Finance Things To Do On The Last Day of the Year

This being the last day of the year, and it falling on a weekday, means you can try to sneak in one or two financial transactions for the calendar year. Is this a good day to be calling in to your banks call-in centre? Absolutely not! You will be on the phone for a very long time, I would suggest doing anything on-line, and if you cannot do that be very patient with the folks on the phones.

Save up to 50% on life insurance.

Fun things to get done before the end of year:

  1. TFSA withdrawal, yup, you can take something out now, and then replace it some time next year (which would be tomorrow). Is this a good idea? No, especially if it is for impulse buying, but if you will need to, then I guess it is an OK idea (but I am not saying it is OK, just that it works).
  2. RESP, TFSA, or RDSP deposit ? Not really, it is never a bad idea to put money in these saving vehicles but the limits tend to roll-over to the next year, so no point in wasting your time, unless, you have some left over cash that you got for Christmas, then maybe today is a good time to put that away in savings.
  3. Withdraw lots of cash for a huge party tonight? C’mon guys, blowing huge wads of cash to celebrate the end of one year or the start of another year is just dumb.
  4. Make your quarterly tax payment? If you are on a payment plan with the CRA, maybe it is time to get that done?
  5. Stop by the Licensing bureau to renew your cars registration? Again, be patient, remember, this is your fault!
  6. Got any old insurance claims you haven’t submitted? Might want to get those done too.
  7. Here is a good one to do, make a charitable donation, this is the spirit of the season and you get a tax break in March.
  8. Make resolutions for the coming year? Nah, that is hokum too.
  9. Start your financial plan for 2016 is the best thing you can do on this last day of the year.
  10. Maybe make an appointment with your Doctor? Best to know where you stand health wise. There is one thing to do for your retirement planning.

Enjoy the coming year, hope the year that past was OK for you too! Remember the fiscal year typically only ends in March and that Chinese New Year is still a few weeks away.


Top Canadian Personal Financial Posts of 2015

Yes, it is that wonderful lazy wonderful time of the year when I can sit back and rely on statistics to write a few posts about what were the most visited, most discussed and overall top 5 articles that I have written over the past little while. This year, I have written less, however, I was hoping for a better quality of posts. I am not sure if I have succeeded, but due to the fact that I do have a day job, it was hard to keep up more than 3 posts a week (remember the good old days when I did 6 posts a week? Holy Cow).

My Top 3 Viewed Articles Written in 2015

I will break this up into a couple of groupings, first let us look at articles I wrote this year:

I actually invest heavily in the TD E-series Index Funds, but I did find an issue if you put them in a TD Mutual Fund account (which my kids’ RESPs were set up in). Over 2000 reads of this one.

As usual debt seems to be a very popular topic with folks, and this one included a picture of the Road Runner, so it must have been a good one. Over 3000 reads, nice one.

This article was very highly read, but it is interesting that the company in question, has since got out of the RESP business, or at least don’t talk about it on their web site, they are only in the insurance business. Over 3600 total reads, not bad.

All Time Top 3 Articles

It is good to see that some of my older articles are getting a lot of interest, but it does make me wonder if maybe I am not writing the right topics? Maybe something to look into some time in the new year. The other interesting point is these 3 posts have the most comments this year as well.

My review of Quicken 2015 (the Canadian edition) has brought a lot of folks over to read it, I have asked for another copy to review, but have not heard back yet about that. I may end up buying my own copy, but then I may be a little less kind in my commentary too (maybe the word blunt is the word I am looking for). Almost 5000 page views.

If you feel like you are being ripped off or not getting the best deal, A Script for Customer Retention, is a favorite, and given I have just ditched Rogers, useful for me as well. About 9000 page views this year.

I am very glad to see that my number one specific article viewed is one I wanted to help folks with, and CRA Child Disability (How To) is one I hope has helped a lot of folks get their child disability certificate from the CRA. The other nice thing about this one is the comment section has become a help forum as well, which is good.


Leaving Your Service Provider


I wrote this right after I left Rogers because they were gouging me. I will soon be writing this again for Bell as they are now gouging me. Yes, to get a good deal in Canada, you must constantly change service providers.

As I have said before, if you threaten that you are going to leave a service provider, you must be ready to follow through. With that in mind, my association with Rogers Cable, has now concluded after 32 years of association. During that time, I have seen my monthly TV cable fee go from $18 a month to an astronomical $123.60, which is the final charge I paid this month. Farewell Rogers my old friend, but you wouldn’t give me a better deal.

Why am I Leaving ?

I have regularly called and asked for a lower rate and many times Rogers complied (I even followed my own script once or twice). The last time I asked for a cheaper rate, I was told that was as good as it gets for me, and I was going to have to continue to pay this for the foreseeable future.

