More Pensions, New CTC, and #MoneyTalk

According to our friends at Stats Canada more Canadians are in Pensions (up by almost 1.2%), which really surprised me. This would suggest all this palaver and gum-flapping about Canadians not having enough money to retire was just Media over-reaction, however if you read the report a little closer, there is a telling statement:

Dangerous Pension Conditions Ahead

Dangerous Pension Conditions Ahead? More people using different kinds of pensions that is for sure.

In 2014, just over 4,380,000 employees were in defined benefit pension plans, down 0.5% from 2013, and down 8.3% from a high of 4,776,000 in 1992. Defined benefit plans accounted for 70.0% of employees belonging to an RPP in 2014, a drop from 71.2% in 2013, and down from over 90% in the 1980s.

So the Defined Benefit Pension Plan is slowly dying off (except in the Public Sector) and the Defined Contribution (and the hybrid mutations of that concept) are where there is growth. This makes more sense, most private sector companies cannot afford a defined benefit pension system (whether the Government can afford their pension system remains to be seen).

For those of us with kids, that aren’t making too much, the new Child Tax Credit (CTC) just kicked in. The good news it is tax-free, but if you make too much money, you get nothing. There is an old (but still helpful) video from Preet about this exact topic at the end of this article.

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My Writings for Week Ending July 22nd

In summer mode, I am actually accumulating more unfinished titles in my writing pile, but What is Couch Potato Investing? came up as a question a co-worker (who is an occasional reader) asked me what it meant, and to my surprise I have talked about the topic a lot, but I have never really given as simple overview of what it meant, so there it was. I have written about the concepts of Couch Potato investing, but this article let’s folks understand the basics (I hope).

A Money Thought

Given Mr. Trump is now the Republican Candidate for the President, I have been researching some of his more interesting quotes, I like this one from “Trump University Entrepreneurship 101: How to Turn Your Idea into a Money Machine”

If you’re not satisfied with the status quo in your career, read this book, pick one key idea, and implement it. I guarantee it will make you money. —Donald J. Trump

I am reading the book for free on-line, so I feel I am already ahead of the game (i.e. I saved money by not buying the book).

A Tweet to Remember

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The Bank of Canada’s opinion is that Brexit is going to hurt the Canadian Economy (and its possible recovery) this year, which isn’t really news, but it is an interesting observation. This and a bunch of other information was reported by the Bank of Canada, when they reported they will not be doing anything to their key overnight rate. The Canadian economy continues to be in a very fragile state, and raising interest rates is unnecessary (or ill-advised, depending on how you read the report) at the moment. There exact statement was:

Inflation in Canada is on track to return to 2 per cent in 2017 as the complex adjustment underway in Canada’s economy proceeds. The fundamentals remain in place for a pickup in growth over the projection horizon, albeit in a climate of heightened uncertainty.

Mailbox in Canada

Open For Delivery (for now)

We do seem to be living in very uncertain times.

So far we have no lock out or Postal Strike, while they keep talking,  but should you really be waiting for the fat to hit the fire? Remember to sign up for Direct Deposit with the Government (although allegedly those cheques will keep going?). Get your bills delivered by E-mail as well (most of your major bills will do that). For your packages, well that might be an issue.

As a practicing Anglican, I was appalled to see that when a motion at Synod (think of Church Parliament) is either defeated or passed by a single vote, there is not an automatic recount. While Anglicans are nice folk (in general), we do seem to have some very odd ways of dealing with issues.

What will Oktoberfest do now? Evidently Polka King Walter Ostanek won a lottery grand prize of $1M, who will be playing Roll out the Barrel or Too Fat Polka in Kitchener in October? Someone call Uncle Franz! Ach, du lieber Gott in Himmel !

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My Writings for Week Ending July 15th

I am slowly getting through my archive of nearly started articles (still over 220) and My Four Best Investments was written on the way back from my daughter’s graduation from Trent University. This isn’t meant as a jab at those who choose not to subsidize their kids post-secondary education, just that if I hadn’t invested in my kids’ education, I most likely would have blown it on something else.

0% Financing On Cars, That’s Good, Right?

Preet has been busy this week and he has a new white board session outlining why 0% financing on your car might not be your best deal. I buy used cars, and you never get 0% financing on those.

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Suppose you devised a plan to get the UK out of the EU, and it actually worked, what would you do? Evidently if you are Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage, you quit (while you are ahead?). After pulling off one of the more memorable upsets in the past little while, the two main faces of the Brexit crew have simply resigned and now the UK has very little leadership on either side (having lost Prime Minister Mr. Cameron earlier on, and the Labour Party Leader seems to be under siege as well). Who has the rudder on the good ship Brittania ? Don’t know, but the markets seem to suggest they are not happy with the current situation. Now might be the time to book a vacation in the UK this summer?

Moving Back Home

A Badge for Those Contemplating Moving Back Home (aka Kippers)

More than once I have written about how children should aspire to stop living with their parents as soon as possible, and for some that has been construed as Millenial Bashing (to quote Rob Carrick), and while it does sound like harsh advice, I stand by the statement. You know how you learn to live on not much money? By living on not much money (and not living in your parent’s basement, claiming you are saving up for a down payment). My opinion is there are really not that many more youngsters doing this, but the main stream media has latched onto it, as their cause celebre of the year. If you want to read an excellent book about Millenials and how much better than they are than all previous generations read Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World (amazon link), well worth reading. My parents complained about me watching too much TV, and yes, I lived with them when I went to University too (for full disclosure).

