Free is a Good Price (but still can be expensive)

Thanks to me (and Mrs C8j) having Home Depot credit cards, we are now victims of yet another massive personal information breach, which may cause Financial Issues in the future for us, and I am not well pleased by this turn of events. It seems these kind of data thefts are becoming more and more prolific, and maybe it is time for us to cut the number of credit cards we have, so we have less presence in the credit world (that can be so easily stolen).

Data Breech at Home Depot

Thanks for Using Home Depot ?
(photo courtesy REUTERS/BECK DIEFENBACH/FILES)

The one good thing that has come out of this is that we get a year of free Equifax Premier (in Canada, something different in the US). To get this service, I was given a 1-888 number to call and after a  long wait, I got a hold of an Equifax rep, who after collecting some data on me, gave me access to their Premier Service for an entire year (usually about $20 a month service).

The hope is that this service will alert me in case someone uses the information from the Home Depot security breach to either: attempt to steal my identity ; or simply attempt to charge things on my credit vehicles. The service seems to take about 24 hours to get up and running.

I read on a Tumblr Home Page (the name of which is very NSFW), which stated:

“FREE” USUALLY MEANS “COSTS SOMETHING OTHER THAN MONEY.”

Which is very true in this case, my identity info is now in the hands of dastardly thieves, but I got Free Equifax for a year? Not really that free is it?

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Financial Answers and Questions

Today I will give you my Alex Trebek imitation (he is Canadian) and I will give you a financial answer and you will in turn try to guess the possible question for this answer.

Here is an example:

Sorry I don’t have any cash (even though you do have money, you just don’t want to give it to that person)

Possible financial questions:

  1. Can you loan me $10 so I can go buy 2 Lotto-Max tickets?
  2. Let’s go to the Casino and have a good time, want to come?
  3. I am selling my entire Flock of Seagulls vinyl collection, are you interested in buying it?
  4. Would you like to extend the warranty for your $25 electronics purchase for another 2 years ?
Answers

Weird Answer, but what was the question?
(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

These are all excellent questions that the answer would apply to, and I am sure there is a plethora of other responses possible.

You see where I am coming from with this, so here are a couple of Financial Answers, and I’d love to read your Financial Questions that would go with them.

  1. That makes as much sense (to me) as Snake Mittens
  2. That is one way you could do it, but I wouldn’t.
  3. That is the one place that binary options would make sense.

Go ahead see what financial questions you can associate with any of those three answers.

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Back to school, for most folks this week (although many folks already were back last week). The stores are abuzz with folks looking for loose leaf paper, HB Pencils, and the coolest new Beatles Pencil Case (OK maybe I am a little out of touch on this new generation).

The Dutchie

Bring Back the Dutchie, Burger Hortons!

I welcome Tim Burger King or Burger Horton’s or whatever the new Canadian Super Fast Food monster will call itself. I am astounded to hear that it is cheaper to run a business in Canada than it is to run in the U.S., but if we become a Tax Haven for our rich cousins down south, then so be it! Maybe they will bring back the Dutchie !

Since I grew past 6 feet tall, I have never really fit into any mass transit situation (sitting at least), so when I saw the stories about the Knee Defender I was tickled pink to hear someone was thinking about we tall folks and how we don’t really fit in the tight spaces created in Airplanes.  Is it rude to stop the person in front of you from reclining into your lap on an airplane? Maybe, but speaking as someone who has been at the mercy of airlines for many years (space wise) I would buy one of these in a heartbeat if I was traveling for more than an hour on an airplane.

I have been fiddling around with Emojis and where they might fit best. From what I can tell they can be useful for things like the Twitter machine, but in day to day posting I can’t see a great need to have this ☠ or 🚾 in most things I write, however, in social media I do see a use for things like : 💳 💸💰 or 💱 where you are looking for quick and shorter messages. If you find them annoying, it is me simply trying to get the message to you faster and more graphically.

I gave blood last week as well, and now have been selected to be a Blood Platelets donor as well.
Give Blood This Year

My Writings for Week Ending September 5th

A full week of writing this week for the first time in a few months, seems I had a lot to say this week.

