Advent continues on merrily, hopefully you are having fun with it. If you have been reading my twitter feed, you have seen that I have resurrected my Financial Advent Calendar (from many years ago) in the land of 144 characters or less! It was fun when I did it a few years ago, hopefully it is still topical.

Happy Chanukah!

John McAfee may make some OK anti-virus, and may have made a lot of money from it, but his life currently is tabloid fodder. He has been accused of murder, he has been on the run and he eventually got found because a photographer posted a photo of Mr. McAfee, which had GPS co-ordinates in the meta-data. The Meta-data in any picture you post on the web should be wiped (if we learn anything from this interesting story). Hopefully Mr. Norton is leading a quieter life?

For those claiming there is a war on Christmas, lighten up, wish folks Merry Christmas and move on with your life. If there is a war on Christmas, Christmas is winning!

Happy Chanukah to my Jewish friends as well, I couldn’t find a video of Adam Sandler singing either Chunukah song.

Twitter Land

In my version of the Twit-o-sphere there were some quite interesting oldies that I found along with some retweets of some of my favorite writers:

Advent Calendar


One of my biggest issues with my co-workers is the same problem that most women have with the men in their lives, they don’t listen, they try to solve problems too damn quickly! Don’t believe me? Watch this interesting video from our friends at Ted.Com


Falling 37 Km is like All Things Financial

Congrats to Felix Baumgartner for showing it is possible to fall 37 Km and live to talk about it, and while watching it, all I could think of was, “It takes a hell of a long time to get up to 37 Km in a balloon!”. It took almost 2 hours and 20 minutes for Felix to ascend to the correct height and 4 minutes to get down, the good question is, how is this not like all things in personal finance?

Nothing worthwhile happens quickly, however, some things can go way too fast, so you better have a parachute to stop things!

Falling 37 Km and hitting the speed of sound (maybe) is not the problem, the problem is stopping! Luckily Mr. B. managed to stop.

Like saving for anything the ascent of the balloon took 28 times more time than it took to come back down, but that is how your saving for your retirement works, you put in some money for a long time, and then when you finally retire, hopefully you don’t spend your money like you are falling from 37 Km up. Patience is important in that financial area, it is going to take time, just make sure your retirement planning does not entail a 5 minute free fall of spending as well. You can spend up to 45 years saving for your retirement, let’s hope your years living on your savings are a little longer than Mr. Baumgartner’s descent.

Felix’s journey is an interesting microcosm on saving for a nice vacation too, where you spend a long time-saving for it and then free fall money for a week.

The other point brought up by a lot of folks I know is that the amount of preparation and planning that was done for this journey is why the project succeeded. There was a more than 30 point check list just to jump, there were  contingency plans in place, and the ascent itself was delayed so many times, because of issues with the weather. As a project manager I can assure you that for most things there is no such thing as too detailed a plan, however the best, plan for the worst, and have contingency plans for all possible issues, because the more issues you think of, the less surprised you can be.

Use this same methodology with your financial planning, and you should be just fine, and if you find yourself falling from 37 Km, make sure you have a parachute (metaphorically speaking, of course).

Wonder how much planning went into sending this train into orbit?

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Happy Labour Day and Sunday’s #best

Yes, it is Labour Day Monday, up with the proletariat, down with the oppressive bourgeoisie, but given that I was on the road most of this past weekend, you are getting my Sunday post today (I can hear you all clapping with glee). Yes, it was back to school for most of my family this past weekend, with my son being the only one remaining around the house.

Tomorrow mes amis Quebecois vote, and it could mean for contre temps in the Canadian Political Spectrum, which is always fun for bloggers and the “main stream news media” as well. There is already talk of another Anglo-exodus and housing prices dropping in Quebec (could it be another 1976? I doubt it, but it won’t stop folks inferring it).

Thalidomide maker apologizes for what it did 50 years ago? All I can say is FINALLY!

If you are one of my TWEEPS then you are cognizant of the brilliant banter on my feed, however there may be a few of you who missed out on some of the best tweets of the week:

Here is a Labour Day Present from the Khan Academy (as seen on 60 minutes) as well, explaining what LIBOR is:


The Khan Academy and Sunday’s Best

A friend knows that I am always on the look out for interesting sites where folks do lectures explaining things and he suggested that I check out the Khan Academy since it seems to have a plethora of information on pretty much, everything. Don’t believe me? Go look! I have included a two-part video on Wealth Destruction from Housing Bubbles, which is at least thought-provoking (I will open the floor to others to discuss whether it is correct or not) (go to the bottom of this post to find the videos).

I strongly suggest you check out my Twitter Feed, I have been told it is quite entertaining, and I will be attempting to add my own personal commentary on life in there as well. What did you miss if you haven’t subscribed yet? Here is a taste of some of the OBG (Oldie but Goody) gems I posted:

  •  In my early days I used to brag about my prowess (at installing computer crap), as I did here with Investment: High Tech (spoiler alert: has nothing to do with investing).
  • I have sat on both sides of the hiring “experience” and a pet peeve I have is folks thinking “business casual” means shorts and flip-flops (for an interview) thus I ranted Job Hunting Hints: Dress for the Job Fair.
  • I do have a sister blog (where I write occasionally) where I write about the business of blogging, thus Guest Posts: Please Stop the Madness addressed those who wish to write a guest post on this esteemed tome.
  • In 2009 One in Seven of us Was a Senior Citizen, that number is decreasing (quickly) (i.e. we are all getting older).
  • The Quarterly Financial Status Report is an old idea of mine, where you publish (to your spouse usually) a quarterly financial status report to force yourself to figure out where you stand, it will help you feel more in control of things (financially).
  • One of my most brutally honest posts is my Top 5 Investing Regrets which you should read just so you don’t make the same dumb-ass moves I have done in my life.
Part 1: Wealth Destruction

Part 2: Wealth Destruction


Video: TVO Agenda with GVO

For those of you who might have missed it on Monday night, Gail Vaz-Oxlade did her impersonation of St. George and took on the Financial Dragons (i.e. Banks and the C.D. Howe institute), in a very entertaining battle, entitled “Deconstructing Personal Debt” on TVO’s show “Agenda”.

The show seemed to pit Gail and Moshe Milevski against Phillip Cross of the C.D. Howe Institute and Derrick Burleton a VP at TD (apologies on the spellings) (from this point on, they will be known as “the suits”).

Gail did a great deal of the battling, where the “suits” kept arguing Marcoeconomic macroeconomic policies and how statistics don’t agree that Canadians are drowning in debt, but Gail continued to hammer her point of view with her personal experiences (which was contrary to the “suits” point of view).

Lots of interesting discussions and Gail even fires out an “… oh bite me!” comment (and the moderator made some comment about how Gail didn’t drop an “F-bomb” this time), well worth watching.

If you are a resident of Ontario, think about donating to TVO as well, to keep this kind of interesting programming going.

In case you were wondering about Saint George and the Dragon, click on this picture (does look a little like Gail).

Saint George Slaying the Dragon


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