It’s unusual for a big bank to go out of its way to offer something for free but to my surprise that’s exactly what happened when I called TD Direct Investing this week.

You see, before I sold all of my individual stocks and moved to a two-ETF portfolio at the beginning of last year, I had many of those stocks set up on dividend reinvestment plans, or DRIPs. Of course, because I held some of those stocks on their dividend record date, I still received DRIP’d shares for TELUS, Bird Construction, Rogers Sugar, Liquor Stores, and RioCan.

It annoyed me every time I logged into my WebBroker account and saw 1 share in each of those companies just sitting there. I didn’t want to sell them and trigger a $9.99 commission for each one (which would be more than the value of the stock, in the case of Liquor Stores). So on Thursday I finally took the time to call TD Direct Investing and asked if there was anything they could do. I was pleasantly surprised when TD offered to sell each of the individual shares without charging me a commission. Shocking, I know!

Okay, I’m not going to gush over unlocking $100 worth of stock for free but I thought it was a nice gesture from TD 🙂

This week’s recap:

On Monday I compared price gouging on a bag of ice during an emergency to buying a house in Vancouver or Toronto today.

On Wednesday Marie looked at the pros and cons of getting a personal loan. The key takeaway from this post:

“This type of loan will not work for you if you don’t change and control your spending habits.”

On Friday Marie continued her retirement series with a post about using your house for income.

Over on Rewards Cards Canada I listed 12 myths about the Aeroplan program (and some truths).

A new robo-partner

I’m a big fan of the FinTech revolution and in particular what robo-advisors are doing to help investors face the challenges of high fees and bad behaviour. That’s why I’m pleased to announce a new partnership with ModernAdvisor that I hope readers will enjoy and benefit from.

One feature that sets ModernAdvisor apart from other robo’s is its 30-day risk-free trial. ModernAdvisor seeds your trial account with $1,000 of their money. Keep any gains when you open and fund an account at or before the end of the trial. If your trial account doesn’t make any money, you’ll still get another one month free when you open an account.

The online investing platform is slick – I took a test-drive myself:

Modern Advisor free trial

Boomer & Echo readers will get a $50 bonus when they open and fund a new ModernAdvisor account (we’ll also get a thank-you bonus for referring you).

Weekend reading:

Not a great week for the payday loan industry. First, Google decided to ban all ads from payday lenders, calling the industry deceptive and harmful to consumers. Then the Alberta government clamped down on the amount payday lenders can charge – reducing the maximum from $23 for every $100 loan down to $15 while giving customers 42 days to pay back the loan before interest starts accruing.

Naturally, the payday loan industry took great offence to these changes, saying the legislation goes too far and will limit the availability of short-term credit for people in Alberta. Give me a break.

One woman shares why she left the payday loan business after five years: “We are loan sharks.”

GreedyRates.ca does some of the most in-depth research into credit cards and loyalty programs. Here they’ve put together a ranking of the best cash back credit cards in Canada for 2016. Check it out!

One thing I like about our Amazon Prime membership is the ability to return unwanted items for free. Online retailers have long resisted offering free returns, but now PayPal Canada has announced it will provide up to 10 refunds a year on online return shipping costs (up to $300 annually) in hopes of luring more e-commerce business.

Apple Pay has finally come to Canada and MoneySense answers six questions you probably have about this new payment technology. Who can use it? Is it safe? Does anyone care?

FinTech companies are joining forces with Credit Unions to add legitimacy to the fledgling industry.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon wants to “protect” you from these innovative FinTech start-ups. Sure.

Rob Carrick with a lesson on how a house can become a prison after it soars in value.

Are you sure you want to own a house? This article argues that home ownership a form of slavery while renting is what you do when life is so interesting you don’t notice where you live.

Will spoiled boomers bankrupt the millennials? Probably not.

A great piece on how the rising loonie is impacting Canadian investors. My response:

“I use the exchange traded fund VXC to get exposure to markets outside of Canada. It’s down this year, even though the underlying ETFs it tracks in the U.S., Europe, and emerging markets are all up or flat. The reason is because of the rising Canadian dollar. The thing is, last year VXC had a nice return as the loonie tanked, so I can’t really complain when it goes the other way.

What’s an investor to do but stand by and accept that you can’t predict currency fluctuations?”

An article that hit home about the dangers of not including spouses in financial planning.

Pet travel costs, breast augmentation, free beer. Tim Cestnick reveals the craziest tax deductions he’s seen for 2015. My favourite – the deduction for paying a kidnapping ransom.

Dan Wesley from Our Big Fat Wallet looks at the pros and cons of moving to another province to save on taxes.

When it comes to holding corporations accountable, we often think of high-profile activist hedge-fund managers like Bill Ackman forcing change. But research shows that index funds are actually improving corporate governance. Look at what Vanguard CEO F. William McNabb III had to say:

“We’re going to hold your stock if we like you. And if we don’t. We’re going to hold your stock when everyone else is piling in. And when everyone else is running for the exits. That is precisely why we care so much about good governance.”

Morgan Housel acknowledges that there are conflicts between what customers need and what good, honest professionals are sometimes able to provide.

“Coming to terms with this might make you less cynical about the people who work in the the finance industry and more enlightened about what needs to change.”

In some situations, donations of goods are specifically requested by aid agencies, or families amidst disaster. But when unsolicited goods are sent, they can do more harm than good.

Finally, a chilling long-read about the Fort McMurray fire: The Great Escape.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


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