Carnival of Personal Finance #421 : Free Agent Mania Edition!

Over the years we have seen “free enterprise” enter the world of professional sports, with Baseball starting it all off with Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally and the Seitz Decision, now it is common place in all sports for players to leave franchises “high and dry” to get more money from another team. I applaud this ability that Athletes have only recently been given, and with this in mind, here is a tenuous thematic concept for this week’s Carnival of Personal Finance #421 Free Agent Mania Edition!

This week many hockey players, basketball players, soccer players and maybe even a few cricketers will exercise their right to have folks “show them the money!”

Michael Jordan (aka Editor’s Choice)

These articles were my favorite and I will call this section, the greatest Free Agent That Never Was , aka Michael Jordan  (for many years). These top 5 posts tickled my fancy the most from the ocean of articles submitted to the Carnival this Week:

Air Jordan, if you please
  1. Miss T. from Prairie Eco Thrifter presents Protect Your Home: Don’t Go Without Home Insurance, and says, “I believe that home insurance should be mandatory for every home owner. Unfortunately it’s not mandatory once the mortgage is paid off here in the great white North, and some people go without to save some cash. This can have big,m ugly consequences, and can end up bankrupting families as a result.”
    This one scares me to know that there are folks (in Canada) that don’t carry some insurance on their homes. Yes it costs a bloody fortune, but you need it for so many reasons (even if you have paid off your home). I like this one Miss T.
  2. Glen Craig from Free From Broke presents DOMA Goes Down: What Does it Mean for Same-Sex Finances, and says, “Parts of DOMA have been ruled unconstitutional. This has a number of effects on the finances, taxes and estate planning, of same-sex marriages.”,
    OK, so I guess DOMA is a big topic in the news these days, and Glen elaborates about some other topics that same sex marriages will need to consider (financially). A good explanation of the important stuff that new same sex couples might not consider right away.
  3. Mike from The Financial Blogger presents My Biggest Issues With College, and says, “I look over the biggest issues with why college isn’t always the best idea.”
    OK I gotta admit, that any post that starts with a quote from Frank Zappa gets my attention every single time! I almost demoted this off the Editor’s Choice, since it didn’t really have a money angle, but it sneaks in just at the end.

Reggie White (testify minister)

Reggie spent many years toiling with the Eagles, but he decided to go to Green Bay and with that move he got himself a Super Bowl ring, a good free agent pick up. Reggie White was a force throughout his career and sadly his life was cut short, as he might have been a great role model for younger players (he is still, but his presence might have helped even more).

Reggie was a skilled orator, and enjoyed explaining things, as these posts do as well:

  • Ryan from The Better Credit Blog presents How Secured Credit Cards Help You Repair Your Credit, and says, “Secured credit cards aren’t the best, but they might be your only option if you have bad credit.”,
    Secured credit cards are again a subject I did not know much about, but this helps as an introduction (but I don’t think this is a good idea, maybe you should just not use credit cards, if you are in this situation).
  • D4L from Dividend Growth Stocks presents 9 High-Rated Dividend Stocks With Above Target Returns, and says, “It doesn’t take a genius to determine that most dividend stocks are now trading in excess of their calculated fair value. However, capital appreciation is not the primary reason for investing in dividend stocks. Dividend fundamentals are what drive my purchase decision, and if I could only look at one metric it would be…”
    An interesting list of dividend paying stocks, and lots of self-promotion too.

Andre Dawson (worth every penny)

When Andre Dawson decided he couldn’t continue his career on the concrete turf of Olympic Stadium in Montreal, no one would sign him (can anyone say calusion?) however, the Cubs finally signed him for a pittance and he flourished in the friendly ivy-lined grass turfed confines of Wrigley Field (even if Harry Carey kept calling him Andy Dawson). Dawson in my heart will always be an Expo, but I know why he left.

