[The odds of winning are still very good, so don’t forget to enter the Best of April 2009 Giveaway. If you have any financial questions, send it to the Personal Finance Clinic. We’ve are accepting questions until May 31, 2009.]

  1. Many feel that the financial crisis has sparked a major shift in our values — bling is out, frugality is in. The question is: will it last?
  2. How did Norway buck the trend of economies in deep trouble? The oil wealth helped but so did the habit of banking the fortune for a rainy day.
  3. Jason Zweig notes that by trading less, women earn better returns than men. It is not mentioned in the story but I wonder if women are taking enough risk in the first place.
  4. Berkshire Hathaway is down substantially over the past year but is it good value? Larry MacDonald finds out.
  5. Unsurprisingly, Gail has strong opinions on the need for an emergency fund and whether a line of credit qualifies as one.
  6. It is a pretty sad state of affairs but Preet points out that advisors who don’t pretend that costs don’t matter are ostracized by fellow advisors.
  7. Million Dollar Journey reviews Derek Foster’s Money for Nothing and Your Stocks for Free.
  8. Check out this Four Pillars post on how to save money when breaking a mortgage.
  9. Michael James says that stock indexes outpace the economy and analyzes why that might be.
  10. The Dividend Guy on the pros and con of ESPP and employer-sponsored pensions.

No post on Monday owing to Victoria Day. Have a great weekend everyone!

This article has 8 comments

  1. Thanks for the link – have a good weekend!

  2. Thanks for the mention CC!

  3. Thanks for the mention. I missed the qualifier “risk-adjusted” in the Zweig article comparing risk-adjusted returns of men and women. You’re right to question whether women take enough risk in investing. If women’s returns were actually better, then the qualifier probably wouldn’t be there. I guess we have to dig through the research papers to see what is going on.

    Risk-adjusted returns are mostly nonsense. For various reasons, investors rend to underperform the index with the equity part of their portfolios. On a risk-adjusted basis, they would be better off piling all of their money into short-term government debt. But, this is obviously a silly strategy for long-term investment.

  4. Thanks for the mention CC – have a great long weekend with the family! 🙂

  5. Canadian Capitalist

    Michael: I’ve read the “Boys will be Boys” paper that Zweig’s article refers to many years back. It found that men churned the portfolios more often than women and as a result underperformed the benchmarks. The more they traded, the more the under performance. No surprises there. I don’t remember if the paper looked at relative risk levels of the portfolios.

  6. The societal shift to frugality for the future due to economic recession is very weak. If the thesis were true, then the “me” generation would never have happened because the Great Depression would have made everybody frugal. But in the short term, a lot of people down state side will become frugal out of necessity, but only out of necessity.

    By the way, in my own experience, I found a huge difference in regional attitudes. I’m originally from the maritimes and moving to Ontario was a culture shock as many people back home were always frugal whereas in Ontario it always felt that it is all about “bling” and keeping up with the Joneses. In addition, I spent a few years living in the American midwest and the midwestern “rust belt” values were also quite frugal – how do you think Walmart became such a powerhouse? If everyone state side shopped at Neiman Marcus, then Walmart would be nowhere.

    Yesterday on BNN, they discussed Walmart’s Q1 results. Walmart, system-wide, now generates $1 Billion USD of sales PER DAY!!! Over $90 Billion in sales per business quarter. I found those numbers astounding and downright mind-boggling and it leaves me wondering what their market share of total retail activity might be? After all, beyond them, you still have the Targets and Canadian Tires of the world also generating lots of sales.

  7. I’ve been reading a lot of consumer data recently and what stands out is that the “move to frugality” is more about belief and declared values than about actually saving. “Frugal is the new cool” seems to be the message – whether Canadians or North Americans *actually* increase their savings rate remains to be seen.

    There’s a lot of “I intend to save more” messages – but we don’t have any data yet on savings rates, just savings intentions!

  8. @Phil: According to a recent presentation I saw at a conference two weeks ago, WalMart is the world’s eighth largest trading partner with China. It is the largest private consumer of electricity in the United States, and the #1 seller (and thus buyer as well) of groceries, toys, and furniture. Its supply chain counts 60,000 companies worldwide. There are lots of amazing statistics about Wal-Mart.