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Carrick on money

40 things you can stop doing right now to save money Add to ...

One of the most popular of these newsletters so far made a case for wearing the same thing to work every day. I get it. People are looking for ways to simplify their lives to save time and money.

That might help you understand where I’m coming from in including this article from The Guardian. It’s a somewhat snarky list of 40 things you can stop doing now because they’re not worth it. Flossing is on the list, after a study issued this summer suggested it’s not the no-brainer dental hygiene habit it’s sometimes made out to be. Think of the money you’ll save on dental floss purchases.

Having a landline is also on the list. Half a million Canadians dumped their home phones last year, so there’s obviously something to this. Throwing out food past its due date is there, too. A recent CBC report showed that a staggering amount of food is wasted every year in Canada. Also on the list is learning to drive, which can cost upwards of $500 for a driver’s ed course. Why bother when driver-less cars are coming?

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Impress your friends and family
Getting ready to have people over? This is what guests really notice in your home: a well-stocked bar, fresh flowers, a lack of clutter and more.

How to recognize dementia in a loved one
The holidays are a good time to check in with your older relatives to see how they’re doing. Here’s a good list of warning signs of dementia. I would suggest you also check how a person is managing their finances. Are there unpaid bills lying around? Are they on top of their investments, benefits, pensions and such? Now for some advice on how to stay healthy in retirement: Get enough sleep in your working years. Skipping sleep and working longer is bad for you.

Five signs you’re not actually good with money
Here’s the sign that caught my eye – you’re saving only 10 per cent. Used to be that saving 10 per cent of your pay was considered exemplary financial behavior.

Dividends from Tangerine
A look inside the new low-cost dividend fund offered by the online bank Tangerine. Something for all you dividend enthusiasts to remember is that the kind of uptick we’ve seen recently in interest rates puts some downward pressure on the share price of dividend payers in sectors like utilities, telecoms and pipelines.

Do these five things now to retire in 10 years
Obviously, make sure you’re saving enough. But there are some other things to consider as well, including the timing of your spouse’s retirement date.

Today’s featured financial tool
This calculator will help you decide whether to put money in a TFSA or RRSP.

Ask Rob
The question: “In my small portfolio, I currently own the Vanguard FTSE Global All Cap ex Canada Index ETF (VXC) and the Vanguard FTSE Canada All Cap Index ETF (VCN) at about a 4:1 ratio, respectively. Canada obviously isn’t 20 per cent of the world’s economy, but it certainly is safer than some other countries. Is this a healthy balance?

My reply: “Sounds like a reasonable mix to me. Truth is, diversification is an inexact science with no one definitive approach. The gung-ho global investor might want to give Canada a weighting of 4 or 5 per cent, in line with the country’s share of the global stock market. But given that you’re living in Canada and will likely retire here, it makes sense to have a higher share of your portfolio than that in Canada. A big benefit of owning Canadian stocks is that there are no currency fluctuations to mess up your returns. Note that 55 per cent of VXC is in U.S. stocks.”

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length.

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