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Weekend Reading: Sad To See You Go Edition

It’s always a bit sad when someone unsubscribes from our newsletter, especially when a long-time reader moves on. But I couldn’t help but get a warm feeling this week after receiving a notification that one of our loyal readers unsubscribed:

“You helped inspire me toward retirement with good financial planning over a several year period. I’ve been retired two years now & find many articles no longer interest me. I spend more time reading about my hobbies than money – a good thing! Thank you for the education and information.”

We also get quite a few emails from readers who have passed along our newsletter to their children (or parents!), and for that we are grateful.

There’s always going to be a period in your life when you’re laser-focused on something related to personal finance, whether it’s digging yourself out of debt, preparing for a major event such as a career change, maternity leave, or a move, or as you buckle-down and get ready to retire.

As personal finance bloggers, we’re thrilled to be part of that journey – no matter what age and stage you’re in.

A Boomer & Echo meet-up

Blogging has been a great way for my mom and I to stay close and keep the communication lines open, but with over 800 kilometres separating Kelowna B.C. from Lethbridge, AB, we don’t get a chance to see each other that often.

That’s why it was great to have my mom over to visit and take part in a busy week of activities with our family.

Boomer & Echo

We capped off the week with a trip out to Waterton Lakes National Park – a great way to spend Earth Day on a gorgeous April day in the park with family.

Investing with Wealthsimple

If you’ve been reading Boomer & Echo for a while you’ll know that I’m a big fan of simplifying your finances by investing in a low cost, broadly diversified basket of index funds or ETFs. One of the best ways to do this is by using a robo-advisor – an online automated investing service that takes all of the guesswork out of investing.

We’ve partnered with one of Canada’s leading robo-advisors – Wealthsimple – to offer an incentive where Boomer & Echo readers get a special $50 bonus when they open up a new Wealthsimple account.

This week’s recap:

On Monday I urged readers to shop around for car insurance instead of blindly accepting increases to their premiums every year.

On Wednesday Marie explained the ins and outs of income trusts, including the famous Halloween massacre.

And on Friday Marie outlined a scenario on how to withdraw money from your retirement nest egg.

Remember, you can keep up with the latest articles and tips on Boomer & Echo by subscribing to our newsletter, liking us on Facebook, and following us on Twitter.

Weekend reading:

The Million Dollar Journey blog looks at airport lounge passes and wonders whether this perk is worth the cost.

Dan Wesley at Our Big Fat Wallet describes how he negotiated to waive his annual credit card fee (with Capital One).

Norm Rothery generated a lot of interest in a recent MoneySense article with the hot potato investing strategy – an active twist on the traditional coach potato approach.

John Robertson takes a closer look at the hot potato and says “proceed with caution”.

Speaking of couch potatoes, Dan Bortolotti says target date funds are a reasonable alternative to random mutual funds, but with one caveat: watch the fees.

(In case you missed it: My take on using target date funds inside your RESP).

Jonathan Chevreau says robo-advisors and ETFs prove it’s time for a new financial advice fee structure.

The rise of the most powerful idea in investing – the shift from active to passive investment management.

Did you know: Up to 1.1 million disabled Canadians are eligible for free money from Ottawa?

The skinny basic cable idea is flopping by every measure.

Another iconic musician passed away suddenly when Prince died in his recording studio on Thursday. Here’s a great read on how Prince rebelled against the music industry.

This Esquire piece is worth a read: 4 men with 4 very different incomes open up about the lives they can afford.

The post inspired A Wealth of Common Sense blogger Ben Carlson to write about why personal finance is personal.

This just in: Fancy juice doesn’t cleanse the body of toxins.

“People are interested in this so-called detoxification, but when I ask them what they are trying to get rid of, they aren’t really sure,” said Dr. James H. Grendell, the chief of the division of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. “I’ve yet to find someone who has specified a toxin they were hoping to be spared.”

The secret shame of middle-class Americans: nearly half would have trouble finding $400 to pay for an emergency.

Helaine Olen can’t sympathize with the article above, which she calls, “A buzzy Atlantic essay details the dire financial straits of a journalist living in the Hamptons. Great work if you can get it!”

This resume for Tesla CEO Elon Musk proves you never, ever, need to use more than one page.

Children as young as five are getting their own debit and credit cards – When kids’ allowance goes digital.

Michael James offers 4 good reasons to pay cash for cars.

Finally, a tech blogger talks about tech fatigue:

At some point, everything new feels old, everything different feels dumb.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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14 Comments

  1. Michael James on April 23, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    I deal with tech fatigue by just staying way back from the bleeding edge. Maybe I’ll get a smart phone soon. Thanks for the mention.

