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Weekly Personal Finance Roundup February 27th 2015

February 27th, 2015
Weekly Personal Finance Reading TFSA Taxes
In this week's personal finance roundup we have articles on TFSAs and taxes

This week there was an enormous uproar in the space of Canadian personal finance with a report coming out on how the limit increase of TFSAs could cost the government billions of dollars. These reports were published by the Parliamentary Budget Office and Broadbent Institute. For more information on these reports you can read up our thoughts here. We were able to get a quote from Big Canjun Man on his view on the topic of raising the TFSA limit. 

Also this week, chartered professional account, Robin Taub, joined our growing list of life insurance experts. 

Celebrating the event of the Oscars, we had an entertaining piece on what the Darwin Awards are and why you don't want to win one.

To round out the week we published an article about 10 sports injuries that could end an athlete's career including two examples from our hometown Toronto Raptors and Maple Leafs. 

For the articles we have this week, most of them revolve around taxes and the subject of TFSAs. We also have articles that remind us to keep things simple and how employment insurance works. Thank you everyone and enjoy your weekend!

My Own Advisor gives us sagely advice for tax season this year. Tax tips include making investments in your RRSPs and if you have active kids you might be available for a children’s fitness tax credit. 

Dividend Mantra reminds us to keep things simple by using the KISS principle for investments. Before looking at a company's financial metrics, he researches the company's story. Can he keep the story simple? 

Brian So tackles the topic of employment insurance in regards to eligibility, benefits and the application process. Eligibility, Benefits and Application. 

Big Cajun Man answers one of the most popular questions he gets: should I invest in RRSPs or TFSAs first?  

Retire Happy also weighed in on the debate of RRSPs and TFSAs by providing a balanced point of view.

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10 Sports Injuries That Could End An Athlete’s Career

February 26th, 2015
Alvin Williams career ending injury
Alvin Williams Knows All About Career Ending Injuries

Regardless of what sport, players play best when they're in their top form. Even with every precaution taken to prevent players from hurting each other such as rules and padding, they are still at risk to major and serious injuries; since a players lively hood depends on them playing the game, a players health truly is essential. The list below is a compilation of injuries that can unfortunately end their careers prematurely.

Post-Concussion Syndrome

The most common among such serious injuries is Post-Concussion Syndrome. Athletes, especially hockey players, know the dangers of the sport they play. The NHL has a history of debates on safety of the sport and one hot topic includes concussions. One example of a game gone wrong takes place on September 15, 1997. Toronto Maple Leaf, Nick Kypreos, sustained a concussion after a fight with New York Rangers' Ryan Vanden Bussche in a pre-season game which forced him to retire early.

Serious Knee Injuries

Ex-Raptors guard, Alvin Williams, played just over five seasons in the NBA. In the 2005-06 season he injured his knee forcing him on the injury list after playing one game that season.

Damaged Major Ligaments

On October 30, 2005 Minnesota Vikings quarterback, Daunte Culpepper, sustained major damage to three major ligaments in his knee in a match against the Carolina Panthers. 

Spinal Cord Contusion

Linebacker, Reggie Brown, was a first round draft pick in 1996 drafted by the Detroit Lions. Unfortunately his career came stopped short in 1997. In the last game of the season, Brown assisted on a tackle against New York Jets Adrian Murrell, and remained on the playing field for 17 minutes. Reggie had suffered a spinal cord contusion during the tackle. He was taken off the field, and was revived by CPR. Reggie didn't lose muscle function or suffer paralysis from this event. Sadly, he retired after two seasons in the NFL.

Herniated Disk

Mack Strong, a fullback for the Seattle Seahawks, had an above average career. He was selected to play in two all-star Pro Bowls games in back-to-back years (2005 and 2006). When he herniated a disk in 2007 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the doctors advised him to hang up the cleats. The injury itself wasn't a massive or overwhelming. However, if Strong continued to play, the disk could lead to paralysis if he was hit improperly. Mack thought this was enough, and retired

Fractures In Both Bones In The Right Leg

David Busst is a ex-professional soccer player from England who was playing for Coventry City in 1996 when he suffered a career-ending fracture in a match against Manchester United. Busst collided with two United players which resulted in compound fractures in both bones of his lower right leg. It was a gruesome scene and the injuries were so significant that Busst nearly had to have his leg amputated.

