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Financial confidence, women and their money

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Financial confidence, women and their money

It doesn’t matter whether you’re single, in a relationship or sharing accommodation, it’s up to you to be fiscally responsible for your own financial situation. It may be a harsh reality, but most females can anticipate being single at some point in their lives, and need to plan their finances accordingly.

Facts and figures

A new book, called Bank On Yourself: Why Every Woman Should Plan Financially to be Single, Even If She Is Not, validates that 90 per cent of women will need to manage their own finances, simply because they chose to remain single, or due to death and divorce.

Co-author, Leslie McCormick, says, “While general financial planning principals can apply to both men and women, what is different are the circumstances that are more likely to impact women financially. Women have longer life expectancies, and the expense those extra years bring, and the wage gap, make it harder to build wealth. Single women need to plan accordingly.”

The tides are changing, but, sadly, there are women who have never managed money for themselves, and relied on a partner to do so – someone else paid the bills and saved for the future.

Pay equity

Although there have been improvements over the last few decades, the wage gap continues to exist, and women make less. Statistics Canada reports, that despite the fact that women make up almost half of the work force (48 per cent), they still make 87 cents for every dollar compared to what a man makes for the same job. And while maternity/ paternity leaves can now be shared, statistically women who work full time, take more time off to have children and care for them. To help make ends meet, women are more likely to take on part time jobs at minimum wage.

Financial literacy

In order to make up for this shortfall in working years and in salary, women need to save more for retirement. The average lifespan of a man in Canada is 79, whereas for women it’s 84. This means that women have to plan for a longer retirement with less money. As a result, women should be saving more during their working years. TIAA, a retirement service provider in the U.S., suggests that for every 10 per cent a man saves, a woman should save 18 per cent of her income, before taxes, to have the same lifestyle as her male counterparts.

Every adult should know how much it costs to run a household – not just the bills and their due dates, but also about budgeting for unexpected costs. The authors of Bank on Yourself, have this advice, “Take your financial inventory, assess your income and expenses. Identify your vision for your future, put a plan in place to make your vision your reality, set your budget, track your progress, review and repeat.”

According to Bank on Yourself, only 31 per cent of women say that they are confident in their financial ability, compared to 80 per cent of men. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, and ABC Literacy Canada, provide great resources to help build your financial literacy.

Rubina Ahmed-Haq is a journalist, personal finance expert and HPG’s finance editor. She appears on CBC TV and radio, CTV Your Morning, Global Toronto, and writes for ratesupermarket.ca. Follow her @alwayssavemoney. AlwaysSaveMoney.ca


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Do you marry for love or money?

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Do you marry for love or money?

When we think about a couple getting married, thoughts of romance usually spring to mind. Where did they meet? When did they know they were in love? And how did they get engaged? But a new survey from the U.S. reveals for most couples it’s not romance that’s getting them to the alter, but the financial stability of the person they’re vowing to spend their life with. The Merrill Edge Report asks the question, “Is financial security the new happily ever after?”

In sickness and in wealth

The report by Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Edge surveyed more than 1,000 people. It found 56 per cent of respondents prefer someone who provides financial security compared to 44 per cent who want to be “head over heels,” in love. There was also very little difference between men and women. Fifty-four per cent of men want financial security and 57 per cent of women want the same. The only generation that prizes romance more, are the youngest respondents, the Gen Zs, born after 1996. They choose love 54 per cent of the time.

This is good news

Canadians are waiting longer to get married. The latest data from Statistics Canada shows, the average age of first marriages is 31 for men and 28 for women. The longer you wait to get married, the more likely it is you’ve built up your net worth. If you already own a condo or any real estate, for example, you have a large financial asset at stake. This is true as well for any retirement savings you’ve built up over the years. The survey, as unromantic as it sounds, is actually encouraging and shows we are being more pragmatic about our financial future before we tie the knot.

We are still avoiding the ‘money talk’

If most of us have finances top of mind when we get married, we should all be taking the steps to talk about our individual money situation before the big day. But bringing up this topic can be awkward. The survey found that while we’re looking to our partners for financial security, we also tight-lipped when it comes to discussing our own finances. Most admit they rarely talk about their debt, their salary, their investments or their spending habits with their soon to spouse, and that has to change.

How to get started

Ideally, you should have the money talk before you get engaged. But at the very least do it before you say “I do.” Make a date with your partner. Ask them to clear their schedule for that time so you can both really focus on what’s important, your collective financial goals. Agree on some questions that need answering, such as: How much debt are you in? What do you bring home every month after taxes? Where do you see yourself living in five years? Are you a risk taker or conservative when it comes to investing? These questions will help get the conversation started.

Be open minded

During that initial conversation and during your relationship, your partner is going to spend money on something you would not choose for yourself. That doesn’t mean they have made a bad money decision, just one that is not a priority to you. If the spending is within reason, and is not putting your household finances in the red, learn to compromise. This doesn’t mean that every purchase they make that’s not in line with your values is ok, but remember you’re still two different people with separate ideas of what valuable is. By accepting that early on, you are bound to have fewer arguments about money in the future. If financial stability is important to you, as it seems to be for the majority of people, the only way to find that is to keep the lines of communication open about your spending and your feelings about theirs.