Andre Dawson was an exceptional bargain and well worth the money, as these posts are worth the read:

  • Emily from Evolving Personal Finance presents First Values and Goals, Then Strategies, and says, “Don’t jump straight to picking a PF strategy; first you must evaluate your values and goals. Without what makes you unique in mind, you may not use an appropriate strategy.”,
    A good overview of the steps you need to take when you start a Personal Finance Strategy of any kind, if you can’t live with the strategy, why use it?

Reggie Jackson (in it for the money)

The greatest baseball hired mercenary player of the 20th Century was Reggie Jackson, who won World Series with the Oakland Athletics and then pulled up stakes and went to George Steinbrenner’s New York Yankees. Reggie deserved the money, Steinbrenner’s gamble paid off too, and the Billy Martin/Reggie Jackson Circus in New York was most entertaining.

If you are also in it for the money, the following posts should help you out a great deal:

  • Gary from Gajizmo presents Highest Paying Jobs, and says, “Here is a list of the highest paying jobs, job requirements and descriptions, average salary figures, and the number employed in the field.”,
    knowing how much certain jobs pay is important, but at the end of it, let’s hope you are doing something you want to do, and not just doing it for the money
  • Dividend Growth Investor from Dividend Growth Investor presents Dividend Growth Investing is a Perfect Strategy for Young Investors, and says, “One of the most common misconceptions about dividend investing is that it is not a good strategy for building your nest egg, and therefore it is not suitable for younger investors. Being a youngster myself, I (not surprisingly) disagree.”
    An interesting article with lots of self-promotion, but useful information about Dividend investing for the younger folks too.
  • Jon from Novel Investor presents Create A Stock Watch List, and says, “With a watch list, you create a personal list of “best stocks” to own when the price is right. Then, when a stock drops on some short-term bad news, you can pick it up for a steal.”
    Stock watching is a dangerous thing especially if you are planning on using a Buy and Hold strategy, this is more useful if you are planning on being a day trader (which is a really bad idea (IMO))
  • Amanda from My Dollar Plan presents How to Get Rid of an Escrow Account During a Refinance, and says, “If you’re contemplating a refinance, this is a must-read!”
    Interesting concept that I don’t really understand, and strikes me as very specific to someone refinancing their home, which I have always thought was a scarey thing to do.

Editor’s Note: This is the smallest number of submissions I have ever seen for a Carnival of Personal Finance, must have been a slow week. There were also a few posts that seem to have nothing to do with Money, so if I am posting the Carnival of Personal Finance, it might need to have something to do with Finance.

If you have reached this part and are still reading, as you can see I don’t agree with many of these posts, however, I included most of them so I didn’t end up with the same Unhappiness with my Hosting a Previous C of PF (hey I can include my own links too!).

If you want to volunteer to host the C of PF (shameless plug) click there!


Carnival of Personal Finance #355: April Fool’s Edition

A day late admittedly (and now in Canada a penny short, thanks to the penny being banned), but here we are with the Carnival of Personal Finance #355 the April Fool’s Edition.

I am fairly sure that the links submitted are not the old “switcheroo” type of posts (say the opposite of what you think and then say April Fools!), but I will group the posts by some of my favorite April Fool’s jokes over the years.

Editor’s Choice

As editor I get to pick a few posts as the pick of the week (for the Carnival of Personal finance) , you should definitely check them out:

  • Sustainable PF from Sustainable Personal Finance presents Nobody Cares what You Think, and says, “There are all sorts of reasons why people spend too much money. They might be trying to impress people. They might be over compensating for something. They might not be very good at math. There are a thousand psychological reasons to explain why a lot of people aren’t good with their money. But we don’t care about any of that, because I can sum up why a lot of people suck at money in one sentence.”. I like one sentence sums up, especially when they are curt.
  • Jefferson from See Debt Run presents Ain’t Too Proud to Use a Big Bird Spoon, and says, “Our cabinets are filled with a variety of bowls, glasses, and silverware collected over the years. While getting matching a set would be nice, it isnt a need.”. Matching plates and forks and such? That is for the RICH FOLK, not for we poor folk, trying to get out of debt. My plates will match when I don’t have debt.
  • Nicole from Nicole and Maggie: Grumpy Rumblings presents Fie on the residents of [state]., and says, “Nicole and Maggie discuss getting a credit card hacked. Check out the comments for more stories and suggestions on how to avoid getting haxxored.”. Call me a sucker for a good, “… don’t get burned like I did…”, story.
  • Jim Yih from Retire Happy Blog presents Active investing or passive investing – Which is better?, and says, “The debate between active investing and passive investing has been around for quite some time. The historical data suggests there is a clear winner. Who is it?” I love a good Passive vs. Active Investing discussion, because no one is ever completely right (or wrong).

