• If the first-class lounges at Pearson are looking morecrowded these days, it’s not just the flow of recently-traded Leafs’ players making their way out of town. In its annual Wealth Report, real estate consultancy Knight Frank ranks Toronto among the most appealing cities for the world’s mega-rich.

    The report puts Toronto at No. 12, behind predictable leaders London and New York, but ahead of major capitals such as Berlin and Washington D.C.

    ““Follow the money” was the sage advice from the Watergate mole, and

    it holds true at the top of our rankings,” says the report, which tracks numbers of ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWI) that choose to live in each city.

    The UHNWI (and yes, this is a real term) are folks with net worth of at least $30 million, says Knight Frank. These are the people who wander through a 14-room mansion in Rosedale shaking their heads at the lack of space and shabby surroundings.

    Evidently 1,216 of these folks are parking their limos in Toronto right now,

    Read More »from Hey Toronto, really rich people really like you!
  • Want to help boost the Canadian economy, and put a little green back into your pocket and the planet while you’re at it?

    Then go on and buy that gently-used sofa, the pre-loved hockey skates or vintage Volkswagen camper van you’ve been eyeing online.

    The benefits of participating in the new-to-you market won’t stop at the smug feeling you’ll get from scoring the best deal in town.

    A new study, commissioned by the online classified site Kijiji, found that our second-hand spending puts about $34 billion into Canada’s GDP and supports the equivalent of 300,000 jobs.

    “By keeping the money here and re-circulating it in the Canadian economy, it has a positive effect for the economy,” Peter Spiro, an economic consultant and co-author of the Kijiji Second-Hand Economy Index, tells Yahoo Canada Finance.

    It also diverts tons of excess waste from the landfill by giving products a second life.

    In addition, the second-hand market is “a remarkably simple, and essentially painless, way to reduce Canada’s

    Read More »from Canada's second-hand economy worth $30 billion: report
  • This won’t be a surprise to many Canadians toiling away at work right now, but the quality of Canadian jobs is at its lowest level in more than two decades, a new report from CIBC shows.

    The bank’s latest Canadian Employment Quality Index, has fallen across measures including part-time versus full-time work, paid versus self-employment and compensation trends.

    What’s more, CIBC says the Bank of Canada’s move to lower interest rates, in an attempt to spur economic growth and in turn job creation, won’t cure the problem.

    "The Bank of Canada continues to warn us that the headline unemployment rate is not as rosy as perceived and, in fact, according to the Bank’s new and improved measure of labour market activity, labour slack is still significant,” CIBC deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal said in releasing the report on Thursday.

    "In many ways, the Bank has a point. Our measure of employment quality is now at a record low — suggesting that the composition of employment is sub-optimal.”

    Read More »from Canada's job quality sinks to record low: CIBC
  • Private jets: Who takes them and where?

    The travel mode of choice for the world's rich

    John Travolta's private jet in the Bahamas [AP Photos/Alan Diaz]John Travolta's private jet in the Bahamas [AP Photos/Alan Diaz]

    For most of us chartering a private jet would be the ultimate luxury, but for the world's richest people it's akin to catching a bus or a train - without the annoyance of fellow passengers' blaring headphones, of course. 

    And while we're used to seeing snaps of stars, such as Rihanna, boarding private jets, in fact passengers are a far less glamorous set, according to NetJets data featured in a wealth report by Knight Frank.

    Typically male and aged 40-55, the exclusive jet-setters tend to be entrepreneurs who have struck wealth through finance or the oil and gas sectors, showed the analysis.

    Rihanna boarding a private jet [Tobbe Nilsson / Scanpix/TT News Agency/Press Association Images ]Rihanna boarding a private jet [Tobbe Nilsson / Scanpix/TT News Agency/Press Association Images ]The US is the world's largest market for private jets, accounting for 60% of travel. Flights between Miami, New York and Los Angeles are the most popular.

