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I will not insult anyone by saying that cancelling Netflix is a difference-making financial decision.

But we still need to talk about the extra costs that some households face as a result of Netflix’s decision to crack down on password sharing. There may be an opportunity here to rethink enough of your household spending to noticeably lighten the load.

Netflix now charges $7.99 monthly if you want to share your password with someone in another household, say an elderly parent or a child living away at school. You can add up to two people, which would mean an extra $15.98 on top of regular subscription costs that can run as much as $20.99 a month.

I asked on Twitter whether people are cancelling Netflix because of the crackdown on password sharing and a bunch said yes. But it was another type of response that caught my eye. Rather than focusing on costs, some people said they had recently taken a fresh look at Netflix and decided they no longer valued it. “The content has continually declined,” one tweet said. “Now it’s like flipping channels … can’t find anything to watch.”

Like all subscription services, Netflix benefits from client inertia. It’s easier to keep a sub going than evaluate how much use you’re getting from it and then cancel, if that’s what you decide. With its password crackdown, Netflix has provided motivation to break through the inertia.

If you’re riled up about Netflix, channel that energy to all your subscriptions and regular monthly spending on non-essentials. Do a value check – how much enjoyment are you receiving, and how does that compare to the costs? Divide your subs into keepers and rejects, and then block out an hour to go through the mechanics of cancelling the rejects.

Call it a trial separation, if that helps. You can always resubscribe later if you want.

Talking about taxes

Millennials and Gen Z, the Stress Test podcast team wants to hear your questions about taxes for an upcoming Season Seven episode. What would you like to know about the opportunities to save on taxes and maximize benefits? Reply to Stress Test producer Kyle Fulton at Accountants and tax preparers, tell us the most common tax questions you get from millennials and Gen Z during tax season.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list

Best free tax software

A review of seven no-cost options for doing your taxes, along with instructions on how to file your return electronically to the Canada Revenue Agency. Pros and cons for each software package. By the way, the Netfile portal for filing your taxes online is now open for filing 2022 returns.

Top Canadian dividend stocks

As picked by the Tawcan blog, which I have been following for a while. Some interesting names here. May I suggest Globe Investor for the additional research required to make sound decisions on appropriate stocks?

Travel rewards cards for the 65+ market

Three credit cards that stand out for rewards, insurance and benefits that appeal to older travellers.

What is up with Portugal?

I keep hearing Portugal mentioned as a travel destination – in the past week, a friend of mine told me he and his wife are going, my sister said it would be her top choice and now the Modern Family financial independence blog has posted an itinerary for a two-month visit to the country. My wife and I visited Portugal on our honeymoon and loved it. Great food, wine, people, sights and ambience.

Ask Rob

Q: There is often talk about putting money into a registered retirement savings plan, but only taking a certain amount of the deduction from that amount each year, depending on the situation and taxable income. If someone makes a contribution, at say 69, and decides not to claim the entire amount as a deduction before they have to convert their RRSP to a registered retirement income fund, are they able to claim these unused deductions (contributions already made) in future years when they no longer have the RRSP?

A: The answer is yes, says Natasha Knox, a certified financial planner with Alaphia Financial Wellness. “If they have made the contribution in the past, but not used the full deduction, they don’t lose it, and they can deduct even after they’ve turned 71 and had to [conver to a] RRIF,” Ms. Knox said by e-mail.

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

Budgeting apps to help parents teach their kids how to manage money. The modern version of the piggy bank.

The Money-Free Zone

A fun conversation starter for people of different generations: The Never Have I Ever – Retro Edition checklist. I felt very boomerish after going through this. Yes, I have used a typewriter. Yes, I have used a rotary phone. Yes, I have owned a dictionary.

Watch this

Real estate analyst Daniel Foch on where he sees housing prices going.

From the Twitterverse

Some perspective on living to 100. I find people are far more wired into the risk of dying young than living long.

In case you missed these personal finance related stories

  • Canada’s no-frills airlines offer eye-popping deals, but can you handle the ride?
  • When saving for retirement, should you change your asset mix over the course of your career?
  • Recent health care deal is a win for retirees. The finances of younger Canadians are collateral damage
  • 22 top-ranked investment funds for DIY investors

More Rob Carrick and money coverage

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