The Spaghetti Crop Failure (Frugality & Real Estate)

Look that one up on Youtube, I believe it was the BBC that spoof’ed their TV viewers with a story that the Swiss spaghetti crop had failed, and the prices were going to go up (and they showed the spaghetti trees that were having problems). A classic bit of English humor:

  • Teacherman from Canadian Finance Blog presents Can Anyone Really Deny The Real Estate Bubble Any Longer?, and says, “Canada is in the middle of a large real estate bubble. Looking at Vancouver and Toronto, can anyone really deny the real estate bubble any longer?I see no bubble here in Ottawa, but my front lawn has a large dome in it?!?!
  • Donna Freedman from Frugal Cool presents Earn $37k a year by hosting travelers, and says, “Renting the spare room through sites like Airbnb and Roomorama do more than just bring in extra cash — they acquaint you from people from around the country, and the world.” Let foreigners live in my house? Why not just let my mother move in?
  • Young from Youngandthrifty presents Coupon Codes and Promo Codes and Why They are so Awesome, and says, “I’m not sure if many of you readers were around when I wrote my beloved post: Ode to Promo Codes but I thought of that post the other day and thought I would elaborate on why I love coupon codes and promo codes.” Awesome? Maybe you should get out a bit more?

Fake Snow Storm Warning (Credit & Debt)

It’s funnier in a place like Arizona to have a fake weather story, which predicts a Snowstorm (a snowstorm in Ottawa on April 1st isn’t really that big a joke, happens all the time), but I would guess folks in Hawaii might think it was a funny joke too (snow on April 1):

  • Peter from Bible Money Matters presents What Comprises Your Credit Score, and says, “Before they take a look at your score, you should get to know your credit score. Here’s a breakdown of what comprises your credit score. Use this to target the most weighted elements of credit scores, especially if you struggle with a certain area.” Snips and snails and puppy dog tails?
  • Eric from Narrow Bridge Finance presents How to Rule 0% Financing, and says, “I recently wrote a post discussing whether it is best to get a new or used car. One astute commenter got me thinking about car loans, and zero percent financing in general. If you do it the right way, you can rule 0% financing to come out on top.” Zero percent usually means a higher price, don’t it?

The Taco Liberty Bell (Money Management & Budgeting)

Yes, Taco Bell had a good one about how they had bought the rights to the Liberty Bell and they were going to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell, now that is a good one:

  • eemusings from Musings of an Abstract Aucklander presents Personal finance topics I’m so over, and says, “Can we please put these three topics to rest?” Only Three Topics?
  • Rob from Dough Roller presents 5 Ways To Automate Your Finances, and says, “By automating our finances we can spend less time managing our money and more time doing things we really want to do. ” I hired a robot accountant, does that count?
  • SB from One Cent At A Time presents Bad Financial Habits That You Might Be Not Aware Of, and says, “There are a number of bad financial habits and ways of doing things that can result in financial ruin. This article is written to warn you off before you reach that depressing pit called “bankruptcy”.
  • Green Panda from Green Panda Treehouse presents Get Rich by Having No Car Loan, and says, “How to not finance a car.”
  • Pierre from Intelligent Speculator presents The One Reason You Are Not Saving Enough, and says, “Why your savings aren’t where you want them to be.”
  • To quote Supertramp, Crisis, what Crisis?

