Back to School, London Calling, Basic Cable and #MoneyTalk

It is that magical time when kids go back to school, and life goes back to a more normal pace (for parents). If you just took your child to Kindergarten, what are your plans for their University Education? Might be time to start thinking about an RESP, don’t you think?

Back to School - London Calling - Lost in the SupermarketBack to school is always a fun time, Thanksgiving is around, Pumpkin Lattes are everywhere and Christmas stuff is available in Costco. Halloween candy has been available since the end of July in most stores, and we wonder why people spend so much? If I bought a box of Halloween candy in August, I would be buying more in August, September and October as well. All I can think of when I see this is one of my favorite songs by the Clash, “Lost in the Supermarket” (from the album London Calling).

I’m all lost in the supermarket
I can no longer shop happily
I came in here for a special offer
Guaranteed personality

What would you do if your vacation was ruined by a hurricane? I guess that is something to check with your travel insurance. Sounds like a possible fraud too, as I got an email about making claims on my travel insurance due to the current hurricane (and I am not even on vacation).

There was a disgusting story on Reddit about someone trying to get their 80 year old mother a basic cable & phone package, and Rogers refusing to offer their basic package to the consumer. It is not that surprising, but still shows why the CRTC’s ability to police the Communication Monopolies is nonexistent.

We in Ottawa found out our Light Rail System will not be ready as planned, and isn’t likely to be ready for a good long time. Is this surprising? Not if you actually looked at the work sites daily (like those of us who take the bus). When will it be ready? No one is willing to set a date.

My Recent Writings

Haven’t written one of these in a while, so there is a dearth of things to read written by me (maybe not a dearth, more like a small pile).

On Being Laid Off (a 10 year retrospective) sums up that I was lucky to be laid off when I did, but at the time I wouldn’t have thought that was possible. Another example of right time, wrong reason can still work out. Still doesn’t take the sting out of being laid off though.

Inflation looks like it might be making a comeback, given Inflation is at 2011 levels again. If all this tarif nonsense keeps up, that could be a big contributing factor, luckily in Ontario we have a buck-a-beer.

How we Doin’ now, is more of a statement of, I am not dead yet. I am still at this, but I am kind of busy with life at the same time.

Why would you have more than one savings plan for your disabled child? Why wouldn’t you if you can, is a better question, and that is the contents of Why an RESP for a Disabled Child ?

Social Media Money

If the following Tweet does not make your blood run cold, I don’t know what will. That much income and still having financial issues? Wow.

🎱 For more personal finance stories click here 🎱


I have set up an RESP for my son. For those who don’t remember my son is on the Autism Spectrum, so why would I not put money into this RDSP, instead of an RESP? There are a few reasons for an RESP for a disabled child.

RESP for a disabled child
There can be many reasons that an RESP is still a viable savings plan for parents of disabled children, and here are a few to consider.

Child Can Attend Post-Secondary Programs

If your child is not mentally disabled, or can cope with a post-secondary program, then an RESP is a good way to plan for their post-secondary education. In our case my son may be able to go to College, University or other training programs. Having an RESP is simply a good plan for his future.

CESG Can Pay Well

As my son’s RDSP Disability Savings Bond is calculated against my family income, currently the DSB payment is quite low. When my son reaches his 18th birthday the DSB will be calculated against his income, so the pay out for money deposited into his RDSP will be higher.

While the CESG portion of the RESP is also calculated based on my family income, it still pays well. I get 20% pay back up to $2500, so $500 every year is pretty good payback for an investment.

RESP Can Be Rolled into RDSP

There is a way to transfer money from an unused RESP to an RDSP. Is this the best thing to do with the RESP if it is unused is an open question. My RDSP expert said it would be better to collapse the RESP, pay back all grants and pay tax on any growth, and then add the remaining moneys into an RDSP. I will investigate that concept some more as my son gets closer to University age.

Your Situation May Vary

Depending on the situation, what is working for me (in my opinion), may not work as well for your family. I would do the research and look at the arithmetic about whether it is worthwhile setting up both an RDSP and an RESP for your disabled child. If you can only afford 1 savings plan, make sure the RDSP is dealt with first. If your income is low, remember the Canada Learning Bond might be available to your kid’s RESP, and that pays if you put in minimal amounts.

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How we doin’ now?

