This week in Ottawa, a very large sinkhole opened on Rideau Street, and there were conflicting stories about whether it was a new Gateway to Hell, or whether it was simply the exposure of an existing personal gateway to hell. Either way, it just goes to show that in the Nation’s Capital when we make a hole, we really make a hole.

Ottawa Sinkhole

Ottawa SinkHole

I was downtown on Thursday for meetings, and while the downtown is a bit of a mess, all I could think was that I wished I was either in the Concrete, or Concrete Delivery business, as the entire downtown seems to be littered with Cement Delivery trucks (to fill the hole). Ottawa does seem to be prone to sinkholes, as we have had more than our share over the past while.

The Bank of Canada thinks the economy is unchanged, as it announced the Financial System Review this week, however, three risks were noted:

The Bank continues to highlight two vulnerabilities related to Canadian households: the elevated level of household indebtedness and imbalances in some regional housing markets. A third vulnerability identified is the fragility of fixed-income market liquidity.

This translates to continued big debt and ludicrous house prices in Vancouver and Toronto (and a few other places) are worrying the Bank. A major financial event (say like a recession) might cause some big issues in the current economy.

My Writings for Week Ending June 10th

I have written about how I am an attractive bag of medical conditions, but after my latest yearly check up I came up with the question What Would You Pay $213.52 For ? For me it was simple, I really, really don’t want to get shingles, so I would pay for the vaccine myself if I had to.

I must write a thank you note to TD for continuing to motivate me to write about my issues with them, and so another fine rant was written, Automatic Withdrawal Audits. I still await the results of the problem ticket I opened with TD Mutual Funds.

A Money Thought

“Never buy anything from someone who is out of breath.”

–BURTON G. MALKIEL

Surprisingly, that makes good sense!

More Disturbing Financial Images

Monopoly Rule 11

Same is True of Bank of Canada Too?!?

👇 For more great financial articles from this week click here 👇

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Automatic Withdrawal Audits

After attending my youngest daughter’s graduation, I decided to check on my son’s RESP to see just how much money we have so far for his post-secondary education, and thanks to that, I found out that my “Automatic Deposit” (set up many years ago), mysteriously stopped depositing November of 2015.

RESP Piggy Bank

RESP

I called my friendly TD Mutual Fund rep (yes, the RESP is still with TD Mutual Funds, even after I have ranted about them all along, feel free to comment “Do as you say!”), and they don’t know why this happened as well, just that the automatic deposits stopped on November 19th. There has been a problem ticket opened on this issue, and someone will be getting back to me about this.

This really does underline why it is important to check (periodically) on your saving mechanisms, to make sure they are still working as planned.

Moral of the Story: You should always check your automatic withdrawals are still working as you have planned. You should also be checking this for automatic bill payment systems (although your creditors might tell you quickly if you are not paying them as expected).

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What Would You Pay $213.52 For ?

Last week I visited my Doctor for my annual “physical” to make sure I am medically OK, and as usual the Medical Services and Drug Industry got a shot in the arm (as did I, got a tetanus booster right there and then to begin things).

I received a plethora of prescriptions including one for my orthotics (old beat up knees appreciate those) but I then asked for the Shingles Vaccine. I asked because Mrs. C8j reminded me, but also because a few folks who I work with (around my age) have had shingles, and their description of the condition convinced me I wanted anything that might stop this condition.

My Doctor pointed out that in Ontario, for folks my age (55) , the vaccine is not covered under Provincial Medical Plan, however, my insurance company (and my wife’s coverage added on top) did end up paying for it. I was glad that I wasn’t going to have to pay for the vaccine, so off I went to Loblaws (where I get my prescriptions) to get the vaccine, and then bring it back to my Doctor to get the injection.

After I had my shot, the nurse handed me the bill (that was in the bag from the pharmacy with the Shingles Vaccine) and I was surprised to see that the total cost for the vaccine was $213.52. I didn’t have to pay for it thanks to my insurance, however, after hearing from my co-workers description of having shingles, I would have paid for it myself, if my insurance had not.

I believe the rule in Ontario is, that after 60 the vaccine is free, but I wasn’t going to wait. Both the co-workers I know that have had shingles are much younger than 60, and typically shingles can be caused by stress, and I figure I am going to feel a lot more stress when I am 55 than when I am over 60 (I hope).

