Why I am Not Rich (financially)

Why I’m Not Rich

So I am actually stealing the title and concept of this post from Million Dollar Journey, but I never said I was that original (or below stealing concepts from fellow financial bloggers).

I have been very lucky in my life with opportunities and by all rights I should be rich in terms of my finances, however I don’t think I am (but I add that I am a millionaire in many other ways in my life, so I am not lamenting not being financially set, simply pointing out that mine is a story of opportunities missed as much as anything else).

First big chance I had to make a lot of money was in 1981 when I took BUS 111/121 at Wilfred Laurier U., which back then had the “Stock Market Game” as part of it’s curriculum. There I learned about a new tech stock that was just going IPO, and the winners of that game bought only that and won the game handily. I could have simply invested $1000 back then (which I had) and been able to pay for my education completely, but I simply ignored that opportunity (what would you expect from a 20 year old?).

I suppose I could have made a lot more money had I left my money in CSB’s which back then were paying 19% interest, but I guess we can ignore that “opportunity” since that really was an aberration in the whole system (in terms of CSB pay back at least).

When I was about to graduate, I interviewed with Microsoft and actually got fairly far into their interviewing methodology, before I managed to find the secret trap door and was not offered a job. If I had gone to work there in 1985, and had managed to hold onto my job long enough I would have easily been set for life monetarily, but whether I would be happy ends up being an open question. This sort of lines up with how my financial luck has fallen throughout my working career (i.e. almost being in the right place at the right time). How real this opportunity was, I am not sure, but still an opportunity missed again.

As the 80′s ended I changed jobs and started working for Nortel and back then, it was still just a Phone Equipment Manufacturer (with no megalomaniacal dreams of it being a Tech Superpower), but even back then I could have made some good coin by buying BCE stock, as part of a savings plan. I did actually enroll in that plan, but I simply cashed out of the plan every year to get the company “top up” portion of the savings plan. If I had held onto that stock, and simply lived on the Dividends I might have made a pretty penny, but I kept cashing out. Opportunity missed to make big money, all I made was a smallish money.

Tomorrow, the heady 90′s and the eventual Tech implosion!

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Vegetarian Pet Owners ?

Pets Are Vegans Now?

It is interesting to see how various industries pander to folks who seem to have a heck of a lot of disposable income, and they seem to create new lifestyle concepts and ideas, witness the sudden outbreak of Vegetarian Food lines for your dogs and cats.

Nothing screams disposable income louder to me than the concept of “designer foods” for your pets, especially vegetarian diets for your pet. There are some pets where a vegetarian diet is just fine: hamsters, gerbils, rabbits and other domesticated rodents. Deciding that your dog or cat should have a designer vegetarian diet is a different matter. Dogs and cats, even domesticated ones, are omnivores, and can (and maybe should) have meat in their diets.

Hamster

This pet IS a vegetarian

I realize that in some instances your pet’s diet will change, as they get older, and their digestive system gets older, but really folks this whole: going into serious debt for the family pet is getting a little over the top (in my opinion).

 

I have already discussed spending $3000 to have an operation on your Golden Retrievers hip, but spending premium money for pet food is even more insidious, since that is a weekly drain above and beyond for your pet. If a pet is going to be this expensive, can you really afford the pet in the first place?

If a pet came with a typical monthly costs or budget, my guess would be that the sales of pets would drop dramatically. Most folks add a pet to a family thinking of how much it cost when they were kids, but the game has completely changed now. Veterinary sciences is now a huge business, pet food is another big business and when I was a kid there was no such thing as pet health insurance.

I do own two cats, but my wife and I are talking about not having any more pets after this due to costs, and allergies in our family.

How much are your pets costing you?

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Video: Work Life Balance

So back I go to Ted.com to find an interesting piece by Nigel Marsh about Work/Life balance. I have ranted about Work/Life balance many times, and I think I am doing a better job about it, but Nigel’s fairly blunt presentation I think is quite refreshing to hear.

