Financial First Date Questions

Given my amazing relationship skills (yes, like my investing, blind luck can be passed off as a skill), I figured I’d help out some folks with a set of useful questions that you can ask on your first date to find out if that person is compatible with you (or not), and has no Financial Skeletons in the Closet. I actually stole the concept from Reddit, but I have put a very financial spin on things, and please add your own questions in the comments, if I miss any good ones.

Rubik's Cube

Some Say Relationships are like a Rubik’s Cube

  1. How many credit cards do you have in your wallet? How many total?
    Note, if the answer is more than 4, run, don’t walk to the exit door
  2. Have you declared bankruptcy in the past 10 years ?
    This might even be a pre-first date question.
  3. How much did that purse cost? -or- How much did that watch cost ?
    If the purse cost more than your monthly rent, you are out with someone who likes the finer things in life (and that is not a compliment).
  4. Do you smoke?
    Any answer other than “no” means higher insurance rates later in life.
  5. Active, Passive or Dividend Investing?
    If the answer is, “I beg  your pardon?”, steeee-rike three!!! Can a dividend investor live happily with an active investor?
  6. Would you rather owe 100 people $10 or 1 person $1000 ?
    Again, there is no correct answer, the correct answer is, “Why would I owe people money?”
  7. When you need cash, do you use a “white” or no-name ATM?
    There is no way you should stay with someone who thinks $3 a withdrawal is OK.
  8. TFSA or RRSP ?
    Again, the answer “What?!?” is an automatic FAIL! However, if they answer TSFA, be on your guard.
  9. How much debt are you currently carrying, and what is your plan to pay it off (if you have debt)?
    If the answer is, “I have no debt”, he or she is a keeper! However, if they say they are carrying $120K in student loans, ask what their profession is, if they are a Dentist, Doctor or some other well-paying professional, then you might be OK, but be wary.

Who said romance is dead? Best to ask these questions so you don’t end up in a Loveless, Sexless Marriage.

Symantec CA

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Best Excuses for NOT Doing Taxes on Time

For all of those who have not finished their taxes (in Canada) yet (April 30th deadline looms large), I would like to give you some of the excellent (what is the font for sarcasm) excuses that I have heard over the past years from friends and co-workers. (maybe you should read Myths About Your Taxes before you read this great list, just to make sure you are sure you don’t want to do your taxes):

Bad Dog eats taxes

Really, that is your excuse?
Photo courtesy Forbes

  • I don’t owe money, so I just couldn’t be bothered.
    Question: How do you know that you don’t owe any tax if you haven’t done your return?
  • My taxes are simple, so I am sure I don’t owe any money, so why bother ?
    Question: What if they owe you money? Don’t care? Want to send money to the “Send Big Cajun Man on Vacation fund”, if money means so little to you?
  • If I owe money, the CRA will tell me, soon enough
    Statement: WTF? Yes, and the CRA will also impose their penalties starting May 1st (or earlier) if you owe them money.
  • I might do it wrong, then the CRA will get mad at me
    Comment: The CRA might get mad at you, but my guess is their penalties won’t come into play, if you submitted your forms on time (although they may make you redo it, correctly)
  • I am on a worldwide cruise and can’t submit my taxes until I get back in September
    Comment: CRA’s answer might be, “Maybe you should have thought about this before you went away?”
  • The CRA always extends the deadline, so I don’t have to rush
    Comment: What if they don’t? (see penalties comment previously)
  • The dog ate my tax receipts!
    Comment: Get a new dog?
  • The dog at my computer?
    Comment: Umm…. next?
  • I didn’t submit my taxes last year, and they didn’t bother me, why should I bother this year? (repeat that excuse for 6 years)
    Question: You enjoy loaning money to the Government? You most likely are owed money, but the CRA doesn’t need to tell you that, do they?

Any other great excuses out there about not doing your taxes on time, that I might have missed? I guess with these great excuses you won’t need to Search For a Good Tax Preparer either?

Disclaimer: This article neither condones, nor espouses any of these lame excuses, do your taxes on time!

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How to Find the Right Tax Preparer

As the tax deadline looms on the horizon, I felt folks might need a few helpful hints on how to choose the right tax preparer for you, or maybe more accurately, which tax preparers not to choose (especially if you are in a rush, the wrong decision here could end up being quite costly for you).

Laughing Accountant

An Accountant with a Sense of Humor?
Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If your prospective tax preparer has any of the following problems or character flaws, don’t choose them to prepare your taxes:

  • If they say that they are not very good with numbers, but that doesn’t matter much with taxes, run away from them very quickly
  • Should they mention in passing that it was nice of you to drop by, as they just got out of prison for fraud, you might not want to choose them to prepare your taxes, unless they are a relative. In that case invoke the, “I don’t do business with family”, clause.
  • If they ask you, “Now when is the tax filing deadline this year?”, you might want to rethink hiring them, for your tax preparation needs.
  • If the firm is called H&P Block that might be a dead giveaway they are trying to snare unsuspecting clients, assuming they are getting H&R Block.
  • If their motto is, “Only 1/2 our clients get audit’ed, and we were out of town when that happened“, that shouldn’t give you a lot of confidence in their skills.
  • A laughing accountant always worries me too, but that might just be my own experience going to school with future accountants.
  • If Canadian Tire started offering Tax Preparation services while I waited for my oil change, while convenient, I would avoid that service as well.
  • If they offer you an “Instant Cashback“, doesn’t that make you wonder how much more of a tax rebate they may have found for you? If you need your tax rebate that fast, you may have bigger problems than you think (financially).

Just a few helpful hints on who to avoid as your tax preparer for this year.

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Active Investors Fight Back

At an undisclosed “family eatery” in Ottawa an argument broke out between warring factions of the Financial Blogging world, when Active Investors felt they had been pushed over the edge and fought back against the “… oppressive no fun antics of passive investors…”. What was supposed to be a civil discussion about current events and economic trends dissolved into a “Pier 6 Donny Brook”, when the subject of whether Active Investors could “beat the market” consistently.

One combatant stated, “I have had enough of all this, invest carefully, and grow your wealth safely stuff that is being espoused.  Did Buffett passive invest? Did JP Morgan? Did my Uncle Ralph? NO! they bought individual stocks and they got filthy stinking rich!”.

The staff at the local “watering hole” were taken aback by the antics of these alleged “Money Experts” and their crude commentaries such as:

  • “… active investors calculate their growth using slide rules!”
  • “… passive investors drive below the speed limit on the highway because they are satisfied not using the full speed potential!”
  • “… why would anyone not want to have the exhilaration of buying high and selling low?”
  • “… you need to lose money to make money”
  • “… passive investing is for losers who just can’t make a decision!”

And many other comments that cannot be included as they are far too crude in nature.

April Fools Alert!

Well part of the story is true, the N.C.F.B.A. did have a lovely dinner.

April Fools!

 

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Financial Daylight Savings

Hopefully you have sprung your clocks ahead (if not, you are really late this morning), and with this in mind, I keep wondering the point of DST?  The best commentary I can find on this odd idea is:

“Only the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket.” -Native American Leader

DST

Daylight Savings Time? What a Crock!

That  sum it up nicely.

That idea, moving around things and then claiming you have more, really is a good commentary on today’s debt riddled lifestyles. You borrow money so you can have more things, and you are thus farther ahead?

I am going to make a finite amount of money in my life, however, I will give a lot of it to someone else so I can have some material things sooner, and thus feel like I have more.  – Big Cajun Man Corollary of Debt

Evidently the Monday after Daylight Savings time there are more accidents, so hopefully you drove carefully as well? I decided to take the day off, just to be safe.

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