Crystal ball gazing: Jobs 2030

By Sheryl Smolkin

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January 2014 figures reveal that although the national youth unemployment rate was 13.9%, Saskatchewan’s youth unemployment rate of 7% was the lowest in the country.

Nevertheless, young people realize that selecting a course of post-secondary study and a future career are critical decisions that will impact their job satisfaction and family lifestyle for many years to come.

Jobs like web designer, social media specialist and computer game designer did not exist 35 or 40 years ago when new grads were faced with similar decisions. And it is all but impossible to predict what novel opportunities will be available in future and how to train for these new roles.

Nevertheless, the registered educational savings plan company Canadian Scholarship Trust partnered with 40+ leading experts across Canada to collect their insights on the future of their industries and worked with foresight strategists to create hypothetical job descriptions for positions that may be available 15+ years from now.

The Inspired Minds initiative is a “digital job fair” for the year 2030 that imagines a series of jobs you have never heard of but may be available sooner than you think. Here are five of those jobs I find the most interesting, plus the kind of training you may need for these positions.

  1. Nostalgist
    The nostalgist will be an interior designer specializing in recreating memories for retired people. The wealthy elderly of 2030 will have the luxury of living in a space inspired by their favourite decade. Nostalgists will recreate the setting of their preferred time and place for seniors wishing to relive their past, from a small-town 1970s living room to a 1980s university dorm room.A degree in social science would provide a good background for this job, because knowing how people work and the conditions that enable success will be vital. Training in systems thinking and administrative procedures will also be important, so some courses in management sciences will be valuable.
  2. Tele-surgeon
    Using a combination of robotic surgery tools, scanning and sensing technologies and high-speed networks, tele-surgeons will operate on people in faraway locations.Most communities will have a small surgical team in the local medical centre, but in emergency cases drones (pilotless flying devices) will be used to airdrop a tele-surgery unit into villages or seasonal camps, as this can be faster than moving a patient by helicopter.Tele-surgeons will need traditional medical and surgical training, but expand their skills to include robotic surgical assistants. They will have be familiar with robotic technology and comfortable performing surgeries through a variety of different video systems
  3. Rewilder
    The old name for this job was ‘farmer’. However, the role of the rewilder will not be to raise food crops, as this will be done more and more in highly efficient skyscraper-like greenhouses known as vertical farms. The rewilder’s job will be to undo environmental damage to the countryside caused by people, factories, cars, and intensive one crop monoculture farming (which occurs when only crop is planted over a large area of land).All the traditional requirements of farming will be needed for this role, including managing land and crops, but managing wildlife will also be a necessary skill. Rewilders will be paid not for how successful their crops are, but according to the diversity and health of their land. Degrees in wildlife management, agriculture and environmental sciences will all be relevant.
  4. Garbage designer
    Environmental damage and the build-up of landfills (places where garbage is dumped) have made recycling a norm. However, recycling relies on the idea that the things that we make will inevitably create waste. A new form of recycling that will likely become popular in 2030 is ‘upcycling’.Upcycling is the practice of turning waste into better quality products; for example, old toothbrushes into bracelets, or old magazines into woven place mats or pots for plants. Garbage designers will be key to ensuring the success of upcycling.Garbage designers will need a strong background in materials science and engineering. An interest in industrial design will also be ideal. Familiarity with manufacturing practices and trade will help them identify key points where they can make the most impact.
  5. Healthcare navigator
    A health care navigator knows how hospitals work and they are trained to help patients and their families cope. The navigator teaches patients and their loved ones about the ins and outs of a complicated medical system. The navigator also helps people to manage their contact with the medical system with the least amount of stress and delay.Most navigators are former nurses, but a new generation of navigators is on the rise. These navigators will combine their knowledge of the healthcare system with the skills of a social worker. A good navigator will be able to match the patient’s family with the right people at the right time — whether it’s a doctor, pharmacist, home-care worker or a nurse.

