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

October 19, 2021

How much does a murder cost? Try $17.3M: study

Last month, when members of a California law enforcement group suggested marijuana should be legalized in the state to free up funds to better fight violent crimes, the Conservative world balked.

282243_gun_1 It was an understandable stance in many ways – everyone wants more violent crime prevention, though by these measures?  – yet maybe some of those right-leaners might sway a little given this recent study:

According to a new report from the Journal of Criminal Justice (JCJ), violent crimes now have a measurable economic cost, and it’s not pretty. For instance, a murder, by the numbers tallied here, can cost society as much as $17.3 million.

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October 18, 2021

Canadians cutting back on car repairs: study

Holding off on that oil change for a few more weeks? Well, you’re not alone.

Whether it’s the economy or improved vehicle quality, Canadians are spending less to maintain and repair their cars, according to a recent J.D. Power and Associates report.

We’re also visiting garages less often, and when we do take our vehicles in, the average price for repairs has been dropping for awhile now.

Per service spending has averaged $287 this year, compared to $352 in 2009 a trend that could end up costing vehicle owners more in the long term if they have to pay for emergency maintenance, J.D. Power suggests.

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October 15, 2021

For $400, you can now marry at a Hong Kong McDonald's

224723_SeoulKorea McDonald’s, to be sure, has done its best to evolve the restaurant’s menu over the years.

When once there were just burgers and fries, now there are nuggets, fish filets and milkshakes. When once there were just burgers, fries, nuggets, fish filets and milkshakes, now there are wraps, salads and apple slices – healthier alternatives, relatively speaking.

But travel over to a McDonald’s in Hong Kong these days and you may see one new menu item you hadn’t before. A wedding, held at one of the fast food chains, for you and your wife … for $400.

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October 14, 2021

Brett Favre's sexts could cost $100M in lost endorsements

It’s the (penis) shot heard ‘round the world.

Yes, you’re tired of listening to reports about Brett Favre’s alleged boner – not that  kind of boner, but his supposed screw-up of sending cell phone pics of his own crotch to a female New York Jets staffer when he was QB of the team in 2008.

The married star, who now runs the Minnesota Vikings’ offence, has not admitted to snapping photos of his shotgun for the woman (pictured here), yet the ordeal has caused Favre a heap of embarrassment. Now, it may cause his wallet to lighten after he retires.

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What would you do to earn five bucks?

With paid jobs still hard to find, laid off workers, recent graduates and experience seeking freelancers are increasingly choosing to work for next to nothing.

At least that’s the way it seems when you log into sites like Clickfive, Justafive or Fiverr. The latter, for instance, is a crowded marketplace for those looking to outsource small tasks – from the very useful to the simply odd – for five bucks a pop.

The site offers several thousand services – known as "gigs" – ranging from marketing and advertising support to travel, decorating and fashion advice. Jobs are separated by specific categories to help you narrow your search.

You could, for instance, hire someone to give you a wake-up call, teach you how to play chess, or write a wedding toast for you.

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October 13, 2021

What's keeping you from saving?

Since 2008, rarely has financial news been, well, news.

People are broke so they skimp on $10,000 funerals? No kidding! Taxpayers are pissed that a good chunk of AIG’s $170 billion went to executive bonuses? In the words of Elaine Benes, get out!

And the latest from the “Oh, you think so, doctor?” files has come from the Royal Bank of Canada, whose most recent survey finds that “bills and debt” are keeping Canadians from saving their money. Yet while not shocking in the way that, say, Randy Moss’ trade back to the Vikings was last week, the transparent survey gives us a chance to ask Canucks the real question: aside from the obvious, what’s preventing you from saving?

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More Canadians hoping to make job change: study

In this troubling economy people who remain employed are pretty satisfied with their jobs, right?

Apparently not, it seems. The lure of better pay and greater job security is spurring more Canadians to start thinking about changing jobs, according to a new study.

More than one in four workers admitted they’re likely to seek a new job during the next six months.

Among employees who work for organizations where wages have been cut back, this figure jumped to 34 per cent. That's up from 22 per cent who were thinking of making a move at this time last year.

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October 12, 2021

'Families-only' sections on flights -- yay or nay?

Flying on a plane next to screaming kids is just a way of life.

452511_crybaby It’s unfair, sure, but most of us have come to accept the harsh reality. Like how we talk ourselves into the HST, or how Charlie Sheen earns about $50 freaking million each year for doing Two and a Half Men.

But thanks to a Twitter video from Bob Saget – yes, a Twitter video from Bob Saget – the age-old argument of “We should have a families-only section on flights” is back on the minds of North American travellers yet again.

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Hiring a pro to primp your house

With the housing market tightening up, everyone is looking for a way to help entice potential buyers. And they're willing to spend some money to do it.

How much? Well, 54% cent of Canadians think that $2,000 or more is the appropriate amount to spend in preparing a house for sale, while a surprising 25% are willing to pay over $5,000, suggests research by Royal LePage Real Estate Services.

While not everyone can afford Debbie Travis, more and more sellers are enlisting some professional help. Enter the stagers.

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October 08, 2021

Women, it pays to be thin: study

Salary-wise, we get a good bit of data in the discrepancies between men and women.

We see that, for example, guys tend to earn more than their lady counterparts, regardless of experience, education or performance. Does this piss ambitious women off at every turn? Of course!

Yet, rarely do we get compensation breakdowns within each gender, and it’s even more uncommon we get them by body mass index. Now, we have them. So, ladies and gentlemen, get out your scales and get out your bank statements. Let’s get started:

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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...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

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...