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If you wanted a great year to buy a house, it’s hard to beat 2018.

The economy was stable back then, interest rates were low and inflation was a non-issue. New owners were able to basically cruise for a while. Get the feel of carrying the cost of owning a home. Feel their way. Find their footing.

The year 2021 was quite a bit different. House prices were surging, so you might easily have bought and then watched prices in your neighbourhood lurch even higher. That’s the good news. The bad is that inflation is soaring and interest rates are rising with a momentum we haven’t seen in decades.

We want to hear how the housing class of 2021 is doing in today’s financially stressful environment. If you’re between 20 and 40 and bought a home last year, please take this anonymous survey. I’ll report back on the results later.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list

When should you start your CPP retirement benefits?

Thoughts to help people work through the all-important question of whether to start CPP as early as 60, delay as late as 70 or start on time at 65. Factors like expected lifespan and the need for income are considered, as is the benefit of starting early and investing the proceeds. Also looked at here is when to start Old Age Security.

No joy for savers

Interest rates are rising on many fronts, but high rate savings accounts have barely moved. GIC rates are a different story.

It’s bad news when men postpone buying underwear

A fun article about indicators that may foretell a recession. Former U.S. Federal Reserve head Alan Greenspan tracks sales of men’s underwear, which tend to fall in a recession. Concern about the possibility of a recession is growing because central banks are expected to raise interest rates by a lot this year and next. Overly aggressive rate hikes could tip the economy into a downturn.

‘This money stuff can be intimidating’

Michelle Singletary, personal finance columnist for the Washington Post, reflects on lessons learned in 25 years of writing about money. Her thoughts on debt are definitely worth a look.


Q: Why can’t people buy into a defined benefit pension plan like the Canada Pension Plan, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan or the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, even if they are not an employee?

A: For an answer to this question, I thought of veteran pension expert Keith Ambachtsheer, who in turn referred me to Derek Dobson, CEO of the CAAT Pension Plan (the Globe and Mail is part of this pension). Here is Mr. Dobson’s response: “Except for CPP (a government pension that applies to all Canadian workers), the biggest factor is the current pension legislation, whether it be at the provincial level or federal level. The current legislation only permits an employee to participate in a DB pension plan (like Ontario Teachers, HOOPP) if their employer participates in the plan.

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

If you think house price gains are based on economic fundamentals, you need to try out the housing price tool from The Habistat. The recent trend line pretty much goes straight up in many places.

The Money-Free Zone

High on my list of best Canadian music: Crucial, by K-OS. An overlooked song of many genres combined brilliantly. Now, try this unplugged live version.

Tweet of the week

Former NHL star Chris Pronger on the financial problems of professional athletes. He estimates that more than 50 per cent of pro athletes have financial issues in retirement. Yes, they make a lot of money in their careers. Pronger tells you what they’re up against.

What I’ve been writing about

More Rob Carrick and money coverage

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