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How to Pay Less and Save More For Yourself: The Essential Consumer Guide to Canadian Banking and Investing [Paperback]

Rob Carrick
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 26 2006
From Canada’s leading expert on consumer banking, this easy-to-read, indispensable book will help you keep your hard-earned money working for you.

Canadians are savvy consumers of everything – except financial products. We comparison shop for new cars and new clothes, but when it comes to our money, most of us passively hand it over to banks and other institutions. The result? Our earnings languish in bank accounts that pay out zero interest while raining down fees, or in mutual funds that make more money for the people running them than for investors.

This book is the remedy: written especially for Canadians, it is the definitive guide to getting the best possible deal on everything from savings accounts to mortgages to RRSPs. Rob Carrick puts the key information in the reader’s hands through comparison charts, rankings and easy-to-follow tables, as well as good old-fashioned advice. He explains how to construct a banking profile, where to find the best bargains in financial services, how online banking and investing is changing everything, and much more.

This book shows how to get the best while paying the least, so you can use your money for the things you really want and need.

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How to Pay Less and Save More For Yourself: The Essential Consumer Guide to Canadian Banking and Investing + Rob Carrick's Guide to What's Good, Bad and Downright Awful in Canadian Investments Today + The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need
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Product Description

About the Author

As the personal finance columnist for The Globe and Mail, Rob Carrick is one of Canada’s most trusted and widely read financial experts. He is the author of two previous books and lives in Ottawa with his wife and family.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


Banks, mutual fund companies, and investment dealers are among the most successful corporations in Canada, and they have you to thank for it. Yes, it’s your hard-earned money that made these companies what they are today. Add up all the fees you pay to your bank, fund companies, and financial adviser and then combine them with the money paid by other clients. The resulting flow of multi-billions in annual revenue makes companies in the financial sector among the richest in Canada.

This calls to mind an often-told story about a self-important investment adviser who was visiting a marina with a friend and showing off the fancy boats that he and some of his fellow advisers owned. “Nice,” said the friend, “but where are all the clients’ boats?” Let’s be fair – some people do get rich with the help of the financial services industry, and just maybe they get to float their boats with the big guys. As for the rest of us – well, let’s just say there’s a monetary imbalance between what the Bay Street brigade is pulling in and what’s left over for us. You’ll see it in those bank accounts that pay zero interest while raining down fees, in mutual funds that never seem to make as much money for you as they do for the companies that run them, and in the services of investment advisers who worry less about your financial progress than their own. The whole idea behind the financial services industry is to make money by helping you make and manage your money. It’s a totally valid model, but not always a fair one in real life.

This book is your road map out of the dysfunctional relationship that too many Canadians have with the financial industry. You need banks, fund companies, and advisers as much as they need you, so I’m not advising you to stuff money in your mattress or adopt any similarly crazy strategy. Rather, the point is to give you the information you need to bring equality to your relationships with providers of financial services. In other words, give you the tools to get the most from banks and other financial services companies while paying the least.

Years ago, the idea of questioning the cost and quality of the products you bought from a bank, broker, or fund company would have seemed absurd to the vast majority of people. I remember going to the bank for my first mortgage in 1993, and waiting to be told what interest rate the bank would deign to offer. I also recall a meeting with a broker a couple of years later at which I was told exactly what I would be investing in and exactly how much it was going to cost. In both cases, I didn’t know enough to question what I was told. Even if I had known, it would have been explained to me – oh so politely – that if I didn’t like the deal, I could shove off.

Today, you don’t get quite the same treatment. The Internet provides a lot of information on rates and fees, so most financial service providers can’t treat you like a complete ignoramus (a partial ignoramus, yes). Also, competition is so intense between banks, fund companies, and advisory firms that everyone now recognizes the need to provide a certain degree of forthrightness and respect. Still, we have not yet arrived at a level playing field, to use a cliché favoured by those on Bay Street. While there are all kinds of great deals out there in banking products, mortgages, funds, and so on, you often have to know about them to take advantage. Example: Whereas it used to be a triumph to get a full percentage point knocked off your mortgage, today it’s often possible to get an even bigger discount. Don’t expect your banker to volunteer this information, though. Instead, you have to ask.

This book tells you how to ask for better terms. And if you ask and still don’t get what you want, it tells you where to go for a better deal. Here we arrive at one of the current key trends in financial services. While all of the big companies want to have a relationship with you – in other words, sell you lots and lots of stuff – the truly savvy individual has many relationships with many companies. I’m a good example. I have my chequing accounts with one bank, my savings account with another, my mortgage with yet another, and my main credit card with still another. Yes, it might simplify life to aggregate all of these products with one institution, but the net result would be to make that single institution richer at my own expense. That’s the opposite of what this book’s all about.

So, who am I to tell you how to deal with the financial industry? Let’s just say this book has been more than eight years in the making, during which time I have written a regular column on personal finance for The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper. I’ve spoken to hundreds of executives at banks, fund companies, brokerages, and financial advisory firms over the years, so I know how their world turns. At the same time, I have received (and, almost always, answered) tens of thousands of emails from readers asking questions and relating their experiences. I’m the guy in the middle, and I know both sides of the story.

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Customer Reviews

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent financia/investment survey Feb. 14 2007
By Sears Braithwaite (of Bullard) TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I wanted to catch up on financial/investment trends prior to reviewing our RRSPs and RESP, and deciding what exactly needs to be improved or fixed. I had been taking an almost hands-off approach for several years, since all was fairly well. The only thing I have been doing, aside from contributions, is gathering all our RSP and RESP investments into accounts at a big bank discount brokerage (a minor epic I would rather forget).

I was delighted with this book! Carrick updated me nicely on the trends, giving me some new ideas and options. I now feel enthusiastic about getting back in there and re-balancing our portfolios, and using the online brokerage.

The book serves equally well if you are a beginning investor or someone who is hazy on managing your personal finances.

And the book in not a re-hash of American content. It is by a Globe & Mail writer, and 100% Canadian content. If you want more Carrick, look in Personal Finance on their site. I have found he is always worth reading.

Happily, the theme of getting value for money is only part of the story. The book is about much more than just trimming costs. Frequently Carrick cautions not to go for the cheapest option if it means losing sight of other, hidden costs or side effects.

A nice touch is the way each chapter contains sidebars that show how you can tackle a given area depending on your preference for using the Internet fully, partially, or not at all--ie good old face to face.

The writing style is light and fast, without being cute or frivolous. And there is no padding. I hate fat books. The book's size is surprising, given the amount of ground Carrick covers.

Well worth the price and your time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Collection of Information March 20 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Most of the information in this book is obtainable on your own but I appreciated it being all in one place. It's specific to Canada which is nice. Plenty of strategies on how to minimize your banking expenses. Nothing that will change your life, but it's all good to know as EVERY little bit helps. I think this would be a particularly good gift for a college student or a new graduate. Maybe for an older adult who's stuck in that 'MY bank' mentality.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for new immigrants to Canada April 3 2007
This book is valuable for new immigrants to Canada. It arms one with so much must-know information, it is confidence-building. The writer gets to the point quickly and tells the real score on many financial products and services. It reads easy. Highly recommended.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars garbage Sept. 11 2011
By habby
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Useless information, sounds like it was written by a ten year old. Save your money, very very basic information. Any 18 year old would already know all of this info. So don't waste your money like I did.
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