Financial Anarchy Day?

Hollywood’s latest retread of the idea of one day where everybody goes completely nuts and no laws apply is a happy little movie called The Purge: Anarchy (it’s been done a few times, by the Twilight Zone, Star Trek and other similar genre of movies), but when I saw that if I put on my Financial (rose-coloured) Glasses, I realize that we have many such days every year.

Financial Spending Time!!!

Financial Anarchy Let’s Buy it All!!!

What could I possibly mean? There are days every year where all financial rules seem to go the hell out of the window. What days could I possibly mean?

  • Black Friday (the one that is the Friday after American Thanksgiving)
  • Cyber Monday because Black Friday isn’t enough for this pre-Christmas orgy of spending
  • Christmas Sales (also known as December)
  • Boxing Day (the day after Christmas)
  • End of Year, I have extra money, better spend it (December 31st)
  • St. Swithin’s Day
  • Back to School (also known as the summer)

Yes the last few are  just me being my normal sarcastic self, but if stores, banks and credit card companies had their way, we’d have Financial Anarchy every day of the year.

What is needed in the Financial World are more days where the Financial Rules are followed. How about a Thrifty Tuesday every week? A fun Financial Friday, where we make sure all our bills are paid? Maybe make January 2nd and July 2nd Financial Planning Days?

 

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Yes, it is time for the Clown Prince of Financial Blogging to do the dastardly deed of unmasking our Financial Crime Fighting heroes!

Did you guess any of these Financial Writing Do Gooders? Some are blatantly obvious, while others, are more clever in their concealing their secret identities.

First the accursed Money Media Maven, you have seen him, I know you have (unless you don’t own a TV), but you have seen his postings here as well, he is none other than…. Preet Banerjee! Bet you didn’t know for his affinity to drive race cars did you?

If you did not guess The Voice of Money, you really aren’t looking very hard, that is none other than Gail Vaz-Oxlade, a lovely lady, but also a very plain speaking lady.

Who is  Judge Financial? That one is a little trickier, he hides his love of all rules and regulations well, but never get in an argument with him about rules, you will most assuredly lose! Da Judge is none other than Michael James.

As for Mrs. Financial Transmographier you should know that one just on the basis of the $3 HD TV antenna comment,  but that is of course Kerry from Squawkfox (in fact you see her a great deal on TV and in Magazines these days).

The Summer here in Ottawa continues on, with wonderfully oppressive heat (I am not being sarcastic, I still remember those days in January where I complained about how cold it was) and tremendous storms. My only problem with this summer (and all summers) is that they pass far too quickly!

Forbes

Me and Young Master C8j

My Writings for Week Ending July 25th

Did you realize you missed both Ice Cream Day and Hammock Day this week? I need a calendar with this kind of important information.

  • I was interviewed by Sheryl Smolkin and she published Big Cajun Man Shares RDSP, RESP Expertise, which is a very kind title (I am no expert, just a grizzled user). I also must work on my interview technique, noting I start most sentences with “Well”, dear me, I need to talk to the Financial Media Maven about his techniques.
  • While missing out on Hammock Day, Stats Canada did point out that Inflation Stayed Up in June, which is not a good thing, even if loose money policies still prevail at the Bank of Canada.
  • I do have a very good working relationship with one of my advertisers, so I figured I could ask the question what is the difference between Disability Insurance vs. Critical Illness Insurance, luckily I got a very good answer to write about.
  • I am very much a geek at heart, and yes I did (and sometimes still do) read comic books (I read them WAY before they were cool), so I wandered farther afield with Comic-Con International and Financial Super Heroes, I suspect I may be in trouble with a few of those Financial folk, we shall see.

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Comic-Con International and Financial Super Heroes

This weekend the biggest nerd fest this side of the Cern Super Collider takes place when Comic-Con International 2014 happens. I am a big enough nerd to know that this is only for poser nerds, but let’s delve into the world of comics and see what we might learn from various comic book characters.

Bruce Wayne, “The Bat Man™”, has taught us the importance of saving and getting filthy stinking rich, so that you can then avenge your parents death and any other crimes you wish to avenge in your spare time. It’s important to save, however, Mr. Wayne got his money from his parents’ trust funds, so maybe it is more a story of risk protecting your family so that your kids can then avenge your death?

