Joel Schlesinger

  • The vacation bucket list

    Robyn and Kevin have a list of places they'd like to visit, and they plan to check off every one of them during their retirement. The couple in their mid-50s expect it to cost them a pretty penny, but they figure their savings are up to the challenge.
  • Protecting your portfolio

    Few investors don't know what a Ponzi scheme is. After Bernie Madoff soaked investors for billions, it was hard not to. The former chairman of NASDAQ carried on the charade for decades, first taking from friends and family and then expanding. And like all Ponzi schemes, it continued so long as existing investors could be paid returns with the injection of capital from new ones. But when investors wanted their money back in the midst of the 2008/2009 meltdown, the scheme collapsed.
  • The inheritance equation

    Lynn and Loretta are in the enviable position of sitting on a pile of money. Loretta recently received a $350,000 inheritance, and now the civil servant wants to use the money to retire early. "I'm 50 and, ideally, I'd like to retire in five years," Loretta says, adding she would be eligible to draw a reduced pension at 55.
  • Bachelor in a bind

    Jim had a 30-plus-year career come crashing down a couple of years ago. Now 55, the bachelor has run out of severance and employment-insurance benefits, and is wondering what to do. "Right now, I'm fortunate my house is paid off, and I'm able to borrow some money from my folks for my day-to-day expenses until I can find some work of some sort," he says.
  • A decent proposal?

    So many decisions, so little time: That's how Maureen and Clint feel about their retirement plan these days. Clint, in his mid-60s, wants to retire in one year's time, and Maureen, in her late 50s, plans to retire in 2017.
  • Debt-defying retirement

    While friends winter in Phoenix, Alvin and Sonja are still spending their so-called golden years toiling away at their jobs. And it often seems all the hard work is for nothing.
  • The grounded globetrotter

    To say Janice loves to travel doesn't do justice to her globe-trotting resumé. In her 70s, she has spent most of retirement exploring the world. Yet in the last year, Janice has been grounded.
  • Managing the dream

    Adrienne and Kyle fully intend to savour freedom from their nine-to-five jobs at age 55. In fact, the couple, in their early 50s, plan leaving the workforce even earlier than that. "We have both agreed we'd sell the house when the kids are out and buy a condo to give us the flexibility to be snowbirds," says Adrienne, a health-care worker earning $73,000 a year.
  • Another February, another RRSP deadline

    The deadline -- March 2 -- approaches for RRSP contributions. Should you be contributing? Have you been making regular contributions? How will contributions reduce your taxes now, but more importantly, how will they impact your taxes in retirement? With that in mind, should you contribute to a TFSA instead? There's a lot to consider, and it's undoubtedly confusing even though saving shouldn't be that way.
  • Debt escape plan

    Violet has finally found full-time work after graduating from college a couple of years ago. So the prospect of moving out of her parents' house is looking better than ever -- if only she could get out of debt first.
  • Road map to retirement comfort

    Winters in Arizona and summers by the lake: It's most Winnipeggers' retirement dream, and it's a tangible one for Angela and Tim. The couple plans to retire in about two years. Tim is a civil servant earning about $110,000 a year and can expect a pension of $2,000 biweekly with a 100 per cent joint survivor benefit for Angela, who is already semi-retired earning about $24,000 a year.
  • Savings dilemma

    Calvin and Rhonda love to travel, but they know their window of opportunity for travelling is limited. The couple in their early 80s are in good health and have comprehensive travel insurance so they can spend a week or two exploring the world beyond Canada's borders. But unlike past years, they've been thinking about splurging this year.
  • Balancing act: Young professional struggling with student debt seeks to accumulate wealth

    Hannah is two years out of university and still feels like she's spinning her wheels financially. Working as a health-care professional, earning almost $35,000 before taxes a year, the 30-something Winnipegger owes more than $20,000, mostly for student loans.
  • Extreme money trouble

    Looking over Connie and Noah's budget, there's a couple of important expenses that have been omitted: groceries and gasoline. Yet the parents of three young children -- one with special needs -- have not simply forgotten to include them.
  • The good life, without money

    Most of us feel like we're running on an economic treadmill that's getting faster, slowly but surely. And we can't get off. We're seemingly dependent on earning, saving and spending money to live. It's the fuel of our lives. Yet we know this isn't entirely true. Money isn't an absolute requirement for living, even if it seems that way.
  • Splitting shares

    On paper, Del and Shannon are millionaires. Between their house and savings, their wealth exceeds $1.2 million. Yet it's not split uniformly. Most of the assets are in Del's name. Only about $125,000 belongs to Shannon, the result of the proceeds from the sale of her condo prior to them moving in together.
  • Oil's well that ends well

    The last weeks of 2014 have been a manic ride for investors. We've had record highs and corrections too. And then there's been the earthquake that put large cracks in many Canadians' portfolio: the energy sector.
  • Many happy returns

    It's the season for giving (and receiving), which is likely to be followed by a little returning. According to the U.S.-based National Retail Federation, almost 40 per cent of consumers who receive gifts during the holidays will return an item.
  • Hole for the holidays

    The holidays put stress on a lot of people's budgets. But for Ivy, a single mom, it's especially tough. "I'm looking at my budget, looking at a way to do it," says the office worker who is in her late 40s.
  • Dollars for young scholars

    The Canada Learning Bond offers cash for low-income families to save for their children's future. It's hard to imagine a better government program. The bond is worth up to $2,000 per child in free contributions from the government to an RESP.
  • Downsized retirement?

    Tabitha was recently laid off, leaving her scrambling to get her finances in order as she approaches retirement. "I plan to find work but I just haven't been successful," says the 59-year-old, who owns a condo worth about $225,000.
  • No child's play: Toy industry not as lucrative as one might think

    Ray England has seen trends come and go in the toy industry over the last 40 years, from Beanie Babies to Cabbage Patch Kids. Today's trendy toy can just as easily be tomorrow's collector of dust particles, he says.
  • Risky business

    Stanley and Helen have had plenty of success investing real estate in the past, so they thought their most recent venture would be a no-brainer. Instead, it's turned out to be more of a cash-flow drainer.
  • The investment adviser, online

    Edward Kholodenko, the CEO and president of Questrade Financial Group, isn't a big fan of the term 'robo-advisers.' So when the company, better known as one of Canada's leading independent, online brokerage houses, launched its Portfolio IQ service earlier this month, he was quick to point out the new product for investors is anything but robotic.
  • Divorcing debt

    Since she got divorced, Georgette's bills have been piling up. While she's managed to keep up with the legal fees, the biggest adjustment has been living on one income. "You get so comfortable with the double-income, no-kids lifestyle that you don't even think about money," says the 30-year-old who works in finance, earning $50,000 a year.


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