Financial Anarchy Day?

Hollywood’s latest retread of the idea of one day where everybody goes completely nuts and no laws apply is a happy little movie called The Purge: Anarchy (it’s been done a few times, by the Twilight Zone, Star Trek and other similar genre of movies), but when I saw that if I put on my Financial (rose-coloured) Glasses, I realize that we have many such days every year.

Financial Spending Time!!!

Financial Anarchy Let’s Buy it All!!!

What could I possibly mean? There are days every year where all financial rules seem to go the hell out of the window. What days could I possibly mean?

  • Black Friday (the one that is the Friday after American Thanksgiving)
  • Cyber Monday because Black Friday isn’t enough for this pre-Christmas orgy of spending
  • Christmas Sales (also known as December)
  • Boxing Day (the day after Christmas)
  • End of Year, I have extra money, better spend it (December 31st)
  • St. Swithin’s Day
  • Back to School (also known as the summer)

Yes the last few are  just me being my normal sarcastic self, but if stores, banks and credit card companies had their way, we’d have Financial Anarchy every day of the year.

What is needed in the Financial World are more days where the Financial Rules are followed. How about a Thrifty Tuesday every week? A fun Financial Friday, where we make sure all our bills are paid? Maybe make January 2nd and July 2nd Financial Planning Days?

 

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Comic-Con International and Financial Super Heroes

This weekend the biggest nerd fest this side of the Cern Super Collider takes place when Comic-Con International 2014 happens. I am a big enough nerd to know that this is only for poser nerds, but let’s delve into the world of comics and see what we might learn from various comic book characters.

Bruce Wayne, “The Bat Man™”, has taught us the importance of saving and getting filthy stinking rich, so that you can then avenge your parents death and any other crimes you wish to avenge in your spare time. It’s important to save, however, Mr. Wayne got his money from his parents’ trust funds, so maybe it is more a story of risk protecting your family so that your kids can then avenge your death?

Brit Reed, “Mr. Fantastic™” is actually the ultimate geek, in that he becomes super rich by his inventions and breakthroughs. Work hard and you might end up being able to stretch yourself around corners and such, and maybe imitate a Credit Card in a pinch?

Peter Parker, “Spiderman™”, has shown that sometimes dumb luck is the best way to get ahead. Wander around a lab and get bit by a radio-active spider (depending on the storyline you are following (there are like 6 different Spiderman universes)) and then never quite figure out how to make big money with your new-found talents and capabilities. Can anyone make a living as a photographer for a newspaper any more?

Matt Murdock “Daredevil™”, this is one of my favorite characters (read that story when I was in University), forget about the movie, the story line is again that of revenge, and shows that disabled folks can still become Crime-Fighting and Avenging forces in society. Another story where poor disabled kid, makes good, becomes a lawyer by day, and a Devil suit wearing crime fighting nut bag at night. Work hard kids, this is something you can aspire to.

All of those characters are Trademarked by either Marvel or DC Comics (FYI).

Come to think of it the world of Financial Writing has a few Superheroes of our own.

Super Hero

Financial Super Heroes to the Rescue

The Money Media Maven, who you see on every single media outlet simultaneously some days. By day, a normal guy, who has a job, I think, but he writes books, but by night you find him on the National, most local Toronto Radio shows and driving race cars.

The Voice of Money, another author who has a radio show in Toronto, and speaks the truth in common plane English. Rumor has it that when the microphones are off she has a more edgy side (which is hard to believe given how many Princesses she has told off over the years) . Her TV shows are in infinite loop on the “W” channel and various other media outlets.

Judge Financial, by day he is a normal High Tech Engineer, making sure your toaster is running the correct operating system, but by night he is a myth busting super hero. He makes sure that we all understand all the Rules involved in the financial world (and everywhere else in the world), and helps unsuspecting rule breakers get back on the straight and narrow (or ridicules their efforts to claim they are following the rules).

Mrs. Financial Transmographier, she is a mild-mannered Mom by day, but at night she writes about the importance of making things last, and how you really don’t need an $800 goose down coat, but you should buy a $3 HD antenna! She does have her saucy moments posting odd lingerie induced citrus photos on Twitter as well. Give this Superhero anything and she’ll tell you whether you should have bought it, and how (with a little work) you might be able to turn it into a thrifty Casserole.

Can you guess whom I might be writing about here? Leave a comment with your guesses, I will unmask these Financial Do-Gooders secret identities tomorrow.

Image courtesy of  Jeroen van Oostrom/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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Don’t Wear a Financial Red Shirt

In Star Trek (the original series) a useful heuristic for characters was that anyone wearing a Red Shirt, was most likely to die that episode.

