Inflation at 0.9% for May (maybe)

A week ago Stats Canada published their Consumer Price Index for the year ending May 2015, and the number they published was that the basket of articles that make up the CPI were up 0.9% year over year.

Given that Food is up it’s normal 3.8% year over year, how is the index only up 0.9%? You guessed it, Gas and energy prices (that complete Index was down 11.8% year over year):

  • Gasoline was down 17.4% year over year, but that will be changing with Gas prices going back up this month.
  • Natural Gas was down 14.4% for the year ending in May as well (not sure about those prices whether they are going up and such).
  • It’s not all good news though, Electricity is up 1.0% so not all of the energy index is down

Without this portion of the index, the actual CPI is up 2.2% year over year. More fun with numbers folks.

CPI with and without Energy

The CPI with and without Energy for the Past Little While

As this graph shows, the real CPI has been running about 2.0% or higher for a while. To see a better graph on what parts are going up and down, I present this interesting piece of data:

CPI components for past little while

The constituent parts and their increase (or decrease)

Bank of Canada’s core index

As we all know, the CPI by itself is only data, however, the system that uses this data (or one of them) is the Bank of Canada, and they will adjust interest rates accordingly, if they feel that inflation is “out of control”, so what does the Bank of Canada think ?

The Bank of Canada’s core index increased 2.2% in the 12 months to May, after rising 2.3% in April.

Bank of Canada CPI

Bank of Canada’s Current CPI, still within norms

CPI Reports for 2015 so far

The reports for this year so far:

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As of the 21st of June, the summer of 2015 has started, with all the associated hoopla and fun. Remember that during the summer you might forget some important things like making sure your bills get paid, so maybe spend some time automating your bill payments for the summer, so that you don’t get in trouble with your creditors, and utilities.

Canadian Flag

Early Happy Canada Day

Canada Day is coming next week, on a Wednesday which will make for a great deal of confusion for folks, trying to figure out the optimal usage of their vacation, but my personal theory is if you spend 4 days vacation and get a complete week off, you are getting a 25% bonus, so take the days and enjoy the time off. Others have argued with me, why take vacation around that time, nothing is going on at work, they’d rather take their vacation when the office is busy. Both arguments are fine,  just remember to take your vacation (if Gail Vaz-Oxlade can take Time Off, so can you).

If you want a really summery thought it is less than 6 months until Christmas. How is your planning and shopping going for Christmas 2015? Here is another helpful hint, it is on a Friday, which means New Years Day is a Friday, and you have a whole weekend to recover from New Years Eve. Not helpful? How about this great advice about what to do before you go to bed before New Years Eve ?

The CFL season has started, go RedBlacks !


My Writings for Week Ending June 26th

Canada Day is quickly approaching, but it falling on a Wednesday assures next week is going to be a rather herky jerky kind of week:

  • I have started using Zinio again from the Ottawa Public Library (a magazine reading app, that through the library allows you to browse for free), and using that I noted that Money Magazine had a “Money 101″ section, and this was one of the questions in that section What is My Tax Bracket ? Now in Canada it is not really that straight forward as we have so many taxes to deal with, but it gives you an idea (and Yes, you should at least have an idea what your tax bracket entails).
  • Given I am all for for Financial Literacy I figured  I would try to give some helpful hints about figuring out when you are about to be overwhelmed by debt with, Symptoms Your Debt Load is Getting Out of Control, and yes those are actual examples.
  • On this site’s sister blog, I published LastPass Hacked and Best of Technology and Security This Week , in case you are looking to learn a bit about technology and the associated security on that technology.


Something helpful from Larry MacDonald:

Kobo Canada
Click here for more great financial stories

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Symptoms Your Debt Load is Getting Out of Control

I have had a lot of folks comment to me about how “… I didn’t know I was in trouble financially until I was in the middle of it…”, which is (unfortunately) true for many folks. In trying to help folks understand some of the warning signs that their debt load is starting to get out of control I will give you some personal examples of when you should really start doing something (i.e. make a plan, or talk to someone) about your debt load.

Wile E. Coyote

The Coyote Didn’t See it Coming Either

  • If you have yelled at your spouse because they bought the “expensive” toilet paper. If you are that close to the edge that whether you get “ass ripping” or “soft on my bum” toilet paper matters, you are in trouble.
  • You start devising plans to transfer monthly credit balances  from one credit card to another one with a lower rate of interest. You shouldn’t be carrying debt on your credit card (even if it has a low-interest rate), and if you are thinking of consolidation loans, you are in trouble and should go get help.
  • You try to put together a financial plan, or at least a list of known expenses, and you can’t remember all the places where you owe money, this is a big problem. More than once I have heard an associate tell me, “… I forgot that I had to pay the property tax this month..”. Really? Any bill that is bigger than $100 should be on your calendar with warnings on when to pay it.
  • Your need to have a new vehicle fools you into allowing your car sales rep to “blend and extend” or “fold in” your previous car lease into your new one, because it’s only $50 more a pay (and you are paying every two weeks).
  • If the phrase, “pay day loans aren’t that bad” is ever used by you and not in a sarcastic way, you are really up feces creek without a canoe or a paddle.

I realize very few folks make the conscious decision to let their debt get out of control, but it is scary to think just how simple it is to have things get out of control when it comes to your finance. Diligence is the watch word for your money.

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What is My Tax Bracket ?

