Inflation Stays High Despite Lower Gas in October

Our friends at Stats Canada published their monthly report on the Consumer Price Index, and the numbers are not what I was guessing it might be (in that it is still inching up in the Bank of Canada Red Zone).

To quote the report precisely:

Higher prices for shelter and food led the rise in the CPI. At the same time, larger year-over-year price increases for transportation and for clothing and footwear contributed the most to the acceleration in the CPI.

So, day-to-day living costs of shelter and food are up last month and thanks to transportation continues to drag the year over year number up? Lovely.

CPI For Past Little WHile

The 12-month change in the Consumer Price Index, from October 2009 to October 2014

To be more clear about the shelter increase year over year, Stats Canada pointed out:

Shelter costs rose 2.8% in the 12 months to October, led by a 20.1% gain in natural gas prices. Consumers also paid more for electricity, homeowners’ home and mortgage insurance as well as rent in October compared with the same month in 2013. Property taxes rose 2.2% on a year-over-year basis, while mortgage interest cost declined 0.2%.

That is wild that mortgage rates actually lowered the cost of shelter over the year? Wow. The Natural Gas and Electricity increase makes me shake my head. Here in Ontario the Electricity cash grab was mostly due to bad management and government interference, and the Natural Gas is mostly due to artificially created shortages by mismanagement on the part of the Natural Gas suppliers (see a repeating theme here).

While I am confident there are those saying, “Why worry CPI is at 2.5% and my income is growing faster than that“, and you may be correct, but that is assuming these stats reflect the actual world (I always view them as a “it increased at least this much” point of view, I suspect prices actually went up higher, but how the data is manipulated makes it more optimistic). If inflation runs at 2.5% and you get a 3.2% raise and your investment grow at 3.0%, yes you are ahead but only by 0.7% in terms of income and 0.5% in terms of savings.

 

CPI for past little while

Seasonally adjusted monthly Consumer Price Index, from October 2009 to October 2014

Bank of Canada’s core index

The Bank of Canada’s core index rose 2.3% in the 12 months to October, after increasing 2.1% in September.

The seasonally adjusted core index increased 0.2% on a monthly basis in October, matching the gains in September and August.

This is important because this is the Red Zone for Bank of Canada in terms of interest rates, so we have best watch out if this creeps up a little more, we may see an easing of lower interest rates (to use banker baffle gab speak).

The Big CPI Data Table

This month’s big table is the seasonally adjusted numbers, not sure how this adjustment works, but have a look and see if you can figure it  out.

Consumer Price Index, major components and special aggregates – Seasonally adjusted

August
2014
September
2014
October
2014
August to
Sept 2014
Sept to
Oct 2014
(2002=100) % change
All-items Consumer Price Index (CPI) 125.6 125.8 125.9 0.2 0.1
Food 135.4 136.3 136.4 0.7 0.1
Shelter 132.4 132.5 132.8 0.1 0.2
Household operations,
furnishings and equipment
117.8 117.5 117.8 -0.3 0.3
Clothing and footwear 93.2 93.8 94.1 0.6 0.3
Transportation 131.2 130.5 130.9 -0.5 0.3
Health and personal care 119.2 119.2 119.1 0.0 -0.1
Recreation, education and reading 107.8 107.9 108.1 0.1 0.2
Alcoholic beverages and
tobacco products
148.4 148.5 149.2 0.1 0.5
Special aggregates
Core CPI 123.6 123.8 124.1 0.2 0.2
All-items CPI excluding
food and energy
119.5 119.6 119.8 0.1 0.2

 

{ 0 comments }

Financial Tweets of the Week

No not financial twits of the week, given my propensity to pontificate on Twitter, I figured I’d add my considerable skill at finding useful information by compiling a few of my favorite tweets of the week (what is the tongue in cheek font?).

Twitter Icon

My New Twitter Icon

Mr. Buchanan felt a little irked by the commentary of renowned Economist (and blow hard (IMHO)) Paul Krugman. Assuming that a physicist cannot comment on Economic issues is a bit myopic in nature.  Are we Steaming slowly toward the limits of growth? Read the follow on article, there are some very good points made by Mr. Buchanan.


Which is the better place to be saving for your retirement? I always like when folks publish their work and at the end of it admit they haven’t necessarily convinced themselves that they have figured things out or proven their point. I think that is why I like this one.

An interesting catch-line, for the tweet, and that is important when you have 132 characters to limit you. The article is a pretty standard, “Save and things will be better” kind of post, but I really did like the catch-phrase.

Kerry’s tips are always well written and very useful, and this one is well worth reading for those too shy to ask for discounts, after all it is all your money, try to keep it.

{ 1 comment }

We got to see what Lake Effect Snow actually means with some vivid photos of Buffalo getting buried by 7 feet of snow. They are getting more snow today evidently, this is why I am happy that Ottawa only has a river running through it. The worst part of this is that it might rain in Buffalo putting all roofs in the area in the peril (7 feet of heavy wet snow is not what any how is designed to support).

Winter Sucks

Mr. Cardinal Confirms, Winter Sucks

Enjoy  your web cams and such? The laptop I am typing on has one pointed right at me, but evidently our Russian hacking friends have sites from hacked cameras that folks can go and check. You know how to fix this (aside from having good anti-virus and security), cover the camera up with a piece of paper and tape, or point your web cams elsewhere when you aren’t using it.

