Bye Bye CSBs, 36 Million Strong and #Moneytalk

Evidently the government is investigating whether they should abandon the Canada Savings Bonds program, and when I hear that all I could think was, What will all the Grandmas invest in now? Evidently there is about $500M worth of unclaimed CSBs out there still too? Remember the good old days when CSBs paid out

Canada Savings Bonds

CSBs Ready to Save

1980 Nov S35 11.50% 1981 Nov S36 19.50%
1982 Nov S37 12.00% 1983 Nov S38 9.25%
1984 Nov S39 11.25% 1985 Nov S40 8.50%
1986 Nov S41 7.75% 1987 Nov S42 9.00%
1988 Nov S43 9.50% 1989 Nov S44 10.50%
1990 Nov S45 10.75%

Yes, remember those heady days when CSBs paid 19.50% . I do! I also remember 15% mortgage rates. However, for all those lovers of CSBs, don’t lament, you can still buy them this year, and set up a payroll savings program too! The population of Canada is now over 36 Million according to Stats Canada. We added 139,645 from April to July of this year! Now that is an immigration boom (or one hell of a baby boom!). Funny, it doesn’t feel that crowded, but I don’t live in Toronto either.

In Ottawa, the Glebe has decided that the stores in that area can open on Thanksgiving (and on 5 other holidays as well). Do we really need that many days to shop? I remember not shopping on Sundays.

The only comment I can make about the American election is, what I have said previously, Overt Zelotry of any kind (religious, political, or any other) worries me a great deal. How is everyone so darn sure they are right?

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Stuff I wrote this week

Another fairly lazy week for me, however, I do have many more ideas percolating in my brain (including one where I am actually asking MPs questions), but this week, I wrote about the Shocking Electricity Price in August (CPI Canada). Ontario is leading the way with ludicrous price increases for electricity.

I continue to get comments and questions from my article CRA Child Disability Benefit (How To), and hopefully folks are being helped by it (it is one of my favorite articles).

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Shocking Electricity Price in August (CPI Canada)

The game of numbers, known as the Consumer Price Index from Stats Canada (for August), continue to show an optimistic story on the surface, and a more interesting one underneath the sheets. (Remember: Lies, Damn Lies and Arithmetic)

The following two lines from the report outline things nicely:

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 1.1% on a year-over-year basis in August, following a 1.3% gain in July.

Excluding gasoline, the CPI was up 1.7% year over year in August, after posting a 1.9% increase in July.

Without gasoline, numbers are still not bad, but then have a look at the data in detail, where you find out that year over year, Electricity rates are up 5.2% (across Canada). In Ontario, I am sure it is even bloody higher!

Main contributors to the 12-month change in the CPI:

Main upward contributors:

  1. Purchase of passenger vehicles (+5.2%)
  2. Homeowners’ replacement cost (+4.0%)
  3. Electricity (+5.6%)
  4. Food purchased from restaurants (+2.5%)
  5. Air transportation (+5.7%)

Main downward contributors:

  1. Gasoline (-11.5%)
  2. Natural gas (-9.9%)
  3. Travel tours (-5.6%)
  4. Telephone services (-1.2%)
  5. Fuel oil (-11.8%)

See, if you look at the numbers close enough, you can really depress the hell out of yourself.

CPI by Category

CPI by Category for Past 12 Months

Bank of Canada’s core index

The Bank of Canada’s core index increased 1.8% year over year in August, following a 2.1% gain in July.

The importance of this, is that while this is still within the Bank of Canada’s “comfort zone” for inflation, interest rate increases may still happen (you just can’t blame it on Inflation (directly)). Also remember, the Governor of the Bank stated, Lower-for-longer interest rates require adjustments, better read what needs to happen to keep rates low (your sphincter might tighten a little).

Inflation in Canada

Bank of Canada Operational Guide for Inflation

Reports from the Past While.

If you want to have a walk down memory lane about how prices have gone up, here you go.

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Autumn has arrived in Ottawa, which of course means that Winter is Coming, but unfortunately the financial pundits down south are also warning of Financial Winter, in the face of possible Fed Rate increases by December. If the US starts ratcheting up interest rates, Canada might follow suit, or might not, to make the dollar weaker? I can’t remember what is in vogue these days, a Weak Dollar helping trade or a Strong Dollar, helping trade?

