• I'll eat my desk if a Canadian government adopts a maximum six hour day.

    Thats Dr. David J. Dooreys unambiguous opinion on the shortened work day that some Swedish employers are using in their workplaces.

    We are moving in the opposite direction, giving employers greater discretion to impose longer work days in the guise of so-called flexibility,’”says Doorey, Associate Professor of Labour and Employment Law at York University, in an email to Yahoo Canada. In Alberta the maximum work day is 12 hours, in Newfoundland and Labrador its 18 hours.

    In 2012, Canadians worked an average of 36.6 hours per week, with men punching in 39.6 hours and women 33.2 each week. It varies from province to province, with Quebecers averaging 35.4 hours per week, while Alberta (39.0) and Newfoundland (38.9) workers spending the most time on the job.

    Where its working

    In Sweden, some workers are now working just six hours per day, reports The Guardian. Nurses at a retirement home who now work a

    Read More »from Why Canadians aren’t likely to ever have a six hour work day
  • The 13 Fastest Cars Under $50,000

    Ford MustangFord Mustang

    A decade ago, 300 horsepower was expected only from V-8 engines. Today, that’s the output of some 4-cylinder power plants. Thanks to direct fuel injection, turbocharging and other advanced technologies, power and speed can be bought in a range of body styles, vehicle sizes and powertrain configurations. The result is that you no longer need to go for broke to hang with the big boys on the track.

    Forbes searched the market for the fastest production cars that you can buy for under $50,000. This list was compiled based on manufacturer published 0-60 mph performance numbers, taking into consideration engine output, torque, vehicle weight and “wisdom of the crowds” when track times were unavailable for particular models. Unlike fuel economy, there are no government standards for performance testing. Not every manufacturer publishes its quarter mile-dash or 0-60 mph sprint time, as the ability to achieve and repeat them comes down to driver skill almost as much as engineering.



    Read More »from The 13 Fastest Cars Under $50,000
  • (Photo: Thinkstock)(Photo: Thinkstock)

    Retirement advice ads are everywhere. You can’t get through half a “Friends” rerun without a 30 second spot with a washed-up actor pumping the financial planning genius of Blank & Blank. But these ads aren’t speaking to everyone. They’re meant for people with average or higher incomes, with big enough portfolios to generate the fees that keep the investment industry roaring.

    Few people are lining up to spread the retirement gospel to people at the low end of the income spectrum. If your earnings are less than around $35,000 a year, it’s a challenge to find much literature on the subject. And maybe we can cut the financial experts some slack here; it’s tough to come up with savings advice for people who don’t feel they have anything extra at the end of the month to set aside.

    But retirement is an eventuality, and people earning at low-income levels need a game plan in order to hit old age in the best financial situation.

    “They live in a parallel universe,” says social policy consultant

    Read More »from How low income earners can still ensure they have enough money for retirement
  • Children are flying the coop slower than they ever have, and it’s cramping the retirement plans of their Canadian parents.

    Instead of socking money into retirement nest eggs, parents in increasing numbers are helping support everyday living expenses such as groceries, cell phones and car payments of their cling-on adult kids.

    “I am worried about my retirement,” says Jackie Barber, a 49-year-old single mother from Winnipeg, who is supporting 21- and 24-year-old sons. “I am probably going to have to work longer because my kids are taking so long to get it together.”

    She’s not alone. A CIBC poll shows that 66 per cent of Canadian parents are feeling the financial pinch thanks to the economic dependence of adult children (kids over 18 and not in school). Issued in September, the poll found that one in four parents are spending more than $500 a month to pay for their kids’ groceries and rent. The extra expenses end up postponing retirement and limiting discretionary spending on enjoyable

    Read More »from Parents struggle to keep retirement savings as adult children stay home longer
  • Hands on with Microsoft’s New Surface Book and Surface Pro 4: Watch Out, Apple

    We expected Microsoft to roll out a new tablet on Tuesday, and it did: The Surface Pro 4 tablet. What we didn’t expect was that Microsoft would also unveil its first-ever laptop, but it did that, too: The Surface Book, a laptop-tablet hybrid that’s aimed squarely at Apple’s MacBook Pro.

