Category Archives: Blogosphere

Aug 5: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

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The weather is about as good as it gets across Canada in early August, but it won’t be long before the leaves start to fall and temperatures plummet. That’s when some of us start wondering if we can afford retire somewhere warm.

If you are starting to do the research, take a look at the two part series The Pros, Cons, and Considerations of an International Retirement and 10 Best International Places to Retire on TopRetirements.com.

The pros and cons of Ecuador as a retirement destination is on the Wall Street Journal blog called MarketWatch so it is primarily geared to Americans, but there is also lots of useful information for other expats.

Another interesting U.S. post from the N.Y. Times considers how you can go abroad to places like Vietnam and Australia but keep working during at least the early part of your retirement.

But when it comes right down to it, even a tropical climate can’t replace close friends and family. That’s why you may decide to stay put and retire where everyone knows your name.

Regardless of where you decide to hang your hat for the next chapter, see seven habits of happily retired people shared by Brighter Life blogger Dave Dineen. He advocates trying new things, looking after yourself, caring for others and staying engaged.

Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere. Share the information with us on http://wp.me/P1YR2T-JR and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.

Jul 29: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

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Whether you live in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba or Ontario you have either been the victim of extreme weather or know someone who has. We have experienced recent power outages in both Toronto and Muskoka.

In case you  ever lose of power for a prolonged period, keep the link to this blog by Hollie Pollard, the Common Sense Mom. She explains what to throw out after a power outage and when.

Blogger Victoria Gazely writes in Modern Homesteading about Disaster Prep and Emergency Preparedness in 7 Simple Steps. There are some great ideas that range from putting together a 72-hour kit to making sure you are equipped for medical emergencies.

Robert on Canadian Dream Free at 45 recently came back from helping with cleanup in High River, Alberta. Although at first blush so many people have lost everything, he says education/skills, work ethic and optimism are things they can take anywhere to help them build a new life.

Due to recent hail damage, Rob Engen’s car has a roadmap of new dents and dings. He explains on boomer & echo why it makes good financial sense to take a cash settlement for the damages instead of paying the deductible and getting the vehicle fixed.

And finally, the big news this week is that Kerry K. Taylor aka Squawkfox has moved from her charming rural farm to the big, bad city of Toronto. It seems there are better business opportunities for her and Carl (a computer science grad.) Kerry is looking forward to all the city stuff she wants to do with her daughter and we can look forward to a whole new series of witty blogs about frugal urban living.

Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere.” Share the information with us on http://wp.me/P1YR2T-JR and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.

Jul 22: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

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In this week’s Best from the Blogosphere, we highlight blogs and blog posts that can help you plan frugal vacations.

On Boomer & Echo, read money saving tips from a budget savvy traveler. For example, take a look at Skyscanner.ca when searching for cheap flights between cities.  They list all carriers including budget airlines which normally don’t show up on sites such as Expedia and Kayak.

In an archived blog on Frugal Wanderer, Krystal Yee reviews AirBnB, a peer-to-peer website for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodation around the world at any price point. From a spare room in someone’s house to a oceanside villa, she says there is something for everyone and there are listings in more than 19,000 cities and 192 different countries.

Perhaps you have been contemplating buying a summer cottage. Retire happy blogger Jim Yee says buying vacation property is something that should be well thought out because of the financial impact it can have on your retirement planning. Do the math and consider how much time you will actually spend there.

Spending money you don’t have on even a frugal vacation can blow your annual budget. That’s why Gail Vaz Oxlade says if you’re worried about how much your summer trip is going to cost, you probably shouldn’t take it. Instead, consider a staycation.

Finally, if you think following your travel dreams is impossible, then Myscha Theriault  says you haven’t checked out these eleven Canadian bloggers. They’ve travelled the country, and the world. What’s more, they’ve chronicled all of it for your inspiration.

Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere. Share the information with on http://wp.me/P1YR2T-JR and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.

