Stanley Cup, Turbans, Car Tracking and Friday #ShoutOuts

The Stanley Cup finals have started, and hopefully all the games aren’t going to go that late into the night, or I will need to start working the night shift at work. Hockey still going near the end of June is pushing it a bit hard (that is almost NFL Football season!).

The Turban Troubles in Quebec is very confusing to me. I haven’t read why exactly the Turban and its various versions are not allowed in Soccer. Luckily the media has whipped the whole thing into a giant frothy confused frappe of accusations and silliness. If it wasn’t for the media we’d have nothing to argue about (yes I am being a little facetious (or maybe sarcastic) there).

Given all the hub bub about privacy lately, I have noted that insurance companies in Canada are now offering “discounts” for folks that install tracking devices to show how safe a driver they are. I will not do this because I am a “good” driver, but I am not a “perfect” driver (i.e. I may be in a rush occasionally and go above the speed limit (without knowing of course)). I wonder if anyone has installed this device and had their rates go up? Oh and the privacy issue, now your insurance company knows pretty much where you have gone and where you go (do you think that information might be worth something on the open market?).

Another place this information is amassed is from your GPS, when you do a map upgrade and it asks, “Can we collect data from your device for testing?”, your answer should be, NO!, unless you want your comings and goings available on the free market (just a helpful FYI).

My Weekly Recap

Great grass growing weather in Ottawa this week, luckily my front yard doesn’t have grass, it has weeds, and various other green looking plants (that are not grass):

My Writings for Week Ending June 14th

Stephen Harper has a Sense of Humor? See Video at end of this Post for more details

Best of: Debt IS like fat!

I am putting a lot of fat back on (I am fighting it though), as I am building up debt again too, it’s a life long battle for both!

More Jobs for May in Canada

Some good news from Stats Canada, but the lost generation still needs to find more work.

Tuition and Inflation are in No Way Related

The cost of a post-secondary education continues to out strip inflation (not as bad as 10 years ago, thought).

What to Do with a Bonus ?

No I am not suggesting you get a tattoo with your bonus, don’t be so literal! If in doubt send ME the money.

Pension or LIRA? A decision (redux)

As usual all the best decisions in my life were just me being incredibly lucky.


Links for the Week

Turkey is starting to turn into a bit of a mess, and very bad flooding in Europe. Does your home insurance cover flooding? Better go check:

Top Stories of the Week of June 14th

Yet Another Superman movie Opens This Weekend, Hooray?!?

Why Spend Your Energy Being Frugal? Just Tax Plan!

The BBC seems to be ranting about making money by not getting a big tax refund, read on to find out.

Banks raise mortgage rates

Canadian Mortgage News points out that even though the Bank of Canada has not raised their rates, the Big Banks in Canada are raising their Mortgage Rates.

Employer Bankrupt? Try the Wage Earner Protection Program!

Million Dollar Journey talks about something I wasn’t aware of this, if it had been around when Nortel went under, it might have protected a lot of folks who never got their severance packages.


May 2013 Dividend Income Update

Mark at My Own Advisor fills us in on how his dividend based investment plan is going, I don’t have the nerve to speak of the train wreck that is my investments.

It’s Time to Ban Advisor Commissions

The Canadian Couch Potato points out that Advisors making money off Mutual Fund sales makes the whole system not work well.

Rescue Your Wet Cell Phone

Gail Vaz-Oxlade goes all techy with hints on how to rescue you wet cell phone. Me I have a LifeProof case, so my phone floats.

How Much Can We Take from our RRSPs for Our House? How the Home Buyers Plan Numbers Work

Frequent commenter Bet Crooks give us another useful “How To” post.

Is It Time To Say Goodbye To Dividend Investing?

Not sure that Robb from Boomer and Echo would get along with Mark from My Own Advisor.

Anchoring and Income Taxes

Last week Michael James complained about getting a pay raise, this week he seems to be complaining about getting a bonus?

Make 2013 the Year You Own a TFSA

Young and Thrifty suggests that this year may be the year you start doing something about your TFSA.

Retirement is all about freedom; or is it?

Jim Yih wonders what retirement is really about, me I am not sure, but I hope it’s fun (given it isn’t soon).

School District To Pay Science Teachers More Than English Teachers

Popular Science talks about a school district that rightly pays science teachers more than english teachers, which works for me.

