Starbucks, Monty Burns and #BestMoneyStories

Looks like Starbucks payment app for “smart” phones, has fallen victim to hackers, where they are able to hack the app, to steal banking info and then attack the customers banking or payment accounts. I have been having issues with my Starbucks account, and noticed many attempts to re-load (which is associated with a lightly used credit card, so it is easy to see it happening), so I assume I am a victim of this as well.  Whatever has been trying this, has been unsuccessful as my credit card company simply refuses everything from Starbucks right now (not a bad response). Guess I’ll go back to paying cash from now on.

Mr. Burns

Release the Hounds

Not sure what the fate will be of my favorite evil billionaire Montgomery Burns, given that Harry Shearer (his voice on the Simpsons) will be leaving the show. Will I ever hear him say those tender words, “Release the hounds!”? I have always wanted to hear Mr. Burns ask, “Smithers! Who is this saucy Blogologist?”, in reference to me, but I guess that is not to be. Given Shearer now has free time does this mean a possible Spinal Tap reunion? All they need ask is to “Gimme some Money”, and I will be at their concert.

Wonder if I wrote a long winded not funny story if I could claim I was tired like the Green Party Leader and plead for forgiveness HA! fooled you, I do that all the time (without the forgiving part of course).

I have always said that Football (soccer) was a gentleman’s game, played by hooligans, but it seems their fans are at the hooligan level too (what rude and clueless prat thought #FHRITP was a clever thing to yell?) . Bad behavior at sporting events is one of the reasons I don’t take my kids to them (that and the LUDICROUS price of the events). Explain to me how a hot dog can cost $7.50 ?


TigerDirect (CA)

My Writings for Week Ending May 15th

Mad Men is over this weekend, at least the Series Finale is this Sunday night, and I must say I did enjoy the show, but you would have guessed that from the man who wrote about the Financial Zen of Roger Sterling, wouldn’t you ?

  • Stats Canada reported there are less part time jobs in Canada in April, but what did it really mean remains the question to be asked.
  • To show I am still in touch with the dating world, I gave out some Class A dating advice, with Financial First Date Questions, and some excellent comments that went with it. Yes, my mind does work in mysterious ways.

Kobo Canada

More fantastic financial stories for this week if you click here


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


Less Part Time Jobs in April in Canada

That was the word from our friends at Stats Canada on Friday, while there are more full-time jobs, the number of part-time jobs dropped sharply netting a 20,000 job drop in April 2015. As I have grumbled about before the inability to have the statistics reflect or weight the value of full and part time jobs, I guess this is the best data we have for now. For confusion, the unemployment rate remained steady at 6.8% (as it has for the past 3 months? March, and February had ups and downs, but the unemployment remains constant? Amazing).

To quote Stats Canada:

In the 12 months to April, employment increased by 139,000 (+0.8%), with all of the growth in full-time work. Over the same period, the total number of hours worked increased by 0.9%.

More hours worked is actually a good measurement to work with.

Actual employment for past 5 years

Employment for past 5 years

Given this is an election year, remember, these numbers will be interpreted uniquely by each political party, and to confuse them, you have the unemployment graph like this:

Unemployment in Canada for Past 5 years

Unemployment Over Past Little While

Looking at that graph, you’d say things look OK, but that the economy’s ability to create jobs, might be a little suspect?

The big losers this month are women over the age of 55:

For women aged 55 and older, employment declined by 15,000 in April and the unemployment rate edged up to 5.5%. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment was little changed for this group.

What about the young folk? No less jobs, but more of them looking:

While employment among youth aged 15 to 24 was little changed in April, their unemployment rate rose 0.6 percentage points to 13.6%, as more of them searched for work. On a year-over-year basis, youth employment was little changed.

Things are looking moribund in the job market?

Employment By Sector

The Big table this month is interesting, I have edited out the percentage changes to make it a bit more readable.

