Home Economics aims to help Canadians navigate their personal finances in the age of social distancing and beyond.

Canadian COVID spending leaking into other countries, economist warns

Canadian households are spending too much of the government’s COVID-19 support money on imported consumer goods, CIBC economist Royce Mendes warned in a report published Tuesday. For example, he said that more than half of every dollar spent on clothes goes to pay suppliers abroad. “Purchases have actually been heavily skewed toward consumer goods at the expense of services during the pandemic, and that’s costing the economy and governments in Canada money,” he said, adding that if nothing is done to fix this, governments may have to provide more fiscal support than other larger or less-open economies.

Trudeau warns on future of COVID benefits

While Canadians may be injecting some of that relief money into the economy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government's COVID-19 aid programs might not be useful once the crisis passes. At a virtual event hosted by the Financial Times on Wednesday, Trudeau warned extra benefits such as income supports likely won’t last once the pandemic is behind us. "Let's not pretend that something that works right now gives us stability," he said. "That's not a measure that we can automatically continue in a post- pandemic world."

Options for cash-strapped seniors who want to delay moving

For cash-strapped senior homeowners who want to delay plans to move until the pandemic is over, there are a few options to consider. Personal finance columnist Dale Jackson points to alternative lender Equitable Bank's new reverse mortgage offering and more traditional methods of borrowing against your home – such as a home equity line of credit (HELOC) – to help pay the bills. He says it’s an ideal time to borrow against a home with prices rising in some markets, and interest rates expected to remain at historic lows for the next few years.

Working from home a 'privilege' you should pay for, Deutsche Bank says

Those who choose to work from home once the COVID-19 pandemic is over should pay tax for that “privilege,” according to strategists from Deutsche Bank AG. The strategists are proposing a five-per-cent levy for those who choose to work from home on a regular basis. They say this type of measure could raise billions of dollars to help fund subsidies for low-income earners and essential workers who can’t work remotely. The proposal came just before Shopify president Harley Finkelstein told BNN Bloomberg the days of “office-centricity” are over.

How to make your charitable donation count

The charity industry is taking a hit as job losses from COVID-19 pandemic undermine the ability of would-be donors to give. At the same time, the pandemic has boosted demand for charitable services. For those who plan to donate despite the economic uncertainty, industry observers say there are ways to ensure your gift has the greatest impact, such as choosing causes you are most passionate about. "If your passion is mental health, find a mental health organization either in your community or nationally that you really like," Bruce MacDonald, president and CEO of Imagine Canada, tells The Canadian Press.                                                                 

TIP JAR

“Once interest rates peak above their five-year average … that’s when variable rates really outperform. So the misconception about variable [rates] can end up costing people money.” – Rob McLister, founder, ratespy.com