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These are boom times for wage increases, but far from everyone is included.

In a survey of readers of this newsletter, more than one-third reported that they did not receive a raise in the past year. Among those who did get a raise, many received 2 to 4 per cent or less.

By the standards of the pre-pandemic world, a raise in the 3 to 4 per cent range is pretty good. But the average increase in hourly wages since the middle of last year has been around 5 per cent, which nicely exceeds the most recent inflation rate of 3.1 per cent.

The survey results, based on 940 responses, remind us how average numbers can be skewed and thus not reflect everyone’s experience. For example, 31 per cent of survey participants said their income was flat and 6.6 per cent reported a decline. Among those whose pay increased this year, almost one in four reported an increase of 5 to 10 per cent and almost one in 10 had a pay boost of 10 per cent or more.

Yet a big chunk of respondents, more than four in 10, said their raise was 3 per cent or less. If your raise was less than the 5 per cent average, you’ve got lots of company.

The survey also asked people how they’ve been affected by inflation. One in four said inflation has done deep damage to their finances or caused them to struggle to afford their lives. The rest described inflation as a minor annoyance or a non-issue.

Dining out

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Rob’s personal finance reading list

Sacrificing their retirement

In a Q&A, a financial adviser is asked what she worries about. Her answer surprised me: Parents and grandparents putting their finances at risk by helping their adult kids with money.

EVs have a reliability problem

A detailed reliability analysis of gasoline-powered vehicles, hybrids and electric vehicles finds EVs at the bottom. Gas-powered and hybrid well ahead.

Protect your brain

This article on brain health caught my eye because of a few recent reader e-mails in which seniors expressed concern about how a cognitive decline would affect their ability to make financial decisions. Having a trusted helper is a start – a close family member with money skills or a financial adviser.

Police 1, fraudsters 0

A news story about police catching someone who was trying to use the “grandparent scam” to defraud a senior in Gatineau, Que. The grandparent scam involves a scammer calling a senior, claiming to be a grandchild in need of emergency financial help. Refreshing to see police catching someone allegedly preying on seniors.

Reader comment

A recent newsletter included a question from a senior who was selling some of his stock market holdings to meet the annual minimum withdrawal for his registered retirement income fund. He got some of his RRIF withdrawal money from dividends, but not enough. I suggested keeping some money in an investment savings account to top up the amount needed for RRIF withdrawals. A few readers suggested an alternative that would work if this person did not need the money from his RRIF to cover living expenses: Instead of selling shares in the RRIF, make an in-kind withdrawal. This means transferring shares or funds from the RRIF to a non-registered cash account. Shares transferred in kind from a RRIF to a non-registered account could then be routed into a tax-free savings account, provided you have the contribution room.

Tools, explainers, guides and charts

An investment advice group has put together a pair of short online learning modules about charitable giving – the tax benefits, and how to give securities as well as cash.

The Money-Free Zone

For your travel planning, a thread on underrated cities around the world.

Listen to this

In a recent episode of the CBC Radio show The Cost of Living, host Paul Haavardsrud and I talked about the affordability challenges faced by young adults today.

On social media

A post on X, formerly Twitter, that nicely sums up a millennial/Gen Z take on money and wealth.

In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance-related stories
  • Climate change is making insurance coverage more expensive and more limited – and it’s only going to get worse
  • Is Canada in a recession? Who makes that determination?
  • How much does retirement income depend on investment returns?

More Rob Carrick and money coverage

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