Autumn has arrived in Ottawa, which of course means that Winter is Coming, but unfortunately the financial pundits down south are also warning of Financial Winter, in the face of possible Fed Rate increases by December. If the US starts ratcheting up interest rates, Canada might follow suit, or might not, to make the dollar weaker? I can’t remember what is in vogue these days, a Weak Dollar helping trade or a Strong Dollar, helping trade?

If Financial Winter is coming, maybe it is time to think about whether you are ready or not?

Game of Thrones Financial

The White Walkers Want Your Money

The CRTC is trying to make sure our Internet Access (at home) is not only available from specific companies, however, the Monopolies (Bell, Telus, Rogers) are not playing very nice, as outlined in ‘We need to fix this’: Big telcos hoard fibre optic networks despite CRTC order. Companies like Teksavvy have been trying to compete, but continue to run into the Monopolies lack of co-operation.

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Preet and Money

We see him here, we see him there, that Preet B. is everywhere!.

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Unemployment Up, On the Money, Debt and #MoneyTalk

Stats Canada published their Labour Force Survey, August 2016 last Friday and the numbers continue to underwhelm, if not discourage folks. While employment is up 26,000 jobs, unemployment rate is up 0.1% as well, leaving it as 7.0%.

I always look to see what kind of jobs are being created, and this line from the report is quite telling:

Compared with 12 months earlier, employment increased by 77,000 (+0.4%), with all of the gains in part-time work. Over the same period, the total number of hours worked fell slightly (-0.4%).

So more folks working part-time jobs is not a ringing bit of good news for the current economy.  The types of jobs being created is also telling:

There were more people working in public administration, and fewer people working in professional, scientific and technical services.

More admin folks, is that a good thing? For me I am glad there are more folks over 55 finding jobs, but us old folks clogging up the market can’t be good for the young folk looking for work.

Unemployment in Canada

Unemployment for the Past 5 years

CBC Newsworld launched a new show about money, On the Money, looks to have regular contributions from many friends of this humble site. It uses Flash Player for its videos (CBC should really get to HTML 5).

Stats Canada also reported on Household Net Worth this week, and as you might guess there is more debt out there.

The household debt service ratio (seasonally adjusted), measured as total obligated payments of principal and interest as a proportion of disposable income adjusted to include actual interest paid, increased from 14.1% in the first quarter to 14.2% in the second quarter. The interest-only debt service ratio, defined as household mortgage and non-mortgage interest paid as a proportion of disposable income, was 6.3%.

Household sector leverage info

Household Sector Leverage Info

Let the media storm around this data commence!

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My Writings for Week Ending September 16th

Seems to be RESP season these days, but if you have kids, are there any times when RESP Sometimes Doesn’t Make Sense ? Yes, but only in obvious areas that you can already guess about. It is free money after all.

A Money Thought

Have I mentioned that text books are expensive lately ?

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iPhone 7, High Tuition, Loose Money & #MoneyTalk

Exciting news this week in the technology world, with the iPhone 7 being announced, by Apple. Is there anything new? Two different cameras, no such thing as a headphone jack and some other fun stuff, but nothing earth shattering (which upset investors, so the stock didn’t do its normal jump on the announcement of a new iPhone). It was interesting in the keynote for the launch, the Apple CEO pointed out that the iPhone is the “Gold Standard” for smartphones, and that is true (unfortunately), “Just as Good as an iPhone” is the battle cry of all the smartphone “pretenders”.

The Bank of Canada announced that loose money policies will continue, but they also (optimistically) stated that the economy should turn around soon.

On balance, risks to the profile for inflation have tilted somewhat to the downside since July. At the same time, while there are preliminary signs of a possible moderation in the Vancouver housing market, financial vulnerabilities associated with household imbalances remain elevated and continue to rise

Evidently the new CCB payments will have positive effects on the economy as well? I guess if you give folks tax-free money they will spend it?

Tuition by Area of Study

Tuition Costs by Area of Study

Stats Canada put out their yearly report on Tuition fees, and surprisingly (sarcasm) Tuition fees are up again in their latest survey. The report does have some interesting breakdowns showing that Ontario is the most expensive place to send your kid to school, and that Engineering and Professional programs are bloody expensive as well. The report doesn’t really mention all the funny service fees that are typically part of your tuition bill, or the cost of text books and other things, but still a useful barometer to confirm what I already knew, it is expensive to send your kids to University in Canada.

