Farewell, EpiPens, Ombudsman Report and #MoneyTalk

Last week we said good-bye to the Olympics, and as well, to the Tragically Hip. I was never a rabid “Hip” fan, but I enjoy a great deal of their music (and if you listen closely to the lyrics, you might just learn something, about Canada). Some might say, “… life goes on…”, but that doesn’t mean we can’t feel sadness about the passing of time. Also, the summer is also almost over.

EpiPen or injector

Ouch!

How much are you willing to pay to save your life? The entire price of EpiPen silliness in the U.S. really does make me wonder if big drug companies assume they are like banks and can charge whatever they want, and there will be no repercussions? As a stock holder in Pfizer (still) I suppose I am a hypocrite for making that comment, but Pfizer’s big money-maker is still Viagra, and if you want to gouge men who want to have a drug which has a possible side effect of “… an erection lasting more than 4 hours…”, then so be it.

I was disturbed to read the Ontario Ombudsman’s report “Nowhere to Turn”, where the Ombudsman called for systemic overhaul to help adults with developmental disabilities in crisis. The quote in the report that concerns me is:

“There is still marked inconsistency in how limited funds are prioritized and distributed” and families struggle with “interminable waitlist delays,” leaving some so desperate that they have abandoned their loved ones.

My Writings for Week Ending August 26th

I started the week writing about inflation, and the arithmetic cogitations that make the numbers appear good, but the calculations that tell a different story, with Electricity Prices Continue to Sizzle in July. Electricity prices continue to go up (especially here in Ontario), while gas prices appear to be dropping which are nullifying the effects of the electricity price jump. Fun with Numbers.

I also had a lovely conversation with one of my favorite folks, Kerry from Squawkfox, and she was doing research for some work she is doing for the Globe and Mail. The topic of RESPs came up, and I remembered that I had started an article RESP Proof of Enrolment and its importance to the cashing out of the RESP funds, so I finished that one off. I typically end up getting inspired when I chat with smart money folks, so thanks Kerry.

An Excellent Question

An interesting question from a follower:

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Lord Stanley's Pride

My Hope is to Retire before the Leafs win the Cup

This week a great deal of kerfuffle was kicked up when a couple of 30 year olds claim they have retired, and were telling folks how they did it (some folks say boastfully). While I know folks who have retired in their 30’s (only to go back to work, because they were a little bored, and also decided they might nee a little more money), the idea of “retiring” at 30 seems to be the new Nirvana for millennial folk. Given this generation is going to live longer than my generation, what the heck are they going to do while “retired” ? Even Garth Turner kicked in his 10 cents worth on the topic, and Preet discussed this with the morning crew at Global too (see the Tweet of the week for that one). If you manage to retire young, on the back of your parents’ assets then pish-posh on you, but if you earn it, through the sweat of your own brow, then good on you! Most folks who will bash folks like this are mostly bitter narrow-minded financial bloggers (no wait, that is me), jealousy is never a good reason to mock other folks achievements.

I was sad to see the passing of Mauril Belanger (MP with ALS). ALS is a frightening disorder (not that any lethal disorder is better or worse), let us hope the work he did, gets us closer to a way to treat this destructive disorder.

The Olympics are over this weekend, and I am sad to see them go. They are always entertaining (if not also incredibly frustrating) to watch, I think Rio did OK, let us hope that we don’t get any horror stories of the aftermath. The Paralympics start in a few weeks as well. Congratulations to the Canadian Ladies, showing that “Playing Like a Girl” is a good thing!

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My Writings for Week Ending August 19th

As I get older I keep forgetting about helpful technology, especially in the world of banking, and my article, Old Financial Technology Habits Die Hard outlines how I forgot about photo cheque cashing as a technology (shame on me, I am not a Luddite).

I am attempting to work on my article backlog, and I found one I started a while ago based on a BuzzFeed post that I saw. Little Known Secrets of Financial Planning, is no great epiphany, in fact I get downright sarcastic.

Preet on Early Retirement

Preet is on TV a lot these days, it seems. I have been told I have a face for Radio.

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Women Rule, Less Jobs and #MoneyTalk

The Canadian Ladies are carrying the load for the Canadian Olympic team, and, as the father of 3 amazing daughter, I am proud to see it. Maybe Canada has tripped into a new funding idea? Equally funding female athletics, since we seem to win in those areas? How about equal funding, because that is what is fair? Just saying. Oh, and don’t mention Women’s Beach Volleyball attire to Kerry from Squawkfox, you might get an earful (rightly so, of course).

The Canadian Economy in general seems to be losing jobs currently, according to the latest Labour Force Survey from our friends at Stats Canada, employment dropped by 31,000 jobs, and full-time employment dropped by a much nastier 71,000 positions (over the 12 month period). The confusing statistic to throw in is that the number of hours worked over the 12 month period ending with July 31st is actually up by 0.4 % ? So less jobs, but more hours worked?

