Little Known Secrets of Financial Planning

Yes, this is the new hack writer trend out there (what is worse is those terrible articles that you find on major sites that are links to horrible, ad laden (and most likely malware laden) sites). Little Known Facts about any topic end up being a simple rehash of things that most folks have already heard, or have heard rumours about it (and many of these facts are simply rumour based), so with that in mind, let us delve into this important topic

The other important point is that the article always has a “click here” thingy to force you to click (and God knows what you are downloading when you click it), so here is mine (I promise it is simply a link to the rest of this terrific piece of writing).

đź’°Click here for a sure fire money tipđź’°

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Lotteries are not a Financial Service

Just a quick one that I noticed, it seems our friends at Red Flag Deals (I do like checking there to see if something I need to buy is on sale) have become a little confused.

This week they are offering OLG: FREE Watch ‘N Win Lotto eCoupon, OK, I guess folks that play lotteries like freebies as much as the next person (note I have not made that an active link, you can go find it on the Red Flag Deals web site yourself (I am not in any way espousing you go buy lottery tickets)).

Cash Cows the Album

My Favorite Cash Cow

What worries me about this coupon, is where this coupon was ca

  • Stuff you are never going to get your money back from
  • Tax on the poor
  • Home -> Not a Deal -> Lottery

Any of those is better than Financial Services -> Other !

Wow!


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In App Purchases and the New Economy

You may not be aware, but one of the biggest ways to make money on-line is by making “free” games. How can you make a bloody fortune on line with a game that costs nothing to buy? Simple, the game is free, but to do things inside of it can cost the player money (now known as Freemiums) , and this seems to be replacing the chocolate bar at the grocery store check out, as kids’ impulse purchase item of choice.

Money Magnet

In App Purchases, the NEW Money Magnet ?
Image courtesy of nongpimmy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How big are Freemiums (aka inApp purchases)? Both Google and Apple were forced (or thought it was a good idea?) to add an option to STOP in app purchases (or at least force the user to input a password to do it), that is how much money it made in the early days of “free” apps. This was only done after many horror stories of folks (some kids, but many adults as well) rolling up over $100 worth of purchases on these apps, before realizing they were spending “real” money.

The games themselves don’t call their currency Dollars, Pounds, Yuan or Yen, they call it “money” and you need it to buy the good things to make your “gaming experience better”, which seems to suggest they might worry that if you called it Dollars, folks might tweak in that this is REAL money, but maybe not.

I play Simpsons Tapped In™ from EA Sports, and this game looks like the Golden Calf for EA sports in terms of income numbers. I have actually “bought money” once, when it was “on sale” (odd idea, money being on sale) but I have mostly steered clear of paying for anything. My son plays many (many) games on his iPad that has inApp purchases (however the option to do inApp purchases is turned OFF on his iPad) and many times he has wanted to “buy money”, but we have not relented on this rule.

Money no longer grows on trees, you simply twiddle some bits.

Helpful Video

There was a South Park Episode about this very topic “Freemium Isn’t Free“, which sums things up nicely and compared freemiums to alcohol, in that freemium apps keep saying, “ask your parents about purchases first”. They compared this to the Alcohol industries, “drink responsibly” program.

Be warned, the following video is INCREDIBLY NSFW (it is South Park after all), but it does sum up the business of Alcohol Advertising:

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The Financial Fit Bit

Mrs. C8j got me for Christmas, a fitbit, which is a nifty little device that tries to track how much physical exercise you have been doing (e.g. how many steps you take, how many stairs you climb, etc.,) and I do like it a great deal. She paid extra and got me the “charge” version, which attempts to track my heart rate as well, and so far it is working quite well.

Surprisingly a few other friends (including Michael James) have versions of this device to track their movements, and there is an ability with the device to set up “groups” where you can compete with each other, to see who takes the most steps or other parameters, and this got me thinking, that maybe a Financial Fit Bit might be an interesting device (yes, this is from the man who brought you the financial shock collar).

The Fit Bit Charge

The Fit Bit Charge
(from Amazon Canada)


The device could work in tandem with the Financial Shock Collar, however, let’s look at how the device might actually work:

  • Track spending while you spend. This could be tricky as it should really track all types of spending (cash, credit cards, debit or whatever), and give instantaneous reports if you wish.
  • Have possible limits set up on it, so that you don’t overspend for the day.
  • Downloading of data directly into whatever financial tracking system you’d like like Quicken or Mint

I realize that with smart phones and such, this might do better as part of a smart phone or better still as a part of the touch payment capabilities that are being built into them. Will our smart phones effectively become this kind of finance tracking device? Might not be a bad idea, but I doubt you’d want to share this with your friends in a competitive group, unless you want to play, “Who is the cheapest?” (I know who might win that competition with my friends).

Any other features the Financial Fitbit could have?

 

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5 Ways to Optimally Use Your Pay Raise

In the New Year many folks will be getting pay raises and as a service to you folks here is a short list of some wonderful ways to optimally use your new pay raise.

You do know my great love for lists, so I hope you appreciate this as much as I did compiling it.

  1. Forget that you got a pay raise, use your current budget and use the extra money to pay down debt. Did you need this extra money to live on? I doubt it, so why not get yourself out of debt? Avoid Lifestyle Creep and live within your means.
  2. If you have automatic payments to your Mortgage and/or RRSP ( or TFSA ), increase them to reflect the amount of your raise (if you got a 4% raise, then up your payments by that amount as well). This way you are at least getting ahead more. The same should be done if you have young kids and you are putting money away in an RESP for them, more money NOW, means less pain later.
  3. If you haven’t started saving for the future, now is the time, and now you have extra money to do it with (unless of course you still have debt, if so go back to step 1). Get that RRSP going or a TFSA and your future self will thank you profusely.
  4. If you must “celebrate” keep it low-key. Vince Lombardi told his players, “When you get into the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.“, same thing with your pay raise, no reason to go bananas and blow your money, you deserved it, you worked hard, now keep it!
  5. If you feel you must go out and spend, make it on something that will help you be a better you , like a course to help your career, or even a gym membership to help stay in shape. It’s great to have all this money, but if you are sick or unhealthy it isn’t going to mean much. The educational aspect of this is the right way to go. Help expand your horizons by expanding your mind.
  6. Here is an extra one (for no extra charge) for those who aren’t really driven by money, but more by quality of life questions: if you are making 4% more (or 8 days more pay )how much less can you now work and make the same money (I mean days, not effort on the job)? If your firm allows you to take unpaid leave, have you got yourself a few more days off that you can take? It’s trite but nobody says in retirement, “I wish I was at the office more days”.

I am sure I have missed many other great ideas, but remember hopefully this is the first of many pay raises, so don’t go berserk spending or celebrating, act like it will happen again (soon).

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