    Europe comes in second place, with around one in three flights taking place to or from London. Luxury airplanes from the capital are most likely to be taken across the pond to New York - with traffic on this route increasing every year. Moscow

    Read More »from Private jets: Who takes them and where?
  • When Cathie Hurlburt and her husband were contemplating whether to renovate their home or buy something bigger toaccommodate their growing family, the Vancouver certified financial planner“did the math 90 times”. The result favoured renovating every time.

    The cost to move can be exorbitant, especially in pricey markets like Vancouver and Toronto. By the time realtor commissions (typically 7 per cent on the first $100,000 and 2-3 per cent on the balance of the purchase price in B.C.) property-transfer taxes, legal fees, and moving expenses are factored in, you’re easily looking at $50,000 in costs. That’s not including any potential mortgage penalties.

    “You might as well be rolling up 20s and lighting them on fire,” says Hurlburt, a partner at Integrated Planning Group. “And I have not had a client move into a new house and not drop another $5,000 on something: a new fridge or new carpeting or new towel racks or — ‘the car doesn’t actually fit in the garage.’”

    Renovating is an option

    Read More »from Renovating vs. moving: It's a numbers game
  • As if the balmy winter isn’t enough to brag about to fellow Canadians, Vancouver can now boast its status as having the best quality of life in North America.

    Vancouver ranks 5th in the latest Mercer Quality of Living survey, behind Vienna, Zurich, Auckland and Munich. Toronto had the next highest ranking, in 15th spot, followed by Ottawa in 16th place, Montreal in 24th and Calgary in 23rd.

    “Canada continues to offer a high quality of living for residents and expatriate employees,” says Eleana Rodriguez, a market business leader at Mercer Canada’s information solutions group.

    “Major Canadian cities tend to rank highly due to Canada’s favourable political and social environment, as well as medical and health considerations. Our quality of living plays an important role as we continue to see more multinational corporations open doors in Canada, providing significant opportunities.”

    Canada far outpaced cities south of the border. The highest-ranking U.S. city was San Francisco in 27th

    Read More »from Vancouver cracks top 5 on global quality of life index
  • Canadian’s fake-it-‘til-you-make-it financial approach doesn’t seem to be working out.

    While 59 per cent of Canadians say they are dedicated to their savings plan, closer scrutiny shows otherwise with a third of Canadians regularly biting into their long-term savings for trips, cars or interior decorations, according to a survey by Tangerine bank.

    “People want to sound like they know what they’re doing, like they’re money experts,” says Laurie Campbell, CEO Credit Canada Debt Solutions. “But the truth of the matter is, it’s the simple strategies to put money away that people are not following.”

    The survey echoes Campbell’s sentiments with an unapologetic 50 per cent of Canadians saying they have no savings goal.

    “I get very concerned because they don’t even have the basic savings in place such as an emergency fund or something for a rainy day should something happen to them,” she adds. “We recommend people have three to six months of their income for basic expenses in an emergency fund

    Read More »from Canadians raiding their savings to splurge, if they save at all: survey
  • Home ownership is becoming less affordable on average across Canada thanks to price increases in Ontario, especially Toronto, and more jaw-dropping values in Vancouver, a new report from RBC Economics shows.

    However, economists at Canada’s largest bank say the recent drop in interest rates – and potential for more cuts to come – could soften the blow for  homeowners trying to make ends meets, at least in the near term.

    In its latest Housing Trends and Affordability Report, RBCsays owing home at current market value in Canada became slightly lessaffordable between October and December, for the second straight quarter.

    Overall, the report show affordabilitytrends have been relatively flat over the past five years, with exceptions in Canada’smost expensive markets, namely Vancouver and Toronto.

    While Vancouver is still the least affordable market in Canada, RBC says Canada’s largest city pulled down national affordability rates in the fourth quarter.

    "We are watching Toronto pretty closely as

    Read More »from Ontario's high prices drag down housing affordability in Canada: RBC
  • McDonald's (MCD) takes plenty of criticism, and there's certainly no shortage of advice on how to return the Golden Arches to its days of glory.

