On the money: financial news and advice — October 2015

Against all odds, a Nova Scotia man who had survived a lightning strike wins the lottery, while rapper 50 Cent files for personal bankruptcy.


NS man hit by lightning wins lottery

He could be the luckiest man alive. Peter McCathie, who survived a lightning strike on a boating trip when he was 14, has won $1 million in Lotto 6/49. McCathie, of Amherst Shore, NS, told CTV News he “honestly expected to get hit by lightning again first.” His analysis is bang on: the chances of getting hit by a bolt in Canada are about 14 times greater than winning the lottery. The probability of both happening to the same person is about 1 in 2.6 trillion, estimates a University of Moncton math professor. To put that into perspective, the odds of dying from an asteroid impact are nearly 36,000 times greater, at 74.8 million to 1.


Down to his last 50¢

Curtis Jackson

Rapper 50 Cent, a.k.a. Curtis Jackson, is trying to lease his US$8.3-million Connecticut home after filing for personal bankruptcy. He was spending US$67,000 a month to maintain the 50,000-sq.-ft. property, formerly owned by boxer Mike Tyson, which includes nine kitchens, a basketball court, swimming pool, helicopter pad and cinema. His other monthly expenses are said to include US$5,800 for a car lease, US$5,000 for meals, entertainment and travel, US$4,000 for clothes and grooming, and US$14,500 to help support his grandfather and two children.


Appeal court nixes medical tax credit

Trudy Tallon cannot claim the $17,500 she spent on a trip to Thailand and Indonesia in 2009 as a medical expense tax credit (METC), even though the Thunder Bay, Ont., woman’s doctor advised her to travel to warmer climes to ease her chronic pain. That’s the ruling of the Federal Court of Appeal, overturning a decision made last year by the Tax Court of Canada to allow the claim. The METC is limited to travellers who require “specialized medical services that are not available to them where they live,” the judge said.


Company fined $229,500 for incessant robocalls

Tired of being harassed by a cable provider that called her 153 times within a year, a Texas woman sued the company for damages and was awarded US$1,500 per call. Time Warner Cable Inc. must pay Araceli King US$229,500 for placing the automated calls, which were actually meant for another customer who used to have her phone number. “A responsible business” would have tried harder to fix the problem, the judge said.


How to cut card fraud

While tin foil as a method of thwarting crime may smack of paranoia or conspiracy theories (especially when used as headgear), it’s apparently just the thing to prevent contactless-payment card fraud. The cards, which customers wave near a retailer’s card reader, can also be read by accident or by fraudsters. But wrapping the card with foil or placing it in a foil-lined wallet will protect it, experts say.