The good news of the week is Master Big C8j (my son) has had the K-wires removed from his elbow/humerus, and is on the mend from his summer elbow destruction. The CHEO parking lot was a zoo thanks to a new enterovirus going around, and the ortho clinic was busy with 90 kids waiting for either a checkup or have their cast changed (or removed). Took a while to get it all done, but the folks at CHEO work hard for their money, I have no complaints, and am glad they are around.

Alibaba (the IPO) is happening today, and I am watching the whole sequence of events with great interest . I think I am prejudice against Chinese investments like this, but part of it is because I honestly have no idea how the Chinese “market” works, and due to this how can I buy into one of their “market leaders”? It’s like asking me who is the best Pakistani Cricketer (not to be derisive about Cricket, my Grandfather loved the game, I just never watched it), I have no idea, because I have no expertise in the area.

Union Jack

This Flag Might Have been a Little Less Blue, had the vote gone differently

I was saddened to read about Rob Ford’s cancer issues. While I have lampooned the man, and his Mayoral run, no one deserves Cancer and I wish him good luck in his fight (I am hoping his fighting spirit works in his favor in this battle).

Apple claims 4 million iPhone 6’s sold in the first 24 hours of sales, which is interesting, since I heard from my sources that the Canadian Apple store was down at 3:00 AM when the sales were supposed to start. Amazing what tech crazes cause normal folks to do, isn’t it? Also interesting to see that the NFC chip in the iphone 6 will only work with Apple Pay (initially).

I remember when Charles De Gaulle while visiting Edinburgh shouted, “Vive L’Écosse! Vive L’Écosse Libre!“, well maybe not, but it seems my kilt wearing brethren from up North voted to stay in the United Kingdom. Speaking as the son of a Welshman, Pob lwc! and thanks for all the new powers that Wales will inherit from this healthy public exchange! As was heard during the campaign, Free Scotland! (from the Scottish)…

My Writings for Week Ending September 19th

It is chilly and the leaves are changing colour here in Ottawa, and all the MP’s are back to do, whatever they do.

Scotia Bank Value Visa

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RESP : What does $350 Look like ?

Continuing on with my discussions about the relative cost of school and such, I have found another interesting example for all of those parents out there that are wondering, “Should I start saving for my child’s post-secondary education ?”. I have already scratch this topic a little with, So That is What $50,000 looks Like, but read on, it will be entertaining.

University Costs for RESP

Those Two Books Cost $350.00
(the computer is not included in that price)

First, a question: What does $350 look like at University (or to a parent of a child who is at College/University) ? Look at the picture on the right hand side of this, those two books. Those two books represent $350 or so in costs (the computer on top of the books is a lot more).

Big deal, says you? Yes, maybe that isn’t that expensive, except those two books are for only 1 course, and in some programs like Engineering or Computer Science there can be many courses with many very high-priced texts. A good number to remember is typically programs have at least 5 courses per term, with two terms a year and a four-year program, you have about 40 course sections that could have some expensive books to buy (or even more interesting expensive lab fees).

More numbers for thought would be that the Basic CESG (grant for your RESP) for a year is $500 (if you have max’ed out your deposits to your child’s RESP), so these two books pretty much almost ate that whole grant.

Do you still think an RESP is something that can wait for when your child gets older?


Financially, it is never enough

Last week I was talking to an Insurance Agent about possibly changing my term insurance carrier, to see if I could get a lower rate, and (as usual) the conversation was not just about Term Insurance for guys over 50 (that was the topic I wanted to talk about), unfortunately the topic of retirement planning and insurance coverage to protect my family came up (no, I didn’t bring it up, you can guess who might be the protagonist in that part of the conversation).

Financial Despair

At the Signpost Up Ahead, you see you are entering… The Financial Despair Zone

I pointed out that I have a pension plan (a very good and generous plan) so my family was going to be OK, in terms of retirement planning, or were they? The agent I was speaking with pointed out that the Life Insurance that went with my pension wasn’t really that much and if I died, my wife would only get a fraction of the money in my pension.

This statement is entirely correct, but it still annoyed me because after I hung up the phone I realized when you are talking to anyone selling financial services, you never are safe in terms of retirement or insurance coverage (yes, I will plead guilty on this, but I am not selling anything).

