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Personal Finance Reader

Sparking interest: Rates and your mortgage Add to ...

Welcome to the Globe and Mail Personal Finance Reader. I'm Rob Carrick, personal finance columnist at The Globe, and twice weekly I compile a list of articles, blog postings, videos and websites that represent the best of what the online world has to offer on money-related subjects.

The big financial news this week is the Bank of Canada's announcement that it will no longer hold its trend-setting overnight rate at current levels. This means that as early as June 1, the rates that influence variable-rate mortgages, credit lines and floating-rate loans will begin what could be a long series of increases in the years ahead. You'll find rate analysis and forecasts in this edition of the Reader, plus an argument in favour of variable-rate mortgages versus a five-year fixed rate.

Other nuggets you'll find below include a short and sweet video primer on the fraud allegations against the heavyweight U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs, a look at the economics of movie making (or, why all movies seem made for teenagers), a catalogue of fast food that's really bad for you and a quiz to help you determine if you buy too much or too little when you go shopping.

Found something on the Internet that your fellow investors might enjoy? Talk to me at rcarrick@globeandmail.com

From the Globe and Mail

John Heinzl explains how to shop around for the best rate in this video

Representative, financial planner, investment adviser, account executive and vice president all mean commissioned salespeople

The ins and outs of working later, changing your investments and just plain scaling back your expectations, painful though it is

Capital losses or business losses? All other things being equal, you get to choose

 Knowing your credit score - and how to improve it - can save you thousands over the life of a loan

Must Reads From Around the Web

Interest Rate Roundup Wall Street economist Marc Chandler says it's not a done deal that interest rates start rising in June.

Read here about "5-year fixed mortgage trap," which is the author of this blog post's way of saying that variable-rate mortgages rule.

Here are recent interest rate forecasts from some of the big banks and brokerage firms:

BMO Nesbitt Burns

CIBC World Markets


Bank of Nova Scotia

The Panic of 2008 The New York Times Book Review looks at a pair of books about the financial crisis -- The Big Short by Michael Lewis and The End of Wall Street by Roger Lowenstein.

For a really simple explanation of the latest fallout from the crisis -- that would be the fraud allegations against Goldman Sachs -- check out this video involving a whiteboard, a black magic marker and a smart journalist who knows how to cut the jargon.

Your Buying Habits A quiz that helps you tell if you're an over-buyer or an under-buyer. I learned a lesson about over-buying when I picked up a big carton of instant Kraft Dinner at Costco one time and our boys gave it two thumbs down after their first taste.

Just in Case Some thoughts on how to get your financial affairs squared away in case you die and someone has to sort out your investments, bank accounts, debts etc. Note: there are some new online products in this area and I'll be writing about them soon.

Junk Food Heaven This look at the economics of movie making explains why so many movies are aimed at teenagers these days.

As a follow-up to last week's coverage of the new Double Down sandwich from KFC, a glance at the 40 unhealthiest fast food meals.

Follow me on Facebook. I'm at Rob Carrick - Personal Finance.

Editor's note: If you don't receive Rob Carrick's personal finance newsletter each week by email, you can sign up to receive it free by registering at The Globe and Mail . All you need to do is register for the site, or if you've already registered, login and go to your profile at the top of the homepage. Once you're in your profile, look under Alerts and look for the Personal Finance Reader and other newsletters. Other financial newsletters include:

- Business Ticker, a summary of the top business stories of the day

- Berman's Market Update, a summary of the markets at the open, noon and close

- Globe Investor Magazine, a biweekly collection of smart investment idea and portfolio management stories

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