Avocado Toast, Victoria Day, Ransomware and #Moneytalk

The Web has gone wild discussing whether giving up avocado toast is the new latte savings plan. The implication is if you cut out exorbitant expenses, that you can live without, you can then afford a house. I feel quite proud that I gave up avocado toast in 1966 (I do not like avocado or guacamole). You should look at where you spend your money, and yes, you should cut down on luxuries if you are saving to buy a house, but don’t make yourself miserable. If an avocado toast occasionally makes you happy, indulge, but in moderation.

Avocado Toast

OK, Robert didn’t say this exactly, but he did bake the tarts!

When did avocado toast become a thing? Don’t people know about butter tarts? Evidently this avocado toast costs $19 a serving, so you should avoid having a daily “habit” that costs $19 (if you are saving to buy a house). You could buy an entire loaf of bread and a very big jar of peanut butter  for that much money, or  many butter tarts.

For most of Canada this weekend is Victoria Day Weekend, in Quebec it is Journée Nationale Des Patriotes but for most it is the first long weekend of the spring. Surprisingly gas prices have spiked here in Ottawa, but I am sure these two  events are not related.

Ransomware is running rampant around the web, which suggests folks need to be much more diligent with your network access . As mentioned in Don’t Click That, do not assume any email is what it claims to be especially if it includes a link to “click”. Ensure you have safe backups of your data, especially financial data, or you could be in a bad way should you fall prey to these nefarious nincompoops.

The other exciting technology point is that Windows XP will be patched! Why, you might ask? The Windows XP patch is so that ATMs (yes banking machines) and point of sale systems can be safer to use. You read that right, the two most used pieces of #Fintech out there are running on Windows XP. Choke that down  with your avocado toast.

Canada is turning 150 this year, but Montreal (or Hochelaga) turns 375 this year. Happy Birthday, to  my birthplace, you don’t look a day over 350!

More Toast Thoughts

Kerry from Squawkfox throws her 10 cents into this discussion about Avocado Toast as well.

[click to continue…]


RDSP, DTCs, Mother’s Day and #MoneyTalk

This week our friend Kerry K. from Squawkfox appeared on CBC On The Money and did an excellent job explaining the issues with the RDSP. The video of her interview is at the end of this post. The major things to take away are:

  • The system is daunting for disabled folks (or their families) to set things up. No argument from me, we are lucky we got help.
  • It is not used by 85% of folks eligible (over 500,000 Canadians who could use it, don’t)
  • These folks need help, but not from the “Helpful firms” that will scrape up to 30% of their tax refund to do
Going thru hell

Certainly the way it feels sometimes dealing with DTCs and RDSPs

I applaud Kerry for her hard work in this area, and her excellent presentation on the topic. She was also kind enough to mention me (by so for those of you wonder who the Big Cajun Man is watch the Video) and the help Mrs. C8j and I gave her on the topic. Luckily Kerry presented it (and wrote it), so it made sense and was easy to understand.

Let me point out that I do not claim to be an expert on the topic of DTC or RDSPs, I simply have lived the system and have many useful tips for those trying to use it.

Democracy was in evidence in B.C., when an election was decided by 9 votes (effectively). The riding of Courtenay-Comox was won by a 9 vote margin, in the Wednesday Election. There will be a recount, but if the NDP holds the seat, there is a minority Government in B.C., with the Green Party holding the balance of power. If the Liberals win the seat, they will have a slim majority. Yes, this is why you should always vote.

It is Mother’s Day on Sunday in North America, so remember your Mother. We all had one, and all she wants is for you to give her a call, and maybe visit sometimes.

The Real Estate market in Toronto might be slowing down, but in Ottawa it is starting to heat up. Have not heard of many bidding wars, yet, but maybe folks are thinking Ottawa is a suburb of Toronto?

All you folks who collect Aeroplan Points (like I have for over 25 years) must be shocked as I am that Air Canada is severing their relationship with them. I don’t have many points left, but evidently there is no transferral of points to Air Canada’s new point system either.

Things I wrote this Week

I wrote three articles this week #Wow. On Monday I wrote about an older book Preet wrote RRSPs: The Definitive Book on Registered Retirement Savings Plans, which is still topical. It was written before the TFSA, so it could use an update with the TFSA added in, but still a very good reference book.

After working with Kerry K. on her research, I came across a great quote about an issue with the RDSP program, and its horrible subscription rate. DTC RDSP Vicious Circle talks about how you need a DTC to set up an RDSP, but why some folks don’t bother with the DTC.

On the sister site to this site, I wrote about an important personal security issue, The Difference Between Phishing and Spear-Phishing,outlines what to look for in both cases. If you are under a Spear­ Phishing attack, it is most likely due to your friends having their accounts compromised.

A Money Thought

Here we have a great resource for RDSPs, reporting on their investing success with the RDSP.

👇🏼There are plenty of great financial stories to follow 👇🏼


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.

[click to continue…]


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!”

👁Want to see more? Click here for more great financial reading 👁


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.

👇Click here for more great financial stories 👇🏾


%d bloggers like this: