Always Financially Follow Up

As a follow up to my discussions about my RESP story of earlier this week, I’d like to drive home an important point, that we all should do, and that is:

  1. Make sure you have everything in writing  or in an electronic traceable format for your records.
  2. Always follow up, if you feel something may have gone wrong

Why did it take so long?
(Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot,at

I was almost guilty of ignoring the second point, in that I was hoping all things might work out with the redemption of funds that had not been transferred from the RESP to the correct account (on Tuesday morning 4 days after the original transaction), but luckily Mrs. C8j had a good nag at me, and I phoned the Mutual Funds Expert at my local branch. When I got his voice mail saying he wouldn’t be back for a week, I had a mild panic attack, but I then decided to call the TD Easyline Mutual Fund folks.

The chap I spoke to (after the first one hung up, due to a telephone network issue on his end I think), was very helpful, and after I explained my concerns, he said he’d put me on hold and went to check what happened.

I am not sure of how long the wait was, but it was certainly more than 5 minutes, but he did come back and assured me that the money was “in transit” and they might be dealing with a backlog of orders, and to the young man’s credit, the money did show up in the correct account a few hours later.

Did my phone call fix anything? It helped my peace of mind, and I felt like I did something about the problem. What happened during that long period that the helpful Mutual Fund Chap from the Easyline Mutual Fund went off to consult? I am not really sure, maybe it was hard to find someone, or maybe someone found some anomaly, I’ll never know, but I felt better for making that call.

Why did two transactions submitted at the same time go through the system 4 days apart? Not sure, and that is not true, the first transaction went through completely, the second transaction started at the same time as the first (i.e. the money was out of the Mutual Fund account on Saturday), it was the transfer to the correct savings account that took 3 extra days? I guess it will remain a mystery to me.

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Too Conservative Portfolio

At my yearly visit to my bank to redeem RESP Money, the TD Mutual Fund Guy I was with commented about my investing portfolio as being conservative. I smiled, didn’t say much and moved on, but he did add that it was a good idea for my daughter’s RESP as I was drawing money from it, so I shouldn’t be too aggressive now.

Profit Loss Jigsaw

Investing is a Jigsaw puzzle isn’t it ?
(photo courtesy jscreationzs

What was this conservative portfolio? A simple exact duplicate of the Canadian Capitalist’s sleepy mini-portfolio:

TDB909 - Canadian Bonds - 25%
TDB900 - Canadian Equities - 25%
TDB902 - US Equities - 25%
TDB911 - International Equities - 25%

How this is Conservative I am unsure, as it is 75% in equities, and 25% in bonds. I suppose for folks like Michael James this is Conservative (MJ on Money has specific views on bonds and equities for investments), but for me, it seems fairly aggressive, in that you are 75% in equities, and there are no GICs or Money Markets in this model at all.

I could make it more conservative and go with 15% Bonds and 10% GICs (or Money Market Funds), but I am happy with this mix for a few of my investing portfolios. If I was going to be more aggressive (which I am not going to be) I suppose I could take the percentages and then invest in individual company stock, but I don’t really see the need to do that.

Another way to morph this, was that if you wanted a more aggressive Sleepy Portfolio you could go:

Canadian Dividend ETF 25%
Canadian Equity ETF 25%
US Equity ETF 25%
International ETF 25%

But I would really only use that kind of model in a non-tax sheltered portfolio, so that your “income” from the portfolio would be dividend based and thus taxed at a lower rate.

Question: I am willing to say I am conservative, but are these investment choices too conservative?


RESPs Another Year and More Fun

Every year, as my children pass through the post secondary system, I withdraw moneys that we have put into our TD Mutual Fund RESP system. If you look at the RESP Menu item, you will see my long record of interesting occurances, putting money into and then attempting to take funds out of the TD RESP Mutual Fund system.

Previously I have had issues with changes in the RESP rules causing me to be unable to easily take money out (without entering a TD Branch), and as each year passes, more interesting things seem to happen, and this year is no exception.

