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You had your best-laid plans and then COVID-19 came along and hammered the entire economy. But you’ve got this – if you have the right information. Join Rob Carrick and Roma Luciw on Stress Test, a podcast guiding you through one of the biggest challenges your finances will ever face.

ROB: 2021 was a spectacular year of surprises in personal finance. Who would have thought inflation would take off, that housing could get even hotter and that job-hopping would be commonplace?

So what’s next?

[THEME MUSIC]

ROMA: Today, we’re asking four experts to tell us what some of the big stories will be in 2022. We’ll cover investing, housing, jobs and travel. All the stuff you care about.

ROB: Welcome to Stress Test, a podcast about personal finance for Gen Z and millennials. I’m Rob Carrick, personal finance columnist at The Globe and Mail.

ROMA: And I’m Roma Luciw, personal finance editor at The Globe.

ROMA: So Rob, can we agree that 2021 was an unprecedented year in so many ways?

ROB: Next level strange. That’s how I describe 2021 in personal finance. So many things we haven’t seen before, or we’ve never seen this intensely.

ROMA: Mm hmm. I mean, in my 15 years as personal finance editor, I’ve just never seen so many extremes and so much drama surrounding everything.

ROB: I like the word drama there because that is exactly how I describe the housing market, inflation, what’s going on in the stock market, crypto - everything is dramatic. Nothing is subtle anymore. It’s like getting hit over the head with a mallet.

ROMA: Mm hmm. So we’re living in extraordinary times. We agree about that. And in my mind, the question is, are we going to ever get back to normal? I mean, what will the new normal be? How long can this kind of uncertainty or anxiety last?

ROB: I hate to even speculate on that because I think it could be quite a long time. You know, frankly, I think if we’re still doing this podcast in 10 years, we’ll still be talking about stuff that happened in the pandemic and the long tail effects of it. And I think, you know, people retiring 40 years from now. Here’s a hot take. I think their retirements could be affected by what has happened in the past 12 months and returning to the theme of this particular episode of the podcast: What’s going to happen in the next 12 months?

ROB: In today’s episode, we’re talking to four experts about the big personal finance trends in 2022. First up, we’ll speak with someone about the investing outlook for next year. That’s up next.

[TRANSITION MUSIC]

ROB: With free stock trading available and the pandemic driving markets higher, investing was  hugely popular in 2021. It was unusual to say the least because young investors were in the thick of it. Also, meme stocks and cryptocurrency were front and centre, and so was investing based on themes like electric vehicles and AI.

Will this continue? To find out, I spoke with Robb Engen of the personal finance blog Boomer & Echo.

ROB CARRICK: Rob, we are asking personal finance experts around the country for their thoughts on what will be big personal finance or investing stories in 2022. What are your thoughts?

ROBB ENGEN: You know, well, I think coming out of the pandemic, we might see a more normal stock market - where we see an actual correction and not maybe 60 or 70 new all time highs. And perhaps that might either scare off or bore new investors who are coming in or just new to investing. Or you know, if the correction or crashes is sharp enough, we might see that scar of new investors just much like it did in the dot.com crash in the early 2000s.

ROB CARRICK: Can we just talk for a minute about how abnormal 2021 was? How unusual was it from your point of view?

ROBB ENGEN:  Really unusual. I mean, beginning at the start of the year with the meme stock craze, the GameStops and AMCs and whatnot just trading, you know, crazy levels, not anywhere tied to their, you know, price valuations. And of course, cryptocurrency, all the new coins coming out and different platforms where you can trade coins, bitcoin and Ethereum ETFs and things like that. So it’s just a wild market. NFTs came on the scene. And so, you know, for new investors, it was this really exciting time. Whether they’re learning about a space or just hearing hot tips from a friend or their peers and maybe jumping into investing for the first time and probably having some success at least early on. And so when I say maybe coming back to a more normal stock market environment, we might see some corrections there. We might see investors get kind of scared off from those early wins and really a dose of reality that investing isn’t all that easy when you look at it over the long term.

