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Easter is Here and some #MoneyStories

The season of Easter is here, time for you to restart, renew and reestablish things in your life. Being a religious type Christian person, this is what it is all about (Christmas is nice, but without Easter the whole Christianity thing doesn’t quite hold together). I hope you enjoy the time off (if you get time off) to reconnect with Family and friends. Please remember on the stewardship side of things, this time and Christmas are where the Church collects about 1/2 of their income (just saying).

Sugar kaboom
Remember that Lent is Over as Well, time to feast !

We had a budget this week, and many different bloggers have voiced their opinions on it, and it has a pretty hefty price tag too (reminiscent of Mr. Trudeau’s father), but I suppose there were a lot of things that were left undone, that need to get done. I will try to recap how it affects my life, didn’t see if there were any changes for parents of disabled children, but if you have kids, things will change (if you make less than $150K that is).

If you are more of a Chocolate Bunny Easter person, that is OK, you can still use the season as a good reason to restart your financial plans, or start them. The best time to start a financial plan is 5 years ago, however, the 2nd best time is now, get to it, call it your Easter Financial Plan.

Happy Easter

My Writings for Week Ending March 25th

I spent the week in Toronto enjoying the Ice Capades, OK, it was an ice storm, and it wasn’t something to be enjoyed either. There sure are a lot of condos down here too.

Stats Canada noted last week that Food Prices Continue to Rise especially in the area of fresh fruit and veggies. Gas prices seem to be moving back up, as are oil prices, so we shall see what happens with interest rates with this information (my guess is not much for now, however, remember the Canadian Dollar is recovering, and that might slow interest rates as well).

It was my son’s birthday this week, and with that I revealed one of the reasons for The Origins of the Canadian Personal Finance Place. It hasn’t turned into the cash cow I had hoped, but it has been cathartic.

An Easter Thought

Bunnies are cuddly
The large and the small
But I like chocolate ones
The best of them all.

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Good Friday

The Easter season begins today with Good Friday, with that in mind I am going to enjoy this weekend with my family, and will be back on Monday.

Good Friday
Good Friday

I have spoken about Good Friday before so I leave you a short excerpt from my Faves page:

Personal Financial and Planning

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Change Banks Some useful advice I gave a friend that still is very true!
  2. Free Banking One of my favorite topics on how to get your bank to give you FREE banking for a while at least.
  3. Quarterly Personal Finance Status Report A way for couples to keep each other up to date on their financial status.
  4. Debt is Like Fat Another way to look at trying to get out of debt.
  5. Debt Makes Me Sick A frank article on my feelings about debt.
  6. RDSP a Really Long-Term Savings Plan outlines the penalties from taking money out early from the RDSP.

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Financial Reboot

One of the major tricks I learned when I was an I.T. dude, was how easy it was to fix problems if you asked your customer, “Have you rebooted your system lately?“. I also knew this drove my customers nuts, but it worked most of the time, and they had to then go away, and I usually had a good chuckle. A financial reboot might not be a bad idea as well.

a financial reboot

Now THIS is a COMPUTER (Vic 20)

When I was at the Maundy Thursday service at my Church during Holy Week, it ends with a complete stripping of the alter and the turning off all the lights in the Church, effectively ending the Church year, and then on Easter morning, this is the start of a new year, effectively a spiritual reboot.

Restart Financially?

This strikes me as a useful idea for those who may be stuck in a financial rut, or feel they are drowning in their own financial plans. I am not espousing declaring bankruptcy or walking away from your financial issues (that is the ultimate financial reboot, and should really be a solution of last resort), but I am saying that maybe a financial reboot in your  thinking is needed?

How can you reboot financially? Some ideas that might work are:

  • Re-vamp your investment ideas, and move away from an active investment plan to a passive or Index based plan. Maybe your issue with your investments is that you just don’t know enough about how to invest (I know I don’t), but if you go with the indexes you are more likely to succeed (as long as you choose the right indexes). This kind of reboot in your methodology may help you in the long run?
  • If you and your spouse don’t talk about money much, maybe it’s time to reboot, and then plan weekly discussions about what is going on with money so that both of you know what is going on. This might ease the money tension in your house and give you new ideas about things.
  • If you have no financial plan, reboot, and make one. If you feel living day to day is not working for you, reboot and restart with a plan that will help you feel more in control.
  • When you retire a debt (especially if it is a Credit Card), maybe retire that debt vehicle (i.e. close the account), so that it cannot resurrect itself later. Rebooting your credit vehicles by getting rid of unneeded credit devices is a good idea, if you have had issues with them previously.

A financial reboot gives you a fresh start, and maybe can put you back on the right path?

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An Easter Story: The Leather Coat

Sometimes some interesting stories happen around me that I like passing on in this forum. I am recounting this Easter story to show that for all the complaining about the youth, I think the world will be in good hands when we old farts finally move on.

On Ash Wednesday this year, our Church ran its normal activity day (where the kids come and learn about Lent, Ash Wednesday and Easter), and a few other parishes also participated (my wife helps run these).

One of the activities for the high school kids (who actually take the day off school) is to go down to one of the Churches in the Ottawa Core, where there is a “lunch club” where folks of modest means (and many homeless people) come to have lunch, and have somewhere to “be”.  The teenagers from our churches went to help out at the lunch room, and to maybe get a glimpse of how some people have to live.

