If you Have $30 Cash…

One of the fill in the blank questions that I asked last week (to a very tepid response), was

If you have $30 but owe your friend $20 you ____

Now the correct answer really is “you really only have $10” (this is a great quote from the web site Brotips, well worth checking out). Given what I keep hearing about how it should be much easier for everyone to borrow money, and the government continues to make it very cheap as well, here are a few possible (dumb) answers that some folks might suggest:

  • Borrow $10 more from your friend that way you have $40!
  • Borrow $20 in a pay day loan to pay your friend off, that way you don’t owe your friend money.
  • Refinance your house, because you have so much free capital

As you can see there are many stupid responses to that question, none of which is “correct”.

Let’s ask the question another way:

Your friend owes you $20, but he tells you he has $30 cash so you should ___

The correct answers that I would accept on this one are:

  • You shouldn ‘t have loaned him (or her) $20 in the first place
  • Ask for your money back (since they already borrowed money from you, so they aren’t likely to have spare cash in the near future).
  • Call a collection agency, to get your money back (OK, that costs money, and should only be done if you feel you can get on TV doing it, or you are a spiteful vindictive person).

Polonius (in Shakespeare’s Hamlet) did have it right, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be, For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.


Financial Fill in the Blanks

When I was growing up in Quebec most final exams (other than in English) were multiple choice (or multiple guess, as we knew them) when you wrote a high school-leaving exam. I never liked multiple choice, but I was always fond of fill in the blank tests because it gave you much more leeway to be more creative in your responses.

With this in mind, I give you a simple list of a few fill in the blank questions that effectively can for a Financial Aptitude Test.

If you wish to be part of this test, put your answers in the Comments section below:

  1. Don’t do stupid things with your money and ____________________.
  2. The stupidest thing Canadians do with their money is _________________.
  3. I am going to miss the penny because ______________________.
  4. Stupid people and their money are __________________.
  5. If you have $30 cash and you owe $20 to your friend you really have _____________.

I may give out prizes from my backlog of books, but no promises (yes I am being very lazy today, what do you want for a Wednesday!).



The Tyranny of Choice

In this world, there are choices for everything, and with that we now have an entire generation that cannot make decisions.

When I was a kid, we had 5 TV stations total (and that was with cable), kids now have hundreds to choose from. Coffee was coffee, until all of the various flavors arose now it is impossible to describe the list of possible choices.  What ever happened to Henry Ford’s old credo, “You can have any colour you want, as long as it is black” (for the Model T, when it was first introduced)?

In investing and your money the  tyranny of choice is acute, if not rampant.

There used to be a few Mutual Fund companies, now there are so many I could fill pages just with the name of the firms. Simply investing is now a mine field  of ways to invest and who(m) to invest with  (not so long ago, you had to talk to a broker, and that was it), now you can invest through your Dunkin’ Donuts location (can’t you?).

The Tyranny of Choice has created cerebral grid-lock for many folks, since they have so many choices they simply stop and choose not to choose.  Just because are afraid to try to decide from 1,000 different possibilities, doesn’t mean you should simply not choose (especially on the money side of things).

With investing, if you don’t know what you are doing, or don’t know what to do, go find out, or find someone you trust to help you make the decision. The argument, “I can’t understand the difference between Mutual Funds, Index Funds, Active and Passive investing or any of that crap, so I just buy what my buddy the investment councilor tells me to buy”, is a cop-out, this is your money you are talking about.

Read, learn, plan and then act, is the way to move forward. You can’t simply stick your head in the sand and hope no one kicks you in the butt (financially), because we know that someone with a big boot is out there waiting for you.

If you make a mistake, learn from the mistake, but at least you made a decision (unless that decision was to get a pay-day loan, in which case, that was a BAD decision), so be a grown up and move on. Everyone makes mistakes, I can respect someone who makes mistakes (and learn), I can’t respect people who refuse to do anything.

Are you afraid of all these choices, or do you relish and enjoy your freedom of choice?



Financial Balance Band

In search of the best way to keep my finances in good order I am always looking for things that will help me keep up to date, and maybe get ahead, and this is where I found the Financial Balance Band. This ingenious new invention which is made from rare earth minerals and the ashes of J. Paul Getty has helped me keep my finances in perfect working order and I now feel like I am on my way to financial equilibrium.

The Financial Balance Band emits financial frequencies and rhythms that help keep your budgeting chi aligned and will keep you on track with your personal finance plans.

The Financial Balance Band has been scientifically tested by the BCM Institute of Bovine Feces, using the latest techniques in spending control (remember these are the same people that brought you the the Financial Shock Collar).

financial balance band

Prototype for Financial Balance Band

As a test I sent my wife into a store without saying anything and not wearing her Financial Balance Band, she came out and she had spent almost $100! I then berated her publicly about being so loose with our money. I made a complete spectacle of myself, shrieking, stomping and yelling. Then  I gave my wife a Financial Balance Band which she put on and she went back into the store, and you know what happened? She came out of the store, and had not spent 1 cent! Her spending was back in balance because of the financial rhythms and harmonics of the Financial Balance Band.

I hear you nay sayers, asking, how could that be? She had just spent $100 and now she isn’t spending anything, but that is the power of the Financial Power Band, to control your spending habits! After putting this wrist band on, your financial frequencies are aligned and you no longer wish to spend.

With these Financial Balance Band your Finance Chi will align with your core budgeting muscles thus leaving your monetary rhythms resonating at the perfect economic harmony.


If you believe this one, you really need some professional help. I put these brand of new age products down to the same level as the troll dolls that bingo players bring to their games for good luck, in fact, troll dolls are cheap and cute, so maybe they are even better than these products.

If you want financial balance, get rid of your debts, live within your means, and you will feel balance.



Who do you Tip?

A couple of days ago we took delivery of a stove (the old one was dieing and we couldn’t really bake with it), which had “free” delivery included in the price. When the delivery chappies showed up, they hauled away the old stove, put the new stove in place, and I tipped them $10 with the statement “get yourselves some coffee on your break” (if I had given them a $20 I would have said get a beer after work). I think tipping them is just being curteous (and they did a good job, and frankly, they did something I didn’t want to do (i.e. move around heavy appliances)), I am wondering do folks think this is out of line, or wrong?

I know that it is normal in North American society to tip servers in restaurants (in fact many servers work for tips only) so that seems to be a normal thing. When I did paper delivery as a young lad, there were a few distinct groups of folks when it came to tipping:

  • Those who tipped 10% on the weekly charge (that I collected from the door weekly)
  • Those who didn’t tip weekly, but gave me a Christmas tip
  • Those who didn’t tip at all (and were the ones who had their papers sometimes get really soaked in the rain)
My feeling is a gratuity is something you should want to pay out for a service you think was done well, or that you want to thank someone for doing.
There are countless other professions that seem to have gratuities associated with them:
  • Delivery folks in general (flowers, pizza delivery, etc.,)
  • Door-persons  (the term doorman seems to be passe)
  • Bouncers at certain clubs
  • Maitre D’s at restaurants
Sometimes I get miffed at having to tip folks all over the place to get simple service, but sometimes I like to say thanks as we



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