Weekend Reading: Talking Cents Edition

Weekend Reading: Talking Cents Edition

Money is still a taboo topic in many cultures. Well, that’s not exactly true. We love to complain about money – about the price of gas, the cost of groceries, the rise and fall of lumber prices, our empty bank account, our credit card debt.

But we rarely talk about the value of money and the role it plays in our lives. What it means to us. Why we make certain decisions about money. How we see money supporting our future goals.

Author Ramit Sethi says the way we feel about money today often stems from our childhood experiences. He calls these our invisible money scripts:

“Invisible scripts are truths so ubiquitous and deeply embedded in society that we don’t even realize they’re guiding our attitudes and behaviour.”

The University of Chicago’s Financial Education Initiative came up with Talking Cents cards to spark conversations about money with your kids and help them develop a positive relationship with money.

I ordered a deck of cards last year to try them out. Each night after dinner we drew a handful of cards and went around the table discussing the questions and our answers. 

The deck contains 108 cards, plus a link to a discussion guide for each card. The discussion guide is a great addition to encourage a richer discussion with prompts and follow up questions. For example, one of the cards included this quote from Albert Einstein:

“If you want to have a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” Do you agree or disagree?

The discussion guide for this card said that it may be interesting to share a little bit about Albert Einstein. He was born in Germany in 1879 and later immigrated to the United States. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. Extend this discussion by having others explain why they agree or disagree with the quote.

I bought the deck of cards directly from the University of Chicago website. It cost $20 USD plus $13 shipping – so just over $40 CAD. Not cheap.

Thankfully, the Rational Reminder team of Ben Felix and Cameron Passmore, who have made Talking Cents a regular feature in their podcast, have brought the cards to Canada and now sell them for $30 CAD plus tax (free shipping).

If you want to do your part to encourage more rich conversations about money you can pick up your deck of Talking Cents cards at the Rational Reminder online store.

Finally, I’ll leave you with another question from the Talking Cents deck. I’m curious about your answers so please leave a comment below:

“What is something you could buy for yourself but haven’t because you think it would be too extravagant?”

For me, I’ve always wanted to fly business class on a long flight. Even though I have plenty of points to support our (eventual) travel, I’ve always thought it was best to conserve them for more economy redemptions.

But, that changed recently when I re-booked our trip to Italy for 2022 and found business class seats available for 70,000 Aeroplan points (Calgary to Rome). I’ve never been more excited for an 11-hour flight in my life!

This Week’s Recap:

On Friday I updated my post on whether you should defer OAS to age 70 or take it at 65.

Over on Young & Thrifty I took a look at BMO InvestorLine’s self-directed trading platform.

Many thanks to Erica Alini at Global News for including my OAS analysis in her latest Money123 newsletter <–you should subscribe to this.

Promo of the Week:

I’m still baffled why so many Canadians still keep high cash balances in their chequing account or in a big bank savings account that pays next to nothing in interest.

Yes, interest rates are still pitifully low. But that doesn’t mean accepting zero or next to zero percent interest on your cash savings. 

That’s why I promote EQ Bank’s high interest savings account which pays 1.25% interest and offers some chequing account functionality like free e-Transfers and bill payments.

I also like that EQ doesn’t play the promotional interest game – giving you a high rate for just a short period of time. Instead, EQ Bank typically sits in the top 5 of all high interest savings account rates across the country.

Sure, you’re not going to get rich stashing your money in high interest savings. But you can literally get 125x the interest by moving your cash from a big bank to a high interest online bank like EQ.

Weekend Reading:

A look at some excellent free Amazon Gift Card offers on select new credit card applications, from our friends at Credit Card Genius.

National Bank’s discount brokerage arm just eliminated commissions for ETF and stock trades. Rob Carrick writes, should you move your brokerage account to benefit from zero commissions? (<–subscribers)

My take:

Millionaire Teacher Andrew Hallam asks young investors, would you pass the wizard’s test?

At the Toronto Star, improving your investment portfolio requires facing some sneaky biases.

A must read for investors who feel compelled to tilt their portfolio towards or away from specific countries or regions. Stock returns are random. Stop trying to predict winners and just hold a globally diversified portfolio.

Ramit Sethi explains how to automate your finances using technology and psychology:

“Using automation to reduce choices sets you up for success with money, without even having to think about it on a daily basis.”

Turning to the election, here’s why experts say inflation won’t be solved on the campaign trail.

And, here’s a detailed look at the three major political parties’ proposals on childcare and what they could mean for your finances.