    After the press event, I got a chance to spend some hands-on time with both of these new Windows 10 machines. Here’s what I thought.


    Surface Book

    As noted, while Microsoft’s Surface Book is billed as the company’s very first laptop, it’s actually more than that, because its 13.5-inch display can be detached from its keyboard base and used as a standalone tablet.

    When used as a laptop, the Surface Book is a high-powered machine. It can be equipped with Intel’s latest 6th-generation Core i-series processors and up to 16 GB of RAM. There’s even a dedicated Nvidia graphics chip for those graphically intensive programs like video editing apps.

    But here’s the twist: That graphics chip lives in the

    Read More »from Hands on with Microsoft’s New Surface Book and Surface Pro 4: Watch Out, Apple
  • As summer fades and snowflakes drift into our thoughts, it’s time to prepare for the onslaught of winter by planning our escape today.

    Nothings says ‘getaway’ quite like a winter holiday, and what better way to beat the biting cold, slush and ice than with the turquoise waters of a tropical destination? But given the many choices for fun in the sun, travellers might be feeling indecisive. We’ve compiled a helpful list of holiday hot spots this year, perfect for winter escapes:

    San Blas, Kuna Yala, Panama (Flickr/Ben Kucinski)San Blas, Kuna Yala, Panama (Flickr/Ben Kucinski)


    Panama is ticking with excitement this year as travel destinations in Central and South America really grow in popularity. A small and safe Central American country that offers many activities for families, couples or the solo vacationer, Panama is known for its immaculate beaches, wide assortment of recreational activities – from rafting and kayaking to rappelling and surfing – and don’t forget the vibrant nightlife.

    The beauty of Panama is that for such a tiny country, its landscape varies immensely.

    Read More »from Start planning your winter vacation now to check out these must-see hot spots
  • Breakfast sandwich business is booming in Canada

    Canadians already eat 480 million breakfast sandwiches per year and our appetite for them only growing: experts

    Would you like a breakfast sandwich with that?

    A growing number of Canadians are saying yes to buying breakfast sandwiches on the go these days.

    Sales of protein sandwiched between carbs has risen more than 12 per cent in the past year alone, said Robert Carter, executive director of foodservice with The NPD Group, in a phone interview with Yahoo Canada.

    “It’s one of the fastest growing segments in the past five years,” said the head of the research firm.

    Canadians eat a whopping 480 million breakfast sandwiches per year, with many grabbing one on the way to their cubicles in the morning, said Carter.

    Fuel for workers

    Workers have long liked to buy a coffee and a breakfast sandwich on their way to work, said Heather Arndt Anderson, who literally wrote the book on the history of breakfast.

    In the nineteenth century workers in London would lineup to buy an egg sandwich and a cup of Joe from a food cart, explained the author of Breakfast: A History.

    “With the Industrial Revolution

    Read More »from Breakfast sandwich business is booming in Canada
  • Back in 2012, a tongue-in-cheek story about poor, bored Canadians broke when it was discovered that in the wake of the hockey lockout, sex toy sales seemed to skyrocket. “We’d be gearing up for [hockey season] now, but there’s nothing, so I guess we need to find some better ways to spend our time,” Vinay Morker, owner of Hush Lingerie and More in Edmonton, told the Toronto Sun at the time.

    But it may not have been hockey withdrawal that caused Canadians to flock to adult novelty stores after all. In 2013 the country saw another year of increased sales, as noted by the rise of the major Canadian online toy distributor Pink Cherry. The site broke record sales in November 2013, which was quickly followed by predictions that those numbers would continue to rise. And earlier this year, continued growth in the industry was partly attributed to the success of books and film, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” a trend not limited to Canada. At the time, CBC reported that, “Market research company

    Read More »from Technology is changing the face of the sex toy market
  • Tesla Model X: Right car, wrong time

    It’s hard to think of a niche vehicle that’s ever gotten as much attention as the Tesla (TSLA) Model X is likely to get. Then again, most niche vehicles don’t have the hauling capability of the Model X.

    Tesla needs the Model X — now officially launched, two years behind schedule — to be as much of a hit as the Model S sedan it shares many components with. That's asking a lot. The Model S has won raves from owners and critics alike, earning the highest-ever score for a car from the fussy folks at Consumer Reports. It has transformed Tesla from a one-trick pony (its original car, the Roadster) into a muscular upstart able to challenge automakers that have been in business for a century or more.

