Payroll Donations at Work

As an employee of the government every year the GCWCC canvasses employees to give to charities of their choice. The past few years those donations have been lower due to the Phoenix Pay system issues.

I have participated in this program for many years, but I suspect this year will be my last for a few reasons.

The primary reason is the overhead charged by the United Way to administer this program for the Government. The program has negotiated a lowering of the normal fees the United Way takes 26% or higher of money donated.

Payroll Donations

Currently the Government program claims to only be losing 15% (up to a maximum of $750 per year) to United Way management fees.

The 15% fee is not exactly what you think either. My Church did a bit of research and in fact, because I want to donate using a “payroll donation”, there is an “additional 5% adjustment due to “pledge loss“. This means 20% of the money I  give will get scraped off for admin fees.

My Payroll Donations Plans for Next Year

I realize that charities have overhead costs, but this fee schedule is too much. To scrape over 20% from a donation, is a non-starter for me. Next year I will simply give directly and figure out a way to do pay roll donations in a more roundabout way (i.e. putting money in a separate account, and make donations quarterly to specific charities).

The business of charity always upsets me. I have learned enough about it that I keep wondering why does it cost so much to try to help people ?


Happy Thanksgiving Canada

This past year has been another interesting one for me and I just wish to voice my Thanks for all the wonderful things in my life. I am lucky to have a wonderful wife, great children, a caring family and some of the most astoundingly thoughtful friends. Thanksgiving is a holiday to share and appreciate our blessings.

Thank you to you Good Reader as well. Thanks for dropping by and having a look at my rants.

If you want to have a fun turkey story, read this. It is a fun story written by a good friend.

Real Canadian turkeys always wear plaid!

Truly a Canadian Bird

Turkey Bacon

Happy Thanksgiving, and yes we actually did make this turkey.


Pessimists Make Better Financial Planners

Plan like a pessimist, live like an optimist I have lifted from Doug Hoyes’ book (amazon link) (although I have heard it elsewhere as well), and it is an excellent financial life motivational statement. You can’t live every day assuming the worst is going to happen, you will just make yourself miserable (I can assure you this is the case, from personal experience), however pessimism is the best way to view your financial plan.

If you are a pessimist in your investing and financial plans, you should be able to deal with downturns and the interesting “twists of fate” that we call life. Can you plan for all the things that can go wrong? Absolutely not, however you can take a few careful financial steps to  deal with problems that may arise in your financial life.

Pessimist and Optimist

Words to Plan By

The big one to deal with, is what if you lose your income (after the fallacy of infinite income)? So many possible reasons can cause this, but if tomorrow you had no more income, what happens?

  • Can you afford where you are living? For how long can your emergency funds keep you in your current living arrangement? If you have a mortgage, you can try to sell your house, but if you cannot keep up payments on the mortgage, you may not be able to sell it, before the bank forecloses. If you rent can you keep up rent payments for a period while you are without income?
  • Do you have any insurance to combat this lack of income? If it is caused by a catastrophic health issue, do you have disability insurance? Is it enough to keep you financially afloat? Is it through your employer? If you get sick, would your employer lay you off? Remember some companies self-insure, so if your employer goes under, and you are using their disability, you will end up like the Nortel folks on disability, out  in the
  • If you were laid off, is your résumé up to date and ready to use for job hunting? If not, why not? You should be looking for your new job before your old job disappears (ideally).
  • Dying can cause a large problem. Do you have life insurance? What happens if your insurance company decides you died of a pre-existing condition, and they won’t pay? Does your family even know about the insurance? Do they have cash available in accounts that won’t be frozen (when you die)? Lots of things to think about on this one.
  • What if your spouse dies? Do you rely on their skills to take care of your kids, or do you rely on their income to pay for your lifestyle? Partial loss of income can be as destructive as complete income loss, it just takes longer to ruin your

These are such a small slice of the whole picture. This is where your pessimistic side can come into play. Engage it  on this planning (and not  about all that stuff that keeps you awake at 2 AM in the  morning). Work hard on this plan, but  when it is done, enjoy your life you have planned as best you can to  deal with life.

In about a year (and every year) revisit the plan, and adjust it to reflect life changes as well.

My apologies to Doug Hoyes, a lot of these ideas are lifted from his fine book, which I have “read” (listened to the Audio Book), but these are important issues.


