Joel Schlesinger

  • A comfy cushion

    Monty and Sadie have got along well on one income for years. Monty works in management and earns about $120,000 a year, while Sadie raised the children and pursued volunteer endeavours. Yet the couple in their mid-50s are increasingly concerned they may not have enough to maintain their lifestyle once Monty retires.
  • The DIY plan

    Ron and Harriet recently received a windfall, and they want to make it count. The couple in their 30s with two children inherited $400,000, and they want a plan to invest the money for the future.
  • So... you're an executor

    If you've been named the executor of a will, you might feel honoured to be entrusted with the responsibility. Undoubtedly it is an honour. But you could be in for quite a ride, too, because being an executor has the potential to be one of the most challenging tasks you'll ever undertake.
  • Second time around

    Hoyt and Summer knew home ownership wouldn't be easy. After all, the former Money Makeover participants were told as much by a financial counsellor their first time around. In 2012, they graduated from university and were interested in jumping into the condominium market. Both having landed full-time jobs with good pensions, they believed home ownership would help them get ahead.
  • Taxation's toll

    Miranda has ample retirement savings, and that's a problem. It's not that the 72-year-old widow is not cognizant most retirees would love to have the problem of a $571,000 registered retirement income fund (RRIF).
  • No Canada: Our home and native land a scorched tract of earth for investors lately

    What happened? It's a question many Canadian investors are asking these days when examining their portfolios chock full of homegrown companies. Despite Canada making up only about four per cent of global markets, most Canadians have more than doubled down on investing in their homeland. According to one recent report, our stock portfolios on average are 60 per cent weighted toward domestic holdings, which means we're about 56 per cent overweight in Canada's market.
  • Renovation finance

    Rachel has a new job, a new home and is embarking on a new journey with her partner. Yet the house could use an update -- a lot of updating, in fact -- so she and her boyfriend are mulling over a substantial renovation.
  • Prepping for retirement

    The prospect of retirement is both exciting and little bit anxiety-inducing for Linus and Sally. While Linus, 65, has already retired, Lucy is facing being downsized in the next couple of years, and now 60, she is mulling over the idea of retiring in about a year.
  • The insolvency solution

    Nobody wants to go bankrupt. But maybe a lot more people should than actually do, or at the very least consider it as a way to improve their financial situation. The problem is bankruptcy has a stigma. In the opinion of many, bankruptcy isn't just a financial failure. It's a moral one.
  • Too much of a good thing

    To say Michael and Karen have been financially successful is an understatement. The boomers are shareholders in a small business that was recently wound down into a holding company with investments worth more than $1 million. Michael, in his mid-50s, is the primary owner and is already semi-retired. Karen still works full time in another occupation and plans to retire at 55, when she will draw a defined-benefit pension.
  • Turning the page: Recently divorced mother braces for impact of new financial situation

    After wading through the quagmire of a recent divorce, Madison is now facing a new life as a single mom, heading up the household on one income. "Right now, I'm doing all right, but I'm concerned about in the future -- that I won't be doing well," says the 40-something mother of two school-age children.
  • Long-haul retirement: Trucker plans to work longer to build retirement savings that can last

    Stephan has just entered his sixth decade, but he has no plan to retire in the near future. Still, that doesn't mean he isn't thinking about taking a little retirement income now instead of later: his Canada Pension Plan. He isn't looking for a boost to his income. Instead, he plans to bolster his retirement savings.
  • A taxing question: How does Canada stack up?

    Griping about taxation is a national pastime -- as Canadian as three-down football. And come April, the moaning and groaning often reaches a crescendo. But are we really taxed more than our U.S. neighbours, or for that matter other developed nations?
  • Crushed by credit

    June and Todd feel like they're in a financial tug-of-war they can't win. The couple in their mid-60s have been trying for the past few years to get out of debt so they can fully retire. "We seem to be sliding backwards," says June, who is retired due to medical reasons.
  • 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.

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