• 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)
  • An Oscar brings prestige, but not necessarily money

    You might think winning an Oscar will bring studios, actors and directors a big payday but that's not exactly true. Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst at Rentrak (RENT) says the idea of an Oscar ‘bounce’ or bump is exaggerated. “There’s an assumption that movies get a boost at the box office or on-demand or that the actors and actresses that win that their careers take off in a way they’ve never had before.” Dergarabedian says it’s not the Oscar win that predicates success but rather the choices and roles the actor makes after winning that will ultimately determine where their career ends up.

    The real key for studios is capitalizing on the nomination process. “At the point of the nominations, which are several weeks before the Oscar telecast, that’s when they really get the bump,” says Dergarabedian. Studios carefully and meticulously plan and develop marketing strategies to take advantage of the anticipated nomination buzz.

    Take for instance, best picture nominee “American

    Read More »from An Oscar brings prestige, but not necessarily money
  • Canadian banks have spent the last several years pushing into new geographies and business lines, but a new report suggests the ‘big five’ may want to rein things, or at least streamline the business.

    Ernst & Young says in its 2015 Global Banking Outlook that banks with global growth aspirations need to reinvent themselves by simplifying their business, or run the risk of being squeezed by an evolving marketplace that no longer rewards sprawling lenders selling products you need a PhD to decipher.

    In other words, in a world of increasing regulation, changing investor sentiment and evolving customer behaviour, the old ‘bigger is better’ model is starting to look outdated, particularly with economic growth not exactly setting records.

    “Banks that focus and simplify their products will do better than those that try to do everything for everyone,” says E&Y Canadian Financial Services Leader Andre de Haan, summing up the results of the study.

    Pick and pay

    E&Y says there’s little correlation

    Read More »from Canada’s rich banks need to simplify: study
  • If you’ve ever wondered exactly what your government thinks of you, take a closer look at the next federal, provincial or even municipal budget.

    The numbers tell a revealing story of who and what we value, says Paul Kershaw, professorat the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health and author of a provocative new study examining the distribution of government spending by age.

    By Kershaw’s calculations, seniors are, by far, a top government priority, securing, on average, up to four times the amount of social spending per person compared to the amount allocated to younger Canadians.  

    The study – published by Generation Squeeze, a fledgling lobby group for younger Canadians – found that governments spend between $33,000 and $40,000 annually on each person over the age of 65 years.

    Canadians between 45 and 64 years are allotted about $14,000 to $15,000 each.

    Those 44 and under receive less than $12,000 each.

    The findings are based on total social spending

    Read More »from Seniors 'top priority' in government spending, while younger generations struggle: study
  • With a struggling dollar and continuing shenanigans in the oil sector, the Chinese Year of the Goat (Sheep or Ram) – which starts Thursday – will bring with it an equally rollicking Canadian economy. 

    “2015 brings lots of change, adjustments and corrections,” Sharon Hay, a Feng Shui Master and president of Sharon Hay International tells Yahoo Finance Canada. “(It) will be slightly more favourable compared to 2014.” 

    She also predicts a difficult year for investors. 

    “International disharmony and volatile political issues will create drastic fluctuations in the global economy which could translate into financial losses for some with regards to their investments,” says Hay. “With extreme caution and due diligence wealth can be achieved.” 

    Traditionally, Chinese businesses look to Feng Shui and astrology to help guide them in decision making. 

    But it’s not just Eastern businesses seeking meaning in the Chinese Zodiac. Hay has worked with businesses like TD, IKEA and the Ontario Real

    Read More »from Chinese New Year: Year of the Goat to bring wild ride for investors, says Feng Shui master
  • Caroline Battista has a positively upbeat view of tax season, and not just because it’s the senior tax analyst’s busiest time of year. She sees filing your taxes not as something to dread but rather a moment of opportunity.

    “You don’t get anything back the rest of the year,” says Battista, who works for H&R Block in Vancouver. “When you fill up on gas while you’re driving your daughter to ballet, you can’t ask the attendant if you can get a little bit of money back from your gas taxes. This is the one time of year you have some control. If you miss out on credits and deductions, you’re just leaving money behind.”

    If you're not sure what you can, or can't, claim, take a look at our list of the most overlooked deductions and credits.

    Medical expenses

    “Quite often things get missed because this is a rather large umbrella and people don’t know what they’re allowed to claim,” Battista says.

    Some of the often-missed items that can be claimed under this umbrella, Battista says, are travel

    Read More »from Tax time: 9 most overlooked credits and deductions
  • Would you consider yourself a saver or an investor? Chancesare, for most Canadians, the answer would be the former. But you may in fact really be an investor, and your mindset can have a big impact on your potential growth prospects, financial experts say.

    “People who consider themselves savers are usually more concerned with capital preservation than with using their assets to increase their wealth,” says Robert Stammers, director of investor education at the CFA Institute (https://www.cfainstitute.org/Pages/index.aspx). The perception of being a saver could explain why some people are reluctant to take on additional risk to realize higher returns to reach long-term financial goals.

