It’s been a bad year for retail stores in Canada. Last week, Future Shop joined the ranks of Target, Sony Corp, Radio Shack, Mexx, and Smart Set, by abruptly closing 66 of its 131 stores (with plans to convert the remainder into Best Buy locations).

The “Amazon effect” is partly to blame, according to researchers, as Canadians now buy one-third of their electronics online. This struck me as ironic, as for years Future Shop famously tried to push its customers online.

The shift to online shopping must be even more problematic for electronics retailers, as they don’t get the chance to push extended warranties and up-sell other accessories like they do in-store.

I find myself shopping online more and more these days, taking advantage of my Amazon Prime membership to get free two-day shipping on pretty much everything. No pushy sales staff to avoid, plus I can read helpful reviews from people who actually bought the product, rather than listening to someone who just wants to earn a commission.

This week’s recap:

On Monday I had the chance to review The One-Page Financial Plan, a new book by Carl Richards. Carl was nice enough to send us two signed copies to give away to our readers. I used a random number generator to select the two winners:

  1. gcai – who left a comment on March 30th at 6:15pm
  2. M. – who left a comment on March 30th at 10:41am

Congratulations! I’ll be in touch with the winners this week and arrange to send out the books.

On Wednesday Marie shared some useful tips on how to deal with paper clutter.

And on Friday we published another Boomer & Echo financial makeover – living on a budget in an expensive city.

Over on Rewards Cards Canada I got a letter explaining how my Capital One Aspire Travel World MasterCard will be transitioned to the new World Elite MasterCard.

I also shared a few emails from readers about their continued frustration with the Aeroplan program.

Weekend Reading:

Speaking of Aeroplan, Patrick Sojka has five tips to avoid or mitigate fuel surcharges on award tickets.

Dan Wesley had a slight glitch on his return trip from New York and shares his story about getting compensated for a flight delay.

Michael James discusses how employees react to the possibility of getting fired.

Barry Choi guest posted at My Own Advisor and shared some crazy things people say about money.

Financial Uproar explains why small investors are screwed. Hey – those are my potential clients!

Along a similar theme, Ben Carlson asks – do young investors need a financial advisor?

Ron Lieber wrote a compelling piece in the New York Times as to why paying for financial advice makes sense.

This financial advisor explains why he believes banning commissions will ultimately hurt investors.

A long, but worthy read on how Vanguard’s new online advisory service is a big threat to the traditional financial advice industry.

An interesting read on why millennials are rejecting their parents’ treasures – like that old leather sofa.

One of the fallouts from the Alberta budget is the loss of small niche programs like the Alberta Centennial Education Savings Plan, or ACES Plan, which is shutting down later this year. The program contributed a $500 grant to the RESP of any child born after January 1st, 2005, plus an additional $100 when the child turned 8, 11, and 14.

Big Cajun Man shared a rant about setting up a student line of credit at National Bank. Should make for an interesting series.

Why do children need chores? Doing household chores has many benefits—academically, emotionally and even professionally.

Jason Hull explains why spending diets don’t work. Hint: It’s a slippery slope to “What the hell?” mentality.

Mr. Money Mustache continues his media rounds, this time he’s featured in the Globe and Mail talking about how to retire at age 30 (and stay retired).

And finally, April Fools’ Day is terrible but at least there’s one article I look forward to every year. Dan Bortolotti is back with a tale of Bender, the new Canadian Couch Potato robo-advisory service.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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