The Canadian Dollar (aka the Loonie) seems to be making a bit of a comeback from being below 70 cents U.S., however, it is not due to anything good in Canada as much as it is the U.S. economy being in the doldrums instead. It has pushed the Loonie to above 73 cents, which means for those folks heading south, your vacation might be a little bit cheaper. Gas continues to be almost 70 cents a litre in Ottawa (by late evening, not that there is any price-fixing going on), so if you are driving south, might be cheap too.

RBS 6 Nations Trophy

RBS 6 Nations Championship Trophy

Yes, RRSP season has started, however there does not seem to be the normal push from the banks, maybe the TFSA has finally taking some of the wind out of the RRSP sails? Maybe as the month passes we will get more hype going on.

If it is RRSP season, that must mean it is also Tax Time too. This year my last pay stub was actually quite close to my T-4 so my tax planning last month was actually quite close. Already have my copy of Quicktax, but it keeps telling me not to submit yet, they haven’t got everything ready for E-filing just yet? Interesting.

This weekend there is a sporting spectacle known world-wide for great drama and excitement. I am speaking (of course) of the 6 Nations Rugby Tournament, that starts on Saturday morning. There is some other game that has something to do with Owls and such, in San Francisco on Sunday night as well, that evidently (if you are attending) you will be surveilled (very closely). Yes, I believe Mrs. C8j will simply be swapping out the newspaper around my chair, as I do not think I will be moving all weekend (except to possibly stir the chili ).

My Writings for Week Ending February 5th

With all of us old folk talking about retirement, is there any concern about the collective knowledge of an entire generation walking out the door? In my case, think of all the Fortran, Pascal and C programming info my employer might be losing? Maybe that is why they keep asking when I am leaving?

Financial Knowledge Draining Away

One of the main things I learned from the original Karate Kid was the importance of balance, and if you are tired of RRSP Season (the way I am) then maybe just view it as RRSP Rebalancing Season

RRSP Rebalance Season

A Topical Tweet

A poke by Dilbert (and Scott Adams) at all my stock picking friends out there.

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If you were feeling optimistic about life and such, remember the Doomsday Clock is still set at 3 minutes to Midnight (where Midnight is the Big Casino for humanity). The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists site many things that are going on in the world that should have us worried, but surprisingly the sales of bomb shelters has not increased (unless you count some of the Condos in Toronto?). Sounds like the explosion of the Housing Bubble is not the only Big Bang we should worry about?

Cannabis

Cannabis a Cash Crop ?
Cannabis leaf” by Oren neu dag

Evidently RBC has some explaining to do as they seem to have sent out incorrect RRSP receipts to the wrong customers, which is an interesting double negative. Not only was the information incorrect on the receipt, it was sent to the wrong person with information from other folks (Social Insurance Numbers and the like)? That is what I call getting it as wrong as possible, but, I am confident there are worse examples.

Will legalized marijuana sales become a cash crop for our government? A lot of folks think so, but I am skeptical. The amount of money folks seem to think legalized pot will create are optimistic, but I will be pleasantly buzzed if the prognostications are correct. Pass the Doritos please.

My Writings for Week Ending January 29th

Winterlude has come to Ottawa, so of course everything has started melting (keeping with the Ottawa tradition). We should just rename Winter, Winterlude and we could save a fortune on snow removal.

Marijuana may not be a huge cash crop, but Cauliflower sure seems to be a wallet buster these days in terms of prices, as we saw in Food Prices up 4.1% for 2015

Food Prices up 4.1% For 2015 in Canada

Was I really making up this whole Bimodal Financial Planning thing? Kind of, I was mostly stealing a concept that is being espoused by the Gartner group for Information Technology groups, but I feel it might catch on in the financial world was well.

Bimodal Financial Planning

A Topical Tweet

Are you following this version of Stats Canada? You should:

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The Bank of Canada on Wednesday held the line, in terms of their key overnight interest rate, and neither raised nor lowered it. Lowering the rate would have causes the Loonie to drop more but add more stimulation to the economy. Raising the overnight rate would protect the Loonie and cause Real Estate folks from coast to coast to lose their bloody minds. Doing nothing implies, the Bank thinks there is no need for more stimulation, nor protection of the Loonie? (seems to imply that).

In their own words:

All things considered, therefore, the risks to the profile for inflation are roughly balanced. Meanwhile, financial vulnerabilities continue to edge higher, as expected. The Bank’s Governing Council judges that the current stance of monetary policy is appropriate, and the target for the overnight rate remains at 1/2 per cent.

For now we are OK? Maybe.

Debt Subliminal

Canadians are Working Around Debt

Another distressing statement from the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) about Household Indebtedness and Financial Vulnerability, and we are more in debt than most G7 nations, which upsets the PBO (and the financial media in general).

In there words:

Based on PBO’s November 2015 Economic and Fiscal Outlook, we project that household debt will continue to rise, reaching 174 per cent of disposable income in late 2016, before returning close to current levels by the end of 2020….Household debt-servicing capacity will become stretched further as interest rates rise to “normal” levels over the next five years. By the end of 2020, the total household DSR, that is principal plus interest, is projected to increase from 14.1 per cent of disposable income in the third quarter of 2015 to 15.9 per cent.