    All it has to get the detractors and pundits to move along is the following: Serve better-for-you food that won't lead to obesity; do so cheaply and very quickly at 36,000 sparkling and modern global restaurants; offer plenty of menu choices, but not too many choices; pay workers a sound wage; buy goods at a fair price from suppliers who don't use hormones or antibiotics or rely on genetic modification; keep profit margins climbing for franchises and company-owned stores; ensure the dividend continues to get raised every year; and grow the stock price and profits annually for investors.

    If only every company had it that good, right?

    Let's be serious. McDonald's is a tremendous business, with a great deal in its favor. But it's also not perfect, and it won't ever be. And it won't ever escape those who view it as the biggest problem in the

    Read More »from 10 ways to 'fix' McDonald's (if it needs fixing, that is)
  • As Monday’s RRSP deadline hangs overhead, Nunavut retirees-to-be are Canada’s keenest contributors, according to tax-filing software maker TurboTax.

    Chalk it up to saving funds to escape the cold in retirement or tackling the absurdly high grocery bills – either way, people from Nunavut top the rankings for highest average RRSP contributions across Canada nearly doubling the typical Canadian contribution of $5,461.06 by earmarking an average $9,372.00.

    The closest second is Yukoners, who set aside an average of $6,774.84 this year. Albertans trail a bit further behind, contributing an average of $6,097.96.

    The software maker has also found only one in five Canadians filing taxes through its platform have contributed to their RRSP.

    City-to-city, Torontonians lead the pack contributing an average of $8,074.21. Calgarians follow, putting $7,487.34 into their RRSPs and Vancouverites are stashing an average of $7,079.38 this year.

    Unsurprisingly, Baby Boomers are the most avid savers

    Read More »from Only 20 per cent of Canadians have contributed to RRSPs with Nunavut leading the charge: Turbo Tax
  • The worst real estate agent photos ever

    When photographs don't quite do the home justice

    Real estate agents are known for their artistic license when it comes to selling homes - typically using cleverly-angled photos to maximize appearance of space and light.

    But occasionally the rulebook goes out the window and potential buyers are given brutally honest images that show a home warts and all. Luckily for us, a hilarious blog has taken to collecting and publishing these clangers complete with witty captions.

    In fact, sometimes the photos on Terriblerealestateagentphotos are so downright bizarre that one is left wondering how anyone would ever use such horrors to sell a home...

    Take a look at the selection below and judge for yourself.

    Wake up Eric, the agent’s here. And for heaven’s sake put some clothes on. [Caters]Wake up Eric, the agent’s here. And for heaven’s sake put some clothes on. [Caters]
    On cold winter nights there’s nothing quite like curling up in front of a roaring toilet. [Caters]On cold winter nights there’s nothing quite like curling up in front of a roaring toilet. [Caters]
    I swear, they’ve left me in charge and the price is 3,000 dog biscuits and a chew stick [Caters]I swear, they’ve left me in charge and the price is 3,000 dog biscuits and a chew stick [Caters]
    Left alone for a few hours, Eric dreamt of happier times back at the showroom. [Caters]Left alone for a few hours, Eric dreamt of happier times back at the showroom. [Caters]

    No, it’s fine. We don’t go out much anyway. [Caters]No, it’s fine. We don’t go out much anyway. [Caters]
    Toilet paper is more traditional, and considerably less dangerous. [Caters]Toilet paper is more traditional, and considerably less dangerous. [Caters]
    Kyle has slept in the kitchen ever since they redecorated his room. [Caters]Kyle has slept in the kitchen ever since they redecorated his room. [Caters]

    It’s not often we see such a fine example of the classic “basement during an earthquake” approach. [Caters]It’s not often we see such a fine example of the classic “basement during an earthquake” approach. [Caters]
    You’d never know it, but this wasn’t always the bathroom. [Caters]You’d never know it, but this wasn’t always the bathroom. [Caters]