Brit Reed, “Mr. Fantastic™” is actually the ultimate geek, in that he becomes super rich by his inventions and breakthroughs. Work hard and you might end up being able to stretch yourself around corners and such, and maybe imitate a Credit Card in a pinch?

Peter Parker, “Spiderman™”, has shown that sometimes dumb luck is the best way to get ahead. Wander around a lab and get bit by a radio-active spider (depending on the storyline you are following (there are like 6 different Spiderman universes)) and then never quite figure out how to make big money with your new-found talents and capabilities. Can anyone make a living as a photographer for a newspaper any more?

Matt Murdock “Daredevil™”, this is one of my favorite characters (read that story when I was in University), forget about the movie, the story line is again that of revenge, and shows that disabled folks can still become Crime-Fighting and Avenging forces in society. Another story where poor disabled kid, makes good, becomes a lawyer by day, and a Devil suit wearing crime fighting nut bag at night. Work hard kids, this is something you can aspire to.

All of those characters are Trademarked by either Marvel or DC Comics (FYI).

Come to think of it the world of Financial Writing has a few Superheroes of our own.

Super Hero

Financial Super Heroes to the Rescue

The Money Media Maven, who you see on every single media outlet simultaneously some days. By day, a normal guy, who has a job, I think, but he writes books, but by night you find him on the National, most local Toronto Radio shows and driving race cars.

The Voice of Money, another author who has a radio show in Toronto, and speaks the truth in common plane English. Rumor has it that when the microphones are off she has a more edgy side (which is hard to believe given how many Princesses she has told off over the years) . Her TV shows are in infinite loop on the “W” channel and various other media outlets.

Judge Financial, by day he is a normal High Tech Engineer, making sure your toaster is running the correct operating system, but by night he is a myth busting super hero. He makes sure that we all understand all the Rules involved in the financial world (and everywhere else in the world), and helps unsuspecting rule breakers get back on the straight and narrow (or ridicules their efforts to claim they are following the rules).

Mrs. Financial Transmographier, she is a mild-mannered Mom by day, but at night she writes about the importance of making things last, and how you really don’t need an $800 goose down coat, but you should buy a $3 HD antenna! She does have her saucy moments posting odd lingerie induced citrus photos on Twitter as well. Give this Superhero anything and she’ll tell you whether you should have bought it, and how (with a little work) you might be able to turn it into a thrifty Casserole.

Can you guess whom I might be writing about here? Leave a comment with your guesses, I will unmask these Financial Do-Gooders secret identities tomorrow.

Image courtesy of  Jeroen van Oostrom/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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Disability Insurance vs. Critical Illness Insurance

I really didn’t understand the difference between these two different types of insurance policies, but luckily I have smart friends who answer my dumb question like, “What is the difference between Critical Illness Insurance and Disability Insurance?”.

Chantal Marr answered my query (she is part of LSM insurance one of my advertisers, and she is also my insurance consultant for this blog as well), and I think I now understand the big difference between these two policies.

Critical Illness Insurance

Critical Illness Big Winner! (really?)

Chantal’s answer is concise and easily understood:

Disability Insurance pays out a monthly benefit that is tied to your ability to earn an income.  Critical Illness pays out a lump sum benefit but is is not tied to your ability to earn an income.  Disability Insurance underwrites your occupation and Critical Illness does not.

Chantal has also written a more detailed description and discussion of these insurance vehicles with: Critical Illness insurance vs. Disability Insurance Why You Need Both.

I do not agree that you need both insurances, I think Critical Illness insurance strikes me as a bit ghoulish, in that you get a big pay out for getting a critical illness. Do you need a large lump sum payment if you are diagnosed with a critical illness? I am not sure, I would have thought that if you have a good health insurance plan, and you have some kind of disability insurance, that would be nearly enough, but I am sure Insurance folks would argue you need the critical illness to be completely covered (again, I don’t agree with that).

As for the Disability Insurance, read over your policy carefully if you are purchasing one to ensure you understand how “Disabled” is defined, and how you qualify (or don’t qualify) for funds (but you should do that with all Insurance policies). Understanding what Disabled means, is the key to the policy, as what you think of as disabled and what your insurer thinks of as disabled may not be the same thing.