It’s been a while since I have written much original here, and I must admit I have been quite lacking in writing motivations. Have no fear, I shall not be retiring from whatever this might be, but I figured I might update my more reliable followers.

Rumours of my demise are greatly exaggerated

I am fine, however, I am dealing with many interesting life challenges, that are quite distracting.

My son continues to grow, and his abilities continue to expand. He will soon dwarf even his father in stature, which is a blessing, and a curse. Our friends at the CRA have decided to review my Medical Expenses claims, and I am collecting those now. Hopefully they will be appeased by my offering of information.

As loved ones age, there is a great deal to learn how the Social Safety Net works for seniors (and how it does not work as well). It is even more challenging when you are dealing with a different province, my case Quebec. I am learning a great deal there, and I am practicing my French a great deal, as well.

My work on my social media continues, ensuring my older writings don’t disappear, but I also continue to clean up (or delete) some of my older works as well.

Writing Continues

I continue to start and attempt to complete articles on the RDSP. Expect to see something of these soon, but I continue to have folks suggest I write a book on the topic. I have hundreds of other unfinished pieces, that one day I will complete.

I have shied away from the Phoenix topic, given my employer, but I can assure you it is as big a mess as the media makes it out.

My wrestlings with Quicken continue on, and I have plenty of other odd topics to rant on about.

As for the crypto-blockchain-weed-gold-ponzi-real-estate ideas all floating around, I was burned badly enough with the Tech Bubble, thanks. Go off and make your fortunes, just buy me a beer if you make it big. Please stop sending me great ideas about articles on the subject, unless they are humorous.

Come back often, there will be plenty to read soon. In fact, go to the Search for the site I have written 3000 articles already, it might already be there!


We found out that Inflation is now at 2011 Levels, at 3.0% on a year-over-year basis. So what? Remember the Bank of Canada’s ideal rate is 2.0%, so this will most likely reinforce another Bank of Canada rate increase (in October). Now the B of C’s calculated Inflation is only 2.0% , but I don’t think they can ignore this kind of jump.

I haven’t commented on inflation for a while, but this report is important, for a lot of reasons. With the tariff wars that are going on, inflation is going to continue to rise (IMHO), and that will mean higher interest rates. Maybe someone will find sense and stop this Testosterone Laced bullsh*t trade war, but I doubt it.

Note also that Interest rates going up, contribute to Inflation (see the table below). Interesting spiralling effect. Stats Canada used to put out a more detailed report, but they have discontinued that report.

Biggest Inflation Contributors Over Past Year

July 2017 to July 2018
% change
Main contributors to the 12-month change
Main upward contributors
Gasoline 25.4
Air transportation 28.2
Food purchased from restaurants 4.4
Mortgage interest cost 5.2
Purchase of passenger vehicles 2.0
Main downward contributors
Telephone services -5.1
Traveller accommodation -4.1
Natural gas -5.7
Digital computing equipment and devices -3.5
Prescribed medicines -2.8

Consumer Price Index Increases by Category

CPI by Category

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On Being Laid Off (a 10 year retrospective)

Ten years ago about now, I was laid off from Nortel. At the time it was truly a gut punch (spiritually, financially and physically). I worked for BNR then Nortel for 20 years, then I was declared redundant. It wasn’t a surprise, but it still crushed my self-esteem for a long time. I have spoken about this on Podcasts so I won’t rehash too much of this life altering event, but in the end it was a good thing.

laid off

Graphically, the Death of Nortel ( I was laid off mid-year 2008)

Financially I was very lucky, even though it took me a  year to get back on my feet and find a job. If I had been laid off 2 months later, I would have been in a much larger financial world of hurt. I was lucky enough to receive all of my severance package. If I had been laid off any later, I would have waited until Mid-January to get my package, and I would have then received none of it, due to Nortel declaring Bankruptcy.

I was lucky that I withdrew my pension from Nortel, before that plans problems came forward. The reasons for withdrawing the money were emotional (i.e. I am not letting those bastards keep my money), however that emotion-based decision worked out well.

In hindsight being laid off was the luckiest thing that happened to me, and caused me to make the most brilliant financial decisions I have ever made. It always astounds me that the most gut-wrenching events in my life usually end up causing something good.

Ideally, it would have been nice if I could have found a job in less than a year, however, the job I found I am still in and I still enjoy.

Laid Off but Lucky ?

You didn’t think you’d read that headline today, did you?


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