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?


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).



Questions with the answer, “Get out of Debt”

Let’s make life simple for my return from vacation, and get back to basics, so let’s kind of head towards Jeopardy’s model, and here is the answer that you need to ask a question for:

Get out of Debt


Working Through Debt Problems

How hard could that be, let’s see how many interesting questions that could have that simple response:

  1. My wife feels that while our relationship is good, she wants us to be much closer, what should I do?
    Get out of debt, that way you don’t argue about money any more, and you can concentrate on the important things in life.
  2. I feel worried all the time, and I have a hard time sleeping these days, how could I fix that?
    Get out of debt, you will then have 1 less thing to worry about. This is the simplest thing in your life to start fixing, so get at it
  3. I never have any money in my wallet, and I am living from pay cheque to pay cheque, which has caused me to be impotent, what should I do?
    Get out of debt, seriously if your money worries are giving you issues with your love life, you really should get the hell out of debt.
  4. I am staying at my in-laws and they are driving me insane because they keep asking me when we are going to move out and have our own place, is there anything I can do?
    Get out of debt, you are living with your in-laws, ’nuff said! Oh and definitely move out if your in-laws live in Debt, Ontario.

Just had to get that one off my chest. Were there any questions that I might have missed?

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Bell Ringing Banks and Frank Costanza

One of my favourite Seinfeld episode (if I can have just one) is the episode where Frank Costanza (played by Jerry Stiller) starts a PC Sales company out of his garage, and every time someone made a sale (not George, but that Lloyd Braun!) they  rang a table bell, needless to say things get a little out of control and “SERENITY NOW!!!” (something I also yell a lot) was in great usage in that episode.

Why would I bring up such an obtuse TV reference, maybe I had nothing better to write (did I just hear a bell ring), or maybe it was because I was in my local TD Canada Trust branch and saw the following sign:

“… if you like the job we did ring our bell to show your satisfaction…”

(Or something like that). My wife dutifully rang the bell after visiting with the young teller she was at, but as I left, I rang the bell as well and pronounced loudly:

“That was for the banking machine it did a GREAT JOB as well!”

I just wish I’d yelled, SERENITY NOW! right after that .


Pay Day Loan Mortgages Revisited

Last summer I wrote about the idea of Pay Day Loan Mortgages and at the time I was quite critical of the idea, but after a while to reflect on this, it might end up being a sound financial concept for a specific group of consumers. I compared it to being a concept as ludicrous as a Sharknado, but after reflection maybe it serves as a needed service (and maybe we should watch out for Sharknados as well).

Clown Prince of Crime

One of my Pay Day Loan Mortgage Service Agents (Courtesy DC Comics)

If you need a house for about a 2 week period, you don’t want to have to tie up your capital and all that, just get yourself a quick Pay Day Loan Mortgage and then after you are done with the house, you give it back, and pay off your two weeks “service fee” on the Pay Day Mortgage.

Remember if this is a $300,000 house we wish to own for only two weeks, our estimated “service fee” of between $30,000 and $60,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to the enjoyment of home ownership for two whole weeks! Does it matter that your fees cost more than a new car? Of course not, because you got to enjoy living in a beautiful home for those two weeks.

Another great idea is if you already owned your house, getting a Pay Day Loan mortgage would be useful as well, say if your Daughter Wanted a “Kardashian™-like” Wedding Ceremony, and you were planning on winning the lottery, you could borrow the $500,000 you might need and then pay back the small service fees 2 weeks after the ceremony ( what is $575,000 if it makes your daughter happy and she gets what she wants?).

I note that none of the “main stream” Pay Day Loan sites have not picked up on this new service, so I may have to start-up the Big Cajun Man “I am Ripping You Off” Pay Day Loan Mortgage service (maybe just on-line).

Please note the date of the publishing of this less than humorous lampooning article (April 1st, 2014)

(April Fools!)



Financial Calculator Giveaway

What is better to celebrate Mardi Gras than a Giveaway???

When was the last time you used a calculator? Most likely you used one today, you might use the one on your computer, or in a spreadsheet or maybe you have one in a drawer at home and you needed to do a quick:

  • Metric to Imperial translation
  • Calculate the gestational age of your future child
  • Figure the Future Value of the $35 you are about to spend on your Caramel, Mocha, Vanilla Frappe
  • How many cubits in a furlong
  • Or the half-life of Strontium 90

Have I got a Contest for you!!

All you need to do is leave a comment answering the following “skill testing” question:

The last time I used a calculator to do a financial calculation was…..

If you leave a comment (with a valid e-mail address, of course), you could win this fabulous calculator (only one available)! Originality counts! Winners will be announced on March 14th!

Financial Calculator

You Could Win This Fabulous Calculator!
Sharp’s EL738F

What would you do with this calculator? Well the kind folks who sent me it gave me the following statement about it:

Tax season is approaching and many Canadians are no doubt dreading the deed. While the first three steps to get through the process of filing an income tax return are simple enough, the fourth one can be a doozy.

Step 1: Determine your Canadian residency status - CHECK!
Step 2: Obtain your Canadian T4 form - CHECK!
Step 3: Obtain the income tax forms - CHECK!
Step 4: Completing your fax forms…check?

Best be sure you have a trusty calculator on hand. Sharp’s EL738F financial calculator, along with a large cup o’ Joe, will help you weather the storm and get those taxes filed on time.  Offering general, financial, scientific and statistical calculations, you’ll get a clear answer on Sharp’s latest calculator. 

The El-738FC Financial Calculator is available for an MSRP of $49.99 at Staples Canada, Wal-Mart Canada, Grand & Toy, BuroPLUS, Club Express, Basics Office Products and other fine office products dealers across Canada.


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