The Circle of Savings in Canada

The Circle of Savings in Canada

This year, I only needed to worry about a single RESP, the one for my youngest daughter. I was quite chuffed, because I was able to navigate the Trent University web site and order a letter stating that my daughter was a full time student (it is not as easy as it sounds, but this letter is crucial to withdrawing RESP moneys from an RESP (allegedly you can use a Tuition receipt, but that strikes me as less likely to work)), but as usual things did not go as smoothly as I would have hoped.

As all I wanted to do was take out money, I had the letter, and had no other requests, I thought I could easily deal with any of the “Mutual Fund Experts” at my local branch (or so I thought).

After having to make an appointment (for a day after I was ready to do my task), I showed up and all seemed to start just fine. The young man I dealt with was polite, if not a little overly nosy (in my opinion), but I noticed that he seemed to be running from a script, which made me very wary.

I had all the relative information I thought I needed, however, a few wrinkles appeared in this “interview” that caused me to get a little confused. First the amount quoted as being the CESG moneys (Government Grant) seemed very high in comparison to what I remembered. Given the grant amount is 20% of up to $2500 per year, it could have been $500 per year, but I was sure I had cashed out some of the grants already, but it seemed like 80% of the remaining moneys was grant money?

I decided to cash out more of the Grant Money this time, however, that is where things got more confusing. The moneys that were not CESG or growth, showed up in my bank account on Saturday (I did this on a Friday), however, the CESG portion which was supposed to show up in my daughter’s account, but it has not shown up as of Monday night. I am hoping that this is just the need to inform the CRA and such, but the fact that moneys showed up in two parts worrie(s|d) me.

The other “grind point” for me was as we went through the steps to get the money, I kept getting sales pitches asking had I spoken to one of their “Investment Specialists”. I really don’t like being upsold services in any situation, and in this situation, I almost got rude, but decided to ignore the statements. I did (however) point out that I own TD E-series index funds, and was not interested in any Balanced Funds or direct stock trading, I thought that warned off my interrogator, however, he did come back again at the end of the interview suggesting I chat with someone about investing, this time I replied a more firm “No!”.

So now I sit and wait hoping for the second portion of my moneys to appear in my Daughter’s Saving Account, or for a call explaining how things may have gone a little wrong (I hope not)?


Happy Labour Day 2014

Hope you are all enjoying the end of the Summer 2014, as usual, I have no idea where the summer went, but it’s time to realize a few important things about this date:

  • There are 4 months left in this year, like I said, time flies.
  • Less than 4 months until Christmas, and I am pretty sure it is already Christmas at Costco, and the first Christmas commercial will come on right after the Back to School events are over.
  • Back to School, for those of us with kids, could mean a lot of money being spent on “small things”. Oh and on Tuesday the 2nd, stay the heck away from Wal-Mart and Staples, it’s like Boxing Day in September there.

If you have some spare time read some of my thoughts on Labour and Work:

  • Do you enjoy work? Maybe you should Work Less and Pay Less Taxes? Maybe not, but you know what I mean.
  • Does your Money work for you, or do you work for your money? I know I work for my money, but maybe one day it will work for me as well.
  • I am also a firm believer in the Value of a Day Off, and I can hear Mrs C8j shouting about how I don’t take enough vacation, but again, do as I say, not as I do.

Enjoy your day off!

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A Fine Friday on Vacation

I have been enjoying a vacation this week, where I actually didn’t really relax, I took care of a great deal of things, but I also took a planned week off writing for this site, just to see how I felt about not writing. Every once in a while I feel a little run down, and feel I am putting out even lower quality drivel than I normally do, but I am happy to say, I did miss writing, so I should be back to a more regular writing routine in the next couple of weeks. The site will be changing a little bit as well, as I am getting bored with its current lay out, and I don’t feel like I am maximizing my ability to get my messages out (or getting very good exposure to the over 2600 articles I have already written).

