Review: Travel Hacking for Canadians

(And a Giveaway!)

Thursday, 18 December 2014 | by | 3 Replies

TravelHackingCanadiansWe like to go places. We value the many benefits of travel but it does cost money. It is, however, a misconception that travel is too expensive. Traveling costs as much or as little as you so decide. A coworker recently took a two week long vacation to Italy, totaling roughly $8k, and staying in hotels costing upwards of €200 a night in Rome. In contrast, we took a similar trip a few years back with our costs adding up to roughly $4500. Our accommodations cost €58 a night in the same city. A trip to Italy can cost much less- that is, if you opt out of a week-long painting course in Tuscany.

We pay for our travels through disciplined saving but much of it also comes from picking up little tricks from other travelers that help stretch our travelling dollar. That’s where travel hacking comes in. Travel hacking, combined with points redeemed from our travel reward credit card, increases our ability to travel by greatly reducing our travel costs. I was excited to gain new travel hacking ideas when Steven Zussino graciously offered Urban Departures a copy of his book Travel Hacking for Canadians to review and giveaway (details after the jump). Continue reading

Recommendations in Brazil

(That on which we splurged)

Wednesday, 10 December 2014 | by | 3 Replies

DCIM104GOPRODaniel just celebrated a big birthday, and I have yet to finish writing about mine, which past six months ago. We both turned thirty this year, and decided to celebrate with pizzazz.

“I want to go hang gliding on my birthday”, I told Daniel back in January. We were planning for our trip to Brazil and I was specifically searching for things to do on my birthday which was to pass while we were in Rio de Janeiro. “It’s going to cost a lot, but I only turn 30 once”.

I emailed a few hang gliding companies, requesting rates for my birthday. They responded- some quickly, some a week later- all informing me that there was a hike in rates because of the World Cup.

“Should we still do it?” I asked my husband, gawking at the 25% World Cup premium being tacked on to an already expensive excursion. Continue reading

TD e-Series: Filling out the Investor Profile

(Get what you want)

Tuesday, 2 December 2014 | by | 2 Replies

TD-e-Series Investor ProfileThere’s one thing in common for those looking to open a TD e-Series account by mail or by person: you’ll need to answer a couple questions in the Investor Profile Questionnaire. The purpose of the questionnaire is to assess the comfort level of the investor and to assign a general target asset allocation.

If you opt to mail in the application to open the e-Series account, you’ll need to fill out the application form. The form includes instructions on how to determine your recommended allocation and you can modify the answers as many times as you like to get the asset allocation that you want.

If you’re opening an e-Series account in person at a branch, a bank representative will take you through the questions. If you don’t get your desired asset allocation, you can ask the representative to change the answers until you get your desired allocation if they allow it.

Filling out the questionnaire can be a little tedious and was frustrating the first time I wanted to open an account. Let’s take the guess work out of the equation and answer the questions to get the asset allocation that you want. Continue reading

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The Weekend Edition No. 21

Friday, 28 November 2014 | by | 2 Replies

weekend reading

Black friday this, black friday that. Do your wallet a favour and ignore the noise. While getting a good deal can be satisfying, watching your Benjamin’s (or Borden’s, you Canadians) stack up is much more rewarding. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at these guys:

Barry Choi, at Money We Have, apparently has lots of it! His savings rate is off the charts.

Dan’s using his Big Fat Wallet to max out his RRSP. Check out how he invests his money.

Money Geek, Jin Choi, breaks down how investing is like playing poker. How’s your poker face?

Michael James evaluates the reasons people give when they choose to avoid index funds.

Don’t forget, is having a $1000 Christmas giveaway! Join in the reindeer games! 

The Weekend Edition No.20 – Core, Explore and $1000!

Friday, 21 November 2014 | by | 3 Replies


While index funds are the right choice for most investors over the long term, I’m learning that indexing and stock picking don’t have to be mutually exclusive. That being said, it’s best to know how to compare the portfolio against the benchmarks to gauge performance.

Having the core of a portfolio invested in index funds while exploring with a small fixed percentage, can scratch the itch of investors wanting to pick stocks. Colour me interested, if not only for the learning experience. Michael James, sheds his wisdom on the core and explore approach.

Get this, former NFL player Jason Brown quit the league after he made $25 million of his $37.5 million contract. Guess what he did after he quit? He became a farmer to help feed the hungry after learning to grow crops off Youtube.

Jordann, at My Alternate Life, saved $27k in 2014.

Canadian Portfolio Manager Justin Bender shows you how to calculate your average annual rate of return.

Lastly, is having a $1000 Christmas giveaway! Join in the reindeer games!