Halifax IKEA, New Tax Plans, Pumpkin Spice ETFs and #MoneyTalk

Why would anyone celebrate the opening of an IKEA in Halifax? One reason is there are no IKEA stores in the Maritimes. The closest one is in Quebec, and there are companies that will charge to ship IKEA kits to folks in the Maritimes, but now that is all changed. The Halifax IKEA is now open, and now Maritimers can enjoy meatballs, hot dogs and using Allen keys to build things.  Remember to follow the instructions! Follow Squawkfox’s instructions on How to Survive a trip to IKEA. Evidently IKEA stuff is hard to put together so they bought a start up to help you ?

IKEA in Halifax

Big Crowds on Opening Day at IKEA in Halifax

Why do I know so much about IKEA and the Maritimes? I once made an IKEA run for my daughter from Ottawa to Wolfville to drop off her furniture. Would have been nice to have an IKEA closer by, back then.

President Trump unveiled his new tax plan this week, and it looks interesting, but as with all revised systems, the devil is in the details. In the USA, you can tell the former Canadians, because when an American complains about how high their taxes are, Canadian is the one that chuckles quietly in the background. The Highest tax rate in this new system will be 35% (maybe), in Canada the Federal Highest Tax Bracket is 33%, but remember we do have provincial tax to go with that. Whenever I hear tax reform is coming, I remember to hide more money in my mattress (figuratively speaking).

Pumpkin spice ETF? What is that? Well it is the only place I have not seen those descriptors used. Isn’t pumpkin spice just nutmeg?

Recent Writings

I keep hearing how advice from the past is no longer valid for investing, but I disagree. With Three Investment Credo from the Past  I point out that three good points from the past in investing are still quite valid. You can lose money with any investment, keep this in mind.

Good Money Podcasts outlines a few great Podcasts, from Canada, but also points to the Debt Free in 30 Podcast specifically. I was on with Doug Hoyes, and we talked about what happens when a 47 year old gets laid off. Which 47-year-old? Who do you think? Doug is in bankruptcy, and there is always jobs there.

Micro Blogging on Finance

I think Doug is taking a little poetic license on this one, although some say it just might be!

[click to continue…]


Good Money Podcasts

For those who didn’t notice, I am on the Debt Free in 30 Podcast with Doug Hoyes this past weekend. We discussed my Job Search at Age 47 (if you check on the menu Job Search is now a new item). It was a great deal of fun chatting with Doug, who has a book out as well (Straight Talk on Your Money, Amazon link).  I actually learned a great deal chatting with Doug (off mic) so for me it was a fun experience. Doug’s understanding of the Bankruptcy laws puts him in a very unique position. Rumor has it I may be on again some time soon.

Doug Hoyes a Good Money Podcast

Might be how Doug looked when he first saw me, Big Cajun Who?!?

As usual I don’t stay on topic, and I answer the important question, why am I not a Media Whore? OK, Doug didn’t answer that question exactly, but I do give an answer to that question.

That is the second Podcast I have done, I was one of the first guests on Preet B’s money podcast, Mostly Money (episode 4). It is always fun to chat with folks about money, especially folks who know the topic well.

Are there other Good Money Podcasts that I listen to? Plenty, my biggest problem is finding time to listen to them all. I listen typically in my car, but also if I take the bus to work as well (when I am not listening to Audiobooks).

  • Dan Bartoloti (friend of this site) has an investing podcast the Canadian Couch Potato which has a lot of great investing advice. Dan’s web site is also great, surprisingly called the Canadian Couch Potato as well.
  • The Dave Ramsey Podcast is a good across the board type of money podcast. I must admit I don’t listen to every one, but I have listened to a few of his episodes.
  • The More Money for Beer podcast was great, but it seems to have gone into media limbo, but the last one was a chat with Robert Browne (always entertaining).

There are many others, if you want to leave a comment with other Money Podcasts, I will check them out. Doug’s book is also available as an Audiobook (as most folks know who send me books, I am not a big reader).

Other Sitings Likely ?

Will I be on other podcasts and such? I am always available to flap my gums about most topics, and available for Bar Mitzvahs, Weddings and Family Reunions (try the veal, it’s to die for).



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