    • Echo on April 24, 2016 at 9:14 am

      Hi Michael, that’s one way to beat tech fatigue. I try to stay in the know but some tech trends, like smart watches and virtual reality goggles, are a bit over the top for me.

  2. Big Cajun Man (AW) on April 24, 2016 at 6:52 am

    He won’t get a smart phone, I know him. As for the disability credit, yes, the whole process of getting a disability tax claim is daunting to a lot of folks, but you need to make that claim, and get the money you deserve. Please don’t use any “help” that wishes to take a “cut” of your tax credit or benefits (though).

    • Echo on April 24, 2016 at 9:16 am

      Good point, Alan. Seeking out help from an accountant, even for one year to show you the way, could be a worthwhile investment.

  3. Bryan on April 24, 2016 at 8:23 am

    Hi Robb. I look at your blog from a different perspective. I retired from my small consulting business almost two years ago. After working for 30 years, our goal is to be retired for at least as many years. This means living off primarily dividends and my wife’s modest pension. Hopefully we will not have to sell off securities, to any great extent over the future years. So in some ways for me, this period of our life is just as important as the years where we were building our nest egg. In my mind, the learning and planning never ends. So keep up the great work, I will still be reading….

    • Echo on April 24, 2016 at 9:20 am

      Hi Bryan, thanks so much for the kind words. We’re glad you’re sticking around for this stage of your journey.

  4. Richard on April 24, 2016 at 10:20 am

    The hot potato strategy, and others like it, appear to address one of the most glaring deficiencies of a couch potato approach: it’s hard to write something new about it every week for years when it never changes.

    I’ve seen some research showing that momentum can last for a few years so there may be some validity to the theory. I just don’t want to take that kind of risk. In this case the risk may be more than just volatility. If you happen to move everything into a market that has an unrecoverable loss for the first time in its history, there’s nothing you can do.

    A basic indexing strategy already has really good long-term returns. If I’m going to take any additional risk and possibly lose part or all of those returns it has to be for a very good reason.

  5. Beth on April 25, 2016 at 5:13 am

    Hi Robb, I keep hearing about WealthSimple – would you consider doing a post with more information about? (Pros and cons, more detail into how it works, etc.) Thanks!

  6. Gene on April 25, 2016 at 5:19 am

    Hi Boomer and Echo, I agree with Bryan’s points. Retired or not retired, it is good to continue learning about how to increase yield on our respective portfolios.

    I’m 45, have no mortgage and a substantial portfolio that generates enough income to drive money into my kids education and trust funds.

    But I’m contemplating when is enough enough. Meaning, what’s the magic number for a couple to retire.

    • Echo on April 25, 2016 at 7:47 am

      Hi Gene, you’re right that education is a lifelong pursuit. We’re happy whether a reader stops by for a short period of time to help them along their journey or if they’re here with us for the long haul.

  7. Stephen Weyman on April 25, 2016 at 6:55 am

    Read the article on the Hot Potato investing strategy – interesting idea. Anyone brave enough to try it? I think I’ll stick with global couch potato (roughly) for now. The yearly version of it scares me a bit – but the monthly version seems to make some sense.

    One commenter said it was like buying high and selling low, which we all know is foolish. However, it’s more like getting in early on a run-up and being forced to get out of the run-up when another asset class starts getting hot. I can see how that would usually work.

    I also read the juicing cleanse article. Although I’m not on-board with juicing or cleansing personally, I didn’t find the doctor quotes opposing it in the NY Times article to be that inspiring. Sure the body is good at removing toxins – but don’t many people do a cleanse after a period of bad behaviour (drinking, eating unhealthy, etc). Wouldn’t that give the body more time to get rid of bad stuff without adding in new bad stuff?

    Also, our body and our muscles in general need rest from time to time. Giving the colon and other organs something easy to process for a little while might make some sense, no? It may not be scientifically proven in a double blind study with a low margin of error 19 time out of 20 – but it certainly seems to be at least a little bit logical.

    • Robb Engen on April 25, 2016 at 7:51 am

      Hi Stephen, I think that’s what makes the juicing argument so compelling – it SOUNDS logical, especially after a period of bad eating (or drinking). What the NY Times article said was that returning to a healthy balanced diet would likely yield the same results, minus the big $ bill for a cleansing program.

  8. rhonda caplan on April 25, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Your blog is so interesting, I read EVERYTHING, some not pertinent to my situation, but I enjoy the read.
    Thank you.

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