Tax Deadline Moved to September 1st ( Finance & Taxes)

Now that might be funny too, if you made up a story about how the IRS or CRA were so overloaded, or they had laid off so many employees they were going to extend the filing date for your taxes to September 1st (not true by the way, submit on the regular dates, and don’t blame me if you are late):

  • Eric J. Nisall from DollarVersity presents Yes, Tax Refunds ARE Evil, and says, “Many people like getting tax refund. A large refund may be nice to receive, but it’s not always the best option. In fact, it may hurt more than it helps.” They may be evil, but we all love them.
  • Sandy from Yes, I Am Cheap presents What the Baby Boomers can teach us about saving for retirement, and says, “This innovative new program is helping high school student become certified tax preparers while helping low-income individuals get their taxes prepared for free!”

The Salt in the Sugar Bowl Trick   (Saving & Career)

More than once I have had very salty tea in the morning thanks for various pranksters in my life. I don’t particularly like this trick, but it is known as a classic (for others, not me):

  • Echo from Boomer & Echo presents Air Miles Cash vs. Air Miles Dream: What You Need To Know, and says, “Here’s what you need to know in order to set-up your allocation between Air Miles Cash and Air Miles Dream rewards balances:”
  • Mike from The Financial Blogger presents Would You Declare Your Income?, and says, “This piece looks at the idea of being transparent with your finances.”
  • Lindsey from My Next College presents 5 Mobile Apps for Nurses, and says, “You may not have much time to think when you have a health crisis on your hands, and mobile apps can be literal lifesavers for your patience and virtual lifesavers for you.”
  • Kathryn @ Financial Highway from Financial Highway presents Interview Questions, and says, “This guide not only tells you what the interview questions are but also provides insight into what the interviewer is really asking and what types of answers will help you get the job.”

Bogus Sports Trade Section (Investing)

More than once as a kid I was woken up to the story that Guy Lafleur had been traded to the Los Angeles Kings for some unknown future star (I grew up in Montreal in the 70’s), and more than once I fell for the joke (yes I was very gullible), but given this is a trade joke, let’s put the investing posts here:

  • Miss T. from Prairie Eco Thrifter presents Understanding Your 401k, and says, “Planning for retirement sucks. In a world filled with instant gratification, who wants to delay the fun? Nobody – which is why governments have nudged workers to save for retirement. If one defers the salary they receive, then the government will defer the taxes owed as well. The most common salary deferral plan is the 401(k).”
  • Evan from My Journey to Millions presents How Are the Top 10 Stocks from 2007 and 2008 Doing in 2012?, and says, “I find it interesting when the financial media makes bold predictions for individual stocks or mutual funds and as time passes the reasoning for the pick erodes. My interest may be based in on my love for history or it may be because of people’s failure to apply sense of accountability.
  • Ricky from Qwoter presents Beneficiary IRA, and says, “Do you know what happens to an IRA when owner dies? You’ll need to know the importance of a Beneficiary IRA along its specific requirements and rules.”
  • Teacher Man from My University Money presents Picks, Shovels, and Rent, and says, “There is an old saying that during the gold rush, it wasn’t the guys who found the gold that got rich, it was the businessman that supplied the picks and shovels. I’m wondering if a similar situation is not developing right now as North America embraces its energy craze, and the newfound riches that working with oil and natural gas has brought.”
  • Glen Craig from Free From Broke presents Withdrawing Money From a Roth IRA: How Does It Work and When Can I Do It?, and says, “A Roth IRA is a great retirement tool. But a question that comes up is how to go about withdrawing money from a Roth IRA? See how withdrawing money woks and when you’re able to.”
  • J.P. from Novel Investor presents The Roth IRA: The Piece To Your Retirement Puzzle?, and says, “The popularity of the Roth IRA has brought a myriad of questions about which IRA is best for retirement savings. The answer is, it depends.”
  • Miranda Marquit from Personal Dividends presents 3 Reasons to Love the Roth IRA, and says, “The Roth IRA can provide you with a great way to save money for retirement on a tax-advantaged basis. Here are 3 reasons that I love the Roth IRA.”
  • Tom Drake from Stupid Cents presents Tips for Maxing Out Your Roth IRA, and says, “The best way to save for retirement is by maxing out your Roth IRA. The Roth IRA is a tax-advantaged retirement account that gives you tax-free growth.”