For information about the full list of 2030 job descriptions developed as part of the Inspired Minds project, take a look at the CST careers website.

It remains to be seen which of these career options will actually become a reality. However, the aging workforce, climate change, global mobility and digital technology will certainly mean that young people entering the workforce in 2014 will have a host of new opportunities we can only imagine in the decades to come.

Robb Engen takes on new challenges

By Sheryl Smolkin

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Click here to listen

Hi,

Today in savewithspp.com’s continuing series of interviews with financial bloggers, we talk with Robb Engen. Robb is “Echo” from the very popular Canadian personal finance blog Boomer & Echo. He also has a bi-weekly column in the Toronto Star where his research focuses on budgeting, banking, credit cards, and debt management.

Robb is a happily married Dad living in Southern Alberta. Over the past five years he has gone from taking an amateur interest in personal finance and investing to working towards becoming a full-fledged money expert by taking the four-course Certified Financial Planner program online.

In addition to writing this blog, he appears regularly in the online podcasts Because Money.  He and his mother Marie have started a “fee only” financial planning business and Robb has a new blog called Earn Save Grow.

Thank you very much for joining me today Robb.

I’m glad to be here Sheryl.

Q:  Robb, you’re one busy guy. Before we start talking about your blogs, tell me a little bit about your day job.
A: Sure. In addition to all that you mentioned, I do have a day job, and I’m the Business Development Manager at the University of Lethbridge. That’s a fancy title saying I fund raise and generate revenue for our sports teams here in Lethbridge.

Q: When did you and Marie start “Boomer and Echo”, and why?
A: We started it back in August 2010, so we’ve been at it almost four years. My mom worked for a big bank for two decades plus, and we always chatted about personal finance and investing.

We just had our first child, so there was a lot going on financially, and I started reading a lot of personal finance blogs. My Mom and I thought we might have a unique spin on financial issues.

We wrote a couple of articles, just to get the feeling for putting that kind of thing together, and I did some research on how to start a blog. Then we just jumped into it, I guess.

Q: How many hits do you typically get when you post a blog?
A: We’ve built up a pretty decent-sized following, and most people follow us by Email. We have about 6,000 email subscribers, and of that, I’d say two to three thousand probably actually click through to the blog to read a new post, and some probably just read it by email.

Q: What have some of your most popular posts been about?
A: I’d say probably the more personal stories. When I talk about my changing careers and what that looks like and dealing with a pension plan versus in the private sector, trying to save on your own. I wrote about the challenges I had as a first-time homebuyer, and that got a lot of hits. My mom’s had the same success talking about personal stories.

Q: How have you been able to monetize your blog? What have some of the spinoffs been?
A: I saw that Google has their AdSense network, and that seemed to be the go-to place for monetizing a blog, so we’ve done okay there. It also seems to be that writing about personal finance and investing tends to find more advertisers than say, if you were to write about cats or maybe photography or something like that.

Q: You also blogged for the Toronto Star’s site “Moneyville” three days a week, and now you’re writing a column for thestar.com so those really are spinoffs from your blog as well.
A: Yeah, and what I noticed were some of the more profitable things that people search for information about are rewards cards and loyalty programs. I didn’t want to inundate my Boomer & Echo blog, with posts about air miles and aeroplan so I started a little offshoot called “Rewards Cards Canada,” and that’s where I talk about that niche area.

Q: How many hours a week do you spend on your own blog and the various other related personal finance activities outside your 9-to-5 job?
A: I’d say, for all the online activities, I probably spend about two hours a night from Sunday to Thursday. 

Q: Tell me how the “Because Money” series on YouTube works and the technology used to link Moderator Jackson Middleton with you and the other interview subjects. 
A: I attended the fantastic Canadian Personal Finance Blogger’s Conference in Toronto, and one of the takeaways I got was maybe, try to explore some different forms of media. Video blogging has really come into the forefront now.

