Cuba, Rubles, Christmas and #BestThisWeek

Interesting to see that the U.S. will try to normalize relations with Cuba after 50 years. This will mean for Canadians that Cuba will not be quite as cheap as it has been, and worse it will be a lot busier. Should be interesting to see if this turns into a political hot potato for Democrats during the next elections, as the Republicans are already calling it the worst mistake since Chamberlain appeased Hitler in 1939. I am sure the Cuban economy will enjoy the eventual influx of Yankee tourists.

Christmas Tree

This Year’s Tree

The Russian ruble is dropping in value like a stone, thanks to many factors, but the EU and American sanctions cannot be helping things out, that, and the fact that Oil Prices are ludicrously low. Interesting to see how this all shakes out, and whether this disables or slows down the Electric Car industry ( I hope not, I think Electric cars are the right way to go) and other alternate energy businesses.

Sad to see my alma mater having a cheating scandal during final exams, does seem like a very odd story.

Christmas is next week, a time for folks to get together with friends and family and enjoy the Festival that typically starts the Christian Church’s year. For those who don’t attend Church, enjoy the time with your loved ones or someone you love, don’t worry about the presents, or the rest, it is all about family and friends.

Come on by, there will be some new content, and maybe some old favorites will return as well.

My Writings for Week Ending December 19th

Christmas is practically here, what are you doing to be Christmassy this year :

  • Having problems with your resolutions, here is a novel idea  Financial New Year Resolution, Start Now! That way you can fail that much earlier, no wait, that isn’t what I wrote (was it?).
  • I do miss John Houseman’s authoritative tones on TV, but with Make Money the Old Fashioned Way, Earn it, I wondered does anyone really earn their pay in the investment world?
  • Do you want to know my sure-fire investing scheme? Boy you are gullible, when do you think I’d tell anyone if I figured out how to make a fortune (unless it was to get everyone to send me money, on how to make a fortune).

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Sure Fire Investing Scheme

For my throwback Thursday post I go back to something I wrote over 8 years ago, entitled Gambling: Sure Fire System, and it actually wasn’t just a sure-fire gambling system, it was also a can’t lose investing strategy as well.

What was I thinking? There is no such thing as either a Sure-Fire Investing or Gambling system, but as usual I went for the swerve, no, I would hopefully never write about a sure-fire gambling or investing system, the only sure-fire investing system is quite simple, invest in yourself.

Debt is like fat

Get in shape! Yes, round is a shape, however as you can see, it is not pretty!

You can try to find the greatest stock picks, but you can’t be sure about them, but if you work on yourself, you are going to make yourself better. What kind of investments in  yourself?

  • Education, learn something new, expand your horizons by learning about new things. Don’t criticize things you don’t understand, learn about them so you understand why they are “good” or “bad”. Take courses on topics you want to learn about, and you will not go wrong (even if you learn, you didn’t like the subject).
  • Get the hell in shape, lose some weight and make sure that you follow my first rule of retirement, Don’t Die! If you think you don’t have to work at this, you are mistaken. I am over 50 and my body is now punishing me for being out of shape, and I do not want to think of my retirement years being spent mostly in a wheelchair. Work on  your health and fitness level now.
  • Spend time with your family, and your spouse. Investing your time with your family can also assure that your retirement will be enjoyable as well. Relationships need your time don’t ignore them either.

Sure fire investing schemes? My last name isn’t Madoff, and we also know there are no sure things in investing, sports or gambling.

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Make Money the Old Fashioned Way, Earn it!

I loved that old chestnut from Smith Barney, that was so eloquently enunciated by the late John Houseman. It was his authoritative voice that sent droves of investors over to Smith Barney.

What happened to Smith Barney? It eventually got bought by Morgan Stanley, which then morphed into Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, but now it is just Morgan Stanley (I am shortening the story a great deal, check the link for the full details).

This battle cry continues on in the Investing World, that the only way to really make big money, is to actively manage your investments, and most likely have a broker for advice, that way you are earning your money. While you are earning your money, many parts of the investing industry are earning money as well, so that must mean it is correct.

Index investing or Couch Potato investments seem to fly in the face of this concept (you do very little to earn your money).  I guess the only question I might ask that is the catch phrase I could think might explain this is that Couch Potatos are working smarter not harder.

The question that comes to mind is: Does anybody (in the investment industry) make money the old-fashioned way any more? Seriously, do they?

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Financial New Year Resolutions , Start Now !

Every year, many folks try hard to break old habits, lose weight, or fix a “problem” in their lives, and they wait until January 1st to start this, but I have found that as soon as I call something a “New Year Resolution” it is doomed to failure. The pressure of calling anything a New Year Resolution, ensures that I worry far too much about it, and will eventually give up on this.

The University of Scranton put out some very interesting numbers on New Year’s Resolutions (in the U.S.)  and how long the attempted change continues, the telling stats (especially for old farts like me):

Age Success Rates Data
Percent of people in their twenties who achieve their resolution each year 39%
Percent of people over 50 who achieve their resolution each year 14%

So people my age who try to make a change have a 14% success rate? Wow, it is really hard to teach us old dogs new tricks, but, if you don’t call it a Resolution, maybe you can trick yourself into a higher success rate.

Silly Resolutions

2o14 Resolutions that failed miserably

If you want to try some Financial Resolutions (not Sarcastic Financial Resolutions ) you can set up for success by starting now, a few examples:

  1. If you have resolved to give more to Charities, give now, and then give in the new year, and you will get the tax breaks for both years.
  2. If you plan on putting more money in your child’s RESP, giving now and then in January means  you will get CESG kick ins for both of those “quarters”.
  3. The same can be said for an RRSP kick-in, yes you have until February to get the Tax break, but the sooner you put your money in, the sooner it starts growing (hopefully).

There will be plenty of useful End of Year Reminder articles on the web, use them as a good template on what you can do in 2014 to help you with your 2015 changes.

I was also glad to see in the Scranton results that money made it into the Top 3 (in fact #2 might actually be a financial thing as well).

Rank Top 10 New Years resolutions for 2014
1
Lose Weight
2
Getting Organized
3
Spend Less, Save More

Currently I am working on about 4 different changes in my life, but they are not going to be called resolutions, and I am not going to talk about them either, since that seems to ruin things as well.

 

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Snow, Christmas, Enhanced and #BestThisWeek

The snow flew this week in Ottawa, which of course means that we might have a White Christmas here in the Nation’s Capital. Will that matter? It does to some folks, I am good with a green Christmas, and one day hope to enjoy going to the beach on Christmas Day (and not have to wear a parka at the beach).

Christmas Tree

A Previous Festive Tree from the Big C8j House

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, and the malls are getting to be pretty nasty places. There are only 13 days left until Christmas Day, and only days left in this calendar year. If you want to put money in an RESP and have not reached your Max, now might be the time to do it! Maybe some TFSA room? Think about it and sit down and look where you could put some extra money (if you have some that is).

The US Government released the Senate Report on the “Enhanced Interrogation” that was done after 9/11, while I won’t comment on the report’s content, I do enjoy seeing the use of “Enhanced” being obfuscated by the intelligence services, as much as it has been muddled by the financial industry as well. Right now you have an Enhanced Purchasing opportunity in the markets with stock prices falling all over the place. Isn’t Enhanced a useful word?

My Writings for Week Ending December 12th

The Time person of the year are the Folks Fighting Ebola, but remember Time also had Vlad Putin as their man of the year a while ago :

 

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