Farewell, EpiPens, Ombudsman Report and #MoneyTalk

Last week we said good-bye to the Olympics, and as well, to the Tragically Hip. I was never a rabid “Hip” fan, but I enjoy a great deal of their music (and if you listen closely to the lyrics, you might just learn something, about Canada). Some might say, “… life goes on…”, but that doesn’t mean we can’t feel sadness about the passing of time. Also, the summer is also almost over.

EpiPen or injector

Ouch!

How much are you willing to pay to save your life? The entire price of EpiPen silliness in the U.S. really does make me wonder if big drug companies assume they are like banks and can charge whatever they want, and there will be no repercussions? As a stock holder in Pfizer (still) I suppose I am a hypocrite for making that comment, but Pfizer’s big money-maker is still Viagra, and if you want to gouge men who want to have a drug which has a possible side effect of “… an erection lasting more than 4 hours…”, then so be it.

I was disturbed to read the Ontario Ombudsman’s report “Nowhere to Turn”, where the Ombudsman called for systemic overhaul to help adults with developmental disabilities in crisis. The quote in the report that concerns me is:

“There is still marked inconsistency in how limited funds are prioritized and distributed” and families struggle with “interminable waitlist delays,” leaving some so desperate that they have abandoned their loved ones.

My Writings for Week Ending August 26th

I started the week writing about inflation, and the arithmetic cogitations that make the numbers appear good, but the calculations that tell a different story, with Electricity Prices Continue to Sizzle in July. Electricity prices continue to go up (especially here in Ontario), while gas prices appear to be dropping which are nullifying the effects of the electricity price jump. Fun with Numbers.

I also had a lovely conversation with one of my favorite folks, Kerry from Squawkfox, and she was doing research for some work she is doing for the Globe and Mail. The topic of RESPs came up, and I remembered that I had started an article RESP Proof of Enrolment and its importance to the cashing out of the RESP funds, so I finished that one off. I typically end up getting inspired when I chat with smart money folks, so thanks Kerry.

An Excellent Question

An interesting question from a follower:

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RESP Proof of Enrolment

I have written before about Money to Get Money, complaining about how extricating your money from your child’s RESP is an overly complex process, but let me step back and explain the importance of the Proof of Enrolment that most financial institutions need to allow you to withdraw money from the RESP account. Different schools have different ways of giving you a proof of enrolment , some charge you for it (about $10) some give you a PDF for free (Acadia U did that).

RESP

How Much Will You Need for her to get to school
Image courtesy of jk1991 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The problem you have is that most schools will not give you the Proof of Enrolment, until you pay the fees, so you can’t have money from your RESP, until you have already paid for your fees. This means, you most likely, will need a line of credit (or a savings account) with the amount of your fees available to you (seems a little backwards, needing enough money to pay for your fees, so that you can get out enough money from a savings program to pay your fees).

You can also use the Proof of Enrolment in other ways: you can use it for Positive Enrolment for your insurance provider (Manulife likes it). Most insurance providers want you to do a Positive Enrolment action by either going on line, or supplying proof that your child over the age of 18, is at school (and can remain covered by your insurance policy).

Another important aspect of your RESP journey.

 

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Electricity Prices Continue to Sizzle in July

If you glance at the report from Stats Canada you will see the usual fairly good news in terms of the Consumer Price Index for July:

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 1.3% in the 12 months to July, after increasing 1.5% in June.

This sounds heartening (having grown up in the days of inflation running at 11% or higher), but again, you have to peel the onion to get a better view of what is really happening.

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

Main upward contributors:

  1. Purchase of passenger vehicles (+5.4%)
  2. Homeowner’s replacement cost (+3.6%)
  3. Electricity (+5.4%)
  4. Food purchased from restaurants (+2.7%)
  5. Air transportation (+7.1%)

Main downward contributors:

  1. Gasoline (-14.0%)
  2. Natural gas (-10.3%)
  3. Fuel oil (-13.4%)
  4. Mortgage interest cost (-0.7%)
  5. Children’s clothing (-4.1%)

So this data shows that Electricity (the alleged energy of the future) keeps going up in price, and Gasoline prices continue to obfuscate the Inflation data. In Ontario electrical rates are very high and will be going up

The 12-month change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the CPI excluding gasoline

The 12-month change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the CPI excluding gasoline

As you can see from the graphic, gasoline continues to skew the data badly.

The interesting other things that are lowering the index is Mortgage Interest Costs, which won’t slow down the scorching hot summer Real Estate market in many cities.

Bank of Canada’s core index

The Bank of Canada’s core index increased 2.1% in the 12 months to July, matching the rise in June.

This is still in the zone where the bank may not take Interest Rate action, but note that the Bank’s rate is significantly higher than the Stats Canada rate.

Inflation in Canada by Category

Inflation by Category for July

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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Lord Stanley's Pride

My Hope is to Retire before the Leafs win the Cup

This week a great deal of kerfuffle was kicked up when a couple of 30 year olds claim they have retired, and were telling folks how they did it (some folks say boastfully). While I know folks who have retired in their 30’s (only to go back to work, because they were a little bored, and also decided they might nee a little more money), the idea of “retiring” at 30 seems to be the new Nirvana for millennial folk. Given this generation is going to live longer than my generation, what the heck are they going to do while “retired” ? Even Garth Turner kicked in his 10 cents worth on the topic, and Preet discussed this with the morning crew at Global too (see the Tweet of the week for that one). If you manage to retire young, on the back of your parents’ assets then pish-posh on you, but if you earn it, through the sweat of your own brow, then good on you! Most folks who will bash folks like this are mostly bitter narrow-minded financial bloggers (no wait, that is me), jealousy is never a good reason to mock other folks achievements.

I was sad to see the passing of Mauril Belanger (MP with ALS). ALS is a frightening disorder (not that any lethal disorder is better or worse), let us hope the work he did, gets us closer to a way to treat this destructive disorder.

The Olympics are over this weekend, and I am sad to see them go. They are always entertaining (if not also incredibly frustrating) to watch, I think Rio did OK, let us hope that we don’t get any horror stories of the aftermath. The Paralympics start in a few weeks as well. Congratulations to the Canadian Ladies, showing that “Playing Like a Girl” is a good thing!

RESP Questrade Banner

My Writings for Week Ending August 19th

As I get older I keep forgetting about helpful technology, especially in the world of banking, and my article, Old Financial Technology Habits Die Hard outlines how I forgot about photo cheque cashing as a technology (shame on me, I am not a Luddite).

I am attempting to work on my article backlog, and I found one I started a while ago based on a BuzzFeed post that I saw. Little Known Secrets of Financial Planning, is no great epiphany, in fact I get downright sarcastic.

Preet on Early Retirement

Preet is on TV a lot these days, it seems. I have been told I have a face for Radio.

👇 For more great financial articles from this week click here 👇

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Little Known Secrets of Financial Planning

Yes, this is the new hack writer trend out there (what is worse is those terrible articles that you find on major sites that are links to horrible, ad laden (and most likely malware laden) sites). Little Known Facts about any topic end up being a simple rehash of things that most folks have already heard, or have heard rumours about it (and many of these facts are simply rumour based), so with that in mind, let us delve into this important topic

The other important point is that the article always has a “click here” thingy to force you to click (and God knows what you are downloading when you click it), so here is mine (I promise it is simply a link to the rest of this terrific piece of writing).

💰Click here for a sure fire money tip💰

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