ROB CARRICK: You touched on something that I think we need to delve into a little bit. And how unusual it’s to have so much success as an investor in one sort of one 12-month period? Have you ever seen a time when almost everything - of course bonds are a notable exception, but almost everything else is shooting up in price? Have you ever seen the likes?

ROBB ENGEN: Well, I think you can draw a lot of parallels to the dot com era where the bubble was inflating with these. You know, you heard the ubiquitous kind of Pets.com, these companies that don’t really have any sales or anything that are just exploding in growth. And so, you know, I remember talking to work colleagues about - they were students at that time or just new to the workforce, and they were investing and having a great time and talking about their wins. You know, and then I asked them, OK, well, then what happened? Oh, well, I lost it all. You know, and so you know, you can’t help but draw parallels to this time where you have new investors, crazy new technologies and in these early successes. But if you have any skin in the game for longer than, you know, two, three, four years, you know that investing isn’t that easy. And so I think the telltale sign is going to come down to when we see a 10, 20, maybe 30 per cent correction in the market. What does that do to test your resolve as an investor?

ROB CARRICK: Robb, what are your thoughts to help people not lose it all in 2022?

ROBB ENGEN: I think we just need to rein in expectations. Like, you know, in 2020, a balanced portfolio you know, the tried and true 60/40 portfolio was a double digit return, and that just doesn’t happen. And so, I’m pretty upfront with the way I invest and I’m 100 per cent stocks across all my accounts. And, you know, five, eight years ago that was seen as - I get questions like, you know, why don’t share bonds, you know, isn’t that risky? And now it feels like a portfolio of GICs compared to what other people have in their portfolios, with chasing meme stocks and the latest crypto coins. And so I think we just need a dose of reality to rein in some expectations. When I talk about “normal stock market”, that includes downs as well as ups, you know, the market isn’t going to just continue rising to all time highs at this non-stop clip. We need to see some more return to normal and that hopefully will rein in expectations that this stuff is hard. And you know, that’s why index investing really appeals to long term investors because rather than trying to pick which hot stocks are going to rise and which ones to avoid, you just buy everything and ride that wave.

ROB CARRICK: To wrap up Robb, what do you suggest people do with a nice little portfolio of stocks that have made all kinds of money in 2021? What do you suggest they do heading into a year that could be a lot tougher?

ROBB ENGEN: Well, you know what I hope for 2022 is that you know this more return to normal - maybe going back to work, maybe you’re able to travel and go out more with your family. And so I think it’s time to put away the day trading and put yourself into one of these nice risk appropriate portfolios that’s just passively tracking the market, so you can put your gains in there. And my kind of rule of thumb, you know, I’m an emotionless robot when it comes to investing. So it’s 100 per cent total stock market and I don’t have any room for playing around with cryptocurrencies and meme stocks. But I get that most people are human and they’re wired to invest with fear and greed and competition in mind. And so, you know, I just suggest you, you know, carve out a percentage of your portfolio that you want and feel comfortable playing around with if you want some more excitement than a total stock market ETF. Put 90 per cent of your portfolio in this risk appropriate passive index tracking ETF and carve out 10 per cent and have some fun with it. Know that it could be the money that you could completely lose. And if you have some wild gains, recycle those back into your main retirement portfolio and enjoy that success.

ROB CARRICK: I love it, Robb. Make 2022 the year to have less fun with your investments.

ROBB ENGEN: Exactly.

[TRANSITION MUSIC]

ROMA: After the break, we’ll dive into housing and how unaffordable home ownership has become for many first time buyers. And why does renting still get such a bad rap among Gen Z and millennials? [MID ROLL AD]: Hi, I’m John Graham, president and CEO of CPP Investments. COVID 19 is the most serious challenge we faced in a generation. It has tested our physical and our mental health and also the financial security of many. I am pleased to report that the CPP fund withstood the stresses and the volatility of the global pandemic. The fund remains strong and is sustainable for the next 75 years. At CPP Investments, we’re investing today for your tomorrow. Please visit CPPinvestment.com to learn more.

