Tag Archives: Young And Thrifty

Oct 2: Best from the blogosphere

Recently Kyle Prevost (Young and Thrifty) hosted the online Canadian Financial Summit which included video presentations and interviews with 25 Canadian personal finance experts. While the presentations were free from September 13-16, you can still buy a pass to view these presentations.

Blogs by many of these people are regularly featured in SPP’s Best from the Blogosphere, but there were some interesting people on the agenda who are new to me. Today I introduce you to some of their recent work.

Alyssa Fischer is the writer behind one of Canada’s top up and coming blogs MixedUpMoney.com. In How My Accountability Buddy Became My Secret Financial Weapon she writes that grocery shopping with her husband is important because they help each other stick to their budget. She says, “If I let myself spend money in a frivolous fashion each time I needed a pick me up, I would be right back where I was 3 years ago. In debt, maxed out, and over my limit.”

Martin Dasko on Studenomics graduated from college debt-free and the purpose of his blog is to help readers get to financial freedom by age 30 (no debt, money saved, and the ability to do whatever they want). In Why You Should Save $10k in The Next Six Months (and how to start) he explains that personal finance is often about habits and choices. “You may decide to find new ways to make more money or spend less.  Having money in the bank will make your life better because you will have options and you can plan your next move,” Dasko notes.

Chris Enns is an opera-singing-financial-planning-farmboy and the man behind Ragstoreasonable.com. He wonders whether he can be an artist and be profitable. He also questions the following core beliefs  so many carry in the creative industry.

  • That breaking even is enough.
  • That paying the bills is enough.
  • That building a profitable creative business is next to impossible.

He recognizes that wanting just “enough” to live his life is holding him back in a huge way. Instead he says shifting his thinking to “making a profit” is more likely to pave the way to building his savings and planning for the future.

Janine Rogan is the talented writer and CPA behind JanineRogan.com.  Rogan suggests that if your bank balance is too high you are more likely to spend too much. For example, even though you have $15,000 sitting in your chequing account, some (or all) of that money may be spoken for.

But you may feel you can splurge because you have extra cash on hand. Therefore she suggests that you should set guidelines for a maximum bank balance in your chequing account and once you hit that threshold excess cash should be moved to a savings or investment account.

Rogan says, “Shifting the expectation to living on less because you only have a set amount of cash in your bank account means that you will function in more of a frugal mind set.”

Half-banked.com is Desirae Odjick’s personal finance blog for millennials who want to manage their money and still have a life. She offers Five ways to learn about money for free (without leaving the house). They include:

  • Taking out a stack of books from your local library.
  • Watching money videos on YouTube.
  • Reading a whole pile of financial blogs.
  • Tracking your spending.
  • Visiting the Canadian Financial Summit .


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.

Written by Sheryl Smolkin
Sheryl Smolkin LLB., LLM is a retired pension lawyer and President of Sheryl Smolkin & Associates Ltd. For over a decade, she has enjoyed a successful encore career as a freelance writer specializing in retirement, employee benefits and workplace issues. Sheryl and her husband Joel are empty-nesters, residing in Toronto with their cockapoo Rufus.

June 26: Best from the blogosphere

A million dollars doesn’t go as far as it used to but it’s still a nice chunk of change. I’m always fascinated by media articles and blogs that feature wunderkind who achieve seemingly unreachable financial goals by a very young age. So I pulled a few pieces to share with you in the hope that something may resonate and help you to exit the rat race sooner rather than later.

In The 10 Most Common Millionaire Habits, Jessica Kane writing for the Financial independence Hub says most of the people who have achieved the status of millionaires engage in daily rituals that help them meet their goals. Some of her suggestions are: be an early bird; read about current events; learn something new every day, and sleep less than 8 hours each night.

Grant Sabatier, the founder of The Millennial Millionaire went from $2.26 to $1 million in 5 years, reaching financial independence at age 30. He also shares A Few Not-So-Easy Steps.  Several of my favourites are:

  • Get paid what you are worth. Negotiate a raise or look for a higher paid career track.
  •  Save at least 20% of your after tax pay cheque before spending anything.
  • Find a side hustle and invest the profit.

Kyle from Young and Thrifty offers 6 Non-Traditional Steps to Becoming a Canadian Millionaire In Today’s Market that will certainly raise some eyebrows. He says there are many paths to prosperity and only some of them lead through university. One alternative is to take shop or industrial arts so you can start your education in the trades while you are still in high school. Then you can start making money right away when you graduate. Also, don’t be afraid to move where the jobs are.