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My Writings for Week Ending September 9th

Given it is back to school season I continue on with my onslaught about the high price of a University Education in Canada, and remember it is not just fees, it is also Textbooks are too Expensive, as well. If you are fretting about the price of your kids’ backpacks, you really need to read more about the expenses of a post-secondary education.
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Farewell, EpiPens, Ombudsman Report and #MoneyTalk

Last week we said good-bye to the Olympics, and as well, to the Tragically Hip. I was never a rabid “Hip” fan, but I enjoy a great deal of their music (and if you listen closely to the lyrics, you might just learn something, about Canada). Some might say, “… life goes on…”, but that doesn’t mean we can’t feel sadness about the passing of time. Also, the summer is also almost over.

EpiPen or injector

Ouch!

How much are you willing to pay to save your life? The entire price of EpiPen silliness in the U.S. really does make me wonder if big drug companies assume they are like banks and can charge whatever they want, and there will be no repercussions? As a stock holder in Pfizer (still) I suppose I am a hypocrite for making that comment, but Pfizer’s big money-maker is still Viagra, and if you want to gouge men who want to have a drug which has a possible side effect of “… an erection lasting more than 4 hours…”, then so be it.

I was disturbed to read the Ontario Ombudsman’s report “Nowhere to Turn”, where the Ombudsman called for systemic overhaul to help adults with developmental disabilities in crisis. The quote in the report that concerns me is:

“There is still marked inconsistency in how limited funds are prioritized and distributed” and families struggle with “interminable waitlist delays,” leaving some so desperate that they have abandoned their loved ones.

My Writings for Week Ending August 26th

I started the week writing about inflation, and the arithmetic cogitations that make the numbers appear good, but the calculations that tell a different story, with Electricity Prices Continue to Sizzle in July. Electricity prices continue to go up (especially here in Ontario), while gas prices appear to be dropping which are nullifying the effects of the electricity price jump. Fun with Numbers.

I also had a lovely conversation with one of my favorite folks, Kerry from Squawkfox, and she was doing research for some work she is doing for the Globe and Mail. The topic of RESPs came up, and I remembered that I had started an article RESP Proof of Enrolment and its importance to the cashing out of the RESP funds, so I finished that one off. I typically end up getting inspired when I chat with smart money folks, so thanks Kerry.

An Excellent Question

An interesting question from a follower:

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Lord Stanley's Pride

My Hope is to Retire before the Leafs win the Cup

This week a great deal of kerfuffle was kicked up when a couple of 30 year olds claim they have retired, and were telling folks how they did it (some folks say boastfully). While I know folks who have retired in their 30’s (only to go back to work, because they were a little bored, and also decided they might nee a little more money), the idea of “retiring” at 30 seems to be the new Nirvana for millennial folk. Given this generation is going to live longer than my generation, what the heck are they going to do while “retired” ? Even Garth Turner kicked in his 10 cents worth on the topic, and Preet discussed this with the morning crew at Global too (see the Tweet of the week for that one). If you manage to retire young, on the back of your parents’ assets then pish-posh on you, but if you earn it, through the sweat of your own brow, then good on you! Most folks who will bash folks like this are mostly bitter narrow-minded financial bloggers (no wait, that is me), jealousy is never a good reason to mock other folks achievements.

I was sad to see the passing of Mauril Belanger (MP with ALS). ALS is a frightening disorder (not that any lethal disorder is better or worse), let us hope the work he did, gets us closer to a way to treat this destructive disorder.

The Olympics are over this weekend, and I am sad to see them go. They are always entertaining (if not also incredibly frustrating) to watch, I think Rio did OK, let us hope that we don’t get any horror stories of the aftermath. The Paralympics start in a few weeks as well. Congratulations to the Canadian Ladies, showing that “Playing Like a Girl” is a good thing!

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My Writings for Week Ending August 19th

As I get older I keep forgetting about helpful technology, especially in the world of banking, and my article, Old Financial Technology Habits Die Hard outlines how I forgot about photo cheque cashing as a technology (shame on me, I am not a Luddite).

I am attempting to work on my article backlog, and I found one I started a while ago based on a BuzzFeed post that I saw. Little Known Secrets of Financial Planning, is no great epiphany, in fact I get downright sarcastic.

Preet on Early Retirement

Preet is on TV a lot these days, it seems. I have been told I have a face for Radio.

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