ROMA: At the very start of the pandemic, there was a moment where people wondered if the housing market would crash. Instead the opposite happened. Prices in Canada soared even higher. If you’re a young Canadian, you might be looking at renting - for the long haul. Our next guest Preet Banerjee says the biggest trend he’s seeing is the changing attitudes on renting. Here’s part of our conversation.

ROMA: Let’s get into it. 2021 was a huge year for housing. Housing has never been more expensive, and it feels like so many first time buyers, certainly the ones without any kind of parental help, are looking at the market and asking themselves how will I ever be able to afford to buy anything in Canada. What do you think will be a housing trend in 2022?

PREET: Listen, in terms of the biggest trends that I could sort of stand behind with any type of confidence, it’s just the changing perspective on renting. Part of it is because it just is something that so many more people are going to have to come to grips with, and others are going to see it as a responsible choice because the higher prices go and if they really pull away, they get dislocated from even the increases in rent that we’re seeing. It’s just - makes a lot of good financial sense to say, well, it actually makes more sense to rent. But part of the problem with that is you have to deal with so many people who strongly believe that homeownership is the only way to go. So it’s going to lead to a lot more anxiety for a lot of people, that’s for sure.

ROMA: Okay so let’s dig into that. Why is there this persistent belief that renting is a second class choice?

PREET: Cultural. It’s worked so well for so long. You’ve had entire generations who haven’t really been exposed to big downturns in housing, so they don’t, until you actually see it for yourself, you kind of see it in a history book and it’s not as real. It’s a little bit more abstract. But if you take a look at, you know, sort of the cultural impact - some other major cities around the world like Berlin, 80 per cent of the population are renters, but they are actually seeing, you know, in response to what’s been happening there, which is similar to here, and that is the financialization of housing. And so this has been happening for quite some time in Berlin, and it’s been a social issue for such a long time in terms of affordability and because so many people are renters and the landlords are all corporate landlords. They’ve really pushed up the rents quite a bit. And so it became such an issue that actually went to a referendum as to whether or not they should buy out a bunch of these condos in apartments and have it owned by the city and then rent it out to people at market or below market rates. And this vote - this referendum happened at the end of September in 2021, and it passed. I think the vote was 54 per cent to 46 per cent. And the proposals that 240,000 properties, which is 11 per cent of all the apartments in Berlin, get taken over by the city and rented out at below market rates. Now, whether or not that will actually happen is a second step. So that was just the referendum saying City Council, we should do this. They now have to decide whether they’re not going to, they’re going to do this. But the reason it got to that point was because of the financialization, the level of investment in corporate landlords in the housing market. And what did the Bank of Canada just say in their latest review is that we’ve always been worried about the level of household indebtedness, but now we’re particularly worried about the investor landlord because we are seeing the financialization of housing, which everyone else is like, Yeah, for a long time. But now it’s officially in the Bank of Canada’s statements. And so I wonder if this is laying the seeds for something that is going to become a political hot potato. And what we do know is that if you look at the size of the average downpayment gifted by parents to someone buying a house in Toronto, I think it was $130,000. So we’ve created this bifurcation in society, which is one of the issues that people have had about separating people into haves and have nots. And this is now happening. We’re seeing it happening in sort of real time, and it’s also leading to so many psychological issues to continue to consider. So for example, there’s now a term called homeowner’s guilt, and that is when people who have bought houses now feel guilty because the rest of their friend groups cannot or have not bought houses and have not participated in that homeownership increase in value. And so they feel guilty about this. I mean, what kind of world do we live in when you feel guilty about making a decision, which was a responsible decision for you? But because of the state of affairs, of all the people around you, you feel guilty about that. I mean, we have such a crisis. It is a crisis now.

