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Carrick on Money

Rob Carrick pulls together the best personal finance ideas of the week

Entry archive:

Investing: A lot of you are doing it wrong

By Rob Carrick

The hazards of picking individual stocks as an investor are bluntly summed up in a video interview with Harold Pollack, the co-author of a new book called The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated. He says that in trying to pick winning stocks, investors are chasing shiny objects and making bad choices. Pollack argues that investors would be better off with low-cost index funds, which give you exposure to all the stocks in major stock indexes like the S&P/TSX composite and S&P 500.

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How to teach your kids about life: Don’t help them buy a house

By Rob Carrick

You may know the name Sean Cooper – he’s the guy who paid off his Toronto mortgage in just three years, by age 30. Now, he’s a personal finance blogger with some strong views on how his fellow millennials are affording their own homes. He says a lot of young adults expect to get help from their parents, and that this has to stop.

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Want to save more? Stop wasting money on getting wasted

By Rob Carrick

A gutsy personal finance blogger has tallied up her cost of drinking through high school, university and beyond, and the grand total was something like $35,712, or $2,463 annually for 14.5 years. She didn’t quit drinking to save money, but she does see some lessons in her story about mindless spending.

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Your parents likely made a mint off housing, but you won’t

By Rob Carrick

Housing prices in some cities have risen way above incomes for years, and the result is a market that is increasingly unaffordable for first-time buyers. The housing-industrial complex — banks, realtors and such — must be getting nervous about this. In the past few days, I’ve seen a number of media releases trying to pump up the market for millennial home buying.

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Barking mad about vet bills? Check out this retirement home for dogs

By Rob Carrick

Pets are great, but the bills for veterinary care and boarding when you’re on vacation can be shocking. Our cat wouldn’t co-operate with his exam one year and the vet suggested sedating him for $400. For years, we couldn’t get our dog through an annual exam without the vet trying to sell us on various treatments and tests. Now, new financial challenges for “pet parents” are emerging in the form of complex and costly medical treatments for animals. There’s even a retirement home for senior dogs in Japan.

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Is the Panama Papers scandal an attack on the wealthy?

By Rob Carrick

There’s a widely held view that we should be angry about the Panama Papers, the name given to 11.5 million leaked documents disclosing how rich and powerful people around the world are using tax havens. Now for the contrary view – that we should worry less about legal things the wealthy do for estate planning purposes and focus more on fighting corruption.

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Living on $1.8-million is harder than you think

By Rob Carrick

A Gen Y personal finance blogger has calculated that you’ll earn roughly $1.8-million in your lifetime if you have a bachelor’s degree. Subtract about $360,000 from that for taxes, and you’re down to something like $1.5-million to pay for everything from houses to kids, cars and food. Good luck with that. Without a plan to control spending and diligently save and invest, you may be doomed to financial futility.

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Allow me to vent about the many ways cable TV is lame

By Rob Carrick

Bit by bit, we get closer at our house to cutting our cable TV. We’re not quite there yet, although many others are, but I’m paying close attention to articles like this one, a complete guide on how to get free TV over the Internet.

What’s to complain about with cable? For one thing, our already substantial rates just went up about 3.5 per cent for cable and Internet combined, roughly double the rate of inflation. Anger over cable TV bills prompted the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to order cable companies to come up with a $25 a month “skinny basic” package of channels, which they did earlier this month. Now, the CRTC is getting a lot of complaints about the new cheaper option. Turns out they’re not so cheap after all. One critic even calls these new packages a slap in the CRTC’s face.

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Have the Liberals made you a tax winner or a tax loser?

By Rob Carrick

The signature personal finance-related move by the Liberal government so far was arguably to lower income taxes for the middle class and increase for them for high earners. Other moves may have a bigger dollar impact on some individuals, but re-jigging the tax rates speaks to a willingness to re-distribute income by taxing some people more and others less. This calculator will help you see whether you’re on track to pay more or less tax in 2016 than you did in 2015.

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Attention, parents: You could be in for a tax hit when filing this year

Rob Carick

By Rob Carrick

There’s a federal budget coming Tuesday and it will be watched closely to see how the Liberals deliver on their election promises. On Thursday, they pledged to restore Old Age Security eligibility back to 65. For young families, there’s the Canada Child Tax Benefit, which was a key part of the party’s platform in the election last fall. This program replaces the Enhanced Universal Child Care Benefit, which parents will have to account for on their 2015 tax returns. A tax expert looks here at how reporting enhanced UCCB benefits may, in combination with another tax change, result in parents paying more tax than they expected, or getting less of a refund.

