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A reader asked me recently if I had a preferred bank for parking money in a savings account or guaranteed investment certificates. Short answer: no. While I don’t own any GICs, I have savings accounts at five different banks and have found almost all of them useful in one way or another.

I have a bunch of accounts at EQ bank because it used to be a high rate leader and still offers a very good rate of 2.3 per cent. I like their website – it’s slick and user friendly when used on a smartphone and desktop, though a bit slow to load on my computer. Alterna Bank pays 2.35 per cent, but has a more dated online interface and an app I’m not crazy about. Tangerine, now paying 1.25 per cent, is way behind on rates. But its website is one of the best out there for guiding you through transactions quickly and clearly.

Years ago, Peoples Trust offered competitive enough rates for me to open an account or two. Today, I have just a bit of money left there. Rates are modest, and the website is fine but looks old.

I also have some super short term savings in a big bank high interest savings account – it’s money I’m keeping handy for use any time now. The rate is lame at 1.05 per cent, but it’s certainly convenient.

For comparing rates, I like the website Canadian High Interest Savings Bank Accounts and Cannex. Given that all savings accounts offer deposit insurance either through Canada Deposit Insurance Corp. or through provincial credit union plans, high rates are one of my top criteria when picking a place to park money. That’s why I have my eye on the Motive Savvy Savings Account, paying 2.8 per cent.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list…

The 411 on taking CPP early

Veteran personal finance blogger Jim Yih does a nice job of walking readers through the process and rationale for starting Canada Pension Plan retirement benefits as early as 60, rather than waiting until 65 or delaying as late as 70.

Goodbye, car ownership

A technology writer says a shift away from private car ownership to alternatives like ride sharing is gaining momentum. Save money, lose freedom. I doubt this shift will happen quickly.

How to spot a phishy e-mail

Useful info from the Canadian Bankers Association on how to spot scam e-mails that are designed to look like they’re from your bank.

Green investing on a growth track?

A useful explainer on green investing (aka responsible or ethical investing) in the context of the Green New Deal being talked about by Democrats in the United States.

Today’s financial tool

A listing of the best GIC rates in Canada.


Spring clean your personal finances the Marie Kondo way.

Ask Rob

Q: My mom is gifting our two college-age kids with enough money that makes me think they should start investing. They don’t need it immediately for debt reduction. Do you have advice on a process to follow, a way that I could help them invest, a suggestion on what they should be doing with it?

A: A robo-adviser would be a smart, simple solution here. Much better than picking individual stocks. Robos build and manage well-diversified portfolios of low-cost exchange-traded funds for reasonable fees. It’s all done on your mobile device or desktop computer, though human contact is available. Basically, you tell the robo-adviser about yourself and it recommends an appropriate portfolio.

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.

What I’ve been writing about

  • Federal budget 2019: Eight ways the budget will affect your personal finances
  • Four things ETF investors are doing right in 2019 (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)
  • We don’t have enough to buy a house. How can we invest with similar returns to real estate? (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

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