ROMA: You know, the main criticism that we hear all the time. If you’re renting or paying someone else’s mortgage, you know you’re at risk of getting booted out at any point, your landlord can decide to sell. What do you say to people that are going to turn around and say, Well, I want to own a home for those reasons?

PREET: Yeah, well, you know, a lot of those narratives are built around. As you know, real estate is location, location, location. And so if you go into the U.S., it’s often the case. You’ll find places where the rent is higher than the mortgage payments, the cost of carrying a house, right? And so it really comes down to if you’re trying to figure out what makes sense where you are. Instead of using this blanket advice that renting is better or owning is better, you got to look at the dynamics of where you are. And the price to rent ratio is one of those key metrics to take a look at, because in some cases, it’s a no brainer to rent, and in other cases it’s a no brainer to own. And so we have to be really careful when we couch this conversation that we’re not making blanket statements that one is always better than the other because that is not the case. But I’ll tell you, I’m a renter in the city of Toronto, and I’m going to be moving to London in the U.K., and I will be a renter there. And part of the reason is flexibility and lack of stress. And I’ll tell you, the first pushback I always get from people is, yeah, but as a renter, you could get kicked out and the hassle of having to move.

So first of all, how often do people get it - when that happens, it sucks, yes. But does it happen every year? No. And if it does happen, what’s my hassle? A couple thousand bucks in moving versus having to live with this idea that you know there could be a $15,000 imminent emergency repair just around the corner? And what have you. So when people say, you know, look at all the other costs in their renting versus buying debate and they say that renting is way more of a hassle. I’m telling you, I have not - I don’t know what people are talking about for me and for a lot of people I talked to. Renting has not been a hassle. It’s been a stress reliever.

ROMA: Hmm. OK. So what are some other positives about renting, especially for young people?

PREET: Flexibility and the environment and climate anxiety. So let’s tackle all of those. So flexibility, let’s say you buy a house on one side of the city. You get offered a job on the other side of the city. Most of the people are still going to commute at some point, even though work from home is now a thing. Are you going to take another job across the city if now your commute goes from 20 minutes to 90 minutes? And if you do, what impact does that have on the environment? And these are things that people think about. So your ability to be mobile in the labor force, I think is reduced if you’re a homeowner. Will you take a job in another city or another country if it’s offered to you when you are a homeowner? I think people will give it a second thought. So that may not be good for your earning power because maybe you’re limiting some of your choices. So that’s one.

Climate anxiety. So now we hear every couple of weeks some kind of climate disaster. People are forced from their homes. Incredible amounts of damage. Questions about whether or not insurance will cover it or not. As a renter or homeowner, it’s going to suck if you’re in that area and you’re going to get displaced at least temporarily, no matter what. But if you’re a renter, you don’t have that emotional burden of thinking, Oh my God, that’s my home. What am I going to do? You just, you know, it’s still going to suck, but you just find somewhere else to go. But as a homeowner, it’s going to be way more emotional. So there’s yeah, there’s a lot of benefits to renting in terms of being flexible.

ROMA: Okay we talked a lot about the anxieties, the guilt associated with housing in Canada. What would you say to young people that are sitting on the sidelines now. They’re sort of starting off their lives or maybe renting, and there’s a real sense of, well, you know what? Prices are just going up so much. And if I don’t get in now, you know, a year from now, they could be up another 10 or 20 per cent. And you know, this is my chance, even though I can’t really afford it. How do you deal with that overwhelming sense of I’m getting left behind?

PREET: Yeah, you got to take a step back and think of this all as a lifestyle choice and less as an investment. And part of it being a lifestyle choice is if you had the means to buy. And let’s say that after you got into your new home, you have money left over at the end of the month to have a life and to build a buffer with your emergency fund and all that and you’re in that position. Then I would say, you know, do you want to be tied to home ownership, then go ahead and

that’s fine. And once you get in, stop thinking about whether or not the house value is going to double or not. This is part of the lifestyle decision. On the other hand, if you find out you could get in and you’d be so stretched after you got in that you would not have a life, even though you’ve got this asset that hopefully one day will continue to go up in value and make you very wealthy on paper. But you don’t live your life because you don’t have the cash flow to support yourself doing those things when you are arguably in the prime of your life - that’s a lifestyle choice, too. So the reality is, there is no magic bullet answer that’s going to solve this. This is creating a generation - multiple generations of people who are negatively affected by what has been happening in housing prices. And I say this because now your parents, your grandparents are also feeling stress of, you know, I have my friends giving their kids and grandkids gifted down payments, and I’m not able to do that. Am I a failure as a parent? And no, you’re not. You’re a victim of the financialization of housing.