    A defined contribution (DC) survey by State Street Global Advisors conducted last year found that only 31 per cent of US participants, 26 per cent of UK participants and 17 percent of Ireland participants said they feel confident that they will have enough saved through their employer sponsored DC plan to

    Read More »from Are you a saver or an investor? The answer might surprise you
  • Lower gas prices are helping Canadians save hundreds of dollars at the pumps, but the majority aren’t doing anything with the extra cash, a new survey shows.

    A recent GfK poll shows 58 per cent of Canadian drivers haven’t changed their spending or savings habits despite the roughly 40-per-cent drop in gas prices in recent months. 

    Only 19 per cent are socking the extra money into savings, while 15 per cent say they’re buying more gas and 9 per cent are driving more often.

    The results don’t bode well for the Canadian economy and predictions the money saved will fuel consumer spending. They also don’t offer much hope that Canadians are working harder on reducing their growing debts.

    “Although falling gas prices are putting a good deal more cash in Canadians’ wallets, most do not seem to be making conscious decisions about what to do with that money,” says Stephen Popiel, VP at GfK Canada.

    The Bank of Montreal recently estimated Canadian drivers could expect to save about $1,500 this year

    Read More »from How are Canadians using their gas savings?
  • THE ISSUE: Game of Thrones season approaching,so it’s time to pump up the cable package. You clear 15 minutes in your schedule and make the call. You’re greeted by the automatic attendant, which is no surprise, but could it speak faster?

    You go through two menus of options, then another one. Finally, you get the hold music, which feels like a victory. Time’s ticking down when you get a live voice.

    You ask how much it will be to jump to the higher package, but she retorts with her own questions. Do you PVR? No. Would you like to? I guess, but… Do you think you’ll add other TVs to your home? Would you like the top package at a discount for three months?

    You hold firm for the basic upgrade and ask about price. Now she starts talking about bundling, and how much you can save if you switch your cell phone over. You don’t even know how much you’re paying now.

    She puts you on hold to check about fiber-optic capacity in your neighbourhood, and you bail.

    You’re out of time, and out of patience.

    Read More »from Overdue Idea: The service provider advocate
  • So you’re beginning to realize no amount of advanced yoga classes will make you flexible enough to fold yourself into a suitcase and the hypnotize-yourself-into-thinking-the-slush-is-white-sand trick isn’t working either. 

    Stop right there – you’re doing it wrong. 

    Look, trading the winter blues in for sea blues and exotic locales isn’t about contorting yourself (gross) or hypnotism (impractical) it’s about being savvy and spontaneous. 

    It’s about thinking outside of the box says Michael Duchesne, publisher at vacay deal hunter TravelZoo.ca

    “(Forget) the myth of not getting a deal in peak season,” says Duchesne, who devotes his time to diligently combing through deals with his team and curating newsletters espousing their finds. “Right now, you could go to Mount Tremblant, get a studio with a kitchenette for about $139 a night, that’s almost slope-side as well.” 

    Not a bad deal for a couple or a small family, he says adding that it’s just about knowing how to look. 

    Search before you

    Read More »from Money Minute: Exotic but affordable getaways
  • This Saturday is Valentine’s Day —  that greeting-card-inspired celebration that turns up the heat on romance and inspires mad gestures of chocolate and roses.

    It also happens to fall smack in the middle of tax season. And, believe it or not, the Canada Revenue Agency is almost as interested in your relationship status as your mother is.

    It’s not uncommon for taxpayers in Canada to be confused about the tax rules and how they intersect with our love lives.

    A recent survey by Leger, on behalf of H&R Block Canada, found that more than half of us mistakenly think that married and common-law spouses can file a joint return to save money on their taxes. Another 40 per cent believe it’s up to us to decide whether to claim our marital status on our tax returns, while a handful of respondents doubt the CRA has guidelines to determine that status.

    Truth is, there are rules around romantic partnerships, lots of them, and failing to fully comprehend the finer points could cost you money and get

    Read More »from Love and taxes: Canadians confused on how marital status impacts deductions, credits
  • Leaving your job in style shouldn’t come with a YouTube video or trend on Twitter if you’re hoping to be meaningfully employed in the future, experts say.

    A new survey from OfficeTeam shows 86 per cent of human resources managers believe the way you quit a job will affect your future career opportunities.

    The survey of more than 600 HR managers across North America offers what may seem like obvious advice: Don’t burn bridges.

    “It’s good to go out with a bang if it’s positive. The negative one is never good,” says Dianne Hunnam-Jones Canadian district resident at human resources consultancy Robert Half, which includes the OfficeTeam division.

    However, with the rise of social media it seems the instances of over-the-top resignations are on the rise.

    Some famous job departure videos that have gone viral include one uploaded to YouTube by writer Marina Shifrin, who dances around her office to a Kayne West tune “Gone” announcing she’s quitting. That stunt came back to bite her when her

    Read More »from The worst way to quit your job


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