Big Cajun Man Photo

The Big Cajun Vacation Look

If there are any suggestions that you have for the site, please feel free to drop me a line at ‘bigcajunman @’ (I may not reply right away, that account is actually inundated with get rick quick and boner pill e-mails). You can also send me tweets at @bigcajunman as well, I am all over the Social Media thingy.

I did read some of my favorite writers this week, but I won’t point directly to their writing, I’ll be a little more direct with my statements about each site, and why I find the writings interesting to me. I actually read a veritable cornucopia of sites during my day, as I am a little scatter brained (i.e. I can’t really concentrate on a single subject at a time).

Who am I reading now? It’s easy enough if you look in the right column, you’ll see most of these names, but I’ll elaborate on things a bit more.

  • Michael James is a good friend who I talk with regularly and has given me great advice along the way. If you are not reading his site, and at least using his writings as a baseline to work from, you need to do that, now.
  • Preet Banerjee is also a good guy, who I view as a friend, who has forgotten more about investing than I will ever figure out, listen closely to what he is saying on TV and on Radio.
  • Ram at the Canadian Capitalist is another excellent resource, who seems to have retired for now on writing, but go through his site, most (if not all) of his advice is still very much topical and very good. His example portfolios are exactly what start-up investors should use as a template.
  • Larry MacDonald is writing here and there these days, but he may start his own site some time very soon, and if he does, you should read that as well. Larry is an economist and a writer, who is on the ball.
  • Mark Seed from My Own Advisor is a relative newcomer, but from what I can tell a great deal of you have figured out that he is worth reading (and I am green with envy for his readership). Mark brings the Dividend Investing world to light for me, so I find his writings helpful for me to understand an area which I don’t talk about much.
  • Mark Goodfield from the Blunt Bean Counter is another good guy, he has given me personal advice which has helped me out with my dealings with the CRA (about medical expenses and such for my son who is on the Autism Spectrum). I don’t usually have much good to say about accountants, but Mark is the exception to that rule.
  • I have only spoken with Gail Vaz-Oxlade over the phone, but she did make a great impression on me, and if you aren’t reading her site, you need to add her to your list of sites to read. Her blunt approach to advice is exactly what the world needs now.
  • Robb Engen and his Mum (Marie) write a  very good set of articles over at Boomer and Echo, which I don’t always mention, but again, you should be reading these articles, and they are now in the business of Financial Advice as well.
  • Barry Choi over at Money We Have is still a newbie in the Financial Writing world, but his interesting article about his Financial Advisor here certainly still gets a lot of interesting comments.
  • Kerry at Squawkfox is another one who is not writing as much, but that is mostly because she is on many other main stream medias, and she is a busy mom too. Her writings are very eclectic, but still mostly on the money side of things.

Oh and you should add to your reader too!

These are only a few of the places I wander, whilst cruising the Information Superhigway, other less money related sites also include:

  • Popular Science is always interesting for odd scientific information that I wouldn’t realize, had I not checked out their fine site (with no comments).
  • I like Lifehacker mostly because it usually has an article a week on something that I go, “I NEED TO KNOW THAT!!”, or a Eureka article, as I call them.
  • I have been reading Postsecret for a while, it is an entertaining, interesting, sometimes troubling but never dull set of Secrets published on line.

Reading all of this can be time consuming, but can be helpful, and maybe save you some money, so have a look at them and maybe subscribe to their mailing lists, RSS feed or one of the other social media presences that most of these folks publish.


TigerDirect (CA)
Remember my RSS feed is available too, and I have added an RSS Comment Feed as well. Have a look at my micro-blog on Twitter, where you can see a whole plethora of good articles and pithy comments by me as well.

My Twitter feed is where I re-tweet many great articles by some of my featured writers (and make the occasional odd or off colour commentary on life (in 140 characters or less)). I am also on redditTumblrPinterest and other Social Media sites (look for theBigCajunMan userid) as well. If you have social media accounts, don’t forget to votefor my posts (see the nifty dashboard on the bottom of each article, where you can cast your votes).As they say in Quebec, vote early and vote often!

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