Millennial Revolution is a FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) site started by two computer engineers/children’s authors, FIRECracker & Wanderer, who retired at 31 to travel the world with a seven figure portfolio.

They primarily attribute their ability to save and invest scads of money to renting instead of buying in the pricey Toronto housing market. But they have also published a detailed and highly entertaining series on their blog about “how they got there.”

How We Got Here, Part 1: God, We Were Spendy Back Then
How We Got Here, Part 2: PANIC
How We Got Here, Part 3: After the Crash
How We Got Here, Part 4: The Bearded One
How We Got Here, Epilogue: The Real Cost of Traveling the World

And finally, Alexis Assadi is an entrepreneur and he believes that getting rich in Canada is easier than you think. In fact he has written about it extensively in his book Rich At 26 . He says rather than having to work for money, financial independence occurs when the revenue from your business and investment holdings surpasses your cost of living. He recommends that readers:

  • Invest in income producing assets.
  • Take advantage of TFSAs.
  • Contribute to RRSPs,
  • Start a business.
  • Learn about and use tax incentives.


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.

Written by Sheryl Smolkin
Sheryl Smolkin LLB., LLM is a retired pension lawyer and President of Sheryl Smolkin & Associates Ltd. For over a decade, she has enjoyed a successful encore career as a freelance writer specializing in retirement, employee benefits and workplace issues. Sheryl and her husband Joel are empty-nesters, residing in Toronto with their cockapoo Rufus.

Jan 23: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

Here we go with another series of video blogs that will help you to organize and manage your finances. Some of them are not recent, but they have definitely withstood the test of time.


In Budgeting Without Losing Your Mind, Young Guys Finance says budgeting doesn’t necessarily mean punishing yourself so you can’t spend any money. Instead he vues budgeting as an awareness tool that will help you to identify what you are spending money on and cut back on what you don’t really need.

Because Money, co-hosted by Financial Planner and opera singer Chris Enns, interviews Kyle Prevost from Young and Thrifty. Join them for a rousing trivia game that is impossible to win and find out how hard it really is to get financial literacy into the high school curriculum.

When you tune in to a Freckle Finance video for the first time, you will quickly understand why the presenter has adopted this unusual handle. In this episode she explains what a GIC is and how it compares to other investments.

At the end of the year, Rob Carrick from the Globe & Mail took a look at which financial institutions have the best deal on high interest savings accounts. However, be forewarned – it’s still slim pickings out there!

And finally, if you want to figure out how much you are really worth, tune in to How to calculate your net worth with Bridget Eastgaard from Money after graduation.


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.

Nov 9: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

A traditional job trajectory has been for young people to finish school, get a job and then trudge up the corporate ladder, one step at a time. But some young people who have seen family members laid off and struggle to get new positions are taking a more entrepreneurial approach to career development.

In Why I Quit My High-Paying Job During a Recession To Work For You, Bridget Eastgaard explains why she recently resigned as a consultant to early-stage start-ups to grow her blog Money After Graduation and develop revenue from online courses, speaking engagements and brand partnerships. Watch for a podcast on savewithspp.com in early January where Bridget answers questions about her past and future career decisions.

For several years Sean Cooper has blogged extensively in various forums about his goal to be mortgage-free in just over three years by age 30. Well he did it! In a blog on MillionDollarJourney, he explains how at age 31 he has a net worth of $667,064. His income includes $55,000 (day job for pension consulting firm); $18,600 (rental income from first floor of his house); $40,000 (approximate freelance income). To celebrate, he had a mortgage burning party, bought a new wardrobe and he’s planning to travel more. But he doesn’t plan to fall victim to increasing his lifestyle to replace mortgage payments.

Tim Stobbs figures he’s about two years away from Freedom 45 and recently he wrote about The Plan for Getting Out. He says it’s not practical for his employer to keep him on for less than 80% or 90% of a full work week. Therefore he plans to keep his current 90% schedule and use his existing flexible benefit equal to 3% of his pay, to fund a further reduction of his working hours starting in 2016. He calculates that he actually has a pretty good deal because with the holidays and leave programs available to him next year, he will only work 182.3 days.

Cait Flanders, the Blonde on a Budget recently opened some fan mail and a cheque  for $100 left her speechless. The reader who sent the cheque said Cait had a profound influence on her life. This made her realize that she does not want her writing to simply document her personal journey to a debt free and minimalist lifestyle. She says, “There are more free resources I want to create, social media campaigns I want to launch and topics I want to discuss. Despite enjoying ‘life with less,’ I want to do more here.”

