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When you shop online, retailers are watching. It’s called traffic-flow analysis. But in brick and mortar stores, it’s a different story. Now, retailers are hoping that the electronic device most of us carry at all times, a mobile phone, will soon change that. (Thinkstock)
When you shop online, retailers are watching. It’s called traffic-flow analysis. But in brick and mortar stores, it’s a different story. Now, retailers are hoping that the electronic device most of us carry at all times, a mobile phone, will soon change that. (Thinkstock)

Carrick on money

The stealth way to save on U.S.-dollar purchases Add to ...

In the Nov. 9 edition of this newsletter, I asked readers to offer their suggestions on how to save money when buying U.S. dollars. Here’s an idea that came up a lot and appeals to me because it’s so simple: Use a credit card that doesn’t charge the usual foreign currency conversion fee of 2.5 to 3 per cent. If you use these cards, you simply pay a competitive wholesale foreign exchange rate on your purchases.

Two credit cards that don’t charge the foreign currency conversion fee are Amazon.ca Rewards Visa, with no annual fee, and Marriott Rewards Visa, with an annual fee of $120. Both are offered by Chase Canada, which is part of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Another option is Rogers Platinum MasterCard, which offers 4 per cent cashback on foreign purchases. Here’s some help in deciding whether these cards might be right for you.

Foreign exchange firms that got shoutouts from readers for competitive rates include XE, CanadianForex and Knightsbridge.

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Retirement: The power-saving years
A guide for people who are looking ahead to retirement in five years or so and want to put their savings into overdrive.

Retirement: The mortgage-paying years
All about how some retired people are carrying mortgages into retirement. The reason in many cases: Repeated refinancings that result in a mortgage getting larger – not smaller – over time.

What are you doing for financial literacy month?
How about ticking off one of these goals? All of them will help you better control your spending.

Follow these personal finance blogs
A good range of blogs are listed here covering investing, millennial issues, household finance and more.

Do millennials want to own a car or not?
A narrative emerged after the last recession that young adults didn’t want to own cars and preferred to use ride-sharing services like Uber. Now there’s evidence that millennials do in fact want to own cars. Too bad – not owning a car is a huge money saver.

50 years of rising house prices
Three houses are used to tell the story of how the price of homes in some parts of Toronto have risen by almost 6,000 per cent over the past 50 years. Homes where working class people once lived are now million-dollar properties.

Today’s featured financial tool
Here’s an online game designed to help young people learn more about managing money. It’s called Dollar Adventure.

Ask Rob
The question:
“So how do we go about cutting investment fees when our financial planner insists we are not paying investment fees on our sizable portfolio? Yet I see the investment fees in the quarterly reports we receive.”

My reply:
“Your adviser works for free, then? Must be a first. All investors with advisers pay two main layers of fees. One for the investment products you own and one for advice. New securities regulations mean you’ll start getting a comprehensive report on fees in January. Read it and schedule a meeting with your adviser to discuss fees.

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.

Featured Video
Been hiding income from the CRA? Here’s how to come clean.

More Carrick and money coverage
For more money stories, follow me on Twitter and join the discussion on my Facebook page. Millennial readers, join our Gen Y Money Facebook group.

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