    But Tesla still loses money, and the Model X offers a chance for Tesla to scale up and double the offerings in its lineup from one to two. Tesla CEO Elon Musk hopes the Model X will also help Tesla double sales, to perhaps 80,000 in 2016, pulling the company closer to profitability. Some analysts

    Read More »from Tesla Model X: Right car, wrong time
  • Apple iPhone 6s Is Tougher Than Samsung's Note5, Torture Tests Reveal

    It appears the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus really are made of tougher stuff. The results of torture tests by extended warranty specialists SquareTrade, released this morning, bear out most of Apple’s claims that its new handsets are hardier than the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models released a year ago.

    In head-to-head tests against a Samsung Galaxy Note5, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus proved more resistant to drops and harder to bend. They did not, however, fare so well when it came to withstanding extremes of heat and cold.


    As it always does whenever Apple or Samsung releases a new phone, SquareTrade Labs dispatched its minions to acquire some — in this case, camping out all night outside the Apple Store in downtown San Francisco.

    Their purpose: to stress these new handsets to the breaking point, to identify how and when these extremely sophisticated pocket computers will fail, and identify which phone makers do a better job of preventing gadget tragedy.

    This year, Yahoo

    Read More »from Apple iPhone 6s Is Tougher Than Samsung's Note5, Torture Tests Reveal

    For seven years, Lee Wachtstetter has been living on a cruise ship at a cost of $164,000 a year according to USA Today. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-native sold her 10-acre property after her husband died on the advise of her daughter who suggested she spend her retirement doing what she loved. 

    “The day before my husband died of cancer in 1997, he told me, ‘Don’t stop cruising.’ So here I am today living a stress-free, fairy-tale life,” Wachtstetter says. 

    Wachtstetter’s story may seem like the ultimate fairytale but for most Canadians, a permanent vacation is not the dream. 

    “Many [Canadians] now view retirement as an opportunity for career re-invention,” says a study released by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). “Half [of retirees] want to launch a whole new career rather than continuing the same line of work they did in their pre-retirement years,” it adds. The same trend is happening in the U.S.

    The winemakers 

    After working in real estate for the bulk of their

    Read More »from There may be a better way to retire
  • Pay down debt or start investing: What should a new grad do?

    Youre done school. You've got a job. And youre starting your grown-up life $25,000 in the red.

    Do you put every extra nickel toward paying off your student loan as quickly as you can? Or should you start socking money away for the future?

    Going by the numbers alone, it often makes sense to pay off a student loan as quickly as you can as long as you have money put aside for emergencies, experts say.

    When you have debt and you have an option to pay it down or invest, you need to try to determine if youre going to earn a higher rate of return paying down the debt or investing the money,says Jason Heath, a financial planner at Objective Financial Partners in Toronto. It doesnt matter who you are, Id say the more you can do to pay down your debt, the better off you are.

    With prime at 2.7 percent right now, a new grad would be facing a 5.2 percent floating rate or a 7.7% fixed rate on their government student loans.

    But, unlike most other consumer debt, the interest you pay on a

    Read More »from Pay down debt or start investing: What should a new grad do?
  • Sure you can type a text in WhatsApp without looking at the keyboard, navigate Tinder with total ease, and post an Instagram selfie without so much as a break in stride, but when it comes to knowing how these programs work, many people – especially women – are still in the dark. And that can be a huge missed opportunity, both personally and professionally.

    Melissa Sariffodeen and Laura Plant have been trying to change the way women think about technology and prove that coding can lead to all kinds of possibilities. Whether it's for career advancements, learning opportunities or just for a good time there is plenty of room for women in this expanding and growing field.

    Learn to Code Day, which is being hosted by Ladies Learning Code, is a day of learning and experimentation for women who are curious about the world of coding, and looking to learn more about how to code and what it can do for them.

    This beginners’ learning event is being held across Canada on Saturday, September 26 in

    Read More »from Learn to Code Day helping Canadian women break into the world of coding
  • Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins -  Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesSidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins - Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Learning to play sports is a great way instil a love of exercise, understand teamwork and cooperation, and learn how to win and lose gracefully. Great stuff, if thats your only motivation.