Sandy Martin, a fee-only planner who writes at Spring Personal Finance knew marketing and social media manager Jackson Middleton, and so we all got together and decided to do this video series called “Because Money.”

It’s all done through the social network, Google Plus. Google owns YouTube, and they formed what they call “Hangouts on Air.” It’s like a Skype video call. You can get up to 10 people, video chatting on hangout at the same time, and you can put it live on air or you can just record it and play it later. We do it live every Wednesday night.

Q: What kind of hits are you getting on it?
A: Pretty good. We get a couple hundred views a week, and when we have better know people on, like Rob Carrick and Dan Bortolotti, we get a lot more views.

Q: You’re also taking certified financial planner courses, and along with Marie, you’re now offering a unique fee-only personal finance planning service online. How does the service work, and how’s it going?
A: What we found was, we built up quite a following over the years, and that people would Email us and ask about their own situation. Without knowing their complete background and history and their goals moving forward, it’s pretty much impossible to give that tailored, specific advice.

So we talked about this and came up with a fee-only model where we’d work with a client for a year. We develop a financial plan together. Clients get unlimited access to us by phone, email, Google Plus, Skype, whatever, and they can talk about their own financial issues without any pressure to buy anything. We are not licensed to sell products.

Q: You recently launched a new blog called “Earn, Save, Grow.” What do you hope to accomplish with this blog, and how is it different from subjects covered with “Boomer and Echo?”
A: I started a new blog because Boomer & Echo focuses a lot on frugality and money-saving tips and a bit of investing. But I don’t know that the audience is quite there for discussions about earning extra money. There’s always the debate whether you should try to earn more money versus spending less.

Obviously, I’m going to cross promote it a little bit with Boomer and Echo, but time will tell what kind of audience moves over there and is interested in how to make more money or do something on the side with their time. I don’t intend to monetize this site, so I won’t have any ads up there, at least for now.

Q: If you had one piece of advice for Canadians struggling to make ends meet and save for retirement, what would it be?
A: We talked about this in “Because Money” with Rob Carrick recently. The real estate market has gone up so much, and people just feel this need to be a homeowner, and without necessarily understanding the full financial costs.

You can’t spend 40% to 50% of your income on a place to live and still expect to save for retirement, have kids, save up for their education and still have some money left over to go out for a beer or go for a nice dinner. I think we have to rethink the idea of renting for a little while so that if you buy a home you can really afford it.

That’s great. Thank you very much for talking to me today, I’m sure the “savewithspp.com” readers will really be interested in what you had to say.

Thanks for having me, Sheryl. It was a pleasure.


This is an edited transcript of the podcast you can listen to by clicking on the graphic under the picture above. If you don’t already follow Boomer & Echo, you can find it here and subscribe to receive blog posts by email as soon as they’re available.

June 16: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

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This week we have a potpourri of blogs dealing with a variety of money-related topics topics you can read on these long late spring evenings.

On Brighter Life, Dave Dineen brings us up to date on his travels in Slow money: A richer way to travel in retirement. He says renting from a local, not a corporation and adopting a local lifestyle means he and his wife can afford weeks instead of days on a beautiful Italian island.

Retire Happy’s Jim Yih reminds couples getting married this summer that they need to talk about money. You or someone you know can certainly benefit from his list of things to talk about to help build the foundation for a better relationship.

We usually post Robb Engen’s blogs from Boomer & Echo but he also writes about lots of interesting issues on his blog Earn Save Grow. For example, he recently shared How an annoying pop up saved his business. By adding a “pop up” form allowing readers to sign up to receive updates from Boomer & Echo, he increased the number of subscribers from 250 to 1,600 in under six months.

