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Valentine’s Day Financial Massacre

For those of the male persuasion you have learned the joys of St. Valentine’s Day , and while Saint Valentine (Valentine of Rome (Valentinus presb. m. Romae) ) may have been martyr’ed in the first century his memory has caused a great deal of Financial Martyrdom for those “in love” or wishing to show love.

I realized what a huge industry Saint Valentine’s day was when I first became entwined in a romance and attempted to buy roses (the traditional thing) and found out just how expensive these plants can be at this time of year. It used to be that the prices could quadruple for long stem roses, but thanks to the open market place, the prices really only double, but are still an exorbitant cost. 

Laura Secord chocolates is a nice place to visit, but giving someone you love, rich dark and sweet chocolates these days seems to be frowned on (trying to make them fat or worse drive up their blood sugar level). I like chocolate and the endorphins released eating it is wonderful for a short while too.

Blowing upwards of $200 on flowers and chocolates and then blowing $2-300 on a meal out (try to find a reservation at a restaurant on Saturday night, I dare you (no Swiss Chalet and MacDonald’s do not count)), just seems irresponsible in these hard economic times.

What to do instead?

  • Do something for the “apple of your eye”: let them sleep in, clean up the house, take the kids out and give them some peace and quiet.
  • Buy them a nice Toblerone Valentine’s chocolate (less than $10 I think).
  • Buy a card if you want (but don’t go wild) better still write your own card with your own words or a quote like:

    The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.

    -Helen Keller

  • Go give blood, the Red Cross needs that Red Stuff in your veins, that is a good metaphor for Valentine of Rome. That shows love to someone you don’t even know.
  • Spend time together at a movie (I hear the new Friday the 13th movie is coming out), or just go for a walk.

Bankrupting yourself financially is not a sign of love (it is a sign of a feeble financial mind).

What does Valentine’s Day Mean to Me?

To me Valentine’s Day has always meant love, but in a different way. It is my parents’ anniversary on that day (they have been married for 56 years), so I celebrate their lives together on that day as much as the love I have for my wife and her saintly patience.

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Even a Dead Bird Bounces?

This was written during the 2008 Market Implosion (Credit scandal implosion). As a historical piece it is interesting to read the ideas and concepts of that market mess.

That was an interesting expression I heard a financial pundit make once, about a short-lived rebound in the markets, during a severe down turn, and it is true, was yesterday a recovery? I have no idea, will it continue? Ask me tomorrow. As the Canadian Capitalist said in a very eloquent statement (which I will shamelessly steal):

If you panicked during yesterday’s sell-off, you should take a hard look at your asset allocation and see if you are taking on more risk than you can stomach. There is nothing worse than selling in a panic and locking in your losses.

Very true words, and better than, “With great power comes great responsibility”.

Personal Experience

During Monday’s panic, I actually went out and bought more banks. I can’t tell you that it was an epiphany, or some other thing, but I decided I was going to get a Dividend paying asset “on sale”, so I went out and bought it. Was it the right move? Again, ask me in about 6 months and I’ll tell you then.

Make an Investment Plan

If anything has been learned, you must have a financial plan, and a plan on how you want to deal with your investments, so you aren’t part of the panicking masses during these market downturns. Do what you think is comfortable for you.

Let me repeat one point that I have read in Michael James’ blog and in others, that I repeated yesterday as my own strategy as well. If you have short-term money that I need to live on or pay off debts, it should not be in equities, because I need that money not to shrink or disappear. If this is conservative, then I am conservative. All my equity investments are in funds I will need in 5 years or more.

Give Blood

I am giving blood for the 11th time (I hope), I challenge my readers and fellow financial bloggers to do the same. No you don’t get a tax write off, but you do help save lives.

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So much for the good news… CPI for February

After the elation of the budget we now come to the Consumer Price Index for February, and to quote Frank Barrone, Oh Crap! Yup the CPI elevator is going up again. It is now up to 2.0% year over year up from 1.2% last month (year over year) . That is one hell of a jump, and guess what is to blame? Gasoline, my friends, yes indeed, the black gold that is causing the Canadian Economy to go into hyper drive is also driving up the consumer price index.

Surprisingly the CPI in Ontario is only 1.6% which is interesting, given our gas prices shot through the roof (up 9.8% from January to February) thanks to the “shortages” caused by that refinery fire (I note gas prices are still around $1/liter these days). A good wood worker uses a gouge, but I didn’t know it was part of standard business practices too.

Why should you care, no it’s not inflationary, yet, but if that comes, then interest rates go UP, and then we see if the U.S. economy can withstand a high interest rate or not. My guess is NO, and the rest of the world is going to pay for that one too.

Oh and on a different note, remember to Give Blood the next time you can. I am supposed to give today, and this will make my 8th donation (which isn’t much considering the last time I gave there was a chap there who had given almost 100 times). This is a gift that helps people you don’t even know, and you are helping them LIVE, so it is an amazing gift, give, if you can.

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Bloggers: Give Blood!

So I have just finished giving blood for the 7th time (not much, but it’s a start). I give because I have it, and it’s a minor inconvenience in my day (and I get to eat as many powdered donuts as I can snarf back, with very little guilt). I have used blood products, my family has, as have friends, I think it’s important to pay back.

If you are in Canada, contact the Canadian Blood Services or click on this link to find a clinic near you, if you are in the States, I think you still go through the Red Cross. If you can’t give blood, or don’t want to, donate some money then, or better still volunteer to help out. I never grew up to be a doctor, like I thought I should (sometimes), but at least I am helping someone now.

I challenge bloggers (expect a tag from me soon), to give!

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