Let me give you a few scenarios I have been a part of over the past couple of years when talking to various financial service folks about various topics:

  • If I talk about Life Insurance, and bring up that I prefer Term Insurance, inevitably the agent I speak with espouses the importance of “Whole Life” insurance as it will protect me in my “Golden Years”.
  • Credit Card companies used to call me incessantly asking if I wanted to increase my Credit Limit, because you never know when something might go wrong and I needed some extra help.
  • If I am negotiating a new Mortgage Term, the topic of Mortgage Insurance will inevitably come up, because it is important to protect my family in case something terrible happens.
  • When I call to talk about disability insurance, suddenly the topic of Catastrophic Illness insurance comes up.
  • And on, and on, and on….

My family is never really safe is it? I can never rest easy that I have enough insurance coverage, financial leverage or low enough debt load, is it? I realize that all of the cases I mention are sales folk simply trying to either up sell new services to me, or to make sure they have a bigger commission, but this does explain why I have such trepidation when I have to meet with anyone about my financial situation. I know I will be barraged with worst case scenarios, and how badly prepared I am for my retirement.



What is my TFSA Limit?

How Hard is it To Find Out my TFSA Limit?

There has been a lot of electronic ink written about TFSA limits, and how Canadians are depositing over their limits (and paying a dear price in penalties), but just how hard is it to actually find out your credit limit?

Step by Step

Do it One Step at a Time
(picture courtesy Microsoft ClipArt)

It is not that hard, if you use on-line banking. Let me walk you through the steps here:

  1. Go to the CRA’s My Account Page (yes that is the link for it). From there you can either try to create a CRA user id, if you wish, or you can use your On Line Banking Credentials (if you trust the CRA with them).
  2. Click on Continue to Sign-In Partner
  3. Click on your current bank (BMO Credit, BMO Access Card, Choice Rewards Mastercard, Scotiabank, TD, or Tangerine) or the one you wish to use (if you have multiple accounts to choose from).
  4. You will need your log in credentials on the login page, type them in (on a safe computer, not in an Internet Cafe or a library) and “Log In” to your CRA MyAccount.
  5. You are now at a CRA page with all the info you need, but you wanted your TFSA room right? Click on RRSP and Savings Plans tab near the top of the page.
  6. You then choose on the next page Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and on the next page choose Contribution Room, and there you will see your limit.

You can also see what transactions you  have done for your TFSAs, so all in all very helpful. It will pretty much show every single transaction, so check that out while you are there as well.

If you wish to find your RRSP room, start again at step one and replace RRSP for TFSA in the instructions :-).

Doesn’t seem very complicated does it?


Home Despot, iPhones, and #theBestFin4TheWeek

Home Depot lost my personal information, so now I got free Equifax? I still don’t think it’s a fair trade. Reminds me of a bad joke by Henny Youngman:

Someone stole all my credit cards, but I won’t be reporting it. The thief spends less than my wife did.

That’s not very funny any more, but at least it’s topical? Oh, and remember it is not just Home Depot card users that are hit with the data breach, it is anyone who used any credit card in a Home Depot in the past few months.

Old Cell Phone

Not a Photo of the new iPhone.

The new iPhone 6.0 is out and everyone is flocking to the Apple Store to be the first one in line to have one of these technological marvels. It has more computing power than all the computers on the Apollo space mission, but can I figure out how to turn off Bluetooth, WiFi, Notifications and keep it from running up a huge data bill? This is the question I would like answered! (Yes, I know how to do this, but it is not as easy as you might think). Hipsters are flipping their straw hats in Starbucks, whilst sipping their Hot Frappucinno Skinny Lattes over this new piece of Marketing-ware. I am sure I’ll end up with a newer phone some day, but I have just spent 2 weeks making Apple repair my “Sleep Button” and “Battery” recall issues on my iPhone 5.0, so I will be happy with the old technology I have.

Yesterday was the 13th  anniversary of a day that changed the world, to me it seems still very brilliant in my fading memory, the day, where I was, how the day transpired, but let us hope for a better day today.

My Writings for Week Ending September 12th

Autumn leaves are appearing here, and there soon will be a chill that only means one thing, the Fall is coming.

  • In your financial life there are plenty of Questions, but what if I gave you the Answer could you figure out the Financial Question Associated with it?
  • Nothing in life is Free, and my Free Equifax subscription came at a steep cost, as you can read about in Free is a Good Price (but sometimes is still too expensive).
  • The new iPhone 6.0 is causing the normal amount of Hoopla with the Apple Hipster crowd, so I figured I’d join in with Apple Pay and Near Field Communication, so now you can use your phone to empty your bank account (and surprisingly not on Cell Phone Fees (only)). What security problems could there be? This is Apple, think how safe all those dodgy celebrity photos were in the Cloud?

Scotia Bank Value Visa

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