Weekend Reading: Passport Renewal Edition

My wife and I first got passports prior to our wedding and honeymoon in 2006. I last travelled to the U.S. in 2011 when I attended a conference in Orlando, Florida, just a few months before the five-year passport expired. Since then, changes to Canada’s passport program include the new e-Passport, along with the option to apply for a 10-year passport. In addition, all children who travel need their own passport or travel documents.

Now that our kids are a bit older (6 and 3 this year), we’re considering more travel destinations outside of the country and have been looking into getting passports for the entire family. The fee for a 10-year adult passport is $160, while the child passport (0-15 years of age) costs $57 and is valid for five years. Altogether we’d be looking at $434 to get our travel documents.

We often visit Waterton Lakes National Park, which is just a 90-minute drive from Lethbridge, but we’d love the option to cross the border to Glacier National Park and take Going-to-the-Sun road through the mountains this summer.

This week’s recap:

On Monday I wrote about how we find joy in the little things – like cash back.

On Wednesday Marie asked whether you’re cut out to be a DIY investor.

And on Friday I looked at 9 money myths that experts wish you’d stop believing.


Earlier this year Capital One replaced its popular Aspire Travel World MasterCard with the Aspire Travel World Elite MasterCard. Gone is the 35,000 miles welcome bonus and 10,000 mile anniversary bonus. New applicants instead get a 10,000 mile bonus and right now when you sign up for the Aspire Travel World Elite MasterCard through Great Canadian Rebates, you’ll get a cash back rebate of $75.

Weekend Reading:

Dan Wesley highlighted a controversial money-saving technique for travellers called hidden city ticketing where the traveller books a cheaper multi-stop flight and departs before he or she gets to the final destination.

“In its simplest form, a passenger purchases a ticket from city A to city B to city C but does not travel beyond city B.”

Harvard Business Review explains why many of us work on the weekend – because it gives a productivity high and we enjoy it.

Why the secret to never being frustrated again could be as simple as ABCD.

Barry Choi disagrees with the idea that a stay-at-home mom’s “salary” should be pegged at about $74,000.

A University of Guelph professor argues that it’s a mistake for all grade-12 graduates to attend university as soon as possible.

Rob Carrick interviews an author whose new book suggests that moving back home is the single best economic decision that young people can make.

Changes to TFSA contribution limits may not be the only item on the conservative agenda in next week’s federal budget. Reports surfaced that the budget could also include changes to RRIF withdrawal rules. Seniors rejoice!

At the Findependence Hub, CFP Doug Dahmer looked at winning the tax game during your decumulation years.

Should you buy mutual funds from your bank? Downtown Josh Brown looks at the history of underperforming bank mutual funds.

A commission-based advisor sounds off over talk of banning trailer fees in favour of a fee-based or fee-for-service model. The advisor doesn’t think it’s any of your business how he gets paid.

Here’s what your fund fees and performance reports will look like under the new CRM2 guidelines. Still too confusing for my liking.

Canadian Portfolio Manager Justin Bender highlights two global ex-Canada ETFs in this war of the worlds comparison.

Michael James argues that the question of whether to pay down your mortgage or invest often fails to account for problem scenarios such as losing your job during a prolonged bear market.

Alan Whitton explains how the trend of employee pricing has moved beyond auto-sales and into mortgages offered by the big banks.

Million Dollar Journey features a net worth update from QCash, a reader who retired at 36.

Finally, Rob Carrick says there’s nothing wrong with banks offering fabulously low mortgage rates.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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  1. Barry @ Moneywehave on April 18, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Thanks for the mention!

    I wish I got paid for every “job” I performed. If that were the case I’d be making well over $74K.

  2. Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet on April 18, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    Thanks for the mention Robb, it will be interesting to see if hidden airline ticketing takes off in the next few years. Not sure why it’s cheaper to fly Calgary-Seattle than Calgary-Vancouver, but it is, so my guess is some people will go for it

    • Richard on April 19, 2015 at 9:55 pm

      It reminds me of the news story about a bank that, like all banks, had a lot of fine print in their offers. One customer crossed out a few items before sending back the signed contract. When the bank opened his account the modified contract gave him an interest-free loan. Then the bank complained that the contract wasn’t valid because they hadn’t read all the details.

      I can understand why airlines would want to make an offer that is only available to certain people, but they’ll have to come up with a better line than “the prices are complicated and we can’t understand whether we’re getting a good deal”.

  3. Sean Cooper, Financial Journalist on April 18, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Rob Carrick’s article is interesting, but it’s important to think of the affect moving back home has on your parents. It could put their retirement plans on hold.

    • David on April 19, 2015 at 10:02 am

      If your main travel area is the U.S. why not apply for Nexus. Not sure if children can get them but I don’t see why not.

      • Echo on April 19, 2015 at 10:33 am

        Hi David, we’re planning on a trip to Europe in the next two or three years, so there’s some incentive just get everyone’s passport out of the way soon.

      • Jon Reisinger on April 20, 2015 at 9:52 am

        Kids can get nexus cards. My 4 year old daughter has one and it makes crossing the border a breeze. I am a Canadian living in the states btw.

        Also, I just renewed my passport from abroad, tack on another $100 to the fee if it is not being shipped to Canada. On the bright side, I received my passport within 4 weeks which was nice.

        • Echo on April 20, 2015 at 1:32 pm

          Hi Jon, thanks for stopping by. I’ll check out NEXUS for the kids!

  4. Michael James on April 20, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Thanks for the mention this week.

  5. Alan W. (BCM) on April 20, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Thanks for the inclusion this week, YOU TOO, can have EMPLOYEE discounts? What a load of cods wallop!

  6. Susan Joanne on April 20, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Have to agree with the comments that attending University right out of school isn’t always the best. Found out with my 3 children that the oldest was ready and knew what she wanted. The other two went when they were ready and wanted to be there after working at a variety of jobs. Life experience and maturity all play into it. With the rising cost of education it isn’t a place to just find yourself!

    • Echo on April 20, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      Hi Susan, thanks for sharing. I agree 100% – you can’t afford to waste a year doing general studies in hopes of finding out what you really want to do. Work, travel (or do both) for a year or two and you’ll be in a better place to decide.

      • Susan Joanne on April 20, 2015 at 1:45 pm

        The other thing too is student debt. Our kids commuted 45 minutes from home (I realize not all can do that)in a carpool and did not opt to live on their own which adds a huge amount to their debt. The savings to this was huge no matter the gas price!! We proved it and all 3 got out of University with little to none debt.

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