    Investigating reports of distressed furniture, police uncovered a gruesome scene. [Caters]Investigating reports of distressed furniture, police uncovered a gruesome scene. [Caters]
    Possibly the most unsettling environment in which anyone has ever tried to watch a film. [Caters]Possibly the most unsettling environment in which anyone has ever tried to watch a film. [Caters]
    Mind your head on the way out. [Caters]Mind your head on the way out. [Caters]

    Oddly, the current occupant has been kind enough to provide a live demo of the en suite. [Caters]Oddly, the current occupant has been kind enough to provide a live demo of the en suite. [Caters]
    The fact that each doll has been hermetically sealed doesn’t make this room any less terrifying after dark [Caters]The fact that each doll has been hermetically sealed doesn’t make this room any less terrifying after dark [Caters]
    George, didn’t you promise you’d go bowling this afternoon? [Caters]George, didn’t you promise you’d go bowling this afternoon? [Caters]

    Even in his 20s, psychologists were baffled by Peter’s irrational fear of steam locomotives. [Caters]Even in his 20s, psychologists were baffled by Peter’s irrational fear of steam locomotives. [Caters]
    The view isn’t great, but you’ll be first to hear if it turns out there’s life on other planets. [Caters]The view isn’t great, but you’ll be first to hear if it turns out there’s life on other planets. [Caters]
    Perfect for those long summer evenings when the temperature falls well below zero. [Caters]Perfect for those long summer evenings when the temperature falls well below zero. [Caters]
    Remember when we were contacted by visitors from another world? Timmy certainly does. [Caters]Remember when we were contacted by visitors from another world? Timmy certainly does. [Caters]

    Read More »from The worst real estate agent photos ever
  • RRSP season always brings with it this unsettling fear that if you don’t have millions of dollars tucked away in some hidden box marked “retirement” you’re in trouble.

    “A lot of people end up freaking out and not doing anything about it because they think it’s hopeless,” says David Trahair, financial writer and accountant at David Trahair and Associates.

    It’s what spurred him to write his latest book, which looks to quell the woes of retirement savings procrastinators.

    “I’m 56, raising kids and paying the mortgage – there’s not thousands or tens of thousands of dollars lying around to put in an RRSP, it’s just impossible,” says Trahair. “But the theme is, all is not lost, there’s a lot you can do in ten years or less and that’s what a lot of people are going to be doing for retirement.”

    A lot of the mentalityy stems from the arbitrary guilt that seems to seethe out around RRSP season, he says, but the truth is RRSPs aren’t always the right approach.

    “A lot of people hear this thing

    Read More »from Money Minute: Who should not get RRSPs
  • The spring housing market is starting to bloom, but before you jump in, it’s worth doing a detailed breakdown of what it actually costs to run a home. There’s more to your budget than property taxes and mortgage payments.

    And speaking of property taxes, don’t assume that what you see on realty websites is accurate.

    “Property taxes may be higher than initially quoted on MLS or Realtor.ca,” says Burnaby, B.C. certified financial planner Satpal Rai. “If you’re purchasing from a senior, for instance, your taxes will be higher if you’re not 65-plus yourself.” 

    Home insurance may be higher than what you’re used to as well, especially if you have a bigger space on a bigger lot further away from fire and emergency services. Figures from InsurEye Inc. from 2012 show that Canadians pay an average of $840 annually for their home insurance, with B.C. having the highest rates, at $924 ) annually.

    Other costs to consider include:


    “Your new home may be more costly to heat,” says certified

    Read More »from The true cost of running a home
  • THE ISSUE: Spring is coming (eventually it really will, according to science), and you’re thinking wardrobe revival. The Levi’s are looking done, and you’ve had the same rotation of shirts for as long as you can remember. You’re no fashion expert and you don’t have a sister-in-law with good taste, but you hit the mall and hope for the best.

