Money is Love ūüíį = ūüíė

From what I can tell from the ads that have assaulted me for the past month (since the Christmas ads died down), the best way to show love is by spending money, and showing off that you have more money to give later.¬† If you aren’t spending a lot of money on someone you (claim to) love, then it is obvious that you do not love them (enough).

Yes, I have ranted about St. Valentine’s Day pretty much every year that I have written here (10 years?), but things seem to be accelerating in terms of your need to show love by spending money. I thought Christmas was bad enough, but now Love Day, is trying to surpass Christmas in conspicuous spending for your loved ones. These kind of vulgar displays of wealth always sickens me, but to each his own, I suppose.

OpenSSL HeartBleed Bug

No that is not a Valentine’s Heart, it is the Heartbleed Heart, don’t put this on any Valentine’s Cards either.

Maybe, what is needed is to think about things that will financially help your loved ones (without bankrupting you). To help you not fall prey to the ire of your loved ones, here are some Financial Valentine’s Day ideas that are useful, and won’t give you diabetes (or an allergic reaction to roses)

  • Put some money in your loved ones RRSP, if that doesn’t say love I don’t know what is. You want to make sure they can retire, and get tax refunds too, now that is saying love with cash, and I am OK with that one. How Banks haven’t hooked into this, since Valentine’s Day is in the middle of “RRSP season”, I have no idea. For the price of a dozen roses, you might get $40 in tax credits back, long after the roses have withered and died.
  • Put money in your children’s RESP, so they can have the option to go to University or a useful post-secondary program.¬† Giving your loved ones options in their lives is truly the greatest gift you can give them (and if that option includes them moving out of your house, and being able to support themselves, so much the better).
  • Needless to say a little money in a TFSA could always brighten a lover’s view of you (OK, maybe not, but it is better for them than a box of chocolate candies).
  • A more risqu√© present, which can be dangerous, is paying off your loved ones debts (or putting money towards it). Why dangerous? You paying off your lovers debts won’t help them in the long run, as they will just think that you will bail them out every time, so careful with this present. What you figured I’d suggest something out of 50 Shades of Grey? That movie’s release on Valentine’s Day is possibly the funniest idea I have ever heard.

Let me also recommend, that if you actually follow through with any of these ideas, I will not back you up, if you are crazy enough to get your Valentine’s Day gift ideas from a Financial Blogger, you can sleep in the bed that you made!

Other Fun Valentine’s Day Rants


Going to the Gym to Work on my Retirement

I used this phrase on a co-worker a few days ago, and they gave me a blank stare in reply. I keep trying to get across to my younger co-workers and peers that retirement planning in terms of ¬†your finances is essential (although as Civil Servants, not as hard, due to the current Pension Plan), but, no matter how much money you save, if you are too sick (or worse dead), it means nothing. I have said before the most important advice I can give for retirement is Don’t Die, before you can retire, and I think this point really does need to be driven home.

Seasick Steve

Seasick Steve’s Album at Amazon

I go to the gym these days to help keep my knees usable, and to make sure my heart stays in relatively good shape. In my younger days, I wanted to look fit, but “the look” matters little to me (now).¬† I want to be able to walk and I don’t want to end up bed ridden in my “golden years”.

Coincidentally, I was listening to an album from Seasick Steve, and there is one song on there that really drives the point home about retirement, and I encourage you to listen to “What a Way to Go“. I heard that song, went home and hopped on my exercise bike. Listen to it on the iTunes store link (above), it says it all about retirement in one catchy song (and it is aimed at Civil Servants or anyone with a Pension). Here is the verse that drove it home for me:

The day of retirement have finally come
Get a gold watch and your work is done
One month later your heart give out
What was all that planning about?

— Seasick Steve, “What a Way to Go

Oh and one other acidic piece of advice for my readers that still smoke, save yourself some money by not saving for your retirement, enjoy your money¬†now, because you aren’t going to need it. The other side of the coin is, I hope you have a medical plan for your retirement, because (if you make it to your retirement) you are going to need THAT! How dare I say that? I watched my Father smoke, and his retirement was spent in a wheelchair, was it caused by his smoking? I think so. You want to do something for your retirement? Quit smoking, put your smokes money in a retirement account and start exercising, it might not be too late.¬† First comment that says, “… it’s my body…”, gets the Second Hand Smoke boot in the groin award (I worked for a tobacco company I have a good idea what is in those things).