Other Bookkeeping

Remember my RSS feed is available too, and I have added an RSS Comment Feed as well. Have a look at my micro-blog on Twitter, where you can see a whole plethora of good articles and pithy comments by me as well. Twitter feed where I re-tweet many great articles by some of my featured writers (and make the occasional odd or off colour commentary on life (in 140 characters or less)). I am also on reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest and other Social Media sites (look for the BigCajunMan userid) as well. If you have social media accounts, don’t forget to vote for my posts (see the nifty dashboard on the bottom of each article, where you can cast your votes). As they say in Quebec, vote early and vote often! This site is iPhone Friendly (and Android , iPod Touch and iPad Friendly), enjoy it on the go, in a readable format for the device. If you are reading with an iPhone or Android device, drop me a comment and tell me if this needs any improvements. This site is also in the Kindle Blog list, if you are interested.

Our PM has a Sense of Humor? Don’t tell PSAC!

This is the unabridged version of Harper practicing his acceptance speech and doing some impersonations of previous PM’s. Note he is practicing his “acceptance” speech.


Pension or LIRA? A decision (redux)

One of the few good (read very lucky) decisions I made was to remove my money from the Nortel Pension and put it into a LIRA for holding purposes after I got laid off in 2008, and this post, I wondered (aloud), whether I had made the right decision, but in hindsight it was an astoundingly good decision (i.e. Pension or LIRA ).

Show me the Money?

pension or LIRA
Now that is some Ca$h (thanks to Bank of Canada)

For those who have read for a while, I had to decide about whether to leave my pension in my former employer’s pension fund (which is under funded) or to take a cash settlement and transfer most of the contents into a Locked In Retirement Account (LIRA) (and take the rest as a cash settlement).

I got a lot of advice from different folk about whether I felt confident enough to invest the money wisely enough to mimic or improve on the growth I might get in the Pension fund, however, in the end I just did not trust that my former employer will:

  1. Exist in 5 years
  2. Whomever buys, or takes over them will not replenish the pension fund short fall

So I have decided to take my money out, and move it to a LIRA (and a small part to a TFSA and whatever else I can into my RRSP, thus the pension or LIRA -> LIRA).

I tried to show as much diligence as I could to the documentation that I had to submit, because the default answer if I do not submit my request in time is for the company to keep the money in the (under funded) Pension. I had the Investment Councilor at the bank that set up the LIRA, check over to make sure all the forms had the correct info and then I had Mrs. C8j check everything over as well. No point in making this big a decision and not being careful with the forms.

I mailed the forms using Registered Canada Post delivery, so I have a tracking number and will know when then the forms were delivered as well (can’t be too careful here). Paranoid? Maybe, but again, it would be imprudent to trust regular mail with these forms.

Luckily the forms got there when they did, and I got the money out a few weeks before the Pension announced a large short fall and they started discounting all pensions. As a bit of background info, here is what Nortel’s demise looked like graphically.

pension or LIRA
Graphically, the Death of Nortel


What to Do with a Bonus ?

A reader sent me an e-mail asking for my advice. After I checked to make sure this person didn’t mean to send it to a real financial blogger, I decided I should give my brand of “Southern Fried Advice”, for what to do with a Bonus .

not good use of a bonus

A Gibberish Tattoo from our Friends at Hanzismater

Here is a list of things you could use your bonus for, read afterwards for my comment competition:

  1. Get a tattoo
  2. Get a new car (because you deserve it)
  3. Go on  a fantastic vacation
  4. Go to the Casino
  5. Loan it to a relative
  6. Make a pile of it and set it on fire 🔥

As you can see these will leave you with no money at the end, and various degrees of pain. How (where #1 would be the dumbest) should this list be ordered? (leave a comment or add other lame-brained ideas for this bonus)

OK, enough of me making up stuff that makes me laugh, what should you do with a bonus? It is found money, so you didn’t have any plans for it, so of course you should first, foremost, absolutely, completely, totally and emphatically pay off debt!

If this is “found” money, and you had no plans for it then you will not miss it when you pay down debt with it, won’t you? If you don’t get the bonus right away, that is when it gets hard, because that is when you start the rationalization about how you “deserve” something, trust me, you deserve to be out of debt more than any trinket, or vacation.

I still can’t get over someone asked me for advice, the world is becoming a very peculiar place.

Another tip, big money in 20 years is going to be in tattoo removal, or erasable tattoo technology.