The last reason for getting the vaccine was, one co-worker, went to his Doctor and asked for the vaccine. His Doctor, pointed out that it was for older folks and that he really didn’t need the vaccine, so didn’t give my friend a prescription. What happened? Less than a month later, my friend got shingles, and he is younger than me! At that moment, I decided I was getting the vaccine.

If you want more info about Shingles, this is the CDC web page on it.

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CRA Itunes Pmts, RESP Scams and #MoneyTalk

I am disturbed to read about a new scam being perpetrated by scum bags, who call unsuspecting folks and claiming that that the victims owe a great deal to the CRA and it must be paid right now. The scam is quite unbelievable if you hear it, but it has caught a few folks already. The CRA has a page for this specific type of scam, so please check this CRA Scams Web Site (by the CRA) and learn how to recognize this kind of scummy behavior. The CRA are nice folk, but they are a government agency, they have very specific rules of conduct with the public, they can’t directly harass on the phone (I don’t think). Some simple hints that this is a scam:

CRA Scams

Protect Yourself

  • Very aggressive behavior, and demanding payment within the next hour. This is a government agency, nothing happens in an hour (OK, most things never happen in an hour).
  • If they ask for a Credit Card Number, or for you to “Cable” money, the CRA doesn’t do that (and they sure as hell do not do Itunes cards).
  • Tell you that you cannot tell any 3rd parties or the like, that is the flaming red arrow that should cause you to hang up your phone.

Please, don’t be fooled, or duped.

Staying with scumbags, evidently there were folks in Toronto that were contacting new Parents to try to sell them RESPs. Evidently Rouge Valley Health System had their patient personal info stolen, and this is where these folks got the info to contact the new mothers. Don’t buy stuff over the phone, if you didn’t ask for it in the first place.

Farewell to Canada AM which goes off the air today, after 43 years. The morning show format seems to be dying off, but I haven’t really watched Canada AM for a while (sorry guys).

Will Tragically Hip farewell tour tickets become the next Tulip Bubble for Canada?

My Writings for Week Ending June 3rd

A busy week for me at home, so only one new post put in place for the week.

Bad Financial Planners Can Help points out that even if you start with a very bad financial plan, if you review it, revise it and keep it up to date, you might end up with a very good plan. Remember any plan is a living thing, and will need to change with time.

A Money Thought

This hour has 22 minutes still continues to be funny, however in this instance, I fail to see the humor of this (as a parent who has already talked about moving back in with your parents).

👇 For more great financial articles from this week click here 👇

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Bad Financial Planners Can Help

I am a mediocre planner (I view my Father as the greatest planner), however, knowing that I am not that good at planning gives me a peculiar talent, in that, I can spot (easily) flaws in other folks plans. I think of myself as a “risk editor” for plans.

Financial Planning

Plan and Then Revise

Let me explain, if a good planner looks at your plan, they will overlay their own fastidiousness onto your plan, and will assume you have “dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s”, which is a dangerous assumption for many plans. Most plans I have seen do not get down to most of the gritty details needed to make it an actual plan (e.g. Dates on which you will make deposits, pay bills, what you will do with found money), and that is where most of them fail.

For someone like me, who has failed at planning so many things in my life (not just financial things), I easily see these flaws in other folks’ plans, because I overlay my own shortcomings and just start asking questions about things (in a financial context):

  • Did you think about what would happen if you lost your job?
  • What if you or your wife had a catastrophic illness next week? How would your plan work?
  • Paying off your credit cards is here, but are you going to keep using those credit cards? You don’t seem to mention that in your plan.
  • What if interest rates suddenly jumped to 6% in 6 months? Can your plan withstand that kind of stress?
  • Are you being overly optimistic with your plans? Few of us plan realizing our own shortcomings.

Most folks really hate when I do this, because they answer me the same way my daughters did when I asked questions like, “Did you pack your runners?”, when going to an out-of-town basketball tourney. The answer is “YES, I DID!” (Read that with a snarky sarcastic tone), and then we get to the tourney, and the shoes (in fact) are still at home.

I am not telling you to find a bad financial planner and use their plan, what I am saying is create a financial plan, and then have someone you trust (or a real financial planner) review it to see if there are risks or details that you have overlooked. Different sets of eyes sometimes can see new things.

Once you have a plan, treat it as a living document, review, revise, and update

Image courtesy of Goldy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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