Farewell Vinyl Café, Snow, Monopoly and #MoneyTalk

I was saddened to hear of the death of Stuart McLean, host of the Vinyle Café. That radio show was truly a slice of Canadiana , and the good nature and happiness in the stories told will be sorely lost. Now is a time when we could use more of Stuart’s stories, and less of the other things on the radio.

Winter Sucks

Mr. Cardinal Confirms, Winter Sucks

Really not sure whether this Joe Trudeau chap really has the chops to be PM.

For those who have not watched the 5th Estate piece on “Betrayal of Trust” outlining the 220 lawyers disciplined over the past 6 years for misappropriating over $160M from clients, well worth watching. Do you trust the folks you entrust with your money?

So far Ottawa has had snow pretty much every day in February (except one), so we are quite the winter wonderland. As can be seen by the cardinal on my birdfeeder, no one seems that happy about all this snow.

For those lovers of Monopoly out there, note the passing of the Thimble as a piece for a player, it will be dropped in future Monopoly sets. I don’t know many folks who will miss it (my Mum used to like to be the thimble).

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My Writings for Week Ending February 17th

We did have a Surprising Job Picture in Canada in January, with jobs created when none were expected, however, the economy continues to create part-time jobs, but maybe that is what the economy needs? Remains to be seen if that is the case, I suppose.

A Money Thought

We need more kids asking for personal finance education at schools!

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Surprising Job Picture in Canada in January

A surprising job picture from the Canadian Economy grew more jobs in January (2017), according to Stats Canada. This was unexpected by most economists, so a pleasant surprise (somewhat).

What Kind of Jobs ?

Surprising Employment Picture

Surprising Employment Story
(From Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection)

The unfortunate part of this story is that the economy is creating more part-time jobs (full-time job numbers are virtually unchanged). Why is this economy creating part-time jobs, or is that what is needed?

There is an argument put forward that as the population ages, maybe part-time jobs are what the older folks want? It can’t be that young folks want to have many jobs, with little or no benefits, can it?

Part-Time Jobs

The telling statement from the article is the following:

Despite little change in January, part-time employment was up on a year-over-year basis (+190,000 or +5.6%). In January, 19.6% of employed persons worked part time, compared with 18.8% the same month a year earlier.

Why a growing part-time work force ? This would be a very interesting report if I could find it somewhere.

Unemployment & Employment Graphs

Surprising job picture

Employment & Unemployment Seasonally Adjusted


RRSP , Tax , TFSA , RESP, and RDSP Time and #MoneyTalk

It is that magical time of the year, when folks are barraged with countless megatons of advice about financial matters. Some say it is RRSP season, others say it is Tax Preparation season, and still others say it is really TFSA season, but I disagree. It is also RESP season and for some of us RDSP season, because if you are doing financial planning and you have kids you had better include your RESP in those discussions as well. Is it RRSP , Tax , TFSA , RESP or RDSP season ?


RRSP , Tax , TFSA , RESP , RDSP or Dance Season ?
Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti, at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The decision point for a lot of parents is always confusing but allow me two possible lines of attack for your financial decisions in February:

RRSP Pas De Deux

  • Put an amount of money into your RRSP (assuming you have spare cash, and no debt to pay off, if you have debt, pay off debt)
  • From the Refund that you receive (remember you are only deferring your tax on this money, they should really rename the thing, the Registered Tax Deferal Program)
    • ½ of the money into your TFSA, to build up (tax free) the tax you will need to pay when you take the money out of your RRSP.
    • ½ of the refund into your child’s (or childs’) RESP up to the max for the year. The RESP payment will get you added money from the government too.

RRSP Grand Jete (redux)

  • Put an amount of money into your RRSP (assuming you have spare cash, and no debt to pay off, if you have debt, pay off debt)
  • From the refund (again only deferred tax here), do the following
    • ½ of the refund up to the max for the year to your family member’s RDSP
    • ½ of the refund up to the max put into your kids’ RESP
    • Any remaining moneys put into your TFSA to build up the Tax Payment needed to take your money out of your RRSP.

The funny thing I am seeing on line is that many writers do not take into consideration the fact that many folks have many different registered accounts that “need to be fed”.

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My Writings for Week Ending February 10th

This week I saw a really good article on the Stats Canada Web site, and that inspired, You are Spending More, where I do some comparison with the numbers in the Stats Canada report and report and contrast them. You can use these numbers to help plan your financial future, if you are not tracking your own numbers.

