Rob Engen

May 28: Best from the blogosphere

May 28, 2018

Of the 500+ blogs I have written for, monitoring the blogosphere to link you with the best of the personal finance world has been the most rewarding. While some personal finance bloggers generate money from google ads on their websites,  forge corporate relationships, sell courses or develop an enhanced reputation in their chosen field, the vast majority write for free, just because they have information they want to share with others.

Here is a completely unscientific list of some of my favourites who I have featured time and time again in this space. If you want to continue following them, sign up to receive emails notifying you when their latest blogs are posted.

Boomer&Echo: Rob Engen and his mother Marie Engen are the writing team that generate a consistent stream of always engaging blogs about everything to do with saving and spending money.

Cait Flanders: Cait Flanders has written about all the ways she continually challenges herself to change her habits, her mindset and her life. This includes paying off debt, completing a two-year shopping ban and doing a year of slow living experiments. And in January 2018, she published her first book, The Year of Less  (a memoir), which became a Wall Street Journal bestseller.

Canadian Dream: Free at 45: I have been reading Tim Stobbs since we blogged together on moneyville for the Toronto Star. He has beat his initial target, retiring recently at age 40, but his blogs about retirement are still a great read.

Jessica Moorhouse:  Jessica Moorhouse is a millennial personal finance expert, speaker, Accredited Financial Counsellor Canada® professional, award-winning blogger, host of the Mo’ Money Podcast, founder of the Millennial Money Meetup and co-founder of Rich & Fit. Don’t miss How I Survived a Trip Across America Using Only Chip & Pin.

Millenial Revolution: Firecracker and Wanderer are married computer engineers who retired in their early 30s. They blog on Millenial Revolution. They opted to not buy a home because they believe home ownership is a money pit. Instead they travel the world living on their investment income. Reader case studies where Wanderer “maths it up” are particularly fascinating.

Money After Graduation: Money After Graduation Inc. is an online financial literacy resource founded by Bridget Casey for young professionals who want to build long-term wealth. Whether readers are looking to pay off student loans, invest in the stock market, or save for retirement, this website has valuable resources and tools including eCourses and workshops.

Retire Happy Jim Yih and his team of writers publish top quality financial planning information. They believe there is a need for timeless information because too many financial and investing sites focus on minute-by-minute investment ideas, changing markets and fast paced trends.

Sean Cooper: Sean Cooper’s initial claim to fame was paying off his mortgage by age 30 which he has documented in his book “Burn Your Mortgage.” Since then much of his writing has focused on real estate-related subjects. He has recently qualified as a mortgage broker and will be leaving his day job as a pension administrator to launch a new career.


For me, retirement beckons. This is my last Best from the Blogosphere for My own blog RetirementRedux has been dormant for some time as I have focused on writing for clients but I plan to revive it now that I have more time. Feel free to subscribe if you are interested.

May all of your financial dreams come true, and when the right time comes, I wish you a long, healthy and prosperous retirement.


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.

Nov 24: Best from the blogosphere

November 24, 2014

By Sheryl Smolkin

Do you typically buy a fistful of gift cards for holiday gifts? Just in time to save you a bundle, Boomer & Echo’s Rob Engen writes about How To Hack Gift Cards For Big Discounts. He suggests buying gift cards with your cash back credit card, the RedFlagDeals forum dedicated to buying and selling gift cards and purchasing discounted gift cards at Costco. Who knew?

On Retire Happy, government benefits expert Doug Runchey explains that Receiving a partial OAS pension affects the amount of GIS a pensioner will receive in two ways:

  1. A pensioner receiving partial OAS will receive more GIS than someone receiving a full OAS pension, to make up for their lesser amount of OAS.
  2. A pensioner receiving partial OAS will receive GIS up to a higher income, compared to someone receiving a full OAS pension.

Jonathan Chevreau on Findependence Day Hub profiles a 28 year old Winnipeg-based investor named Saxon Funk who has a firm plan for achieving financial independence through various passive streams of income. But his real play for findependence comes through real estate. He was attracted to real estate when he discovered he could buy properties at 10% down, and he caught the Winnipeg real estate cycle at just the right time.

Do you know How Your Daily Commute Affects Your Finances? Dan Wesley from Our Big Fat Wallet reports that the average time Torontonians spend commuting is 80 minutes – the longest time in the world. In contrast, Saskatchewan Jobs says the average commute time in the province’s two largest cities is only 20 minutes. Another reason to count your blessings!

And if unexpected, frequent required changes to eyeglasses for family members is putting stress on your budget, you may be interested in How I saved over 50% buying eye glasses online, my recent blog on Retirement Redux.

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 and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.

Jul 29: Best from the blogosphere

July 29, 2013

By Sheryl Smolkin


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 and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.

May 20: Best from the blogosphere

May 20, 2013

By Sheryl Smolkin


This week we bring you blogs that focus on some things you need to know if you are getting ready for retirement.

On Jim Yih asks whether or not we need a debt course and exam before we take on more debt.

Riscario Insider discusses why you should have a financial Plan “B” and not purchase all of your wealth management services (i.e. banking, financial planning, investments and insurance) from one place.

Rob Engen explains on boomer & echo why David Chilton’s rule of thumb that you should save 10% of your income for retirement may no longer be enough.

In contrast, on Canadian Dream: Free at 45 Dave says that he is a constant saver, and when he retires he’ll have to figure out how to start spending more of his income.

And those of you who wonder whether you need life insurance in retirement should check out this post on FreefromBroke.

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 and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.