I mentioned last month that my passport had expired several years ago and that I wanted to renew it with the expectation of more family travel in the near future. As it turns out, I have the opportunity to attend a conference in Seattle next week and so I needed to expedite my passport application so that it would be ready in time. That meant two trips to Calgary – the first to make the application in person at one Passport Canada location (Calgary South) and the second to pick up my passport in person at a downtown location.

The second trip happened to coincide with my daughter’s 6th birthday so we decided to get a hotel downtown and make it a family trip. We went to the Calgary Zoo late Thursday afternoon, which was great because we pretty much had the place to ourselves. The kids loved the new penguin exhibit, and my youngest daughter – who’s obsessed with owls at the moment – got to see her favourite birds up close in the aviary.

Calgary Zoo

That evening we wandered around downtown and had a nice dinner at Eau Claire Market. Then on Friday we took the kids to the TELUS Spark science centre, which was amazing. There was so much for the kids to see and do – it was great to see their little minds work as they explored the different areas and tried new experiments. One of the attendants gave us some great advice when we got there: Leave the creative kids museum until the end because you won’t be able to get them to leave!

This week’s recap:

On Monday I wrote about the latest fee grab from the big banks, and that we need to get over the idea that it’s difficult to switch banks.

On Wednesday Marie offered 5 simple rules to know when to sell a stock.

Our monthly Throwback Thursday feature looked at the evolution of the family car.

And this month’s Financial Makeover profiled a couple in their late 30’s who are struggling to get ahead due to excess spending.

Weekend Reading:

With the NHL playoffs in full swing, I thought it was fitting to highlight this MoneySense Financial power plays series – which features stories from former NHL stars on how to handle their fortunes.

Jason Heath explains how to build a simple do-it-yourself investment portfolio.

Barry Choi wants to know why parents don’t like free government money.

This Harvard Business Review report looks at the crisis in retirement planning.

Forget all this talk of a pension crisis, says a former Statistics Canada analyst. Canadians are very well protected in their retirement.

William Bengen came up with the 4% withdrawal rule more than two decades ago. Does it still hold up today?

McDonald’s, the iconic fast food chain, is struggling to grow in the face of stiff competition and consumers’ desire for healthier “fast casual” alternatives like Chipotle. In this Washington Post piece, actor James Franco looks back fondly on his days working at Mickey D’s.

“When you’re paying a dollar for a burger, is it the end of the world if I accidentally forgot to take the mustard off the order?”

Speaking of rotten beef, read how 1,121 unbranded steer calves were stolen from a Texas ranch in a year that saw the price of beef rise to record levels.

MoneySense’s David Hodges says the new disclosure requirements laid out in CRM2 ignore the real issue, which is the need for a fiduciary duty of care for advisors.

“It’s dream crushing.” An Ottawa University law student opens up about being $150,000 in debt:

Read what Canadian millennials get wrong about buying real estate.

What does $1,500 a month in rent get you in cities around the world?

Have you ever had to make a credit card extended warranty claim? Stephen Weyman explains how to do it.

Mark Seed is tired of the TFSA debate. He says everyone wins with the new $10,000 contribution limit.

Finally, this article says that a price break for seniors at the movies is fine, but it’s time to give the public sector seniors’ discount a firm shove into retirement.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


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