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Carrick's Reader

The new gold rush and vacation tips 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.

Investors, we live in a period of financial uncertainty that is made all the more unsettling by an ever-increasing flow of sometimes contradictory multi-media factoids and opinions about what will happen to stocks, to interest rates and to the economy. That's my best explanation about why gold is, well, golden right now with investors of all types.

Gold, hovering these days at record prices, is something you can count on to have value. The price may fluctuate, but we can be confident there will always be demand for gold. Or something like that, anyway. I'm struggling to understand the gold investing phenomenon of the moment and, if you are, too, then you'll find lots of interest in this edition of the Reader.

There's also a list of the most socially responsible companies from Canada and around the world, an introduction to a blog about tasteful home decorating on a budget and some tips for travellers. Finally, the Reader presents one restaurant chain's staggering new spin on the cheeseburger.

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

Note: If you're having trouble reading this e-mail, try viewing the Reader online.

From The Globe and Mail

Many condo-owners are unaware of the expenses they may face when the HST is implemented.

Are you confused about the HST? Join our discussion today at 1 p.m. (ET) with Janice Roper of Deloitte & Touche.

Did you get an HST rebate cheque? Home Cents blogger Chaya Cooperberg talks about how to spend it.

How competitive is your company pension plan? Ted Rechtshaffen has some tips on how to demand a great deal.

Percentage budgeting for seniors: is your retirement on track?

Must Reads From Around the Web

Gold Rush

The Zero Hedge blog presents an essay on gold's soaring popularity by Don Coxe, one of the foremost experts on commodity investing and certainly one of the most literate financial voices out there.

After reaching record price levels lately, gold could be due for a pullback.

Should you buy investments that expose you to gold bullion, or gold-mining stocks?

Gold goes mainstream - the New York Times recently put a story about gold's popularity on its front page of its Sunday edition.

This blog post uses the above NYT story to suggest that gold, while still attractive, may be generating a bit too much hype.

More For Investors

Five myths about asset allocation, which is invest-o-speak for dividing your money up between different types of investments.

ShareOwner is a low-cost brokerage option for building a stock portfolio, but the Money Smarts blog tried it and wasn't impressed.

In addition to the Globe's feature report on corporate social responsibility, Macleans lists 50 socially responsible companies from Canada and around the world.

Affordable Style

That's the name of a blog by Canadian House and Home magazine on stylish, cost-effective home decorating.

Bon Voyage

The lesson of the Icelandic volcanic ash clouds: trip cancellation and interruption insurance makes sense.

Some tips from Visa on how not to have trouble with your credit card while travelling.

The best waterproof digital cameras from SmartMoney.com.

This sounds like an oxymoron to me, but here's a New York Times article on affordable boutique hotels in New York City.

Credit Card Critique

The Million Dollar Journey blog's favourable review of the new Capital One Aspire World MasterCard.

I looked at this card recently as well.

Fat City

Introducing the Ultimate Grilled Cheese BurgerMelt, a burger between two grilled-cheese sandwiches. A true rival for KFC's new Double Down sandwich (cheese, bacon and mayo between two slabs of fried chicken).

Follow me on Facebook.

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