The Old Hand in the Warm Water Trick (Other)

Yes, a crude bit of humor, that is more camp humor, than April Fool’s day, but wasn’t too sure what to put on the Other section:

  • SB @FPR from Finance Product Reviews presents Credit Karma Review, How Reliable is Credit karma?, and says, “Review of Credit Karma service offered through their web site. Covering every aspect of the software.”
  • Madison from My Dollar Plan presents 11 Unusual Roth IRA Strategies, and says, “Most readers know the basics of Roth IRAs (contribute after tax money and withdraw tax free in retirement), but there are some additional, unusual strategies that you can use the Roth IRA for that make it an even better tool for wealth building.”

Apologies if I missed your post, or I missed a good April Fool’s joke as well! (there were just so many to choose from for the  Carnival of Personal Finance #355 )


Carnival of Personal Finance 315 : Bring on the Long Weekends

Welcome to the Carnival of Personal Finance 315 where we will be celebrating that in Canada and the U.S. at this time of year there are many long weekends, specifically: Saint-Jean Baptiste Day (in Quebec), Canada Day (in all of Canada) and of course the 4th of July in the U.S. What a wonderful time and this year are especially great because all of these holidays fall on a Friday or Monday so bring on the long weekends!!!

I have removed a few of the more blatantly promotional posts (or non-topical (IMHO)), but have attempted to include as many relevant posts as were submitted, unlike my previous attempt on the Carnival of Personal Finance #192 Family Day Edition (I still get angry comments on that one).

Editor’s Choice

As Editor I get to choose the submissions for the week that I enjoyed the most, now remember I am not claiming these are the best posts of the week submitted, only that they resonated with me and I enjoyed reading them (for clarity):

  • Mike from Experiglot presents A One Week Guide for Raging Your Way to Personal Finance Success, and says, “One week to master your finances.”
  • Nicole from Nicole and Maggie: Grumpy Rumblings presents Prom Memorie$, and says, “Nicole and Maggie discuss the cost of prom and ask: Has the cost of prom really increased or just expectations? Is it worth going to prom if you don’t pay for the whole shebang, limo and all?”

Saint Jean Baptiste Posts

Quebec Proud
Gens Du Pays, c’est à ton tour…

In this section, we have posts that help celebrate the Joix de Vive of our Quebecois amies.

Amanda from My Dollar Plan presents 5 Scary Foreclosure Fiascos, and says, “Here are some crazy examples of foreclosures gone wrong. Some you wouldn’t believe!”

Boomer from Boomer & Echo presents Are Store Brands As Good As Name Brands, and says, “If the price difference is only a few cents I tend to buy name brands, but for the most part I don’t find much difference in generic and store brands.”

FMF from Free Money Finance presents I Joined a Credit Union, and says, “What’s not to love about 4% interest?”

Jacob @ My Personal Finance Journey from My Personal Finance Journey presents American Growth Fund of America – An Example of Things That UPSET Me!, and says, “According to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, the American Growth Fund of America, Symbol AGTHX, is the largest equity mutual fund in the world (by assets). However, does the performance history of this fund warrant its popularity? This post takes a detailed look at this question.”

Canada Day Posts

Canadian Flag
Canada Day or Dominion Day or Whatever les Quebecois call it.

This year Canada turns 150 years young and with special celebrations with Prince William and Kate in Ottawa, these posts show the joy that is shared in Canada, land of Peat Moss, Potash, Mosquitoes, Black Flies, Poutine, Beaver Tails and Lacrosse (and Hockey I hear too).

