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  A government pitch that makes sense
ROB CARRICK  

Thursday, April 02, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comThe federal government can't seem to decide whether it wants to intimidate or entice people into receiving payments like Old Age Security and tax refunds via direct deposit instead of cheques sent by mail.
FULL STORY


Homeowners must stay alert for surprises
ROB CARRICK  

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comIf a couple of our big bank CEOs are right, the housing market is either fine or going to correct in orderly fashion.What a relief. Other financial corrections we've had in the past few years were car wrecks, but housing will brake before hitting anything.
FULL STORY


ETF Buyer's Guide, Part 4: Going global
ROB CARRICK  

Saturday, March 28, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comThree years of glorious global stock market returns have not gone unnoticed by Canada's ETF companies.In the past 18 months, they've added substantially to what was once a skeletal selection of funds offering exposure to international (the world outside North America) and global markets (international plus U.S. stocks). In this fourth instalment of The Globe and Mail ETF Buyer's Guide, we look at the newly bulked up selection of core international and global ETFs, as well as emerging market funds.
FULL STORY


Housing market hints at change with declines in key cities
ROB CARRICK  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comThe housing market is a system that transfers wealth from young people buying first homes to long-time owners who sell.It has always been so, but in recent years things have gone a little crazy. That's why the latest developments in the housing market are so notable for two groups - young adults despairing over their ability to afford a home and the people whose financial plan in retirement puts a lot of importance on cashing out of the family home.
FULL STORY


Balanced funds are tipping the value scale
ROB CARRICK  

Saturday, March 21, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comInvestment advisers are putting less and less brain work into the creation of portfolios for clients.Advisers in recent years have sharply increased their use of balanced mutual funds, which mix stocks and bonds and in some cases can serve as diversified portfolios unto themselves.
FULL STORY


Don't judge a mortgage by its hyped-up rate
ROB CARRICK  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comThe big banks are masterly in how they attract attention to their mortgage rate cuts.Don't buy the hype. For the best mortgage deals as defined by low rates and favourable terms, see a mortgage broker. You may still end up doing business with your bank, but failing to at least consult a broker is borderline personal-finance negligence.
FULL STORY


How social media can tank your finances
ROB CARRICK  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comSelfies and social media are bad for your finances.Keeping up with the Joneses has been made a whole lot harder as a result of people posting selfies of themselves doing fabulous stuff on Facebook and Instagram. If you're a friend of the Joneses, you may know every restaurant and bar they've sampled, the beaches they've visited, the concerts they've seen and all the marvellous things their kids have done. People have always felt pressure to spend like their friends, but now it's a continuous, almost real-time distraction.
FULL STORY


ETF Buyer's Guide, Part 3: Bonds
ROB CARRICK  

Saturday, March 14, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comThe hardest job in ETF investing just might be picking bond funds.Finding an equity ETF is comparatively simple - choose a major stock index and find the cheapest, most liquid exchangetraded fund that tracks it. With bonds, the choices never end. Do you want corporate or government bonds? Investment-grade corporate or high yield? Shortterm, medium-term, long-term bonds or a blend? Active management or an index-tracking ETF?
FULL STORY


Free tax software goes mainstream
ROB CARRICK  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comHere's a guaranteed tip for saving money at tax time.Swap the income tax software or online service you bought last year for one of the growing number of free products you can download to your computer, or use online via computer or mobile device. Free tax software used to be a fringe thing. Now, even big players such as TurboTax and HandR Block are in the market.
FULL STORY


Suddenly, a flurry of interest in annuities
ROB CARRICK  

Saturday, March 07, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comPeople are finally showing some curiosity about the annuity option for retirement planning. I've been writing about life annuities for years, but it was only with a column published here two weeks ago that readers began asking a lot of questions about how these generators of income-for-life work (read it online at tgam.ca/EIOB). Here, some of the most interesting questions have been gathered up with answers supplied by insurers and advisers.
FULL STORY


Patience pays for first-time home buyers
ROB CARRICK  

Thursday, March 05, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comThirtysomething is the new twentysomething when getting into the real estate market.Buying young? It's a tragedy in the making. At a time of life when mobility is a virtue, young adults could be tied down to a house that sucks their bank account dry every month. Who says there's no such thing as vampires?
FULL STORY


Struggling with the middle-class squeeze
ROB CARRICK  

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comBetween daycare costs and a bunch of other household expenses, Winnipeg high school teacher Cliff Dann's family is having the, um, stuffing squeezed out of it.
FULL STORY


ETF Buyer's Guide Part 2 - U.S. equity funds
ROB CARRICK  

Saturday, February 28, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comYears back, a guide to buying U.S. equity ETFs could have been written on the back of a postcard.You had a couple of SandP 500 ETFs, a Nasdaq fund and a few other options. Today, after a huge runup in U.S. stocks, there are more than 70 choices. In the second instalment of the updated Globe and Mail ETF Buyer's Guide, we focus on core U.S. equity funds with wide appeal to investors.
FULL STORY


