In terms of news, and music 2016 has been a real clanging pain in the arse, and because of that most folks will be glad to see this year over, but my only question for you is, “If so many famous folks died in 2016, do you think maybe they got wind of what 2017 is going to be like and figured they would check out now?”. That is a BCM deep thoughts for 2016 (but yes, I will be glad to see this year over with as well).
Have you done any of the things you should be doing for the end of year?
Now that we have put up the Aluminum Pole (with no distracting tinsel), it is that time in Festivus for the Financial Airing of Grievances, and there have been a lot of things that got on my nerves this year, so listen closely, don’t make me repeat myself!
Housing Bubbles, what is up with this stupidity ? What morons are getting into these bidding wars for tar paper shacks down by the lakeshore ? No one needs a house that badly! Learn some self-control, “I really want it” is a bad reason to overspend on a house.
Fintech , taking the same bad investing concepts, implementing them on a computer using a little Artificial Intelligence (AI), and claiming you will get better results? C’mon man! Until someone explains to me (a programmer/geek) about what Fintech is doing for me, I am not drinking this Kool-Aid. Fintech almost seems like an excuse to hide more of the decision-making process from the end-user.
Good Debt , if I hear another financial talking head say that there is such a thing as good debt I will be using the aluminum pole for something more than just Festivus. Debt is a financial tool ( a bad tool ), but it is not good. If you can’t afford something, maybe that is for a reason. Why can’t I have a house like my parents? Your parents lived through 20% inflation, you didn’t! Stop whining and live within your means.
RRSP or TFSA , if you are losing sleep over this topic, but you are still carrying debt, you need to give your head a shake. Pay off your debt, then put money in your TFSA and then put money in your RRSP (or your kid’s RESP or RDSP), yes it is that simple. Pay off your debts.
Adulting, seriously ? It’s hard being an adult, and no, nobody is going to spend a lot of time trying to train you either, you are going to learn by trial and error, and you are going to make mistakes. This is what being an adult is all about. Each generation learns this way, luckily you guys will do better than my generation, relax.
This year has sucked, let us hope that next year is a better year, or I am going to have a longer list for the financial airing of grievances for next Festivus !
Christmas is finally here (on Sunday) and I hope it will be an enjoyable, festive season for you, your family and friends. Christmas is a special time in our household, and I am hoping this year will be no different. Remember to give to charity this time of year as well, especially if you are feeling especially fortunate, help them have a Merry Christmas. Charity should be part of your financial planning (if you are thinking of starting your 2017 plans, add that in).
High quality and reliable digital connectivity is essential for the quality of life of Canadians and Canada’s economic prosperity.
– Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman and CEO, CRTC
Will this somehow cause the big Internet Service providers in Canada make sure there are affordable (yet high quality) solutions available to all Canadians? My skepticism meter is reading high that things will change without a legislated solution in place (but we saw how well the whole $25 cable TV solution did). It would be a Merry Christmas if everyone could have access to basic internet, which is defined as:
speeds of 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download/10 Mbps upload for fixed broadband Internet access services.
an unlimited data option for fixed broadband access services.
the latest mobile wireless technology available not only in homes and businesses, but also along major Canadian roads.
Stats Canada published the November Consumer Price Index numbers and year over year inflation is running at a lowly 1.2%, but is it really? After a cursory look, it seems that it might be good this month with Food being a category where prices actually dropped.
Main contributors to the 12-month change in the CPI:
Main upward contributors:
Purchase of passenger vehicles (+3.0%)
Homeowners’ replacement cost (+4.4%)
Food purchased from restaurants (+2.5%)
Homeowners’ home and mortgage insurance (+4.4%)
Main downward contributors:
Fresh vegetables (-4.7%)
Fresh fruit (-4.5%)
Travel tours (-4.2%)
The fact that Gas is down in price is not nearly as interesting as how Fresh Veggies, Fruit and Meat are down in price. This is actual good news (for now), however remember the prices on those food stuffs have been going up big time over the whole summer. On the downside of things, Electricity prices continue to rise, not a good thing to see going into this Winter.
My Writings for Week Ending December 23rd
As most of my regular readers know, I am not a very big fan of New Years Resolutions, but having a plan for 2017 (financially) is a prudent thing to do, so thus I give you Smart Financial Goals for 2017. However you want to motivate yourself to plan for the New Year is your business, but get a plan down, and start using it.
