Thanks to the odd placement of July 1st this year, I am enjoying two 2-day work weeks (unfortunately with a 1 day weekend in between). I did my best to stuff as much as I could into my 1 day weekend.

4th of July


It is the 4th of July on Saturday and our American relations will show how a Real Party is done. More than one comedian has quipped that the 4th should be renamed Blow Something Up Day but I am OK with seeing a country truly revel in their own freedoms. Oh and for those of you who have said, “I am moving to Canada now that same-sex marriage is legal”, you might want to reconsider things a little. đź—˝

Greece, ’nuff said. By the way, who loaned them the money, Money Mart?

According to our friends over at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation Bill C-518 died “on the vine”, in the Senate. Bill C-518 was the bill passed in the house of commons that was, “… (the law to revoke taxpayer-funded pensions from criminal politicians)…”, I guess I am curious to ask, “And you thought the Senate would pass it?”. The CTF is always fun to read (I agree with the National Post on that one).

My Writings for Week Ending July 3rd

Now that Canada Day is done, what next? August long weekend? Simcoe Days? Labor Day? Christmas? Yikes! :

And now, deep thoughts with Preet Banerjee:

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As of the 21st of June, the summer of 2015 has started, with all the associated hoopla and fun. Remember that during the summer you might forget some important things like making sure your bills get paid, so maybe spend some time automating your bill payments for the summer, so that you don’t get in trouble with your creditors, and utilities.

Canadian Flag

Early Happy Canada Day

Canada Day is coming next week, on a Wednesday which will make for a great deal of confusion for folks, trying to figure out the optimal usage of their vacation, but my personal theory is if you spend 4 days vacation and get a complete week off, you are getting a 25% bonus, so take the days and enjoy the time off. Others have argued with me, why take vacation around that time, nothing is going on at work, they’d rather take their vacation when the office is busy. Both arguments are fine,  just remember to take your vacation (if Gail Vaz-Oxlade can take Time Off, so can you).

If you want a really summery thought it is less than 6 months until Christmas. How is your planning and shopping going for Christmas 2015? Here is another helpful hint, it is on a Friday, which means New Years Day is a Friday, and you have a whole weekend to recover from New Years Eve. Not helpful? How about this great advice about what to do before you go to bed before New Years Eve ?

The CFL season has started, go RedBlacks !

My Writings for Week Ending June 26th

Canada Day is quickly approaching, but it falling on a Wednesday assures next week is going to be a rather herky jerky kind of week:

  • I have started using Zinio again from the Ottawa Public Library (a magazine reading app, that through the library allows you to browse for free), and using that I noted that Money Magazine had a “Money 101″ section, and this was one of the questions in that section What is My Tax Bracket ? Now in Canada it is not really that straight forward as we have so many taxes to deal with, but it gives you an idea (and Yes, you should at least have an idea what your tax bracket entails).
  • Given I am all for for Financial Literacy I figured  I would try to give some helpful hints about figuring out when you are about to be overwhelmed by debt with, Symptoms Your Debt Load is Getting Out of Control, and yes those are actual examples.
  • On this site’s sister blog, I published LastPass Hacked and Best of Technology and Security This Week , in case you are looking to learn a bit about technology and the associated security on that technology.

Something helpful from Larry MacDonald:

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According to the Toronto Star, you will soon be able to play down your Ontario Student Loans with your (or maybe a relative’s) Aeroplan miles. The exchange rate is currently pegged at about 7/10 of a cent for each mile cashed in (the example given was 35000 points becomes a $250 payment). While I applaud the ability to help pay down the ballooning Student Debts in Canada, couldn’t I have just done this with my Amex Cash back Card, or my PC Financial Mastercard? I am not sure if this is a good rate of transfer or not, but if a student has a “Sugar Relative” heavily laden with Aeroplan points, maybe they could get some help?

Dad Day

Father’s Day

Early Happy Father’s Day (Fathers’ Day) to all the Dads out there. It used to be that Father’s Day was the day when the most collect long distance calls were made, not sure what the 21st century version of that factoid might be. My Dad passed on a few years ago, but the things he taught me keep him with me always. The scary part of Father’s Day is realizing I am a Father as well.

To my Muslim readers, Ramadan is here. For folks in Canada this is going to hurt, because now we have the longest days of the year, so you are going to have to work hard on your fasting during the day. Eid is coming, but not for a while.

KPMG says we should stop the Canada Savings Bonds program? Remember that most of the Bonds these days are held by folks over the age 60 (OK, that is a guess on my part) but those are also the folks that remember when bonds had interest rates of 19% (yes that was 35 years ago, but you never know).

