Weekend Reading: Speed Reading Edition

Whenever a new personal finance book comes out I’ll typically email the author or publisher and try to get a couple of free copies to review and then give away on this blog.  So many books have come out lately that I have piles of books lying around the house that I need to read soon before my wife threatens to toss them out (or leave me).

I might have found something to help me quickly get through those books.  There’s a speed reading app that streams text at a rate of up to 1,000 words per minute.  With the app set at 500 words per minute you could finish an 80,000 word novel in about 2.5 hours.

Check out the article – there’s a demo inside – and let me know if you could read and comprehend a book in that format.

The good news is that you’ll see a bunch of book giveaways on the blog soon.

I went on CBC radio this week to talk about travel rewards and why now is a good time to shop for a new rewards program.  Check out the interview here.

Real Estate talk

Now that spring is here (finally) we should hear plenty of buzz about the housing market.  In his latest video series Globe and Mail columnist Rob Carrick talks to mortgage broker David Larock about why variable rate mortgages are becoming more attractive.

The average price for a home in Canada has climbed above $400,000.  CBC News took a closer look at what $400,000 could buy you in various Canadian cities – from a 779 square foot condo in Vancouver to a 3,400 square foot two-story detached in Charlottetown.

National Post columnist Garry Marr looks at the pitfalls of a cash back mortgage – a deal where the bank gives you cash upfront to use however you want.  The caveat is that you pay the posted interest rate – say 4.99% – rather than the discounted interest rate.  Not a good deal.

Behavioral finance

Michael James on Money had a brilliant post that described the different levels of personal financial competence – from 0 to 3.  He has an interesting view on what it takes for people to reach level 3.

Luke Landes from Consumerism Commentary shares two invalid criticisms of David Bach’s Latte Factor.  He says critics of the Latte Factor go too far and miss the point of using a philosophical adjustment to change behavior and improve finances.

You may have read that Canada’s middle class is now considered the wealthiest in the world.  The Loonie Lover blog looked at the report and commented on the incredible increase in income inequality over the past 30 years.

Investing thoughts

At Financial Uproar, Vanessa writes about her experience with RBC mutual funds and notes how the fund with 2.46% MER actually turned out to be a great investment.

Over on my other blog – Earn Save Grow – I wrote about how lower trading fees might not be that great for investors.  Mainly because it can lead to more frequent trading.

Investment author William Bernstein has written an e-book targeted at young investors in their 20s and 30s.  The book is on sale for 99 cents and offers some pretty solid advice: Save 15 percent of your income, choose three index funds, keep your spending in check, and think long term.

Retirement reading

Dan Bortolotti and Justin Bender wrote a white paper that explored the question of whether bonds still belong in an RRSP.

Mark from My Own Advisor lists some alternatives to the high priced monthly income funds offered by the big banks.

Dan from My Big Fat Wallet explores the advantages and disadvantages of Canada’s secret pension plan – the Saskatchewan Pension Plan.

Finally, Adam Mayers at the Toronto Star looks at some math on taking CPP early or late.  Is the smaller bird in the hand now, worth more than the bigger one five years away?  Unfortunately there is no simple answer.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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  1. Dan on April 25, 2014 at 6:23 am

    Thanks for the mention, always appreciated. Have a great weekend!

  2. Michael James on April 25, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Thanks for the kind words. Glad you liked my article. Have a great weekend!

  3. Loonie Lover on April 25, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Hi Robb,

    Thanks for the mention of LoonieLover! Much appreciated.


  4. Loonie Lover on April 25, 2014 at 9:44 am

    I tried the Spritz speed reading app you mentioned.
    350 wpm: Too slow; text appears choppy.
    400 wpm: Still slow-ish; tolerable, but words still seem disjoined.
    500 wpm: Needs concentration; OK for familiar words and concepts, but could never read a textbook this quickly.

    450 would seem to be my optimal speed, although that would probably increase with practice. I find this quite interesting, and am a bit surprised by all the scepticism for this idea.

    Interestingly, I sometimes record and then watch BNN’s Market Call on my computer. I like doing it that way because I can put it on “fast”, and watch at about 1.3 times real speed. (I can’t find a value for exactly how fast it really is.) They key for both reading and listening is maintaining focus, which is easy to lose if the speed of the input is either too fast or too slow.

  5. My Own Advisor on April 25, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Congrats on the interview! 🙂

    Thanks for the mention Robb, have a great weekend.


  6. Luke on May 1, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Thanks for the mention, Robb!

  7. Potato on May 7, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    Hope you’re saving room in your reading calendar for mine (eventually)…

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