More Part Time Jobs in Canada in January

Part-Time Job Creation Rules

Stats Canada published their employment numbers on Friday, and on first glance it read well with almost 35,000  new jobs, but our economy seems to continue to create part-time jobs, which are good, but continues to push Gen Y into the, multi-job to make ends meet, life.

To quote our friends they pointed out:

In the 12 months to January, employment increased by 128,000 (+0.7%) with most of the growth in the second half of the period.

In January, part-time employment increased by 47,000 and full-time was little changed.

Part time jobs have some bad side-effects with little or no benefits, no retirement benefits and usually being where employers cut jobs first. Are our employers addicted to part-time employees? Seems like it.

Employment in Canada

Employment continues to rise for the past little while (5 years)
(from Stats Canada Labour Survey January 2015)

Unemployment dropped during this time period as well, by 0.1%. The employment growth was largely in women 55 and over, which might explain the part-time job part too (older employees being hired part-time to fill in gaps).

Unemployment Canada

Unemployment in Canada over last 5 years
(Courtesy Stats Canada Labour Force Survey January 2015)

There is one encouraging sentence in the report (for me):

The number of people employed in professional, scientific and technical services rose by 22,000 in January, the first notable increase since July 2013.

The other side of the coin is that there are a great deal less jobs in natural resources (and that will continue if Oil prices continue to stay low, but as we are seeing that is changing).

The Big Table

This month we look at jobs by age group and the percentage changes by month and year (I have altered the original table from Stats Canada, but you should check all this info out on their site).

Table 1
Labour force characteristics by age and sex ‚Äď Seasonally adjusted


Dec 2014
Jan 2015

Jan 2014
Jan 2015

thousands (except rates)

% change

Both sexes, 15 years and over
Population 29,116.6 29,139.2 0.1 1.1

Labour force

19,127.7 19,148.4 29.4 0.1 0.3


17,851.5 17,886.9 28.8 0.2 0.7


14,466.0 14,454.2 39.6 -0.1 0.8


3,385.5 3,432.7 36.4 1.4 0.6


1,276.2 1,261.5 24.6 -1.2 -5.4
Participation rate 65.7 65.7 0.1
Unemployment rate 6.7 6.6 0.1
Employment rate 61.3 61.4 0.1
Part-time rate 19.0 19.2 0.2
Youths, 15 to 24 years
Population 4,455.0 4,451.4 -0.1 -0.9

Labour force

2,875.8 2,860.5 17.1 -0.5 0.2


2,488.9 2,495.6 15.7 0.3 1.2


1,289.5 1,286.5 19.0 -0.2 2.1


1,199.3 1,209.1 19.8 0.8 0.3


387.0 364.9 14.6 -5.7 -6.7
Participation rate 64.6 64.3 0.4
Unemployment rate 13.5 12.8 0.5
Employment rate 55.9 56.1 0.4
Part-time rate 48.2 48.4 0.7
Men, 25 years and over
Population 12,061.6 12,074.8 0.1 1.4

Labour force

8,631.7 8,636.1 15.5 0.1 0.5


8,143.5 8,137.5 16.5 -0.1 1.0


7,502.2 7,455.4 22.3 -0.6 0.5


641.3 682.1 18.4 6.4 6.8


488.2 498.6 14.5 2.1 -6.2
Participation rate 71.6 71.5 0.1
Unemployment rate 5.7 5.8 0.2
Employment rate 67.5 67.4 0.1
Part-time rate 7.9 8.4 0.2
Women, 25 years and over
Population 12,599.9 12,613.1 0.1 1.4

Labour force

7,620.2 7,651.7 16.7 0.4 0.1


7,219.2 7,253.7 16.3 0.5 0.3


5,674.2 5,712.2 25.3 0.7 0.8


1,544.9 1,541.5 24.0 -0.2 -1.8


401.0 398.0 13.4 -0.7 -3.0
Participation rate 60.5 60.7 0.1
Unemployment rate 5.3 5.2 0.2
Employment rate 57.3 57.5 0.1
Part-time rate 21.4 21.3 0.3

not applicable

1.¬†Average standard error for change in two consecutive months. See “Sampling variability of estimates” in the section “About the Labour Force Survey” at the end of the publication¬†Labour Force Information¬†(Catalogue number71-001-X) for further explanations.


