Our kids’ activities wrapped up this weekend and now we’re inching ever so closer to summer vacation. Soon we’ll be heading out to Vancouver Island for 10 days of rejuvenation and exploration along the Pacific coast at the end (or the start) of the breathtaking West Coast Trail.

The trip will be a first for our family as our kids have never been on a plane. We thought we’d prepare them for our big trip to Ireland next year by taking a short flight from Calgary to Victoria (then renting a car for the 90-minute drive around to Port San Juan bay). They’re unbelievably excited, which of course adds to the overall enjoyment of the holiday. It should be a good one, and much needed after a long winter and busy spring.

I redeemed 60,000 Aeroplan miles to book the flights, forking over $600+ in fees and taxes for our flight reward. Booking the flights directly would have cost $1,780 for the four of us. That meant a return of about 1.9 cents per mile. Not the best value, but definitely worth it for our little family travel experiment. In comparison, I’m now looking at business class flights to Dublin and the return on those reward tickets is closer to 8 cents per mile.

While on Vancouver Island we’ll explore ancient forests, take some epic hikes, discover what lives inside of tide pools, eat fresh seafood, and simply relax and enjoy everything nature has to offer along the west coast. We can’t wait for summer break!

Fairy Lake Vancouver Island

This Week’s Recap:

This week I wrote about my disappointment with the Canadian Securities Administrators’ decision not to ban embedded commissions on mutual funds. While they did make some modest concessions to help protect investors, it was a missed opportunity for more substantial reform.

Over on the Toronto Star website I shared how to make your own financial plan in eight easy steps.

This past week I tried out two boutique fitness studios and I’ll breakdown the cost, experience, and sweat factor in my Toronto Star comparison column next week.

Promo of the Week:

Become a member of Great Canadian Rebates and take advantage of online coupons and earn cash back rewards. GCR features over 400 merchants, including Amazon.ca, to satisfy all your online shopping needs.

I’ve been a member since 2010 and have earned cash back rebates every month since January 2012.

Check out my review here.

Weekend Reading:

Rob Carrick on the CSA’s decision: It just became clear we’ll never see an investment industry where clients must come first.

General Electric was just booted from the Dow Jones Industrial Average, marking the first time in 110 years that the prestigious 30-stock index won’t include the iconic maker of light bulbs and engines.

Ben Carlson explains why the next bear market could be even more painful for many investors, even if it’s not of the same order of magnitude as the last crash.

Two surprising lessons from legendary short-seller Robert W. Wilson:

  1. The greatest short sellers barely break even.
  2. The primary goal of short selling should be to provide cash in a sell-off and let you “back up the truck” on your longs.

Here’s Morgan Housel on why long tail events drive everything:

“Losers keep losing because no one wants to be associated with losers, and winners keep winning because winning opens doors, and open doors beget more open doors.”

People are too nervous to pull the trigger and retire, but dying at your desk is not a retirement plan.

Jonathan Clements shares five uncomfortable realities about retirement. Because you will retire one day—and, if you want to spend your final decades in even moderate comfort, it won’t be cheap.

Mortgage expert Rob McLister says that as bond yields trend lower, variable rate mortgages are looking all the more attractive.

I love this video by Ben Felix in which he explains why housing is the best investment in history, but only on paper:

Rob Carrick asks whether your loved ones could figure out your finances if you died suddenly.

Michael James explains how governments and businesses take advantage of those who can’t or won’t do basic math.

How many ETFs are enough to make up a diversified portfolio? Mark Seed tackles a few reader questions on this subject.

Barry Choi talks about his accidental intentional lifestyle inflation during and after a trip overseas.

Aeroplan promises a transformed rewards program in 2020 (post Air Canada breakup), but experts are sceptical it will fly in an increasingly crowded market.

Finally, this Super Elite flyer claims Air Canada revoked his Altitude status after he refused to explain a last minute cancellation.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone!

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