Broken Jaw/ Glaucoma

Kirby Puckett already won two World Series titles. But, with Puckett's talent, he wasn’t going to stop playing baseball for a good while. However, that changed on September 28th, 1995. Puckett was at bat against Dennis Martinez, when one of Martinez’s fastballs hit Puckett’s jaw. Suffering a broken jaw, he began his rehabilitation in the Grapefruit League. But, on March 28th, 1996 Puckett woke up, not able to see out of his right eye. After visiting the doctor, he was given the news he had developed glaucoma.

Compound Fracture

On November 18th, 1985. The Washington Redskins faced the New York Giants. Joe Theismann a two-time Pro Bowler and quarterback was tackled from behind by linebackers Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson. When they tackled Theismann, his leg snapped right in the middle fracturing both the tibia and the fibula. It was a major incident in Joe’s career, sadly leading to his immanent retirement.

Fractured Vertebrae

Eric LeGrand suffered his injury on the football field in 2010. LeGrand was tackling against his opponent on a kickoff, which he never got up from when he hit the ground. LeGrand is now paralyzed from the neck down, though he keeps up the fight to regain movement in his limbs. He has been able to regain a little sensation in his body, which is a great sign for LeGrand. But sadly he will never play football again.

Collisions

In 1909 Doc Powers, a catcher who played in major leagues was fatally injured by chasing a foul pop-up ball straight into a wall. Powers suffered major internal injuries from the collision and died two weeks later from complications.

TFSA Limit Increase Could Cost Canada Billions and Only Benefit The Ultra-Rich

February 25th, 2015
TFSA increase costs billions
TFSA Increase Could Cost Billions

Late last year, the Harper government said they were going to keep to their promise of increasing the annual contribution amount for Tax-Free Savings Accounts to $10,000. Recently, two separate studies were released stating that an increased limit on TFSAs will cost the government billions of dollars and will work towards the benefit of the wealthy. These reports come from Parliamentary Budget Office and the Broadbent Institute.

Parliamentary Budget Office Tax-Free Savings Account Report

In the report from the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) on Tax-Free Savings Accounts,

“PBO estimates that the TFSA program is regressive, overall. Benefits skew to higher income, higher wealth and older households.”
In this year alone, PBO estimates a loss in revenue for both federal and provincial governments to be $1.3 billion in taxes alone.

PBO’s conclusion is that the gains for low- and low-middle income households will plateau in 2040 while higher income households will continue to benefit.

“TFSA gains for low- and low-middle income households project to plateau in 2040, while PBO estimates that higher income households will benefit from continued annual increases TFSA contribution room”

Broadbent Institute Report Double Trouble:The Case Against Expanding Tax-Free Savings Accounts

Author of Broadbent Institute’s report, Jonathan Rhys Kesselman, had similar findings to PBO’s report. In fact, the Broadbent Institute takes their stance one step further stating Canadians are going to end up having to pay for the increase.

“The great majority of Canadians would enjoy no significant benefits. In fact, they would bear the burdens of an expanded TFSA by enduring the reduced public services or bearing the increased taxes needed to offset the lost revenues.”

Broadbent Institute believes that Canadians will have to pay for the increased maximum contribution because the loss of revenue will be too great for the Canadian government to handle.

“By 2050, annual program costs could rise by $4 billion to several times that figure.”

To get an idea of how to maximize the benefits of these programs we will frame the following scenario around a couple earning a combined income of $280,000 per year with two kids. First, they would both have to contribute the maximum $24,930 in their RRSPs. Next, $5,000 in RESP contributions would need to be made for both children to maximize the 20% Canadian Education Saving Grant (CESG). Now, with the new limit on TFSAs, this couple would have to deposit $10,000 each in order to reach the new maximum amount. If you want to take advantage of all of these savings accounts you would have to save $74,860 per year in registered funds.

