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personal finance reader

Welcome to the Globe and Mail Personal Finance Reader. I'm Rob Carrick, personal finance columnist at The Globe, and each week 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 federal government's Task Force on Financial Literacy began ramping up this week, so it's a natural to focus on how to be a sharper consumer of financial products in this edition of the Reader. For advanced-level investors who buy stocks, there's a forum called StockTwits that's all about sharing ideas and commentary. For people looking for the best mortgage rate, there's a website called To learn more about financial topics of all types, there's

Our education theme continues with some YouTube videos commissioned by the Canada Revenue Agency to explain the evils of the underground economy. There's some really creative stuff here from young people who have obviously bought into the message that the underground economy diverts tax dollars needed to run hospitals, build roads and such.

You'll also find the usual analysis for investors in this week's Reader, plus money-saving tips for going green and a sad little news item about a big U.S. city's economic decline.

Found something on the Internet that your fellow investors might enjoy? Talk to me at

From The Globe and Mail and Globe Investor

The nine milestones of a financially sound life Finance professor and author Moshe Milevsky breaks down the nine key decisions, as one moves through the life cycle.

Is your money personality keeping you in debt? If you're maxing yourself out, these five tips from Dr. Kathleen Gurney could help, writes Smart Cookie Angela Self

Scrambling to make an RRSP decision? You sent actuary Malcolm Hamilton, an expert on Canadian retirement saving, your questions. His answers will be posted later on Friday

ETF picks for your RRSP portfolio We asked four fund watchers their top picks for those who want to look beyond mutual funds

Miss the RRSP deadline? You can still benefit Tax Matters columnist Tim Cestnick on how you can still use the rest of the year for meaningful retirement savings and tax savings

How to invest $10,000 A step-by-step account of factors to consider and decisions to make, by Gail Bebee

How is your adviser paid? There might be a clear conflict of interest, as Ted Rechtshaffen explains in our Let's Talk Investing series

Must Reads From Around the Web

Calling All Twits StockTwits is a community of more than 100,000 investors who share analysis, charts and video about stocks they like. A must for hard-core stock jocks.

Here's Howard Lindzon, a Toronto native who is a co-founder of StockTwits, on five things to do on the site when you visit for the first time.

Money School One of the lessons of the global financial crisis is that people need to be smarter about money and investing. That's the back story to the national taskforce on financial literacy, which kicked off a process of national consultations this week and will make recommendations to the federal government at year's end. To learn more about the taskforce, click here.

Meantime, you can educate yourself on financial matters by checking out, a Canadian website full of links to articles and calculators related to a huge variety of financial topics.

Rate Roundup The website has assembled a panel of experts to offer views each month on where mortgage rates are headed in the next 30 to 45 days. Check it out if you're in the market for a mortgage or have to renew.

Those CRA Hipsters The Canada Revenue Agency is for the second straight year running a contest inviting people to create Youtube videos explaining the evils of the underground economy (where work is done under the table and no tax is paid).

Hold off on the derisive laughter. Last year's entries included some first-rate stuff, including a smart and amusing video called The Superhero Support Group (one of the heroes is The Taxpayer).

Investorville What investors can learn from Canada's Olympic hockey defeat by Team U.S.A.

Ten U.S. blue-chip stocks that have raised dividends for 50 straight years, a huge achievement and a sign of true stability.

Nervous about buying American? Check out this research note from Calgary-based McLean & Partners - it argues the U.S. dollar has a brighter future than you might think.

The Mad Hedge Fund Trader talks about how he thinks a stock market rout is ahead.

Actively managed exchange-traded funds are one of the more interesting new investment trends of late. Here's an analysis of one such ETF, which uses an approach employed by some hedge funds.

Now, Where Did He Put…? If something happened to you, how would people locate your will, your bank accounts, your insurance details and such? My own personal answer: I have no idea. The answer from a company called InformationSafe: load the details onto its secure software, which can be stored on your computer or online. Good idea? Security risk? Let me know what you think and I might write about this product.

Go Green, Save Money A list of tips for saving money by adopting environmentally friendly habits like insulating your attic and installing a programmable thermostat. We've done both at our home and they've made a difference.

The Wal-Mart Career From the What Happens When the Economy Gets Really Bad File comes this story on how four Detroit schools are offering students a course on how to work at Wal-Mart.

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:

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