Jul 15: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

blogospheregraphic

This week’s “Best from the Blogosphere” has financial tips of interest to both young and older readers.

On Boomer and Echo, Robb Engen does some financial dreaming about how to be financially free by age 40. He acknowledges it’s a stretch and life may get in the way, but says doing the calculations has given him the inspiration to try and attain this goal.

Retire Happy blogger Jim Yih explores the withholding tax you can expect to pay when you withdraw money from your RRSPs and RRIFs. He says it may not always be in your best interest to withdraw small amounts instead of a larger lump sum to minimize withholding tax. That’s because you must pay income tax on your full earnings so you may have to pay more when you file your income tax return.

Actuary Promod Sharma questions on Riscario Insider how Mike Holmes would fix the financial sector. He says Mike’s prescription for home renovation which is get educated; get an independent inspection; and get things fixed can apply equally to your retirement savings portfolio.

Meanwhile, if paying for an expensive college education is in you or your child’s future, you may be intrigued by Oregon’s “Pay it Forward, Pay it Back” pilot tuition plan. Students will be allowed to go to a public university or community college tuition-free, in exchange for a binding contract that they will pay a small, fixed percentage of their annual gross income for 20 years after they graduate.

But on Give me back my five bucks, blogger Krystal Yee says the proposal is just another student loan plan which may cost way more than the degree would cost if you finance it over a shorter period.

And finally, if you are still looking for a summer job or a recent graduate looking for a career position, take a look at a classic blog from the Squawkfox archives. Kerry K. Taylor says on the road to making it as a heavenly musician, artist, writer, or whatever, sometimes you have to stop being so fussy and take that horrible job to pay the bills.

Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere. Share the information with on http://wp.me/P1YR2T-JR and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.

Jul 8: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

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This week we have a mixed bag of articles and blogs that will help you save more and spend less.

First of all, if you shop online (and who doesn’t), check out RetailMeNot’s new, dedicated Canadian site. Coupon codes from well-known retailers like Aeropostale, Banana Republic, J.Crew, Lowe’s, Roots, Sears and Starbucks can save you a bundle.

In Press Zero: How to get great customer service without losing it , Squawkfox aka Kerry K. Taylor reports that it took her less than ten minutes to cancel her home phone. During this time she spoke with two Telus customer service guys, shared a few laughs, got offered a 40% discount, and hung up victorious without having to wait the required full 30 days to be free of her phone bill.

If you’re willing to plan ahead and step outside your usual routine, you can take that trip of a lifetime and still manage to hold onto a good portion of your money. Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil from The Planet D give valuable tips in Summer travel on a budget on brighterlife.ca.

Are you heading off to university for the first time this fall? Don’t forget hidden costs like moving expenses, apartment insurance, laundry costs and stocking the kitchen with basic staples you may take for granted at home. Also check out the book  More money for beer and textbooks.

And finally, on Len Penzo dot com, offbeat personal finance blogger Len Penzo explains why he runs his household like a business (and why you should too) including a humorous but practical organizational chart which splits responsibilities between himself (the CEO) and his wife (the CFO).

Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere. Share the information with on http://wp.me/P1YR2T-JR and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.

Jul 1: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

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This week we look at saving – why it’s difficult and what you can do to make it a little easier.

Having trouble saving? Gail Vaz-Oxlade says happiness is easier when you’re not worried about money, but even people who have far less than the average North American are happy.

A Monthly Financial Planning Checklist on Boomer & Echo will help you get organized and apply discipline to your financial and investment planning on a month by month basis.

Growing a nest egg can be particularly tough for members of Gen Y just starting in the workforce. Youngandthrifty.ca shares ideas for accumulating a decent net worth by age 30.

Sometimes saving money on the little things can add up over time. Freefrombroke.com runner and blogger Glen Craig discusses How to Save on Running Shoes, Gear, and Events.

