About four months ago, a few of us at The Globe and Mail started to work on a new personal finance podcast aimed at young adults. The pandemic blew our plans up, but that’s nothing compared to what it did to the finances of people who lost their jobs and their incomes.
We had to re-think our podcast. The title, Stress Test, tells you how we decided to proceed. Through the eight episodes that start rolling out June 9, we look at the how the core ideas of smart money management for people aged 20 to 40 have been tested by COVID-19. What worked? What do people need to do differently?
The trailer and first episode for Stress Test are now online. We start with a look at the gig economy, the cute phrase invented to describe temporary contracts that leave people hanging when the economy tanks. Coming up in the weeks ahead: Debt, the housing market, crisis-proofing your finances, investing, living the downtown lifestyle, the cost of having a kid and the ins and outs of moving back home.
In each episode, Globe and Mail personal finance editor Roma Luciw and I talk about what we’ve learned from covering these issues through the pandemic and before that. Between us, we have decades of experience covering personal finance. We also interview real people who bore the full financial weight of the pandemic, and experts offering their own insights and tips.
Our producer on Stress Test is Hannah Sung, our executive producer is Kiran Rana and editing and mixing was handled by T.K. Matunda. Together, we’ve been working on Stress Test over the past few month from our homes in Ottawa (me) and Toronto (everyone else). It hasn’t been easy, but we’re excited about how it’s all coming together.
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Rob’s personal finance reading list…
How to renew your mortgage from home
Spring is prime home buying season, which means it’s also a peak period for renewing mortgages. Here are some tips for understanding your mortgage options and completing the renewal electronically, without having to visit a bank or have a roving mortgage specialist come into your home.
Is a house your best investment?
A look at the worth of owning a house both in financial and emotion terms. Good points raised here, but one additional factor is that houses are a heavy financial obligation, even as they’re rising in value. Our Real Life Ratio calculator was designed to help people buy homes they can afford for the long run, including having kids.
Six apps for house hunters
For serious house hunters (and renters) – tools for finding homes, checking out the house with 3D tours, researching neighbourhoods and more.
The problem with credit card travel insurance
Coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption, flight delays and lost baggage can be useful. But mind all the potential pitfalls with travel medical insurance provided through a credit card. Most notably, claims can be denied.
Q: Remember when you were a kid and your parents gave you a $5 bill asked you to go get milk (and candy) from the store? Well, cash is almost dead. So what do you recommend for a 12-year old – to tap and go? Her own chequing account and card? Pre-paid credit? Supplemental credit card?
A: How about a youth bank account that comes with unlimited debits and e-transfers, plus a smartphone app to track her spending and saving? Leave credit cards alone for a few years while she learns the give and take of managing money.
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 and clarity.
Today’s financial tool
Thanks to its simplicity, this compound interest calculator is one of my go-to financial tools.
Tweet of the week
I asked people on Twitter what the best time of day is for visiting stores and avoiding long lines to get in. Lots of good info.
In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance-related stories
- This simple tool will save the next wave of home buyers from the mistake of overspending
- Vindicated: A boring old portfolio of stocks and bonds has done sterling work in 2020 (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)
- How the smart money move you made as the pandemic hit might have gone off track (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)
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