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The war on millennials: Why they really do have it harder than you did

By Rob Carrick

This country, and maybe the world, has an empathy problem with regards to young people. There’s a striking reluctance to believe that the young adults known as millennials or Generation Y are facing economic challenges that are any different from previous generations. A well-researched investigation by The Guardian, a respected British newspaper, sets us straight. It documents how millennials have been put at a disadvantage by debt, unemployment and high house prices. Compared to seniors, young people are falling behind in income growth.

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Warning: Your Air Miles could soon start expiring

Rob Carrick

This is the Globe’s Carrick on Money personal finance newsletter. Sign up here to get it by e-mail.

By Rob Carrick

I’ve been a member of the Air Miles customer loyalty program for 23 years, nearly as long as I’ve been married. My wife and I are happy together. Air Miles and me? It’s complicated. Unless I use my points by year’s end, they’ll start expiring.

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$2,000 a month is plenty to retire on in these countries

Rob Carrick

This is the Globe’s Carrick on Money personal finance newsletter. Sign up here to get it by e-mail.

By Rob Carrick

This article on cheap places to live around the world caught my eye because here in Ottawa, where I live, we just had a 15-cm snowfall to cap a few weeks of utterly foul winter weather. Five countries with low living costs are highlighted, and they’re all in warm climates. What links them is the fact that you can live on $1,500 (U.S.) per month or less. In Canadian dollars, that’s about $2,000.

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This is what millennials have been reduced to, and it’s just gross

Rob Carrick

This is the Globe’s Carrick on Money personal finance newsletter. Sign up here to get it by e-mail.

By Rob Carrick

Millennials, young adults in their 20s and early 30s, are ripping each other apart over who is truly suffering in today’s economy. It all started with this blog post, an open letter from a young woman to her boss about how she’s not making enough money to afford the high rents in the city where she lives, San Francisco.

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A viral blog post about female financial independence

Rob Carrick

This is the Globe’s Carrick on Money personal finance newsletter. Sign up here to get it by e-mail.

By Rob Carrick

Here’s a viral blog post based on the idea that women can empower themselves and enhance their financial independence by having an emergency fund. That’s what I call it, anyway. In this blog post, it’s called an f–--off fund. Obviously, a foul language warning applies here.

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Why retirees should suck it up and buy stocks

Rob Carrick

By Rob Carrick

Bear markets like we’ve seen recently are the precise reason why you’re supposed to increase your exposure to bonds at the expense of stocks as you get older. When stocks tank, bonds rise. This helps investors feel comfortable it the short term, but it may cost them over time in terms of foregone returns. That’s the thinking behind a pair of columns that appeared recently in the New York Times.

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What the heck should I do with my RRSP this year?

Rob Carrick

This is the Globe’s Carrick on Money personal finance newsletter. Sign up to get it by e-mail on Wednesday and Friday.

A basic rule of investing success is to make regular, automatic contributions to your retirement account every time you get paid. What, you didn’t get that memo? Then let’s hear some thoughts on what to do with a last-minute contribution to your registered retirement savings plan before this year’s Feb. 29th deadline. What we want to avoid is you reacting to the current stock market nastiness by doing nothing.

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Baby, I love your hot credit score

Rob Carrick

This is the Globe’s Carrick on Money personal finance newsletter. Sign up to get it by e-mail on Wednesday and Friday.

By Rob Carrick

Valentine’s Day is coming up on Sunday. Men, that reminder is for you. Don’t blow it by forgetting. Now, onto business inspired by this annual rite of love and devotion. New research suggests that the higher your credit score when you start a serious relationship, the less your chances of breaking up after the first few years. Mismatched credit scores suggest a breakup within five years. How do you find your date’s credit score? I’m open to ideas.

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A realist’s guide to buying vs. renting

Rob Carrick

This is the Globe’s Carrick on Money personal finance newsletter. Sign up to get it by e-mail on Wednesday and Friday.

By Rob Carrick

It’s about time someone had some fun with the debate over owning a home versus renting. Okay, I’ve certainly had fun challenging stale, status-quo thinking about renting being a waste of money. Now, it’s the turn of the satirical magazine The Onion to weigh in. Here’s The Onion’s Owning Vs. Renting comparison. It’s funny, balanced and quite truthful.

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Young home buyer's dilemma: Swanky condo vs. blah semi

Rob Carrick

This is the Globe's personal finance newsletter. Sign up to get it by e-mail on Wednesday and Friday.