Was Rogers service terrible? Not really, it had its moments when things went down for no apparent reason, and such.  The cost was the reason I left this service provider.

I now have put all my eggs in one basket with Bell Fibe (and I even have my Cell Phone with Bell). This means for the next little while I will have very little leverage to get better deals (as I am locked in for a while as well). Am I confident that the Bell Services will be better than Rogers? I doubt it, although the Internet speed seems a little faster, the TV has a lag in channel changing that I forgot would be there (in an Video over IP model it is inherent), but the price is about $100 cheaper a month, so I really had no choice but to leave Rogers.

Farewell rogers my old friend

Good Bye

I am tired of having to beg. When I have shown that I am a loyal customer, I should not have to beg. I am tired of seeing new clients get great deals, while I continue to have to pay much more for the same darn service. The whole process makes me weary, and hope that Bell has not “horn swoggled me” in some fashion with this “great new deal” that I have.

Was this a Bluff ?

Sometimes you can’t bluff, you must follow through with your threat. In the new year, I believe it will be time to talk to my Bank again, as I am looking at Tangerine and thinking, maybe it is time to exit the TD treadmill of service fees as well, but that is for the new year.


Food Prices Up 3.4% In November

More fun with numbers in November, where if you just read the first line of the report from Stats Canada about the Consumer Price Index for November 2015, you would read:

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 1.4% in the 12 months to November, after increasing 1.0% in October.

Doesn’t that sound like great news? Inflation running at 1.4%, which is very low, however, dig a little deeper and you find out that:

Prices were up in seven of the eight major components on a year-over-year basis in November, with the food and shelter indexes contributing the most to the rise in the CPI. The transportation index, which includes gasoline, recorded its smallest decrease since November 2014.

Food prices were up 3.4% in the 12 months to November, after rising 4.1% in October. The index for food purchased from stores registered a 3.7% year-over-year gain, following a 4.6% increase the previous month. While prices for fresh vegetables and meat contributed the most to the gain, they increased less year over year in November than October. Prices for food purchased from restaurants were up 2.8% on a year-over-year basis in November, following a 2.7% increase in October.

Cough, Cough! What?!? Man, we need to really figure out how we can drink gasoline, because it seems to be the cheapest thing to buy these days, in terms of foodstuffs. If you feel you didn’t quite “get” what that paragraph said, have a look at this graphic.

Inflation By Category
12-Month Price Change by Category

An interesting graphic is this one, which shows the growth of the “basket of goods” price growth over the past 5 years.

Basket of Good Value Over Past 5 Years

Inflation-Control Target From Bank of Canada

Luckily the Bank of Canada measures inflation a little differently.

The Bank of Canada’s core index was up 2.0% in the 12 months to November, following a 2.1% rise in October.

The seasonally adjusted core index was up 0.1% on a monthly basis in November, after increasing 0.2% in October.

Reports from Previous Months in 2015

If you want to have a walk down memory lane about how prices have been going up, here you go.


Star Wars, Christmas Money, Shaw gets Wind and #MoneyStories

The world changes today, with the full release of the 7th chapter of the ongoing Star Wars Saga (at least that is what the Media Hype Machine might have you believe). I am old enough to remember going to the Snowden cinema in Montreal to watch the original release (chapter 4) in the ’70s. I like the movies, but I am just not that psyched to want to go to the movie just yet. I’ll wait until January after I have heard all the spoilers online. There is a very festive Star Wars clip at the end of this post too.

Jaba the Hut
Jaba, your cholesterol looks high too!

Have you finished your Christmas shopping frenzy? I am sure I have not, but that is part of the holiday season for me (the Christmas week panic).

Interesting to see that Shaw Communications has bought Wind Mobile (or is proposing to do so), which could mean more competition in the mobile phone industry, which is never a bad thing (in my opinion). Shaw says they won’t be changing Wind’s low-cost plans, and that would be a very good thing, especially if they improve the coverage map, but that remains to be seen.

Scheduling note:
since next Friday is the big day, don’t expect to see anything from me, other than my typical Christmas Address, but there will be my traditional end of year festivities.

My Writings for Week Ending December 18th

Our tree is up, but there are still far too many things to do before the big day. I think I may have misunderstood the message on this one on TFSA Transfers. The spirit of Dickens’ Christmas Carol got to me with Financial Hauntings

On the sister site, there was a new security update as well.

Facebook Post of the Week

I posted on my regular feed an old article that Larry MacDonald did in 2008 with me as the subject and now everyone at work is asking me about investing questions? Larry is writing a follow-up in the Globe.

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