Finances

The Case For – Or Against – A Cashless Society

The case for (or against) a cashless society

What happens if the physical monetary unit goes away?

Does that mean we’re going down a bad rabbit trail to a place where society should not go?

Is a move toward digital currency like Bitcoin an inevitability?

We’ve got questions, but with no clear answer.

To start, how about we have to look at a couple of points:

  1. The unit of cash itself
  2. The payment process, security and anonymity

While this is entirely way too large to discuss all in one article, let’s start the conversation anyway.

Money, money, money…money!

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31 Money Apps, Products, and Tools You Should Be Using

31 money apps, products, and tools you should be using

There are so many tools, products, and apps out there that it’s hard to know which ones to use. There’s so much choice that it’s easy to pass by some great money saving apps and tools without a second look.

It’s even harder to find stuff that works well for Canadians – nearly everything is targeted at Americans because of their larger population.

Even though I’m a tech-savvy guy, I still don’t use as many money tools as I probably should to truly maximize my money.

Some of it is due to privacy concerns – I don’t want to link up directly to my bank, credit card, or investing accounts. But, most of it is that initial barrier to entry of learning something new when what I already do works well enough.

It really helps when someone vets and recommends useful tools first before giving them a try yourself, don’t you think?

So here is a collection of apps, financial tools, and products I either use myself or think are worth using based on the reviews and features they offer.

You can find even more money saving deals and tools that I use everyday on our deals and tools page.

Best Money Saving & Personal Finance Apps

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The War On Debt: A Vacation From Debt?

The war on debt: a vacation from debt

My husband and I never had a honeymoon, and it seemed to set a precedent over our marriage for the next quarter century.

Other than camping or visiting friends and relatives as far west as Ontario, travel was never high on our list of priorities—by necessity, not desire.

But in anticipation of better budgets and better times ahead, I consulted with Ellen Tucker, president of Freedom Tours and Travel in Saint John, New Brunswick, for some advice about the best value in vacations.

Is sand and surf the only option?

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PC Financial Is No More – But There Are Alternatives

PC Financial is no more - but there are alternatives

I’ve been a PC Financial banking customer banking customer almost since they opened their doors nearly 20 years ago.

It’s been a great experience for me, and even though I’m using other virtual banks like Tangerine, they were always a reliable no fee go-to bank. All the important stuff was free, the interest rates were higher than the Big 5, and the online banking experience has always been top notch.

I’ll tell it to you straight – I’m pretty bummed that they’re being completely taken over by CIBC and being rebranded as CIBC Simplii Financial on November 1st.

With 2 million customers hanging in the balance … I’m not the only one.

What does this mean for all PC Financial clients who can’t really imagine doing their daily banking anywhere else?

Banking As Usual In The Short Term

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Never A Better Time To Open A Tangerine Bank Account

Never a better time to open a Tangerine bank account

As a PC Financial (soon to be Simplii Financial) customer for almost 17 years now, I've been taking advantage of no-fee virtual banking pretty much since it first became available in Canada.

It's been fantastic.

I've enjoyed no monthly account fees and unlimited free cheques for that entire time along with earning much higher interest rates on savings than what is offered by the big Canadian banks. No complaints here!

All the while there has been another no fee banking competitor out there: ING Direct.

I'd always known about them, but their value proposition was never great enough for me. However, they were acquired by Scotiabank in 2012, changed their name to Tangerine, and upped their value proposition just enough that I took the plunge and opened my first account in 2014.

Use this Orange Key: Tangerine150

Up To $150 In Bonuses + up to 2.4% Interest For Opening Free Accounts

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Investing In Mutual Funds: A List Of Pros And Cons

Investing in mutual funds: a list of pros and cons

In Nailing the Basics of Mutual Funds, we went through mutual fund basics, like: what they are, the different types, and…

...what to keep in mind when certain mutual funds are being recommended to you by your friendly neighbourhood financial advisor or investment professional.

In this post, we’ll weigh the pros and cons of owning mutual funds.

Sure mutual funds provide a number of advantages...but they also come with some disadvantages that should NOT be overlooked.

So let’s get started.

5 advantages of owning mutual funds

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Choosing Between DIY Index Investing and Canada’s Robo Advisors

DIY index investing versus Canada’s robo advisors

As someone who tries to help people optimize their personal finance decisions, I have been frustrated by the DIY investing hurdle for several years now.

I know that I’m not alone in this frustration, and it appears to be quite a common affliction amongst many in the personal finance blogging community.

See, I know that basic index investing using 2-4 vanilla ETFs is relatively easy (with maaaaaybe 3-10 hours of upfront reading) and super cheap. And I know that I can show others that DIY index investing using 2-4 vanilla ETFs is relatively easy and super cheap…

I even know that most of the time, at the end of my sermon our chat, folks will agree that using ETFs, embracing passive investing, and simply rebalancing their portfolios 1-4 times per year is the way to go.

What I don’t know is how to get people to actually execute DIY index investing!

I’m not sure exactly where I lose people...But somewhere along the road from learning about the statistical excellence and relative ease of building a “couch potato portfolio”—and actually opening up a discount brokerage in order to purchase their first few units of an ETF—way too many of the people I’m trying to help get lost.

They wander off course, start looking at maps of a million other investment paths, half-complete the 1-2 forms that are needed, and eventually, several years later, they realize that they:

  1. Never started investing, or
  2. Are still investing in high-fee mutual funds

Clearly these are very sub-optimal outcomes

Do As I Say – Not As I Do

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The Price You Pay For Mutual Funds

Management Expense Ratio (MER)

If I were to ask you what you’re invested in, many would say they have mutual funds from their banks or investment companies.

If I ask you how much it costs you every year to have these mutual funds, most would say “nothing.”

Step back and think about this.

Are all these companies and their financial advisers working for free to ensure your financial success?

Are all these advisers working for non-profit companies?

Management Expense Ratios

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The War On Debt: On The Hunt For A Job

The war on debt: on the hunt for a jobAfter a few months cleaning up our spending habits, we’ve saved a bit of money per month…

But it’s still clear that if I want to pay off The Colossus in five years or less, I must increase my income.

There are two ways I could achieve this:

  • Write a business plan and aggressively build my freelance business, or…
  • Get a nine-to-fiver that’s worth a mid-range income.

Casual freelancing suited me when my kids were young, but they don’t need me anymore. So…

Do I want to build a business when my career goal is simply to write and sell fiction?

For now, I don’t have that luxury. Not while I have this monkey on my back—a debt that, without drastic intervention, will never be paid off except by life insurance.

Where to start?

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Nailing The Basics of Mutual Funds

Nailing the basics of mutual funds

The RRSP season has come and gone ... did you get a call from your bank representative or financial advisor this year?

I can only imagine what percentage of their annual business is completed during the first few months as people are rushing to make their RRSP contribution before the deadline.

The mutual fund industry has done a brilliant job of advertising and convincing people that Registered Retirement Saving Plans (RRSPs) and mutual funds are one and the same.

But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Quick Recap

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