October 12, 2021

Is your pension fund likely to come up short?

Just like everbody else, Canada’s biggest pension plans are struggling to cope after they took another beating over the past few months. And, when you look at future payouts, they continue to come up short, according to a recent Mercer study.

2011-Q3_img-1_eng The Mercer Pension Health Index now stands at 60% down from 71% at the end of the second quarter -- not to say that's anything unusual. The index, showing the ratio of assets to liabilities, has been on a steady downward trend for several years.

And things don't seem to improving.

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October 05, 2021

Forget who gets the car, birth order may impact your career

If only the kids would get along, instead of blaming everything on their brothers or sisters.

But the reality is that all siblings aren't created equal and they don't get treated as such. Firstborns, for example, often get shafted because parents are stricter with them, while later-born kids often have fewer rules to cope with.

Now, however, it turns out that those first-born kids are the most likely to earn six figures and hold a top executive position among workers with siblings, according to findings from jobs website CareerBuilder.

Meanwhile, middle kids are the most likely to report holding an entry-level spot and earning less than $35,000.  

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September 28, 2021

Psst: Want to earn a sure 50% on your money?

While "Earn 50% On Your Money!" may be a tag line you'd expect to see in the back pages of magazines your mother told you not to read, it actually has a ring of truth.

Ad At least it does for those who take part in pension or RRSP contribution matching programs set up by their employers.

Many employers offer a subsidized RRSP program, meaning they will match employee contributions up to a certain dollar or percentage limit, ranging anywhere from 25% to 100%, depending on how long you've worked there.

Talk about free money. Not signing up is akin to simply leaving some of your salary on the table every month. Nonetheless, industry figures suggest that roughly 40% of eligible employees simply never get around to participating.

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September 26, 2021

When servers are lucky enough to get a tip, it's not all theirs

Do you ever wonder what really happens to a server’s tip?

Tip Often, tips are placed in a pool and allocated proportionately to each staff member at end of the shift.

In larger restaurants, servers' total sales are tracked electronically. The shop owes the server credit card tips, while the server owes the house the total of what customers paid in cash, plus a percentage ranging from 3 to 5% to split with backroom staff.

At other places, servers kick in a generally agreed upon portion of their tips to share among the kitchen, bar, bus and shosts staff – and, often, salaried floor managers.

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June 22, 2021

New pension rules on marriage breakdown offer relief

With the value of a pension representing the largest store of wealth for many families, Ontario’s new rules for dividing pension assets when marriages fail are welcome news.

Pen Despite separation agreements or court orders, the current rules don’t allow money to be transferred to the ex-spouse unless the member has already left the plan, through termination, death or retirement.

Now, once the rules kick in, the value of the pension can be settled immediately even though the plan member is still working.

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May 18, 2021

Uncovering how managers really feel about their employees

Attention HR:  Before you start spending money on leadership training for managers, find out how they really feel about their employees.

Employ According to a recent University of California study, much of the company's success depends on how managers view their subordinates.

In what he describes as the first study to examine leaders' conceptions of followers, psychologist Thomas Sy found that "if managers view followers positively — that they are good citizens, industrious, enthusiastic — they will treat their employees positively".

"If they think of their employees negatively — that they are conforming, insubordinate and incompetent — they will treat them that way. Manager beliefs about employees impact organizational outcomes," he maintains.  

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May 17, 2021

Disgruntled teachers fight for increased pensions

Compared to most Canadians, Ontario’s teachers enjoy one of the richest pension plans in the country. Longtime teachers, who now contribute an average of 11% of salary towards their pension, can expect to receive about two thirds of what they were making over their last few years of work once they leave the classroom.

Teach But, according to a group of disgruntled retired teachers, along with their widows and widowers, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan isn’t playing fair when it comes to determining how much of this money the spouses of dead plan members should receive.

At issue is OTPP's practice of denying full survivor pensions to those who marry after they retire. Under the current rules, spouses who come along after the plan member retires are entitled to only 10 years of benefits.

If pensioners who marry after retirement want to provide a longer-lasting benefit, they must take a pension cut to obtain a survivors pension for their spouse. The reduced pension is permanent, even if the pensioner outlives their late-in-life spouse. 

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May 11, 2021

Nervous workers show signs of presenteeism

Determined to get that project done on time, even though you feel like crap? Worried about staying home lest your boss think that you're not totally committed to your job? Or maybe you don't have any paid sick days to begin with?

If that sounds familiar, you're probably guilty of "presenteeism" — the insidious act of showing up at work even though you should be at home getting over whatever it is that ails you.

Presenteeism isn’t as obvious to spot as absenteeism, because it’s harder to tell how much an illness affects a person's performance than to know how often someone simply doesn’t  show up for work.

One American study suggested that presenteeism costs the U.S economy up to $150 billion a year, thanks to workers who perform well below their usual levels all the while passing on their ailments to their co-workers.

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May 05, 2021

Mom, do you make more money than daddy?

The question of how much – and how – to talk to kids about family finances often stymies even the most dedicated parents.

Ad While kids don’t necessarily need to know exactly how much money you make, they do need to know how the world works. Children, as they grow, need to learn what money means, how much it costs to buy things, and how the money to buy things is earned.

But what if they seem to be trying to figure out who’s the primary breadwinner?

It’s a tricky question, and as with most such money queries, you should probably begin by trying to figure out why the child is asking. Why would it matter which parent makes more money?

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April 26, 2021

The royal wedding may grind your office to a halt

While you may not be sick of royal wedding coverage just yet … okay, you’re probably sick of royal wedding coverage.

439528_westminster_abbey_3 But what can we say? Whether we dig the romance or not, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s union may just be the most talked-about event of this decade when the 2010s are through.

And while there are plenty of business links to the wedding – the U.K. was granted an extra three-day weekend for the ceremony, for instance, a move that may cost the British economy a reported $9.9 million in lost productivity – here’s one that hits closer to home: this Friday, Kate Middleton may grind your office to a halt.

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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...