If Financial Winter is coming, maybe it is time to think about whether you are ready or not?

Game of Thrones Financial

The White Walkers Want Your Money

The CRTC is trying to make sure our Internet Access (at home) is not only available from specific companies, however, the Monopolies (Bell, Telus, Rogers) are not playing very nice, as outlined in ‘We need to fix this’: Big telcos hoard fibre optic networks despite CRTC order. Companies like Teksavvy have been trying to compete, but continue to run into the Monopolies lack of co-operation.

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Preet and Money

We see him here, we see him there, that Preet B. is everywhere!.

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Unemployment Up, On the Money, Debt and #MoneyTalk

Stats Canada published their Labour Force Survey, August 2016 last Friday and the numbers continue to underwhelm, if not discourage folks. While employment is up 26,000 jobs, unemployment rate is up 0.1% as well, leaving it as 7.0%.

I always look to see what kind of jobs are being created, and this line from the report is quite telling:

Compared with 12 months earlier, employment increased by 77,000 (+0.4%), with all of the gains in part-time work. Over the same period, the total number of hours worked fell slightly (-0.4%).

So more folks working part-time jobs is not a ringing bit of good news for the current economy.  The types of jobs being created is also telling:

There were more people working in public administration, and fewer people working in professional, scientific and technical services.

More admin folks, is that a good thing? For me I am glad there are more folks over 55 finding jobs, but us old folks clogging up the market can’t be good for the young folk looking for work.

Unemployment in Canada

Unemployment for the Past 5 years

CBC Newsworld launched a new show about money, “On the Money”, looks to have regular contributions from many friends of this humble site. It uses Flash Player for its videos (CBC should really get to HTML 5).

Stats Canada also reported on Household Net Worth this week, and as you might guess there is more debt out there.

The household debt service ratio (seasonally adjusted), measured as total obligated payments of principal and interest as a proportion of disposable income adjusted to include actual interest paid, increased from 14.1% in the first quarter to 14.2% in the second quarter. The interest-only debt service ratio, defined as household mortgage and non-mortgage interest paid as a proportion of disposable income, was 6.3%.

Household sector leverage info

Household Sector Leverage Info

Let the media storm around this data commence!

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My Writings for Week Ending September 16th

Seems to be RESP season these days, but if you have kids, are there any times when RESP Sometimes Doesn’t Make Sense ? Yes, but only in obvious areas that you can already guess about. It is free money after all.

A Money Thought

Have I mentioned that text books are expensive lately ?

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RESP Sometimes Doesn’t Make Sense

RESPs are a great savings tool for parents (or Grandparents) who want to help young folk with the always rising costs of a post-secondary education. With the government add-ons, the whole system really does make sense, if you are planning on helping your children out, but I started wondering would there be a time when putting money into an RESP would make no sense?

There are some very obvious scenarios when savings doesn’t work, like if you are carrying credit card debt, and are having problems “making ends meet”, then putting money in an RESP might not make a lot of sense. Pay off your debt, then get onto the savings bandwagon, with the RESP.

Another interesting scenario I ran into was, what if you have not paid off your own student loans (in Ontario OSAP), by the time your kids are born, should you put money into an RESP, while you are still paying off your own student loans? As with all of these questions, the answer seems to be: it depends.

If you have enormous student loans and cannot keep up enough to make the payment plan set up for you, then maybe an RESP is not a great idea. You should also contact the Student Loans folks and point out that you are having problems paying your loan off.

Typically Student Loans (from the Government) have a relatively low(er) interest rate, and given the automatic 20% kick on for an RESP deposit (up to $2500) you need to do the math on whether you want to pay into the RESP or pay down your loan faster. As I do not believe in the concept of Good Debt, I would suggest paying off the Student Loan First and then try to catch up with the RESP (yes, I know the interest on Student Loans is favorable to your taxes, but it is still money spent on money already spent).

RESP

A Building Block to Savings ?

If you have a Student Line of Credit with a bank (that you opened while at school) and that needs to be paid down, I would strongly suggest that you should pay that down before putting money into an RESP for your child. The Banks rates are usually variable in these situations, so a sudden up tick in interest rates could spell disaster in terms of this debt-load.

The idea of paying off student loans, while putting money into an RESP seems like a contrary idea to me, but I am curious to hear what my readers might be thinking in this area?

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