Saw that question in Money Magazine as a frequently asked question, so let me help you out (for those in Canada), with a few helpful links and a few more helpful tables and such. As a precursor to these hints, you should always check with the CRA or a licensed Tax Accountant if you have questions about your Tax levels and such.

Where do you find out about the current Federal Income Tax Rates (for you as an Individual, not you as a corporation) ? Go to this page for individuals. That page will tell you the following (for 2015):

Federal tax rates for 2015

  • 15% on the first $44,701 of taxable income, +
  • 22% on the next $44,700 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over $44,701 up to $89,401),+
  • 26% on the next $49,185 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over $89,401 up to $138,586), +
  • 29% of taxable income over $138,586.
Tax Bracket

The Infamous Bad Pun

Remember that is Taxable Income, so this is what is left after you have taken your deductions, and credits and such. Remember also that if you earn less than the Basic Personal Amount (line 300) you don’t have to pay taxes (for kids with summer jobs and such).

However, that is not all, remember that you have Provincial Income Tax as well, and here are the 2015 numbers to keep in mind too:

Provincial/territorial tax rates (combined chart)
Provinces/territories Rate(s)
Newfoundland and Labrador 7.7% on the first $35,008 of taxable income, +
12.5% on the next $35,007, +
13.3% on the amount over $70,015
Prince Edward Island 9.8% on the first $31,984 of taxable income, +
13.8% on the next $31,985, +
16.7% on the amount over $63,969
Nova Scotia 8.79% on the first $29,590 of taxable income, +
14.95% on the next $29,590, +
16.67% on the next $33,820, +
17.5% on the next $57,000, +
21% on the amount over $150,000
New Brunswick 9.68% on the first $39,973 of taxable income, +
14.82% on the next $39,973, +
16.52% on the next $50,029, +
17.84% on the amount over $129,975
Quebec Go to Income tax rates (Revenu Québec Web site).
Ontario 5.05% on the first $40,922 of taxable income, +
9.15% on the next $40,925, +
11.16% on the next $68,153, +
12.16% on the next $70,000, +
13.16 % on the amount over $220,000
Manitoba 10.8% on the first $31,000 of taxable income, +
12.75% on the next $36,000, +
17.4% on the amount over $67,000
Saskatchewan 11% on the first $44,028 of taxable income, +
13% on the next $81,767, +
15% on the amount over $125,795
Alberta 10% of taxable income
British Columbia 5.06% on the first $37,869 of taxable income, +
7.7% on the next $37,871, +
10.5% on the next $11,218, +
12.29% on the next $18,634, +
14.7% on the next $45,458, +
16.8% on the amount over $151,050
Yukon 7.04% on the first $44,701 of taxable income, +
9.68% on the next $44,700, +
11.44% on the next $49,185, +
12.76% on the amount over $138,586
Northwest Territories 5.9% on the first $40,484 of taxable income, +
8.6% on the next $40,487, +
12.2% on the next $50,670, +
14.05% on the amount over $131,641
Nunavut 4% on the first $42,622 of taxable income, +
7% on the next $42,621, +
9% on the next $53,343, +
11.5% on the amount over $138,586

Addendum

A commenter has pointed out another excellent resource in this area TaxTips.ca , check them out too!

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According to the Toronto Star, you will soon be able to play down your Ontario Student Loans with your (or maybe a relative’s) Aeroplan miles. The exchange rate is currently pegged at about 7/10 of a cent for each mile cashed in (the example given was 35000 points becomes a $250 payment). While I applaud the ability to help pay down the ballooning Student Debts in Canada, couldn’t I have just done this with my Amex Cash back Card, or my PC Financial Mastercard? I am not sure if this is a good rate of transfer or not, but if a student has a “Sugar Relative” heavily laden with Aeroplan points, maybe they could get some help?

Dad Day

Father’s Day

Early Happy Father’s Day (Fathers’ Day) to all the Dads out there. It used to be that Father’s Day was the day when the most collect long distance calls were made, not sure what the 21st century version of that factoid might be. My Dad passed on a few years ago, but the things he taught me keep him with me always. The scary part of Father’s Day is realizing I am a Father as well.

To my Muslim readers, Ramadan is here. For folks in Canada this is going to hurt, because now we have the longest days of the year, so you are going to have to work hard on your fasting during the day. Eid is coming, but not for a while.

KPMG says we should stop the Canada Savings Bonds program? Remember that most of the Bonds these days are held by folks over the age 60 (OK, that is a guess on my part) but those are also the folks that remember when bonds had interest rates of 19% (yes that was 35 years ago, but you never know).


My Writings for Week Ending June 19th

No more Hockey or Basketball, guess it is Rugby, Formula 1, Soccer, and catching up on series I missed in the Winter season :

  • To start the week off, I published some notes I made up for an interview with the Toronto Star (that has disappeared into the ether from what I can tell), with Really Useful RESP Tips, I am available for interviews, Frat Parties, Bar Mitzvahs, and Weddings(check the About menu for details).
  • Evidently Thursday was “Let’s Splurge Day”, so my post Today Do Something for Yourself ( Financially ) was very topical (whodathunkit). No it’s not what you think.
  • On one of my other sites, I tried out a new old idea with the Best of Technology and Security this Week, have a look it has some interesting tid bits.


Financial literacy:

Kobo Canada
 

Click here for many more great financial stories

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