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Let me tell you about my single, but very influential, foray into picking home decor.

We were replacing our front door at our family home several years ago and I saw a black door in a showroom that I thought was pretty cool. My wife wasn’t sold, but eventually saw things my way. Maybe it was because I rarely took a strong view on stuff like this.

Anyway, on a walk through the neighborhood before we moved last summer, I recalled seeing a bunch of black front doors. I do not take full credit for the trend, but it’s pretty clear I was a home décor influencer in our area.

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Now comes further validation that I was onto something. I was recently reading an article on a U.S. website about which DIY home renovation projects add the most value to your home. One of the projects was adding a fresh coat of paint, notably on your front door. “Painting your front door black, in particular, could add as much as $6,000 to your home’s sale price…” the article said in quoting Zillow, a real estate marketplace.

Other value-added improvements cover flooring, lighting and both kitchen and bathroom backsplashes. The key room to focus on? According to one expert, it’s the main bathroom.

Having sold a home and searched for a new one in the past year, I can vouch for the fact that fresh paint in a trendy colour wakes a place right up. So does a black front door.


What do you need to know about retirement?

I’m looking for questions for the Globe Retirement Forum, where actual retirees are invited to respond to questions on how to manage life and money after leaving the workforce. Send your questions to me at rcarrick@globandmail.ca.

Subscribe to Carrick on Money

Are you reading this newsletter on the web or did someone forward the e-mail version to you? If so, you can sign up for Carrick on Money here.


Rob’s personal finance reading list…

Moving back in with mom and dad

The Atlantic looks at shifting attitudes toward a trend that will undoubtedly grow as a result of the pandemic – young adults moving back home with their parents. We take a look at this topic in the latest episode of Stress Test, the Globe and Mail personal finance podcast for young adults.

Can the housing market keep its momentum?

Call me a skeptic about further big price increases. My concerns are based in part on numbers like the ones you’ll find in this blog post about how Canadians have been deferring mortgage payments at twice the rate of Americans. Economic weakness means a lot of people here are having trouble affording their homes. Not a great foundation for a sustained higher housing prices.

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‘I just wanted it all”

A look at how freeing it can be when you’re more selective about what you spend money on. A timely piece, given how consumer spending is rallying back from the pandemic lows. The author is Hannah Sung, who produced our Stress Test podcast.

No, gold isn’t a portfolio must-have

Gold has been strong in 2020, but a well-known U.S. investment firm argues that it’s not a good choice for most investors.


Ask Rob

Q: My partner and I have set up a contribution schedule for my daughter's registered education savings plan that makes sure we get the full amount of [federal] grant money available, but since the maximum amount you can contribute to an RESP is $50,000, I'm worried it won't be enough for her school in about 17 years. Do you recommend we have another education savings account for her? And if so, what kind of account is best?

A: I think one RESP is enough. Max out your contributions, invest in mostly stocks for the first 14 years or so and see where you are when your daughter reaches Grade 11. In many families, kids are expected to contribute toward their post-secondary education through summer job earnings and part-time work. This could help fill in any funding gaps left by the RESP.

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

This website helps you find the best credit card to suit your preferences for rewards, insurance coverage, interest costs and more.

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More Carrick and money coverage

Subscribe to Stress Test on iTunes or Spotify. For more money stories, follow me on Instagram and Twitter, and join the discussion on my Facebook page. Millennial readers, join our Gen Y Money Facebook group. Send us an e-mail to let us know what you think of my newsletter. Want to subscribe? Click here to sign up.

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