My Writings for Week Ending June 19th

No more Hockey or Basketball, guess it is Rugby, Formula 1, Soccer, and catching up on series I missed in the Winter season :

  • To start the week off, I published some notes I made up for an interview with the Toronto Star (that has disappeared into the ether from what I can tell), with Really Useful RESP Tips, I am available for interviews, Frat Parties, Bar Mitzvahs, and Weddings(check the About menu for details).
  • Evidently Thursday was “Let’s Splurge Day”, so my post Today Do Something for Yourself ( Financially ) was very topical (whodathunkit). No it’s not what you think.
  • On one of my other sites, I tried out a new old idea with the Best of Technology and Security this Week, have a look it has some interesting tid bits.

Financial literacy:

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In the US, it seems that Voldemort (the Nemesis of Harry Potter) is actually getting better numbers in early polls than many Republican candidates, which got me thinking, could “He who must not be mentioned” make it in Canadian Politics? My guess is he’d be a Tory, but I might be wrong, but would folks vote for him over Mr. Harper? Another deep Political Shower Thought from the BCM (the clown prince of Political Punditry as well). I am pretty sure that “The Big V” could run in Nepean/Carleton and win by a large majority.


New Tory Candidate?
Image used without permission of JK Rowling or Warner Bros.

HSBC will be slashing 50,000 jobs over the next little while, which should make shareholders happy, but employees less than overjoyed.

I am in the midst of a Herculean task, and that is to complete the set of Game of Thrones Audible books (they are very good), however I am only on the third book (Amazon link: A Storm of Swords: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Three (Game of Thrones) Unabridged Edition by Martin, George R.R. [2012]), as it is 48 hours in length (yes two entire days). I really am enjoying the dramatization by Roy Dotrice, and evidently it is a world record for characters brought to life in an audio book.

Evidently Mr. Hockey (Gordie Howe) is doing well recovering from a stroke, and has had a second round of stem cell treatments. In other news the Leafs are planning on offering him a 1 year contract for next year. Glad to see that Thomas Mulcair says that an NDP mandate will mean the abolition of the Senate (at least I think it was Senate, and not the Senators (hockey joke)). The City of Glendale has decided it doesn’t want to subsidize the Arizona/Phoenix/Glendale/Quebec City Coyotes any more, you mean folks in Arizona don’t care about hockey?

A sad week with the passing of many folks who have influenced my life: the great Actor Christopher Lee; wrestling legend “the American Dream” Dusty Rhodes; James Last whose Orchestra was one of the soundtracks of my youth and former All-Blacks (New Zealand Rugby) captain Jerry Collins.

TigerDirect (CA)

My Writings for Week Ending June 12th

Can Lebron James carry an entire team through to the NBA championship? We shall see:

  • There was More Full Time Work in Canada in May and that is a good thing, but plenty of fun with numbers in the Stats Canada report as well. More people looking for work folks, so the picture isn’t that darn rosy.
  • How Long Are You Going to Live ? I realize you can’t know that one, but you better have a good guess or you might run out of money when you retire (or worse leave a lot of money to your kids, and not have a lot of fun in your retirement!).
  • One of my favorites from the archives this week is Three Financial Rules of Thumb, which are simple to read, but hard to keep doing.

A very true tweet:

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Are you aware of the Karmic Wheel, or heard the expression bitten by his own pet snake? Well if you read my fabulous compilation from a few weeks back, Starbucks, Monty Burns and #BestMoneyStories, you would have read about the security break in Starbucks’ Card and App system, and how folks were having their accounts hacked and money taken from them, remember that? Wish I had, because this week my phone threw up this interesting message:

Big Cajun Man

Why is this man smiling, given his Starbucks card was just hacked and Hundreds of dollars stolen from it?

“Your $100 card transaction has gone through”

My reaction was, “What the F*ck!”, and yes my account had been hacked, and someone was attempting to syphon money off my credit card, via my Starbucks card for nefarious usage (no doubt). Luckily the good folks at the Starbucks hot line, fixed it all up with great alacrity (word of the week for me), and my finances are no more worse for wear. I suppose this suggests I should (on occasion) take my advice, or stop drinking expensive coffee.

Looks like 4 million federal employees (in the US) have had their personal data hacked, and the authorities involved are pointing the finger at China. Not a great week for privacy this week, sorry folks.


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My Writings for Week Ending June 5th

The finals in the NBA and the NHL are finally here, and then it will all be over (until September):

  • I decided that after reading the original Financial Post article, and then the follow on from LSM insurance that I had to say something about More Invasion of Privacy (for Reward Points), this is even more wrong than the Car monitoring gadgets for lower rates, and I am astounded if any person signed up for that program. If you have, please drop me a line, I want to interview you.
  • Barry Choi claims that even though there are many more consumers whose Cell Phone contracts have expired, thanks to Happy End of 3 Year Cell Phone Contracts Day!, there are less good deals out there. Is anybody else seeing this?

An interesting tweet:

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