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Christina Hendricks as Joan Holloway-Harris in Mad Men.
Christina Hendricks as Joan Holloway-Harris in Mad Men.

Carrick on money

A viral blog post about female financial independence Add to ...

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.

Reaction to this post is gathered up here and some of it is negative because of a sense that it patronizes women. That’s an issue touched on here by the female half of a couple known in the personal finance universe as the Frugalwoods. She writes about how people assume she’s not on the same page as her fiercely frugal husband. Overall, a smart exploration of an outdated notion in our culture that women are spenders and men supply the brains when it comes to managing money.

Here’s some data to back up the idea of men as spenders – they’re ramping up spending on clothing more than women.

Rob’s top web links

> It’s a badge of honour among frugal people to drive a used car, particularly an aged one with hundreds of thousands of kilometres on the clock. Here are eight reasons to consider buying a new car.

> By all means get a mortgage pre-approval to find out how much house you can afford you buy. But don’t expect that pre-approval to automatically guarantee financing on purchase, it says here.

> Index-linked GICs are a junk investment that makes this investment industry executive’s blood boil. Next, take a look at this U.S. money manager’s takedown of a kind of investment that promises way more than it can deliver. Follow my ABS rule of investments that make big promises – always be skeptical.

> The recent B.C. provincial budget attempts to deal with the craziness in Vancouver real estate prices by lowering the amount of property transfer taxes paid on houses costing less than $750,000 (that passes for cheap in Vancouver). Good luck with that. As discussed here, there’s growing concern that a generation of young people will leave the city because they can’t afford houses and other living costs. This member of the B.C. legislature can’t afford Vancouver, and he’s fine with that.

> In New York, a real estate market that Toronto is often compared to these days, parents are solving the high cost of decent housing by buying apartments and then renting them to their kids.

> I’m a big advocate of renting when you can’t afford to buy and own a house, but I have to concede that it’s expensive to rent in some cities and neighborhoods. Here’s a look at some parts of Toronto with overpriced rent.

Today’s featured investment tool
Where can you find affordable rents across Canada? Use our Where in Canada Can You Afford to Rent calculator to find affordable accommodations.

Ask Rob
The question:
“I see the advantages to ETFs and I have an advisor that does my investing. Should I talk to my investor about purchasing ETF’s or go at it by myself? ETFs seem to be something that an advisor would not gravitate towards.”

My reply: The number of advisers using exchange-traded funds to build portfolios is on the rise. The reason: ETFs cost very little to own, and they can be combined very effectively into a diversified portfolio. Your adviser may prefer other investments, but he or she should be open to a discussion about the merits of ETFs. Advisers who badmouth ETFs are showing their ignorance.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Questions and answers are edited for length.

Featured Video
What snowbirds who own U.S. houses need to know about income tax.

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Why women need to save more than men (The Globe and Mail)

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