A few of the teenagers brought their coats in and hung them up, and unfortunately one of the coats went missing after lunch. Evidently where the kids hung up their coats was an “if you need one take one, if you have one leave one” area of the closet, so a very nice leather coat went missing. The jacket that disappeared was a treasured family keepsake (it had been owned by one of the young men’s grandfather). Needless to say there was a lot of rushing around to find the coat, but it was gone.

The kids returned to our Church and our minister got the whole story so he took the young man aside to talk to him about the missing coat. When our minister asked the young man if he was upset about the coat going missing, the young man’s only response was, “… at least someone will have a warm coat to wear tonight …”.

My Feelings

This is astounding, a kid who could have whined, complained, blamed, or at least been upset about the loss simply viewed the coat for what it most likely had become, a gift to someone who might need something warm to wear.

An astounding young man

Note: I feel I can repeat this story, because our minister spoke about it in his sermon.


Easter Bunny Bounces Jobs Into March in Canada

Yes, I know the Easter bunny would help the April employment numbers, but the headline is still great.

Employment is up and Unemployment is down for March 2012 in Canada (according to Stats Canada), which is very good news:

Following four months of little change, employment increased by 82,000 in March, mostly in full-time work. This brought the unemployment rate down 0.2 percentage points to 7.2%.

Compared with 12 months earlier, employment was up 1.1% or 197,000. Almost all of this growth was in full-time employment, up 181,000 (+1.3%), while part-time employment edged up. The total number of hours worked rose 1.6% over the same period.

The fact that it is Full Time employment is the most important news that I can read in that paragraph. The numbers of hours worked going up is good too.

Employment for Past Little While

Employment gains in March were spread across several industries, including health care and social assistance; information, culture and recreation; and public administration. There was a decline in educational services.

Interesting cross-section of jobs that were created, and all of this is good news for Canadians, but now we must wait to see that the ramifications are from Government cuts at the Provincial and also at the Federal level.

Unemployment for Past little While in Canada

A much more optimistic looking graph for Canadians.

The Big Table

As usual I include one of the Big Tables from our friends at Stats Canada, and some interesting numbers appear in the table.

Labour force characteristics by age and sex – Seasonally adjusted

February 2012 March 2012 Feb to
Mar 2012
Mar  2011 to
Mar 2012
Feb to
Mar 2012
Mar 2011 to
Mar 2012
thousands (except rates) change in thousands (except rates) % change
Both sexes, 15 years and over
Population 28,180.9 28,208.1 27.2 318.9 0.1 1.1
Labour force 18,740.3 18,792.8 52.5 128.9 0.3 0.7
Employment 17,354.2 17,436.5 82.3 197.2 0.5 1.1
Full-time 14,058.0 14,128.0 70.0 181.3 0.5 1.3
Part-time 3,296.1 3,308.5 12.4 15.9 0.4 0.5
Unemployment 1,386.2 1,356.2 -30.0 -68.4 -2.2 -4.8
Participation rate 66.5 66.6 0.1 -0.3
Unemployment rate 7.4 7.2 -0.2 -0.4
Employment rate 61.6 61.8 0.2 0.0
Part-time rate 19.0 19.0 0.0 -0.1
Youths, 15 to 24 years
Population 4,456.2 4,456.7 0.5 -1.9 0.0 -0.0
Labour force 2,822.8 2,843.3 20.5 -33.7 0.7 -1.2
Employment 2,409.1 2,448.3 39.2 -15.7 1.6 -0.6
Full-time 1,268.8 1,302.0 33.2 1.5 2.6 0.1
Part-time 1,140.3 1,146.3 6.0 -17.2 0.5 -1.5
Unemployment 413.7 395.0 -18.7 -18.1 -4.5 -4.4
Participation rate 63.3 63.8 0.5 -0.7
Unemployment rate 14.7 13.9 -0.8 -0.5
Employment rate 54.1 54.9 0.8 -0.4
Part-time rate 47.3 46.8 -0.5 -0.4
Men, 25 years and over
Population 11,609.3 11,622.2 12.9 159.6 0.1 1.4
Labour force 8,429.3 8,460.2 30.9 76.8 0.4 0.9
Employment 7,899.5 7,927.9 28.4 102.2 0.4 1.3
Full-time 7,281.3 7,305.2 23.9 88.9 0.3 1.2
Part-time 618.2 622.6 4.4 13.2 0.7 2.2
Unemployment 529.8 532.3 2.5 -25.4 0.5 -4.6
Participation rate 72.6 72.8 0.2 -0.3
Unemployment rate 6.3 6.3 0.0 -0.4
Employment rate 68.0 68.2 0.2 -0.1
Part-time rate 7.8 7.9 0.1 0.1
Women, 25 years and over
Population 12,115.4 12,129.2 13.8 161.2 0.1 1.3
Labour force 7,488.2 7,489.3 1.1 85.8 0.0 1.2
Employment 7,045.6 7,060.4 14.8 110.8 0.2 1.6
Full-time 5,508.0 5,520.8 12.8 90.9 0.2 1.7
Part-time 1,537.6 1,539.6 2.0 19.9 0.1 1.3
Unemployment 442.6 428.9 -13.7 -24.9 -3.1 -5.5
Participation rate 61.8 61.7 -0.1 -0.2
Unemployment rate 5.9 5.7 -0.2 -0.4
Employment rate 58.2 58.2 0.0 0.1
Part-time rate 21.8 21.8 0.0 -0.1
not applicable
Related CANSIM table 282-0087.


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