A couple in Alberta learned just how expensive medical costs are in the US, when their bundle of joy showed up 9 weeks prematurely, and they are now stuck with an almost $900K bill, that their insurance provider (Blue Cross) refuses to pay. Travel insurance is always a tricky world, always be sure you are covered

My Writings for Week Ending November 21st

Winter has come with snow and all of that, but luckily this is Ottawa, so it is supposed to rain on Monday. Note that I am experimenting with a new grading system for comments (so far I only have Gold Stars, but I will be looking to expand that capability very soon).

 

Scotia Bank Value Visa

[click to continue…]

{ 3 comments }

Great Possible Financial Book Titles

After a long discussion with my publisher (BCM Publishing) about my upcoming book, we got stuck on what the title should be, so here are some of the best possible titles that we can think of for this soon to be best-seller.  Remember the title is what sucks folks into reading it, and we aren’t completely sure what the Main Thematic Premise of the book should be either, so I have included a quick explanation with each title:

Better Catch up on RRSPs

How About this title: Better Catch Up on RRSPs!!!

Starting Investing Late; Stock Tips for the Dead Investor

Figure it is a dead sure best seller? Too much? You can really take a lot of risks with your investments if you have nothing to lose.

Stock Prices Always Go Up

Don’t they? Certainly that is what all investment folks tell me.

How to Make a Million in Financial Blogging

Look how rich I am. I know of many rich financial bloggers, but then again they use this simple plan on How to Be a 6 Figure Blogger.

The Best Financial Arguments to have with your Spouse

You know that it is always good to argue with your spouse especially about money, and you want to win that argument too.  While you are arguing with her about money, throw in some comments about how she has been “letting herself go” for a while.

Sure You Can See My Last Natural Gas Bill

What could go wrong with that? I trust most strangers that come to my door at 8:00 PM at night, don’t you?

Hedge Funds are For Everyone

You can trust Hedge Fund managers, they have your best interests at heart. Look how much money is spent here? Everyone talks about it, it must be a very good thing.

Stop Worrying and Get In Debt Already

Everyone is doing it, aren’t they? Remember worrying is what is going to kill you, not the debt.

It is NEVER too Good to Be True (or the Pyramid Scheme Story)

I keep getting these e-mails about how I could make a fortune, they must be telling the truth.

The Lottery Ticket Retirement Plan

Certainly more than 1 of my acquaintances, is using this retirement plan.

Any other titles I missed? This seems to be similar to my infamous post There Are No Dumb Financial Questions.

No I am not going to be publishing a book, I can barely slap two sentient sentences together, but that hasn’t stopped other folks.

 

 

{ 4 comments }

What is Financial Literacy (2014 Edition)

A few years back I wrote about financial literacy, and you may not know, that November is Financial Literacy month in Canada, although, financial literacy should be an all year round kind of thing. Just like Movember (which I am actively participating in after removing the Big Cajun Beard) it’s nice for folks to think about a topic, but like any health issue you should not only be worrying about money and Financial Literacy in November, you should be worrying all year round about your finances (well maybe not worrying, certainly thinking about it).

Anger is an Energy

Mr. Lydon’s new Book available at Amazon

Why do you need financial literacy, or an understanding of your financial situation? To paraphrase John LydonEver get the feeling you’ve been cheated ?“, that is why you need financially literacy. You worked hard for that money, but you need to understand the rules of  the money game, or you might just lose it.

Some practical examples that I have overheard or been part of, that if the individual involved had known up front “the rules of the game” (by reading agreements, or better still researching things first), they might not have ended up getting “cheated” out of their money (in this instance you feel cheated, but in fact, you just didn’t know the rules):

  • Don’t pay for a year,scams for high end electronics and their warranties are a perfect example of needing to know the rules. Seems easy enough, you need to pay off the debt before a year transpires and you will not be charged any interest on the Electronic Thingy you purchased. What other rules or hidden things you are unaware of?
    • Many plans now are not “don’t pay for a year” they are in fact “make equal payments for a year and no interest”. Be sure you understand this, or if you under pay a single payment you may owe a whack of cash at the end of the term.
    • The “no interest” sounds like a great deal, but that is already built into the price you are paying. Any interest you might end up paying is pure profit for the vendor.
    • What does your warranty really get you? Replacement? Repair? If you answer, “The guy told me it was replacement”, did you read that in the agreement? “The guy” makes a very nice commission on that warranty (in fact I think he pockets most of it), be sure what he said is what is written.
  • Seems easy isn’t it? How many folks do you know that end up paying the interest on these “don’t pay for a year” deals? You don’t know of any? Maybe it is because no one will admit they got caught by this, so learn the rules.
  • Investing rules? Good lord there have been libraries written about all the “rules of investing” but folks are still buying Mutual Funds that claim they “Beat the Market”, or have “Guaranteed Growth”, but can they say that without it being true?Depends onthecontexttheymade the statement, isn’t it?
    • If I create a mutual fund and for the first 4 years, it “beats the S&P 500 for growth”, I can make that claim in any advertisement I want, and it is truthful, can’t I? Research of this fund would uncover this truth, so always check these types of claims. What if I created 500 funds 5 years ago, but only allowed “internal trading” of it, and only made the 1 that did beat the S&P 500 for 5 years available to the public? I can make the claim still, I don’t need to mention the 499 failures.
    • If I say that in 5 years your money will Growth by 3% a year guaranteed, you might want that, but if you didn’t look closely to see, that if you tried to take your money out before 5 years, you’d have extensive penalties, would that change your point of view? You have your guaranteed growth, however, you also have a locked in investment.

There are so many more of these kinds of truthful statements, that still are not really what you think the truth is.

Learn the rules of the financial game, that is what financial literacy means to me. What does it mean to you?

{ 5 comments }