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Inflation is on the rise my life – how about yours?

The official inflation rate hit 2.2 per cent in March on a year-over-year basis, double the rate of February. Where I’m seeing inflation is in food, restaurant take-out in particular. I will not tell you what I paid recently to have a bowl of ramen delivered to where I live. Meanwhile, a contractor I know was marvelling a few weeks back about how raw materials like lumber have jumped in price.

Where are you seeing inflation? Take this short survey and I’ll report back on where the inflation hotspots are. The information may help you plan your household spending in a way that dekes around items that are rising in price.

A little inflation background: The Bank of Canada inflation calculator tells us that the average rate of inflation since 1981 is 2.7 per cent, the 20-year average is 1.8 per cent and the 10-year average is 1.6 per cent. In that context, the recent move to 2.2 per cent is noteworthy. Here’s a tally from Statistics Canada summary of the main contributors to inflation in March:

The Globe and Mail

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Rob’s personal finance reading list

A slowdown for housing?

The Economist looks at global real estate markets, including Canada, and sees a slowdown in the next three years. Not a bust, though.

A close-up look at new Aeroplan credit cards

A feature-by-feature comparison of American Express, CIBC and TD credit cards linked to the Aeroplan travel reward programs.

Doing what the dollar tells you to do

If you’ve seen the Oscar-winning film Nomadland, you’ll know that Bob Wells is an expert on living the nomadic lifestyle in an RV. In an interview with the CBC’s Matt Galloway, Mr. Wells talks about the freedom of living a life that isn’t focused on buying houses and other stuff. More from Mr. Wells can be found on his YouTube channel, CheapRVLiving.

Main Street investors need a voice

Investor advocate Ken Kivenko has a great idea – securities regulators should create an Investor Advisory Council to represent the interests of retail investors. “The financial services industry is replete with well-financed lobby groups,” Mr. Kivenko writes. Individual investors need a voice, too.


The Stress Test podcast I co-host with Globe personal finance editor Roma Luciw has been nominated by The Webby Awards for Best Business Podcast. This means we were selected as one of five best in the world for this category.

We’re up for two awards, one of which is the People’s Voice Award. You can vote for us here.

It’s a huge honour for our little podcast, created entirely amid the pandemic to be in the running for a global award, and a testament to how much the show is resonating with listeners. We are currently recording Season 3, which launches in May.

Ask Rob

Q: Do you have a budget to guide a student going away to university and sharing an apartment? What type of expenses and guidelines should he be planning for, and what income sources (self, parents, grandparents, student loans.) should he consider to offset these expenses?

A: I have just the thing – a Globe and Mail online calculator that helps students and their families budget the cost of college or university.

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 worksheet to help people looking ahead to retirement plan for changes in their monthly income and expenses.

The money-free zone

If you grew up in Toronto in the 1960s and 1970s like I did, then the radio station CFRB was probably on a lot in your home and your parents’ car. If so, this obituary of CRFB mainstay Bill McVean will take you right back.

In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance-related stories:

  • Child care at $10 a day would be a ‘game-changer’ for a young family’s finances
  • Amplify: Has the pandemic changed our relationship with money? 5 tips for a post-COVID world
  • Couple relying heavily on savings wonder if their investments are allotted in a tax-efficient way

More Rob Carrick and money coverage

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