Jan 16: Best from the blogosphereJanuary 16, 2017
By Sheryl Smolkin
With Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and the stock market’s long bull run in 2016, the big question everyone is asking is what is in store for the Canadian economy in 2017?
Well, it depends who you ask and on what day. Here are a few recent predictions in the mainstream media, which may or may not pan out. You be the judge.
Not surprisingly, there’s one risk that “Trumps” them all for Canada’s economy in 2017, said Royal Bank Chief Economist Craig Wright in early January at the Economic Outlook 2017 event in Toronto.
The impact of U.S. growth on Canada depends on the policies that are put in place across the border under President-elect Donald Trump, but at a minimum Wright noted the U.S. is headed in a more competitive direction, while Canada seems to be moving the other way. “So it’s not yet clear whether Canada will see a ‘Trump bump’ or perhaps a ‘Trump slump,'” he told iPolitic reporter Ainslie Cruickshank.
The Financial Post reports that the best loonie forecaster in the world believes the Canadian dollar will beat all its G10 peers this year. The loonie will nudge an additional 0.75 per cent higher to 75.75 US cents by the end of the year, according to Konrad Bialas, chief economist at Warsaw-based foreign-exchange broker Dom Maklerski TMS Brokers SA, who topped a Bloomberg ranking of Canadian dollar forecasters in the fourth quarter. That would extend the loonie’s three percent gain from last year, which made it the best performer among its Group-of-10 peers.
In the Globe and Mail economist Todd Hirsch makes a series of bold (and some not-so-bold) predictions for Canada’s economy in 2017 and beyond. For example:
- Canada-U.S. trade disputes will intensify.
- The Canadian dollar will dip below 70 cents early in the year, but finish 2017 at 78 cents.
- The Keystone XL pipeline will get Washington’s approval.
- And for sports fans, Montreal will win the Stanley Cup; University of Calgary Dinos will win the Vanier Cup; and, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will win the Grey Cup.
On CBC News, Paul Evans offers the following five reasons why Canada’s economy is looking up in 2017.
- The job market is recovering.
- Oil could be headed higher – finally.
- Despite of predictions to the contrary, the loonie could be headed higher.
- Trade is picking up.
- The TSX is near an all-time high.
Nevertheless, analysis from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (a UK think tank), published in co-operation with Global Construction Perspectives says Canadawill have the world’s 10th largest economy in 2017, but will be overtaken in a few years by South Korea.
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.
Jan 19: Best from the blogosphereJanuary 19, 2015
By Sheryl Smolkin
If you max out your SPP contributions each year, you know your money is invested in an easy to understand balanced fund. However, when you top up your savings with contributions to either workplace retirement savings plans or your personal RRSP, it is often challenging to figure out how to invest your money.
On Tangerine Bank’s blog Forward Thinking, Preet Bannerjee suggests Parking your RRSP contributions to beat the deadline. The money just sits there, “parked” inside an RRSP as a low-risk investment until you’re ready to figure it out. Some people may not realize that investments inside an RRSP can be changed later.
In My 2014 (and final) Portfolio Rate of Return Boomer & Echo’s Robb Engen admits his dividend stocks did not match average market returns last year so he finally bit the bullet and sold “his babies,” replacing them with an easy two-fund solution.
With another take on passive investing, Holy Potato released his “Canonical Portfolio,” a simple recipe of four funds or ETFs for your portfolio. He presents a portfolio of four funds (bonds plus three equity classes) with a simple rule-of-thumb to determine the main split.
Sarah Milton specifically addresses the investment dilemma facing people saving in group retirement plans on Retire Happy. She presents 3 Investment options for passive group investors including guaranteed investments, asset allocation funds and target date funds.
And finally, Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s post How Do You Stack Up? refers readers to a tool on the Royal Bank website that measures how you stack up against your region and Canada in general when it comes to your income and net worth. Although it’s nice to get a benchmark of how you’re doing, she says that comparing your results to someone else’s means nothing if you aren’t dealing with similar circumstances.
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.
Your kid’s allowance: Financial literacy 101September 12, 2013
By Sheryl Smolkin
As a card-carrying member of the sandwich generation, I can attest to the fact that financially literate children are one of the best investments you can make in a comfortable retirement.
If you are lucky, your kids will help to take care of you and your money when age or infirmity makes it difficult for you to manage on your own.
Yet an August 2013 ING survey revealed that although kids 11 to 14 generally rate Mom and Dad as good financial role models, many want their parents to better educate them about the following financial issues:
- 38%: How bank and credit cards work
- 36%: What things cost and why
- 27%: How to save their money
- 26%: How to manage their money.
Exactly what you need to teach kids about money depends on the ages of the children. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada offers the following suggestions on what financial lessons are appropriate for different age groups:
Ages 4 to 8:
- Understand that people have a limited amount of money to spend.
- Use money to buy basic goods and services for simple transactions.
- Divide allowances or other money received among the financial goals of saving, spending and sharing.
- Understand that there are choices when it comes to money, and that money spent on one thing means that there is less money available for something else.
Ages 9 to 14:
- Recognize the difference between needs and wants.
- Understand the importance of saving a portion (for example, 10%) of all money received and the value of an emergency fund.
- Create a savings plan for short-term and long-term financial goals.
- Identify regular family financial commitments and know that families use household income to meet those commitments.
- Create a simple budget for an activity or event.
Ages 15 to 18:
- Understand the pros and cons of different payment options such as cash, debit cards and credit cards.
- Understand different kinds of investments (GICs, stocks, bonds and mutual funds).
- Understand the time-value of money (for example, past, present and future worth of money) and opportunity costs.
- Understand the concept of “living within your means” and why it is important.
I think much of what my offspring learned about budgeting and saving came through osmosis and the school of hard knocks. But my husband and I did one thing that helped our children understand the value of a dollar at a young age.
Paying them weekly allowances was a real nuisance because I never had the right change. It was also very tempting to withhold the money for minor misdemeanours which did little to promote family harmony.
So we started giving them monthly cheques instead. We opened accounts for them at the Royal Bank because they had a low-fee ATM in the convenience store at the end of our street. The kids also got their own bank cards so they could easily make deposits and withdrawals.
The deal was that they had to pay with their own money for specific things like movies, school lunches and bus fare (in the case of my daughter who was older).
I knew it was working the day my son – who was 10 or 11 at the time – missed the school bus for the second or third time. Instead of expecting me or his Dad to bail him out, he called a taxi and had the driver stop by the ATM on the way so he could take out enough money to pay the fare.
I can’t remember if he gave the driver a tip, I guess that was a story for another day.
Do you have tips for parents about kids’ allowances? Share your tips with us at http://wp.me/P1YR2T-JR and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card. And remember to put a dollar in the retirement savings jar every time you use one of our money-saving ideas.
If you would like to send us other money saving ideas, here are the themes for the next three weeks:
|19-Sept||Extracurricular activities||How many and how much?|
|26-Sept||Employee benefits||Getting value for your employee benefits|
|06-Oct||Seniors||Colleges, universities offer free tuition for seniors|