Weekend Reading: Merry Christmas Edition

Merry Christmas, everyone! Welcome to the last edition of weekend reading for 2017. We’re taking Christmas week off and I’ll be back next weekend to update my net worth for the year.

As always, thank you for following our journey towards financial freedom. We feel incredibly honoured that each of you choose to spend a bit of time with us every week in our attempt to educate, inform, and promote financial literacy. This year our humble blog has received a record 1.1MM page views, the bulk of which come from our newsletter subscribers and new readers arriving from Google searches.

This year social media has played a larger role in our viewership, where Twitter and Facebook are the third and fourth most popular referring sites. The biggest uptick has come from Facebook, where visits are up 310 percent and our Facebook page has grown from 2,100 ‘likes’ to nearly 5,500 this year.

Here are (by far) the five most popular blog posts of the year:

  1. Your Year-End Financial Planning Checklist
  2. We’re Buying New Vehicles At A Record Pace, And It’s Killing Our Finances
  3. 5 Financial Traps Seniors Fall Into, And How To Avoid Them
  4. How Will The New CPP Changes Affect You?
  5. Why My Four Minute Portfolio Is Tough To Beat

These articles have one thing in common: They were picked up and shared by major media outlets such as The Globe & Mail, CBC, Toronto Star, Global News, and MoneySense. Many thanks to Rob Carrick, Sophia Harris, Prajakta Dhopade, Ellen Roseman, and Erica Alini (to name a few) for being such amazing supporters of the personal finance blogging community.

This Week’s Recap:

On Monday I wrote about how to Save More Tomorrow – the procrastinator’s guide to saving money.

On Wednesday Marie explained how to be energy efficient this winter.

Weekend Reading:

Grab a BIG cup of coffee and settle in for this Morgan Housel gem – The Greatest Story Ever Told.

Earlier this week George Weston and Loblaw disclosed their participation in an industry-wide bread price-fixing arrangement for more than a decade.

In response, Loblaw is offering eligible customers a $25 gift card. Registration for the Loblaw Card Program will open on January 8, 2018, but you can register now to be notified when registration opens.

Save-On-Foods will also be offering $25 gift cards to its More Rewards members in the coming days.

What is Bitcoin really worth? Don’t even ask, says economics professor Robert Shiller.

What’s in a name? Businesses previously focused on making fitness apparel, cigars and beverages have rebranded themselves into virtual currency or blockchain companies.

Ask a behavioural economist: Is it better to give cash or gift cards?

Steadyhand’s David Toyne with a thoughtful letter – Planning for a future without me and why it feels good.

Preet Banerjee is back with a couple of new podcast episodes:

My four-minute portfolio consists of just two ETFs, but can a portfolio of just one ETF make sense? Dan Bortolotti explains the pros and cons.

Fred Vettese reveals the truth about whether CPP will be there for you in retirement (hint: it will).

5 things you can do by year end that could trim your tax bill in 2018.

Do I need to retire my debt, before I retire myself? Jason Heath explains why it might make more sense to pay off debt later.

It’s been a tough year for the payday loan industry as new provincial regulations have squeezed their margins. We’ll forgive you if you don’t shed a tear.

Finally, something I’m keeping an eye on, Jamie Golombek explains what the proposed new income sprinkling rules mean for you and your business.

Enjoy the holidays, everyone – see you next week!

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9 Comments

  1. Pellrider on December 23, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Merry Christmas to you! It was a great year of blogging. Thanks for sharing all the juicy financial tips.

  2. Gary on December 23, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Merry Christmas Robb and Marie. Thank you for your excellent blog; my two adult kids love it too!

  3. Gert on December 23, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!
    Can you believe it…2018? Where are the flying cars and transporters? How in the world have we gotten this far without them?
    It’s been another year of ups and downs and I suspect 2018 might not be too different. I understand the importantance of healthy finance but without personal health finance means very little.
    So my wish to you Marie, Robb and everyone else is good health & happy family…the rest is really not that important!
    Cheers to all!

  4. Cheryl on December 23, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Merry Christmas! Thanks for the great advice you provide.

  5. Carmen on December 23, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2018. Look forward to more excellent blog advice and information in the New Year (by you both) as well extending my appreciation for my Christmas reading “Dollars and Sense”. Happy holidays, Carmen

  6. Douglas Downing on December 24, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Dear Robb,
    I have followed your weekly blogs with interest for some long time but so far have not taken a position on your advise in respect of my portfolio.
    Now I need to change, like you I am fed up with managing and researching my investments and look for a far simpler, cost effective approach.
    Your two fund portfolio makes absolute sense to me and I applaud you for your venture. However being of a conservative nature I wonder whether you would adopt the same approach if your portfolio value far exceeded its current value or would you look to spread your assets across a more diverse basket of funds, including cash products.
    I am retired but also wish to grow my portfolio for those that follow.
    Thanks in advance for your comments.

    • Echo on December 29, 2017 at 10:55 am

      Hi Douglas, thanks for your comment. One misconception about a two or three ETF portfolio is that it’s not diverse. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Remember, VCN holds 300+ Canadian stocks and VXC holds more than 10,000 stocks from around the globe. Add in a Canadian bond fund and you’ve got all the diversification you’ll need.

      Since you’re retired but still interested in using ETFs to grow your portfolio I’d recommend reading this article by Dan Bortolotti – http://www.moneysense.ca/save/retirement/a-better-way-to-generate-retirement-income/

      It’s one of the best I’ve ever seen on how to manage an ETF portfolio while still generating income for retirement.

  7. Ginette on December 24, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year! Many thanks for the great personal finance information and reading throughout the year. I love to share the blog with folks who are yet to get started with RESP’s for their small children and folks leading up to retirement who are unsure of how to plan and prepare. Your blog, I truly believe, changes people’s lives for the better. What a great gift you give!

    • Echo on December 29, 2017 at 10:56 am

      Hi Ginette, many thanks for the kind words – we’re very humbled!

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