Financial news and advice — April 2014

A country musician's online ad for his Calgary home draws thousands of responses, while polls and surveys shed light on Canadians' fears about smartphone hacking, among other things.

Hot Property

Calgary house free for the taking

Canadian accountant and chart-ranking country musician Jason Hastie made a splash earlier this year for posting an online ad to give away his 1,200-sq.-ft. Calgary bungalow. The catch? Whoever wanted the house had to come and get it. Hastie, 39, is looking to build a new home on the property, but instead of demolishing the old one he thought it could go to a family in need — particularly in light of last summer's floods in Alberta. After receiving thousands of responses, Hastie selected Dave and Verna Roberts from High River, Alta., whose 31-year old son died six months earlier in a car crash. To help pay for the dwelling's relocation, Hastie was planning a fundraising concert with his band, The Alibi.

Red Tape

Paperwork costs a pretty penny

The rigmarole of filing taxes, obtaining passports or renewing driver's licences and vehicle registrations can take an emotional toll. But have you ever calculated the financial toll? The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has, and figures the value of fees and time spent to comply with regulatory red tape is $730 a year for the average household. And that doesn't include the costs of form-filling for reno permits, student loan applications or fishing licences.

Bank Apps

They're called personal accounts for a reason

More than half of smartphone users are worried friends or family might peek at confidential files or documents stored on their mobile device, according to a US survey conducted for KS Mobile. Interestingly, respondents are more concerned about the possibility of loved ones seeing their banking information (25%) than embarrassing or indiscreet photos or emails (10%).

Ticket to Freedom?

Most jackpot winners would keep on working

If you won $10 million in the lottery, would you keep your job, look for a new one or retire? That question was posed to US workers in a recent Gallup poll, and the results were … unexpected. Among "engaged" employees, those who are involved and enthusiastic, the vast majority would keep working in their current job (63%) or elsewhere (12%). But here's where it gets weird: of "actively disengaged" employees 20% would stay put and 41% would look for a new position.