TORONTO — Many university students recall the rambunctious pub nights, late-night cram sessions and laundry-strewn dorm rooms of campus life with nostalgic fondness. But this cultural rite of passage can be pricey.[np_storybar title=”How to get the biggest bang for your buck from your RESP” link=”https://business.financialpost.com/2013/08/28/resps-how-to-get-the-biggest-bang-for-your-buck/”%5DMost parents are not using this government-assisted education fund in the most strategic or optimal manner possible. Take these tips to boost your savings.Continue reading. [/np_storybar]Erin Andrews, 22, said living away from home — including three years in residence and one year in off-campus housing — has added almost $20,000 to her debt load.But the fourth-year kineseology major at Memorial University in Newfoundland has no regrets.“It was definitely worth it,” said Andrews, who describes the friends she met in residence as a “super big family.”“If you like becoming independent and making new friends and want to have the full university experience, I think residence should definitely be included.”However, financial planners caution against taking on unnecessary debt. Lise Andreana, a certified financial planner and the author of “No More Mac ’n Cheese,” urges students to stay at home for university if it’s possible.“You have to think in the long term,” said Andreana. “If you can avoid student debt, do it, because it’s going to take you decades, maybe, to pay that debt off once you graduate. And you may not get a job.”However, 64% of post-secondary students recently polled by RBC in June and July said they plan to live away from home, despite expecting the move to cost them more.While a recent BMO poll suggests Canadian students expect to graduate with an average debt of $26,297.When Jenelle Davies decided to go back to school after several years in the workforce, she opted for a local school so she could save money by living at home with her mom.The Surrey, B.C., resident spends more than an hour a day commuting to and from Douglas College in New Westminster, B.C. She laments the fact that she can’t stay on campus past 9 p.m. — when her last bus departs — to study with classmates or go to the pub.But the student loan money she receives isn’t enough to cover both tuition and housing, especially in B.C., Davies said.If you can avoid student debt, do it, because it’s going to take you decades, maybe, to pay that debt off once you graduate“It would have been lovely to go to the University of British Columbia and stay in a dorm, but it just costs an astronomical amount of money that I couldn’t afford,” said the 26-year-old history major.“You have to make concessions. Sometimes those concessions can impact the student experience.”Mark Halpern, a certified financial planner and president of life insurance firm illnessprotection.com, suggests sitting down and creating a detailed budget to determine exactly how much moving out will cost.The expenses can include housing, food, laundry, haircuts and other grooming costs, toiletries, new clothing and “fun money.”If a student opts for off-campus housing instead of university residence, costs such as hydro and phone and Internet service also have to be accounted for.“There’s no question that it’s much more economical to stay at home,” Halpern said. “You’re really piggybacking on the costs that parents are paying anyway.”Jessica McCormick, the national chairwoman for the Canadian Federation of Students, said rising tuition fees are forcing a growing number of students to stay local in order to save on living expenses.However, several Canadian universities said the demand for on-campus housing continues to grow.Andrew Parr, the managing director of student housing at the University of British Columbia, said there are currently 3,800 students on the waiting list for a residence space. UBC has enough beds for more than 10,000 students in total.Tyler Anderson/National Post, files Parr said the demand for residence spots is driven partly by an uptick in international students, most of whom don’t have the option of living with family.However, living on campus offers perks beyond simple convenience. Doug Dawson, executive director of ancillary services at the University of Alberta, said students who live close to school also tend to get better grades.“We continue to see much more demand for housing than we have available stock,” Dawson said.“Students who live on campus typically have more support, more access to faculty and their peer groups, so they typically do better over time.”In some cases, students may have no choice but to move out for school, McCormick said.We continue to see much more demand for housing than we have available stock“Many students end up doing it because they need to take a particular program that’s only offered at a certain institution, or they get into one school and they don’t get into another,” she said.