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The average amount of cash carried by Canadians is just under $45, according to a recent survey by a company in the payments business called Square. But a lot of us are going around with wallets loaded with plastic and zero cash.

I asked on Twitter how much cash people had in their wallets and the most common response was zero. A few people carry a token amount of cash – around $20 or so. And a couple of people said they carry large sums because you can get good deals on some items if you agree to pay cash. They weren’t more specific on exactly what cash bargains are available.

The amount of cash you have in your wallet is to some extent a generational thing. The Square survey found that millennials carried an average of about $28. Women carried $7 less than men on average. Quebeckers carried the most cash – an average of almost $49, while Maritimers carried the least, at an average of just over $41.

Square said the overall amount of cash carried on average fell by $1.80 from 2018 levels. The slow march toward a cashless society raises an issue for parents – should you raise your young kids to be cashless?

For example, you could give them an allowance by transferring the money into their bank account and encouraging them to pay for things with a debit card. Another option is to use a reloadable prepaid credit card. A parent could load a specific amount on the card and then have their children manage that money until it runs out.

Piggy banks for kids? Right, and be sure to buy them a typewriter for school assignments.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list…

The savvy traveller’s guide to cutting credit-card fees

An expert on travel-related personal finance tells you what you need to know about avoiding fees on credit cards and debit cards when using them outside Canada.

Comparing the reliability of cars and trucks

The latest data from J.D. Power shows Korean and U.S. automakers score best, with European companies below average.

Don’t buy expensive clothing … rent it

All about a startup company called Reheart that allows women to rent an outfit or article of clothing. Perfect for weddings, parties, proms, graduation and more. No more buying clothes for one night’s use.

Weird times in mortgage-land

According to, people with variable-rate mortgages are locking into fixed-rate mortgages and getting a lower rate. “For as long as we’ve been keeping detailed rate records (since 2009), we’ve never seen this happen before.” Normally, variable-rate mortgages offer a lower rate than a fixed-rate mortgage.

Today’s financial tool

This is really useful – a roundup of how all major types of investment are taxed.

Ask Rob

Q: Our insurer recently asked for permission to access my and my spouse’s credit rating and says [the rating] can be used to reduce the premiums on our tenants’ insurance. My spouse and I have excellent scores, so there’s an obvious upside if our premiums go down. Is there anything we should be concerned about?

A: I found this roundup of provincial rules surround the insurance industry’s use of credit scores to set premiums. It’s allowed in some situations and provinces, but not in others. There should be no impact on your credit score if your insurer takes a look. I’d certainly allow it if I had a good credit score and there was an opportunity to lower my insurance premium.

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

  • We need to come clean with millennials on big-city home ownership dreams
  • Low-drama stocks are acing it in both up and down markets (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)
  • Why investors should keep playing defence, even as stocks soar to new heights (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

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