BMO Household Savings produced a report from 2013 that calculated the average amount was saved throughout the year per household. The report found that Canadian household savings, which include both RRSPs and TFSAs, averaged less than $9,000.

We reached out to personal finance expert Big Cajun Man and he shared a contrary view:

“If folks aren't putting the maximum in their TFSA, I am not sure what they are thinking. The TFSA while not as flexible as a "Savings account" should be the one thing Canadians should be putting money into (not just "rich Canadians"), for savings.“

Let us know what you think about the proposed TFSA limit increase in the comments section below.

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Robin Taub | Chartered Professional Accountant

February 24th, 2015

Robin Taub

Chartered Professional Accountant - RobinTaub.com

1. What Type of Life Insurance do you own?

We own term life insurance.

2. What factors did you consider when determining the coverage amount?

We looked at our outstanding liabilities. We also considered how much capital we would need to generate enough investment income to help meet our living expenses.

3. Do you believe in Life Insurance for Children?

No, not for young children.

4. What is The Biggest Life Insurance mistake people make?

One of the biggest mistakes is thinking that the life insurance coverage they have through their employment is enough, when it usually isn’t.

5. Outside of Life Insurance what other types of individual insurance are often over looked?

I think that disability insurance is often overlooked. Perhaps people are overly optimistic about their health and their ability to keep working forever!

Robin Taub is a Chartered Professional Accountant, a financial literacy consultant, speaker, blogger and best-selling author. Robin has held professional positions in both audit and taxation at two of Canada's largest accounting firms, spent five years in the complex world of Derivatives Marketing at Citibank Canada and currently works with various organizations to create financial literacy information, programs and resources. Robin is also passionate about improving opportunities for women CPAs to advance into positions of leadership and is Chair of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada’s Women’s Leadership Council. Robin holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. Robin is the mother of two teenage children. She lives in Toronto and enjoys an active family life including cycling, hiking, snowboarding, music, travel, and reading.

You can learn more about Robin by visiting www.robintaub.com and you can follow her on Twitter @robintaub.

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Why You Don’t Want To Win A Darwin Award

February 23rd, 2015
Darwin Awards
This is one award you don't want to win

Last night the highly acclaimed Academy Awards took place. All year actors, actresses and directors desire to win the prestigious Oscar. However, there is an award that you might not want to win. 

Every year, there are countless cases of people causing their own deaths due to their stupidity or carelessness. These people are often posthumously presented with a Darwin Award, a tongue-in-cheek honour loosely based off scientist Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection.

The Darwin Awards recognize individuals who willingly eliminate themselves from the human gene pool due to their own actions. Keep in mind that these people are all sane and capable of sound judgment (which they choose not to exercise).

It’s also important to note that some of these deaths could be misconstrued as an act of suicide. Within the first two policy years many life insurance companies will look at the details surrounding the death and could reject a claim if it looked like a suicide. Premature death is no joke when it comes to your life insurance paying out.

Let’s take a look at seven popular Darwin Award winners from all over the world.

Selfie With An Elephant Gone Wrong

2014 was the year of the selfie (a self-portrait photograph normally taken by a handheld camera). Anyone who frequents social media websites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter has no doubt seen plenty.

Two Kenyan nationals, Leonard Tonui and Michael Shikuku, decided to take the concept of a selfie picture to the next level when they attempted to capture a selfie with a wild elephant.
Unfortunately for the two would-be photographers, the angry elephant trampled them to death and then proceeded to bury their bodies in the brush. Authorities would later hunt down and kill the elephant, resulting in a sad ending for all parties.

Elevator Frustration

We’ve all experienced that frustrating feeling after rushing to an open elevator only to just have the doors close in your face at the last second.
A Korean man on a wheelchair took this frustrating feeling too far. After narrowly missing an elevator, the man—whose name wasn’t released by authorities—angrily slammed his wheelchair against the elevator door.

The door gave away a little and dangerously bent backwards. Undeterred, the man reversed his wheelchair and accelerated into the door again. This time, the door bent back completely and the man rolled headlong into the elevator shaft. He later died from his injuries.