Avoiding and paying off debt is a recurrent theme in all personal finance blogs. In Payday Loans: Think Twice Before Entering This Cycle of Debt Tom Drake reminds us that these high interest, short term loans can turn into serious long-term term debt, because the interest payable is astronomical. For example, the fees for payday loans are between $51 to $72 on a $300 loan, which works out to annual percentage rate of 443% to 626%!

And last but not least, Tim Stobbs finally bit the bullet and accepted a work cell phone because he is more offsite more frequently and he needs it to communicate with the office. However, he has devised A Leash for the Beast and turns it off outside of business hours. He also uses an app that separates his work and personal email.

I’m off to cottage until after Canada Day, so the next Best from the Blogosphere will appear on July 7th. Until then, throw another steak on the barbecue, pour yourself a tall cold one and don’t forget the sun screen and mosquito repellant.

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.

Book Review: THE SMART DEBT COACH

By Sheryl Smolkin

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Talbot Stevens is so confident that his book “The Smart Debt Coach” can save you money, that he is offering a free refund to anyone who doesn’t think they can save at least $1,000 by applying the basic principles he discusses.

The book is written in the style of a “self-help novel” like David Chilton’s The Wealthy Barber and Jon Chevreau’s Findependence Day. The main characters are Joe, Michelle, their friend Kim (physician and single mom) and financial advisor Bruce.

When Joe’s sister Lisa asks his family to join them on a Caribbean holiday, they are reluctant to do so because it will mean further maxing out their credit cards. Then Joe realizes Lisa saved the money in advance for the trip and he wants to learn more about how she accomplished this on a lower family income.

She explains that on the advice of their parents (which Joe ignored at the time) for over 10 years she and her husband have been working with Brian, a financial advisor. Since his death they continue to get similar advice from his nephew Bruce.

It turns out that Bruce (a widower) is the parent of one of the kids on the hockey team that John and Michelle’s son plays on. Kim (divorced) is also a hockey mom. While watching the games week after week, they quiz Bruce on basic financial concepts and eventually John and Michelle retain him privately.

And so their journey to a better financial future begins.

Bruce goes through a goal setting exercise to help them establish priorities and negotiates a contract which clearly sets out the responsibilities of both the financial coach (Bruce) and the clients (Joe and Michelle).

One of the first strategies Joe and Michelle learn about is “Debt Swapping.” Essentially this means if you have high interest credit card debt plus unregistered investments, you can cash in your investments, pay off the debt and then borrow at a lower rate to re-populate your investment account.

This is a win-win because they will pay less interest on the investment loan and they can write off the interest expense against any investment income.

But based on the maxim that “a penny saved is a penny earned,” Bruce also illustrates how avoiding credit card debt and other unnecessary expenses represents real money in their pockets. Furthermore, their advisor demonstrates they are not getting the full benefit of their RRSP contributions if they spend their tax return instead of topping up RRSP accounts.

Like the wealthy barber, Bruce encourages John and Michelle to “pay themselves first” by setting up automatic withdrawal of monthly RRSP contributions and increasing contributions every year by a specified percentage. He says that in most cases saving 8% of income and inflating deposits yearly by 3% produces a larger retirement fund than saving 10% without ever ramping up savings.

He also motivates them to be more frugal in other areas and buy a slightly used truck instead of a new one to reduce monthly car payments. Some more complicated strategies recommended later in the book include taking out short-term loans to top up RRSP contributions and using a second tax refund from RRSP top ups to fund registered educational savings plans for their children.

In addition there are chapters on other smart debt strategies, a common sense way to beat the market and how being a landlord can pay dividends.

However, by the time I read about 80 pages I found myself skimming to try and pick out the relevant financial information without having to wade through the somewhat contrived story. I was also disappointed that there was not a point form checklist of the basic ideas I could use for future reference.

The book is extremely readable and the advice is good. While it is far from a romance novel I was not surprised that after all those hockey games (spoiler alert), Bruce and Kim are a couple by the end of the book.

