Financial Literacy

These are the best personal finance reads from May 2019

By: Lisa Coxon on June 3, 2019

The weather we experienced throughout the month of May was — in a word — wack.

Here in Toronto, it was cold. It was rainy. It was then cold and rainy at the same time. And can anyone recall the temperature inching above 14 degrees for any longer than an hour most days?

This weather is all kinds of backwards, and we know it.

That’s why we tracked down personal finance articles from the month of May that also defy the expected. They are stories about going against the grain, encouraging readers to disobey conventional financial wisdom.

If, this year, May can decide to be like November instead, then by all means you can buy however many lattes you want, spend wedding-sized budgets on non-wedding events, and even long for a housing crash.

Here are the best personal finance reads from May 2019.

Just buy the f***ing latte, via Fast Company

There may not be a warm beverage that gets more attention from personal finance experts than the latte. There’s the camp that says lattes are the sole reason you’re not a millionaire already, and there’s the camp that says that’s a load of you know what.

Sallie Krawcheck belongs to the latter camp.

In this story, Krawcheck points out that the math behind the million-dollar latte argument not only fails to add up — the whole sentiment is actually patronizing to women, too. Since spending frivolously on such a “flippant luxury” is generally considered a feminine trait, women are the ones told to focus on what they can give up, rather than on the systemic unfairness of things like the wage gap, the pink tax and the domestic work gap that already put them at a financial disadvantage.

“How would this play on CNBC?” Krawcheck writes. “If Mike [Santoli] and Jim [Cramer] aren’t discussing whether they prefer to give up their latte or their facials – or maybe not buy as many shoes – in order to better prepare for retirement, then no one else should shovel that on women either.”

11 non-wedding life events that deserve wedding-sized celebrations, via The Financial Diet

“It’s unfair that weddings get all of the attention, that they are the only life even [sic] that seems to warrant a lavish celebration,” writes Holly Trantham.

Not only do weddings get all of the attention — they tend to get all of the money, too. In this piece, Trantham puts forth some alternative life milestones that are just as deserving of a giant celebration, like birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, paying off your student loans — oh, and divorces!

By calling attention to these events and explaining how pivotal they can be, Trantham asks readers to turn the blow-it-all-on-your-wedding-day mentality on its head. She also reminds them that no matter the societal pressures, no event is worth going into debt for.

Why I welcome Vancouver’s housing crash, via the Globe and Mail

You usually don’t hear someone advocating for a housing market downturn, but that’s exactly what writer Gary Mason does in this Globe and Mail piece.

Mason recalls that the city’s housing bubble started in no small part because overseas buyers — often wealthy investors — were scooping up multimillion dollar properties and then leaving them vacant.

“Anyone who was looking could see something wasn’t right with the market a few years ago,” he writes. “Multimillion-dollar abodes were being purchased by students or homemakers with little income. Condos purchased as presales were flipped and flipped and flipped again before ever being lived in, inflating prices exponentially along the way.”

Vancouverites were reassured that runaway home prices were due to a lack of supply and could be fixed by building more condos. We’ve since learned that millions of dollars have been laundered through Vancouver real estate, accounting for a loss of $89 billion in home equity over the past year.

“It was all a grubby sham,” says Mason. “...the party has come to an end and we’re seeing the result of it now.”