Plunging oil prices of the past few months has weakened the Alberta economy – so much so that it briefly considered adding a provincial sales tax before deciding on an across-the-board 5 percent spending cut.

Is the rest of Canada taking pleasure in Alberta’s misfortune? This CBC article suggests just that while exploring the West vs. East, Us vs. Them tension that has existed for a century in this country.

This week’s recap:

On Monday we were pleased to have a tax expert from H&R Block highlight some of the new tax credits for 2015. We have a gift certificate to give away for one regular return at an H&R Block retail location – and the winner is Tarilyn.

On Wednesday Marie wrote about how to unlock funds from a LIRA due to financial hardship.

And on Friday Marie posted part one of a two-part series on managing RRIF withdrawals.

Over on Rewards Cards Canada I was sad to break the news that Capital One discontinued what was arguably the top travel rewards card in Canada and replaced it with a watered-down version.

Weekend reading:

It’s RRSP season, but Canadian investors are still waiting to see the real fees associated with their investments as long overdue rules on fee transparency won’t kick-in until the end of this year.

MoneySense answers your 20 burning RRSP questions, including this one: How much should I have in my RRSP for my age?

Is tapping your RRSP to buy a first home a good idea? Adam Mayers of the Toronto Star looks at the pros and cons of this approach.

Mayers also wrote about how free tax advice cost this low income senior $5,000.

Sticking with the Star, Ellen Roseman shares a story of a woman who fought two insurance companies to get benefits after a car accident. Now she’s fighting to keep her benefits after writing a book.

I love consumer behaviour stories and this article explores the secret science of shopping and why we buy what we do.

Downtown Josh Brown wrote a hilarious parody called Shark Tank: The lost pitches – including missed opportunities for the sharks to invest with Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Uber founder Travis Kalanick.

A Wealth of Common Sense blogger Ben Carlson shared some lessons from the wealthy with Tim Duncan, the future hall-of-fame basketball player who lost more than $20 million due to bad investments.

Dividend investor Dan Wesley looks at the case for index investing. He predicts that he’ll always own dividend stocks, but I’m not so sure. I felt the same way for about five years until I made the switch to indexing.

Million Dollar Journey listed the easiest index ETF portfolios for each discount brokerage. Easiest, meaning that some brokerages allow for cheap and easy foreign exchange for U.S. listed funds, while others are better equipped just to handle all Canadian dollar funds.

Michael James uses a variation of the former hit game show Deal or No Deal to help explain diversification.

Nelson Smith tries to unlock the mystery of Warren Buffett’s investing success.

Sean Cooper shared his “freedom 31” plan over on the Young and Thrifty blog.

We’ve been blogging for nearly five years, which puts us into senior territory when it comes to personal finance blogs in Canada. J. Money has been at it for even longer at Budgets are Sexy and shared 7 things he’s learned in 7 years of blogging.

Certified Financial Planner Jeff Rose launched his Good Financial Cents blog around the same time and talks about his experience blogging as a financial advisor in this interview.

Finally, friend of the blog Barry Choi reached the one-year mark on his blog – congrats, Barry!

Have a great weekend, everyone!


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