Happy Year of the Sheep

Yes to my Chinese friends (and those that use that Calendar) happy year of the (Wood) Sheep or Ram depending on how you look at it.

What does this year mean? Here is one interpretation:

According to international Feng Shui expert Marites Allen, the Green Sheep is also a symbol of good fortune. Thus this year will be a period of good fortune, peace and abundance. Luck will be favorable to most Chinese animal signs in the Year of the Wood Sheep.

Works for me, oh and here is my terrible joke once more, enjoy the celebrations!

2015 the Year of the RAM

Happy 2015, I do so love Geek Humor


Bill Notification Overload

It used to be my bills showed up in my mailbox (my Canada Post mailbox), I opened them, I piled them up and once a week I’d pay them (on-line). The system worked fine, and was better than the old system of either mailing (Canada Post) cheques out, or going to the bank and paying bills there.

Bills, Bills, Bills

The Barrage of Bill Delivery Mechanisms

In the past few years things have changed, and various firms started offering to send me bills in electronic format. This sounded interesting to me, however, I like my paper bills, and back then e-mail systems were a little flakey (and untrustworthy in my estimation). Then I started getting charged for getting my beloved paper bills, which annoyed the crap out of me, so I started to get some of my bills electronically, which has now created a veritable electronic cacophony of bills.

Allow me to elaborate on the many ways my bills arrive:

  • Some bills still arrive in my super mailbox down the road (yes I hate those too)
  • Other bills are sent to my e-mail account (I try to have them show up to only 1 account, that way I don’t have to sift through my 15 different e-mail addresses).
  • Still othersare sent to my e-post account (from Canada Post)
    • An interesting side issue is that I get an E-post account with my TD accounts as well, however, I cannot merge my other E-post account with the TD version, thus the TD version is useless to me.
  • Then some bills I have to go to a web site to pick it up (but I get an e-mail to tell me the bill is available)
  • Finally other bills send me annoying text messages reminding me about payments due, and some do not

All of this really is getting under my skin, and also has succeeded in making me paranoid because last year for the first time I missed paying more than 4 different bills, which has never happened to me before (usually it is 1 a year). Is this due to the fact that I am barraged with bills from many different sources? Maybe, it could be my advancing age as well, but I keep getting the feeling this “brave new world” may be passing me by, but it is certainly making paying my bills on time a challenge.


TurboTax Winners and a Quick Review

A while ago I announced a quick contest for a version of on-line Turbotax 2015 (Canadian On-line edition), and yes I have told the winners about it, all they have to do is return my e-mail some time this week, or I will pick other winners.

I have gone out and purchased my own copy of Turbotax (I figured I’d get my own, that way I wouldn’t feel obliged to be nice in my views on the software), and I bought the version that runs on the PC (for my own paranoid reasons).

Tax Time

Tax Time

So far I am let down, that some of the shortcomings I have seen in the past, still haven’t been dealt with, namely the inability to copy and paste medical expenses (typing in 25 Occupational Therapist visits for my son, does get a bit repetitive), but mostly the software seems to be working fine for me, with a few issues that I have run into (so far).

  • The lack of “DO YOU REALLY WANT TO DELETE THAT?” boxes on a few of the commands has caused me some grief. I had “cleared” my son from my dependants list, and it just let me, without any neat dialog boxes warning me that this might be a bad thing. I had just typed in those 26 Medical expenses and hadn’t saved, so I had to figure out how to recreate my son.I think it would be safe to say any place a “CLEAR” button exist there should be a corresponding, “ARE YOU SURE?!?!?” dialog box associated with it.
  • An autosave capability would have been nice with that first problem too, or maybe a revert back to a previous saved version.

I still have not received any tax documentation from my employer so I may have more to say soon (I also have a collasal amount of checking of receipts for tuition, rent and the like as well). Tax season has begun (it would seem).

So far so good for Turbotax, it works just fine (as I said, so far).


RRSPs, Valentines, 50 Shades of Debt and #BestOfThisWeek

It is RRSP season, if you have not noticed, and there is still time for you to put money into your RRSP and claim it for your 2014 taxes. You should have done this a long time ago, but if this is how you do things, you still have about 16 days to get this done. A word of warning, you are not buying an RRSP, you are either (1) Setting up an RRSP account and depositing money into the account, to purchase or set up a savings vehicle, like GICs, Bonds, Securities, Mutual Funds or the like, or (2) You are adding money to an existing RRSP account, where you will purchase or set up a savings vehicle. You are not “buying an RRSP”, please don’t say that.