    One of Canadas most famous athletes, Sidney Crosby was on the ice at age three, and was likely a better hockey player than most of us at five. With his $12-million (U.S.) salary and lucrative endorsement deals, its no wonder that hockey parents see his success as a reason to push their kids to succeed, despite the odds.

    What are the chances of getting into the NHL?

    Not great. There are 30 National Hockey League teams, with a total of about 600 players. Seven of those teams are in Canada, with about 140 players in total. (Teams have between 20 and 23 players on their rosters). Is professional hockey player a rare profession? Canada has about 35 million people, so NHL players account for just 0.0004 per cent of us.

    So what do Canadians do for a living?

    A salesperson talks with a visitor in Seoul - REUTERS/Kim Hong-JiA salesperson talks with a visitor in Seoul - REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

    We cant all play hockey in the big

    Read More »from Five jobs that are rarer than being an NHL hockey player
  • Conquest Vehicles' Knight IVConquest Vehicles' Knight IV

    Conquest Vehicles builds armoured cars designed to protect VIPs at a whopping cost of $629,000 each. Almost every part of these cars (there are only 17 in existence at the moment) is built from the ground up and offers a minimum of 15 different safety features you’re unlikely to find on the average person’s used four-door sedan.

    It’s aptly named the Knight XV. The engine of this gas guzzling, ultra-protective vehicle is that of a Ford F-550 truck, and that’s probably the only normal, everyday aspect of this beast. The hood of the car reaches high enough to block the drivers field of vision, so the makers embedded two cameras in the front of the vehicle, one for broad daylight and the other for night vision, that can show you exactly how what’s happening in front of you when you’re busy steering clear of the bad guys.

    The Conquest EvadeThe Conquest Evade

    This SUV is so fully loaded that even the engine grille is bulletproof, just in case a suspicious old lady carrying grocery bags on a Sunday afternoon all of a sudden

    Read More »from Superhero-quality SUV, made in Toronto
  • Alex Thorne is set to retire in December 2015 (CNW Group/Toys R Us (Canada) Ltd.)Alex Thorne is set to retire in December 2015 (CNW Group/Toys R Us (Canada) Ltd.)

    Imagine landing the job of your dreams at 11 years old, travelling the country, and retiring with a house full of new toys and a long list of provinces visited under your belt. That dream became a reality when Alex Thorne put together an audition tape in 2013 and earned the coveted title of “Canada’s Chief Play Officer” for Toys “R” Us Canada. His video and enthusiasm caught the attention of the right people, giving him CPO status and big responsibility. Testing new toys and games, conducting reviews, and travelling across the country as a Toys “R” Us spokesperson are all in a days’ work for Alex Thorne, CPO.

    “I would test the toys and then go on different interviews and go talk about the toys,” Thorne says of the position. “I just explain what’s really awesome about them, because most of them are pretty awesome. I’ve never encountered a toy that I didn’t like.”

    Thorne says that while all toys and games are great, he certainly has a few stand-out favourites, like Skylanders Trap Team

    Read More »from Cool job alert: What it's like to be a 13-year-old 'chief play officer'
  • As thinking human beings, we know that picking our nose in public is the height of bad taste. Same goes for trying to take credit for a colleague’s work or having sex with the boss. They’re all bad form.

    What happens, though, when you engage someone to provide a service at an event and the hired hand offers a bit more than you bargained for? Are there protocols in place that tell the bartender he shouldn’t sell his wife’s hors d'oeuvres at a private function? Should the cellist leave her Jell-O shooters at home? If you’re hired help, shouldn’t you know your boundaries?

    Not always, it seems. A controversy is brewing over whether or not a deejay should be allowed to shoot and share photos of a Chesapeake Bay, MD wedding, when the bride and groom signed an exclusivity agreement with a wedding photographer. The photographer says no, but the deejay says he shared over 200 photos on Facebook as a gift to the couple. The deejay claims he was simply trying to market his company and not

    Read More »from Is it cool to take pictures when you're working an event?
  • '70s star David Cassidy's mansion sells at bankruptcy auction for $1.8 million

    Four people bid on the Fort Lauderdale home. The personal life of the 'Partridge Family' star has been sliding dramatically since at least 2008, when he publicly acknowledged his alcoholism.