    Banana Republic seems like the right vibe, but the pants feel too tight and look too loose. Is boot cut still in, if it ever was? Shirts are on sale, but are they just the leftovers from last year? The store is packed, and you’re temperature is rising. You’ve got about 5 minutes before you become a sweat ball in unpurchased clothes.

    You panic and buy newer versions of what you already have. But that’s okay, because you’re about substance rather than style. And that excuse can hold up until next year, right?

    THE VICTIMS: For some, new clothes time is about renewal and image improvement. For a bunch of us, though, (and yes, this is probably a guy

    Read More »from Overdue Idea: Wardrobe Auditor (and personal shopper)
  • Just as employers are starting to finally figure out what Millennials want in the workplace, along comes their younger cohort with a slightly different set ofstyles and attitudes, a new study shows.

    A report from Randstad Canada suggests Generation Z, (those ages 16 to 20), are even more entrepreneurial than Generation Y (ages 21 to 34), and more driven by career advancement than money. Gen Z is also more interested in face-to-face communication, says the study called From Y to Z: A guide to the next generation of employees.

    “While you may have been distracted by watching Gen Y-ers firmly establish themselves in the workplace as a force to be reckoned with, you might have missed the tide of a new generation moving up right behind them,” says Faith Tull, Randstad Canada’s senior vice president of human resources.

    The next generation of workers does have many similarities to Gen Y, such as being socially engaged and tech savvy, “but we can’t assume they have the same motivations, work

    Read More »from As workplaces struggle to figure out Gen Y, Gen Z arrives in the office
  • Had your debit card skimmed lately? Chances are the problem didn’t happen in Canada where technological updates and beefed-up online security have made it harder than ever for cyber thieves to operate in the Great White North. 

    That’s the big take-away from a new report from Interac Association, the company behind much of the world’s debit-card operations.

    The report, released this week, found debit-card fraud losses overall reached a record low in 2014 of $16.2 million in 2014.

    That’s down 45 per cent from a year earlier when total losses due to fraud cost financial institutions a total of $29.5 million, according to the report.

    The really good news for the millions of Canadians who use a debit card every day to buy gas, groceries and coffee is that just 20 per cent, or $3.2 million, of the 2014 losses occurred from within Canada.

    We’re far more likely to have our cards skimmed or to fall victim to an electronic pickpocket south of the border where the move to chip technology and

    Read More »from Canadian debit card fraud hits record low as criminals go 'where it's easier to do the job'
  • A historic French chateau is not your typical vacation home. Especially not an utterly abandoned chateau.

    But as soon as the Waters family laid eyes on Chateau de Gudanes in the southwestern village of Chateau-Verdun, they discovered it was exactly what they wanted.

    "We had never planned on a chateau. Our French friends warned us about those," says Karina Waters, whose Australian family had been on the hunt for a vacation home in France. "But after driving down the snow-capped mountains and seeing the chateau's grounds from the village, we were sold." (Click here or on a photo for a slideshow.)

    The restoration, documented on their Chateau de Gudanes blog, is no simple undertaking. Many of the rooms lack a ceiling, a floor or both. And the place, though striking, has never been outfitted with such luxuries as heat or electricity.

    And that's after three years of bureaucratic wrangling to simply purchase the property.

    Chateau de Gudanes is a Class 1 monument, France's highest designation forRead More »from Vacationing family stumbles across abandoned French chateau, decides to restore it
  • For all the hype being generated by mobile commerce, vendor claims that we’re on the verge of a smartphone-driven retail revolution ring a little hollow.

    While figures released recently by PayPal and Ipsos conclude mobile commerce is growing twice as fast as online, conventional electronic commerce, the consumer migration to mobile may still be a long way off.

    The PayPal research suggests mobile commerce is rapidly taking over the retail landscape as consumers leave e-commerce-based PCs at home and load conventional credit and debit card information into increasingly capable mobile apps.

    From 2013 through 2016, the research says m-commerce will grow at a 34 per cent compound average annual growth rate compared to 14 per cent for e-commerce as a whole. Smartphone-toting Canadian shoppers spent C$3.45 billion in 2013, and are expected to spend 142 per cent more next year.