I found 8 Holiday Ideas to Save Money in my archive of unfinished stories, so I dusted it off and published it for a small Ho Ho Ho for this Christmas season. It is a sarcastic commentary, but would you expect anything less from me ?
A Warm Coat for the Winter
But do you really need this coat, for that price? I doubt it, and yes Kerry wrote about this two years ago (I note other folks are only talking about it now):
Given the Holiday spending season is upon us, I thought I’d help out with some great Holiday Ideas to make sure that save money so the Grinch isn’t waiting for you in January, to foreclose on Whoville.
Convert to Judaism, a sudden religious change will throw off your family and save you from Christmas, however, you will still be on the hook for Chanukah so keep that one in mind (8 Crazy nights of Chanukah).
Regift, regift, regift, the importance of this at holiday time cannot be underestimated. Other folks have worked hard to thoughtfully buy you something, so you should repay their thoughtfulness by giving that thoughtful gift to someone else (and saving money).
Declare bankruptcy now, and beat the January rush. No one will expect you to buy them a gift if you are bankrupt (and you might make out like a bandit with gifts of cash), whether you actually declare bankruptcy is up to you (you could save money by simply stating you did it).
Abide by the Christmas Rules , if someone asks you what you are buying them for the Holidays, answer with, “That puts you on the naughty list” and then don’t give them a gift. The rules of the holiday are clear about who does and does not get gifts, and it helps save money.
Honest Mistake Option, on Christmas morning when everyone is handing around the gifts and such, and they turn to you and say, “Where are the gifts that you are giving”, put on your best act and say, “I FORGOT! OH MY GOD, I am SO SORRY!”. It is easier to beg forgiveness (as always).
Play Christmas Chicken, don’t buy gifts for people you don’t think you will see over the holidays, and if you do see them, carry an emergency gift card from a gas station that you can give them (beef jerky, a gift card, or maybe a window scraper).
Christmas Roulette, claim that you took all over your Christmas money, went to Vegas, and gambled it all on the Roulette Wheel (if you want you can say you put it on Black and it came up Green), and thus you have no money left for the holidays. Be very effusive about the things you would have bought folks had you won.
The Reason for the Season, stop worrying about the gifts that you are buying folks, and just do something nice for them that they need done (that they maybe can’t do themselves)? The idea of Christmas is not to bankrupt yourself and drive yourself crazy trying to find the last GI-Joe (with Kung Fu grip) (or that Hatchimal thing), I know I go to Church. You know what says “I love you” the most? You saying, “I love you!”, surprisingly.
Don’t I sound Grinchy? Send me a lump of coal by Paypal if you wish.
Actually I borrowed the idea from our friends at LSM, who had a great article in their Facebook page about Lorne King, talking about Smart Goals, however, his SMART is an FLA (Five Letter Acronym), S.M.A.R.T. goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic goals, that have a Time frame so let’s set some S.M.A.R.T. or Smart Financial Goals for this year.
What are S.M.A.R.T. Financial Goals ?
S.M.A.R.T. for financial goals (and health or fitness goals) are exactly what you need:
Specific , vague goals never get attained or worse are far to easy to tick off the list. Specificity like, pay of $5000 worth of debt, is a much better goal.
Measurable, I have said before if you don’t write it down, how did you know it happened, and being able to measure your goal is in that genre.
Attainable, saying you want to retire this year (and you are 25) is a lovely goal, but not likely, but, “Put $5000 in my TFSA this year”, is much more possible
Realistic, if you are carrying huge debt, then a realistic plan is to deal with debt before you start looking at saving.
Time Frame, set a couple of short-term goals, and then a year-long one, and maybe set up some long-term goals (retiring at 55 for a 25 year old would be a good goal). Don’t create too many, three is usually a good number in these situations.
What Should Your Goals Be?
The important thing to do, is make whatever smart financial goals you might be setting for the new year, that you are comfortable with them, but they challenge you as well. Setting a goal of
“… I don’t want to screw up as bad as last year…”
is not really a smart financial goal, it’s more of a declaration of incompetence. If you are afraid this is your smart financial goal for the year, maybe you need some help.