ROMA: Now, one thing that strikes me is that this makes a lot of sense for people in their twenties. Does this work for people who are in their thirties and sort of potentially looking to start families?

PREET: Yeah, I think it’s a different consideration, right? Because then you’re looking for long term stability. So now the question is, you know, do you have to buy a home so that you have stability? And I think people are now starting to challenge that as well out of necessity because they would like to and now they think - Well, you know, we can rent in, you know, a school zone that we want to and we might have to move, but hopefully we can find another rental in that area or wait until we find a place that we want to buy and bolster up our finances a little bit more. So I don’t know if maybe people think, you know we’re going to have a kid we have to buy right now. I don’t know if you have to, if that is the long term goal. That’s fine. That’s great. But you could, you know, rent until we are ready to do that as well. And just by nature of how much things cost, it takes decades - decades without assistance to save up a down payment beginning to buy. So don’t feel like you’re a failure. If you’re thinking about having kids and you don’t think that home ownership is on the horizon, that’s OK. You’ll make it work as long as you’ve got your plans in place and you’re being responsible with your choices. If it happens that you become a homeowner when your children are five years old or 10 years old, that’s the world we live in, unfortunately.

[TRANSITION MUSIC]

ROB: When the pandemic forced people to work from home, a lot of GenZ and Millennials took a hard look at their work-life balance. They really started to question how their work fits in with other parts of their identity and life. It led to what’s been coined the Great Resignation - where a record number of people are changing jobs and even career paths.

I spoke with Erica Alini to find out more about this job hopping trend and if you should take advantage of it. Erica’s the author of “Money Like You Mean It” and she’s also the national online money and consumer reporter at Global News. Here’s what she had to say.

ROB: Erica, we’re asking personal finance people to tell us what they think the big trends will be in twenty twenty two. What will you be watching?

ERICA: One of the ones I’ll be watching is so-called job hopping, which means switching jobs often. And I’m curious to see if we’re going to see more people switching jobs, in part just so they can keep ahead of inflation.

ROB: It’s interesting because in millennial and Gen Z personal finance, we hear a lot about the side hustle that to get ahead, you have to have a side hustle, a second job, a second way of earning income. Now people sound like they’re paying attention to the front hustle. How can I get some traction in my main job? And you’re telling me that if I switch, I can do better. How? In what ways will I be better off financially if I job hop?

ERICA: So the thinking is that when - as an employee, you don’t have a lot of bargaining power in many industries, but if you apply for a new job and then you know you’re the candidate selected, they want to hire you. That’s the one moment where you perhaps have a little bit more bargaining power. You’ve gone through a gruelling recruiting process. You’ve come out of it victorious. Your employer may be - your new employer, maybe a little bit more willing to get you to give you what you need and what you want, rather than if you just stay in your job and sort of ask for a raise.

ROB: OK, let’s say you are a job hopper. What should be on your ask list? Obviously you want to make more money in your base salary, what else is on the table?

ERICA: So base salary, I would say, is always very important right now, maybe more than ever, especially for young workers, because of the way inflation is going. But there’s a lot of other things to think about. And one of them is Work-Life Balance. So vacation, the predictability of your schedule, and I’m hearing that this is becoming more and more important. I think this is an impact of the pandemic. I’ve been hearing it from job recruiters. I’ve also seen it in a recent survey at the Bank of Canada that this was becoming increasingly important. I think people have really come to appreciate the importance of Work-Life Balance, but then you should also look obviously at benefits, both in terms of health benefits, your pension, bonuses, the ability to improve, you know, training opportunities. There’s all kinds of things that should be part of the negotiation that go beyond your pay.