And finally, if you are shopping for an engagement ring so you can pop the question at Christmas time, Kyle Prevost and Justin Bouchard at Young and Thrifty suggest you Have the Money Talk Before the Marriage Talk . They report that Business Insider has a great primer on how to have the talk about money with your future partner.  Part of this money before marriage talk includes asking about your partner’s money philosophy, assets (and debts), and whether both of you should get a pre-nuptual agreement.

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.

Sept 21: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

Saving for retirement is important, but working for 35 years with only a few weeks of vacation a year is a daunting thought for many people. However, some companies allow employees to take one or more extended leaves during their career and in some cases establish income deferral programs to help them finance a career break.

Here are some of the things you need to know about taking a sabbatical in Canada.

In the Globe and Mail, columnist Tim Cestnick offers Tax and other tips for planning a work sabbatical. He discusses the little known privilege in our tax law that permits your employer to set up a deferred salary leave plan (DSLP). The plan allows you to set aside a portion of your pay each year for a certain period of time and to then take a leave of absence. The money you set aside under the plan is used to pay you during your time off. If the DSLP is set up properly, you won’t face tax on the amounts you set aside until you make withdrawals later during your leave.

In The Sabbatical, a 2009 blog on Canadian Dream: Free at 45, Tim Stobbs explores the pros and cons of taking a sabbatical. He says taking three months off will allow you to take a major trip, build your own cabin or take courses to further your education. But the downside is you may not be able to afford the loss of income or benefits, and there could be career fallout with your boss or co-workers.

If the sabbatical bug has bitten, talk to your manager or human resources department; you may be pleasantly surprised at your options. How to take a break from work by Diana Swift in Canadian Living gives you tips for negotiating time off. She says pick your time, suggest how your workload will be handled in your absence, and tell your boss why you believe you are an asset worth keeping.

Should I Consider Taking a Teaching Sabbatical? Teacher Man asks on Young and Thrifty. His union contract allows him to take a year off at one-third pay after two years in the school division and one-half pay after five years of teaching. He concludes that if he completes his Masters degree during his time off and improves his future earning potential (he is only in his 20s), the investment in time and money could definitely be worthwhile.

Sabbatical Financial Planning 101: How to travel and not get into debt on Aspire Canada has lots of great ideas like: start planning early; continue contributing to your benefits if you can; sell stuff to raise money; draw up a budget; plan to stay with friends/relative where possible during your travels; and, pursue opportunities to work while you are abroad on your sabbatical.

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.

Aug 4: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

Every week in this space we offer examples of some of the blogs and personal finance articles we believe represent the Best from the Blogosphere. That’s why we were interested in a list recently published by LSM Insurance of the Top 50 Canadian Personal Finance Websites using various online metrics described in the accompanying article.

Here are several blogs (as opposed to mainstream media outlets) that made the list, and the “most shared content” that helped them get there.

Tom Drake at the Canadian Finance Blog was #10 on the list. How to Calculate Your Credit Score For Free has been a perennial favourite. Drake says that it’s actually fairly easy to see where you stand when it comes to your credit score. All you need to do is visit this credit score estimator and fill in the fields. Once you have done so, the calculator will tell you what range your score falls into.

Young and Thrifty was ranked #13. Sean Cooper helped to put this blog over the top with his guest post How to Achieve Findependence at Age 31. His three step approach is to achieve mortgage freedom by renting the top floor of his house and living in the basement apartment; have multiple income streams – by day he is a pension analyst, and by night he is a financial journalist and landlord; and, frugal living. You can see his own blog here.

The 24th spot went to Mo Money Mo Houses where How Can She Afford That? She Can’t, That’s How generated considerable interest. Jessica Moorhouse says people may appear to be more affluent than you are because they have big houses or fancy cars, but if they are in debt up to their eyeballs, it’s all an illusion. In order to maintain a lifestyle in the black, her parents had to live frugally. They only bought what they needed and lived fairly simply. To this day, that’s how she still lives her life and that’s why she is also not in debt.

At #30, Nelson Smith on Sustainable Personal Finance got the blogosphere buzzing when he wrote about Living in a Shipping Container – really! After their life is over making trips across the ocean, shipping containers are often auctioned off to the highest bidder. Sometimes these high bidders are businesses looking for cheap storage options. Or, if you want to get really crazy, you can build a house with them. Before you poo-poo the idea, Smith says that you can check out some pictures of houses built from storage containers in his blog post.

