Weekend Reading: Look in the Mirror Edition

Alberta Premier Jim Prentice got into some hot water this week regarding comments he made during a CBC radio interview about the province’s potential $7-billion revenue shortfall in the upcoming budget year.

Prentice said that Albertans have enjoyed the best public services in the country but haven’t built a revenue model to sustain them.

“In terms of who is responsible, we all need only look in the mirror, right. Basically all of us have had the best of everything and have not had to pay for what it costs.”

The comments sparked a backlash on social media sites, with Twitter getting in on the action with the humorous hashtag #PrenticeBlamesAlbertans.

It’s tough talk from the Premier, who’s faced with the daunting task of diversifying Alberta’s oil-dependant economy. None of the proposed solutions will be popular with Albertans, but kicking the can down the road is not an option this time. The reality is that a combination of higher taxes and reduced spending is coming down the pike, whether Albertans like it or not.

My take on Prentice’s “look in the mirror” comment is that he’s right to blame Albertans – not for the current economic crisis, but for accepting whatever the Tories fed them for the past 43 years without question.

This week’s recap:

A busy week on the blog, starting with my thoughts on whether the current low interest rate environment is punishing savers.

On Wednesday, Marie shared a rant about customer service today earning more brickbats than bouquets.

Our new Throwback Thursday feature looked at the differences between buying a home in 1974 vs. 2014.

Friday’s financial makeover featured soon-to-be mortgage-free freelance writer Sean Cooper and how we’ll diversify his portfolio after he pays off his mortgage.

Some people avoid collecting credit card rewards for a number of emotional reasons. This post on Rewards Cards Canada looks at five ridiculous excuses for not using a rewards credit card.

Weekend Reading:

Helaine Olen says not to buy the tales of meaningful work into your 70s. Your retirement is inevitable—and bleaker than the last generation’s.

Rob Carrick ran an online financial boot camp last month, advising most to spend less and reduce debt. Sounds great in theory, but there’s no money for that – according to this Winnipeg teacher.

The latest Carrick Talks Money video explains why seniors are such easy marks for scammers:

This free retirement planning software aims to fix the flawed advice of the pros.

Jamie Golombek says that neglecting long-term savings in favour of debt repayment may result in sacrificing the quality of your retirement.

Adam Mayers explains why the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan can afford to increase benefits for its 295,000 members. The plan has earned an average of 10.27 percent a year over the last decade.

Steadyhand, which offers low cost, actively managed mutual funds, published a report that compared the experiences of an ETF investor with a Steadyhand client over the last seven years.

This Buttonwood piece suggests that studies like the one above give investors false hope because the strategies aren’t tested rigorously enough.

A guest post on My Own Advisor defends active investing.

A Wealth of Common Sense blog looks at an alternative to the widely accepted 60/40 balanced portfolio.

13 expert investors shared their biggest mistakes and what they did to fix it.

Michael James on Money shared some of the wisdom from Warren Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders.

Downtown Josh Brown looks at the smart questions clients ask their financial planners.

Picking stocks is hard – and that’s according to this active stock picker, who says he might be better off switching to indexing.

Retirement expert Malcolm Hamilton says the existing TFSA limits are sufficient for the majority of Canadians.

An update on Karl the real estate investor’s net worth triggered an interesting discussion on the Million Dollar Journey blog.

Are rewards points taxable? Accountant Dan Wesley explains what you need to know.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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  1. Michael James on March 7, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    It’s easy to get hooked on the income that comes from selling stuff you dig out of the ground. We see that not only in Alberta but around the world. Thanks for the mention.

  2. My Own Advisor on March 7, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Politics although sometimes informative can be entertaining. The Alberta government is just like individual savers, they have only a few options when it comes to better money management: save more, spend less, generate more income or some combination of all three.

    Thanks for the mention. Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  3. Sean Cooper, Financial Journalist on March 7, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    I consider Alberta Taxas north. Too bad with the leader of the Wild Rose party defecting to the Conservatives, the premier can say whatever he wants and he’ll still win a majority. Seems like a dictatorship to me.

  4. Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet on March 8, 2015 at 7:52 am

    Thanks for the mention, Robb, I’m really hoping all Albertans make a bold move in the next election

  5. Paul N on March 9, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    I’m surprised he became Premier. I feel he handled the whole DRM / downloading issue back in 2008 very poorly. He came off as “pandering to US interests” rather then looking out for what’s best for Canadians.

    But generally… what politician does not tow its party line? Or have some kind of agenda. So your last line in your post could be slapped on each and every politician. When is the last time you heard some positive changes that were good for all Canadians that all parties agreed on?

    Even if it is something good, the opposing party try’s to block the change, just because it wasn’t them doing it. Or… they talk endlessly for their entire term about for example, a subway line, while they keep pulling money out of your back pocket hoping your distracted from the bigger picture issues.

    Just be thankful you don’t have the Ontario Premier there. There are some real voodoo economics in their budget.

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