You ain’t going nowhere: What to do with your summer vacation savings

Never have we needed a summer vacation more than in the year of the pandemic. Never has a true vacation – getting away from it all – been more out of reach.

Rules for vacation-related travel in the pandemic are evolving and differ from province to province. But it’s highly unlikely people will be leaving the country or even getting on a plane this summer for leisure travel. It’s not even clear whether travel between provinces will be feasible. Expect to hear the phrase “staycation” a lot.

If you’ve been saving bit by bit for your summer vacation, then you might have accumulated a sizable amount right now. The Two Cents blog recently looked at the options for your summer travel savings – either hold onto it for when you can travel again, or add it to your emergency savings fund.

The latter option makes a lot of sense if you don’t have enough cash to carry your household through three months or more of lost income. There is a lot of uncertainty ahead as the provinces try to open their economies again. Further job losses and income disruptions are possible. In the pandemic world, cash is king.

If you’re confident that your savings are adequate, here’s a thought. Take a modest staycation this year and target a deluxe vacation in summer 2021, or whenever possible in the future. What you sacrifice this year might help you celebrate the resumption of global travel in style.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list…

The best U.S.-dollar accounts at Canadian banks

If you anticipate being a frequent traveller to the United States once the pandemic ends, you’ll find this comparison useful. Note that U.S.-dollar deposits are now covered by Canada Deposit Insurance Corp. Other foreign currencies, too.

If you’re sending money internationally

A review of TransferWise Canada, which lets you transfer money to people in more than 50 countries with lower fees than some other firms.

They’re ‘bleeding money’ paying rent

A young couple wonder whether buying an $880,000 house in Toronto makes sense.

How to resolve a complaint against your bank or investment firm

Tips from the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments. “We have learned from past experience that consumer complaints go up during difficult financial times,” OBSI says.

Ask Rob

Q: My credit score dropped in the past month from 878 in April to 805 in May. What gives? I have not changed my payment history, carry no debt except the same mortgage (now with lower balance), continued to make all payments on time, did not miss a payment, pay all credits cards and other credit in full each month, and still am fortunate to be employed at the same salary and same job, and still my score dropped by 73 points.

A: Something has changed either in your credit situation, or the way the company that produced your score processes data. Whatever the reason, it’s pretty much meaningless in terms of your ability to get a loan at a great rate. A score in the 800s is excellent.

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 and clarity.

Today’s financial tool

The Ways to Pay For School Worksheet helps students see how much it will cost to attend university or college and how much money they’ll need to pay the bills.

What I’ve been writing about

  • Pandemic Personal Finance Update No. 9: The mark of money success in the next 12 months will be how much you save
  • The blindingly simple tweak your retirement investments need to survive pandemics – and all other disasters (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)
  • Here’s one way bond ETFs beat GICs in the market mayhem of 2020 (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

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