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What, you’d like pay and benefits with that job?

Serving burgers at a fast food restaurant, low-paying job.

Eric Hood/

We've had strong employment growth in Canada in recent months, but questions are being raised about the quality of the jobs people are getting. Wage growth is weak, the number of hours people are working has declined and there's a growing preference among employers for offering temporary or contract jobs instead of full-time positions.

Now for a new wrinkle in finding a decent-paying job. A Winnipeg woman named Taylor Byrnes was rejected for a job interview at a company called after asking about pay and benefits. The company later apologized, but the implication was clear. In today's job market, employers have all the leverage.

We need to recognize this more in personal finance. For example, workers in today's "gig economy" (you go from job to job) face challenges in saving for retirement. Temporary workers also tend to be paid less and receive fewer benefits. If you feel like you're not getting ahead financially, the job market may be the reason.

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So much for the empty nesters
The social side of an expensive housing market is just as interesting as the money aspect. Here's a story about a family where parents are staying in their home so their 29-year-old daughter can live with them while she saves for a house down payment.

Adviser 1, Client 0
This is a disgrace. A woman has been with her investment adviser for 10 years and has a net return of only $1,500 after paying fees of $25,000. A great argument made here for monitoring your portfolio regularly and not letting long periods of underperformance go by unchallenged.

10 ideas for a cheap first date
The coffee date seems a sensible idea for getting to know someone without spending big bucks.

What if you can't afford your medications?
Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital suggests you start by talking to your doctor – there may be ways to reduce costs.

Save money, make money in the second-hand economy
I'm including this item as a reminder to me as much as you to think about the second-hand market as a place to either sell unwanted items or buy them on the cheap. The online market place Kijiji says the average person selling second-hand stuff online made $1,037 last year, while buyers of second-hand items saved $843. Clothing, shoes, entertainment products and games and toys are the most exchanged goods.

My kid, the accident fraudster
How kids can inadvertently order stuff on line and run up their parents' credit cards.

Attention, Toronto renters
To help us better understand what's happening in the city's tight rental market, please take this short survey.

Today's featured financial tool
 Need a new car, truck or SUV? This calculator can help you compare the costs of buying and leasing.

Ask Rob
The question: "My husband and I are nearing retirement and have an online brokerage account worth $800,000, invested in Canadian dividend stocks. We own shares in banks, utilities, and communications and have been following a DRIP (dividend reinvestment plan) approach which has been very successful to date. Fearing an upcoming market correction I recently put stop loss sell orders in at 7 to 8 per cent below current valuations. Is this a sound strategy? We intend to continue to hold dividend stock in our retirement so would have to buy back at some point."

My reply: "My question to you is how you'll know when to buy your dividend stocks back if the stop-loss order goes through and they're sold. If stocks are falling, you might be too nervous to buy. Next thing you know, stocks are rebounding and you've missed a chance to get in a good price. If your long-term plan is to hold dividend stocks, it's hard to see any upside to trying to time the market by selling and then rebuying."

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can't answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length.

Featured video
The overlooked way to prepare for retirement – lay the groundwork for working past age 65.

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About the Author
Personal Finance Columnist

Rob Carrick has been writing about personal finance, business and economics for close to 20 years. He joined The Globe and Mail in late 1996 as an investment reporter and has been personal finance columnist since November 1998.Rob's personal finance columns appear in The Globe on Tuesday and Thursday, and his Portfolio Strategy column for investors appears on Saturday. More


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