In Debt and Afraid – Dealing with Debt Collectors

In Debt and Afraid - Dealing with Debt CollectorsIt’s a scary place to be — in debt and afraid. A new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report found that more than one in four consumers felt threatened when contacted by debt collectors. The first-ever national survey of consumer experiences with debt collectors found consumers often faced calls that came too often, at odd hours and contained warnings of jail time and other threats. Some were contacted for debts they…

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2017 – An Investing Year of Few Certainties and Plenty of Potential Risk

2017 - An Investing Year of Few Certainties and Plenty of Potential RiskThe incoming leader of the world’s biggest economy has no experience running a government and appears to have a shaky grasp of geopolitics. He is intent on cosying up to Russia, has pledged to rip up trade deals, is prone to ill-timed Tweets and muses openly about boosting his country’s nuclear arsenal. The bloc that forms the world’s second-largest economic entity, meanwhile, is going through an existential crisis. One of…

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Canada and the Loonie Just Got Some Great News

Canada and the Loonie Just Got Some Great NewsIt looks like Canadian investors can enjoy a sigh of relief: the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled today that it wouldn’t raise rates. It also introduced an increasingly cautious approach by cutting the number of rate increases expected in 2017 and 2018. The long-run interest rate forecast was also reset lower to 2.9% from 3%. Why is this such a big deal? The loonie has faced an onslaught of pressures in recent months and years.  Read…

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You Spring-Clean Your House Why Not Your Finances?

You Spring-Clean Your House Why Not Your Finances?Many Canadians engage in regular spring cleaning rituals like checking fire alarms, rotating mattresses and planting gardens. They’re tedious and time-consuming tasks, but they need to be tended to by responsible homeowners. Those responsibilities shouldn’t end at household chores. Spring is as good a time as any to dust off and polish up all things personal finance. You’re already sorting through slips and statements to file your taxes, so you…

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Secrets of How the Rich Save, Spend and Invest

Secrets of How the Rich Save, Spend and InvestThe secrets to building wealth aren’t hidden behind locked doors in the realm of the rich. Plenty of wealthy people make disastrous financial mistakes. But those who succeed understand how to make their money work for them as well as how to take calculated risks. The current low-rate environment of easy money policies means that playing it safe with investments is not an option for those who want to increase…

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6 Ways to Cut Your Banking Fees

6 Ways to Cut Your Banking FeesNearly half of Canadians live pay cheque to pay cheque.  A recent survey by the Canadian Payroll Association reported that 47 per cent of us would face financial hardship if our pay was delayed as little as a week. One of the easiest ways to save money is to take a close look at your banking fees. But when you’re living on the edge, it can be tough to change…

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RESP Contribution Rules For 2011

RESP Contribution Rules For 2011One of the main benefits of RESP accounts is the federal Canadian Educational Savings Grant (CESG). This grant is 20% of any eligible contributions in an RESP account. How the RESP Grant System Works Let’s say you open an RESP account for your bouncing new baby and contribute $1,000 into the account. Your financial institution will send the account and contribution information to the Canadian government for grant approval. If…

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Chuck it All and Buy GICs?

Chuck it All and Buy GICs?It’s possible to make a reasonable argument that the average investor would be better off investing in GICs than stocks and bonds. Unfortunately, David Trahair fails to make this argument well in his book Enough Bull: How to Retire Well Without the Stock Market, Mutual Funds, or Even an Investment Advisor. So, I’ll try to make it for him. The main argument in favour of investing in stocks is their…

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A Joint Bank Account Strategy for Couples

A Joint Bank Account Strategy for CouplesI’m a feminist (of the Cathy Young brand of equality feminism, not the cuckoo-for-coco-puffs Andrea Dworkin or difference feminism brands of feminism).  Sometimes I’ve grappled with the best way to divide expenses within a romantic relationship.  As an ideal, splitting the costs evenly seems to make sense, but I’m certainly aware that often two people will differ in their disposable income or earning potential.  The actual mechanics can sometimes be…

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Run, don’t walk, Run to open a TFSA

Run, don’t walk, Run to open a TFSALook.  There’s no downside and all kinds of upside to the Tax Free Savings Account. Become a saver, already! Here’s how it works: 1. Set up a Tax Free Savings Account at any Canadian bank you like. 2. Every year, you can put in up to $5000. But $100 is just fine too. 3. Whatever that $5000 earns, you are never taxed on.  So you can go conservative and just…

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