Weekend Reading: Au Revoir, Toronto Star Edition

Monday marked the end of my bi-weekly column in the Toronto Star.  The most widely read newspaper in Canada has decided to scale back its personal finance section to focus more on consumer awareness and advocacy stories (okay, more Rob Ford coverage).

I want to thank The Star, and my editor Adam Mayers, for the opportunity and experience to grow as a writer.  Working with an editor has helped improve my critical thinking around personal finance and investing issues, forcing me to look at both sides to offer a balanced perspective.

I’ll continue to submit the odd freelance piece to The Star, but for now I’ll focus on this blog and our fee-only financial planning service.

This week’s recap

My last piece for The Star looked at four sales pitches that require sober second thought.

On Monday, Sean Cooper stopped by to explain why striving for mortgage freedom is worth the sacrifices.

On Wednesday, Marie wrote about one of the most difficult questions facing Canadians today – Can I afford to retire?

Over on Rewards Cards Canada I wrote about the new SimplyCash cards from American Express.  I’ll have more on how these cards stack up against other cash back cards here later this month.

Several websites offer additional cash back incentives when you sign up for credit cards.  This post explains where to find the top rewards credit cards to take advantage of those incentives.

Weekend Reading

Maclean’s writer Scott Feschuk pours cold coffee on the notion that Tim Hortons is some kind of national treasure.

Speaking of Tim Hortons, Frugal Trader answers the question on many investors minds’ – Should I sell or hold during stock mergers and acquisitions?

Hotels and airlines change pricing daily based on consumer demand.  Why don’t restaurants do the same?  The Priceonomics blog tackles a very interesting question – Why don’t restaurants charge for reservations?

Steadyhand’s Tom Bradley says the Canadian Securities Administrators have some unfinished business – it’s time to end embedded commissions and fees.

Barry Choi at Money We Have reviewed a new personal finance booked called Wealthing Like Rabbits.  The author sent me a review copy and I must say this is not your typical boring book about money.  It looks hilarious and I can’t wait to get through it and put up a review of my own.

Nelson Smith at Financial Uproar compares the dividend aristocrat strategy to a simple index strategy and declares a winner.  Sort of.

Mark Seed from My Own Advisor offered up a primer on opening your online brokerage account.

Dan at Our Big Fat Wallet explains everything you need to know about RESPs.

Ben Carlson at A Wealth of Common Sense looks at how framing affects our investment decisions and outcomes.

Finally, The Atlantic had a fascinating piece looking inside Google’s secret drone-delivery program.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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  1. Nelson on September 4, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    I’m not sure of the details, but apparently the Kennedy family got the mob to “influence” the results of the 1960 election in certain battleground cities like Chicago and Cleveland.

    I can’t be the only one who thinks the Toronto Star is up to something similar to ensure Rob Ford gets re-elected. The faux outrage is the best, a couple reporters clearly hate the guy’s guts. It’s all going to be very entertaining when Rob Ford wins.

    • Echo on September 4, 2014 at 11:03 pm

      This NEEDS to happen!

      • Gaye D on September 6, 2014 at 12:40 pm

        Didn’t understand your comment..What “needs to happen”? Ford get elected again? pls say you did not mean that.

        • Echo on September 6, 2014 at 1:11 pm

          It was a joke. I live in Alberta so I don’t really care who wins the mayoral race in T.O.

    • Don on September 5, 2014 at 8:46 pm

      If Ford wins, it will show that TO needs an intervention. Sorry, but a few dollars a year on your tax bill isn’t worth the BS that goes with it.

  2. Barry @ Moneywehave on September 4, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Hey Robb,

    Thanks for the shout. Wealthing Like Rabbits was a fun read that I enjoyed quite a bit, very unique.

    • Echo on September 4, 2014 at 11:06 pm

      No problem, Barry. Thanks for hooking me up with a review copy from the author.

  3. My Own Advisor on September 5, 2014 at 4:28 am

    Too bad The Star is scaling back, I learned this from Sheryl Smolkin recently as well. I guess they are going the National Enquirer route?

    If Ford gets elected again, it certainly sends a message about what people value.

    No doubt this blog, your other sites and freelancing will keep you busy Robb.

    Thanks for the mention and support, enjoy the weekend!

    • Echo on September 6, 2014 at 9:03 am

      Hi Mark, to be fair, Ellen Roseman is still their doing excellent work on consumer advocacy and personal finance issues.

  4. Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet on September 5, 2014 at 6:53 am

    Thanks for the mention Robb, always appreciated. Interesting move from the Star, I’m curious to see what direction they take in the future

  5. Stephen @ HowToSaveMoney.ca on September 5, 2014 at 7:08 am

    Too bad you’re no longer going to be writing for the Star. I thought it was great that you were a regular columnist. Very hard for newspapers to compete in this digital world where there’s so much content for people to consume everywhere.

    As Mark says, I’m sure your other endeavours will keep you busy!

  6. Grant on September 5, 2014 at 8:18 am

    It’s a shame the Star is going in this direction. Do they they really think their reader’s don’t need this information? Hello!?

  7. Michael Belfry on September 5, 2014 at 8:52 am

    I enjoyed reading your column in the Star, Robb. Maybe you should look at one of Canada’s national newspapers. They seem to have room for personal finance content… ; )

  8. Rob Brown on September 5, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Thanks for the pre-review (is that a word?) mention. I hope you enjoy WLR and I’m looking forward to your post!

  9. Tawcan on September 5, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Too bad The Star is scaling back on personal finance topics. I think there should be more PF topics on new coverage since we don’t get much PF education through school (if any at all).

  10. Kerri-Lynn McAllister on September 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    That’s too bad about The Star! We really enjoyed your credit card content over at RateHub. Maybe you will consider writing for us once we launch our comparisons.

    • Echo on September 6, 2014 at 9:04 am

      Hi Kerri-Lynn, thanks! I responded to Cait’s email.

  11. Sean Cooper, Financial Journalist on September 5, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Rob, sorry to hear you lose your position at the Toronto Star. I really enjoyed your articles! Unfortunately, print media is dying – there’s nothing we can do to change that. It’s sad to see how far MoneyVille has fallen. Since the Star put up their pay wall I stopped reading it. At least I’ll be able to still enjoy your blogs over at B&E. Keep up the great work!

    • Echo on September 6, 2014 at 9:09 am

      Hi Sean, it is a tough industry. The challenge with Moneyville was that it didn’t generate enough advertising support to be sustainable. They tried to fold it all back into the Star’s main hub, but again, the dollars weren’t there. I assume they have analytics and can see that nobody clicks on articles about saving 1% on mutual fund fees. They want to read about political antics and businesses screwing over consumers. Unfortunately the banks and investment companies have all the advertising dollars and aren’t likely to support a platform that’s dedicated to informing readers how they’re being screwed over.

      • Don on September 10, 2014 at 10:59 pm

        Rob, I think that the author of the “Give Me My 5 bucks back” was in the same boat a few years ago. Sad to see you being cut, too.

  12. Potato on September 5, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Wow, I can’t believe that about the Star. What will be left, “native advertising”?

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