Morningstar’s Christine Benz says to forget income replacement, focus on supplying cash flow needs in retirement.

PWL Capital’s Ben Felix argues that our money decisions should be anchored in the objective of living a happy life:

Morningstar takes a closer look at popular retirement savings estimates and asks if you really need to save that much for retirement.

Here’s Kiplinger with six retirement killers to avoid at all costs.

Michael James on Money has mixed feelings about Daryl Diamond’s new book, Retirement for the Record.

Mortgage broker David Larock looks at the current case for variable rate mortgages.

Jason Heath answers a reader question about whether to maximize the down payment on a house or to keep some money to invest.

Of Dollars and Data blogger Nick Magguilli looks at whether we’re in a “melt-up” for investment returns.

Finally, Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger famously have three boxes for investment ideas: In, Out, and Too Hard. Here’s why you don’t have to invest in everything.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone!

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  1. Sara on August 29, 2021 at 12:54 pm

    At Wealthtrade, part of Wealth Simple, You can trade shares of Google, Tesla, TD, RBC, CN, Microsoft, etc for $1 with no commission. – Talk of daily dollar averaging

  2. Steve Oliver on August 29, 2021 at 2:34 pm

    Hi Robb, another excellent piece. Here is perhaps an exception. I have brokerage account at TD Waterhouse. The RRSPs, TFSAs, and Non registered accounts only pay 0.2% for high interest savings now. Lets call that by the new term I just read as a Cash Wedge. We are resigned to almost zero return. So why leave it there. Well, I already manage 5 accounts on my side and 4 accounts on my spouse’s side within TD. Although we do have a non registered account for banking at Hubert Financial Happy Savings Online, that pays 1.30% today, that’s easy because its non registered. Transfers require no paperwork. But to transfer RRSP, RIF or LIRRSP cash to Hubert would be very difficult to do as you know. I would have to add a Hubert account for each one on me and at least two on my wife and not bothering with the TFSAs and leave them fully invested in equity. I’m losing 1% on my cash in those registered accounts. That’s costing me about $ 4,000 a year! I look at it as a reduction in my dividend yield! Of course the bias now is to take on risk and seeking higher dividend yields on the money invested in equity and we have to be careful about that. I don’t know what else to do other than to take on more risk by buying REITs, preferred shares, more bank common shares and so on to avoid the loss. If any of us had done so in the last 10 years, we would have never missed holding cash. If you find a way to keep our cash in RRSPs, RIFs, LIRRSPs and earn a yield over 1% without too much risk, I am interested to know but it seems most retirees are in the same log jam. Our cash holdings in the registered accounts is LOST to depreciation now.

  3. James R on August 29, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    I’m answering the “extravagant” question before I finish the article! For me, it’s a particular expensive fishing reel and rod; about four times what I would normally pay. I just can’t bring myself to do it, in part because I already have a lot of gear, and also some careless actions have seen a couple fall in the drink.

  4. Steve B. on August 30, 2021 at 8:54 am

    Robb, don’t do it! Don’t fly business class! You’ll never be able to fly coach again! It will ruin air travel for you forever! JK. Enjoy!

    Thanks for making me aware of the Talking Cents cards. I had not heard of them before. I’m always looking for resources for helping my clients engage and educate their children on money, so these sound great.


  5. Diane on August 30, 2021 at 12:03 pm

    I have been cautious with my money all my life. I can’t think of anything “extravagant” as my mind doesn’t work that way. If I have extra, I would rather donate to charity. I am grateful for my financial success and desire to assist others in need. This year I have been donating to all my usual charities, but even more than usual as the need is so much greater. I won’t even entertain the thought of doing something “extravagant”, we eat at home, we are DIY people.

  6. Ann HILL on September 1, 2021 at 6:28 am

    Hi Rob, looking for advice re selling home and renting in retirement?

  7. Christina on September 1, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    I’d really like to go on the 7 day norwegian pride of america cruise which goes around the hawaii islands. However its a lot more expensive then just cruising to hawaii from vancouver, particularly as a solo traveller. I don’t know that i’ll ever do it. I may need a windfall. I did do something extravagant lately when i got an expensive manicure. After getting it i wasn’t sure it was worth the price. I always try to remember money spent on one thing is money i can’t spend on something else.

  8. Dustin on September 3, 2021 at 2:40 pm

    Thanks for suggesting the Talking Cents cards Robb! I have been listening to their podcast for awhile now waiting for these cards to be available. I am excited to try them out!

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