And rounding out the list at #50, Nancy at Money on Trees questions whether Netflix is really all you need. As a first time home buyer with little discretionary income, she says she simply cannot afford to spend $80 a month on satellite or cable. What she really misses are sports but even these are becoming more accessible as major events like the 2014 Sochi Olympics and CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada are streamed online. We have also been watching many Pan Am events online this summer and displaying then on our “smart” television which has a bigger screen.

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.

Apr 28: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

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This week the country mourned the untimely death of Jim Flaherty, the former federal finance minister. In Goodbye Jim, Canadian Dream Free at 45 blogger Tim Stobbs says the most important lesson he learned from Flaherty is “life is short, so don’t spend all your time working. 

With the deadline for filing 2013 income tax returns extended to May 5th because of temporary system shutdowns due to the Heartbleed software bug, procrastinators have several more days this week to delay the inevitable.

However, there are some cases where it may be a good idea to defer taking tax deductions you are entitled to this year to a later year. In the blog Taxes: When it Pays to Procrastinate or Defer on Young and Thrifty we learn that you will get more “bang for your buck” on your RRSP deduction if you contribute this year but do not take the deduction until a later year when you are in a highrt income bracket. The same goes for your educational tax credits.

Financial Procrastination can also result in making bad financial decisions, says Dave on Canadian Dream Free at 45. For example, he recently accepted the first house and car insurance package offered to him, instead of making the time to shop around (a serious personal finance no-no).

For many people, the reason to scrimp and save during their working life is to leave a legacy for their children. But on Boomer & Echo, Marie Engen says if you have sufficient money to Leave A Legacy Before The Will Is Read, consider giving your children a financial boost when you are still alive to see them enjoy it. Helping with a down payment on a house, funding RESPs for your grandchildren and family vacations can be very gratifying.

Finally, Squawkfox questions Repair or replace: When does it make sense to mend the threads you’ve got? She says it depends whether the item is busted or just worn out. It costs $50 to repair the heel and sole her eight year old blue Fluevog boots instead of $350 to replace them so she opts for the repair. But she regretfully acknowledges that even good quality items won’t last forever.

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.

Feb 24: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

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RRSP season is almost over for another year so remember to make your Saskatchewan Pension Plan contribution by Monday, March 3, 2014 in order to get a tax deduction on your 2013 income tax return.  But the need to spend carefully and save regularly is an important part of everyday living.

On retirehappy.ca, Jim Yih reports that 7 Causes of Financial Stress including high debt levels, low savings rates and increasingly complex financial markets are keeping many people up at night.

In The Insanity of “RRSP Season” Young and Thrifty blogger Kyle says anyone with a basic handle on grade 9 math ought to know that making periodic contributions to a registered plan (either a TFSA or an RRSP) is a better choice than procrastinating until the last minute and then trying to scratch together the money to fit in under an arbitrary deadline.

Blogger Krystal Yee on givemebackmyfivebucks.com says she will have to dip into her emergency fund and suspend TFSA and RRSP payments for some time because she was recently laid off. But 44 comments from her fans leave no doubt that she will land another great gig before long.

The pros and cons of withdrawing RRSP contributions are explored once again by Tom Drake on the Canadian Finance Blog. While the lost opportunity cost of taking out money and losing RRSP room are important, he acknowledges that in some emergencies RRSP withdrawals may be unavoidable. The good news is that if you need money because you lost your job, you will pay taxes on the money at a lower rate.

Many of you may be aiming for early retirement as early as age 55. However Dave Dineen on Brighter Life reminds readers that some sources of retirement income don’t kick in for another five years or more so you need to have a plan to bridge the gap or early retirement could be a financial nightmare.

And on Boomer & Echo Robb Engen identifies 6 Fees Worth Paying and notes that trying to avoid fees can sometimes be false economy. For example, the return on investment if you buy a Costco card, use an annual fee credit card or join the CAA can easily exceed the initial amount you have to pay.

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.

Apr 29: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

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Last week we linked you to blogs exploring the road to retirement. Today we present resources for younger readers who may be just starting to get their finances in order.

On Darwin’s Money you can five novel ways to save money. One option is to cancel services you don’t need.

Timeless Finance wonders if you would date somebody who’s in debt. She says almost everybody has some debt so if debt is the deal-breaker there wouldn’t be much dating going on.

Do you and your partner have only joint accounts? Young And Thrifty lists 5 benefits of separate chequing accounts.

If your bundle of joy is due anytime. Find out how maternity benefits work from Brenda Spiering, on Brighter Life.

And Krystal Yee’s blog how much should you save before moving out on Give me back my five bucks is almost two years old, but will still be of interest to people faced with the same decision.

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.