Work-life balance, says Nigel Marsh, is too important to be left in the hands of your employer. At TEDxSydney, Marsh lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time and productivity — and offers some stirring encouragement to make it happen.

I like the quote about how no company is really caring about you, they care about how much money they make, so keep that in mind.

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Random Thoughts: Still Here

Miscalculations of the Apocalypse

Given that we all seem to still be here, I guess the Rapture didn’t happen on Saturday as prophecized, but again, it might be a simple miscalculation, and we all know that eventually either the world will end in a firey apocalypse, or we’ll not be here to see it, so it is inevitable (but it may take a few million years before the former, so I guess we can’t be too sure of it all). I think I am happy things didn’t end on Saturday, gives me more things to complain about.

For some folks in the U.S. in Canada a version of the Apocalypse came just the same with Tornadoes and flooding, which suggests the importance of having good house insurance to deal with these kinds of Acts of God.


With this being the week after a long(er) weekend, there still was an interesting hodge podge of posts from me:

  • Happy Victoria Day is pretty self-explanatory, given Monday was a holiday in Canada (under various names).
  • Inflation Stays Higher in April 2011 outlines how Gas and Energy continue to sap money out of our pockets by driving the consumer price index up.
  • With One Things to Do Before You Retire I state the obvious, but do make the point about your money and your health as well
  • After getting a call from Rogers I bought my cable box, which should save me a few bucks, but will also leave me with yet another piece of equipment once it’s usefulness is complete.

I actually enjoy all comments (even the ones that question my sanity), and will try to respond to most comments, so please feel free to comment away. For you spammers who continue to inundate me with your drivel, keep it up as well.

Other Financial Bloggers were glad the world didn’t end on Saturday and celebrated with some interesting posts this week as well:

Carnivals this Week

I also had some submissions accepted to various carnivals, so go have a read of these as well:

Other Bookkeeping



Blondie: Rapture (topical eh?)

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Remember

“‘Cause the man from Mars stopped eatin’ cars and eatin’ bars
And now he only eats guitars, get up!”

Author: Blondie (from Rapture)  {Yes that is topical!}

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Buying your Cable Box?

So I got a call from “Rogers” a while ago asking me if I wanted to buy my NTSC (regular TV not HD) cable box. I had been meaning to return that box one day because I was planning on replacing the TV it was connected to, with an HD TV (since I don’t think you can buy a non-digital TV any more). The “deal” I was offered was to buy the box for $29, and then it would be mine (with a 1 year warranty on it).

Whenever I hear these kind of deals I start to wonder why last month if I had wanted to buy the box it would have cost me $100 and today it is $29, and the answer is quite simple, but spans a few business points:

  • I have most likely “paid” for this box many times over by renting it. Yes, this was a mistake on my part, I should have either bought it or returned it a while ago, so the box itself is effectively already paid for.
  • The biggest expense for cable companies right now, is the maintenance and replacement of set top boxes (cable boxes), however, if I own it, then I have to replace it later (I can’t just bring it in and upgrade it for free). This is actually a much bigger savings for the Cable company, because if all they did was supply signal and the network to the house they could make a fortune, however, the Settop box replacements and upgrades is what is killing these profits.

I ended up buying the box from “Rogers”, I put their name in quotes because I remember distinctly at the start of the call the person introducing themselves as Freida from Rogers, not a marketing firm (name may not have been Freida). I believe in the middle of discussions I was assured that this was in fact Rogers I was talking to, however, at the end when my transaction was about to go through, I was informed that this was “Zizabivits Marketing” that I had been talking to a “licensed Rogers agent”, WTF? So there was a degree of fraud involved in this transaction as well.

At the end of this I will own the box, which may have a limited shelf life (I suppose I could use it with an HD TV, but I won’t get an HD signal from it), and  if I want to get an HD box, I will have to buy one, but that is to be dealt with if and when I replace my standard signal TV.

For those who have not seen the advertising, all Canadian TV will be transmitted in Digital format as of August, so if you are using an Antenna, you will need to get some kind of box to translate the digital signal for your TV (so keep this in mind too).

 

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