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carrick on money

One of the things keeping inflation too high is that pay increases have averaged 5 per cent since the middle of last year.

TD Economics says wage growth has fallen from 8 per cent in the pandemic, but it’s still more than twice the 2011-2019 average. The Bank of Canada wants inflation around 2 per cent – do the math.

Inflation exceeded wage gains for a while in the past two years, but the most recent increase in the cost of living came in at 3.1 per cent. Based on average wage growth, Canadians are getting ahead of inflation. It doesn’t feel like this is happening, though. High interest rates and expensive living costs have caused people to cut back on spending, and evidence of financial stress is growing.

Working readers of the Carrick on Money newsletter – have you had an inflation-beating pay increase in the past year? Let me know if 5 per cent sounds like your life, by taking this short and anonymous survey.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list

Tips to keep your credit card safe from scammers

Worth a read to make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your credit card safe from scammers. One thing I do is check my card statement often – at least once or twice a week. I also check my main bank account regularly and, yes, I have spotted scam debits that my bank reversed.

The $10,000 trip planning mistake

This is sad. A retired couple from P. E. I plan the honeymoon they never had – an eight-day tour of Ireland. Their trip ended in the Halifax airport, where airline staff could not fix a small error made in booking the tickets. Pathetic service, but also a warning about ensuring that the name on your airline ticket exactly matches your name as shown on your passport. Now, for a warning that your winter jacket could be counted as carry-on luggage when flying.

The loyalty reward encyclopedia

A phenomenally comprehensive overview of 70 different loyalty reward programs, including a list of top picks. Many retailers included here, as well as credit cards, frequent flyer programs, gas stations, grocery stores and more.

At home with Neil Young

The Toronto house where the musician Neil Young spent some of his teen years is up for sale. The ask price is $3.3-million, which is a very Toronto price. Here’s Neil Young singing Goin’ Home live.

Ask Rob

Q: I am 81 and am required to withdraw about $4,500 a month from my registered retirement income fund. Assets in my RRIF are dividend stocks and preferred shares. Because the dividends are not quite enough, I am forced to sell something every few months, which really hurts. Any ideas?

A: What about keeping some RRIF money in a high interest savings account, which is a savings account packaged as a mutual fund? There’s no cost to buy or sell ISAs, they typically benefit from deposit insurance, they can go in any type of registered or non-registered account and all investment dealers offer them. When you need to top up your dividends to make your mandatory minimum RRIF withdrawal, you could take what’s needed from your ISA. The return available from these accounts will fall as interest rates move lower, but they still offer a viable way to store cash in your RRIF.

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, Guides and Charts

A calculator to help people in several Canadian cities see if installing a heat pump would save them money over their existing heating and cooling system.

Watch this

An introduction to the 50/30/20 budgeting rule – 50 per cent of your income for needs like rent or mortgage, 30 per cent for wants like entertainment and travel and 20 per cent for savings. Keeping needs to 50 per cent these days is the challenge.

On social media

This is how noteworthy the slowdown in consumer spending is. Check this one out, too.


What I’ve been writing about

– Yes, restaurant tipping has gone too far

– Higher CPP contributions could cost a young worker up to $15,000 more over a career – call it a bargain

– My investments averaged 6.4 per cent over the past five years – is that good?

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.

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