WHY WE CAN'T AFFORD TO RAISE THE TFSA CONTRIBUTION LIMIT
ROB CARRICK  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comHigher TFSA contribution limits could cost us all.Launched in 2009, tax-free savings accounts may be the most important development in Canadian personal finance since the introduction of the registered retirement savings plan back in the 1950s. TFSAs are Swiss army knives - a financial knife, corkscrew, screwdriver and more. But doubling the annual contribution limit of $5,500 is a bad idea.
FULL STORY


New ETF offers extra yield for a reasonable risk
ROB CARRICK  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Some of the biggest risks being taken by investors these days are being made in an attempt to escape from absurdly low bond yields.Five-year Government of Canada bonds yielded about 0.8 per cent in mid-February, which is low enough to mandate a thorough search for alternatives.
FULL STORY


Uncertainty headlines Gen Y outlook
ROB CARRICK  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comThe question we have to ask about every good news personal-finance story is whether the young adults of Generation Y are part of it.In some cases, the answer is no.
FULL STORY


Annuities can gold-plate a silver pension
ROB CARRICK  

Saturday, February 21, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comWe worship defined-benefit plans, but we disrespect annuities. This is illogical.DB pensions offer a set amount of monthly income for as long as you live, just as annuities do. This is why DB pensions are considered so desirable. If you're a member of one of these plans at a financially solid employer, you have zero worries about outliving your money.
FULL STORY


Debt vs. RRSPs: A new take on an old debate
ROB CARRICK  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comSaving for retirement beats paying down your mortgage. There - a long-standing debate in Canadian personal finance is settled. To build wealth in today's low interest rate world, divert money you were going to use to pay down your mortgage balance to your registered retirement savings plan or tax-free savings account.
FULL STORY


Have I saved enough? Best to ask an expert
ROB CARRICK  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comPart of being a good personal finance columnist is to know when the help of a specialist is required to answer questions about money.One of these situations came up in The Globe and Mail financial boot camp we've been running all week (catch up here: tgam.ca/financialbootcamp). A bunch of recruits asked questions about retirement that came down to this: ''Have I saved enough?'' It's gratifying that people trust a personal finance columnist enough to answer questions such as this, but I suggest they see a specialist.
FULL STORY


Twenty-five reasons to start saving
ROB CARRICK  

Thursday, February 12, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comAt The Globe and Mail's financial boot camp, we deprogram people caught in the cult of overspending.Boot camp aims to turn people with all kinds of money challenges into personal finance warriors (check it out online at tgam.ca/ financialbootcamp). Here, we work on the discipline of saving to meet your goals and obligations rather than falling back on borrowing. Let's look at 25 reasons for people of all ages to save.
FULL STORY


Five balanced funds that are great for DIY investors
ROB CARRICK  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comA confession - I was too hard on balanced funds in my early days as a personal finance columnist.They struck me as the Kraft Dinner of investments. Convenient and filling, but bland and not especially good for you. I thought it far better to pick a good bunch of equity funds and then add a bond fund. More work, but more reward because you're cherry-picking the best funds for your portfolio, not buying pre-fab solutions from fund companies that have no hesitation in mixing their best and lamest products.
FULL STORY


'A black cloud hanging over us'
ROB CARRICK  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.coListen to these voices if you think high personal-debt levels in Canada are nothing to bother about.''Our debt is a black cloud hanging over us,'' an applicant to our Globe and Mail financial boot camp wrote us (check it out at tgam.ca/financialbootcamp). Another wrote: ''We have had [debt] for so long, we have become numb to it.'' Other boot camp applicants said debt is preventing them from buying a house, helping their kids, saving for retirement and fulfilling ambitions such as travelling. ''Being in debt is holding me back from so many great opportunities,'' one young woman wrote.
FULL STORY


Value the dividend in your beaten-down preferred shares
ROB CARRICK  

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comOne of the more shocking investing stories of this year has to be the carnage in the preferred share market.Some preferreds were hammered during that brief hiccup in the summer of 2013 when interest rates appeared to be set for a sustained rise, and others have been brutal in early 2015, as interest rates slide. Investors who own preferred shares have to be reeling at this point. Will these popular bond alternatives ever find favour again?
FULL STORY


Punished for saving? Keep at it, anyway
ROB CARRICK  

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comCanada's savers need some saving.The latest decline in interest rates has drawn fresh attention to how sad returns are for people with money in savings accounts, guaranteed investment certificates and government bonds. But a close look at financial data for the past two decades shows things are worse than we thought. If you factor inflation into your returns, you're actually losing money as a saver.
FULL STORY


Advisers and women: Is anyone listening?
ROB CARRICK  

Saturday, January 31, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comThe financial advice business doesn't get women.One survey found that 73 per cent of women were unhappy with the service they got from the financial industry. Among widows, 80 per cent switch advisers after the death of their husband.
FULL STORY

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