ROB: You know, I’ve been writing about millennials in the job market since just after the Great Financial Crisis, and the big story was millennials having to move home because there weren’t employment opportunities. They were going back to school. They were in the gig economy. Now finally, they have some leverage. How long do you think this is going to last? Is this a short term opportunity that people really have to exploit?

ERICA: I wonder about that. I do wonder. I have to say I started out - I’m an older millennial myself. I graduated right smack in the middle of the financial crisis. And I remember it was 2016 when I finally started to, when I told myself, Oh, this is what a normal job market looks like. You know, it is not a miracle you actually get a job. So this feels very different, and it feels like a real opportunity for people to improve their job prospects and improve their income. And I don’t know how long it’s going to last. And looking ahead, so I’m thinking we’re broadly seeing an urgent job searches increase. This was something that Indeed, the job search site, flagged a few days ago. As the pandemic income supports wind down, we’re starting to see a higher share of people saying that they’re urgently looking for a job so more people are getting in there. And then we also have the pandemic support for businesses winding down. So I’m wondering whether that will lead to some people being laid off simply because their wage subsidies are going away. Also possible that we’ll see some more small business bankruptcies and small businesses are, you know, a big chunk of the employers out there. And then we’re ramping up immigration already. So I don’t know if this tight job market that we’re seeing right now, I don’t know how long it’s going to last. And so if I were a job seeker, I would take my chances now.

[TRANSITION MUSIC]

ROMA: Travelling - domestically or abroad - might not be something you’ve done since pandemic started. But with more people vaccinated and money to spend, the travel industry had started to bounce back. But as we know with COVID, the only certainty is uncertainty. A few days before the discovery of the new COVID variant -Oh-mikron, I asked travel expert Barry Choi what he sees unfolding in 2022. Here’s what Barry had to say.

ROMA: So let’s start off by asking you what travel trends do you think will be big in 2022?

BARRY: A few different things. I think the biggest thing is as people become more comfortable with travelling again, we’re going to see a lot more dynamic pricing. And what I mean by that is when there’s more demand, prices will go up and when there’s less demand prices will go down. That has always existed. But now that you - people haven’t been able to travel for the last two years, they’re really starting to notice this.

So one good example was back in July. You know, there were sites all over saying that, hey, you can fly across the country one way, for 120 bucks. But back then, you know, there was only single vaccinations. Now that everyone’s vaccinated, everyone wants to travel and they’re looking at prices around the holidays. So like, hey, why is it three or four hundred dollars each way? Why is it gone up? It’s like, Well, guess what? Everyone wants to travel right now. That’s why. So that’s one of the biggest trends I would say moving forward. Another trend we probably want to talk about is bucket list travel. Again, people haven’t been able to travel for about two years. They’re ready to spend their money. They’re ready to go to those destinations that they’ve been holding off for a long time. Because as we’ve quickly learned, travel can be taken away from us at any moment.

ROMA: OK, so let’s dig into that a bit. You know, as you mentioned, like many Canadians, we stuck close to home. A lot of people are vaccinated. Kids are only getting the green light to get vaccinated now. When you’re saying that people will start to travel with a lot of enthusiasm now, are you seeing them travelling within Canada, going international?

BARRY: Well, I think over the last year or so, you know, ever since the whole pandemic broke out, everyone was sticking close to home. You know that was great for Canada’s economy to a certain extent. Domestic travel, staycations, not a bad thing. I’ll admit for many, many years, I avoided going to B.C. because it was actually cheaper for me to fly to Europe. Well, this is the first time I actually got very excited to go to B.C. and honestly, it was actually great. I had a great time with my daughter. I didn’t have to worry about vaccinations because at the time the COVID rates were relatively low, so it was a great opportunity for me to visit within Canada. But, you know, moving forward, I think depending on the situation, people who have young children who are just starting to get their first dose of the vaccine or no vaccines at all, they’re probably going to still avoid international travel. I certainly don’t blame them. That said, I do believe that a lot of destinations out there really have a good job or handle of how COVID is being handled. I would argue better restrictions in Canada ever had in place, so it is safe to travel. But again, as a parent, I totally get it. If you don’t feel safe, just don’t do it.