One strategy many people are adopting to cut monthly bills is cutting the cord on cable TV and subscribing to Netflix.ca instead. In spite of criticisms of the Canadian Netflix service, last November HowtoSaveMoney.ca ran an interesting blog explaining why Netflix Canada doesn’t suck.

Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere. Share the information on http://wp.me/P1YR2T-JR and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.

Jun 24: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

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Most of us would like to retire early and retire well, but it often seems like an unattainable goal. This week we feature blogs with advice from people who have either retired or are well on their way to that objective.

On retirehappy.ca, blogger Jim Yih presents essential information about CPP and OAS, government benefits that are the first leg of your retirement savings.

If you can’t imagine making the sacrifices required to save enough for retirement, see what Tim Stobbs has to say in There is No Sacrifice for Early Retirement, on The Canadian Dream: Free at 45.

The Frugal Trader has been thinking a lot about early retirement lately and what exactly would be required to walk away from his day job and live completely off his portfolio. On million dollar journey he provides a spreadsheet so you can calculate how much you need to save for early retirement.

A guest blogger on Boomer and Echo shares his  View Of Early Retirement. He says he has had opportunities to work part-time but he is too busy with hobbies and no longer want to be tied down to a calendar.

And finally, on Brighter Life, Dave Dineen says, Don’t listen to retirement naysayers. We all have our own ideas of what an attractive retirement looks like. So, don’t let naysayers define your retirement.

Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere. Share the information on http://wp.me/P1YR2T-JR and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.

Jun 17: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

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This week we provide links to blogs and articles for students and new graduates.

On GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca the Investor Education Fund provides Money essentials: A survival kit for students, including how to manage student debt so it doesn’t get out of control.

If you are trying to avoid student debt altogether, read Toronto Star consumer columnist Ellen Roseman’s profile of two young men who finished university without applying for student loans. They just wrote a book called More money for beer and textbooks.

Don’t miss the Harvard Business Review’s Twelve rules for new grads. My favourite is “learn to listen and listen to learn.”

Does every interesting job you apply for require experience you don’t have? Take a look at How to get hired if you are unqualified on New Grad Life.

Finally, Gerald McGroarty shares Five secrets to finding a better work-life balance on BrighterLife.ca.

Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere. Share the information on http://wp.me/P1YR2T-JR and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.

Jun 10: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

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After two weeks away, my inbox is chock full of great new blogs.

For sheer entertainment, you can’t beat Kerry K. Taylor’s account of how she got evicted from WalMart while taking pictures for her latest Squawkfox blog Target vs. Walmart: Where’s the best deal?

It turns out the answer depends on what you are buying, but Kerry preferred the shopping experience at Target including designer-style fashions and Starbucks coffee on tap.

If you are working hard to save for an early retirement, check out Tim Stobbs’ blog Know Thyself on Canadian Dream: Free at 45 to find out what personality traits may help you to meet your financial goals.

Many people believe downsizing in retirement will free up capital needed for travel and everyday living expenses. However, on Brighter Life, Dave Dineen explains why downsizing in retirement doesn’t always work.

Other financial decisions like taking on a super-sized mortgage, a second job or going out of your way for a bargain also may not make good financial sense, according to Boomer.

And if you do have savings but you don’t like the investment returns you are getting, on RetireHappy.ca Jim Yih shares some ideas on how to be a better investor.

Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere. Share the information on http://wp.me/P1YR2T-JR and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.

May 27: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

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This week we catch up with some bloggers who share stories and ideas about spending.

Million Dollar Journey suggests 7 smart ways to spend your tax return.

The Blunt Bean Counter shelled out for an well-deserved vacation, but he says  Air Canada lost his luggage when he went to Dominican Republic at the end of tax season.

On boomer & echo, boomer considers how to pick a perfect mortgage.

Pete the Planner thinks giving yourself an allowance when you are in debt is stupid.

And Gail Vaz-Oxlade reminds us that “keeping up” with others can keep you from saving.

Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere?”  Send us an email with the information to socialmedia@saskpension.com and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.