“People have to make very difficult decisions, and unfortunately it often results in having to take on additional debt.”Students should avoid taking on debt for programs that are unlikely to yield job prospects, Andreana said.A report released by CIBC World Markets on Monday found that those who study specialized and professional fields such as medicine and law get a higher return on their education than those who major in humanities and social sciences.“There’s no point having a degree in anthropology or theology or basket-weaving if there’s no work,” Andreana said.“You want the degree, and the debt that you take on for that degree, to lead to a job that’s going to make that debt worthwhile.”There are alternatives for young people who want to study in another city but can’t afford residence. McCormick suggests programs such as Home Share NL, which pairs students in Newfoundland with older adults who want some help maintaining their homes.Halpern recommends applying for schools in cities where extended family members live.“We live in a generation of entitlement,” Halpern said. “There’s the expectation that you go away to college or you go away to university and you do that trip to Europe to discover yourself.”It’s important not to go into debt just to fulfil those feelings of entitlement, Halpern said.“Sometimes you can’t do what you want to do. Sometimes you’ve got to wait. Sometimes you have to stay local.”The Canadian Press
TORONTO — The Toronto stock market registered a triple-digit drop Monday, led by another sizable loss in energy stocks amid a report from investment bank Goldman Sachs that forecast further big declines in oil prices.The S&P/TSX composite index closed well off the worst levels of the session, falling 119.91 points to 14,265.01 with the energy sector down 4.6%.The February crude contract in New York dropped $2.29 to US$46.07 a barrel — its lowest level since April 2009 — after energy analysts at Goldman Sachs reduced forecasts for global benchmark crude prices, predicting inventories will increase over the first half of this year. It forecast that West Texas Intermediate — the North American benchmark — will trade at US$41 a barrel in three months. It had previously forecast WTI at $70.Oil prices have collapsed since June 2014, falling more than 55 per cent. They have dropped more than 33 per cent just since the end of November, when Saudi Arabia made it clear it would not cut production to support prices.“The speed has been breathtaking,” said David Wolf, portfolio manager, co-manager of Fidelity Canadian Asset Allocation Fund.Goldman Sachs slashes oil forecast to $40 as hopes of OPEC output cut abandoned‘We’re never going to see $100’ a barrel oil again, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal says“And I think one of the reasons that equity markets are struggling with this is because it is a bit reminiscent of what happened in late 2008, so the surrounding memories of that are an economy in free fall, a real demand shock and at that stage the oil prices decline was really telling us something very bad.”But Wolf said it is important to remember that this price shock is rooted in a glut of global oversupply and “markets are underestimating how much of a positive this is going to be to company earnings or economic growth.”Meanwhile, another major energy player is responding to the collapse in oil prices with lower capital spending plans. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (TSX:CNQ) is reducing its 2015 capital spending plan by nearly 30% and now plans to spend $6.19 billion in 2015, or $2.4 billion less than expected in November. Canadian Natural dropped $1.36 to $31.81.The Canadian dollar declined to levels not seen since April 2009 as tumbling oil sent the loonie down 0.71 of a cent to 83.56 cents US.New York indexes were also negative as the Dow Jones industrials fell 96.53 points to 17,640.84, the Nasdaq dropped 39.36 points to 4,664.71 and the S&P 500 index lost 16.55 points to 2,028.26.Elsewhere on the TSX, the base metals group was down 3.9% as lower demand prospects sent copper to a five-year low with the March contract down cents lower at US$2.73 a pound.Other market weights included financials, down one per cent while industrials shed 0.7%.In the positive column, the gold sector was ahead five per cent as February bullion gained $16.70 to US$1,232.80 an ounce and telcos gained 0.45%.On the corporate front, Guelph, Ont.-based Linamar Corp. (TSX:LNR) plans to create 1,200 jobs as the company launches a $500-million expansion, financed in part by the Ontario and federal governments. Linamar shares gained 20 cents to $69.Shares in Tekmira Pharmacheuticals (TSX:TKM) jumped $10.55 or 56% to $29.38 after the Vancouver-based company announced a friendly merger proposal with OnCore Biopharma Inc., a U.S. drug developer working on complementary products for treating Hepatitis B.