ROMA: OK, what are some destinations where people can find value?

BARRY: You know, there’s a lot of value and it really depends on what you want. I think a lot of Caribbean destinations are offering a lot of value because, you know, unfortunately those countries depend so much on tourism, most of their economy is based on it. So a lot of resorts are willing to bring customers back, offering a fifth night, free discounts on packages, free upgrades, free COVID testing. They’ll give you anything to get you in there. I don’t want to touch too much about this, but if you want to cruise some great deals on cruises right now, but also, you know, think about pre-pandemic, any destination that was cheap before is still going to be cheap now.

ROMA: Now there are some extra costs associated with travel right now. We had been thinking about doing a trip to the States, and the COVID tests were quite pricey.

BARRY: So let’s just, for argument’s sake, use Canadian numbers right now, right? If you’re going to take a PCR test within Canada, roughly speaking, it’s going to cost you about $150 right? So even though it’s cheaper in some U.S. states or some island destinations, a family of four, you’re looking at about $600 in additional costs, and that could be each way, right? Depending on where you’re going. So all of a sudden you’re looking at about $1200, that any savings you had from COVID savings is all of a sudden costing you more. So, you know, that’s always something to be aware of for sure.

But again, you know, we talked about domestic travel. There’s a huge opportunity within Canada. You don’t need to have that test. You do need to be fully vaccinated. I have to think about that for a second because the rules are constantly changing. So I still think there’s a lot of opportunities to travel for “cheap” you know especially during the whole COVID 19 pandemic. A lot of Canadian cities. Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver and even now Quebec City. They offered a lot of packages for Canadian travellers. Some of them were like, Hey, book one night you get a free $25, $50 gift card. So there’s a few tricks there. If you booked like four separate nights at four different hotels, you could sort of gift cards. So there’s always tricks to be had. You just got to read the fine print.

ROB: So Roma, what are you looking for in 2022?

ROMA: I’m really curious to see what happens with the future of work. This is going to impact all of the Canadians who have left the big cities where their jobs were. Who are counting on working remotely. We now know that some of those jobs, you know, the office work can be done in cities other than where your office was. So we’re recording this podcast from host studios. There’s been a huge shift. What will the future workplace look like? Will workers start getting called back into offices, or will young workers drive this change and insist on flexibility to keep working from home or remotely? I mean, this has huge implications for where people can live. That’s one thing I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on. What about you?

ROB: I’m just wondering how our standard of living is going to do in 2022. You know, inflation is really biting into people’s finances. We’ve seen huge gains in stocks and housing. Can that continue? My big question is at the end of ‘22, are we going to be better off or worse off than we are today?

[THEME MUSIC]

ROMA: Thanks for listening to Stress Test. This show was produced by Amy Chyan and Zahra Khozema. Audio engineering and editing by Kyle Fulton. Our executive producer is Kiran Rana.

ROB: Thank you to guests Robb Engen, Preet Banerjee, Erica Alini and Barry Choi. If you like what you heard, give us a five star rating and review on Apple Podcasts.

We’re taking a little break in our production to spend time with our families over the holidays. In the meantime, if you haven’t listened to our older episodes, now would be a great time to do so.

ROMA: We’ll be back in 2022 with our next episode. It’s all about the lives of renters and where they are on the road to becoming homeowners - if that’s still their plan.

You can find Stress Test at Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify or your favourite podcast app.

And find us at the Globe and Mail.com, where we cover all things financial.

Thanks for listening! Have a great and safe holiday. See you all in the new year!