Tuition and Inflation are in No Way Related

I am picking on my Alma Mater again, but I really only can comment on 3 different Universities now: U Waterloo because I am an alumni ; Trent and Acadia because I send them money to pay Tuition.

I usually check out the Daily Bulletin where the University puts out a lot of interesting tid-bits of information. On Friday (June 2013) they put out their list of increases in Tuition for the next few years. As we all read monthly in this very blog Inflation has run between 1 and 2% for the past little while, so keep this in mind with the numbers I am about to quote:

$100 notes/Coupures de 100 $
This is close to tuition for 4 Months (OK maybe not enough)

On the advice of Dennis Huber, vice-president administration and finance, the board approved the following framework:

Undergraduate students (domestic):

  • Regulated programs (year 1) – 3 per cent
  • Regulated programs (upper year) – 3 per cent
  • Deregulated programs (year 1) – 5 per cent
  • Dereg’ed programs (upper year) – 4 per cent
  • Dereg’ed AFM, Biotech/CA. CFM, Math/CA
    • Year 1 – 3 per cent
    • Upper year – 1 per cent
  • Accountancy Diploma (all years) – 2 per cent

Graduate students (domestic): 2 per cent

  • Specifically identified Master and Diploma Programs – 3 per cent

International Students:

  • Undergraduate programs – 4.2 per cent
  • Graduate programs except research plans – 4.2 per cent
  • Graduate research plans – 3 per cent
  • Specifically identified Master and Diploma programs – 3 per cent

The above figures are overall averages. There are scores of different fee levels, depending on what program a student is taking and what year he or she is in.

How this all compares to other Universities I am not sure, however, I would be willing to entertain comments with links to what other schools are planning on charging in the coming years. Anybody from Quebec (who go to school in Quebec) you are disqualified (your tuition fees are very low).


More Jobs for May in Canada

On Friday Stats Canada put out their Labour Force Survey for May 2013 and there was some good news in that there were 95,000 (mostly full-time) jobs in the economy (month to month). These new numbers also pushed the Unemployment Rate down 0.1%, again good to hear. To quote the report directly:

Employment rose in construction; retail and wholesale trade; “other services;” and business, building and other support services.

While that is good news, more money in construction, could mean the over-priced Canadian housing industry is bubbling employment (as well as cost of living) and if the bubble ever goes burst, where will these jobs go (my assumption is down the toilet)?

Employment Graph

Employment For Last Little While

A more heartening statement from the report was:

All of the employment gains in May were among private sector employees, offsetting losses over the previous two months for this group.

More private sector jobs is a good thing for the economy. Canada is relying far too much on the public sector to keep folks employed, and the more private sector jobs (hopefully not all in construction) is a good thing.

Unemployment Graph

Unemployment for the Past Little While

A Big Table

Where were the gains by age group? Luckily the lost generation seems to be getting jobs (15-24) and we old folks are finding work as well (hopefully not as sheet rock installers (a young person’s job)):

Labour force characteristics by age and sex – Seasonally adjusted

April 2013May 2013Std error1April to
May 2013
May 2012
May 2013
April to May
May 2012 to May
thousands (except rates)change in thousands (except rates)% change
Both sexes, 15 years and over
Labour force19,016.119,
Participation rate66.566.70.10.2-0.1
Unemployment rate7.27.10.1-0.1-0.2
Employment rate61.862.
Part-time rate18.718.70.20.0-0.3
Youths, 15 to 24 years
Labour force2,839.52,873.417.233.931.51.21.1
Participation rate63.864.
Unemployment rate14.513.60.5-0.9-0.7
Employment rate54.555.
Part-time rate46.846.10.7-0.7-1.4
Men, 25 years and over
Labour force8,567.08,593.715.126.792.10.31.1
Participation rate72.572.60.10.1-0.4
Unemployment rate6.
Employment rate68.
Part-time rate7.87.60.2-0.20.0
Women, 25 years and over
Labour force7,609.67,629.816.520.
Participation rate61.861.80.10.0-0.2
Unemployment rate5.65.50.2-0.1-0.4
Employment rate58.358.
Part-time rate21.421.60.30.2-0.4
1. Average standard error for change in two consecutive months. See “Sampling Errors” in the section “About the Labour Force Survey” at the end of the publication Labour Force Information (Catalogue number71-001-X) for further explanations.
Related CANSIM table 282-0087.


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