Life Hacks: Easy Ways to Save Money

Life Hacks
The best-tasting music you’ve ever seen!
(Go figure that one out)

Kids these days call these “life hacks”, although they were formerly known simply as “good ideas”.

They are listed in no particular order, but there are two unifying themes:

  • They should all save you money.
  • I have tried all of them (except for the bonus tip at the end), so they come with the Loonie Lover stamp of approval.

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Target Benefit Penion Plans

target benefit pension plan
Target Pension Plan: Take Your Best Shot

A few days ago, I posted about the increasing income inequality in North America. That instantly became my most read post ever. (Thanks again for the link love at Boomer and Echo and Roadmap2Retire!)

Almost as though to prove my point about the fact that individuals need to stop counting on others, whether the government or their employer, to ensure their financial future, and to take charge themselves, the federal government announced that same day that they were introducing a new variation on the two standard pension options available, and introduced the Target Benefit pension plan. It is worth noting that this new type of pension plan will only be available for, “crown corporations and federally-regulated industries, such as transportation, banking and telecommunication”. For now. (Author’s snide comment.)

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Deep Thoughts on Big Questions: Income Inequality, Dire Economic Trends, and My Kids

Income inequality is growing
We haven’t all been benefitting equally. Not even close.

The New York Times recently published some original research about the relative wealth of different countries’ middle class. For the first time in history, the USA did not come out on top; we up in the Great White North did. While this is interesting, it is not what I wanted to write about.

What struck me was the angles of inclination of the bars showing changes in income levels from 1980 to 2010. There has always been income inequality, and there always will be. That is not the problem. The problem is the incredible increase in income inequality over the past 30 years, and more specifically, the rate at which income inequality is galloping ahead. Adjusted for inflation, American up to the 10th percentile are actually making less than they were in 1980. From the 10th to the 40th percentile, growth has been mediocre. From the 50th to the 95th percentiles, growth in income has been much more pronounced, with the angle of inclination getting steeper as the percentile increases.

The picture isn’t quite as dire in Canada. (You’re going to need to open the graph in a separate window to follow along. Follow the above  link to the original graph, and then hover over the various grey bars to see other countries compared to the USA.)

For one thing, the bars in the Canadian graph all go from lower left to upper right. This means that we are all better off, in a relative sense, than we were in 1980. The troubling aspect for me is that the observation about the angle of inclination getting steeper as one’s income rises still holds true for Canada. Granted, the difference in angles isn’t quite as steep as it is in the US, but the contrast from the left side to the right side of the graph is striking nevertheless.

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