Getting Railroaded…Literally

There’s something about the sight of train tracks that prompts certain people to act stupidly and make careless decisions.

Two men from Holland were guilty of this and paid dearly for their lapse in judgment. While waiting at a train station following a soccer game, the men dared each other to a test of courage (although it really was more of test of stupidity).

One of the men laid himself flat between the rails on the track, hoping that the train would harmlessly pass over him. The other man knelt beside the track and leaned his head forward, intending to pull it back once the train approached.

Unfortunately for the two daredevils, the train was lower and wider than they had expected. Both of them died instantly as it passed over them while travelling at a speed of 130 kilometres per hour.

Can Crime Can Be “Toxic” To Your Health?

24-year-old Thomas James intended to rob a convenience store in North Carolina, but didn’t want his identity exposed while committing the crime.

Rather than buying a mask or a balaclava, James instead spray-painted his face gold in order to disguise himself. He disregarded the toxic label on the spray paint can which warned users to keep the product away from their eyes and nose.

Shortly after the robbery, Thomas collapsed and stopped breathing. He would fall into a coma and end up passing away. The cause of death was attributed to the toxic fumes emanating from the spray paint on his face.

Gasoline And Cigarettes Don’t Mix

It doesn’t exactly take a genius to know that gasoline can be ignited really easily. Unfortunately, 43-year-old Gary Banning wasn’t aware of this obvious fact.
Banning’s misadventure started when he mistook a glass of gasoline for a drink while at a friend’s house. Banning drank from the glass, but quickly realized his mistake and spat the gasoline out.

Just when it looked like Banning had caught himself in time and avoided a major accident, he proceeded to go outside and light up a cigarette.
What happened next was entirely predictable. Banning’s clothes and skin still had traces of gasoline on them and immediately caught fire, burning him to death.

The Human Anchor

Before we get into this story, you’ll need to know what the Shopping Cart Game is. This activity involves a shopping cart anchored to a fixed object near a dock or a pier. While the shopping cart is on the dock, someone climbs inside. The cart is then rolled by others into a body of water. Once the cart splashes into the water, the rider climbs out and the cart is reeled back in.

18-year-old Chance Werner and his friends were playing this game one evening when Werner decided to do something inexplicably stupid: be the anchor himself. The young man tied the line connected to the shopping cart around his own waist.

Without the line connecting the shopping cart to a fixed object, it sank quickly once pushed into the water. Poor Werner was dragged underwater along with the cart. His drowned body was found a few hours later, still tied to the cart.

That Didn’t Taste Right…

Let’s end this piece with a local Canadian story.

A man washing a Beer Store truck found a vodka bottle with bright blue liquid under the driver’s seat of the vehicle. With the truck belonging to the well-known beer supplying company, the man assumed that this liquid was an alcoholic beverage. He opened the bottle and drank the liquid.

What the main failed to realise is that Vodka is traditionally a clear liquid. As it turns out this bright blue liquid was windshield wiper fluid, left behind from a previous practice of the company's truck drivers refilling empty liquor bottles with windshield washer fluid from a large tank.

Unfortunately, the man still didn’t figure this out even after taking a chug from the bottle. He even took the bottle home and continued drinking from it! Over the next two days, the man would get sick and ultimately die from methanol poisoning. No one knows if he ever realized the cause of his sickness before passing away.

Weekly Personal Finance Roundup February 19th 2015

February 20th, 2015
weekend reading personal finance

This week we started early with an article that suggests ideas for how to show your loved ones you care about them any time not just for Family Day. Pension analyst and financial journalist, Sean Cooper, brings his knowledge to our critical illness insurance experts roundup. You can read all about his thoughts on critical insurance here including his thoughts on if critical illness insurance is underestimated or not. Lastly, we report on the Supreme Court of Canada's new ruling on doctor-assisted death and how it may affect life insurance in the future.  

