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Several years have passed since my wife and I had any teenagers at home, but I can you we would have been all over the idea of 13- to 17-year-olds being able to have Uber accounts.

Uber says it will allow teens to open accounts on its ride-sharing app, with parental oversight. Great idea. I know we would have used this service when our boys were younger. Ride sharing for teens means less time waiting alone at transit stops late at night, and less family stress in getting everyone where they need to be on time. Using Uber might also be cheaper than insurance for a teen on a family car.

Ride sharing for teens also means more spending for parents, though. You can certainly tell your teens to take the bus, or choose Uber at their own expense. But my prediction is that busy parents will be all over Uber rides for their kids, no matter the cost.

Such is parenting in this age of technology. New apps and devices are seen as necessities, and parents pay up. Over the past decade or more, parents who can afford it have paid for phones and data plans, as well as computers with better household internet to accommodate massive amounts of downloading.

Uber for teens shows how technology costs lead to further costs. Your teen has a phone? Then let’s add an Uber account for convenience and safety.

Inflation for parents isn’t talked about much, but it’s happening. If you have any good examples of how the cost of having kids has risen lately, send them to me at

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Rob’s personal finance reading list

No price relief for travellers

The CEO of the travel booking website Expedia says there’s a lot of demand for flights and hotels. You know what that means – high prices.

A reality check on frugal living

I love this – real life commentary on some of the most common tips for cutting costs and living frugally. Makes you realize how patronizing and insensitive this advice can be. Some of the comments are emphatic, which is to say there’s profanity.

A to-do list if you’re laid off

Look, a recession could be on the way. If you lose your job, this list of tips will help you organize your finances.

Renos gone wrong

Finding a trustworthy, professional contractor is always a challenge when you want to renovate a home. So, it’s no surprise that some people took advantage of a Royal Bank of Canada program to connect clients with contractors. For at least two households, the results were not what they expected.

Ask Rob

Q: Can you explain to me what a GIC broker is and how you find one?

A: A GIC broker, or a deposit broker, can survey the broad market of banks, trust companies, and credit unions offering GICs to find the best rates and terms. They can also spread your money out among issuers so it’s 100 per cent covered by deposit insurance. GIC issuers pay the broker, not investors. You can find a deposit broker using a search engine offered by the Registered Deposit Brokers Association. Online brokerages typically offer a variety of GICs from various issues, but clients have to do the work of investing the money and making sure it’s fully covered by deposit insurance.

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.

Tools, explainers and guides

How real estate commissions compare across Canada.

The money-free zone

I’ve been enjoying the music of Jean Goubald Kalala, who I heard about from my wife. She, in turn, heard his music in an Uber driven by a guy who, like the singer, is Congolese. Here’s a good introduction: A song called Emi.

Watch this

The dangers of sports betting, which is being promoted to an incredible extent on NHL playoff broadcasts.

From the Twitterverse

How a tax-free savings account is like a frying pan. Really.


What I’ve been writing about

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