By Rob Carrick

Hey there, everyone. Welcome to the redesigned Carrick on Money  newsletter, where I round up the best online personal finance content and deliver it to your inbox. Let’s jump right into a topic that obsesses me and a lot of Globe and Mail readers. It’s real estate. Once a no-brainer purchase for families, homes are now something you have to plot, strategize and agonize over before buying. When it comes to home ownership, I love hearing what people are saying and doing.

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Carrick best reads: Life insurance for kids? Give me a break

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

Note: This is the final edition of Carrick Best Reads. To continue receiving my picks for best personal finance reads and more, subscribe to my twice-weekly Carrick On Money newsletter. Sign up here.

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Carrick best reads: Why are hotels so stingy with free Wi-Fi?

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

Why are hotels so stingy with free Wi-Fi?
This article points out something I’ve noticed myself – that budget hotels frequently offer free Wi-Fi for guests, but more expensive hotels do not.

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Sign up for the FREE Carrick on Money email newsletter now

Trying to pare down debt? Refine your investing skills? Make your money go further? Personal finance expert Rob Carrick can help. His Carrick on Money email newsletter delivers useful advice and new information directly to your inbox every Wednesday and Friday morning.
 

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Carrick best reads: Five things yoga can teach you about money

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

Five things yoga can teach you about money
Balance, flexibility and other aspects of yoga that also apply to managing money.

Avoid these estate planning blunders
What does a "messed up estate" look like? The Blunt Bean Counter blog explains.

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Carrick best reads: Boomers flocking to rentals

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

Boomers flock to rentals
More and more boomers in the United States are renting instead of owning a home. After the housing market collapse of 2008, many remain soured on home ownership.

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Carrick best reads: 26 ways to teach kids good money habits

ROB CARRICK

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

26 ways to teach kids good money habits
A wide-ranging list that I bet will have some ideas you haven’t thought of.

Sledgehammer vs. scalpel
Two personal finance bloggers discuss whether it’s necessary to expand the Canada Pension Plan, and how best to go about it. Smart analysis here.

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Carrick best reads: How travellers can duck the lowly loonie

ROB CARRICK

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

How travellers can duck the lowly loonie
Pick a good travel rewards credit card and earn cash or points that offset the extra costs of converting Canadian dollars into other currencies. Here’s a list of the top travel reward cards for 2016.

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Carrick best reads: Don’t be a supermarket checkout line chump

ROB CARRICK

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

Don’t be a supermarket checkout line chump
Soaring food prices as a result of our weak dollar make this list of Top 10 food shopping mistakes particularly relevant right now.

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Carrick best reads: Lego’s been a better investment than stocks

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

Lego’s been a better investment than stocks
Time’s Money website says the value of Lego sets (in pristine shape) have risen an average of 12 per cent annually over the past 15 years. That beats gold or the stock markets.

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Carrick best reads: It’s an economic downturn, not the apocalypse

ROB CARRICK

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

It’s an economic downturn — not the apocalypse
My former Globe and Mail colleague Alan Freeman provides some calming perspective here on the country’s economic troubles and the government’s options for addressing them.

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Carrick best reads: The lesson of the $10,000 hotel room

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

The lesson of the $10,000 hotel room
A blogger talks about her disappointment at the $10,000 (U.S.) suite her company booked for client meetings in Las Vegas. The lesson: More expensive doesn’t mean better.

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Carrick best reads: How winning the lottery makes you miserable

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

How winning the lottery makes you miserable
Many stories about lottery winners remind us that money does not buy happiness. Though I imagine this week’s Powerball winner is feeling pretty good right now.

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Carrick best reads: Sell (almost) everything and a contrarian view

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

Sell (almost) everything
The financial industry’s message to investors and clients in volatile times is don’t panic. Now, a major global bank is warning investors about a disastrous 2016 and suggesting they sell everything except high quality bonds.

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Carrick best reads: No way my kids will be renters

ROB CARRICK

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

No way my kids will be renters
Talk to anyone in the real estate business and you’ll hear that a lot of young home buyers are getting help from their parents. This report from Vancouver shows how parents are going beyond providing money for a down payment and becoming co-owners of properties with their kids.

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Carrick best reads: Six tips for investors when stocks plunge

ROB CARRICK

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

Six tips for investors when stocks plunge
Smart common sense points from the New York Times that will help ease your mind after a tough start to the year for the stock markets.

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Carrick best reads: Travel reward trends for 2016

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

Travel reward trends for 2016
Predictions of what to expect from credit card travel rewards in 2016.