I was sad to see that the Welsh Football (soccer) team lost in the semi-finals of the European tourney to Portugal, but it is an astounding result for the team (not quite as astounding, as Iceland, but still pretty darn good). As I have said, I am the proud son of Welsh and English immigrants, glad to see Wales soccer is improving (Welsh rugby has been severely pounded by New Zealand, unfortunately).

My Writings for Week Ending July 8th

Another week with only 1 article, but hey, it was a long weekend and it is the summer, I could be like the Blunt Bean Counter and leave up a Gone Golfing notice. More than one person has asked me about whether I might be downsizing, as 3/4 of my kids are old enough to move out, but I am not thinking of it (for the next little while). My opinion is that Down Sizing: Another Money Maker for Real Estate Agents, remember it used to be you bought a starter house, and then the one you were going to live in for the rest of your life, now they have added one more major Real Estate transaction, Downsizing! It’s like McDonald’s creating a new meal Brinner (about 3 PM when you are hungry for a snack, have a Big Mac!).

Inflation?

Bank of Canada has some theories on the next 2 years on the topic of inflation.

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Happy Canada Day, the land that everyone seems to want to emigrate to? When I hear someone say, “We are too highly taxed, I am going to Canada!”, I get a little worried (especially when that person is from the U.S.). Canada is the best place to live, unless you hate snow, black flies, higher taxes and gun control, then maybe it is not the place for you!

I am the son of immigrants, and I proudly remember my British and Welsh heritage on this day, but celebrate being a Canadian!

The Eternal Flame in Ottawa (not the Olympic flame)

The Eternal Flame in Ottawa

Seeing as it is Mid-Year, let us look at the year so far and the articles that you found the most interesting. As usual most of the most popular articles so far this year were written in previous years (I seem to get a lot of returning readers for some things), but let us just look at the newer stuff from this year

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  1. Tax Reflections for 2016 was the most popular new article so far, which is surprising, since it is a simple list of the things I noticed different in this tax year.
  2. I Just Don’t Like Saving was a commentary I heard from a co-worker that caused me to do a spit-take (i.e. I spat out my coffee), why not just say I don’t like living long?
  3. TFSA Transfer Fees outlined yet another slimey new fee from TD Mutual funds for transferring your TD Mutual Fund TFSA to another bank or investment firm.
  4. Tax Tips for Prize Winners was a guest post that sprung out of a mistaken comment I made about buying lottery tickets with points.
  5. Advice from a Rich Man shows my general mistrust of most financial advice, as I believe anyone who gives away advice, is simply trying to make money or get you to do something better for them.

You are thinking this is just a cheap rehash to try to get readers to look at old articles? I include Preet’s (who has found his razor, I am glad to say) latest for the folks at Tangerine, about Lines of Credit


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Brexit, Fete National, Enhanced CPP and #MoneyTalk

The UK has voted to leave the EU (Brexit) , which can only mean one thing, but I have no idea what that is. Brexit will mean a great deal of consternation and hang wringing on the markets and the talking heads on TV will go mad, but what will it change? I don’t know, but Brexit will change something (Brexit has caused Mr. Cameron to tender his resignation). I am old enough to remember the UK fighting to join the EEC, so needless to say, I am confused. I won’t be commenting on this much, other than from the son of British immigrants point of view.

For those of you who did not grow up in Quebec, today is La Fête Nationale or St. Jean Baptiste day, typically the start of the summer in Quebec. For me it was always the end of school, but that was 40 years ago. The rest of Canada waits for July 1st for the summer to really start (next Friday). Sort of ironic that on St. Jean Baptiste day the UK “separates” from the EU, just shows how unpredictable referendums can be.

Quebec Proud

Gens Du Pays, c’est à ton tour…

It seems the Canada Pension Plan is being revised to help Canadians retire. It seems to be to protect younger folks so more money is saved for their retirement, we will all pay higher premiums (phased in over the next little while), and the maximum payout will increase over time (but if you are already retired, you won’t benefit from this). I am still investigating, whether this will change much for someone like me who might retire within the next 5 to 8 years. I am searching for an actual Government document that explains the changes, nothing seems to exist yet. Is this a good thing? As usual, I will reserve commentary until I read an official document.

How will all of this change my retirement plans? I will comment when I can figure out how this new system works with my pension, but I suspect, at the end of it all, it won’t change my retirement plans much, but, I (55 year old) am not the demographic that these changes were put in place to help.

Will the Rio Olympics end up like the 1980 Moscow Games and the 1984 Los Angeles Games? There are many folks saying they will not be attending (or are being told they can’t attend), for many reasons. Is the Olympic movement still relevant? Yes, I think, however, the Olympic organization seems suspect.

The Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Championship, how much money does that mean to the City of Cleveland? It will certainly mean less jokes about Cleveland, well, maybe not. Is Lebron James better than Michael Jordan? Not in my opinion, and the Warriors team from this year is not better than the 95-96 Chicago Bulls, but, only my opinion.

My Writings for Week Ending June 24th

Another slack week for me, only writing one article, but to me, an important article, that needed to be written. RDSP the Savings Plan Nobody Knows About, came from a discussion I had with another parent about the Registered Disability Savings Plan, and how the people who seem to know the most about the program, are those who are trying to use it (not the folks who offer it, like the banks).

A Money Thought

People get very offended when you tell them how to raise their child, unless you wrote a book about it. Then they’ll pay you for it.  -ShowerThoughts Reddit

The same is true for Personal Finance.

If you had all the money in the world, you wouldn’t be able to spend it, as no one else would use currency.  -More Shower Thoughts on Reddit

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