Finance blogs help young Canadians prepare for stormy days ahead


With the unemployment rate rising sharply last month, those who still have jobs might want to consider developing a second income stream if they have the financial wherewithal.

That’s because when hard times hit, you can’t always rely on a steady paycheque.

But where to start? Last week, we featured three Canadian millennial couples and one millennial financial adviser who have all created websites or blogs explaining how they have pursued financial independence. Keep in mind that this isn’t just for the rich.

One of those in the article, Stephanie Williams, is a 33-year-old receptionist and Vancouver tenant. Her 31-year-old partner, Cel Rince, edits online books.

Their Incoming Assets blog not only reveals how they’re socially isolating in their 400-square-foot apartment but it periodically includes detailed tips on how to avoid getting hosed when you go to the grocery store.

“Some people believe ridiculous things like healthy eating is expensive, vegan eating is expensive, low spending means eating shitty food, and so on,” Williams and Rince wrote in one recent post. “We feel that providing our own hard data can help counteract the excuses and lies people tell, and also help people who are newer at this stuff to learn how it all works.”

This week, we’re highlighting two other Canadian blogs that can help young people get their financial houses in order.

Canadian Couch Potato

This site is ideal for those who want to learn more about how to invest in exchange-traded funds and index mutual funds.

These are lower-risk ways for novices to dip their toes into the stock market without having to do a ton of research about various companies.

Written in easy-to-understand language by Toronto portfolio manager Dan Bortolotti, Canadian Couch Potato includes sections on the basics of indexing, asset classes, behavioural finance, and portfolio management.

“How do you decide whether ETFs or index mutual funds are right for you? Many investors make their choice based solely on management expense ratios (MERs), ignoring all the other factors,” the blog states. “Costs are always important, but they need to be kept in perspective, especially when your portfolio is modest in size. A difference of 0.10% in fees works out to less than $1 per week on a $50,000 portfolio.”

In one post, Bortolotti revealed that an Arizona State University professor studied the returns of all publicly traded stocks in the United States between 1926 and 2016.

He found that only 42.6 per cent delivered returns in excess of one-month treasury bills over their lifetimes.

“The lesson? If you want to enjoy long-term success in the equity market, the way to do that is not by trying to pick the winners and avoid the losers, because there are far more of the latter,” Bortolotti writes. “Instead, you can guarantee you’ll get the market’s overall return by simply buying an index fund and staying invested all the time.”

Young and Thrifty

Written entirely by Canadian authors, it covers all aspects of personal finance, including tax-free savings accounts, registered retirement savings plans, and registered education savings plans.

It also offers reviews of various investing platforms. Want to know the biggest mistakes Canadians make on their taxes? Or how to get out of debt on credit cards? This is the website for you.

Unlike some financial blogs that rely on the wisdom of one person, Young and Thrifty has many contributors offering a diversity of views.

The writing is straightforward and easy to understand. And you’re not going to be bombarded with esoteric technical analysis about how to apply Elliott wave theory to draw conclusions about the coronavirus-induced meltdown on the world’s stock markets.

This story originally appeared in the Georgia Straight.




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