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For those of you who haven’t had as many financial plans and projects fail as I have, I’d like to share with you the most important variable in all of your plans, and that is Time (no not the magazine, the passing of moments). Time is the most important financial variable , unfortunately.

Time will fix many things, but assuming you can do things quickly is usually the problem that trips up most plans and projects.

Typically a repayment plan will be quite simple:

Payment per Period = Debt / # of periods

However, there are two things wrong with this plan. First is you aren’t taking into consideration that your debt will grow with an interest rate, look up Future Value of Money on-line or look up the PMT() function in Excel to figure out what the debt is going to grow. The other major variable here is the # of periods, and that is where most plans fall over.

Time
If you invested this dollar in 1967 what is it worth now? Time heals all wounds.

People are always optimistic when they start debt pay back schemes (this is my opinion, but based on observation of many friends) and think it will be easy to pay things off quickly, without taking into consideration that Life, Karma, or Sh*t, happens (depending on your religious point of view). If you are overly optimistic with any plan (speaking as a Project Manager now), you will fail, or you will spend all of your time attempting to catch up.

If you are much more conservative in your planning, time can be your friend. This is not to say that you should amortize your car over 10 years, or your house over 50 (if you could), however, don’t get too aggressive in your plans.

Microsoft Canada

Rules of Thumb

A good rule of thumb is to make up a plan initially, and then walk away from it for a day. The day later look at it and ask yourself

  • Can I live with this payment plan? Is this going to hurt a little or be agonizingly painful and will make me miserable?
  • What other sh*t is going to happen? (the realistic answer is “I don’t know”) Plan for bad things, give yourself a little slack (I didn’t say let it fall on the ground, but a little slack)
  • Have I tried this before and succeeded? The answer is most likely Yes and No, since you are doing it again (if you are really good at building up debt and then just as good at paying it off, good on you, but why are you living on a roller coaster?).

Time, it passes very quickly plan accordingly. Time is the most important financial variable , plan accordingly.

Redux

I wrote this about 10 years ago, and I can assure you, Time is an ever dwindling resource in your financial plan.

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Make More by Reducing Debt

So you’d like to get a pay raise, but you are afraid to go ask your boss for a raise? How could reducing debt help that? This is a cornerstone of Financial Literacy.

Here is a novel way to get more Net income, pay down debt! By reducing debt you have more disposable income. The arithmetic is simple, less debt payments (after you have paid down debt) means more money for you.

This is the simplest of arithmetic problems, yet it seems to be missed by so many people that I feel it is important to enumerate it for you.

Net Income = Income (I) – Expenditure (X)

X = all money spent (S)

I =  all money earned (E)

Where ∑ simply means the sum of the variables in this case things like bills, pay cheques etc.,

Straight forward? So to increase your Net Income you can either increase your Income (I) or decrease X (your expenses), haven’t lost anyone have I?

So if we look closer and see that:

X = sum ( Mortgage Payment,Car Payment,Hydro,Natural Gas,Credit Cards,Interest on Credit Cards,Eating Out, …)

The whole idea is to minimize X (expenditures) and thus your Net Income or Savings increases.

This means the less you spend, overall, the more you have left over. It is much easier to lower your spending, than it is to increase your income (these days). You don’t have to ask your boss for a raise, or work overtime, you simply, spend less.

BCM Simple Rule of Money #1

If you want to make more money, you either increase your income, or you lower your expenses.

The rule seems quite simple, but is it?

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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

You better believe I got a lot of Grievances this year!!!

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!

  • COVID19 you better believe I am PISSED OFF about that! What the hell! Pandemics are fair game for Festivus 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 a bad 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, let us hope that next year 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. 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. Each kid in the class would proudly say what colour they had achieved. 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. Move onto saving and how money can grow. Then 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 should be easily broken down, and at the end of it you can be confident that the kids have learned about the topic.

Anybody up for putting this together?

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