Weekend Reading: Back From Boston Edition

Back From Boston Edition

My wife and I travelled to Boston last week and spent four nights in this amazing and historic city. We had a great time, but it felt strange to travel outside of Canada for the first time in almost two years.

We had a lot of anxiety about the requirements for leaving and entering Canada, but everything was relatively painless. We took a rapid antigen test at Shoppers Drug Mart ($40 each) and had our printed out (negative) results three days prior to departure. We also went online and scheduled a PCR test at a CVS in Boston. These tests must be taken no more than 72 hours prior to your return flight to Canada. 

Much has been made of the cost of taking a PCR test in the U.S. but the tests are free at Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy locations if booked online. We just used our hotel’s address when we made the appointment, then took an Uber to the drive-thru location. No questions asked about who we were and where we were from. We got the results back in about 36 hours and then showed the negative result when we checked-in to our flight.

That slight hassle aside, the trip was a blast! We went with another couple, friends of ours from Calgary, and stayed downtown at the Courtyard by Marriott – a perfect location for getting around on foot or by train. TD Garden is also right across the street and we watched the Boston Celtics beat the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks in overtime.

Boston Paul Revere

The only downside to the trip was our original reason for going – to watch my beloved Cleveland Browns take on the New England Patriots. Unfortunately my Browns decided not to show up and got thoroughly pummelled 45-7. Not fun!

With the news of Health Canada approving the Pfizer vaccine for 5-11 year-olds we can finally clear one of the last hurdles to carefully resuming our travel plans next year and beyond. Our tentative plan is to visit Maui in February, Italy in April, and the U.K. in July.

Reboot Your Portfolio Giveaway:

Thank you to everyone who left a comment and entered to win a copy of Dan Bortolotti’s new book, Reboot Your Portfolio.

We had more than 100 entries and the lucky winner is Devin, who commented on November 8, 2021 at 6:07 am. Congrats, Devin!

I wish I had more copies to give away because this book is a must-read for every investor who is interested in reducing their fees, diversifying their portfolio, simplifying their investment strategy, and ultimately enjoying a more reliable investment outcome over the long term.

This Week’s Recap:

I made my MoneySense writing debut this month with two articles on ETF investing. The first looks at growth investing, while the second article is about how to use your ‘explore’ investments to tame volatility.

Over on Young & Thrifty I wrote about investing FOMO and how to curb your fear of missing out

I also explained how to decode your investment fees whether you invest in ‘A’ series mutual funds, use a robo advisor, or select your own ETFs.

Back here on Boomer & Echo I shared how to crush your RRSP contributions next year with one simple trick.

Promo of the Week:

This week’s promo is brought to you by Marriott’s Bonvoy rewards program.

Our flight to Boston left in the early morning from Calgary. We live two hours away in Lethbridge, and so we decided to stay at the Calgary Airport Marriott in-terminal hotel the night before. 

We used a free night certificate from our Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card benefits to stay for free and then just rolled out of bed and checked-in to our flight. Easy.

We also booked the Courtyard by Marriott Boston on points we’ve saved up over the past two years. We build up hotel points by using the American Express Cobalt Card and then transferring Membership Rewards to Marriott (5 MR points = 6 Bonvoy points).

Right now you can earn 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when you charge $1,500 to your card in the first 3 months. You’ll also get a free night certificate to use in a Category 5 hotel.

Weekend Reading:

Our friends at Credit Card Genius compared 20 rewards programs to determine which Canadian rewards program is worth the most in categories ranging from flights, to hotels, to groceries & gas, and more.

Global’s Erica Alini looks at how the new ‘buy now, pay later’ options affect your brain.

This author was scammed out of $15,000. Why didn’t she spot the red flags?

The Irrelevant Investor Michael Batnick has been playing around in the metaverse and also got scammed out of $5,000 from his digital wallet.

A good article from Michael James on Money on why you should invest how he says and not how he does. Michael is, like I am, a big proponent of low cost passive investing using a simple one ETF solution. But he’s comfortable holding multiple ETFs, including U.S.-listed ETFs held inside his RRSP, and tilting his portfolio to small cap value stocks.

I prefer a simpler approach to investing.

In an excerpt from his new book, Reboot Your Portfolio, Dan Bortolotti explains why the best investing move is usually…not to do anything.

Millionaire Teacher Andrew Hallam shares why these Millennial investors want stocks to crash.

Preet Banerjee does a terrific job explaining how it’s possible to offer commission-free stock trading and why it’s bad for investors:

Since Andrew Hallam began investing, every week of every year a famous economist, a famous hedge fund manager or an esteemed journalist from a respected financial publication has headlined, “Stocks are heading for a crash.”

Why tactical asset allocation (switching between different asset classes in response to changing economic conditions) fails to keep up with static index investing.

My Own Advisor Mark Seed explains how to invest for retirement when time is no longer your friend.

Gen Y Money shares the uncomfortable truth about the FIRE movement.

Finally, the CPP earnings cap is increasing at the fastest rate in 30 years. Here’s why that’s happening and what it means.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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  1. Steve Oliver on November 20, 2021 at 3:16 pm

    Hi Rob, Glad to hear you had a trip to Boston and thank you for sharing information about the tests. Now if you or your wife tested positive, what would have happened? Would you have been stuck in Boston for 2 weeks and then having to produce a negative test and then having to buy new flights home? I would like to do a trip like yours and go to Miami Beach!

    On crossing the boarder, Canada will soon let us return after driving across on 3 day trips. But if I am going longer, I have to show a negative test on the Canadian side on my return. If I have a positive test, or I simply say I didnt get tested , do you know what Canada would do with me? I am thinking they would send me home to isolate for a number of days and get tested. They certainly wouldnt send me back to the USA would they?

  2. Braydon on November 20, 2021 at 3:23 pm

    I thought the football game was good …

    • Robb Engen on November 20, 2021 at 3:36 pm

      The opening drive was fun. The rest, not so much…

  3. GYM on November 21, 2021 at 12:42 am

    Thanks for the mention! Thanks also for the tip about using CVS or Walgreens to book a PCR test. Glad you were able to get away outside of Canada. We went to Parksville and Victoria and it was nice to get away even if within province.

    We are probably going to take a chance and go to Hawaii early next year too. A few people we know went to Hawaii (albeit they have no kids) and said it was great.

  4. Bob Wen on November 21, 2021 at 8:00 am

    Our travel plans are still firmly on hold. Although we’re fully vaccinated, we still have concerns of catching COVID and the implications of not being covered by the travel insurance. How did you address these concerns. We’ve postponed our trip to the UK for two winters now, as the current infection rate is running at 35,000 to 50,000 a day! The UK has just over twice the population of Canada.


  5. Rob on November 21, 2021 at 8:35 am

    Happy to hear you had success booking a drug store test on line. I spent a frustrating day trying to do the same from California. The issue being that the billing address for my credit cards is Canadian and their online form didn’t accommodate a Cdn address. Tried to book in person and they wouldn’t do it. Booked at a county clinic for a free test to find they couldn’t guarantee the results in 72 hours even tho the website said they could. Ended up doing the US$200 rapid test at the airport a few hours before my flight – expensive and stressful.
    If there’s one tip to share with readers – make sure the 72 hours is from your gateway flight.
    I was refused boarding in Denver last year because my test was expired by 1 hour. When I boarded in PSP at 6am, everything was fine. But I had to scrambling in DEN to get a rapid test – another US$200 – and rebook via Chicago for a later flight. Again, expensive and stressful.

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