Thanks Prince Phil, More Old Than Young and #MoneyTalk

Prince Phlip

Terry Mosher (aka Aislin)’s view of Prince Philip in the 70’s

Prince Philip announced his retirement from Public Life, and at 95 I think he can finally stand down. Prince Philip is a man who speaks his mind, and for that I thank him. One instance from not too long ago, where a photographer was commissioned to take a picture of the remaining pilots from the Battle of Britain. The photographer flitted around trying to get the perfect pose, to which Prince Philip replied, “Just take the f*cking picture!“. Here, here good sir, they were all over 90 and didn’t have time to waste!

Prince Philip is a metaphor for millennials as well, since they will only be able to retire until 95 either.

The Census showed that there are now more oldies than young folk in Canada. This is the first time the number of folks over 65 outnumbered the number of kids under 14 by 5.9M to 5.8M. For those seniors I’d like to voice my support by shouting, “Get off my grass you kids!”. While this number seems trivial, it is an important point. Is Canada ready to deal with the explosion of senior citizens? Are there enough care spaces? Can existing pensions deal with this kind of draw ? Plenty of interesting questions.

To paraphrase The Sweet, “So recognize your age it’s no longer a teenage rampage, now!”

A Money Thought

You might want to add another useful money podcast to your list. They attract some classy crowd and butter tarts too.

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MLM, Balanced Budgets, and #Moneytalk

Balanced Budget

While not all MLM are necessarily Pyramid schemes, they can be.

So the Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) has been bouncing around on the Web, and allow me to add my views on the subject. If it looks like a pyramid, and you are encouraged to recruit friends and family so you can make more money, it is a Pyramid Scheme. In my younger days, more than once, I was invited to a “party”. The hosts of the “party” were always vague about why the party was happening but inevitably it ended up being a Pyramid Soap Party. I learned to be much more inquisitive about parties after my first Pyramid Soap Party. Sort of like, if you can’t figure out who the sucker is in the party, be careful, it is most likely you.

Some folks will make lots of money from MLM, but will it be you? This is the question you should ask first, and whether you have a group of friends you won’t mind if they never talk to you again. The snubbing will happen after you succeed or fail at convincing them to join your “… sure fire money making system…”. John Oliver did sum it up best in his video description of things.

Ontario will have a balanced budget by 2018, is the claim put forward by the Liberal Government. This will be done without new taxes on the “middle class” (a term I really no longer view as a valid measurement, everyone has their own interpretation of that term). There will be plenty of higher service charges, so you will pay more, just not in taxes (if you are part of the mythical middle class).

There is an election coming, we shall see whether this sways Ontario Voters or not.

Please do not confuse a balanced budget with paying down the Ontario Debt. The current Ontario Debt is about $312 B (Cdn). Can that amount be repaid? That remains to be seen, but the balanced budget simply means that the Ontario Debt should no longer be growing (however it isn’t decreasing either).

Someone sent me an invite to a meeting in 11 months, and was concerned I only replied with a Maybe response. It vexed them to the point that they came over and asked why? I explained, a lot of things can happen in 11 months. I might win the lottery, or suddenly become a wealthy author, or maybe the horses will sing. She didn’t get that last reference.

My Writings For the Week of April 28th

I actually finished off 3 different pieces this week, which might signal a renewed dedication on my part, or it might be an anomaly. First I wrote about Quicken 2017 Review – The Year of the Comeback? It is a better version of Quicken that doesn’t crash as much, but still has issues. The subscription aspect of it has me worried as well.

As I have written before I work for the Government and the big news in Ottawa has been the Phoenix Pay system, and the problems it is having. With Phoenix Pay System Side Swipe I point out that not only Civil Servants are feeling the pain of the problems with this new system. Phoenix is even being blamed for bad attendance at Ottawa Sens games this year.

Finally I wrote over at my Tech and Security site something new, For God’s Sake Don’t Click That ! I write about the perils of click-bait and phishing sites out there, looking to make your technological life miserable.

A Money Thought

I am enjoying the radicalization of Kerry over at Squawkfox. I await her tweet that states, “I came here to take names and kick asses, and my list is full!”

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Phoenix Pay System Side Swipe

As most Canadians hear every few weeks, the pay  system for the federal Civil Service has been updated, and the new system (called Phoenix) has had many problems, which has caused many serious problems for Civil Servants. These issues are being addressed, but there are still many issues with the new system. I am not affected by this system.

Folks have had to declare bankruptcy, have seen their credit rating destroyed, defaulted on mortgages, and many other serious issues. Who is to blame? I won’t touch on that point, but there is plenty of blame to go around.

phoenix pay system

One of the side effects is that the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign has suffered. Most Civil Servants are petrified to make any change that would cause their Phoenix profile to change. Evidently profile changes have caused Phoenix Issues (like stoppage of pay, wild changes in pay levels, etc.,).

Charities Paying the Price

This paralysis of profiles has meant that folks have not enrolled in the GCWCC or increased their charitable donations either. Many folks haven’t done this because they are recovering from Phoenix Issues, but still more are just afraid of what the changes might cause.

Let us hope the pay system issues with Phoenix are resolved (I say that both as a taxpayer and a Civil Servant) soon. I know the charities in Ottawa are hoping for resolution soon as well.



Quicken 2017 Review – The Year of the Comeback?

After the Quicken 2016 debacle, I was very leery to even think about purchasing Quicken 2017 Canadian edition. I did notice that there was a Quicken iPad (and iPhone) application, which said it should work with Quicken 2017 Canadian edition, so that tipped the scales for me.

Quicken 2017 Canadian Edition

Quicken 2017 hopefully a better version than this one.