Valentines Day

An Apropos Sentiment for tomorrow

This Valentine’s Day Weekend remember your loved ones, and show them that you love them in some fashion, that does not completely bankrupt you. No matter what the diamond industry says, 3 months gross income is far too much to spend on anything that dangles off your loved one, or slides onto a part of their body. Just remember that Lent starts this coming Wednesday, so start getting your Shrove together as well.

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, a truly lovely romantic movie is coming out, 50 Shades of Grey, is being touted as a beautiful love story. I have read 2 of the books, and I can assure you, that is not how I read them (I couldn’t get through the final book it was, “too beaucoup”). The books are quite graphic, which makes me wonder how the movie will cover some of the more interesting parts of the books, but it is not likely that I will see the movies, unless I get a free copy, or it appears on NetFlix (and even then, I think I’d rather watch House of Cards (U.S. and UK versions) or the IT Crowd). The one interesting prognostication I have seen is that the sales of “sex toys” may sky rocket thanks to this movie, so all you We-Vibe stock holders must be rubbing your hands with glee (at least I hope that is your hands).

And I do have a partially written article entitled 50 Shades of Debt, but I can’t quite get it right. Oh and yesterday was my 2700th post as well, I guess that is what 10 years of writing will do for you.

My Writings for Week Ending February 13th

I had only planned on 2 articles this week, but the extra “Valentine’s Doom” post just wrote itself:

  • The Canadian economy seems quite adept at creating Part-Time jobs, but how Stats Canada counts them is still incorrect (imho) as we saw in More Part Time Jobs in Canada in January
  • Retirement is a wonderful thing to dream about, but if you die before you get there, what is the point of saving all that money? That is at the core of Going to the Gym to Work on My Retirement. Either way pick up Seasick Steve’s album, well worth the price.
  • Society seems to condone the concept that Money is Love, and the retail industry not only agrees with this, they think you are not spending enough.

Scotia Bank Value Visa

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Money is Love 💰 = 💘

From what I can tell from the ads that have assaulted me for the past month (since the Christmas ads died down), the best way to show love is by spending money, and showing off that you have more money to give later.  If you aren’t spending a lot of money on someone you (claim to) love, then it is obvious that you do not love them (enough).

Yes, I have ranted about St. Valentine’s Day pretty much every year that I have written here (10 years?), but things seem to be accelerating in terms of your need to show love by spending money. I thought Christmas was bad enough, but now Love Day, is trying to surpass Christmas in conspicuous spending for your loved ones. These kind of vulgar displays of wealth always sickens me, but to each his own, I suppose.

OpenSSL HeartBleed Bug

No that is not a Valentine’s Heart, it is the Heartbleed Heart, don’t put this on any Valentine’s Cards either.

Maybe, what is needed is to think about things that will financially help your loved ones (without bankrupting you). To help you not fall prey to the ire of your loved ones, here are some Financial Valentine’s Day ideas that are useful, and won’t give you diabetes (or an allergic reaction to roses)

  • Put some money in your loved ones RRSP, if that doesn’t say love I don’t know what is. You want to make sure they can retire, and get tax refunds too, now that is saying love with cash, and I am OK with that one. How Banks haven’t hooked into this, since Valentine’s Day is in the middle of “RRSP season”, I have no idea. For the price of a dozen roses, you might get $40 in tax credits back, long after the roses have withered and died.
  • Put money in your children’s RESP, so they can have the option to go to University or a useful post-secondary program.  Giving your loved ones options in their lives is truly the greatest gift you can give them (and if that option includes them moving out of your house, and being able to support themselves, so much the better).
  • Needless to say a little money in a TFSA could always brighten a lover’s view of you (OK, maybe not, but it is better for them than a box of chocolate candies).
  • A more risqué present, which can be dangerous, is paying off your loved ones debts (or putting money towards it). Why dangerous? You paying off your lovers debts won’t help them in the long run, as they will just think that you will bail them out every time, so careful with this present. What you figured I’d suggest something out of 50 Shades of Grey? That movie’s release on Valentine’s Day is possibly the funniest idea I have ever heard.

Let me also recommend, that if you actually follow through with any of these ideas, I will not back you up, if you are crazy enough to get your Valentine’s Day gift ideas from a Financial Blogger, you can sleep in the bed that you made!

Other Fun Valentine’s Day Rants