The sum of individual categories may not always add up to the total as a result of rounding.


CANSIM table 282-0087.



Superb Decisions, Gas Going Up, Rugby and #BestThisWeek

As a football fan, Sunday taught me the importance of making good and timely decisions, as all (who watched the game) saw. There have been explanations, but at the end of it, it could be the single worst play decision since Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. An entertaining game (none the less), and I was glad to see that the Giants are the only team to have defeated the Brady/Belicheck Patriots in a Super Bowl. To put a financial spin on things, don’t ever assume you have all that money, until you have it in your hands (i.e. don’t count your chickens until they are hatched), because there might be a way to lose it all with one decision.

CIS Rugby

Some fine CIS Rugby

Did you realize that the man who brought us Ketchup Potato Chips died this past week? Did you know he was Canadian? Herman Neff (a German immigrant) is that man, and I for one, thank him for that forbidden snack flavor.

Gas prices in Ottawa have jumped about 15% over the past week, and look like they will not be slowing down any time soon, which will make for very interesting stats on Inflation next month. Even with Oil going up in price, the Canadian Dollar has not started to rebound, which could make for some interesting “re-thinks” on the part of the Government in terms of tax breaks and such.

The RBS 6 Nations Cup starts today, with England playing Wales, and I’ll be watching (somehow). In 1972 the (then) 5 Nations Cup ended up tied each team went 2-2, so they all shared in the championship.

My Writings for Week Ending February 6th

Back to my regular 2 a week schedule, which is interesting because right now I have about 175 unfinished articles sitting in my “drafts” folder, I should have a contest to have a lucky writer finish one of those fine topics :

  • I think a financial fit bit might be a cool thing to have, or at least some kind of interface to monitor spending, that maybe shares with your spouse, you spending habits?
  • Car Insurance Savings Devices is me being a paranoid consumer, but there is an excellent (and civilized I might add) discussion with “Chris” who works in the industry about how this might all work. Well worth a read.
  • One of my favorite old stories is the Financial Shock Collar as a spending control device. My view is that any time I can add Star Trek (the original series) into an idea, it makes it much better.

Scotia Bank Value Visa

Click here for many more great financial stories


Car Insurance Saving Devices

The Car Insurance industry has tripped across a brilliant piece of marketing, that will allow them to track the driving habits of all their customers. These devices hook into your car’s computer system (the diagnostic port, I believe), they most likely have a GPS capability and a cellular interface to send data back to your insurer. The¬†device¬†tracks your driving habits and you can see how well you are doing (on-line), and you get a discount for installing it on your car, which sounds wonderful.

If I put on my aluminum foil hat (i.e. take a paranoid point of view), I find it interesting to hear rights and freedoms lovers (as should we all) complaining about how much information the government collects from them, when folks sign up for these kind of invasive programs without batting an eye.

Allegedly the insurance companies in Canada that have these devices claim that they will not use this data to punish drivers, and that may be the case now, but it won’t remain that way.

Car Tracking Device

A version of one of the devices (from the CBC)

If I was collecting specific data about driving habits, I would start doing some analysis on the number of times drivers:

  • Slam on the brakes (yes, that data is there already, your car already tracks pressure on brake pedal)
  • Breaks speed limits and where (do you do 120 KM/hr on highways or worse 80 km/hr in school zones), if the device has a GPS in it, how hard is it to figure this out?
  • Went to bars and drove afterwards (no that doesn’t prove guilt, but it doesn’t paint a pretty picture either).
  • How well you maintain your car.

Don’t think this can happen? Haven’t you noticed all of this great “directed advertising” Google has been giving you? Data collection about you goes on pretty much all day long, and the folks collecting the data aren’t supposed to use it for nefarious reasons, but what is stopping them?

Yes, I sound like a paranoid privacy lunatic, but in this situation, I don’t believe that these “money-saving devices” are only for “monitoring purposes”. I will pass on them until I am forced to install one (and yes I believe that in the future that might be the case). ¬†I do, however, think it is a brilliant idea for the insurance companies to have a better understanding of their customers’ driving habits.

Is this just me being paranoid?


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