Tom Drake from Canadian Finance Blog presents The Three Legal Documents Of An Estate Plan, and says, “The Will, Enduring Power of Attorney and Personal Directive are the three legal documents in an estate plan”

Jim Yih from Retire Happy Blog presents A Personal Directive gives direction for health care decisions, and says, “A Personal Directive is a written, signed, dated and witnessed document that appoints someone else to look after your health matters.”

Control Your Cash from Control Your Cash presents Public Enemy #1, and says, “Why do we let a man with a 5-digit credit card bill make financial decisions for us? “

Sustainable PF from Sustainable Personal Finance presents How Menu Planning Saves Time and Money, and says, “If you have a menu, you are less likely to go off the rails shopping”

Ben from Money Smart Life presents Investing on a Budget, and says, “5 things to consider when investing on a budget”

Miranda @ Financial Highway from Financial Highway presents 35 Ways to Make More Money, and says, “Even the best of times, one of the most common questions asked is, “How do I make more money?” While an increase in income can ease the way things work in your personal economy, it won’t necessarily solve all your problems. “

Mike from Green Panda Treehouse presents Everything You Need to Know About Automatic Savings Plans, and says, “How you can automate your savings.”

4th of July Posts

4th of July
Fourth of July

These posts really sum up all that is great about our Big Brother to the south, and all that their celebrations entail (I will be watching and enjoying them as well).

Tim from How to Make Bankable Savings presents Credit Card at Gas Pump: A Money Saver with Many Virtues, and says, “This is a new personal finance website. I intend it to be about my thoughts, ideas and experiences about personal finances”

Jeff Rose from Good Financial Cents presents Average Cost of Law School Tuition- Is it Really Worth it?.

Ryan from Cash Money Life presents Unexpected College Expenses, and says, “College is expensive, but it’s even more costly when you let things sneak up on you. Do your best to avoid these unexpected college expenses.”

Money Thinker from Money Thinking presents Reader Question: Are there Alternatives to Student Loans, and says, “Money Thinker answers a reader question about alternatives to student loans. “

Glen Craig from Free From Broke presents Save Money on Vacation Plans with Frugal Staycation Ideas, and says, “Sometimes a full-on vacation is too expensive or impractical. See how you can save and have a blast with a staycation instead.”

NCN from No Credit Needed presents Structure and Freedom, and says, “These are the systems that we have put in place to help us manage our finances, get out of debt, and save money.”

Tom from Stupid Cents presents 401k Allocation, and says, “Want to improve your 401k allocation? Here is a look at a few of the more popular asset classes that available for 401k plans.”

Philip Taylor from PT Money Personal Finance presents Roth IRA Rules, and says, “Article discusses what a Roth IRA is, the advantages and disadvantages, rules for contributing, and why people should consider utilizing them.”

Pat S from compounding returns presents Buy and Hold vs. Buy and Own Investing, and says, “Buy and hold is dead. Buy to own.”

Kevin Mulligan from RothIRA.com Retirement Planning Blog presents Should You Change Your Employer’s Automatic 401k Enrollment?, and says, “Many employers automatically enroll their employees to invest 3% of their salaries into the company 401k plan. But is that enough? Is it too much?”

Neal Frankle from Wealth Pilgrim presents Creating Wealth – Avoid These 3 Mistakes, and says, “If you’re interested in creating wealth it’s a good idea to study the people who achieved financial success. Of course, it’s important to have a great entrepreneurial idea. But it’s also important to learn from the people who had it and lost it. Here is one story that provides 3 invaluable lessons”

Meg from CreditDonkey presents How to Get Better Gas Mileage, and says, “With gas prices rising, let’s learn how to save money by getting better gas mileage.”