    David Cassidy, the 1970s Tiger Beat heartthrob who starred on the hit TV show "The Partridge Family," sold his Florida mansion at bankruptcy auction Wednesday for $1.8 million, the Sun Sentinel reports — just under its $1.9 million appraisal value.

    Four people registered to bid. The winner was an investor who will probably rent it out and then resell it, according to the bidder's real estate agent. "He looks for good deals, and he actually got a really good deal on it," the agent told the Sun Sentinel.

    As Yahoo Homes reported in July, Cassidy has been experiencing daunting personal challenges for the past several years. He publicly acknowledged being an alcoholic in 2008, two months after his release from the Betty Ford Center for addiction treatment. In 2010, 2013 and 2014 he was arrested for drunken driving — and a month after the third arrest, his wife of 23 years filed for divorce. He filed for bankruptcy early this year.

    The two have been trying to sell the house since August

    Read More »from '70s star David Cassidy's mansion sells at bankruptcy auction for $1.8 million
  • Its too bad that a financial planning class isnt required of all university students, because a recent poll suggests that most students have a lot to learn about money.

    The CIBC survey found that over half of Canadian students will run out of money before year's and, and 51 per cent of parents helped their kids in university when they ran out of money, although 86 per cent believe they are good financial role models to their children.

    But are students getting an unfair bad rap? Maybe so. In a 2015 study (PDF) of over 18,000 students at 36 universities across Canada, the Canadian University Survey Consortium (CUSC) found that 92 per cent of graduating students have at least one credit card, and 77 per cent of those students regularly pay off their bill each month. The average bill for those who carry a balance on credit is $2,224.

    Students typically use a combination of three sources to pay for their education:

    • 60 per cent get money from parents, other family or a spouse;
    • 49 per cent
    Read More »from Why students always run out of money
  • Understanding the funds we sock away for a rainy day is a little like those moving targets at the arcade. Canadians aim and fire, but only occasionally do we hit the mark.

    Why are we such poor shooters when it comes to stockpiling savings for an emergency? Talk to financial guru Gail Vaz-Oxlade and she’ll tell you one of the reasons rests squarely on the backs of the country’s financial institutions, which have grown adept at selling Canadians credit by pointing to the need for an emergency fund.

    “The line of credit eliminates the need for people to save an emergency fund so why would they then be surprised that people don’t have an emergency fund?” Vaz-Oxlade said.

    “Because you told them they didn’t need one, that’s why. That’s the problem with putting financial literacy in the hands of pariahs. They absolutely share part of the blame.”

    A Bank of Montreal survey released this week found that 56 per cent of Canadians have less than $10,000 set aside in the event of a financial

    Read More »from How much emergency money do you really need?
  • to what many people may believe, the Canadian music industry isn’t dead, it’s thriving (at least overseas), according to figures from the Society of Composers and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN).

    Those numbers show that in 2014, Canadian Artists made a $55 million off of international airplay royalties. Approximately $18.5 million of those earnings come courtesy of our neighbours to the south, with France finishing in a distant second, providing our homegrown talent with $6.7 million last year. That $6.7 million is thanks in large part to the province of Quebec, with 25-year-old Beatrice Martin, otherwise known by her moniker Couer de pirate (Pirate’s Heart), Lisa Leblanc, Pierre Lapointe and Robert Charlebois leading the way.

    As far as English-language music is concerned, the usual suspects lead the charge in taking their classic tunes all the way to the bank including: Bryan Adams, Leonard Cohen, Rush, Sarah McLachlan and Nickleback. Acts from the current generation making a big

    Read More »from Whoever said the Canadian music business is dead…is dead wrong
  • Despite working from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the office as a manager of housewares vendors and then continuing her work in the evening from home, Elizabeth Willet still wasnt doing enough, according to her Amazon colleagues in Seattle. They reportedly criticized the new mom on the companys secret feedback tool for not pulling her weight, and even though her boss had approved her schedule. He wouldnt defend her and she left the company.

    Thats one way to treat your workers, and for its many detractors, there are many others who thrive in a competitive environment. But maybe its not necessary to go to those extremes to motivate employees.