In this week's weekly roundup we have articles that help you build your budget. We also have articles to explain RRSPs and when you should probably avoid making a contribution. Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Jordann Brown from My Alternate Blog provides tips on how to handle your budget deficit

Money We Have gives us a few scenarios where you might want to avoid making a contribution towards your RRSPs. If you have high interest debt or if your income is very low then there are no worries in making a contribution first. Focus on paying off that debt first.

Lauren Bowling from L Bee and the Money Tree created a 10 step guide on building your budget. I absolutely love this guide. One of the most important steps on this guide is number 7 where you need to review big and little picture spending. Review your spending patterns and adjust them.

Boomer and Echo describe 15 ways to get the most out of your Costco membership

Brighter Life warns us of the dangers of sitting. One of their five Bright Ideas is to monitor your sitting your sitting time and outline some time to get up and move around. 

Holy Potato started series all about RRSPs and their value. He explains the RRSP deadline that everyone obsesses over in February. 

Will The Assisted Death Ruling Affect Life Insurance Claims In Canada?

February 18th, 2015
Doctor Assisted Suicide Life Insurance
Supreme Court of Canada came to a decision on doctor-assisted suicide

In a historic ruling presented on February 6, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada has struck down a ban on doctor-assisted deaths for terminally ill patients who are suffering physically or psychologically. This decision came as a response to the Carter v. Canada (AG) case, in which various parties representing two women, Kay Carter and Gloria Taylor, challenged the prohibition on doctor-assisted deaths.

According to the Supreme Court, the prohibition on doctor-assisted deaths was found to infringe on Section 7 (the right to life, liberty, and security of the person) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Under this new ruling, the aforementioned patients can legally seek to end their own lives via a doctor-assisted death. Doctors performing this procedure also won’t face any possible discipline or penalties. Previously, doctors found to be assisting patients commit suicide faced up to 14 years in prison.

By making this ruling, the Supreme Court interestingly overturned its own decision that it made back in 1993, when it ruled during the Rodriguez v. British Columbia (AG) case that a doctor-assisted death, also known as euthanasia, was illegal. The Supreme Court had also then justified a ban on euthanasia by stating that such a ban was in accordance with Section 1 (known as the reasonable limit clause) of the Charter.

The Supreme Court’s new decision to overturn its previous ruling has led to some speculation in the insurance industry and raised several important questions about how this ruling can affect life insurance claims in Canada.

The most important question that people are especially wondering about is if a doctor-assisted death will be treated as a regular suicide by a life insurance company during the claims process.

According to the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA), the answer to this question won’t be clear until the federal government actually comes up with legislation in accordance with the Supreme Court’s ruling.

This process could take as long as one year and the Supreme Court has suspended its ruling for the duration of that period in order to give the federal government time to draft the legislation. In the meantime, the CLHIA has said that this ruling is not expected to have a significant impact on the life insurance industry.

The second major question that arises from this new ruling is the concern that people with the intent to seek a doctor-assisted death in the near-future will purchase a life insurance policy. Giving people with a life insurance policy the ability to dictate the time and place of their own death could potentially lead to the life insurance policies being abused.

According the CLHIA, this shouldn’t be an issue and there should be no cause for concern. Most life insurance policies these days already come with a suicide exclusion clause. This exclusion clause explicitly states that the policy won’t pay out if the insured person commits suicide within the first two years of their purchase. The CLHIA explains that most people seeking to end their lives via a doctor-assisted death have purchased a life insurance policy more than two years prior to their decision.

Finally, there have also been fears that malevolent family members of a terminally ill patient could push for a doctor-assisted death of their relative in order to get a life insurance payout. The Supreme Court’s ruling has attempted to counteract this problem by stating that the patient making the decision to end their life would have to be “competent”, “consent to the decision on their own” and be suffering from pain “that is intolerable” from a “grievous and irremediable medical condition”.

In other words, only the patients themselves will be able to decide if they want a doctor-assisted death. These patients will also only be able to make this decision if they’ve successfully demonstrated that they still retain all their cognitive abilities and are painfully suffering from an incurable disease.