Damon Day from Damon Day & Associates presents Taxes on Debt Settlement, and says, “Consumers are typically confused about why they may be required to pay taxes on a debt they have forgiven. This article breaks it down for them and provides a logical explanation. “

D4L from Dividend Growth Stocks presents 11 Higher Yielding, Lower Risk Stocks To Perk Up Your Dividend Income, and says, “If your goal is to accumulate wealth for a comfortable retirement, then there is no risk-free path.  Inherently, individual stocks will carry higher risk due to the lack of diversification when evaluated on a stand-alone basis”

Squirrelers from Squirrelers presents First Job Lessons Learned, and says, “Many times it’s easy to dismiss first jobs, but we can often learn a lot of lessons from our experience”

Matt Bell from Matt About Money presents How to Be a Smart Organic Food Shopper, and says, “With the high cost of organic food, it can easily feel like you can either eat healthily or spend smart – not both. Here are some ideas for spending smart on organics.”

What do you mean the Next Long Weekend is Labour Day?!?!

These posts make us long for yet another long weekend, and soon! I guess we can burn some vacation days to enjoy them…

Dividend Growth Investor from Dividend Growth Investor presents Kinder Morgan Partners – One Company three ways to invest in it, and says, “Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. owns and manages energy transportation and storage assets. This master limited partnership has consistently increased distributions since 1997. There are three ways to invest in the partnership:”

Roger Wohlner from Chicago Financial Planner presents Investing is Not Sexy, and says, “In a recent post for US News Smarter Investor I said the following: “Sorry to disappoint, but investing is not sexy or trendy. It takes persistence, monitoring, and commitment.” I want to elaborate on this a bit here.2”

Ken from Spruce Up Your Finances presents 9 Quick Facts About The Traditional IRA Contributions, and says, “Some facts you should know about when making a traditional IRA contribution”

Sun from The Sun’s Financial Diary presents The Fall Of Blockbuster: A Lesson On Keeping Your Business Model Current.



Weekend Comment Wrap Up

Where are the Videos?

I ran out of videos that I could post that were of Personal Finance interest so I have decided to try out a review of the comments that I got this week, since I did seem to get a lot of comments about a few of my posts. All of the “How to run a Blog” documentation suggests the success of a Web Site can be reflected in the comments that the site receives, but I just like comments because many times that is where I get my best ideas for posts and such.

For CPI up Thanks to HST

Andy R. commented: “Just saw an Ontario HST charge on a parcel shipped to me in Alberta. Doesn’t seem right, but apparently everyone gets to share the pain and pay Ontario taxes now? CPI increases for all around, yeah!”

If you’d like Dalton McGinty’s mailing address I can supply it to you. I bet you can get that rebated if you filled in 6 forms and mailed each of them individually, but then again you will have spent more than your rebate doing this.

With Trust Only In Fire I was mostly fiddling around with video, and was surprised at the number of comments that I got:

Michael James said “It might be fun to shred and then burn. I’m guessing that shredded paper would burn incredibly quickly.”

AndyR chirped in with “The shredded paper does burn real quick. Shred and burn is better than just burning. If you don’t shred, burn AND stir, you soon find that even loose paper may not burn completely, leaving charred fragments that “THEY” may forensically reconstruct to rip you off. BTW, an open fireplace is so last millennium and quite energy inefficient. Install an air-tight unit, use a stainless steel pipe inside the old brick chimney, then you can slow cook those financial records, and scrub the soot yourself with the brush and pole kit from Canadian Tire. In the winter, we have few recyclables since they all get converted to BTUs.”

I’d like to point out I am nothing, if I am not old School, and as for using this as a methodology for heating my house, I waste more BTUs up my chimney burning this crap than I do getting any kind of heating benefit. Interesting comments though.

My Advice to Future University Students caused a flurry of responses (which just goes to show if you write about Teenage Drinking you can never go wrong). You should go over and read all the comments, but some of the more interesting ones are:

Elizabeth wrote a long tome outlining what you can do in first year to get involved, very useful.

Nancy (aka Money Coach) pointed out “…In retrospect though, I think I would have hung out more with some of the high achievers. It’s a way to start building a network and also pick up good habits and ways of engaging with the world…”,

Garrett commented “There were many mornings in University where I’d wished I’d taken that sage advice from your father!”, see sometimes free advice is worth something!”

