Interest Rate Hikes, TFSA Limits and #Moneytalk

So the Fed in the U.S. have hiked their key rate from 0.5 % to 0.75 % for the first time in a year, and only the second time this decade? (I hadn’t realized how stable we have been). That hike is a 50% actual jump (if you want to sound alarmist), but what does it mean for Canada? I don’t really know. It does not look like Canada will follow suit, and when Mr. Trump becomes Emperor Trump, things may change again, but no one is really sure just yet. The one thing I know is that millions of words analyzing this change are out there for you to read, about the interest rate hikes.

Interest rate hikes

Interest Rate Hikes Down South, but what does it mean?

The most intriguing part of the announcement is that there are 3 planned rate increases for 2017? This is in reaction to an inflationary trend being seen in the states. Canada may not react with an interest rate hike right away, but a reaction seems likely (unless gas jumps to $120 a barrel in which case the Canadian economy will be back in boom mode).

What should you do about this? Lower your debt, now, before it become more expensive to hold, thanks to these interest rate hikes.

The TFSA limit for 2017 is going back to being $5500 (you should know this for your end of year and start of 2017 financial planning). Doesn’t look like the limit is going to go up in 2018 either, which sucks. Don’t be financially stupid, still take advantage of the TFSA program (even if the rates suck).

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My Writings for Week Ending December 16th

With the holidays next week, and getting together with family and friends, I wanted to help out with those interactions with my simple idea, Christmas Advice: How to Deal with Uncle Frank the Financial Expert. Every family has the one relative who is a know-it-all and wants to tell you what you are doing wrong.

A Money Thought

The CRA likes to think they can help out with your end of year account close outs, and remember to give this holiday season.

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Christmas is only a few days away. We will soon all be getting together with friends and families, to share in this happy season. The big Christmas question this year is how will you deal with your family’s financial expert Uncle Frank ?

Every family has an Uncle Frank (or Aunt Francine). The family member who claims to be a money expert and will chew your ear off about how they are doing well financially. How do you deal with a financial expert like this? You are OK with your investments, you don’t want advice, but if you duck Uncle Frank, Aunt Frieda (the crazy cat lady) will corner you in the kitchen.

If you are comfortable with it, you could simply argue with Uncle Frank about how leveraged Hedge Funds are the last thing your 70 year old mother should be investing in, or how the next market crash (or huge gain) may not be due to happen soon, but most folks just want to try to change the subject, or hide in the basement (or drink a lot more eggnog).

financial expert and motivational speaker

Uncle Frank telling some sage financial advice

As a service to my readers, here are some helpful phrases to throw at Uncle Frank. They may help you slow down this  relentless financial expert:

  • I have heard that with Trump’s election, the Russian economy will be making huge gains, so I am planning on putting my money in a Vodka Hedge fund.
  • Someone I work with has got me some inside information on how bees (the insect) will soon all be gone, so I should invest in honey futures (aka the Bee Movie fake out).
  • Given the exploding prices of houses and condos in Toronto and Vancouver, I have decided to live in a Van down by the river (aka the Chris Farley method).
  • I have a great multilevel sales opportunity that guarantees me huge paybacks, if I can get other folks to join in on this rare chance to make money, can I sign you up ?

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, catch up on your family’s news, but try to leave money discussions out of things. Are there any other escapes from Uncle Frank I missed ?


Xmas It Gift, Loose Money and #MoneyTalk


Hatchimal and Me

Every Christmas there is a must have gift that parents have to get, or risk being dubbed lame, and this year we have an interesting Canadian Xmas It Gift, that is the Hatchimal. Don’t worry about trying to buy it, you can’t find it anywhere. When my daughters were at the magic age we had Tickle Me Elmo, the Teletubbies and countless other important purchases (that have been donated somewhere). Are these toys that important? When I was a kid, I remember making my Dad run around Montreal looking for Dungeons & Dragons manuals, and it was important to me (at the time), so maybe they are important?

Big C8j Xmas Gift hint Remember that if you are planning on being lazy and giving gift cards, you can buy iTunes cards on sale all the time at Costco (usually you can buy $100 worth of cards for $94), perfect for that friend dealing with an emergency CRA audit? Truly an Xmas it gift (for those being fleeced).

The Bank of Canada kept their key overnight rate at 0.5% for 2016. Their overall view is interesting, and not clear:

In Canada, the dynamics of growth are largely as the Bank anticipated. Following a very weak first half of 2016, growth in the third quarter rebounded strongly, but more moderate growth is anticipated in the fourth quarter. Consumption growth was robust in the third quarter, supported by the new Canada Child Benefit, while the effects of federal infrastructure spending are not yet evident in the GDP data. Meanwhile, business investment and non-energy goods exports continue to disappoint. There have been ongoing gains in employment, but a significant amount of economic slack remains in Canada, in contrast to the United States. While household imbalances continue to rise, these will be mitigated over time by announced changes to housing finance rules.

