Monthly Archives: March 2015

Are low interest rates punishing savers? Hardly!

Robb Engen, Boomer & Echo

By Robb Engen, Boomer & Echo

It’s easy to see how savers feel punished in today’s low interest rate environment. You have to look hard to find a daily savings account that pays more than one per cent.

Fixed income investments aren’t much better, with 5-year GICs barely touching 2 per cent. All of this means parking your short-term savings will do little more than keep up with inflation – you’re treading water, at best.

Rates have fallen steadily for a quarter century

We’ve seen a steady decline in rates for the past 25 years – around the time when the Bank of Canada adopted its inflation-control target to preserve the value of money by keeping inflation low, stable, and predictable. In January 1991, the overnight rate was 10.88 per cent, the interest paid on daily savings was 9.66 per cent, and inflation ran at 6.9 per cent. By 2002, the overnight rate fell to 2.25 per cent, daily savings interest dropped to 1 per cent, and inflation held steady at a now familiar 1.4 per cent.

RelatedCan you succeed with an all-GIC portfolio?

So should we long for the days when GICs paid 10 per cent or more? Are low rates really  punishing savers? Hardly. Continue Reading…

Urbs or Burbs? TD survey finds generational divide on housing preferences

No big surprise that children and the Burbs go together

By Jonathan Chevreau

Further to this morning’s guest blog about Boomer downsizing by realtor Linda Evans comes a poll by TD Canada Trust that shows wide generational differences in housing preferences.

While aging baby boomers are more likely to prefer small towns (21% do) or rural settings (18%), given the choice a third of Canadians would prefer to live in the city (aka “urban environment”) while almost as many (31%) lean to a more suburban environment.

As you might expect, it seems the younger you are the more you wish to be in the downtown core, while the older folk tend to flee to the burbs or the country. Thus, 38% of Millennials and 36% of Generation X lean towards urban settings, but Gen X is almost as likely to choose the suburbs (33%).

No doubt this breaks down into those with and without children: you’d expect young singles to congregate where the action is downtown, while those who have met “the one” and started to raise families would prefer a larger home further away once they have to accommodate kids. Downtowners typically have short commutes and easy access to public transit and can get by easily without bearing the expense of vehicle ownership. As most parents in the suburbs well know, one or even two cars are almost a necessity outside the downtown core, and a long commute will likely be another price they pay.

Boomers gravitating to small towns and rural settings

Indeed, the TD survey found 39% of Canadian parents and prospective parents would prefer to raise a family in the suburbs, while 26% would choose a more urban environment.  Continue Reading…

More Boomers see benefits of downsizing their homes

Linda Evans, Slavens & Associates

By Linda Evans, Realtor, Slavens & Associates

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Downsizing is a positive thing. Of course it’s a big decision and most of us will face this dilemma at some point in our lives. Should we downsize or stay in the family home?

We all have our reasons. The kids have moved out or just come home from university. The house is too big for two people, too expensive to maintain, the gardening, the snow shovelling and oh boy those stairs (my knees). Wouldn’t it be nice to just lock the door and go south for a few months in the winter and not worry about burst pipes or icy sidewalks? Downsizing can be an alluring option at a certain stage of life.

Severing the emotional attachments

The hardest part for most people is the emotional attachments that we have to the family home, not to mention all the ‘stuff’ we accumulate over the years. Treat yourself to a good chuckle and find the Youtube video by George Carlin where he does a hilarious standup on ‘Stuff.’

Continue Reading…

Book Review — Tony Robbins’ Money: Master the Game

We’ve been reviewing books about financial independence here at the Hub since our launch early in November 2014 and long before that at, as well as the Financial Post, MoneySense and Maclean’s. Up until now, the books reviewed on this site have been read and reviewed by me. But it’s almost impossible to read everything, even if the focus is as narrow as financial independence and the author is someone as prominent as Tony Robbins. So starting with this guest post, we’re going to widen the net with this review of Robbins’ new book by Tea at Taxevity’s Promod Sharma. We will certainly consider reviews of other financial books by objective sources. If you’re an author looking to be reviewed and willing to supply a review copy of your book, contact me at If you’d like to try reviewing other books at the Hub, contact me at the same email. As for the review of the new Robbins book, you can find the original review on Promod’s site here. You also can find two interviews Promod conducted with me over at Findependence.TV, before and after the site launch. Over to Promod! — Jonathan Chevreau
Promod Sharma

By Promod Sharma,

Special to Financial Independence Hub

There are many reasons to read a book about money and there are lots of books about money. Tony Robbins has a new one, Money: Master The Game. Unfortunately, not many people read books. Even fewer read nonfiction. Only a small sliver read books about money. Be an exception and join them.

Not Perfect

robbinsbookThere are various criticisms of the book, such as:

  • being an outsider: but being outside the traditional financial community gives Tony a different perspective
  • contradicting advice: but that’s common in life. He interviews 50 money experts with varying views.
  • over-simplified: but isn’t that better than over-complicating and confusing? Complexity can be added once the A-B-Cs (or 1-2-3s) are known.
  • conflicts of interest: Tony recommends companies in which he might have financial interests (see dealing with biased financial advice). That doesn’t mean the choices are bad but they but warrant more investigation.
  • too long: yes … I got the audiobook, which runs over 21 hours and sped up the playback by 30%
  • US-centric: yes but the general ideas apply everywhere

Tony responded to some criticism in this interview for The Wall Street Journal.

At the other extreme, you’ll find gushing praise.

Tony’s Advantage

Do celebrities give better financial advice? Maybe not but Tony reaches the unreachable: people who get missed by conventional financial education. Even when Tony says things you’ve heard before, you might be more likely to believe them now. For instance, I’ve covered things like

We often know the keys about money (e.g., spend less than you earn, disaster-proof your life, save for the future). That doesn’t mean we do. Tony helps people change. He might get you to change too. He has a knack for making financial education engaging. He explains his terms and uses many examples.


Instead of writing a book, Tony could have created videos and an app. That’s what I thought before getting the book. I don’t see videos, but he has a free app (if you’re willing to give your contact information).

Instead of using a conventional publisher, Tony could have self-published. He could have made the book cheaper. He could have narrated the full audiobook, rather than portions.

Overall, what he did is fine.

Free Meals

Tony is paying for 50 million free meals. Besides donating all his book royalties, he’s made an additional personal financial contribution. That’s rare. Chances are good that you’ll end up on his mailing list, though. That gives him the opportunity to sell you his other stuff with the money you’re saving.


Tony tackles tough topics such as the conflicts of interest rampant in the financial sector. He gives solutions too. Think before you leap.

The stories from successes like Richard Branson are interesting but may not provide much practical guidance (e.g., how Honest Ed turned $212 into $100 million). Look for patterns rather than a guaranteed formula to financial independence.

I wasn’t expecting much from Tony’s book but because he’s popular, I knew that I had an obligation to read it. Overall, I’m impressed and highly recommend Money: Master The Game. There’s lots of practical advice.

Money books get stale. Tony’s book is new, which means now is the best time to read it.


PS Another must-read (or re-read) is Warren Buffett’s biography, The Snowball.