Fintech is it the Answer ?

What was the Question ?

If Fintech is the answer, are we sure we know what is the question? Fintech started off being about changes to the banking and investing back ends, but not any more. Fintech is now being used to describe new On-line banking and Investing systems, as well as, automated investing systems.  For arguments sake, let us view Fintech, as any new technology in the Banking and Investing world.

Fintech

Fintech, Welcome to the Machine

Savings Passed On ?

With these new technology changes, the main thing will be, will savings realized by financial firms passed on? Some of the savings for financial firms are:

  1. Less employee overhead, which should mean significant savings. If there is less need for tellers, investment advisors, insurance advisors, etc., that will save these firms big money. Less salaries, less benefits to pay, no pensions, these savings could be the biggest Fintech improvement, but will I see savings?.
  2. Less Mortar & Brick locations, this is a follow on to all the on-line services. If Fintech means more services on-line, it could mean less need for as many “regional offices” and the like.
  3. Easier and cheaper transfers between banks and investing firms. These “costs” are hokum any how, but now even harder for the big banks to hide. All of this is comms between computers, no humans involved. Why does it cost $3 to make an Interac Transfer?
  4. Lower Fees for services like costs per trade and such. With on-line trading and banks this was a big promise, that has never really come to fruition (yet).
  5. Faster and better portfolio decisions sound like something that should happen, but that depends on how it is implemented, and faster is a relative statement (same day transactions can be faster than 2 or 3 days lead time, but are worse that within 5 minute trades).
  6. Consolidation of firms might happen in the U.S., but less likely in Canada. Canadians continue are at the mercy of the Big Banks, but maybe Fintech will cause small on-line banks to break through? We can only hope on that one.

Fintech For Everyone ?

Will I be able to take advantage of these great new technologies, or will this simply end up being something that benefits big investors and financial firms? I suspect there will be some advertised Fintech features offered, but my assumption is this will end up being a big money, people and time saver for the big financial firms, but not so much for John Q. Public.

Can I Create a Fintech Edge ?

Can I, as a relatively tech savvy investor, find my own Fintech edge? Not likely is my opinion. That would mean large financial firms would open up their systems to me and other programmers. This will not happen, security concerns would be the biggest issue.

All I can think of is Pink Floyd’s lyrics from Wish You Were Here,

“Welcome my son, welcome to the machine”

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Bungled Mortgages, Friday the 13th and #Moneytalk

It seems some money lenders are not happy with the new Mortgage rules, so they are attempting to bamboozle the system by marketing something called a Bundled Loan (or as I call it bungled mortgages ). The CBC’s explanation of this new poly-morphed debt vehicle is:

bungled mortgages

Mortgage Definition
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Canada’s subprime mortgage providers are increasingly teaming up with unregulated rivals to sidestep rules designed to clamp down on risky lending. … The result of these partnerships are so-called bundled loans, which pair a primary mortgage with a second loan from unregulated groups called Mortgage Investment Corporations (MICs).

This sounds suspiciously like the old 1st mortgage, 2nd mortgage, and maybe a 3rd mortgage trickery of days gone by, except the 2nd and 3rd ones are with, interesting loan folk. The CBC also points out that while this isn’t really against the law, the folks who offer the main mortgage are supposed to take into consideration other debt vehicles used by the borrowers, wonder if they look at the other parts of the Loan Bundle? Still sounds like bungled mortgages to me.

It is Friday the 13th today. Is it a bad day to invest? I don’t know call me in a year and I will tell you. Should you sell on Friday the 13th? Depends on what you are selling, and whether what you sell goes up in value after you sell it. I never get tired of giving these kind of testicle busting comments. Did you realize that Friday the 13th, always occurs after a Thursday the 12th ?

 

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My Writings for Week Ending January 13th

Last week the year end employment numbers were published by our friends at Stats Canada, and it showed that 2016 Was the Year of the Part-time job, since that is where most of the job growth in Canada took place. It is good there are more jobs, but it is disturbing to see that many folks careers now consist of a few part-time jobs, quilted together to create enough income to live on. Let us hope they are not also looking for bungled mortgages.

A Money Thought

Well, it costs you money, because in Ottawa it is Pothole season!

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2016 The Year of Part-time Jobs

Friday, the 2016 year ending Labour Force Survey was published by Stats Canada and it confirmed that 2016 was the year of the part-time jobs.

To quote the survey overview:

In the 12 months to December, employment gains totalled 214,000 or 1.2%, compared with a growth rate of 0.9% observed over the same period one year earlier. A year-end review is presented in a separate section below.

Which sounds wonderful, except when you have a look a little deeper in the Analysis of the data, and find out the following gem:

Part-time employment trended up throughout 2016, rising by 154,000 or 4.5%, while full-time employment was little changed. During the same period, the number of hours worked was virtually unchanged.

