Translation: “What the bloody hell is this??!?”

It's not quite what I had in mind

Someone please buy me this shirt (my size is XL)

For those of you who don’t know Very British Problems, sorry for the rudeness. There is even a series on Netflix to explain things better.

What does this have to do with money? Everything!

How many times have you talked to a financial planner or an investment broker and they hand you their final report, you cannot tell me you did not think:

“What the bloody hell is this?”

yet, you most likely said something much more, socially acceptable like:

“Could you explain to me your reasons behind this?”

or better still, if you really get a dose of backbone,

It’s not quite what I had in mind.

Seriously, this has never happened to you? I had one investment person tell me, “There is this new interesting stock that you should look into, it has been getting some really good press, it’s called BRE-X“. Even I (at the time pretty much as naive as a new born babe when it came to investing) knew this was dodgy. I had another chap try to convince that Enron would be a good place to put my hard earned money.

Never, ever, feel that you cannot be incredibly blunt with folks when it comes to your money. Do not tip-toe around folks’ feelings when your hard-earned income is involved, say what you mean, no need to be rude, but, no need to be overly vague either. You worked hard for your money, stand up for it.

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No Good News Has Been Delivered Using Excel

This is paraphrasing something from John Oliver, on his HBO show. Excel is Microsoft’s spreadsheet/swiss army knife tool (i.e. you can do anything with it), but I agree with Mr. Oliver, I have never seen someone give good news using an Excel Spreadsheet.

These are the WORST PIN you can Have!

A great example of Excel Bad News, a list of bad PINs!

During my career I have seen the following information sent to me in Excel format:

  • Ranking of employees,  used to figure out who gets laid off
  • How much over-budget project is.

In defense of Excel, it is a magnificent tool in terms of accounting and complex arithmetic and such, and usually any good news that might come from an Excel S/S usually ends up being encapsulated into a Powerpoint presentation. If I receive only the data in an Excel S/S it is saying,

“… this is bad news, we don’t feel like “flowering it up” by putting it into a Word Document or a Powerpoint Presentation…”

I have seen this when folks discuss their finances, as soon as an Excel Spreadsheet is opened the level of tension goes up. Rarely does anyone bring up an Excel Spreadsheet up, with your budget on it, to show “… how well you are doing…”, it is to show where (precisely) you are failing.

Can you send good news in an Excel Spreadsheet?

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Michael James, inspired me to write another rant/commentary on the financial industry. He wrote about Mouths to Feed in the Financial Industry and it reminded me of a very funny monologue by Chris Rock: Bigger and Blacker (Amazon Link) about how Fathers don’t ask for much in life.

What does daddy get for his hard work? The big piece of chicken at dinner! My mamma would kill us if one of us ate the big piece of chicken by accident!

Daddy's piece of chicken

That is a BIG piece of Chicken

What does this have to do with the Financial System? Everybody in the financial system thinks they are Daddy, they all want the big piece of chicken.

  • Mutual Fund managers want you to pay the front-end, back-end and high MER fees because they are doing that much work to invest for you. That is a whole chicken, not just part of it.
  • Banks think they are the Daddy, just for taking care of your money. There are banks in Europe giving negative interest on your money (the money shrinks if you leave it in the bank).
  • Any Cell Phone Company (in Canada) is your Daddy, how much do you think their service really costs, but they are making sure you get quality service.
  • Internet Service Providers are plumbing, but they want a big piece of Chicken for the way they count your packets (and charge you if you use too many)

Let Daddy have that big financial piece of chicken? No way! They get enough, without taking the big piece of chicken too!

 Image courtesy of piyato. at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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Is Your Toilet Flushing Hot Water ?

That is a very odd title, but it did happen. My Brother had just moved into a new town-home complex, and there were a few idiosyncrasies that he found in his new place, but he didn’t notice this issue for a little while after moving in. He really only noticed one day when he sat down and noticed the warmth emanating from the commode, and only then realized that his toilet was connected to the hot water system for his house (not a huge issue, but it would waste a little money for a long time).

Pyromania is burning the unburnable!

No, it wasn’t that hot

Are you flushing hot water in your financial home? How many fees are you paying that you are unaware of, or worse, are ignoring? What kind of fees am I commenting about?

  • Bank fees, do you still pay those? There are so many banks that offer zero fee accounts, why are you flushing that hot water (money) down the toilet?
  • Entry fees, exit fees and high MER Mutual funds? Seriously, how many times do we (pretty much everyone writing about investing) have to write about this topic? Evidently, we have not hit the maximum count yet. They are called Index Funds, look it up.
  • What are you paying in Insurance rates? Are you shopping around? Remember that insurance is only for ” … in case stuff happens …” (to paraphrase Chris Rock).  If you are overpaying for insurance your money is flushing away.

Am I missing any other Financial Toilets that flush hot water ?

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Money Motivations

I read on-line a great motivational phrase:

“You will never have more time to achieve your goals than you have right now.”

This phrase is so true, for money, and unfortunately as you read this article, you now have less time than when you first started reading this article. Most motivational phrases like this (for me) are double-edged swords.

A better catchphrase to go with, on your financial journey, is the following:

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time, is right now.”

Which is more of a variation on my commentary about Golf (the best way to improve your golf game is go back 20 years and start golfing then)

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