What’s harder than being a billionaire?
Apparently, it’s staying a billionaire. Read here about how some of the billionaires of 1995 weren’t on the list in 2015.

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Carrick best reads: Over 50 and buying a first home

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

Over 50 and buying a first home
The average age of new home buyers in the United States last year was 31, but 7 per cent were in the 55 to 74 age bracket.

The Top 16 Canadian dividend growth stocks for 2016
A blogger pitches his dividend favourites. As ever, more research is required to see if these stocks are a fit for you.

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Carrick best reads: The broke person’s guide to decorating

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

The broke person’s guide to decorating
Cheap, fun ways to improve the look of your place without spending a lot of money.

What if you invest just before a market crash?
An investment adviser argues in this blog post that you might actually do reasonably well. The implication here is that you’re better off getting into the market than sitting in cash while waiting for a perfect moment.

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Carrick best reads: Enough with the tales of heroic frugality

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

Enough with the tales of heroic frugality
A smart take on the backlash against a guy who lived like a monk to get his mortgage paid off in three years.

Here’s yet another insightful view on this story.

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Carrick best reads: How to cut spending and retire early

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

How to cut spending and retire early
Even with longer lifespans and tough financial markets, people still dream about early retirement.

What old age is really like
Aging is such a big theme in personal finance that I thought it worthwhile to include this New Yorker article on the topic. It compares perceptions of aging with the reality reported by various authors and researchers.

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Carrick best reads: 10 money tips for starting a new year

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

10 money tips for starting a new year
Some useful thoughts here on how to gauge whether your finances are on track.

The rising cost of daycare
This list of the top six parenting trends for 2016 includes two that suggest people are willing to spend big money on the best daycare for their kids.

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Carrick best reads: What employees want even more than a raise

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

What employees want even more than a raise
I hear plenty of people saying their pay is falling behind a rising cost of living. But according to surveys, people would rather receive benefits like more vacation, performance bonuses and a flexible schedule.

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Carrick best reads: How life is better when you’re debt-free

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

How life is better when you’re debt-free
A fun list of things to do when your debts are paid off. Focuses a lot on how you’ll have less to worry about with no debts.

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Carrick best reads: Is it OK to be a Christmas gift Scrooge?

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

Is it OK to be a Christmas gift Scrooge?
A credit counselling agency’s blog says it’s OK to give your time instead of money.

Thoughts on whether stocks are too risky for seniors
A blogger writes about trying to find the right investment mix for his mother, a senior.

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Carrick best reads: This stealth mortgage change may cost you

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

This stealth mortgage change may cost you
A mortgage planner writes about a mortgage change that was announced last week at the same time as the higher down payment rules but got little attention. The changes affect the costs lenders face when providing mortgages, and they could results in higher mortgage rates. In fact, this may already be happening.

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Carrick best reads: These are your biggest financial blunders of 2015

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

These are your biggest financial blunders of 2015
A financial planner lets people have it for mistakes made in investing, budgeting and being too emotional about money.

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Carrick best reads: Are you prepared for a frugal retirement?

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

Are you prepared for a frugal retirement?
Retirement has been marketed by the financial industry as a time to reward yourself for a lifetime’s hard work. But some of us will struggle to make our finances work in retirement, just as many people do in their working years. Here are some thoughts for people looking ahead to a frugal retirement.

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Carrick best reads: Ten warning signs for investors in 2016

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

Ten warning signs for investors in 2016
A roundup of things to bear in mind. Nothing to alter a well-conserved long-term investing plan, though.

How to keep your brain sharp in retirement
Seniors are increasingly looking at games like chess and bridge to maintain their mental acuity.

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Carrick best reads: Ottawa’s TFSA changes are historic

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

Ottawa’s TFSA changes are historic
This Maclean’s article says the decline in the TFSA contribution limit to $5,500 next year from $10,000 this year is particularly noteworthy. In the past 58 years, it’s the first reduction in the annual contribution room of a tax-deferred, registered savings program. Some very good analysis here on how TFSAs were framed when they were first introduced – as an RRSP for everything besides retirement – and how they’re being used now as a way to shelter investments from tax.

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Carrick best reads: High house prices explained

Rob Carrick

The best of the web on money, markets and all things financial, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

High house prices explained
It says here that baby boomers are hanging on to their houses longer instead of downsizing, and that’s creating a supply-demand imbalance that supports higher prices. This is a U.S. report, but it could easily have been written about Toronto’s housing market. When I was in the city recently talking to real estate experts, a shortage of supply was cited over and over as a source of support for the city’s high and rising prices.

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