So a lot of these new jobs end up being part-time employment. Looking at the graphs you can see how this year is the year of the part-time job in Canada. Is this a good thing? No, not really, but I guess it is better than losing jobs overall, or maybe not. How many multi-job (part-time jobs) folks are out there? That would be an interesting statistic.

 

Part-time jobs

Employment indexes, Canada, seasonally adjusted

The unemployment rate for the entire year of 2016 ends up down 0.2% to 6.9% which is nowhere near the American numbers (I believe 4%) but still good that the unemployment numbers are dropping (slowly).

British Columbia is the place to be if you are looking for a job (job growth is the strongest there for the past year).

Given the recovery that seems to be starting in the west (in the Oil fields) this could mean the Canadian economy might be getting ready to surge, but there is the omnipresent question about our neighbours down south and what interesting new policies will come forward with their new government? Let us hope that 2017 becomes the year of Full-Time jobs ? (enough of the part-time jobs).

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Merry New Year, CPP, EI and #MoneyTalk

The year 2017 has begun and hopefully it is a Merry New Year for all of us, given how poorly 2016 seemed to go for some of us.

They’re back!!!

In case you might have forgotten, CPP and EI restart for those of us who are not CEO’s or get paid over $400K. Those folks still have to pay those, but they only pay it on their first pay cheque.

Curious about how much you will be paying this year? Here’s your sign:

  • CPP for regular employees (maximum): $2,564.10
  • CPP for self-employed (max): $5,128.20
  • EI maximum for non-Quebec folks: $836.19
  • EI max for Quebecers : $651.51

Remember that if you tell your co-workers, “Hey I no longer pay CPP”, they can figure out your yearly income.

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My Writings for Week Ending January 6th

I started this merry new year throwing out a little click-bait, stating that I Hate Sean Cooper, which of course is not the case, in fact I admire his ability to pay off his house debt so quickly. It all started listening to a piece on CBC Radio about Sean, and how the Internet trolls were skewering him. I read through the CBC web piece on him, and sure enough there were just asinine comments that made me laugh, and the article wrote itself. Sean has a book coming out soon, that I hope to have a review done for soon.

Car Loans Lasting How Long?

When car loans start lasting 12 years, I have to start wondering when Car Loan Insurance (similar to mortgage insurance) is going to start being offered by banks? I keep cars 12 years, but I don’t want to pay for them for that long (and spreading a Corolla’s loan for that long, would take a lot of work).

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I Hate Sean Cooper

For those who are not aware Sean Cooper came to the media attention a while ago when he talked about how he worked very hard to pay off his house in a short period of time (three years). Sean has also written a very interesting book (the amazon link is on this page, book is out soon).

Sean Cooper

Amazon Link for Sean’s Book


Sean’s story is not that unique in my circle of friends, I know a few folks who worked very hard to get out of debt quickly. With my friends stories, they had two solid incomes, and made it their goal to pay off their house in less than 5 years (and not in the Toronto Real Estate market). Sean’s story is a little extreme (in that he worked more than 2 jobs at times and did other extreme savings tricks) but still to be applauded.

How Can You Hate Sean Cooper ?

Do I hate Sean Cooper? Evidently the Internet does (if you look at the stories about him, the comment section is peppered with angry folks who disagree with how Sean did it, and how it is unrealistic to assume this is possible). Let me be clear, Sean’s method is possible, if you want it.

No, I do not hate Sean Cooper, I have met him at a conference, he seems like a very nice young man (remember I am an old fart). He cannot loathed for his lifestyle, he should be applauded for setting a tough goal, and then making it happen. Could I have done it? I doubt it, but I do compliment him for accomplishing his goal. Am I jealous of him? Absolutely!

Can you Do What Sean Did?

Can you do this? Positively, it is not easy, but possible (if you have a job, and a lot of self-control (if you have two incomes, why aren’t you doing this?)). Should you do this? That is up to you, but I would suggest reading Sean’s book and see that parts of his concepts you can use in your life to get out of debt quickly.

Examples of Trolls of Mr. Cooper

The CBC article had some classic troll comments about Sean’s story. These are just so amazingly venomous (and I can’t figure out why they are so pissed off at him):

  • “…Another media PR job to whitewash the economy misery of the youth. 100 hours of work a week = over 14 hours of work a day, every day. …”
  • “…On the upside, he did die a rich man. However, since he didn’t have a social life and had no children, the state took it all. …”
  • “…Why isn’t anyone asking where a 25 year old got a nearly 200,000 dollar down payment? I’d say he HARDLY was living like a pauper. …”

Reading the comments on the article is almost more entertaining (but again, why so negative?). I look forward to reading his book.

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