Merry New Year, CPP, EI and #MoneyTalk

The year 2017 has begun and hopefully it is a Merry New Year for all of us, given how poorly 2016 seemed to go for some of us.

They’re back!!!

In case you might have forgotten, CPP and EI restart for those of us who are not CEO’s or get paid over $400K. Those folks still have to pay those, but they only pay it on their first pay cheque.

Curious about how much you will be paying this year? Here’s your sign:

  • CPP for regular employees (maximum): $2,564.10
  • CPP for self-employed (max): $5,128.20
  • EI maximum for non-Quebec folks: $836.19
  • EI max for Quebecers : $651.51

Remember that if you tell your co-workers, “Hey I no longer pay CPP”, they can figure out your yearly income.

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My Writings for Week Ending January 6th

I started this merry new year throwing out a little click-bait, stating that I Hate Sean Cooper, which of course is not the case, in fact I admire his ability to pay off his house debt so quickly. It all started listening to a piece on CBC Radio about Sean, and how the Internet trolls were skewering him. I read through the CBC web piece on him, and sure enough there were just asinine comments that made me laugh, and the article wrote itself. Sean has a book coming out soon, that I hope to have a review done for soon.

Car Loans Lasting How Long?

When car loans start lasting 12 years, I have to start wondering when Car Loan Insurance (similar to mortgage insurance) is going to start being offered by banks? I keep cars 12 years, but I don’t want to pay for them for that long (and spreading a Corolla’s loan for that long, would take a lot of work).

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Go Away 2016, Deep Thoughts, End of Year and #MoneyTalk

In terms of news, and music 2016 has been a real clanging pain in the arse, and because of that most folks will be glad to see this year over, but my only question for you is, “If so many famous folks died in 2016, do you think maybe they got wind of what 2017 is going to be like and figured they would check out now?”. That is a BCM deep thoughts for 2016 (but yes, I will be glad to see this year over with as well).

Have you done any of the things you should be doing for the end of year?

  • Top up your Charitable donations ? Those are counted on the calendar year, you have today to try to get it done (or go to Church on Sunday and they might count it as this year too).
  • TFSA juggling, if you were planning on taking money out of your TFSA, you should have done it by now, that way you can easily have the deposit space for next year, and you can start paying it back.
  • It is never too early to put money into your RRSP (if you have room, and don’t have a lot of debts).
  • Make sure you have paid all of your bills for 2016 as well (quarterly CRA, property tax, etc.,).
  • Evidently January 2nd is known as Divorce Day, so maybe you should start that early ?

You could always create a financial plan for 2016 as well (never a bad idea either).

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My Writings for Week Ending December 30th

I did manage to get a thematic post out this week, discussing the important celebration of Festivus, with Festivus Financial Airing of Grievances, and I have a lot to complain about this year, that is for sure! Next the feats of strength, get ready to rumble, baby!
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Merry Christmas, Highspeed Internet a right, Inflation at 1.2 and #MoneyTalk

Christmas is finally here (on Sunday) and I hope it will be an enjoyable, festive season for you, your family and friends. Christmas is a special time in our household, and I am hoping this year will be no different. Remember to give to charity this time of year as well, especially if you are feeling especially fortunate, help them have a Merry Christmas. Charity should be part of your financial planning (if you are thinking of starting your 2017 plans, add that in).

The CRTC announced on Thursday that High Speed Internet access is a right for all Canadians. The line I like the most in the report was:

High quality and reliable digital connectivity is essential for the quality of life of Canadians and Canada’s economic prosperity.

– Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman and CEO, CRTC

Will this somehow cause the big Internet Service providers in Canada make sure there are affordable (yet high quality) solutions available to all Canadians? My skepticism meter is reading high that things will change without a legislated solution in place (but we saw how well the whole $25 cable TV solution did). It would be a Merry Christmas if everyone could have access to basic internet, which is defined as:

  • speeds of 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download/10 Mbps upload for fixed broadband Internet access services.
  • an unlimited data option for fixed broadband access services.
  • the latest mobile wireless technology available not only in homes and businesses, but also along major Canadian roads.
Inflation by Category November 2016

Inflation By Category (November 2016)

Stats Canada published the November Consumer Price Index numbers and year over year inflation is running at a lowly 1.2%, but is it really? After a cursory look, it seems that it might be good this month with Food being a category where prices actually dropped.

As we have learned, there is a much more detailed report for the CPI, which answers a few more questions for us and gives us some tangible highlights:

Main contributors to the 12-month change in the CPI:

Main upward contributors:

  1. Purchase of passenger vehicles (+3.0%)
  2. Homeowners’ replacement cost (+4.4%)
  3. Food purchased from restaurants (+2.5%)
  4. Electricity (+3.5%)
  5. Homeowners’ home and mortgage insurance (+4.4%)

Main downward contributors:

  1. Gasoline (-1.7%)
  2. Fresh vegetables (-4.7%)
  3. Meat (-2.0%)
  4. Fresh fruit (-4.5%)
  5. Travel tours (-4.2%)

The fact that Gas is down in price is not nearly as interesting as how Fresh Veggies, Fruit and Meat are down in price. This is actual good news (for now), however remember the prices on those food stuffs have been going up big time over the whole summer. On the downside of things, Electricity prices continue to rise, not a good thing to see going into this Winter.

