Saving and retirement tips, personal finance advice, and other money-related content.

February 28, 2022

Diversity programs for new Canadians still lacking: report

With a declining birth rate, Canada will need immigrants to help drive economic growth. But does our system reward the immigrants most likely to create that growth?

AdWhile 71% of employers believe they have successful programs to integrate foreign-trained professionals into their workplaces, only 34% of such professionals feel the places they have worked have policies that welcome new Canadians, a new study says.

“While employers recognize the value of hiring new Canadians in our global economy, we’re finding workplace diversity and recruitment policies lack the bite needed to really make a difference,” says Silma Roddau, president of the Progress Career Planning Institute, a not-for-profit counselling service that tracks diversity programs.

The survey questioned 560 professionals who earned their degrees in another country and have been in Canada for between six and 15 years. Of the total, 238 were currently employed and 322 were not. 

Continue reading »

February 27, 2022

What it costs to be a bridesmaid

To a man, the idea of a female wedding party is just plain confounding.

No guy really knows the inner-workings of what goes on, when it happens or why. We just presume you girls take off to Vegas beforehand, pay a dude named Chaz to strip at the bachelorette party and, later, you all get gassed up and have to take dumps in a sink like Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids.

That, we’ve got figured. When it gets to paying, though, men have no idea what goes on.

Because, apparently, being a bridesmaid isn’t just part of a derisive expression. It’s expensive, too.

Continue reading »

Fears of someone stealing your identity overblown: report

Something many of us don't consider until it happens to us and we're playing catch up is identity theft. And it does happen, as evidenced by this busy guy from Winnipeg.

But such fears are being hyped by marketers to scare consumers into buying costly services that they really don't need, reports Consumers Union.

"More of these pitches are coming from banks, which account for more than half of the $3.5 billion a year spent on ID-theft protection subscriptions."

"In a sense, consumers who buy this protection from their banks are helping to foot the bill for services that financial institutions are obligated to provide by federal law to shield their customers from losses stemming from credit-card and bank-account fraud, says the Consumer Reports Money Adviser.

Continue reading »

February 24, 2022

Tooth Fairy leaving a fraction of what she used to under pillows: report

At the ground level, there are precious few economic indicators that actually resonate.

Indeed, even at the height of the recession, you couldn’t quite get a sense of the economy by sticking your head out the door, which is to that if you didn’t lose your job or house and your neighbour didn’t lose his job or house, you might’ve looked at headlines in the Wall Street Journal and went, “I don’t get what all this fuss is about.”

Yet while today’s lingering economic slump doesn’t bear the same dramatics of, say, soup lines during the Great Depression, there are plenty of ways it hits home.

Like, say, the amount of cash the Tooth Fairy’s left under your kid’s pillow.

Continue reading »

February 23, 2022

What does your retirement plan look like?

As North America shifts from a society of shared risk to one of personal responsibility, retirement starts to look a little more gloomy for many.  

Prospective retirees are being asked to rely less on guaranteed retirement income provided by government and defined benefit plans, less on the health care coverage supplied by Medicare and an employer-based health insurance system, and more on their own, self-funded retirement security.

And that means some serious planning, suggests research from the MetLife Mature Market Institute, which argues that too many people allow themselves to lured into a false sense of security.

What does your retirement plan look like?

Continue reading »

Finally, Ikea puts assembly videos on YouTube

Ikea assembly instructions have always been maddeningly vague, but I guess that’s kinda their thing.

They feature no words, kitschy graphics and this smirking bubble figure dude who, by the end of construction, you’ll be telling where he can stick his Allen key!

Still, Ikea has trumped on with their visual instructions in spite of itself – the retailer’s not-so-subtle message persisting of, “You’d be an idiot if you can’t follow these things. They are quite literally laid out for children.”

Finally, though, the furniture giant is throwing customers a bone. It’s introduced its first instruction video on YouTube.

Continue reading »

February 22, 2022

What Seinfeld can tell you about managing your money

Everything old is new again, it seems. Although it's been off the air for years now, the much-loved Seinfeld has been rewired to import important money lessons to a new generation of viewers. 

Fot instance, the antics of Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer faithfully follow the rules of classical economics.

At least that's the contention of the economics professors behind, a site that hopes to be the definitive source of Seinfeldian wisdom, with descriptions of nearly 200 scenes and the economic principles each demonstrates.

You'll learn about dynamic pricing, incentives, cost benefit analysis, game theory and competition. And much,much more!

Consider the episode in which Elaine proposes an idea for a store that sells just muffin tops, only to have her boss open up such a store a few days later. A perfect example of the value of intellectual property rights. Then there's the cost benefit analysis on the merits of illegal cable.

Continue reading »

Man murdered while cops tied up at Occupy protest

You know, this whole Occupy thing has died down a bit, because of police intervention but most honestly because winter came and no one wants to protest in the cold, though the movement is still in the public favour.

And that’s the thing with a social initiative as, well, inconveniencing as the Occupy protests: if they’re going to bog down our cities, it damn well better be over something we’re all behind.

For the Occupy movement, it is. We want the wealth gaps in the world to settle down a bit. Of course we do.

But while Occupy protestors still enjoy carte blanche, you get the sense a bit of bad PR might cripple the whole thing.

Continue reading »

February 21, 2022

Scarcity of women leads men to spend more, save less: study

When men think they outnumber women, they borrow more, save less and spend more impulsively, according to a recent study by the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management.

Researchers asked groups of men to read news articles suggesting that their local population had either more men or women. They were then asked to indicate how much money they would save each month and how much they would spend on credit card purchases.

When the articles suggested there was a surplus of men, the savings rate fell 42%, and the men were willing to borrow 84% more each month.

“What we see in other animals is that when females are scarce, males become more competitive. They compete more for access to mates,” says Vladas Griskevicius, the lead author of the study. “How do humans compete for access to mates? What you find across cultures is that men often do it through money, through status and through products.”

Continue reading »

Canadian shoppers boost Buffalo economy in a big way

At first glance, you might conclude Canadians aren’t shopping the way they used to.

According to numbers released Tuesday morning, retail sales slumped in December, the latest month figures are available, after four straight months of gains.

On the surface, this suggests holiday shopping was either done early or not at all, though perhaps official Canadian sales data is misleading.

Maybe, when viewed through the prism of a new report from just south of the border, many Canadians simply flocked to the U.S. late last year to do their shopping.

Continue reading »


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...