    Amazon was recently outed in a New York Times article claiming that at Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one anothers ideas in meetings, toil long and late,and adds that the company boasts of unreasonably highstandards.

    Steven Green, president of TemboSocial, has a different take on employee recognition. His companys peer recognition

    Read More »from Three ways to keep employees engaged (and two ways to ensure they'll quit)
  • Starting Oct. 6, you'll be able to order an Egg McMuffin or Hotcake Platter any time you want.

    McDonald's (MCD), which has long been under pressure to extend its breakfast hours, has finally succumbed and said Tuesday that it would start selling breakfast all day at its more than 14,300 U.S. stores. The world's biggest burger chain quickly began tweeting the news to its followers who had been pushing for the change with a series of GIFs.

    McDonald's has been testing all-day breakfast in select markets since March. Franchisees approved the change in a vote last week, The Wall Street Journal first reported.

    The company later

    Read More »from McDonald's is finally rolling out all-day breakfast
  • Have You Seen the Duck Vine? You Should Really See the Duck Vine.

    America this morning is no doubt busy at work clicking through all the six-second recaps from Sunday night’s sooo Vineable MTV Video Music Awards.

    But trust us, no matter how great the looping vids of the Nicki-Miley beef or Kanye’s presidential announcement are, neither of those was the best Vine of the weekend.

    This was:

    In fact, the “duck army” Vine is the best piece of media the Internet has produced in the entire month of August — and probably the summer/the year/our lifetimes.

    In just under a day of existence, this thing has over 38 million loops (most coming from Yahoo Tech employees, sure). At this rate, “duck army” will probably be the most looped Vine ever by Monday afternoon. (Vine doesn’t make it easy to identify what the current most looped Vine is, but a May 2015 post by Logan Paul has been played over 40 million times.)

    As for MTV’s dashed hopes of taking its VMA Vines to a level of historic virality: Kanye, we’re happy for you. And good luck in 2020. But “duck army” is

    Read More »from Have You Seen the Duck Vine? You Should Really See the Duck Vine.
  • New song, big bucks: Justin Bieber by the numbers

    The spotlight is on "The Biebs" again. Justin Bieber’s new song, What Do You Mean, has officially dropped. He will perform it live at Sunday’s Video Music Awards. But Bieber has made more headlines of late for his social life and run-ins with the law than for his musical talent.

    Here’s a look at Justin Bieber, by the numbers.

    $80 million

    That’s the amount of money Justin Bieber earned in 2014 despite the fact that he did not release an album.


    That’s how old the pop star is. Justin Drew Bieber was born on March 1, 1994 in Ontario, Canada.


    Bieber learned how to play guitar and piano at a young age. When he was 13, Bieber’s mother began posting YouTube videos of her son performing for friends and family to see. He covered mostly R&B songs and quickly developed a large online following.


    One year later, he met singer/songwriter/producer Usher and went on to sign a contract on Island/Def Jam records.


    That’s the number of songs on Bieber's first album, My World. The album

    Read More »from New song, big bucks: Justin Bieber by the numbers
  • A comparison between the Mars Inc. products and the off-brand ones sold by Dollarama. (Aaron Broverman)A comparison between the Mars Inc. products and the off-brand ones sold by Dollarama. (Aaron Broverman)

    Ever notice how some of the off-brand chocolate bars at Dollarama look strangely familiar?

    The packaging of Dollarama's Meteor, Titan and Island Bar chocolate bars looks very similar to the Mars, Snickers and Bounty bars made by Mars Inc. In all cases the Dollarama bars use the same colours and logo design as their more well-known counterparts. That's a violation of Mars Inc.'s trademark says John Simpson, a lawyer and registered trademark agent at Shift Law – an intellectual property and new media law firm in Toronto.

    “The Meteor Bar appears to be an infringement of the Mars trademark and copyright in the artwork and the design. It appears to be a reproduction of a substantial part of their design and I would say the same about the Titan and Island Bar,” says Simpson, who is not associated with or retained by either Dollarama or Mars Inc.