Employment by class of worker and industry (based on NAICS1) – Seasonally adjusted

April 2014


change in thousands

Class of worker


15,161.8 15,166.1 34.8 4.3 138.8


2,752.9 2,728.8 24.8 -24.1 0.3
Public/private sector employees


3,605.5 3,585.6 19.6 -19.9 63.5


11,556.3 11,580.5 34.8 24.2 75.3
All industries 17,914.6
28.7 -19.7 139.1
Goods-producing sector 3,876.6 3,861.1 16.2 -15.5 -27.8
Agriculture 297.1 299.1 5.7 2.0 -8.7
Natural resources3 358.1 357.2 5.5 -0.9 -25.3
Utilities 136.5 137.9 2.4 1.4 -0.7
Construction 1,396.6 1,368.2 10.9 -28.4 19.9
Manufacturing 1,688.3 1,698.7 10.3 10.4 -12.9
Services-producing sector 14,038.1 14,033.9 27.2 -4.2 167.0
Trade 2,743.5 2,723.0 14.2 -20.5 -2.7
Transportation and warehousing 918.0 923.4 7.7 5.4 24.4
Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing 1,097.4 1,099.1 8.1 1.7 21.6
Professional, scientific and technical services 1,347.1 1,349.8 10.5 2.7 28.6
Business, building and other support services 745.7 756.7 9.6 11.0 3.8
Educational services 1,290.0 1,287.7 10.3 -2.3 72.5
Health care and social assistance 2,268.9 2,268.9 10.5 0.0 54.6
Information, culture and recreation 751.7 741.9 9.5 -9.8 -23.5
Accommodation and food services 1,219.7 1,223.3 11.2 3.6 28.3
Other services 760.7 766.2 8.1 5.5 -36.7
Public administration 895.4 893.9 6.9 -1.5 -4.1
  1. North American Industry Classification System.
  2. Average standard error for change in two consecutive months. See “Sampling variability of estimates” in the section “About the Labour Force Survey” at the end of the publication Labour Force Information (Catalogue number71-001-X) for further explanations.

3.Also referred to as forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas extraction.


The sum of individual categories may not always add up to the total as a result of rounding.


CANSIM tables 282-0088 and 282-0089.


Employments Reports for 2015

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Luckily one of my good readers pointed out that I had already written a topical article about the NDP getting a majority government in Alberta, and it is true, I did write, OK Everyone Take a Valium, in response to the NDP orange tide in Quebec (and in homage to a great cartoonist Terry Mosher aka Aislin). The illustration Mr. Mosher did of Rene Levesque and Robert Bourrassa does sum up the spirit of 1976 and how most Albertans must now feel as well.

Drawing, cartoon | O.K. Everybody take a valium! | P090-A_50-1004

OK, everybody take a valium!

An interesting vote though, the PC’s got kicked to the curb, but so did the provincial Liberals too. Lots of votes for the Wild Rose party, suggests Albertans were sick and tired of the status quo, and wanted to try something new? Should make for a very interesting Federal Election, as the Tories may not be able to rely on Fortress Alberta, the way they have in the past?

Remember that Sunday is Mother’s Day, remember to say thanks to your Mom for all the crap she had to take from you (I am talking to you Robb from Boomer and Echo!). Oh and for those Dads out there who assume they don’t have to do anything on the day, because their wife is not their Mom? Yeh, keep thinking that, and enjoy sleeping on the couch as well.

My daughter returned from Cuba this past week (a vacation (how a 3rd year student can go on vacation, and her Dad can’t I will reserve for a later rant), and one of her first questions was, “Who was this Chez?”. At first I thought she was talking about the Ottawa radio station, but it ended up she was asking me about Che Guevara, so I ended up giving her a short synopsis of Che, using text messaging. Who says history never comes in handy?

Preet got out his white board and did a great write-up on Pay Day Loans, hopefully it is linked at the bottom of this article.


TigerDirect (CA)

My Writings for Week Ending May 8th

Labor unrest in Ontario, with the teachers not reacting well to the Austerity budget of last week (and for not having a contract for a while), feels like I am back in the 70’s in Quebec:

  • Stats Canada put out a middle term view on how Family Debt has increased since 1999 and it holds some scary numbers about how the 30-40 year olds are getting burdened with debt but also shows how seniors are increasing their debt load as well, Canadian Family Debt is Increasing, seems almost an understatement as a title.
  • I do have an Instagram account that I may try to use more, but I had some fun with an old topic Frugal or Cheap, some good comments on this one as well.

An excellent example of how to use social media to remind folks you are there, and a nice Mad Men twist on it too:

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Frugal or Cheap ?

I have asked this question before, with a similar photo, but I ask again, is this cheap or just frugal.

Is this being cheap or just frugal ??

A photo posted by Alan Whitton (@bigcajunman) on

Yes, I did buy a special implement, to make sure the transfers went well, but is it frugal? It works very nicely for HP Sauce bottles as well. When I start mixing the cereal (i.e. putting “the bottom” of a box of old cereal into a newer box), then I will know I have become my mother.

Kobo Canada