Intuit has stepped away from this product, so it is back to being a Quicken product. Actually the Quicken brand is owned by HIG Capital, but it looks like they are letting the Quicken team run things. What this means for the Canadian Edition of the product? So far it suggests they are trying to make the Canadian product a more practical product, but again, we shall see.

I ended up buying Quicken 2017 Home & Business with Premium Support, using the discount message from Quicken 2016, which brings you to a purchase page. The interesting part of this was that the price quoted was $80.77 for Business and Home (the deluxe version), but after I purchased it, there was no delivery charge, or taxes charged either. I suspect this is a mistake they will remedy (i.e. Charge HST). The delivery was only a download, so maybe free delivery is OK too.

I am concerned that this is a subscription (that is what my invoice shows). I have not purchased anything, I have paid for a yearly subscription. My suspicion is this means I will have to renew this yearly.

The new version installed just fine, and didn’t seem to have any issues with my huge archive of transactions (it is massive).

I then tried to get things set up so I could use the iPad and iPhone app, which is where things got interesting. If you want to use these applications, you will need to use the Quicken Cloud. The Cloud is not a back up of your data, but where data transferral can transpire. Quicken is very specific pointing out their Cloud is not a backup (you will need to keep doing that yourself). The Quicken cloud relies on having a Quicken login, so you will need to set up an account, if you want to use these apps.

The cloud seemed to rely on being able to download automatically to your Quicken, so I tried to get that working with my TD accounts. It didn’t work, however, after a few failed attempts, the Cloud suddenly was getting the correct data, and that meant I could use the iPhone app.

The iPad and iPhone apps are good, and free too. Please note there are two separate apps, the iPad version works as an iPad app (i.e. it uses the whole screen and will rotate, and other nice features). The major things these apps let you do are:

  • Input transactions on your phone, which will then go into the cloud. It works quite nicely, and gives you the  ability to store a photo of your receipt as part of the transaction.
  • You can look at your current financial status, and you get some nice graphics that show where you stand, and get some elementary reports.
  • Other things I haven’t explored yet.

All in all I think the apps are worth using.

I have used the product for about 2 weeks now, and it seems to work just fine. I have had no crashes (which I had many, with Quicken 2016), however, start-up is quite slow. The startup on a regular PC Laptop with 8 GB of memory should not be this slow, and the need to log in each time slows things down too. The update of the cloud seems relatively quick, but I never got the update with your bank automagically to work. If you download the file from your bank web site, this is not a problem.

Verdict Quicken 2017 Canadian Edition

For the price I paid, and the added features of the apps, I think this version of Quicken is worth buying (especially if you haven’t bought it in a few years). The subscription angle has me concerned, but we shall see what comes of that. I also haven’t tried out the Premium Support part of my subscription yet, again another area I will investigate further.

The drawback is there is no official Canadian Mac version just yet. I have heard you can buy the U.S. version and it should work, but I wouldn’t chance that just yet.

One final concern is the Cloud, how secure is it? We have seen many security breaches in these type of data configurations, let us hope this does not happen here.

Overall Review: A good restart on a product that needs a lot of fixing.


Overheated Housing Market, Rent Controls and #MoneyTalk

It seems the GTA overheated housing market (i.e. bubble) is about to have a sharp knitting needle poked into it. All levels of government are talking of  taxes to stop speculation in this “… just plain stupid ..” real estate market. As a Libertarian, I am not fond of governments sticking their oar into a free market, but this market is being gamed by outside forces. The entire real-estate industry has always been near the Pay Day Loan world in my view, but in the GTA right now, this is getting stupid. The Ontario Government did announce a bunch of measures, which may help?

overheated housing market

Now THAT is a Housing Bubble!
Photo: Paul VanDerWerf/Flickr

I keep hearing arguments that there are ethical real-estate folks out there, and I have no doubt that there are some, but when this much money is being thrown around, the unscrupulous come running. Making 2% (or higher) on a million dollar sale, is motivation enough for some.

I note that no solution being suggested has any regulations being put on the real-estate industry? Rules and regulations in this area might be more useful, as well as an ethics watch dog in the area might help too.

Rent controls sound like a good idea, but increasing government control of the rental market worries me as well. Government regulation isn’t going to fix things, if anything it will create a more cumbersome system. Landlords will simply hire consultants to find ways to get around regulations.

The bubble has even come to Ottawa, with nutty folks speculating in the Ottawa market. I get calls daily from real-estate folks wanting to help sell the Big Cajun Hacienda (I didn’t know I wanted to sell it). Sure I might make good money selling my house, but where would I live? The only fun stories I have seen are of folks moving from YYZ to YOW, and being able to buy their new house for cash, except that might be what is causing Ottawa’s market to heat up?

As I have said, money is not the root of all evil, but it is the cause of a lot of stupid decisions.

Maybe Marijuana legalization is coming just in time, so we can all mellow out about this whole thing?

I missed a chance to be at a Financial Smart Guy Brunch (formerly known as the N.C.F.B.A), sounds like it was a rip-snorting event. I am glad my absence was noted, although the commentary about cloud chasing (while true) was not necessary (see the tweet further on). Some great new investment ideas were discussed including:

  • The Blue Chip Winery Fund
  • Giant Cash Bonfire Fund
  • The Ultra Super Cool Ponzi Group
  • Horizons Medical Marijuana Life Sciences ETF
  • Thor High Growth with Ultra Stability Fund

Guess which ones are real. I would also think that Bernoulli would win in a Thunderdome Cage Match with Kahneman (but I think they may have been pulling my leg on that one).

A Money Thought

I guess there is such a thing as bad press ? I suppose it is good they remembered me.

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