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When we started the Stress Test personal finance podcast in the spring of 2020, we thought we had the perfect name.

I mean, how much more stress could there be than a global pandemic and global lockdowns that stopped economic growth in its tracks? We are about to find out.

Between inflation, rising interest rates, shaky stocks and weakness in housing, we’re seeing financial challenges layer on top of each other in a way that will test our finances in a way that many people have never seen before.

The Stress Test team just started work on Season Six, which will drop in the fall. We’re news people, first and foremost. So expect more of the same from us in stories that are tied to events in the financial world. As ever, our core audience is Gen Z and millennials, groups that can be overlooked and underserved in the financial world.

Our just-completed fifth season was our most successful yet, as measured through awards and listenership. Topics we covered include a discussion of whether the middle class is dead for millennials and Gen Z, the financial ins and outs of electric vehicles and mortgage basics.

More coverage of housing in Season Six is a done deal. We’ll also explain what listeners need to know about the latest economic twists and delve into the money issues of dating. If you have a topic suggestion for us, send it to my Stress Test co-host, Globe personal finance editor Roma Luciw, at rluciw@globeandmail.com.

Let me introduce you to the rest of the Stress Test team. Our executive producer is Kiran Rana, who oversees the entire operation to make sure everything happens smoothly and on time. Our co-producers are Emily Jackson and Kyle Fulton – they’re responsible for scripting, recording and structuring each episode. If you wonder where we find all the real people who tell their stories in Stress Test, the answer can be found in the hard work done by our chase producer, Zahra Khozema.

If you haven’t checked out Stress Test yet, give it a try this summer. Speaking of summer, I’m off here and there over the next two months. Globe and Mail personal finance reporter Erica Alini will occasionally step in to keep this newsletter going while I’m away.


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Rob’s personal finance reading list

18 online scams, and how to avoid them

Online scamming works because it preys on human emotions like curiosity, hope and empathy. Here’s a through look at some of the most common schemes being used. Well worth a read to help you stay safe in all your online activities.

The year of 18 weddings

I loved the headline on this Wall Street Journal article: “Wedding Guests Are Broke, Tired and Begging for Mercy.” Yet another eruption of bizarre consequences from the pandemic: Wedding-palooza. A young woman interviewed for this article expects to attend 18 weddings this year.

How to pay less in real estate commissions

Three suggestions for reducing the amount of commission you pay a realtor to sell your house, including the FSBO – for sale by owner – option. FSBO is pronounced Fiz-bo in real estate circles.

Canada’s most overvalued housing market

An Ontario city – don’t be shocked.


Ask Rob

Q: With stocks on the decline, should I pause contributions to my RRSP for a bit, even if I’m getting an employer match?

A: Actually, declining stock markets mean it’s a great time to put money into investments for long-term goals like retirement. You’re buying on sale, right? And that employer match to your contributions is like a guaranteed return on your investment. Don’t worry if the markets go down in the months ahead. Measure success by how much your RRSP is worth when you retire.

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 discussion of how to pay off credit card debt without hurting your credit score.


The Money-Free Zone

Warren Zevon’s Porcelain Monkey is a phenomenally catchy song with lyrical highs that include the rhyming of the phrases ‘gold lame’ and ‘regal sobriquet.’ I think it’s about Elvis, the subject of a new movie called, wait for it, Elvis.


Who I’m following on Twitter

Credit Canada, which describes itself as Canada’s first and longest-standing non-profit credit counselling agency. Lots of helpful content for people burdened by debt.


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


Subscribe to Stress Test on Apple podcasts 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.

Even more coverage from Rob Carrick:

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.