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I certainly hope 2020 turns out to be the most eventful year in our lives from a personal finance point of view. I mean, how much more excitement can we stand?

The pandemic shut down parts of the economy, causing the loss of jobs and income in many households. Meantime, the housing and stock markets soared and interest rates fell to levels that in some cases round down to zero. My question to you: What will you do differently with your money in 2021 based on your experience of the past year?

The Globe and Mail’s Stress Test, a personal finance podcast for young adults, will begin 2021 with an episode about financial New Year’s resolutions. Globe and Mail personal finance editor Roma Luciw and I are working on lists of our own, of course, but we also want to hear from readers and listeners. Send your 2021 personal finance New Year’s resolutions to me at rcarrick@globeandmail.com. We’ll include the most interesting responses in the podcast.

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Two themes that stand out to me in planning for 2021 are resilience and strategic thinking. To prepare for the possibility of more economic damage ahead, map out how you’d handle the loss of a job or a reduced income. For those lucky enough to have parked money in savings during the pandemic, look for ways to do something with your cash that delivers long-term benefits. Juice your retirement savings, kill off your debt, give to charity or inject some money into the economy with a sizeable purchase. There are risks ahead in 2021 but also opportunity.


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Rob’s personal finance reading list

One of Canada’s hottest housing markets used to be among its sleepiest

Welcome to Windsor, a small southwestern Ontario city that has had its economic struggles in recent years. Then came the pandemic and a flood of people leaving urban centres in search of cheaper, bigger homes.

What’s up with the stock market?

CNN’s Fear and Greed Index is firmly in greed territory.

Best budgeting apps of 2020

The best overall pick here is one I’ve heard lots of good comments on, but it does cost US$84 per year. Free alternatives are covered as well.

Bitcoin’s on a tear – again

Catching up with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which have been surging lately in price. One expert says buying Bitcoin in hopes its value will go up is still “a bet, essentially.”


Today’s financial tool

Take this quiz to help understand the difference between saving and investing.

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The money-free zone

A song to mellow you right out, and don’t we all need that these days. Lookin’ For a Home, by Al Kooper and Shuggie Otis. At the 3:45 mark, Mr. Otis lets it rip.


ICYMI

Here are some Globe and Mail stories:
  • How to help the helpers as charities weather drop in donations
  • The Atypical Recession: Here’s what forecasters got wrong about the COVID-19 economy (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)
  • Home prices in cottage country jump 15 to 40 per cent across Canada amid COVID-19 (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

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.

Even more coverage from Rob Carrick:

Are you reading this newsletter on the web or did someone forward the e-mail version to you? If so, you can sign up for Carrick on Money here.

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