Unless you are already doing everything Stevens suggest (and few of us are) it is unlikely that you will be able to honestly collect on his money back guarantee for the book. Even if you don’t read it cover to cover, you will discover some new strategies you can use to map your own road to a healthy financial future.

You can purchase The Smart Debt Coach for $15.67 on the Chapters Indigo website.

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June 9: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

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There is nothing I love better than planning a vacation or two or three. At the moment we have two weeks in our Muskoka fractional ownership cottage coming up; a week at Disneyworld with our granddaughter in September; and I’m working on the arrangements for a family vacation somewhere warm in February.

So with summer vacations coming up for many families, I pulled together a series of posts both old and new, with a vacation theme.

Krystal Yee explains how she is saving money and travel rewards points for a European vacation this fall and prioritizing her travel plans. She is comfortable that nearer term trips to Edmonton and Las Vegas are off the table because her long term goal is worth saving for.

Peggy Goldman, President of Friendly Planet Travel offers 9 Great Tips For Budget-Conscious Travelers. Choosing a hotel with breakfast, avoiding baggage fees at all cost and selecting a credit card without foreign conversion fees are all good suggestions.

Several years ago on Brighter Life, Helen Burnett-Nichols weighed the pros and cons of buying a fraction of a vacation home. She says because most people don’t use their cottages all year it may be difficult to justify full time cottage ownership. Shared ownership means you have the property for 4 or 5 weeks a year and when you arrive it’s like walking into a “no upkeep resort.” However ongoing maintenance costs will increase and the re-sale market for fractional units is often limited.

In a more recent Brighter Life blog, Brenda Spiering gives some interesting suggestions for preventing family cottage feuds. She says the best way to decide how to pass on the family cottage to the next generation is to talk to your family and consult a financial advisor. Depending on your needs, he or she can direct you to other professionals, such as an estate-planning lawyer or tax accountant.

And don’t forget the many vacation destinations close to home. Tourism Saskatchewan’s Travel Tales Blog gives you updates on things to see and do, places to stay and eat, and exciting year-around experiences available in Saskatchewan, all only a few mouse clicks away.

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.

CPP post-retirement benefits a good deal

By Sheryl Smolkin

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If you decide to start collecting CPP at age 60 but have to continue paying into the plan because you go back to work, your additional post-retirement contributions can significantly increase the amount of monthly pension you receive even while you are still working.

Since 2012, CPP recipients over age 60 who earn employment income must still contribute to the plan until age 65 and may voluntarily make contributions between ages 65-70 if they are earning an income.

Between age 60 and 70 your contributions will generate additional CPP benefits called post-retirement benefits. You don’t need to apply for these additional benefits. They will automatically be added to your monthly cheque following each year after age 60 you contribute.

A sample calculation prepared by Government Benefits Consultant Doug Runchey who worked for 32 years with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada illustrates how post-retirement contributions can add up.

His example is based on a person who in 2014 at age 60 starts collecting a maximum CPP pension of $702 ($1,038 minus the early retirement reduction of 32.4 per cent).

However in January 2015, this individual decides to go back to work. He subsequently earns the maximum pensionable amount of $52,500 (2014 figures) for the next five years before he stops working completely. Using the 2014 maximum CPP contribution level, between ages 60 and 65 he will be required to contribute $2,425.50 each year to the plan (a total of $12,127.50).

Beginning in 2015 at age 61, his pension will be increased each year by an annual, cumulative post-retirement benefit that adds up to $1,350 by age 65.

As a result, his pension of $702 per month at age 60 will increase in yearly increments to $814 monthly at age 65. Therefore, he will receive approximately $2,490 in CPP post-retirement benefits between age 60 and 65. If he lives for another 20 years until age 85, the post-retirement benefit will put an additional $27,000 in his pocket.

“By accruing additional CPP post-retirement benefits of $1,350 per year between age 60 and 65, the person in this example will earn an 11.13 per cent return on the $12,127 in contributions he made for the period,” Runchey says.