    Trademark vs. Copyright

    A trademark can also be subject to copyright because these trademarks are artistic works and since Simpson believes that

    Read More »from Why Dollarama can sell off-brand versions of name-brand chocolate bars
  • Recovery Agent Amanda Husted (R), returns a vehicle to an owner after he paid for its release. (Getty)Recovery Agent Amanda Husted (R), returns a vehicle to an owner after he paid for its release. (Getty)

    Canadians bought or leased a record 1.8 million new cars and light trucks last year, the vast majority of them financed through loans.

    Now a consumer watchdog organization is warning that the ever-longer terms on auto loans and the use of subprime loans put at least some car buyers at risk of taking a financial bath.

    A report by the Automobile Consumer Coalition produced with funding from Industry Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs says most auto-purchase financing is for terms of more than 72 months (six years), with 84-month periods (seven years) not uncommon. That’s far from the three-year loan your father’s Oldsmobile was probably financed with.

    The longer term taken to pay off a loan not only means buyers are paying more in interest but they also risk being “upside down” on the loan. Depreciation could bite them if they have to replace or dispose of the car before it’s paid off, like if the car had to be written off in an accident, or if their financial circumstances changed due

    Read More »from Increasingly longer-term car loans flagged as growing problem by industry watchdog
  • Think they look cute? Technically, they're breaking local bylaws. (Thinkstock)Think they look cute? Technically, they're breaking local bylaws. (Thinkstock)

    As a kid you’re often told you need to learn the importance of a dollar. You may have even gotten together with the neighborhood children to start a lemonade or Kool-Aid stand, a snack hut with trail mix and cupcakes, or a craft table featuring painted rocks with googly eyes and pipe-cleaner tentacles. For many children and their encouraging families, this is just a typical part of summer fun.

    But what’s a kid to do when faced with adult obstacles?

    There have been cases across Canada of children lacking support from their communities for their small business, because they were missing business permits or paperwork for their summer ventures. And that doesn’t bode well for young kids with big dreams.

    In one recent incident, three children all under the age of eleven had to stop selling worms to local fishing enthusiasts due to a bylaw in Cornwall, Ont. The three youngsters were selling the worms for $2.50 per dozen on a small table and had a sign on their front lawn.

    Related stories:

    Read More »from Kids need confidence, not slaps on the wrist, to become successful entrepreneurs
  • You just came back from summer vacation a week ago and already it feels like a dream. All those relaxed-start mornings and nights that didn’t have to end at 10 p.m. have faded into a stale status update.

    Hang on though. What if your holidays didn’t have to end? What if you worked for a business that gave its employees unlimited time off to kick back, recharge and come back to work fresher and sharper than ever?

    Companies such as Virgin Group, Netflix and Best Buy have garnered headlines over the past few years for so-called “unlimited” paid employee vacation and leave plans. General Electric has also joined the fold with a “permissive approach” to paid time off for nearly half of its 70,000 U.S. employees. Netflix recently reminded us how sweet its vacation policy is by extending the unlimited idea to maternity and parental leaves too (during a child’s first year) – for certain employees in its higher skilled jobs.

    We’re not going to see the majority of employers jumping to this
    Read More »from Extended leave not all it's cracked up to be
  • Running on treadmills next to strangers not doing it for you? Hope you read that fine print. (Thinkstock)Running on treadmills next to strangers not doing it for you? Hope you read that fine print. (Thinkstock)

    “I try to go four times a week but I’ve missed the last 1200 times!”

    For any ‘Friends’ fan, the episode where Chandler tries to quit the gym is a classic. Ross encourages Chandler to quit the gym so he no longer is forced to pay monthly membership fees. And Chandler and Ross both ended up with gym memberships and even a joint chequeing account.

    It isn’t easy to stay motivated towards your fitness goals. And when the going gets tough, it can leave some gym patrons feeling like they no longer wish to keep the gym membership they had anticipated using all the time just a few months prior. But getting out of that contract isn’t always as easy as one may think.

    Former gym user Adam Hudson felt that sting when he tried to leave a local gym because he was planning to move to an area that did not have a facility nearby. Hudson was told that unless he was injured, there was no way to cancel his membership without receiving a hefty cancellation fee.

    “I decided to inform the gym that I was

    Read More »from Cancelling your gym membership: How to navigate the complicated contracts


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