Importance of Financial Reports

Over the years I have received many financial reports and document. The reports are varied, but all have some importance, simply because they have been sent. Some of the financial reports I receive are:

  • Yearly portfolio reports, from places where I invest . These were more important, but now with the internet, I typically know what is in the report before I receive them. The reports sometimes have “yearly statistics” which are good to
  • Monthly bank statements are very important . Here is where you see where you have spent money, and see if there are any unknown entries on your accounts. It is important to check these out closely every month .
    • Check your pay stubs from work as well, you never know .
  • Pension reports I used to read and laugh knowing my retirement was a long way These days they carry much more import ance, as I am close to retirement, and the numbers are important to me.
    • Checking the Canada Pension Plan site would be good to do as Most folks assume they will simply get the max, but if you have had work “interruptions” this might not be the case.
  • Insurance Benefits coverage reports which tells you what your company benefits package Always check these, because sometimes your benefits package changes and you end up with the wrong benefits (e.g. you are in the bottom hospitalization package, when you wanted to be in the top package).

All of these reports are things you should read and keep for your records. Scanning these reports (or receiving them electronically) is a good way to keep these records easy to find.

My Problem This Year

Retirement

Is Retirement in my Future ?
http://www.ccpixs.com/

This year, I will not be receiving my Pension or Benefits report, because the Phoenix Pay system is still so confused, that the government doesn’t want to put out the reports. The assumption is that the reports would be wrong, so they are not being sent out . I can estimate this information, but this year the information is not being sent out. My concern is that if they can’t create the reports reliably, am I confident they have n’t messed up the information that the report would use, as  well?

Maybe I won’t  be retiring any time soon ?

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Festivus Financial Airing of Grievances

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!Financial Airing of Grievances

  • 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 not a good 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 in terms of Musicians who have died, weird election results, and the media getting it all wrong, let us hope that 2017 is a better year, or I am going to have a longer list for the financial airing of grievances for next Festivus !

Next, financial feats of strength! Let’s rumble!

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SRA Readers for Financial Literacy and Money Concepts ?

Remember as a kid, when you were in class, and the teacher would bring the old SRA Readers box out? Maybe this is a 70’s thing, but I remember that, and it helped me not loathe reading as much as I did. Can we borrow this idea for Financial Literacy?

SRA Reading System for Financial Literacy

SRA Reading System

The system helped kids progress through reading stories that became more complex, as you moved through each level or Colour. You would get questions on the story to make sure you really understood the whole story.

I enjoyed the competition that it introduced, as each kid in the class would proudly say what colour they had achieved, and when I remembered this I wondered wouldn’t this be a wonderful way to teach Financial Literacy and other Money topics?

Start with simple money concepts, then move onto saving and how money can grow, move on to banks and how they work, and once those topics are well understood then bring in the concept of leverage and credit, and finally how Mortgage, and complex investing concepts work. Each section could be easily broken down, and at the end of it you could be confident that the kids have learned about the topic.

Anybody up for putting this together?

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Fake Money News and other Manipulations

Fake Money News and other Manipulations

The headlines are full of how both Facebook and Google were bamboozled into delivering fake news during the past U.S. Election (2016), but for anyone who knows much about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), this is no big surprise. SEO is the pseudo-science (some say snake oil) that causes your searches to make certain articles to come out on the front page of your search pages. Fake Money news is also out there.

Gossip or Fake Money news

Money Gossip ?
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Manipulating Facebook, Twitter and Search Engines to bring up “less than scrupulous” news on any topic is not as hard as you might think.

Learn more about Internet Sliminess 

Most folks don’t really understand how search engines work, and how Google, Facebook and many other sites decide what you should look at (and to be clear, they decide what you look at, you have very little choice in the matter). Large companies are out there to market websites so that they get high rankings on the Internet Major Sites (as you can tell, I do not use those firms). There are estimates on how much is spent on SEO, and it is now in the Billions of Dollars worldwide (I am also including folks who pay for advertising on Google, Facebook, Twitter and other sites). Who has that kind of money to get Fake Money News in front of you? You would be surprised to see who spends money on it.

An interesting book about the SEO world

Go to your favourite search engine and type in

I need money

Look at what sites come up first. Many short-term loan and Pay Day loan companies, because they pay good money to get on that first page. They want to find you, and they want you to find them first! Are these the right sites for you to look at?

Absolutely not!

People seem to think the Internet is a great and all knowing oracle, but don’t be fooled. It is a business, and how does Google, Facebook, or Twitter make money? Selling search results to the highest bidder. Why do companies pay so much to them? Those Internet Leaders promise that they will deliver customers to the buyers doorstep.

Does this sound like Mad Men to you? That is pretty close, it is yet another spin on the world of Advertising (without the 4 Scotch lunches, and Don Draper-isms).

Yes, you can find a few of my articles around, but you have to look hard. I have tried hard to be on the first page for Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSP), but I am nowhere to be seen. Which sites are on the first page on Google? The CRA (which is good), the Banks and then a litany of firms that will help you get your RDSP set up.

If I wanted to manipulate a specific stock putting out fake news to drive the stock down or up could be simply done (and has been done to Apple and other stocks in the past). Having the next sure fire investing method is simple to push, because everyone is looking to get an edge.

What is my point?

You are being manipulated, every time you click on a search result on Google, or an ad on Facebook or Twitter. Someone paid good money (or did some dirty tricks (SEO has Black and White Hats)) for you to see that search (usually), but if you realize that, you are already better off.

A great alternate search engine is Duck Duck Go

Be skeptical about things you read on the web (yes, here too). Get different opinions, different views, use different search engines. You are being sold something every time you look at the Internet, be it news, money advice, travel advice, or so many other topics.

Ted has another angle on this subject:

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We Invest the Way We Vote

I am not sure if this is an expression said by someone, but this seems to be the case. I am not calling out my friends to the South either, Canadians (and everyone really) are just as guilty when it comes to “going to vote“, we make uninformed decisions, and thus we invest the way we vote

invest the way we vote

Some Things to Think About

What do I mean? In both cases, we make a hurried, uninformed decision after being unduly influenced by people who have their own agenda on why they want you to do it. Typically the decision may even be made at the last-minute, using your “gut” to decide.

In both instances, this is insane! If you are voting, and it is solely you going into a box, with a pencil and making a mark for someone, that someone else told you to vote for, that is not how the democratic system is supposed to work. Similarly if you go to a financial planner, who throws together a bunch of financial or investing ideas that you either don’t understand (or worse don’t want to understand) and you blindly agree to it, that is not how financial planning works!

Get educated about both topics, and make an informed choice, don’t just “do it because I need to do it”, because you will rarely make the right decision (and if you do it will have more to do with luck). Financial Literacy we are starting to talk about, Political Literacy needs to be pushed as well. Oh and the argument, there is too much information to decide, I don’t buy it.

November may be Financial Literacy month, but that does not mean you should wait until then to start educating yourself, make sure we prove wrong the statement, we invest the way we vote.

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