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We had a mid-May heatwave in Ottawa – bright sun and temps above 30 degrees. That’s unusually warm for late spring, but not a shocker. What was shocking was the number of parked cars I recently spotted that still had their winter tires on.

Running winter tires in warm weather is like throwing money away. The cost of operating a car is way up in 2022 as a result of soaring gasoline prices. Don’t compound the damaged by grinding down your winter tires in warm weather.

The rubber that winter tires are made of is softer than all-season or summer tires, which helps it function well in cold weather. In summer, softer rubber wears faster. Not only that – winter tires also don’t handle as well, which means there could be safety issues if you needed to steer yourself out of a tight situation.

Winter tires also have more rolling resistance in warm weather, which means higher fuel consumption. Gas prices hit $2.06 per litre in my neighbourhood last week and worse seems possible for the May long weekend coming up. Help offset the higher cost of gas by swapping out your winter tires this week.

If your local service station or car dealer can’t do the job in a timely way, you have options. There are mobile tire-change services that will come to your home to do the job – just google the name of your town and the phrase “mobile tire change.” I have also lately noticed that oil-change locations will swap your tires for you.

One more benefit of preserving your winter tires: You reduce the chances of having to go to a tire store next fall and hear about how inflation has boosted prices. You probably hear that enough already.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list

Canada’s hottest city for housing

Reading this blog post about soaring prices in Kingston, Ont., reminded me of an interview I did a year ago with a women who hoped to move back to Kingston from Ottawa, but was finding housing there too expensive. The average Kingston home sold for $641,200 in March, up 32 per cent on a year-over-year basis. Also check out the episode of our Stress Test personal finance podcast on soaring real estate costs in small cities (Season Four, episode one).

Let the good times roll

The New York Times on how these are the best of times for people who have had big gains in the value of their homes and investments. Real people talk about how their lives have changed.

Does everyone have an air fryer but me?

My wife and I ate at the home of friends twice in the past week and in both cases dinner involved the use of an air fryer. I got curious about these devices – what they do and how much they cost. Here’s a good intro.

NFTs were so 2021

An update on non-fungible tokens, which took off in the speculative investing boom of 2020-21. Comparisons are made to played out trends like Beanie Babies and Pokemon cards. And then there’s cryptocurrency, which has been hit hard lately. I liked this commentary on what it means when politicians – Conservative Party leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre, for example – start supporting crypto.


Q: I’m almost 64 and, as you know, everything is very expensive right now. My wife still works as a nurse and I don’t have an income. We have no mortgage, and no debts. I’m planning to take my CPP when I turn 65 next year. Do you think I should wait until then or go ahead right now?

A: As noted in a newsletter earlier this month, starting CPP retirement benefits as late as 70 means higher monthly payments than if you start earlier. But there are reasons to start CPP at 65, or as early as 60. One is if you have health issues that affect your longevity, while another is whether you need income. Delaying CPP makes no sense if you can’t afford to cover your costs in the interim.

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.

Has inflation derailed your financial plan?

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Today’s financial tool

Find out how your investing decisions may be guided by behavioural biases that can lead you astray.

The Money-Free Zone

For my fellow Maple Leafs fans: Hang Down Your Head, by Tom Waits.

Watch this

Investing great Jack Bogle on what to do when stocks crash. Mr. Bogle was an index investing guru who founded the ETF and mutual fund giant Vanguard. I interviewed him back in 2010 – here’s our Q&A. What a great communicator – right to the point, without jargon or equivocation.

What I’ve been writing about
  • A five-step plan for dealing with the sad fact that almost every investment is falling lately
  • Sell the family home to lock in profit and then rent? Better not
  • The latest in online broker perks for clients is basically free cash paid every month

More Rob Carrick and money coverage

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