A Money Thought

As usual the folks at the Fraser Institute pokes at the Public Service with their latest report on the differences between the Public and Private sector employees.

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You Are Spending More

Stats Canada published a very interesting report last week, Survey of Household Spending, 2015, which on first read sounds obvious.

Canadian households spent an average of $60,516 on goods and services in 2015, up 2.5% from $59,057 in 2014.

If we remember inflation in 2015 ran at a slim 1.6%, which means that Canadians spending increased 0.9% (after adjusting for inflation).

Of this spending the breakdown of what we bought is fascinating as well:

  • Food 14.3%
  • Shelter 28.9%
  • Transportation 19.4%
  • Household operations, furnishings and equipment 10.9%
  • Clothing and Accessories 5.6%
  • Miscellaneous (?) 2.8%
  • Education & Reading Materials 3.0%
  • Alcohol, tobacco and games of chance 2.5%
  • Recreation 6.6%
  • Health and Personal Care 6.0%

Your Household Spending

Why is this of interest to you, and your personal finance plans? Do these numbers reflect your spending? Are you an average Canadian ? You don’t know? I think  you should. If you cannot compare how much you spend to these numbers, you are not in control of your finances.

The other thing is, that if you don’t have these numbers at hand, go with the assumption that you are close to these numbers. If you make that assumption, you can:

  • Start tracking your spending from this point (so you can figure out where you spend money)
  • Use these numbers to try to lower your overall spending

Some areas where you might try to lower your spending are hard to change (Shelter is the big one, it is very hard to lower your rent or mortgage (you can, but it is hard)).

Finding Savings in Data

In my opinion these areas scream out as being areas where you could start trimming spending:

  • Transportation, if you have a car, could you use public transit ? Can you afford your car? Insurance on your car?
  • Clothing and Accessories, this is an area where there are countless great web sites (e.g. Squawkfox) that can help you control your clothing spending.
  • Food , no I am not saying buy cheap food, but maybe going out for dinner is essential ?
  • Alcohol and games of chance, seriously? If you smoke, stop, and games of chance are not going to get it done either.

Those are a simple overview, I am sure if you looked closely and started tracking things, you’d find many more places to save money.

More Data is a Good Thing

Collect the data, however you like, but with more information comes a better understanding of where you are spending your money.

Neat Infographic From Stats Canada

Spending Infographic

Nifty Infographic


Year of the Fire Rooster, Financial Groundhog Day and #MoneyTalk

Yesterday, a rodent may or may not have seen his or her shadow and winter may or may not be ending sooner or later. What would financial ground-hog day be like ? This happens pretty much every month, when the Bank of Canada sets key interest rates, maybe they decide on the basis of the Governor seeing his own shadow? No, but that is a worthwhile indicator I suppose.

Financial groundhog day

Year of the Fire Rooster a 13 month long year.

It is the year of the Fire Rooster, to our friends who observe the Chinese Lunar Calendar. If you are a Rooster, this may not be a good year for you, but I still enjoy the Festive Celebrations for this new year. We shall see how fortunate a year it ends up being, but it will be a long year, with 13 months .

In Ottawa we begin Winterlude , the festival celebrating the winter here. The weather rarely co-operates, it is either too warm and the canal melts or so cold no one wishes to be outside. The forecasts suggest  this might be a good year to enjoy the festival.

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My Writings for Week Ending February 3rd

I have been meaning to publish this week’s article for a while, but wasn’t sure whether I got it right. I have been approached by a few “Promoters” of companies that charge a fee (or percentage) to help folks get their Disability Tax Credit, and I have ignored their offers, as I feel they are taking advantage with their fees. When I came upon Bill C-462 I thought that finally the government was agreeing with my opinion, however, as I wrote in Bill C-462 : Protecting Disabled Canadians or a Paper Tiger ? it seems this act is dead on arrival.

If anyone has any more insight on this, please contact me as I am very interested to find out whether this Act will ever be put into practice.

Editor’s Note: I have now included the last update date on all my articles, so you can see that those that I may “reprint” in social media, has usually been updated (or edit’ed to make it more readable).

A Money Thought

Nothing like a ribald commentary from Squawkfox to make me laugh, just goes to show, not everyone gets loans?

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