The other part of any Disability Insurance Policy is figure out who is insuring you. I have written previously about Self Insured Disability Insurance that decimated many families during the Nortel fiasco. Make sure that whoever is insuring you, is financially sound.

Image courtesy of Ambro/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Inflation Stays up in June in Canada

The good news is  that on Wednesday last week the Bank of Canada kept their key over night rate at 1.0% for now, however on Friday Stats Canada confirmed what we all already knew, inflation continues at its torrid pace in June, specifically:

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 2.4% in the 12 months to June, following a 2.3% increase in May.

Remember that over 2.0% starts the Bank of Canada taking notice of Inflation. The graph for Inflation does not look very good, as you can see:

Inflation in Canada

Inflation over the past little while in Canada

Quite the spike going on, what caused this jump? A very good graph in the report shows where it is hurting the most.

Inflation in Canada

Where the Inflation Came From, by category

Note tobacco and booze is up big time, just in time for the summer.

Bank of Canada’s core index

Remember that the Bank of Canada is the worry point, in that they might raise interest rates to “cool down” inflation. I guess the good news here is that the Bank of Canada’s measures seem to say our inflation isn’t bad (yet).

The Bank of Canada’s core index rose 1.8% in the 12 months to June, after increasing 1.7% in May.

The seasonally adjusted core index rose 0.2% on a monthly basis in June, matching the increase in May.

Note this helpful graphic from the Bank of Canada and how they notice inflation.

Inflation-Control Target

Inflation-Control Target

Operational Guide

Operational Guide

The Big Table

For those who aren’t sure, let me show you where the big increases are in a big table!

Consumer Price Index and major components, Canada - Not seasonally adjusted

Rel import1 June 2013 May 2014 June 2014 May to June 2014 June 2013 to June 2014
% (2002=100) % change
All-items Consumer Price Index (CPI) 100.002 123.0 125.8 125.9 0.1 2.4
Food 16.60 132.5 135.7 136.4 0.5 2.9
Shelter 26.26 128.5 132.6 132.2 -0.3 2.9
Household operations, furnishings and equipment 12.66 114.2 115.8 116.4 0.5 1.9
Clothing and footwear 5.82 91.2 94.5 92.7 -1.9 1.6
Transportation 19.98 130.2 132.7 133.1 0.3 2.2
Health and personal care 4.93 118.4 119.2 119.0 -0.2 0.5
Recreation, education and reading 10.96 106.6 107.8 108.2 0.4 1.5
Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products 2.79 140.9 146.2 146.7 0.3 4.1
Special aggregates
Core CPI3 84.91 121.0 123.3 123.2 -0.1 1.8
All-items CPI excluding energy 91.44 119.9 122.1 122.2 0.1 1.9
Energy4 8.56 162.1 172.7 173.0 0.2 6.7
Gasoline 4.62 188.5 194.8 198.7 2.0 5.4
All-items CPI excluding food and energy 74.85 117.2 119.1 119.1 0.0 1.6
Goods 48.18 114.8 117.9 117.8 -0.1 2.6
Services 51.82 131.1 133.6 133.9 0.2 2.1
1.2011 CPI basket weights at January 2013 prices, Canada, effective February 2013. Detailed weights are available under the Documentation section of survey 2301 (www.statcan.gc.ca/imdb-bmdi/2301-eng.htm).
2.Figures may not add up to 100% as a result of rounding.
3.The Bank of Canada’s core index excludes eight of the CPI’s most volatile components (fruit, fruit preparations and nuts; vegetables and vegetable preparations; mortgage interest cost; natural gas; fuel oil and other fuels; gasoline; inter-city transportation; and tobacco products and smokers’ supplies) as well as the effects of changes in indirect taxes on the remaining components. For additional information on the core CPI, consult the Bank of Canada website (www.bankofcanada.ca/rates/indicators/key-variables/inflation-control-target/).
4.The special aggregate “Energy” includes: electricity; natural gas; fuel oil and other fuels; gasoline; and fuel, parts and supplies for recreational vehicles.

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