As we wait for winter to loosen her icy grip on our hearts and sidewalks, let’s take a moment to be grateful for the extraordinary amount of excellent information available to read…indoors. (Except if you live on the West Coast and have been enjoying spring since January and are too busy cavorting under cherry blossoms and what-not to waste time reading.)

While the sheer volume of financial writing can be overwhelming (which is why Sandi curates this list for you each month), there is an increasingly diverse set of perspectives available to learn from. There is also a correspondingly diverse set of topics…which benefits everyone! 

This month, the three articles you can’t miss include some fascinating research from our friends at The Decision Lab on the value of thinking about why before we think about how. Superb information from Owen Winkelmolen about increasing government benefits with strategic RRSP contributions. And finally, a secret from Meg Bartelt, one of Sandi’s new favourite bloggers: you, the Client, are the Expert in your own life, and the Hero of your own journey

If you get through those and are still cowering away from winter behind your windows, take a deep breath and check out:

The Decision Lab

From The Decision Lab

“In particular, thinking about why we might do something instead of how we might do it causes us to be more rational. Taking that perspective lets us feel more in control of our finances, budget better, save more—and ultimately achieve more of our financial dreams.”

Read the full article here.

 

How RRSP Contributions Affect Your Government Benefits

From Owen Winkelmolen

Owen is one of the only people I know paying close attention to the effective tax rate of families. If you haven’t started paying attention to him yet, you should.

Read the full article here.

 

Confessions of a Comprehensive Financial Planner

From Meg Bartelt

“All us humans already know pretty much everything we need to. We know the essential elements of our ideal life. We know almost everything we need to do to live that life. And we know what the obstacles are and how to overcome them.

We just haven’t been given the space, time, and empathy to figure it out before. Most importantly? We have the motivation to do all those things because we can tap into that emotion around that ideal life…and that motivation is something I could never ever give someone else as a financial planner.”

Read the full article here.

You can read this month’s entire list below, and browse through past lists here.

The sad state of Intuit’s Mint | Rob Pegoraro

The value of Mint is the tremendous amount of behaviour data its harvesting from you for free. What incentive do the owners have for improving the user experience?

Volatility & Risk Part 2: Sequence of Returns Risk | Loonie Doctor

“When cash is being added or taken out of an account, then it does change the outcome. Money being added isn’t exposed to the returns that predate it and money that is taken out does not get the returns that follow. Hence, the sequence of returns before and after cashflows can make a difference in the outcome.”

How mindfulness privatised a social problem| Hettie O’Brian

“Purser argues that mindfulness has become the perfect coping mechanism for neoliberal capitalism: it privatises stress and encourages people to locate the root of mental ailments in their own work ethic. As a psychological strategy it promotes a particular form of revolution, one that takes place within the heads of individuals fixated on self-transformation, rather than as a struggle to overcome collective suffering.”

Not-so-great expectations: The curse of high expected returns | Daniel P. Egan

“The connection between expected returns and financial planning means that clients with more-optimistic advisors are likely to save less. Not having to set aside as much sounds great—until the plan fails because the high returns never materialize.”

Some Bull Market Reminders | Ben Carlson

“The market cycle looks something like this: markets go up for a long time, which eventually leads people to become complacent and take too much risk, which eventually leads them to over-correct when the inevitable downturn comes, which tends to go further than fundamentals warrant, which leads people to become too conservative and take too little risk, which eventually leads to the inevitable recovery when things get less bad and ultimately we start the cycle over again with another recovery.”

You’re Not Listening. Here’s Why. | Kate Murphy

“But what is love if not a willingness to listen to and be a part of another person’s evolving story? A lack of listening is a primary contributor to feelings of loneliness.”

Do you have too many shares in one company? | Jason Heath

“It may seem more comfortable to invest in something you know—like shares of your employer—than other investment options. But remember, not only the success of your shares is tied to the performance of your employer, but even your bonus or your job itself could be at risk if the company goes through tough times. If you did not work at that company, would you have bought those shares in the first place?”

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