Unemployment is up 0.1% to 6.9% (year over year), which is still lower than some of the darkest days of this century, it going up is never a very good thing.

In my age group (the over 55 crowd) there are more jobs, but that is a bit mis-leading, because there are more of us (and luckily we brought jobs with us). There are fewer folks working in the Public Sector as well (the Private Sector is unchanged), but I keep saying it is better to have a strong Private Sector (in terms of employment).

Employment and Unemployment in Canada

Employment and unemployment rate, Canada, seasonally adjusted

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My Writings for Week Ending August 12th

I didn’t write anything this week, or more precisely, I didn’t publish anything this week. I have a backlog of 245 started but unfinished works. I was thinking of publishing a poll and asking what you want me to write about, but feel free to leave a comment here saying what you’d like me to look into. This is not to say that I have not been active on Social Media (I am a Social Media Madman). As millennial age, the question of retiring early comes up, so my article How Do I Retire at 35 ? keeps getting a lot of reads.

Fun Graphic for the week

I would love to find a graphic for Canada like this, but it is fun to see who are the most rich folk in the U.S. of A., funny there is no Big Cajun Man mention there…

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The Olympics, Topless Spelunkers, and #MoneyTalk

Let the games begin! Today the Rio Olympics start, and hopefully it will all go off relatively well. Speaking as a Montrealer that lived through the 1976 Olympics and the financial aftermath, hopefully Rio has not written a cheque that will take decades to pay off. I still remember seeing Lasse Virén running up Rockland Road during the Marathon.

Lasse Virén c1974.jpg

Lasse Virén

I am on vacation this week, so I have been watching with a high level of confusion what is going on in the U.S.A.. There are even pundits claiming Mr. Trump might actually be trying to throw the election? Seems far-fetched, but I believe the main-stream media wants all of this, and would relish a Trump Presidency, just because folks would be watching the news every night! All we have in Canada is a shirtless PM wandering around caves, and then surfer PM appeared as well? #WTF?

Sometimes we forget the importance of taking time off, and as I get closer to retirement, I am starting to figure out, I am going to need to figure out how to enjoy myself, and not think about work. I learned when I got laid off, that nothing is that important at work (since the things I was worrying about the week before I got canned, didn’t matter 5 minutes after I got laid off). Learn to enjoy, and take time off, I am still figuring it out (maybe I will take up surfing?)

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My Writings for Week Ending August 5th

I am on vacation this week, and I finally wrote my review of the one financial tool I keep using, even though the developers seem to have abandoned it, and I vent my frustration in Quicken 2016 Canadian Edition Review . Don’t buy it. Investor Junkie has a much more positive view on things in this review, but give this year a pass (unless you must get it).

A Money Thought

As usual Kerry from Squawkfox hits the nail on the head with this tweet.

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Unknown Long Weekend, Windows 10 and #MoneyTalk

In most places in Canada this is a long weekend ahead (except in Quebec), but in Ontario, we are so lazy we don’t really even have a name for it. Here in Ottawa it is Colonel By day, near Toronto it is Simcoe Days, elsewhere, who knows? I do appreciate the fact that the Ontario government is busy trying to Tax Taxes, or make large payouts for programs that never happened (i.e. the Ontario Pension Plan), but could we not just name this silly thing and be done with it?

Corpse Flower Stinky

A Corpse Flower is Blooming in New York ? (no not a commentary about US Election)

The on-going reality show (masquerading as an election) down south, does seem to be helping Canadian tourism, as with all sides claiming if the opposing side wins, folks will be moving north (and the Brexit crowd too), we might have to put in a few new cities? Immigration is what made Canada great (being the son of immigrants), so all are welcome, just remember to wipe your feet before entering, and be polite to your hosts.

Remember the “Free Windows 10 upgrade” is now at an end for folks. Funny my Mac comes with a free OS, that seems to load from anywhere, but that is me just being a “Neo Zoom Dweebie” isn’t it? Do your upgrade or be forced to fork out some money.

Did you realize that Canadian Financial Bloggers actually meet every year? I’ll be there too.

Speaking of smelly things, evidently A Corpse Flower Has Started to Bloom After a 10 Year Wait at the New York Botanical Garden, why would you want to go there?

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My Writings for Week Ending July 30th

I posted two things this week, the first one, a commentary on the data from Stats Canada, Zap! Electricity Prices Pushes Inflation in June, and the price of electricity in Ontario is beyond ridiculous. I grew up in Quebec, and for all the commentaries you wish to make about La Belle Province, they got the electricity thing right (on the backs of 1st Nations and Newfoundland, admittedly).

For those of us with kids that are in Post-secondary programs, about now is when we get the Tuition Bill for the fall, and I had a look at one from Queen’s and was floored by the additional fees, so, naturally, I had to write about it in, The Business of University Fees. I should start my own University bet I could make some money (yes that was a Trump jab).

A Money Thought

Every time I browse /personalfinance, I end up reading posts by people half my age complaining about making twice as much as I do. from Showerthoughts

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