  • It is important to always celebrate the workers control of the means of production and thus we had Happy Labour Day 2014
  • Will I ever stop writing about RESPs? Not for a few more years that is for sure, and this year we have RESP Another Year of Fun, where you must remember that FUn starts with F and U
  • I am relatively docile and paranoid about investing thus I keep with relatively safe(r) investment portfolios, but I never thought my Portfolio was Too Conservative
  • In God We Trust is on the American dollar, but remember everyone else you should ask for proof, and that is at the core of Always Follow Up (Financially).

Scotia Bank Value Visa
[click to continue…]

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Always Financially Follow Up

As a follow up to my discussions about my RESP story of earlier this week, I’d like to drive home an important point, that we all should do, and that is:

  1. Make sure you have everything in writing  or in an electronic traceable format for your records.
  2. Always follow up, if you feel something may have gone wrong
Late

Why did it take so long?
(Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot,at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

I was almost guilty of ignoring the second point, in that I was hoping all things might work out with the redemption of funds that had not been transferred from the RESP to the correct account (on Tuesday morning 4 days after the original transaction), but luckily Mrs. C8j had a good nag at me, and I phoned the Mutual Funds Expert at my local branch. When I got his voice mail saying he wouldn’t be back for a week, I had a mild panic attack, but I then decided to call the TD Easyline Mutual Fund folks.

The chap I spoke to (after the first one hung up, due to a telephone network issue on his end I think), was very helpful, and after I explained my concerns, he said he’d put me on hold and went to check what happened.

I am not sure of how long the wait was, but it was certainly more than 5 minutes, but he did come back and assured me that the money was “in transit” and they might be dealing with a backlog of orders, and to the young man’s credit, the money did show up in the correct account a few hours later.

Did my phone call fix anything? It helped my peace of mind, and I felt like I did something about the problem. What happened during that long period that the helpful Mutual Fund Chap from the Easyline Mutual Fund went off to consult? I am not really sure, maybe it was hard to find someone, or maybe someone found some anomaly, I’ll never know, but I felt better for making that call.

Why did two transactions submitted at the same time go through the system 4 days apart? Not sure, and that is not true, the first transaction went through completely, the second transaction started at the same time as the first (i.e. the money was out of the Mutual Fund account on Saturday), it was the transfer to the correct savings account that took 3 extra days? I guess it will remain a mystery to me.

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Too Conservative Portfolio

At my yearly visit to my bank to redeem RESP Money, the TD Mutual Fund Guy I was with commented about my investing portfolio as being conservative. I smiled, didn’t say much and moved on, but he did add that it was a good idea for my daughter’s RESP as I was drawing money from it, so I shouldn’t be too aggressive now.

Profit Loss Jigsaw

Investing is a Jigsaw puzzle isn’t it ?
(photo courtesy jscreationzs FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

What was this conservative portfolio? A simple exact duplicate of the Canadian Capitalist’s sleepy mini-portfolio:

TDB909 - Canadian Bonds - 25%
TDB900 - Canadian Equities - 25%
TDB902 - US Equities - 25%
TDB911 - International Equities - 25%

How this is Conservative I am unsure, as it is 75% in equities, and 25% in bonds. I suppose for folks like Michael James this is Conservative (MJ on Money has specific views on bonds and equities for investments), but for me, it seems fairly aggressive, in that you are 75% in equities, and there are no GICs or Money Markets in this model at all.

I could make it more conservative and go with 15% Bonds and 10% GICs (or Money Market Funds), but I am happy with this mix for a few of my investing portfolios. If I was going to be more aggressive (which I am not going to be) I suppose I could take the percentages and then invest in individual company stock, but I don’t really see the need to do that.

Another way to morph this, was that if you wanted a more aggressive Sleepy Portfolio you could go:

Canadian Dividend ETF 25%
Canadian Equity ETF 25%
US Equity ETF 25%
International ETF 25%

But I would really only use that kind of model in a non-tax sheltered portfolio, so that your “income” from the portfolio would be dividend based and thus taxed at a lower rate.

Question: I am willing to say I am conservative, but are these investment choices too conservative?

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