The breakup of the partnership between Air Canada and the Aeroplan customer loyalty program was announced in May, but it won't actually happen until 2020. I have no doubt that a lot of Aeroplan members will forget about this development until the media starts reminding them just ahead of the deadline.
By then, it could be too late to squeeze the maximum value out of your Aeroplan points. To do that, you need to start using them right now. Enough with the hoarding of points for future trips you may never take.
The reason for using Aeroplan points as soon as you can is the risk that they'll be devalued in the future. As the website HowToSaveMoney.ca explains, one possibility for Aeroplan in 2020 is that it adopts the sort of conventional reward schedule used by some bank credit cards. "If that happens, then each mile will likely be worth between 1 and 2 cents, with 1 being the norm."
I know how frustrating it can be to book Aeroplan reward flights without unappealing stopovers or having to use extra points to get what you want. But as HowToSaveMoney.ca clearly shows, Aeroplan at its best is capable of delivering a value of 2.5 to 13.3 cents per mile.
Protect that value by using your points soon. The more points you have, the sooner you should travel. Finally, remember the golden rule from HowToSaveMoney.ca: "Always redeem for flights." The cents-per-mile value when you buy merchandise or gift cards is much lower than it is for flights.
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My sense is that parents increasingly understand how important it is to teach their children about financial literacy. If you're wondering how to start the conversation, check out this very sensible discussion on how to teach kids about values as well as money.
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Turns out, we've always been worried about the health of our pension system in Canada. Good context for people worrying about things like the sustainability of the Canada Pension Plan or concerns raised by developments at Sears Canada's pension plan.
Today's featured financial tool
The question: "This may be applicable to many new immigrants who have moved in middle age. I am a physician and just started my practice in Toronto. I am 52 years old. I have not made any pension contributions before. I have no retirement funds yet. How do I start off my retirement planning at this stage of life?"
The answer: "You need a personalized retirement savings plan based on your earning power as a doctor and the number of years you expect to remain in the work force. Have you considered checking in with MD Financial Management, a financial planning outfit that is owned by the Canadian Medical Association?"
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.
In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance stories
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