Rubina Ahmed-Haq is a journalist and personal finance expert. She is HPG’s Finance Editor. She regularly appears on CBC Radio and TV. She is a contributor on CTV Your Morning and Global Toronto. She has a BA from York University, received her post graduate journalism diploma from Humber College and has completed the CSC. Follow her on Twitter @alwayssavemoney.


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Chartwell Grenadier Retirement Residence

Chartwell Grenadier Retirement Residence

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Chartwell Grenadier Retirement Residence

A Sense of Well-Being

Social participation improves our quality of life, especially so as we age and our priorities change. In an interview with CBC, Heather Gilmour, Division of Health Analysis, Statistics Canada, said, “Social engagement – involvement in meaningful activities and maintaining close relationships – are components of successful aging.”


Improved memory may also be a benefit to those who lead an active social life, according to the American Journal of Public Health. Adults over the age of 50 were studied to determine if frequent interaction with friends affected their cognitive abilities. They concluded that social interaction had the ability to delay memory loss in older adults, theorizing that increased brain functioning, which occurs during socialization, helps the brain to remain healthy and active.


According to the Université de Montréal, when older adults sit down to eat with friends, they have a greater chance of consuming more. They also concluded that seniors who engage in more social activities tend to be healthier and livelier.


Andrew moved into the Chartwell Grenadier Retirement Residence in 2011. He was born in Hungary in 1935, four years before the outbreak of World War II. Following the Hungarian Revolution against the Communist regime in 1956, he escaped via Austria and successfully applied for immigration to Canada.

After graduating from university, he enjoyed a long career as a history teacher. “Since I lived through so much history, I figured that I might as well teach the subject,” says Andrew.

After living alone for many years, Andrew had an irreparable foot injury that forced him to consider moving to a retirement residence. “I wanted to find a place where I could still maintain an independent lifestyle, without having to worry about cleaning and cooking.”

The Chartwell Grenadier is located in the High Park area where there’s lots to do in the immediate neighbourhood. Once a week Andrew organizes, and conducts, an hour-long music salon where residents are introduced to classical composers and their works. “I also love word and trivia games,” says Andrew. “Because they challenge my memory cells and allow me to trump fellow participants.”

“Visit several locations when exploring retirement options, and find out whether the programs appeal to you” advises Andrew. “Make sure that you’re close to amenities that enable you to stay as independent as possible – and that it’s a place that also makes you feel at home.”


For more information on the enrichment programming at Chartwell Grenadier Retirement Residence, Toronto, download a sample of their activity calendar.



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GTA grows but housing supply dwindles

GTA grows but housing supply dwindles

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GTA grows but housing supply dwindles

by Bryan Tuckey

More than 35 million people now call Canada home, data released by Statistics Canada last week suggests. That’s five per cent growth since 2011 — the highest rate of growth among G7 countries.

About two-thirds of our population increase was from immigration, says Statistics Canada. Many newcomers settle in the GTA, which sees a net migration of 100,000 people each and every year.

None of the census data is surprising. A lot of the overall growth in the GTA was outside of Toronto in surrounding municipalities such as Brampton, Milton and Bradford West Gwillimbury.

Toronto itself also saw significant growth, especially downtown near the lakeshore between the Don and Humber Rivers, and along the Yonge subway corridor. These are areas that have seen significant condominium construction in the last decade as our industry complies with the province’s intensification policy.

The development and home building industry is highly regulated; we don’t just build what and where we want to. Rather, the policies and plans of multiple levels of government determine how land gets used, and where and how development occurs.

The province’s Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, released in 2006, was designed to move away from the suburban-oriented development pattern that we had been following to more intensive, urban development. The plan mandates development be denser and use less land.

BILD members have become very good at implementing the Growth Plan and have moved from building mainly lowrise homes, such as single-family detached, semi-detached and townhouses, to building at least as many highrise homes.

In 2002, the biggest year ever for new home sales in the GTA, there were 53,660 homes sold, of which 72 per were lowrise and 28 per cent were highrise.

Last year, there were 47,161 new homes sold in the GTA: 62 per cent of them were highrise units and 38 per cent were lowrise homes, according to Altus Group. In fact, 2016 was a record-breaking year, and the 29,186 condo units sold across the GTA were the most ever sold — 30 per cent more than in 2015.

While a lot of the new condo sales were in downtown Toronto, there were also many sold in developments outside of the core. For instance, there were 2,324 new condo units sold in Vaughan last year, according to BILD member Urbanation Inc.

Yet, the number of new condos available for sale across the GTA is at a 10-year low. Based on the current pace of sales, there is only about 4.4 months of condo unit supply, well below the 10 months needed for a balanced market, according to Urbanation, which has been tracking the highrise market since 1981.

Prices for new highrise homes also reached record levels in 2016, averaging $507,128, while average condo suite sizes grew to 826 square feet, and the average price per square foot increased to $614. A year ago, the average price per square foot was $584 while the size of an average suite was 775 square feet.

The lack of supply will lead to a slowdown in sales and Urbanation is predicting only 23,000 new condo unit sales in 2017. That is not nearly enough to meet demand as the region continues to grow.

Bryan Tuckey is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (bildgta.ca). Find him at twitter.com/bildgta facebook.com/bildgta and bildblogs.ca.


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