    A drop in the bucket

    All of this sounds tremendously exciting, but in an overall retail market that Statistics Canada

    Read More »from Why mobile commerce isn't yet ready for prime-time
  • Hillary Clinton paid $300,000 to explain what ails the middle class

    She’s identified the problem. Now, assuming she runs for president, Hillary Clinton will have to come up with ways to solve it.

    During a speech in Silicon Valley, Clinton, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee in 2016, highlighted the displacement many workers have suffered as new technology has made many jobs obsolete. “The old jobs and careers are either gone or unrecognizable,” Clinton said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “The old rules just don’t seem to apply, and, frankly, the new rules just aren’t that clear. “[If] we want to find our balance again, we have to figure out how to make this new economy work for everyone.”

    Clinton also addressed Silicon Valley’s male-centric culture, one factor responsible for a notable gender pay gap in the tech industry and a shortage of women in the field. “We’re going backward in a field that is supposed to be all about moving forward,” the former senator and secretary of state said. Clinton herself is a counterexample: She earned a

    Read More »from Hillary Clinton paid $300,000 to explain what ails the middle class
  • For years, the annual rankings of new cars and trucks by Consumer Reports have been a boon to import brands and trouble for American ones. Last year, that trend broke when the magazine named the Tesla Model S the best overall new vehicle, although Detroit was still under-represented in the top of the charts. This year, one Detroit brand has broken through, surging past Honda and BMW in the overall rankings and claiming the prize for best sports sedan: Buick.

    Yes, that Buick.

    GM's oldest brand ranked seventh out of 28 graded by Consumer Reports' surveys of 1.1 million vehicles owned by its subscribers and the magazine's own testing. Buick's improving reliability made it the top-ranked domestic brand, while Lexus, Mazda and Toyota held the top three spots overall.

    Click for gallery: Consumer Reports Top Picks 2015Click for gallery: Consumer Reports Top Picks 2015

    "For years the domestic automakers built lower-priced and lower-quality alternatives to the imports,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports director of auto testing. “Those days are gone. Today’s domestic cars can go toe-

    Read More »from Tesla tops Consumer Reports rankings again, but Buick, Subaru gain
  • How to bank hundreds of dollars more each month

    Robert Shiller, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, offered some simple advice for people trying to get ahead when he visited Yahoo Finance recently: Live like a student.

    “My students are living alright,” Shiller said. “I’ve suggested to them, why don’t you just continue to live at that level after you get a job? It would pile up into a lot of money.”

    Struggling workers might take offense at a comfortable, accomplished Yale professor suggesting middle-class Americans should subsist on ramen noodles and hand-me-down furniture.

    But Shiller, like other economists, is addressing a stark reality: Many live beyond their means, with 20% of adults spending more than they earn, according to the Federal Reserve. Less that half of all adult Americans have enough money saved to cover a $400 financial emergency. Millions more are far short of the funds they’ll need to retire comfortably.

    Shiller’s basic point is that the longer working folks can hold onto the frugal habits they're forced to adopt

    Read More »from How to bank hundreds of dollars more each month
  • It’s been seven years since the federal Conservatives unveiled their shiny new savings scheme known as the Tax-Free Savings Account.

    So pleased was he with the TFSA’s potential, former finance minister Jim Flaherty christened it in his 2008 budget speech “the single most important personal savings vehicle since the introduction of the RRSP.”

    Canadians, in turn, have responded by embracing the TFSA to save for retirement, as well as  shorter-term goals such as a down payment on house, a family holiday or new car.

    Now, with a new budget (not to mention an election) on the horizon, it only makes sense for the feds to consider doubling the TFSA allowable contribution limits, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised during the 2011 election.

    Something this good can only improve when it’s super-sized, right?

