Happy Leap Day!

It’s a very unique day, in that it doesn’t happen very often (once every 1450-ish days is pretty rare), and for those who have birthdays on this day, you have my condolences (I am talk to you Henri Richard).

What could we do financially on a Leap Day? This time, Leap Day lines up so that for me (and other folks who get paid bi-weekly on a Wednesday (this Wednesday)) February actually has 3 pay days, so that is a reason to dance happily (no, no videos will be posted of this dance (except maybe by my kids)). I could make 3 mortgage payments this month, but I think I will push it one day, and make the extra payment in March.

Evidently you are supposed to Froggy things (since Frogs leap), but I would say you should do things Lemur-like (since Leaping Lemurs makes a much better alliteration).  Are Lemurs very judicious about their money? Can’t say as I have read too much about how Lemurs are cheap, or careful with their money, so maybe we can forget about that idea.

You have an extra day to pay any bills that are due at the end of the month, yes it is only one day, but February is a crappy month for those kind of bills (you only had 28 days to pay, now you have 29). Enjoy the extra day with your money.

If you have some extra money lying around, maybe make:

  • A Leap Mortgage payment (an extra payment on top of your regular payment)
  • A Leap Credit Card Payment (get out of that debt trap sooner)
  • Make a Leap RRSP payment (for those in Canada)

Yes in Canada we have an extra day to make an additional payment into our RRSPs, and have it count on last year’s income, which if you have extra money (and no debts to pay, and RRSP room) might not be a bad idea as well.

What other financial Leap Day things could you do?

 

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You Want WHAT Information

So one of my daughter’s wants to rent a new place in the fall for her final (hopefully) year of her education. This place seems to be akin to Fort Knox or some other high security establishment, because not only do they want a Guarantor to sign on the dotted line that they will be responsible for the rent, should there be any problems with the renter(s) (i.e. my daughter), they also want my:

  • Social Insurance Number
  • Driver’s License Number
  • Banking Information for an account, which I assume they will attempt to extract unpaid rent from.

They want this information to  do a “Credit Check” on the Guarantor, and my big question is: what else are you going to do with this information? How will you keep it safe?

I have checked on-line and one site which claims that asking for a SIN number is an optional thing (as is the Driver’s License Number, in my opinion), since a Credit check can be done with my name, date of birth and such. I then went to the Government of Canada Services web site and they have a page which says Who can ask for my SIN and who don’t I have to give it to. Now the site does go to lengths to say it is not Illegal to ask for your SIN, however, they discourage you to give out this information.

So now I am in an interesting quandary. I understand that the Landlord (a corporation) does not trust my daughter since she is young and has no real Financial Background that they can check, so they want someone trustworthy to stand up and say, “Yes I am the money behind this young lady” (or something like that), however, why must I give them all this information to prove I am trustworthy?

My guess is, if I say, NO, to this invasion of my privacy (my opinion), that my daughter will not get this rental unit, so I may end up capitulating, but not before I ask the Landlord for a written assurance (signed by them) that this information will be protected, an explanation of how it will be stored (and maybe who has access to it), and finally an explanation of when and why this information will be used.

We shall see, my guess is my daughter may not talk to me for a while if she does not get this rental unit, but then again, who knows?

Am I being unreasonable here? Any landlords out there care to comment on whether this is a common practice (I fully admit I have not rented anywhere in 24 years).

 

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Cutting Ontario’s Services?

Last week, Premier Dalton McGuinty proved he does have a sense of humor, when his Government’s hand-picked “cut-meister” Don Drummond, published a set of ideas for ways the Government could save money and avert a financial apocalypse that is predicted for Ontario.

The list of cuts is broad in spectrum, and heavy-handed at best, and at worst it is Big “C” Conservatism (if not totalitarianism), but will these cuts actually transpire as they have been laid out?

