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Is English The Second Language of the World?

An interesting video for the weekend from our friends at Ted.com about whether English is becoming the second language of the world (where most folks speak another language as their mother tongue).

When I grew up in Montreal, I lived through the years of Bill 22 and then Bill 101 which forced immigrant families who did not speak English to go to French schools, so this discussion is interesting to me in many different ways.

English seems to be the standard in aviation already, is it being adopted by other industries in the same way? Is it the language of money? Not sure, but an interesting discussion none the less.

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Random Thoughts: $50 Billion is a lot of money

During a week where the federal government disclosed just how enormous the federal budget deficit will be, there were other topics written about by the Financial Blogging world, but this topic alone is a pretty hot topic.

What could that kind of “money printing” cause in the economy? Jon Chevreau points out in the U.S. it could mean Hyperinflation on the Zimbabwean scale (at least in Dr. Doom’s estimation at least).

Random Thoughts: Pensions?

Have a great weekend folks, hopefully the rain will stop, but maybe my grass needs it?

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Stewardship or Charity with Kids

My wife is doing a talk to a group of adults on how to get kids to actually give to charity (by choice). Surprisingly if you simply tell your kids, “You must give $10 to the Church“, they might cough up the money once, but will resent it and more likely never give much again (even as Adults).

Giving Tuesday
Charity is a good thing

Explaining to kids that they don’t just have to donate money, they can donate their time and talents, instead,  is a first step. Getting kids to understand the importance of charity (and how they have so darn much anyhow) and helping those who need help is not easy and if anyone has any good stories about when they tweeked into the importance of Charity (and what age they were at the time).

Charity is a learned skill in many ways, teaching your children that Stewardship is an important aspect of giving. Give of your time, give of your skills, and give money when you can.

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Dollar a Litre Gas Returns for the Summer

From 2009, seems very much like today, does it not?

Just in time for your vacation, Gasoline at $1 per litre is coming to a gas station near you.  What is causing this return to last summer’s prices? No real reason, no huge jump in demand, or huge drop in supply, simply prices wandering their way back up.  If anyone can explain to me why this price increase is happening, I’d be glad to hear it, but for now it seems like Gas companies are looking to fortify their incomes for the summer.

Surely Oil prices must be going up?

Certainly don’t see anything in that graph that suggests why prices are creeping up, guess the price of Oil doesn’t have much reflection on the price of Gasoline.

Luckily gas prices don’t affect any other prices, like food or the like.

Retirement = Pension + Part Time Job?

The government announced new CPP rules starting in 2012, where if you “retire” early at 60 you won’t have to quit your job to get your CPP payments, which is interesting. The change also comes with a catch, where normally at 60 your CPP benefits are reduced by about 30% (from what you would receive at 65), however under the new plan this reduction will now be 36% drop, so there is a catch.

This is in reaction to the number of Canadians who do NOT have a pension (other than the CPP), so a step in the right direction, but is it enough?

Oh, and the deficit for this year’s budget is going to be MUCH bigger, in case you were curious too (Yikes).

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New Credit Card Rules Good, but…

Don’t get me wrong, given the amount of complaining from the banking industry, Jim Flaherty’s new credit card rules seem to be a very good start, but I would dearly love to see them go a little farther.  My concern is the major problem is still not being addressed, which is the exorbitant interest rates allowed.

Loan Sharks Blush

The rates that Credit Cards charge as regular business while cheaper than seen from the Pay Day Loan world are still completely out of sync with bank rates. They are allowed to inflict this kind of usury on consumers. There are no rules capping the rates that can be charged. I think that is what is missing from this legislation. Allowing unfettered rate increases is asking for trouble.

Better rules for credit limits would be good as well, stopping folks from being able to bump up their limit via a simple phone call seems a dangerous practice as well. If you want to lower your credit limit you have to send in a signed document and such, but to increase your rate is a simple phone call, wonder why that is?

While I know the other issue with credit card debt is that people are using Credit Cards as short-term credit mechanisms (and then turning them into long-term credit vehicles, since they can’t extricate themselves from the debt), and that a lot of the financial pits dug by consumers are self-inflicted, I think the Credit Card companies make this trap a little too easy to fall into.

There was one credit card lobbyist complaining about how teenagers and young folks won’t be able to get credit cards if new rules are put in place. I believe I shouted at the TV, “… and that is a BAD thing?”, so my view is less credit cards to less folks might just be a good thing.

Nobody needs as many credit cards, as we all have!

Other Useful Documents

A useful link for those who are learning about Credit Cards is a document posted by the FCAC called Getting The Most From Your Credit Card. They also have a very good beginners document called Your Rights and Responsibilities , well worth a read as well.

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