The Alibaba Group will distribute children’s programming such as “Teletubbies” in China through a deal with DHX Media.It’s the first deal between the Halifax-based entertainment company and Alibaba, a major e-commerce company that operates primarily in China.The DHX-Alibaba agreement covers more than 2,500 half-hour episodes of content for Alibaba’s video-on-demand service, which is available through set-top boxes, smart televisions and other devices.The titles include “Teletubbies” — a British series that DHX distributes globally — as well as “Caillou,” “Paddington Bear,” and “Johnny Test.”DHX Media didn’t provide financial details of the agreement.The Canadian PressCorus Entertainment snaps up Disney content from DHX Media, plans to launch Disney channel in Canada
MONTREAL — Aimia Inc. is immediately suspending all dividends on common and preferred shares, including previously declared payments that were to be made at the end of this month.Shares in Aimia were down 10 per cent at $1.70 in morning trading Wednesday.The Montreal-based company runs Aeroplan and other customer reward programs for various businesses including Air Canada, its original customer.Aimia says the dividend suspension is required following Air Canada’s decision to stop using Aeroplan and launch its own customer reward program in 2020.Why investors should be wary of doubling down on these five losing stocksAimia shares soar 20% after CEO says Aeroplan operator can make it without Air CanadaFive things you should know about Aeroplan points and Air Canada’s new loyalty programThat announcement sparked a major decline for Aimia shares, which closed at $1.89 on Tuesday, worth less than one-quarter what they were worth prior to May 10.Aimia says a capital impairment test required by the Canada Business Corporations Act prevents it from paying the dividends, even though it has the liquidity to do so.“Our business continues to perform well and generate strong free cash flow,” executive chairman Robert Brown said in a statement.Shareholders who are entitled to previously declared dividends may be paid at a future date.Aimia says it’s actively working on forming new long-term relationships for the period after Air Canada departs and is making progress on cutting $70 million of costs from its business.The company also announced Wednesday that it will reduce the size of its board of directors to nine members, from 12.It says Joanne Ferstman, Alan Rossy and Beth Horowitz have resigned as directors.
On the markets at midmorning (ET):The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 85.29 points to 15,234.86, after 90 minutes of trading.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 25.86 points to 21,600.59. The S&P 500 index added 6.94 points to 2,467.55 and the Nasdaq composite index climbed 29.23 points to 6,373.54The Canadian dollar was trading at 79.41 cents US, up from Tuesday’s average price of 79.19 cents US.The September crude contract was up 57 cents to US$47.16 per barrel and the August natural gas contract was unchanged at US$3.09 per mmBTU.The August gold contract was down 70 cents to US$1,241.20 an ounce and the September copper contract was down one cent at US$2.72 a pound.
The London Stock Exchange index closed on Friday at 7,323.98, down 63.89 points.
OTTAWA — Cracks began to show in Bill Morneau’s cucumber-cool countenance Friday as the finance minister faced still more questions about the handling of his personal fortune, even after pledging to sell at least $21 million worth of stock in hopes of muting conflict-of-interest allegations.More than once, Morneau struck a note of exasperation during a news conference in Waterloo, Ont., where he was promoting the Liberal government’s efforts to address concerns and complaints about a package of proposed small-business tax reforms.Just the day before, the former businessman committed to sell about one million shares in Morneau Shepell, the family-founded human resources and pension management firm that he helped build over 25 years, and to put the rest of his substantial personal assets in a blind trust.But if those steps — over and above what Canada’s ethics commissioner told him would be necessary, he reinterated — were meant to silence questions from journalists and opposition critics, Morneau was sorely mistaken.At one point, he was asked about his use of numbered holding companies based in Alberta and Ontario to hold some of his assets.“So, is the question why they’re numbered companies and they don’t have names? You know, seriously,” Morneau replied, all but rolling his eyes.“The process we have in our country isn’t that I report to journalists on my personal situation. It’s that I report to the ethics commissioner and I make sure that she fully understands my situation.”Morneau was in Waterloo to announce government plans to work with the venture capital and angel investment sectors to address concerns about the tax reform proposals and ensure investment in the country’s fastest-growing companies is not impeded.It was just the latest in a series of changes Morneau has announced throughout the week to the tax reform plan. The changes have been welcomed by business groups, farmers and others who’d denounced the original proposals, although they continue withhold final judgment until they see the details.But the announcements, including revival of a promise to cut the small business tax rate to nine per cent, have been overshadowed by the controversy swirling around Morneau’s personal finances and ethics.“By following the rules and by living up to the highest standards, by respecting the officer of Parliament, you know, I expected that that should work. I expected that doing what finance ministers before me had done, doing what the other 337 members of Parliament of have done, is the right way to address that issue,” he said at one point.“What I found is that there’s some noise around this. There’s people like you asking about specific issues in my personal finances.”Morneau reiterated Friday that he followed the advice of federal ethics commissioner Mary Dawson to the letter and is now going beyond her recommendations in selling off his Morneau Shepell shares and putting everything else in blind trust.In a letter to Morneau shortly after he was appointed to cabinet, Dawson told him he was “not required” to divest his assets or put them in a blind trust because they were not directly held by him but by numbered companies he owned.She recommended that “the best measure of compliance” would be to set up a conflict-of-interest screen, administered by his chief of staff, to ensure he abstained from any discussion or decision that might impact the interests of Morneau Shepell.Such a screen would prevent any appearance of a conflict of interest and “also ensure the integrity and impartiality of cabinet decisions and maintain the public’s confidence,” Dawson wrote in the letter, released by Morneau’s office Thursday.Morneau did set up the screen, as advised, but that has done nothing to quell accusations from opposition parties that he broke the law and put himself in a blatant conflict of interest.In the House of Commons on Friday, Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre called on Morneau to disclose whether he recused himself from making decisions on a number of issues that could have benefited Morneau Shepell, a human resources and pension management company.“Did he recuse himself from any discussions on the Barbados tax haven where his company has a subsidiary?” Poilievre demanded.“Did he recuse himself from any discussions on target benefit pension plans, from which his company stands to profit in the millions? Did he recuse himself from tax policies forcing small businesses to invest in individualized pension plans from which his company stands to profit?”In her letter to Morneau, Dawson noted that he was not required to recuse himself from “an interest in a decision or matter that is of general application.”However, New Democrat MP Murray Rankin said following Dawson’s advice doesn’t excuse Morneau.“Even if he were following all the rules, he must understand that any reasonable person would conclude that, at the very least, he was in an apparent conflict of interest and certainly failed to exercise the kind of judgment one would expect from a finance minister,” he said.Rankin called on Morneau to “apologize to Canadians for breaking their trust.”