    Who better to share his thoughts on such a heady topic than Rhys Kesselman, the Simon Fraser University economist whose co-authored study back in 2001 paved the way for the introduction

    Read More »from Doubling TFSA limit a win for the rich but trouble for most: study
  • 5Q Scott Boyes, cannabis capitalist

    Scott Boyes, president and CEO of Canadian Bioceutical CorporationScott Boyes, president and CEO of Canadian Bioceutical Corporation

    There’s no question in Scott Boyes’ mind – marijuana is the next dot-com.

    “We consider it probably the biggest nutraceutical of the 21st century,” says the president and CEO of Canadian Bioceutical Corporation, a company which has spent the last 20 years producing herbal and natural-based medicines and is now looking to launch a new medical marijuana venture, BioCannabis Products, and massive grow-op in Owen Sound.

    “From a business perspective, there’s huge potential on the medical side and then there’s the hidden carrot of controlled recreational use down the road,” adds Boyes. “We've seen it (legalized) in four states in the U.S. and Justin Trudeau talks about it in Canada – if that ever hit it would just explode.”

    His position is hardly surprising given the ubiquity of chatter surrounding marijuana reform but Boyes makes for an unlikely cannabis capitalist considering he divided the first three decades of his career between building railway businesses from the ground up,

    Read More »from 5Q Scott Boyes, cannabis capitalist
  • Patricia Arquette’s call for wage equality is expected to rekindle the debate about what women are being paid in the workforce not just in the U.S., but across Canada.

    Workplace experts say companies that aren’t already working on closing the wage gap between men and women need to act soon, or face losing workers to more progressive organizations.

    “It’s an issue companies are going to have to start paying closer attention to,” says Sheryl Boswell, director of marketing at job-search websiteMonster.ca.

    In her acceptance speech after winning best supporting actress for her role in Boyhood on Sunday night, Patricia Arquette said women have spent years fighting for everybody else’s equal rights.

    “It’s our time to have wage equality once for all. And equal rights for women in the United States of America,” she said, prompting fellow nominee Meryl Streep to jump out of her seat and shout “Yes! Yes!” – a reaction that quickly went viral on social media,

    Read More »from Patricia Arquette's Oscar speech puts spotlight back on gender wage gap
  • John Ferrie remembers how anxious he was when he got a notice from the Canada Revenue Agency a few years ago indicating his tax return wasbeing audited. The Vancouver artist didn’t think he had done anything wrong, but the news still made him nervous.

    “It was a registered letter,” says Ferrie, a painter. “It basically said ‘You’re this number. Make sure you have all your papers lined up.’

    “I just thought, ‘What on earth is going on?’ I’m a really creative thinker, and the first thing you do is just panic. I had no idea where this came from or what it was leading to. I’m the kind of guy with a giant box full of receipts; I have an abacus on my wall and count on my fingers and toes. Nothing else is explained to you; you just have to have your accounting ready.”

    Ferrie says he hired an accountant to help walk him through the process. Although sometimes people just have to mail in documents to support their claims for a tax review, an auditor visited Ferrie at his studio. He was there for

    Read More »from What happens when your tax return gets audited
  • Not even a month after the Super Bowl and all the hullabaloo surrounding ads that cost companies $4.5 million per 30 second spot, another event has eclipsed that cost. Sort of. Ads during last night’s Academy Awards telecast ran companies a cool $1.95 million for 30 seconds.

    While that seems like a steal given the bloated price tag for the Super Bowl, Forbes crunched the numbers and found out that if you look at cost per viewer, Oscar actually takes the cake for most expensive. Per viewer, a Super Bowl ad cost one dollar for every 25.4 viewers. If the Oscars hit the estimated audience of 43 million, that figure would be 22.6 viewers per dollar.

    Will Oscar ever unseat the “big game” as the place to be for advertisers? Unlikely says Advertising Age’s Managing Editor Ken Wheaton.