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My Writings for Week Ending December 23rd

As most of my regular readers know, I am not a very big fan of New Years Resolutions, but having a plan for 2017 (financially) is a prudent thing to do, so thus I give you Smart Financial Goals for 2017. However you want to motivate yourself to plan for the New Year is your business, but get a plan down, and start using it.

I found 8 Holiday Ideas to Save Money in my archive of unfinished stories, so I dusted it off and published it for a small Ho Ho Ho for this Christmas season. It is a sarcastic commentary, but would you expect anything less from me ?

A Warm Coat for the Winter

But do you really need this coat, for that price? I doubt it, and yes Kerry wrote about this two years ago (I note other folks are only talking about it now):

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Interest Rate Hikes, TFSA Limits and #Moneytalk

So the Fed in the U.S. have hiked their key rate from 0.5 % to 0.75 % for the first time in a year, and only the second time this decade? (I hadn’t realized how stable we have been). That hike is a 50% actual jump (if you want to sound alarmist), but what does it mean for Canada? I don’t really know. It does not look like Canada will follow suit, and when Mr. Trump becomes Emperor Trump, things may change again, but no one is really sure just yet. The one thing I know is that millions of words analyzing this change are out there for you to read, about the interest rate hikes.

Interest rate hikes

Interest Rate Hikes Down South, but what does it mean?

The most intriguing part of the announcement is that there are 3 planned rate increases for 2017? This is in reaction to an inflationary trend being seen in the states. Canada may not react with an interest rate hike right away, but a reaction seems likely (unless gas jumps to $120 a barrel in which case the Canadian economy will be back in boom mode).

What should you do about this? Lower your debt, now, before it become more expensive to hold, thanks to these interest rate hikes.

The TFSA limit for 2017 is going back to being $5500 (you should know this for your end of year and start of 2017 financial planning). Doesn’t look like the limit is going to go up in 2018 either, which sucks. Don’t be financially stupid, still take advantage of the TFSA program (even if the rates suck).

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My Writings for Week Ending December 16th

With the holidays next week, and getting together with family and friends, I wanted to help out with those interactions with my simple idea, Christmas Advice: How to Deal with Uncle Frank the Financial Expert. Every family has the one relative who is a know-it-all and wants to tell you what you are doing wrong.

A Money Thought

The CRA likes to think they can help out with your end of year account close outs, and remember to give this holiday season.

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Xmas It Gift, Loose Money and #MoneyTalk


Hatchimal and Me

Every Christmas there is a must have gift that parents have to get, or risk being dubbed lame, and this year we have an interesting Canadian Xmas It Gift, that is the Hatchimal. Don’t worry about trying to buy it, you can’t find it anywhere. When my daughters were at the magic age we had Tickle Me Elmo, the Teletubbies and countless other important purchases (that have been donated somewhere). Are these toys that important? When I was a kid, I remember making my Dad run around Montreal looking for Dungeons & Dragons manuals, and it was important to me (at the time), so maybe they are important?

Big C8j Xmas Gift hint Remember that if you are planning on being lazy and giving gift cards, you can buy iTunes cards on sale all the time at Costco (usually you can buy $100 worth of cards for $94), perfect for that friend dealing with an emergency CRA audit? Truly an Xmas it gift (for those being fleeced).

The Bank of Canada kept their key overnight rate at 0.5% for 2016. Their overall view is interesting, and not clear:

In Canada, the dynamics of growth are largely as the Bank anticipated. Following a very weak first half of 2016, growth in the third quarter rebounded strongly, but more moderate growth is anticipated in the fourth quarter. Consumption growth was robust in the third quarter, supported by the new Canada Child Benefit, while the effects of federal infrastructure spending are not yet evident in the GDP data. Meanwhile, business investment and non-energy goods exports continue to disappoint. There have been ongoing gains in employment, but a significant amount of economic slack remains in Canada, in contrast to the United States. While household imbalances continue to rise, these will be mitigated over time by announced changes to housing finance rules.

So they won’t do anything, for now. I suspect if the Americans start running up their rates, Canada will have to react in some fashion, or risk having a 50 cent dollar.

Viola Desmond will be the new face of the $10 bill in Canada, an excellent choice.

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My Writings for Week Ending December 9th

I have been mucking around with trying to get Quicken running on my Mac in some fashion, and found a great article about it, but found that at the end of it, it was simply easier keeping an old PC laptop to run things, but I outline what I did in, Mac Quicken (in Canada) ?

The Xmas It Gift

In case you wondered what this miraculous toy might look like, here it is!

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