As mentioned above, this is still a developing story and all the facts haven’t come out yet. It’s also unclear as to what the federal government’s response to this ruling will be. So far, Justice Minister Peter McKay has only confirmed that his government needs more time to “absorb a ruling on a matter so sensitive for many Canadians”. It’s certainly possible that the federal government will require the full year granted by the Supreme Court before developing a legislative response to the ruling. Complicating matters further is the fact that this issue could be put on the backburner due to 2015 being an election year.

Regardless of what happens next, you can be rest assured that LSM Insurance will stay on top of this news and bring its readers the most up to date information on the topic as soon as it becomes available.

Sean Cooper | Pension Analyst and Financial Journalist

February 17th, 2015
sean cooper experts

Sean Cooper 

Pension Analyst and Financial Journalist

1. What Type of Critical Insurance do you own?

Like a lot of companies, my employer offers optional critical illness insurance. I’m able to take advantage of low group rates. I can apply for up to $200,000 in coverage. My plan covers 25 critical illnesses, including blindness, cancer, heart attack, kidney failure and stroke.

2. What factors did you consider when determining the coverage amount?

I decided against buying critical illness insurance. Besides my mortgage, which I plan to pay off before age 31, I am debt-free – I don’t have any car payments, credit card debt, or student loans to worry about. With my mortgage paid off, I will have achieved financial independence. If I were to become critically ill, my emergency fund with six months’ living expenses and my passive streams of income like rental income would help pay the bills. My parents could also help look after me while I’m recovering.

3. Do you think people underestimate the importance of Critical Illness insurance and if so why?

Yes, definitely. I wrote a blog, Should You Get Critical Illness Insurance?, for RateSupermarket on the importance of critical illness insurance. While some people know about disability insurance, even fewer know about critical illness.

Here’s a static that will shock you:  45 per cent of men and 40 per cent of women will develop cancer during their lifetimes, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. Without critical illness insurance, your family could struggle to pay the bills while you’re in the hospital recovering. Critical illness insurance lets you can concentrate on your personal health without worrying about your financial health.

4. What are some limitations or exclusions should people watch out for?

Not all critical illness insurance policies are created equal. Take the time to read the fine print of your policy and see how many illnesses are covered. The coverage is typically limited for group plans offered by your employer. If you’re not happy with your group plan, you might consider buying an individual plan, which covers up to 25 illnesses.

5. If you had to choose between Critical Illness and Life Insurance which one would you choose and why?

I consider critical illness a nice-to-have. If you suffer a heart attack or stroke, it can give you the financial support you need until you fully recover. For anyone with a spouse or dependents, life insurance is a must-have. If you’re the breadwinner of your family, you shouldn’t think twice about life insurance. Your family may be able to get by without critical illness insurance, but without adequate life insurance your family could find itself struggling to cover household expenses. 

Sean Cooper is a pension analyst at a global pension consulting firm by day and a financial journalist and personal finance expert by night. He is a first-time homebuyer and landlord passionate about real estate. He was inspired by Income Property’s Scott McGillivray to live in the basement and rent out the upstairs of his house. He is well on his way to reaching his stretch goal of mortgage freedom by age 31.  He is on Twitter @SeanCooperWrite. You can request his services and read his blog on his personal website http://www.seancooperwriter.com.

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5 Ways To Show Your Loved Ones You Care About Them On Family Day

February 15th, 2015
family day activities loved ones
Spend Your Family Day Doing What You Love With Who You Love

Not spending enough time with family members has quickly started to become a huge problem in North American society.

For adults, inflexible and long work hours often make it hard to set out time to spend with family members. The problem isn’t just with adults though. Because of the rise of technology, more and more children often spend an increasing amount of time shut up in a room while on their computers or playing video games.With the Family Day holiday coming up, try using this time to better bond and re-connect with your busy family. Here are five ways to show your family that you love them and enjoy their company.

1. Family Road Trip

If you’re looking to bond with your family, nothing beats going on a little road trip. Make this trip about just you and your family. Turn your cell phone off and tell your children to leave their cell phones and gaming devices at home.
Spend the time on the road talking and catching up with your family. Ask the kids about school, any personal problems they’re having, etc.
While the destination isn’t really important as the journey itself, ideally you’d want to go somewhere that everyone in your family will enjoy. If your trip will take a couple of days, consider going to a different town and take in some new sights. If it’s a short trip, go see a popular attraction nearby and round things off with dinner at a nice restaurant.

