogs at Beating Broke. She doesn’t think so, particularly when you consider all the costs. 

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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...