So they won’t do anything, for now. I suspect if the Americans start running up their rates, Canada will have to react in some fashion, or risk having a 50 cent dollar.

Viola Desmond will be the new face of the $10 bill in Canada, an excellent choice.

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My Writings for Week Ending December 9th

I have been mucking around with trying to get Quicken running on my Mac in some fashion, and found a great article about it, but found that at the end of it, it was simply easier keeping an old PC laptop to run things, but I outline what I did in, Mac Quicken (in Canada) ?

The Xmas It Gift

In case you wondered what this miraculous toy might look like, here it is!

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Mac Quicken (in Canada) ?

One of the really lousy things that Intuit (or Quicken) did to Canadians, is they stopped having a version of Mac Quicken that worked in Canada for about the past 10 years. Mac Quicken 2007 is the last supported version of Quicken that runs on a Mac (and works with Canadian banks). I have heard that Mac Quicken 2007 no longer works with either the current Mac OS, and/or the current Canadian Banks.

There is actually a very good article about how you can use VMWare to run a PC version of Quicken on your Mac. The article outlines the steps needed, and is an excellent resource for those that feel they are nerdy enough to get it to work (thanks to InvestorJunkie).

Mac Quicken

Never in Canada is my guess that you will ever see Mac Quicken

The Mac Quicken Challenge

As my regular readers know, I am that nerdy, so I tried this out, and it worked, but, not the way I wanted.

The Mac I used was a MacBook Pro with 8 GB of memory running, Mac OS Sierra.

You can download a trial version of VMware (which will give you 30 days to try things out). You will need to either have a spare Windows 7, 8 or 10 license hanging around (or you can run that on a trial Windows license as well).

The VMware Fusion documentation is really straight forward (IMHO) so setting up your PC environment while  time consuming is straight forward. The hard part is figuring out how much memory and disk space you want your VM to use. On my system I gave it 4 GB of memory and 60 GB of disk space (which was on an external USB hard drive)). This seemed to be sufficient to get it all running.

You will also need to have a Quicken for PC license (click here to buy from Quicken). I had a license, so this cost me nothing, if you don’t have a spare license, I would think about whether you want to spend that much money on an experiment.

I installed Quicken, and then restored an old Quicken image and gave it a try out.

This hybrid Mac Quicken worked, no problem, however, I found VMFusion as being a cumbersome process on my laptop (it might work better if you were running on a Mac Mini or a desktop system, which might have more processing power or memory). I was also comparing run my Hybrid Mac Quicken to running Quicken on an older PC Laptop (Dell) that I had lying around.

Mac Quicken Findings

Both versions of Quicken worked fine, the advantage the VMWare version has is that I can run it on your Mac wherever, but with the PC Quicken, I had to have the PC available (using Remote Desktop) to make it work.

In the end I found the VMFusion idea a little too cumbersome for my liking, it kept slowing my laptop down, and bringing up Mac Quicken was slow to begin with.

I have stuck with running Quicken on my old laptop, but it was a very interesting experiment, I am not saying this is a bad idea, it just didn’t work the way I wanted it to work.


Air Miles Blinks, Advent Begins and #Moneytalk

Air Miles has finally capitulated and will not expire 5-year-old miles starting on January 1st, which is a victory for consumer advocacy folks like Ellen Roseman and Robb Engen who have fought this decision very hard. Is this the end of this whole thing in the news? Maybe not, as folks are now complaining that they spent their miles quickly when they heard of the initial decision and are now upset they didn’t have a chance to keep accumulating points.

Air Miles Christmas Tree

Not This Year’s Tree, we haven’t got ours up yet, too worried about Air Miles I guess

Advent has begun so you can now put up all your decorations are garlands and the like, but so many of you already had stuff up Mid-November didn’t you? At least try to follow the Church’s calendar for that stuff.

Whenever something is in the news, it brings out the scum, as we are now seeing with the Phoenix payment system that the federal government has tried to get running for a while. Luckily I have had no issues, but some folks are not getting paid, while others are being overpaid, and that is where the story starts to get interesting. There are folks evidently calling Civil Servants and saying they are from the Phoenix pay system and they want their money back (only, no one is doing that right now evidently). These scammers are trying to make some quick dough off a flawed government system.

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My Writings for Week Ending December 2nd

A simple little bit of writing for me this week with Debt is a Four Letter word. I was positive I had already written that exact story, however, after I heard our friend Preet B. use it, I went into my archives and found that I had not written something with that exact title. I have said there is no such thing as good debt, but not that Debt is an obscenity.

A Money Thought

I think Kerry sums up the whole Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc., sales thing nicely in this one tweet

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