He also says that the notional return on post-retirement CPP contributions by a taxpayer earning the CPP maximum pensionable amount each year who chooses to work and contribute to CPP until age 70 will be even higher.

However, Runchey notes that if this taxpayer was self-employed and required to pay both the annual employer and employee contributions ($4,850) from age 60 to 65, the total return on his five years of post-retirement contributions will be cut in half, to 5.56 per cent.

Post-retirement benefits earned in one year are added to benefits beginning in January of the following year, but eligible contributors may not receive the payment until April or May with a retroactive payment to the beginning of the year.

The amount of CPP post-retirement benefits that you can earn between ages 60 and 70 depends on your earnings and the number of years you continue to work and contribute. A Service Canada PRB Calculator will help you calculate how contributing after you begin receiving CPP benefits but before you stop working will increase your CPP benefits at retirement.

If you are over 65 and want to stop contributing to the CPP, you must complete the CPT30 form and give a copy to your employer. If you are self-employed, you must complete the appropriate section of the CRA CPP contributions on Self-Employment and Other Earnings and file it with your income tax return.

You can change your mind and begin contributing to the CPP again but you are allowed only one change per calendar year.

Also read:
Working and aged 60 or older
Canada Pension Plan Post-Retirement Benefit – Born in 1950
CPP Post Retirement Benefits – DR Pensions Consulting

June 2: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

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Summer weather has finally arrived in my part of the world, so fingers crossed that it lasts longer than a weekend! It’s certainly more tempting to head outside than comb the internet for interesting personal finance advice, but I have still managed to pull together some good reads for you when you finally get tired of reading lighter fare poolside.

In We Who Are About To Die, Etc, ex-banker Sandi Martin reminds us that in every relationship there is one spouse who handles the finances and one who does not. Therefore it is important to have a disaster plan plus a comprehensive list of passwords, bank account details and other important financial information easily available to both partners in the event that the unthinkable happens.

Mark Goodfield, the Blunt Bean Counter warns that just because you read personal finance blogs and have become a Do It Yourself (DIY) investor doesn’t mean you should also be Do It Yourself Accountants and Lawyers. He highlights some tax and legal mistakes DIYs often make because they have read general articles that just skim the surface of complex issues.

Tim Stobbs turned 36 this month so on Canadian Retirement: Free at 45 he shares 36 Lessons on 36 Years. My top 10 favourites are:

  1. Spend less than you earn.
  2. When in doubt, start saving. You can figure out the rest while you go.
  3. Keep your regular monthly expenses low and spend money instead on one off items.
  4. Savings shouldn’t stop you from having a life, It should help you have one.
  5. Don’t worry what others think, be yourself and you will be happier.
  6. Even when you fail, you still learn something.
  7. Live in the now when you can.  Embrace the moment.
  8. Remember to tell others you love them.
  9. You need 10,000 hour of practice to be great at something.  So start now.
  10. You always need to like one part of your job, if not find a new one.

The frugal trader on Million Dollar Journey once again tackles the million dollar question: How Much Do You Need to Retire in Canada? He says figuring out how much you need is pretty much a four step process:

  1. Work out a budget of expected expenses during retirement.
  2. Calculate how much the government will provide you during your retirement years. You can use the Canadian government calculator here.
  3. The difference between 1 and 2 is how much income from savings (and/or company pension) that you will need.
  4. Take the number calculated in step 3, and multiply by 25.  That is the amount you will need to have saved.  If you have other sources of income, like from company pensions or rental properties, then reduce step 3 by the other income amounts, then multiply by 25.

And finally, Gail Vaz-Oxlade discusses setting ground rules for boomerang kids. She says they should make a financial contribution to the household if they have a job even if you eventually give them the amount back to by a house. Otherwise they will get used to having a disposable income they can never hope to have again. The exception is if they are putting every extra payment into re-paying their student loans.

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.