Echo of Boomer and Echo Fame, did a thesis on using Gatorade in the equation, lots of useful commentary there.

I don’t condone Teenage drinking, I simply offer this as a service, but the Gatorade comments were an interesting twist on the advice (and at the time, Gatorade was not as prevalent as it is these days).

With RESP Wrinkles I managed to mix up the CESG and EAP and was told about it by a few folks.

Money Smarts Blog pointed out, “This is really interesting information – the government has always required financial institutions to verify enrolment when someone requests a withdrawal, so the fact that TD wasn’t doing that is a serious breach of the RESP promoter rules.”

Michael James added, “Just a few more wrinkles and RESPs will become deposit-only accounts.”

George pointed out my blundering with the wrong terms, but did point out “One thing to note, though – you should be able to make a withdrawal of your contributions to the RESP without ANY documentation regarding enrollment. The contributions are after-tax money and they are always ‘owned’ by the account contributor. You should be able to withdraw some of your contributions to cover the initial payments to the university, and then make an EAP withdrawal later on to pay for subsequent expenses.”

Personal Finance added,“I’m not surprised at all. This seems to work in every field. Just because few “knuckle heads” to quote you, took advantage of the system, now they screw the entire system. I often wonder if RESP is really the best. I have my kids money “in trust” founds. Is less headache and less government involvement and the boys will have a chance to do whatever they choose to.

Do you know how long is going to take until you will receive the money? Do universities charge you for their documentation? “

And Alex C chirped in with,“I’m surprised you never had to prove it before? I always had to get a Verification of Enrollment letter which cost me about $10 each year. (actually it was only $3 the first 2 years which then went up to $10, but that’s a gripe with the university not the RESP system).

Even bigger issues come if you don’t have the cash to cover the tuition prior to the RESP collection, which can often be a while after the tuition deadline. The same thing happens with student loans, in that you dont receive them till well after your tuition is due, causing students who already can’t afford school to incur excess fees and interest while they wait for their loans to arrive.”

All very good points, I think I should be allowed to take out the money I put in directly with no need for documentation, but needing it for the EAP portion (which includes the CESG and growth) makes some sense, but now the Universities are piling on by charging me to get a letter of Enrollment, so I am not too happy about all of that either.

Carnivals this Past Week

I was mentioned in a few Carnivals too:

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Sometimes it Just Takes a Long Time

The trite statement that a journey of 1000 miles starts with a step is where I am coming from today. I am just finishing up Stephen King’s Under The Dome, a very long book. It is also a very long Book on CD (over 30 CDs in length). I enjoyed the book (I listen to books on my drives to and from work). It has taken a fair amount of time to get through all of the content, but it shows that no matter how big the task, as long as you keep working at it, it will eventually end. Just like audiobooks, long financial journeys take a long time.

Many times, many Personal Finance goals seem much like Sisyphus’ tasks (constant and very pointless). Still, unlike laundry and taking out the garbage (those tasks I do count in the Sisyphean task), if you are trying to pay off debt and you keep at it, it will eventually go away (as long as your plan to pay it off is sensible).

Sysiphus and Personal Finance
Sisyphus and Personal Finance

What types of Personal Finance tasks do I lump into the Sisyphean Challenges list?

  • Paying off Credit Card Debt
  • Paying back relatives you have borrowed money from
  • University Loan pay back
  • Paying off your Mortgage
  • Building up enough in your RRSP to be able to retire

You get the flavour of what I am talking about, the type of task that unless you had a considerable amount of money appear in your lap, it would take more than three years to complete your task.

All Long Journeys Need to Start

My only advice or comment can be, it is up to you to keep up the challenge you have put before yourself, but if you keep plodding along and following your plan, you will eventually succeed.

My next book for commuting will be Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol. Yes, I figure I’ll be lucky to be nearly finished it by the time that Labour Day rolls around, but not starting it means I’ll never finish it either.


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