November is Financial Literacy Month, which means lots of talk about what people need to know about money. I’d rather show you than tell you.
Over the past few years, the Globe and Mail graphics team and I have collaborated on a series of online financial tools to help our readers work through life’s biggest financial moments. To mark FinLit Month, we’ve gathered them together into one convenient package called Calculate Your Life.
Our calculators and worksheets cover home buying, setting financial goals as a recent graduate, building a tax-free savings account, finding a good financial adviser and retirement planning. These tools reflect some of the things I’ve learned about people and money in my 21 years as Globe personal-finance columnist (my first column was published on Oct. 22, 1998).
For example, I’ve seen how people struggle to figure out how much house they can afford. That’s why the Real Life Ratio calculator attacks affordability in a different way than you’ll find on the typical bank website.
Speaking of banks, you’ll probably hear from them and other financial firms during FinLit Month. They’re trying to be good citizens in the personal-finance universe, but you have to remember that their main goal is to sell financial products. Always be mindful of the potential conflicts when a person or company provides you with advice on money while also trying to sell you mortgages, lines of credit, mutual funds, investment advice and more.
Give our Calculate Your Life tools a try and then let me know if there are any other calculators or worksheets you’d like to see. For us, it’s always Financial Literacy Month.
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Rob’s personal finance reading list…
Using travel reward points for all-inclusive vacations
The RewardsCanada website reports that while most people think of flights and hotels when using their loyalty points, all-inclusive vacations are also an option. Several cards are mentioned as being best for all-inclusive vacationers.
It’s not easy being green
An accounting of the costs a low-income family faces as it tries to make environmentally conscious spending choices on food and more.
The shaming of shoppers
In Sweden, home of the young activist Greta Thunberg, concern about climate change has led to the creation of new ways to shame people for behavior that negatively affects the environment. One is “flygskam,” or flight shaming, while another is “kopscam,” which casts a negative light on consumerism. Could concern about climate change help address the problem some people have with overspending?
In case you need extra reasons not to text and drive
A financial website looks into how someone’s car insurance premiums might jump if they were charged with distracted driving. It’s bad.
Q: What should my newlywed son and his wife invest their wedding gifts cash in, inside their TFSA accounts? They will likely want it in less than five years to buy a house.
A: No doubts here – a high-interest savings account is best for safety while providing a modest return that is just ahead of inflation. Right now, rates in these accounts are as high as 2.3 to 2.8 per cent.
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
A thorough rundown on credit scores – what they mean and how they’re calculated.
In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance-related stories
- These home renovations offer the best financial – and emotional – return on your money
- Andrew Scheer is renouncing his U.S. citizenship. Here’s what Americans living in Canada should know
- Recent turbulence in Canadian telecom stocks offers opportunity for dividend-hungry investors (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)
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