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Perhaps you’ve noticed that people are kind of cranky these days.

A theory on why this is so: too much change, coming too fast. Adapting on the fly to unprecedented events, many people have made decisive life changes that bring stress as well as joy. Some insight on these changes can be found in a poll commissioned by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Some highlights:

  • 17 per cent of the 1,522 people surveyed changed employment in the past two years.
  • 12 per cent moved to a new home.
  • 11 per cent acquired a new pet.

A lot of good can come out of moves like this. In the CIBC poll, the top reasons for changing jobs were better pay, better benefits, the need for a change and better work-life balance. But a new job, house or pet requires a period of adjustment at a time when we’re continually being called upon to be flexible and open to change in other aspects of our lives. Pandemic rules keep shifting, people are being called back to the office, inflation is making people poorer and rising interest rates make it more expensive to be in debt.

The CIBC poll found that close to half of participants are still looking to make a major life change. In many ways, this is an ideal time to make a bold move. The job market is as inviting as it’s been in years for people to improve their careers, and it’s possible that housing affordability will improve if house prices keep falling.

But you have to know your limits on change, especially where your finances are involved. Between rising rates, stubborn inflation and a growing recession risk, the economy is as precarious as we’ve seen in decades. A handy measuring stick for making a change in the months ahead: with all that’s going on, will it make you calmer or more stressed?


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Rob’s personal finance reading list

Are you a consistent saver?

It’s normal to have ups and downs in your personal savings rate, particularly in the years where you buy a house and start a family. Do not feel down because you can’t save 10 per cent of your income after you buy a house and start a family.

A real life report on the cost of kids

A full accounting of the cost of raising a four-year-old, by her parents. Most noteworthy are the cost of activities. Now for a list of 20 great baby freebies for new parents.

Sold for under asking

Real estate agents talk about properties they recently sold for under the asking price. Rising interest rates have hurt housing affordability, but there’s no doubt that prices in many places are coming down.

Are personal finance gurus good for you?

Helaine Olen, author of a couple of books on personal finance, writes about an economist’s finding that advice from personal finance gurus may not produce the best possible outcome. My take is that in personal finance, perfect is the enemy of good.


Ask Rob

Q: Is it time yet for annuities?

A: Annuities are a way to generate secure retirement for life. You buy them through insurance companies and then collect a preset amount of income each month. Interest rates have a big influence on annuity payouts, which means annuities are more attractive than they were in recent years. Better annuity payouts require rates to go higher, which may or may not happen. In fact, rates in the bond market are below the peaks of earlier this summer. This suggests there’s a risk that annuity payouts will fall from current levels. Consider annuity laddering – putting some money into annuities now and down the road, if you think interest rates will climb. Here’s my latest column on annuities and climbing rates.

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 list of federal and provincial government incentives for buyers of electric vehicles.


Who I’m following Twitter

Economist Armine Yalnizyan, an original voice on inflation, labour market trends and more.


The Money-Free Zone

A new album I’m enjoying a lot is Cheat Codes by Danger Mouse and Black Thought. Soulful rap that hits hard from the first cut, Sometimes.


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

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