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Traffic moves along the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto on Oct. 10, 2017.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

A 29-year-old reader of this newsletter isn’t buying into the trend of young adult home buyers giving up on the urban lifestyle to buy homes in rural areas and small communities.

“I for one will not let the coronavirus influence any decisions around housing,” Julien Brown, a married Mississauga, Ont.-based engineer, told me this week by e-mail.

For the second season of our Stress Test personal-finance podcast for young adults, we’re taking a look at the trend of moving out of the big city to smaller communities. We’d love to discuss the move with millennials or members of Gen Z who are willing to share their story (contact Globe personal finance editor Roma Luciw at Meantime, let’s hear more from Mr. Brown, the skeptic.

His view is based on the idea that the virus is a short-term problem, while housing is a long-term commitment. Mr. Brown also questions whether working at home, a big part of the rationale for moving out of cities, will fade as a trend when the pandemic ends.

“I believe moving further away from work is a recipe for an infernal commute in the not-so-distant future,” he wrote “I believe the risk of this eventuality is too high, and it would be quite expensive in terms of transaction costs if people bought properties further away only to turn around within two to three years … as they seek to move back into the city or neighbouring areas.”

The latest real estate numbers highlight the growing preference of home buyers toward the suburbs and beyond. In the Greater Toronto Area, sales of detached homes in the urban 416 area code rose 28 per cent in September on a year-over-year basis, while sales in the suburban 905 zone jumped almost 64 per cent. Of all the personal-finance trends that emerged in the pandemic, this is one of the most interesting.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list

Mortgage rates headed higher?

Mortgage rates track government-bond yields, which some forecasters think will rise next year. If you buy into this view, you’ll want to skip the variable-rate mortgage.

The 50-year-old singles who live with their parents

A sobering story of the jobless middle-aged people in Japan who were shut out of the employment market in their 20s. Couldn’t happen here, right?

How do car insurers stack up on pandemic discounts?

Find out how major insurers in Ontario compare on the percentage of policies receiving relief and the percentage drop in premiums.

Top 10 money rules

Ramit Sethi, a U.S. personal-finance guy, on his own personal top money rules. A fascinating mix of mega-disciplined saving and indulgence in strategic areas.

Ask Rob

Q: How would you suggest someone with limited means invest in a tax-free savings account?

A: Let’s assume that you’re referring here to money that you won’t need for 10-plus years. Here are three thoughts:

  • Buy a dividend fund from your bank’s in-house mutual family – no cost to buy and minimum upfront investments can be as low as $100 at Toronto-Dominion Bank; dividend funds tend to be one of the better products in bank’s fund-family lineups.
  • Try a robo-adviser; Wealthsimple is an example of a firm with no minimum account size.
  • Open an account at the online brokers Questrade or Virtual Brokers, where you could put money into a balanced exchange-traded fund for free (the usual commissions would apply when you sell).

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

If you’re looking for an online broker, here’s a list of offers and promotions.

Video of the week

CanAge, an advocacy group for seniors, recently presented a webinar on financial and economic security for seniors. This session covers income security, pension protection, fraud-related issues for seniors and more.

The money-free zone

Thanks for reading my newsletter. Now, let me show you a few of the newsletters I subscribe to:

  • From the Globe and Mail, Politics Briefing, Amplify and Books.
  • From the AllMusic website, the New Music This Week newsletter.
  • From Longreads, the Weekly Top 5.


In case you missed these Globe and Mail money stories:
  • Can Katarina, 64, afford to quit work? If she keeps working, will it affect her OAS?
  • Struggling with debt as payment deferrals end? Seek help sooner rather than later
  • Canadian stock-picking pros still no match for the humble index investor in the volatile and uneven markets of 2020 (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

More Rob Carrick and money coverage

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.