2. Cooking With The Kids

Cooking with your kids can be a really fun experience. By getting the kids involved in the kitchen, you can also lessen the strain of cooking on you or your spouse during a holiday.
Start off by gathering everyone together and reading up on a recipe. Try making something new and exciting. Make sure that all of your family members approve of the recipe. The last thing you want is alienating someone by making someone they don’t like.
Get everyone involved by making each person in charge of preparing a certain ingredient. At the same time, it’s also important that you keep this fun for your family members and not overwhelm them. Be there to help out if things get tricky. If your kids are young, try doing the actual cooking on the stove or the oven yourself.

3. Day In The City With The Family

You don’t need to go on a long road trip just to spend some time outside with your family. There are often tons of family entertainment options in the city that are near your home.
Take everyone out to see a movie and vote on the movie selection as a family before going. If you want to do an activity that’s a little more physical; go to a bowling alley, indoor rock climbing facility, game arcade, etc. Again, it’s really important that you vote on an activity as a family beforehand.
Round things off with a little shopping trip and give the kids a little allowance to buy whatever they want. End the day with a trip to a restaurant that everyone likes.

4. Start a Family Project

Starting a project together with your family is a great way to bond together. Whatever you create also becomes a priceless treasure full of memories.
This project could be anything. Build a scrapbook full of your family’s ancestral history and ask everyone to do their research. Plant a tree or do some other gardening. Restore the old family car. Create a piece of furniture or decoration together. Renovate a section of the house.
Like always, make sure everyone is interested in undertaking the project before starting it. Give each person a meaningful role so they feel involved. Just make sure that you’re there to directly supervise if hazardous tools or materials are involved.

5. Stay At Home Activities

Leaving the confines of your home isn’t always necessary to have a little family time. For busy families, the greatest gift that you can give each other is your time. So, show your family that you love them by spending the day together at home.
There are many fun activities that you can do with your family at home. Watch TV together, help out with chores, play board games, have a scavenger hunt, do arts and craft, etc.
On a serious note, if you never get enough time to be involved with your children’s schoolwork, take this opportunity to do so. Help out with homework and look at your child’s past projects/tests.
Congratulate your children if they’ve done well in school. If they haven’t done well, start involving yourself with their education more seriously and consider hiring a tutor. Sometimes, a little praise or attention from a family member is worth more than any present.

Weekly Personal Finance Roundup February 13th 2015

February 13th, 2015
Weekend Reading Cozy

The cold of winter is creeping into the office today and all across Canada. At times like these you just want to stay inside and curl up reading a good book, watch a movie or read the finance articles you missed this week.

On Monday we put together a call for everyone to come out to the Lupus Bowl. This event is hosted in conjunction with Lupus Ontario and ourselves. The event is held today at 6:30pm at World Bowl on 9 East Wilmot Street. Come on out for a good time for a great cause. We also have a new infographic for you to easily understand the differences between an RRSP and a TFSA. Do you need tips on putting together a romantic Valentine's Day? We have 8 activities you can do to celebrate the day with your significant other. Lastly, we provide what you can do to pass this financial stress test

Enjoy your weekend and here are the articles in our weekly roundup!

My Own Advisor answers a popular questions he always gets: how do I start investing? 

Preet Banerjee published a video on the Globe and Mail breaking down the long term investments of renting vs owning a house.

Cait from Blonde on a Budget writes about how she was able to let go of 60% of her belongings

Golden Girl Finance debunks 10 money saving tips that you thought might have been true. Some of my favourites are, if it’s on-sale you’re saving money, if you can Google it you can do it yourself and insurance isn’t important if you’re careful.

Barry Choi celebrates his one year anniversary blogging at Money We Have going over his top posts of the year. 

Today's Parent answers your top 20 RRSP questions from Money Sense Extra

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