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End of the year 2005

First, let me wish all my dedicated readers a belated Merry Christmas and a wish for a Happy and Financially Fun New Year. The family and I are travelling, celebrating and I think I need a 2-week hiatus, so I am taking advantage of that and will be back in the new year (most likely after January 3rd or so).

I thank you for your continued support in reading my rants and commentary. I hope you are enjoying this time for your family.

Happy New Year, Folks!!

Here is hoping that 2006 is a little better than 2005 (for me, less family illness would be great)

Christmas Wishes from the Past

I seem to do this a lot, so here are my Christmas wishes from years gone by:

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Whatever little money you have, make sure you spend it…

This old chestnut is from the first year I started writing here, it’s a little rough around the corners, but I like the thematic premise.

Apologies to my Druid Friends
Don’t Bankrupt Yourself for Christmas.

That’s a paraphrase from the latest George Carlin book, but it is certainly what our society and certainly the retail stores we frequent want us to think. If you don’t spend all your money at Christmas, you are a cheapskate or a communist. The South Park episode where Mr. Hanky teaches the true meaning of Christmas (buy presents) really does sum up what the owners of Wal-Mart hope will happen.

Bankrupting yourself for Christmas or on the Boxing Day sales does not help you. If you worked out and got in shape all summer and then ate as much crap for December and put on 25 pounds, would you be ahead? Nope, and the same is true for your Fiscal Planning (unless you planned to splurge a huge amount of cash that you saved, then I guess it’s ok (no, it’s not, I am facetious)). Keep living to your plan, it may not be fun, but in the spring, you’ll be happier for it when you have money.

Oh, and if you feel you have to blow large amounts of ca$h, please drop some in the Salvation Army kettle (evidently, they are only halfway to their goal in Ontario, and there are only 3 days left in their canvassing). Give to a homeless shelter, give to your Church, or keep the money and give it later. Give of yourself, don’t dig a financial hole that will make you Grinchy in the new year!

Christmas Wishes from the Past

I seem to do this a lot, so here are my Christmas wishes from years gone by:

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Opinion: What do I need for Christmas?

People ask me that question occasionally, and it always makes me think that since I can’t name the 5 things I want straight off the top of my head, there must be something wrong with me.

Ask yourself that question right now, and write down 5 things that you think you need this Christmas. Do it, this is an exercise, you ready? Let’s move forward then.

Of these 5 things, how many do you need so badly that any of the following might happen:

  1. A loved one will leave you.
  2. You will lose your house or job
  3. You will die a painful death
  4. You’ll remember this gift next Christmas
  5. You’ll be using it in six months

Yes (1), (2), and (3) are WAY too dramatic, but are any of the things you want in that category? If so, I hope you get them!

How many gifts that you got last year, do you remember? Do you remember who you got them from? Do you remember why someone bought you this gift? I know I got socks last year, because I didn’t have enough socks (I never have enough socks), I got a cloth bracelet that says “P.U.S.H.”, and I got other wonderful gifts like that (when my wife reads this, I know I will be in trouble, since she will then quiz me about what she got me, as well).

I think this is why people say you should think about the gifts you give for the Holidays (be it Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza, Ramadan, or Druid Shortest Day of the Year). My problem is, I am just that thick that I can’t figure out what people REALLY need. I tried a couple of times, but the reaction I got suggested I missed on what I thought that person wanted.

Oh, and another piece of advice is you can never spend too much on a gift at Christmas, however, no matter what the price of the gift there is no guarantee the recipient will remember it a week later either. I know my son won’t, he might eat the ribbon, but it’s doubtful he’ll remember this Christmas much (but we’ll have it on video for him to enjoy later).

Put some thought in your gifts, or better still put your thoughts down on paper and give them, or tell the person you are giving a gift to why you are giving this gift, it might help the gift last a little longer (in their hearts).

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There it is !

One of my daughters has an excellent coach who’s two favorite expressions from the bench are “There it is ! ” and “Attack, attack!”. Both have to do with offensively what the girls should be doing on the court, and I particularly like “There it is!”.

This expression in Basketball terms is, “You are the open player, who should make the offensive move”. The equivalent of reaching Nirvana in a basketball offense, and in my Financial Life I really wished and wish there was a voice or a sign of “There it is!”, it would make life so much simpler.

Some examples would be:

  • Driving by a Bank that will give me good service and no fees, a voice yelling “There it is!”, would be helpful, instead of having to slog my way around to three separate banks and horse trade with them to make them give me the services I want for free.
  • Seeing a Used Car that is in good shape, and the price is good, “There it is!” would help out to no end, but without that voice, I need to take the car to my mechanic and have him tell me whether this is a good deal or not.
  • I hear about a company that may be turning around its fortunes, but I am not sure whether I should invest in it, where is that “There it is!” voice? Nowhere, so I have to do the math, do the research and then take the risk on whether I should put my money there.

Is This Available?

Nope, sorry folks, there is no Voice or sign that says, “There it is!”, but there is always ways to at least give yourself a feeling of confidence that you have made the right decision, which is really what “There it is!” is all about, isn’t it?

Now if I could find the “There it is!” for buying Christmas gifts for my family, I’d be tap dancing down the lane for an easy layup!

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Election: Income Splitting

So every election I complain and lobby for Income Splitting or Family Income or Household income, to allow single income families to be able to compete in this economy. This is from 2005, back when my style was a little more, um, brusque.

Remember when I first started this blog, I ranted about Single Income families and how they get screwed by the existing tax system. Well, the Conservatives seem to think the same way, now whether this is simply rhetoric or not, I cannot say (I am skeptical, just on the basis of how much this might cost the government in lost taxes).


Have a read, or look at the original post here Canadian Financial Stuff: Canadian Government Hates Single Income Families (Final Analysis)


So what have we learned?

  1. In our specific scenario (read all of my disclaimers in my previous posts) a Single Income Family as compared to a Dual Income Family, pays:
    $7424.00
    Approximately MORE in taxes (that is Provincial and Federal taxes combined).
  2. This means that the Single income family to NET the same would have to make over $12,000.00 GROSS more to bring home the same amount (that is just unfair). Remember the single income earner at that level is taxed at the HIGHEST level on that extra income.
  3. The Dual Income family is MORE likely to be eligible for:
    1. Family allowance cheques
    2. Provincial tax credits
    3. Pay less for the Ontario OHIP TAX
  4. The Dual income family gets to write off a great deal on Daycare including:
    1. Daycare costs
    2. Summer Day Camps costs

If this doesn’t convince you that the Taxman HATES Single Income families, I don’t know what would.

If you agree or disagree comment on this, I am willing to dialogue with folks on this, but if you agree that this is UNFAIR, contact your member of Parliament. Remember an election is just around the corner, and they MOST LIKELY will return your calls (as opposed to afterwards when they kind of forget you exist (IMHO)).

What can we do to fix this?

  1. Introduce a FAMILY or HOUSEHOLD income concept, where spouses or live-in folk can split the income (or even level the taxes) of the house and NOT get taxed at such a high level.
    • Might promote more folks to stay at home with kids (thus not as much daycare)?
  2. Overhaul the whole tax system, so that everyone pays the same thing. Here I should be careful, because they’ll just end up making dual income folks pay as much as Single income folks!
  3. National Daycare moneys should go directly to the families, (ALL OF THEM) and let THEM figure out what to do with the money (ok, now I sound like Ralph Klein).

The previous points are MY Opinion only, but maybe it’s time to get more than just crazy crackpots like ME thinking about this?

If you want to compare this and have Quicktax, it’s dead easy, just create an extra return in it, and compare what you might pay if you were a Single Income earner!

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