Don’t Pass it to the Other Team

So one of my sidelights is coaching basketball, and I love going to clinics from coaches who talk about coaching and plays and stuff (I’m an old gym rat at heart). Last Saturday I was lucky enough to hear from Dave Smart who is the head coach at Carleton University (the Ravens have been Canadian Champions the last 3 years running), and he was fascinating to listen to. Coach Smart admits to being a perfectionist and telling it like it is, and one of the expressions he tells all of his players is “Don’t Pass the ball to the other team“.

The first time you hear this expression it sounds obvious, of course, who would do that, but what Coach Smart was trying to say (I think) is most basketball players watch their own players, but rarely see the other team’s players. If you watch the defensive players, you won’t pass it to them! Simple, right? No! You know where the offensive player is going to go, you don’t know where the defender is going, and you need to watch them!

What does this have to do about finances? (Darn good question, get ready for a stretch here) Don’t take your eye off things that you can’t control, the stuff you can control, your savings, your retirement, your investments, your debt reduction plan, if they are under control that is good.

You have to plan for the things you don’t control, and that means:

  • Reduce DEBT! You can’t control interest rates, you can’t move forward with your car in reverse. Debt reduction is first and foremost. Everything else can be dealt with much more easily if you are carrying little or no DEBT!!!
  • Have contingency funds in place for:
    • Car repair. I am guilty of that one, car repair bills always throw me off kilter
    • House repair. I am going to get a major bill to replace the roof and furnace on my house, but they had to be done. If your house is new, you’ll need to replace these things in 15 years, but in 15 years, if you haven’t saved any money for it, it’s going to HURT!
    • Catastrophic illness. I have long term disability insurance with my company just in case. If I had a stroke tomorrow, my family would at least have an income of some kind.
    • Loss of employment. If you lose your job, how long will you last? A priest once told me everyone is 12 weeks away from living on the streets, make sure you are not one of those folks
    • Death! Term insurance to protect your family, and a will to protect them even more (thanks Dividend Guy, for pointing out I missed that).

These are SOME of the unknowns, that you need to watch for, and not pass the ball to them!

Hope for the best, and plan for the worst!

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Spam, spam, spam, baked beans, spam, spam and spam

I don’t like SPAM !

No that is not my breakfast, it is what I am now continually finding as “comments” on this page. I have turned off Anonymous comments, since those are just an invitation for idiots to come and spew stupidities, but this is even worse.

Typically what happens is there is a comment like:

“… I really like your debt reduction web site, have a look at mine at FUNNY LINK…”

You go and look and it is a page with 1 entry on it and 10,000 Adsense ads, so the only thing you CAN click are the ads (not my FUNNY LINK, that is a link to the SPAM FAN CLUB!). That is just poor sportsmanship, an abuse of blogging and a pretty tacky way to make money (only in this author’s humble opinion). Yes, I have adsense ads, and yes I’d like to make money on them, but at least I create relatively relevant and new content, not just an obvious, ca$h grab!
I espouse Debt Reduction, taking control of your finances and I am now a crusader against SPAM. As a kid actually I liked “Klik” more than SPAM anyway.

OK a real posting is coming soon, but I had to get that one off my shoulder! Oh and if you click on the SPAM picture you go to the SPAM-A-LOT Broadway Show Home page.

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Now my numbers are scuppered!

So I have an interesting quandary to worry about now. I have purchased a new heating/cooling system for the C8jun mansion (sic) but now with the astronomical increase in Natural Gas costs, I don’t think I’ll be able to figure out how much money I have saved putting this new system in. My guess is, if I manage to remain where I currently am with my monthly payments, I will be ludicrously happy (but I am not holding my breath on that one). I’ll keep you all posted but it is going to be confusing to figure this one out (I’ll have to start figuring out how much Gas I actually use, which is far too hard for my simple brain).

The Canadian Capitalist had a good posting today about financial planning this is quite poignant given in our quaint area of Ottawa there has been a child disappearance, which is causing no end of worry and heartache to all parents and friends of the family involved as well. I know of the family through friends and our prayers go out to them during this terrible time. Remember folks, money planning may be important, but FAMILY is WAY more important!

Gas prices are slowly dropping, but HOLY cow, I am still astounded at how expensive my life suddenly became, and I make a good amount of coin too, I cannot fathom what fixed income folks are doing, since this seems more and more like the late 70’s when INFLATION exploded. If we see interest rates go over 8% for lending, the collective western economies may just topple, given the amount of debt being carried by folks who are living from “hand to mouth”.

Get out of debt folks, I am not kidding! But love your family first.

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Time off

Most long weekends I look back and wonder exactly what I got done, unfortunately this past one, I got a lot done, because of some family emergencies. I have reached a time of life where I am priviledged that both my parents and my wife’s parents are still alive (I only ever met one of my grandparents), but time is marching on. I did manage to not kill the kids (including the baby) this weekend, so I chalk this up as a Victory for me!

Financially, the national debt continues to grow, due to household fix ups, and I am still procrastinating about my roof, but I suspect I will need someone to come and fix that, because it will be a safety issue over the winter months (making my front steps a sheet of ice, will not help things out much).

Our final decision about basement finishing will leave the Sears salesman upset, but, Home Depot (not really Home Depot, it ends up being Tony’s Carpets who will do the installation) had a much more reasonable set of folks who seemed to want to make a sale and help us.

New topics will be coming up on the blog soon, mostly about Debt Reduction and such, given that Interest rates will be going up (and gas is still at $1.25 a liter), stay tuned

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Aeroplan $72 for a Free Flight?

Due to a family emergency we need to send Mrs. C8j to Toronto from Ottawa. Thankfully we have a fair amount of frequent flyer points with Air Canada, so we are sending her with those, and I must say that Aeroplan has changed their system so it is quite easy to use these days (and allows for you to buy your tickets the day before you use them, I remember when you had to book MONTHS in advance). So kudos to the Aeroplan folks for getting that one straight.

What amazes me is that my “free ticket” now costs me $72.00 after all the fees and the taxes. My understanding is that I still have to pay the GST & PST for the ticket even though it is “free”, and Ottawa airport has a “landing fee” (can I not pay that and just choose to stay in the air?), and I’m sure there is a gas surtax in there somewhere. The reason I have these points is that I flew a GREAT DEAL in the mid-90’s for my job, yet I must pay all of this as well? Seems an odd way to show “appreciation” of my good moneys being spent. My guess is Air Canada can’t not charge this, so my beef isn’t with them right now, it is, as usual, with the Government of Canada and their taxation folks.

What is really funny is at the end of this, with gasoline at $1.35 a liter in Ottawa, the $72.00 service charges are still 1/2 of what I would have paid if we had driven down to Toronto (WOW).

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