Sampanthan meanwhile claimed that there were attempts to buy the support of some TNA members and also charged that the election itself was not free and fair. (Colombo Gazette)CLICK HERE FOR AUDIO He said that if the SLMC joins the ruling UPFA to form the government in the Eastern Province that will be seen as an attempt to disregard the votes given by the Muslims. The SLMC is expected to decide this weekend if it will support the UPFA or the TNA to forme the government in the East.The TNA leader said that the government has no right to stake claim to form the administration in the east when the opposition has the majority seats. Sampanthan noted that the SLMC had gone on stage and spoken against the government during the election campaigning. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) today urged the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) not to betray the voters in the East by supporting the government to form an administration in the Eastern Province.TNA leader R. Sampanthan told reporters at a press briefing this morning that the Muslims in the East had voted for the SLMC as the parry contested against the government.
“All these manifestations appear every year around the same time when UN Human Rights Council gathers for their sessions in Geneva. It will be the practice, next year, too because the LTTE rump does not want to see a promising and prosperous Sri Lanka and they want to thrive on those allegations until they re-emerge,” he said.He said that the critics never want to heap praise on the Sri Lanka Army for its decisive eradication of the world’s most feared terrorist outfit, the LTTE at the expense of many heroic lives. “The vigorous unilateral allegations against the Army, now made in Geneva, baffle all of us who decisively waged the humanitarian operations in Wanni at that stage when I was the Wanni Commander because neither myself, nor any Security Force Commander or for that matter, any Division or Brigade Commander, to say the least, in the province, received a single complaint against the Army from any of those quarters, now screaming elsewhere. How come? Why no such complaints of this nature were made at that period against the Army or any specific ground commander, is really food for thought and incredibly confusing,” he said in the statement. Jayasuriya said that since the culmination of the war various interested parties have been making a barrage of criticism against the troops, based on a rash of unfounded allegations, malice and ulterior motives. The army is baffled by the allegations being raised in Geneva against the military, the army media unit said in a statement today.Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya urged his troops to be on alert to the “malicious propaganda network” against the army. “Why is it so? Was it because they still could not contain or uproot their own terror cycles in their home fronts or just because of their mere hypocrisy,” the army commander said. (Colombo Gazette)
GTF says 2013 is not only an important year for Sri Lanka, but a vital moment for the future credibility of the Commonwealth. “It is astounding that a Government accused of involvement in war crimes and of complicity in continuing human rights abuses will then sit on bodies, such as the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, mandated to deal with serious and persistent violations of the Commonwealth’s fundamental values, the GTF President said.He urged Commonwealth leaders to prevail upon the Government of Sri Lanka, in the strongest possible terms, the need to end the culture of impunity, to restore the rule of law and to comply with its international obligations to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of its people. The Global Tamil Forum (GTF), a powerful Tamil diaspora lobby group operating from London, is continuing to push for a boycott of the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo.Rev. Dr S.J. Emmanuel, the President of GTF, in a letter addressed to the Commonwealth heads of governments, says the 2013 CHOGM summit will seriously weaken the Commonwealth’s commitments to core principles of human rights and democracy. He says even powerful figures like the former military commander and 2010 Presidential candidate, Sarath Fonseka, and Sri Lanka’s Chief Justice, Shirani Bandaranayake, have been imprisoned or, in the latter case, illegally removed from office for challenging the government.