So the world of family debt is going to get worse before it gets better, and it better get better soon because interest rates are going to rise one day.

Finally, the Loonie is below 70 cents US and showing no strength either. Could this mean spirally prices for imported stuff? We already have the great Cauliflower Calamity of 2016 (where it costs anywhere from $5 to $8 a head). Inflation will most likely be low for a little while in reaction to very low gas prices, but the weak loonie, may spark higher inflation, thus higher interest rates might be sooner than we think.

If I was a musician over the age of 60 I’d be worried, 2016 looks like a bad year for the Stock Market, and Musicians.

My Writings for Week Ending January 22nd

Winter may be here, but there is no canal skating going on yet in Ottawa, maybe soon:

I was a dirty skunk with my post Optimize Your Budget for Any Debt Level, where I tricked unsuspecting readers into reading my sure-fire way to optimize their budgets (yes I am going to hell for that one):

Optimize Your Budget for Any Debt Level

I hear that 55 is the new 40? I am not buying into that, because I could still run at 40, but I do write about my advancing age in Now I’m Fifty Five, nothing too exciting yet, but very close to retirement.

Now I’m Fifty Five

Remember Tax Season is Here

Thanks for reminding us Mr. Mercer

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Cheap Oil, Cheap Dollar, Dead Folk, and #MoneyStories

Could we see oil back below $20 a barrel this year? That is the claim of a few of the experts, which could make for some very interesting economic impacts. One of the major impacts is the Canadian dollar now being below 70 cents US in value (remember 2 years ago when the dollar was worth more than the US Dollar?).

Oil Rig in the sun

Sun is setting on the Oil Business ?

Alan Rickman and David Bowie passed away this week, so not a very good week for celebrities. David Bowie’s music was the anthem of my teenage years, whereas Mr. Rickman’s acting made me wonder whether it would be worse to be tortured with a spoon? Rest in Peace, should be an interesting band wherever they are with Lemme Kilmister too.

In other news I have reached another magical milestone, in that I have turned 55, so I can get a 20% discount at Shoppers Drug Mart (on Thursdays). I will be exploring what other great advantages becoming a somewhat senior citizen might buy me. For those that follow me on Facebook, sorry for the flim-flammery, but Facebook’s dates are purposely wrong. You should really never publish your exact birth date for many reasons, but security is a really good reason too (I am also 66 years old on Facebook too, remember you can’t believe everything you read on-line).

A good bit of humor from my carpool mate,
“What do you call folks moving east from Alberta to find jobs ?” — Newfoundlanders

My Writings for Week Ending January 15th

Winter is here, and it is time to pay for Christmas:

The job picture is no better but no worse to end the year, but it is actually better for old farts like me, and not so good for my children.

Steady Job News to End 2015

Mrs. C8j is trying out the new on line order and then go pick up yourself systems being offered by a few of the grocery stores, she seems quite happy with it so far, but is it also a good budgetary tool ?

On-Line Grocery Systems as a Budgetary Tool

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Merry New Year! The year 2016 has started with a really crappy stock market, the Canadian Dollar and oil prices plummeting and North Korea might have a Hydrogen Bomb, so sounds like it could be a lot of fun! Of course I am an Indexer so I really don’t care about most of that, except for that Hydrogen Bomb thingy. Happy New Year to us All??

Lottery Losses

The way a lot of investors feel right now
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The New Year brings many opportunities to try to change or make things better. I have resolved to lose that extra weight I have packed on due to laziness on my part (sloth, gluttony and greed, can’t go wrong when you are working with the 7 deadly sins). As I have said, Debt Makes Me Sick but it is very easy to fall into bad habits as I have learned, and just because you may have achieved your goals, doesn’t mean you can abandon the methodologies that got you there.

The reason why the TFSA is not being used effectively? The name scares people, seriously, that is what the media is now spouting as great financial advice. If it was called Anal Probe it would still be an effective savings vehicle, get over it Canadians. A rose by any other name might smell as sweet.

For football fans like myself or Robb from Boomer & Echo, it will be a great weekend with 4 games this weekend and 4 games next weekend. No doubt there will be a football flavoured article coming out of this weekend as well (Go Vikings!).

My Writings for Week Ending January 8th

It is past Epiphany so you should have your decorations down by now, but remember Valentine’s Day is coming soon too:

Keep some of these great ideas and maybe re-read this on December 27th, 2016, Financial Things to do on Last Day of year.

Finance Things To Do On The Last Day of the Year

Maybe a new way to work for 2016, Financial Rules of 3

Financial Rules of 3 For 2016

TD may start asking for royalties, given how many posts I write about them, but if they stopped Rejecting My Mutual Fund Transactions, I might have less to write about.

Mutual Fund Order Rejected (again)

Yes, more writing about TD on this one as well, more fees, more fun

TFSA Transfer Fees

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