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

Portfolio diversification key amid political mayhem  

As investors grappled with uncertainty of the U.S. election outcome this week, it became evident America’s future is still murky. Even when the vote counting is complete, legal challenges and possible reluctance from incumbent President Donald Trump to accept the results, will likely drag out the uncertainty. While there’s not much the average investor saving for retirement can do about the political mayhem south of the border, personal finance columnist Dale Jackson says what really matters is how well portfolios are positioned before market-moving events even happen. “The best way to hedge against future downturns in the market – while maintaining exposure to new opportunities – is through diversification,” he writes.

Job growth slows in October

The momentum in jobs gains that were seen through the summer slowed in October, when just 83,600 positions were added. While that was above economists’ estimates, the number marks a sharp deceleration from 378,000 jobs added in September, and average gains of 395,000 over the past six months. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the greatest number of losses due to pandemic-related government restrictions was in accommodation and food services with 48,000 jobs shed. Meanwhile, new Statistics Canada data released Thursday shows unionized workers in Canada have received solid wage gains during the pandemic, with negotiated average annual wages increasing two per cent between July and September, the fastest quarterly gain since 2012.

Insolvencies jump to highest level since pandemic began

The financial strain brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic may be finally catching up with Canadian households. The number of insolvency filings in the country jumped in September to the highest since the pandemic began, according to the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada. The agency reported 7,658 consumer insolvency filings, up 18.5 per cent from August, marking the biggest monthly increase since 2017 – and the most since March when government-mandated lockdowns began.

Confidence in Canadian housing soars as prices climb

Confidence in Canada’s housing market is climbing, according to the latest weekly survey by Nanos Research Group, even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the economy. About 45 per cent of those polled believe the value of real estate in their neighbourhood will increase over the next six months. The latest housing data from two of the country’s hottest housing markets backs up that sentiment. The benchmark price for Vancouver homes hit $1,045,100 in October, a six-per-cent increase from the same month last year, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Meanwhile, home prices in Toronto climbed to another all-time high last month, the city’s real estate board said Wednesday.

Tax implications of buying a cottage

In the face of travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, more Canadians are on the hunt for a vacation home. But experts say both buyers and sellers of cottages need to understand a number of complex tax implications before diving in. For example, if you’re the owner of multiple properties, assessing which property is better for claiming the principal residence tax exemption is key. Another consideration is major renovations on a vacation home, which may be eligible for tax exemptions, too.

The struggles of 'take-your-child-to-work year'

Many Canadian parents are still struggling with “take-your-child-to-work” day, with no end in sight. It all feels like too much, because … it is. That’s the view of Bloomberg Opinion writer Sarah Green Carmichael, who discusses how children may be learning valuable lessons about stress, failure and work-life balance by staying home and watching their parents work. Still, Carmichael points out that it’s an overwhelming task for most parents: “There’s a reason it’s supposed to be take-your-child-to-work day, not take-your-child-to-work year.”


“Set healthy boundaries. Talk to the people in your life and put limits on perceived expectations” – CTV’s Chief Financial Commentator Pattie Lovett-Reid on budgeting for the holidays