All great ideas started (and start) with Star Trek the original series (the newer series haven’t had time to look visionary yet), are there any Financial Red Shirt ideas out there? There are a few since the Red Shirt’ed crew men were usually sent out to look at new or unknown things, so some Financial Red Shirts might be:

  • New Robo-Investor funds, with exciting new heuristics and algorithms that will Beat the Market (really  this time it’s for sure).
  • Investing in exciting new technologies like Electric Car companies (heck even Tesla’s founder Elon Musk was sure he was going to lose all his investment when he started out).
  • Going to Vegas (or even Montreal) to win some money at the Casino using a great Can’t Lose system. The Casinos would like it if you wore a Red Shirt then, so you could be easily identified.
  • Take a bunch of cash advances on all of your credit cards to buy a condo in Toronto (or Vancouver) so you can flip it for a huge profit.

Remember the only Star Trek cast member who lived wearing a Red Shirt was Scotty.

Kind of a Mail It In Monday before a Tuesday holiday.

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Dad What Do You Want For Father’s Day ?

My Dad passed away a few years ago, and he was never really “on board” with the whole idea of folks fussing about him on a specific day. He did make my brothers and I do something about Father’s Day but only because he knew my Mother would have been upset (his favorite expression was always, “Don’t upset your mother”), and that is really what your Father wants, is for your Mother to be happy (don’t think I am breaking any masonic code with that truth).

If I was your Father what would I want from you? I think it’s pretty darn simple, it’s a short list of simple things you can do that will make your Dad and me happy:

  • Who the heck is that?

    I am still astounded that I am a Father

    Be better than us. Your Dad may be a hero to you, but your goal in life is to be better than him, that way Dads (as a species) keep getting better. You want to show your Father something, be better than him and that will make him happy (we are complicated beings, we Fathers).

  • Be happy. For God’s sake that is what your parents in general want, but Dads in specific. All Fathers want their family to be happy, because when they aren’t happy, we have to talk about things and discuss things (which detracts from our ability to snooze, watch sports and do things we want to do). Your Dad wants you to be happy.
  • Don’t eat the big piece of chicken. OK I stole that one from Chris Rock, but it’s true, if you are in your Father’s house, show some respect, let him have the big piece of chicken, and maybe thank him for what he has done for you (but don’t get all emotional or loud about it, your Dad is OK with, “Thanks Dad“, not some frigging singing card). Conversely your Father should show you respect in your house as well (yes respect is a two-way street).

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Your Father wants to know that whatever he taught you (by act, deed or statement), has prepared (or is preparing) you for life, because we don’t want you moving back in with us. Your parents do their best to help you out, but eventually they should be allowed to live their lives too (in most cases, but we will protect our kids who need protection, as well).

Bring your Dad a beer, say “Thanks Dad“, and make sure your Mother is happy and your Dad will be happy. Oh and for the  young ladies out there, tell your boyfriends/husbands to shut up during the football games, your Dad doesn’t really want to hear their opinions either (he just wants to watch the damn game).

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Schrödinger’s Financial Cat

Schrödinger’s Financial Cat

I enjoy discussions of Schrödinger’s cat  because it can spawn off some very interesting ideas, so what if we think of his cat in a financial model?

SchrodingersCat

The interpretation of his original thought experiment ( from Wikipedia (about the Copenhagen interpretation)):

Schrödinger’s cat: a cat, a flask of poison, and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor detects radioactivity (i.e. a single atom decaying), the flask is shattered, releasing the poison that kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead.

What does this have to do with Personal Finances? Suppose we weren’t actually talking about a cat, but your level of debt instead, and yes I know people who think the following:

If I simply spend my money, without checking the status of my savings, investments, debts or anything financial, I am then in a calm state because I am both rich and poor, I am in a state of financial equilibrium.

On the surface this is not that far off base because, “According to Schrödinger, the Copenhagen interpretation implies that the cat remains both alive and dead (to the universe outside the box) until the box is opened….” , thus this idea of being both Rich and Poor is like the cat being both Dead and Alive.

Schrödinger’s idea that if you didn’t see things, the answer is not known thus both answers can be true is an interesting thought experiment, but not really applicable to your financial life. Allow me to make the same comment I have made when this way of dealing with your finances was proposed to me, “You may be in a state of equilibrium, but you are also insane!“.

If you don’t plan on keeping close tabs on your financial state, you are going to end up in a bad financial place, that will take a long time to clean up, and it will happen whether you open your financial box or keep it closed (and assume that you are OK because you don’t know).

 

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