A simple cursory view of the carnage that is predicted, will be no, for several reasons, but a few that I can think of would be:

  • It recommends ending all day kindergarten (recommendation 6-11), which is Dalton McGuinty’s baby, so that is not going anywhere (unless the conservatives get into power).
  • Cut funding of education system which would force more parents to have to pay for more supplies (recommendation 6-17). Seriously? We are going to make parents pay more for PUBLIC schools?
  • Cutting school bus funding (recommendation 6-16), I think that is a great idea, since I have had to pay for my kids’ busing costs for years (8 to be exact).
  • Plenty of really interesting discussions about alternate care ideas in the medical system and how to cut costs (Section 5 of the recommendations). There are so many, I don’t dare mention them. The best quote I can give you is:
    • The quality of care can and should be enhanced despite the need to restrain increased spending; the objectives of quality care and cost restraint must go hand in hand.
      -
      WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? We should have a great system, even though we are going to cut the hell out of it?!?
  • Section 7 for post secondary institutions is effectively fantasy, imploring Universities to break existing bargained agreements with staff ( 7-2 ) and also to fire incompetent teachers (7-10), it’s fun to read.
  • Social Programs you ask? Section 8 starts with:
    • Hold growth in social programs spending to 0.5 per cent per year.
      And the best of British luck to you on that one.
  •  Get to Section 12 about Infrastructure and real estate and you are treated to the following tid bits:
    • Implement full cost pricing for water and wastewater services.
    • Eliminate the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit as quickly as possible.
    • etc., etc., etc.,

As can be read, this is a broad axe cutting across the board. The tactic is quite simple, scare the living hell out of everyone, so they all start fighting for their programs, and then implement modest cuts, in areas already known and look less nasty because of it.

The only wrinkle here is that Heir McGuinty does not have a majority, so he is going to need to find some accomplices for his little farce. Wonder who will walk across the floor to join in?

Anyone care to disagree?

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Knees in Packages and Sunday’s Best

As RRSP season comes to a frenzied end, we must remember that this means that Income Tax season is now upon us, and we must all start thinking about submitting our returns to the CRA.  Many folks have opinions about the value of getting a rebate (as opposed to making sure that on “Tax Day” you don’t owe anything nor are owed anything), I like the feel of getting a rebate, however, not too large a rebate (I don’t like loaning the government large sums of money over the year).

In Ottawa we got another rollicking reminder that Mother Nature is an unpredictable lady, a snowstorm on Friday made life interesting here and there is promise of more snow to come. I am learning that all bus systems have their issues dealing with snowstorms, at least I managed to get home in one piece.

I found one of my favorite videos from Rick Mercer videos, and will include it after my regular run down of my Tweets for the week:

This is a real, oldie, but goody!

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Lenten Finances, Leaping and Random Thoughts

Lent began this week with a flurry of pancakes, and then many posts about finances and doing financial penance for you money transgressions, funny how I can take something religious and turn it into a money issue. As you can tell I take every chance possible to suggest that NOW is a good time to start thinking about your finances and planning (you didn’t notice that?).

Greece and Europe continue to lay the track for the financial roller coaster the stock markets are going through. One day WAY up and the next hurtling back down to the ground, frankly, I am getting sick of the whole thing (like they used to say about Space Mountain, “… big deal you spin around for 4 minutes and then you want to throw up).

The exciting part about next week is that all those folks who were born on February 29th get to have a genuine Birthday, and we all get to enjoy an extra day for RRSP frenzy buying too. I wonder if there are other weird traditions out there for February 29th? Drink from the other side of the cup? Sleep on the other side of the bed? Change banks?  Maybe I’ll eat my cereal with a fork?

Weekly Recap

Yes a very heavily Lenten laden week, but still a few other important tax points to watch out for as well:

And thanks to those who added me on Twitter I am now over 1000 folks who follow me, holy cow! Check out my facebook page as well (but no I won’t be buying Facebook stock because of this either).

Links for the Week

This week there have been a lot more giveaways this week, and with our Greek friends causing more financial grief, there was a lot to write about:

Other Bookkeeping

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An odd Leap Year Quote

Never play leap frog with a Unicorn

- Anonymous (on Leap Day either)

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