Vacation homes

October 18, 2021

Empty-nest syndrome may be a thing of the past

Once that last child is gone, parents often struggle with a profound sense of loss, not just because they miss the kids, but because their very identities have been significantly impacted, suggests psychologist Guy Winch.

But, rather than haunting their children's now uninhabited rooms, empty nesters are enjoying better social lives, traveling more frequently and have more financial freedom, a recent survey suggests.

As a whole, nine out of 10 empty nesters — defined as those whose children have permanently moved out of the home — indicated they're happy and look forward to more social and personal time now that the kids are gone. 

So much for the proverbial empty-nest syndrome. Other recent research indicates that, once that early sense of loneliness passes, parents tend to adjust quite nicely to a child-free household.

Rather than pining for soccer practice, empty nesters said they enjoy having more personal time (95%); lower grocery bills (91%); spending more time with their significant other or dating (85%); socializing with friends (80%); and no longer attending school-related functions (68%).

And they'd like this to be a permanent arrangement, it seems.

Continue reading »

July 26, 2021

Hosting a guest in your home may be opening the door to trouble

IStock_000000369764Medium[1]Hosting your home to strangers may be opening a whole new host of problems.

More and more Canadians are participating in home exchanges, hosting guests or even renting out rooms in their homes.

While this may give homeowners an extra little cash in their pockets or even provide an affordable vacation, it may also open the door to unexpected circumstances that are not covered by insurance.

Continue reading »

May 20, 2021

U.S. bill provides snowbirds even more time in the sun

Canadian snowbirds may soon be able to spend as much as two months more nesting down south next year.

U.S. legislation now being debated in Congress would allow Canadians aged 55 and older to spend up to 240 days in the country without a visa, almost two months longer than the current 182-day annual limit.

The provision is not yet law, but it has the backing of New York Senator Charles Schumer, a legislator who has long been keen on finding ways to get more Canadians spending their dollars across the border.  

Continue reading »

April 23, 2021

Can you deduct travel expenses when visiting your Florida condo?

Renting out your Florida condo can be a good way to offset some of your costs. But be wary when it comes to writing off expenses, experts warn.

Don't expect to rent out it out for a month or two during the winter and deduct a year's worth of interest and other expenses, for instance. The CRA expects to see such expenses be pro-rated, allowing you to deduct them only for those months when income was actually being earned.

If you've advertised that the property is available for rent but it still remains empty, you may be able to write off the expenses for this open time period. The time spent trying to find a tenant may be considered a deductible expense,providing you can document your efforts.

Forget about deducting the cost of your flight down there, however. And the same rules apply if you're driving.

Continue reading »

February 18, 2022

Why the wrong travel companion can really cost you

When it comes to holidays, who you go with can be just as important as where you go and how much you're willing to spend. 

Assuming you're not simply stuck with the kids during March break, consider your travel companion carefully, as the wrong choice can mean the difference between a great trip and a disaster.

Consider taking a test run first. Overnight trips or even a weekend outing may help you both get a good idea about your compatibility.

One pair of women knew each other from the gym, but had never spent a lot of time together. Turns out one was an unstoppable chatterbox who yakked incessantly about anything and everything.

"I will never, ever travel with her again," her disgruntled partner fumed, "and I don't know how I'm going to make it through the next five days without strangling her."

Continue reading »

November 12, 2021

Increasing property taxes could force cottage owners to look for more renters

The 2012 MPAC Assessment is currently in the mail and Ontario property owners who own cottages, ski chalets and vacation homes need to be on the look out, warns Mara Sofferin, VP at CottageCountry, a popular Canadian online vacation rental site.  

With some 17,000 vacation properties available, the site is one Canada's largest source for cottage and vacation rentals, a key source of income for many vacation property owners, particularly those feeling a bit cash-strapped.

In such cases, rental revenue can help cover costs like mortgage, maintenance and increased property tax payments, or simply be a source of supplemental income.

"When the assessment arrives, likely so will the news of much higher annual property taxes, adding another expense to the already costly endeavor of owning a vacation property," she maintains. 

Continue reading »

August 13, 2021

Are you happy with your Florida time-share property?

The US housing crunch has hit vacation timeshares hard. Sales have fallen, expenses have risen, and older developments have aged ungracefully — prompting many long-time owners to bail for just pennies on the dollar.

It's clearly a buyer's market. You can find stacks of free and nearly free timeshares are listed at SellMyTimeShareNow or Timeshare Resale Vacations.

Most owners just want to get out from under the maintenance fees, but many are discovering that it may be even harder to sell a time-share than it is a single-family house in Detroit, according to Reuters.

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...