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I was recently listening to the audiobook version of ‘#Girlboss’ (worst title ever) by Sophie Amoruso, and there was a section in the book that talked about stress that stuck with me. The rest of the book was just ok. I liked Sophie’s no-nonsense attitude, but listened to it as an audiobook and found the narrator to be a bit annoying. It was also the very first audiobook I’ve every listened to (I talk about that here), so maybe my lack experience was a factor. Is that a thing…do your audiobook listening skills improve with practice? The quote that got me thinking was actually from a section written by Leandra Medine (an author and fashion blogger over at Man Repeller): “I also think you age a lot quicker if you can’t keep yourself busy and under the right, healthy dose of stress. Too much of anything obviously isn’t a good, but as…

How many times have you heard the old cliche ‘love what you do’? I’m guessing too many times. I actually hate that saying! It feels like one of those unattainable ideals that we’re supposed to live up to; like having a supermodel body, having a perfect relationship or never getting a zit. What if you just like your job? You don’t hate it, but if you won the lottery tomorrow you’d be handing in your notice lightning fast and packing up to travel the world or do whatever it is you ACTUALLY really love. If you all of a sudden had endless amounts of cash and wouldn’t change a thing about your life (you’re lying!) then yes, maybe you actually do love what you do but that’s not the norm…not even close. I bet there are way more people out there that hate their jobs with a passion than love…

“Women asking for raises should not only know their value, but they should ask with the confidence that they’re helping the company to be successful.”  Senator Kirsten Gillibrand We all want to get paid more, so why is it so hard to ask for a raise? No matter how valuable you are to your company, sitting down with your boss to negotiate a pay increase is stressful AF. I’ve always dreaded it, and for that reason have often put it off. The problem? If you don’t ask, nothing will change. You’ll end up staying at the same salary until you either leave or get up the nerve to ask. The Role of Gender Male or female, I don’t know anyone who enjoys the process of asking for a raise. But when you look at the research it becomes apparent that women struggle with it even more. There’s been some controversy…

Who doesn’t love free money? No one right? Then why are there so many people who are passing up free money? Crazy right! If there is one thing that drives the personal finance geek in me crazy, it’s when people lose out on benefits because of laziness. Now I’m not talking about paying a delivery fee to have your groceries arrive on your doorstep. I’m talking about the people who are missing out on employee benefits. If that’s you, my wrath is coming for you! And trust me, it happens ALL the time. It might even be happening to you, right this second. Employee Benefits Your salary isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to compensation for the work you do. Many employers offer additional perks that to make the job more desirable. Pension Plan or Matched Savings The best perk you can get is a pension plan…

As you may or may not have heard, there was a big meeting of the federal and provincial finance ministers yesterday to discuss changes to the Canada Pension Plan, and it looks like reform is going forward. The decision is nothing if not controversial (the government taking more of our money always is isn’t it) but I’m sitting on the pro side of the fence this time, and it sounds like the majority of Canadians are too. In a recent poll completed by Angus Reid, 75% of Canadians were in favour of at least moderate changes to CPP. Savings rates in Canada are really low, and very few of us have employers that are still offering a pension plan. Many of our retired parents have money coming in the door every month not only from CPP and OAS but also from a defined benefit pension they paid into for years.…

We are lucky enough to live in Canada and have pretty decent medical coverage through our provincial health care plans, but there’s still a long list of things that aren’t covered. Many employers offer membership to a group benefits plan, but if you work on contract, are self-employed, just graduated, or are in between jobs you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared for any medical expenses that might come up. Let’s just talk quickly about Alberta Health Care coverage. It’s FREE, you just need to make sure you register for it. You can check here for the forms you’ll need to fill out and then it’s just a quick trip to the registry. If you grew up in Alberta, you’ll be covered under your parents until you turn 21, or 25 if you’re a full-time student. Once age out of that coverage you will need to register yourself to prevent…

If you’re like me and haven’t filed your taxes yet there’s probably a pretty good chance it’s because you owe money to good old CRA. When I was just out of school and had all those education credits to claim I always had my taxes filed within days of receiving all my slips so I could get that refund. These days I seem to owe every year, so I procrastinate for as long as possible. Now, who hates having to pay up come tax time? Everyone right…my hand is raised. The thing is though, it’s actually a positive to have to cut a cheque to CRA. How does that work? Well…if you owe money at the end of April it means that you didn’t pay enough tax during the year. If you think about it, this means that CRA has given you an interest-free loan for the year. Not a…

Doing my hair every morning is the bane of my existence (ok, maybe that’s a little dramatic). Right now my hair is about collar bone length, a lob (hair people speak for a long bob), but up until December, it was a lot longer…I chopped off about 6 inches. It’s much easier to deal with now that it’s shorter and healthier, but I do miss being able to pile it up in a messy top knot. I also used to have blunt bangs so I do consider myself well versed in the torture that is growing out bangs. I really liked my bangs and have moments where I would love them back, but I’ve been able to talk myself out of it (so far!) because the growing out process really sucks. I like to go with some sort of style that keeps my hair out of my face, but I…

Last week we talked about the basics of pensions that are provided by your employer so now we are going to focus on the government pensions that are available to you (us Canadians anyways). The most significant is usually the Canada Pension Plan but there is also Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement that can help out retirees. Canada Pension Plan (CPP) If you work in Canada you most likely contribute to CPP (one of those pesky deductions off your pay cheque) and that means you will be eligible to receive a CPP payment in retirement. The norm is to start receiving CPP at age 65 but you can also take a decreased pension as early as age 60 or an increased pension if you delay past age 65. In most circumstances it makes sense to start collecting CPP at whatever age you retire; the extra tax you would pay…

Pensions are kind of the golden ticket in retirement planning as they have such a huge impact on how much money will be coming in the door after you retire but not all pensions are created equal. Today I’m going to break down the basic kinds of pensions that may be offered through your employer. This doesn’t include government pensions like CPP and OAS; we’ll tackle those another day. Defined Benefit Pension Plans DB plans are the real winners in the pension world, and when most people think of a pension, this is what they’re thinking of. A DB pension will pay you a guaranteed monthly pension after you retire that will be based on your years of service, salary and a bunch of far more complicated calculations. This means that you will get a pension cheque every month after you retire until you die (depending on the option you choose…