March 08, 2022

March Break doesn't have to break the bank

While some Canadian families are heading off to warmer destinations or even ski trips for March Break there is still plenty to do without having to break the bank.

Personally speaking, I have never taken a vacation during March Break. My children and I have always stayed local and have still had fun.

The average household debt is sitting at 164 per cent, so why go crazy spending money you don't have to keep up with the Jones' just because it's March Break.

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March 07, 2022

What students should be studying at the School of Life

Elisabeth Donati, author of The Ultimate Allowance, looks at kids these days -- and by kids she actually means anyone under 30 -- and wonders what exactly they're being taught at home and at school.

"Our children aren’t learning how to take care of themselves … emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually or financially," she maintains.

"They aren’t learning how to think through problems and solve them. And they aren’t learning how to think globally for the most part. Everything is geared toward solving problems individually when in reality, we solve problems best when we work on them together."

Donati decided to compile a list of what she would want kids to learn in her school, if she started one. Here’s a sample what she's come up with so far.

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February 05, 2022

Managing finances before and through a divorce

Divorce is always devastating. But for some couples, parting with their other half is easy compared to dividing income and assets fairly.

While some partners may have unrealistic expectations or simply aren't emotionally ready to settle up, others are dishonest and deliberately try to hide or deplete their assets.

Either way, the financial negotiations of divorce will be the largest financial transaction most individuals will ever participate in, says Justin A. Reckers, a financial planner who works with couples that have or are contemplating a split.

Most every divorcing person will prefer things, at least the financial side, to remain the same post-divorce as they were during their marriage. In reality, the pay cheque doesn't go as far when supporting two completely separate households, so everyone loses financially in divorce, he points out.

If you think your relationship might be on shaky ground, here are a few things he suggests you think about long before you knock on his door.

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July 26, 2021

Employees entitled to benefits long after getting fired: report

Even though they may have fired you months ago, employers may still be on the hook for short-term and long-term disability claims if you subsequently get sick, an Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled.

Here's the story: After working for 24 years at the same spot, an Ontario man was fired without cause.

In addition to one week of severance for each year worked, he received eight weeks’ pay in lieu of notice and the continuation of his benefits for just that eight-week period.

Although he found work quickly, he had no benefits. Which is why, after he found that he had cancer 16 months later, he went back to the original employer to see if they would cover his treatments.

Not surprisingly, the answer was no, you don't work here anymore. So, he sued and eventually won.

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December 22, 2021

Poor product design a threat to children: report

Here's a 'don't run with scissors' story that your mother would love. It seems the latest household hazard isn’t dropped cigarettes or kids playing with matches. It's actually lunch.

Still have a fondness for those cheap instant noodles that got you through school? Well, you better get over it. They could land you in the hospital with serious burns, thanks to the cups' designs.

Brands vary but most cups are tall, lightweight, and have an unstable base, according to NPR's Planet Money blog, making them more likely to tip over and do some sertious damage.

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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...