    "It is an event. It still gets a really big audience compared to a lot of other things on TV. It’s just never going to be the Super Bowl," according to Wheaton. "People are watching; I’m not convinced though that

    Read More »from Apple, McDonald's, others pay top dollar for your Oscar attention
  • For anyone claiming more than a simple income, navigating the labyrinthine tax sphere ranges from perplexing to paralyzing and, occasionally, both emotions in one sitting. 

    Which is why you can kind of forgive some of the folks at the Canadian Revenue Agency for not having all the answers on what to claim, what’s taxable and what credits are out there for taxpayers, right? Well, kind of. 

    Unless of course, a quarter of business callers to the CRA’s tax help call centres are getting shoddy information as an internal survey recently acquired by the CBC suggests. 

    The startling stat, collected by agency employees anonymously calling one of the three business-focused tax advice centres in Saint John, Toronto and Edmonton, found a 75 per cent accuracy rate to seven routine questions. 

    The CRA gets about 3.3 million calls each year at its tax advice geared call centres and an additional 14 million at its six individual focused ones. 

    That’s a lot of calls. And perhaps, more so, a lot of

    Read More »from Money Minute: Most overlooked tax deductions
  • The final push for RRSP contributions may be on, but a lot of Canadians won’t be chipping in because they don’t have happen to have a tidy little sum of cash just sitting around. You can always borrow to make a contribution. But should you?

    The answer is hardly straightforward. That means people need to think things through before asking for a loan.

    “I’m not the hugest fan of RRSP loans for a few reasons,” says certified financial planner Julia Chung of JYC Financial in South Surrey, B.C. “You’re always working backwards — getting a loan, paying off the loan, and then getting a new loan the following year because you haven’t saved any money towards another year’s contribution, because you’ve been paying off a loan. It’s a vicious circle.”

    Plus, the interest isn’t tax-deductible, Chung says, and “you’re married to investing with the institution that gave you the loan, at least for the life of the loan.

    “Basically,” she adds, “it’s an option of last resort.”

    That said, there may be

    Read More »from RRSP season: Does it pay to borrow?
  • Cool Job: Meredith Veats, gatekeeper to reality TV stardom

    Meredith Veats has made grown men cry.

    Or rather, her role as a casting director for some of Canada’s top reality shows – the proverbial gatekeeper to their shot at television stardom – and the opportunities she dangles in front of them has brought them to their knees.

    There's been some casting interviews where I’ve grown men crying and begging for a spot on shows,” says Veats. It’s enough to make even the most hardened hearts cringe awkwardly.

    But Veats has developed a high tolerance to the blatant and honest display of humanity. It’s a job she’d likely be unable to do otherwise

    Born and raised in Edmonton, she pursued TV journalism before moving to Toronto and taking a post at CFTO (otherwise known as CTV) wrangling talent for talk shows.

    Shortly after, she worked at Discovery Channel before taking a job at production company Proper Television finding stars of shows like Newlywed Nearly Dead? and Canada’s Worst Handyman.

    These days her main focus is finding promising young

    Read More »from Cool Job: Meredith Veats, gatekeeper to reality TV stardom
  • Crowding on the TTCCrowding on the TTC

    THE ISSUE: Friday afternoon and you’re wishing you could just teleport back to the suburbs. You skip out of work early and beeline for the subway, hoping to beat the rush. But the crowd’s also thinking ahead, and the platforms are packed. No seat for you when the train arrives, so you pretzel yourself into the mix and grope for a handhold.

    You shift your weight between weary legs as a stroller mommy pushes on, compressing the crowd on each side and apologizing as she tries to clear the door.

    Next stop, there’s a guy with a bike, but he’s not going anywhere.

    You’re pro-transit and all that, but you’d happily go back in time ten minutes and take a cab instead.

    THE VICTIMS: First of all, I love subways. Or at least, I appreciate them. But I don’t pretend they’re one-size-fits-all.

    Some people need or really want to sit, and some people don’t mind standing, and some just want the best thing they can get when the door slides open and the mad rush begins. In the end, people endure it and

    Read More »from Overdue Idea: VIP subway cars (and steerage, too)


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