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What was H1N1?

Remember H1N1 and the excitement about it? Seems like a long time ago (2009), and it was, but let us remember what we learned back then.

There was a lot of information out there about Swine Flu and H1N1, so as a public service, here is a useful video from the CDC about what Swine Flu is, and better still, what symptoms might suggest you have it (and what to do about it).

I am not going to comment about whether you should get vaccinated or not, because so far I have personally heard of:

  • Parents at my son’s Nursery school getting into an  altercation shouting at each other about whether their children should be vaccinated.
  • Seen incredibly long lines of folks who are NOT in the high risk groups all wanting to get vaccinated (ahead of the high risk groups).
  • People writing letters to the editor implying that if you don’t get vaccinated and you get H1N1, you should be denied hospital care (see the Friday Ottawa Citizen).

Let’s all be calm (like we were during the Great Financial Meltdown of ’09), and take a pill (or not, if you so choose).

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TV Trends: You are wrong!

From my viewpoint most of the “self help” shows on TV these days consist of an expert telling a dupe (or dupe couple) that they are wrong,

The array of shows seem to follow the following formulas:

You Aren’t Wearing That!!!

Two people treat you like the “cool” kids did in High School (i.e. they berate you for your taste in clothing and ridicule you until you agree with them). While this is entertaining, I suspect I could well be one of their victims, as I am not a “victim of fashion” (to quote Rough Trade) I wear what is comfortable to me mostly (I have suits that I wear when I need to show I can dress like an adult).

You are FAT!

There are a bunch of these shows that either take morbidly obese folks and attempt to get them to lose weight by making them exercise a lot and change their lifestyles or something similar to this. These shows typically are like the jocks in high school making fun of the “geeks and fatties”, except the hosts then attempt to help them lose the weight. I applaud the attempts, but they all seem superficial and I would be very interested to see follow up shows 1, 2 and 5 years after to see if folks keep off the weight.

I’d fit into one of the “hey you need to lose those last 30 lbs” shows right now (under full disclosure).

You can’t Drive or Fix Your House!

There aren’t that many shows about this, but they are quite funny to watch, but in a very  mean way. You watch folks who just don’t understand how to drive or how to do any kind of “home fixit” things and you watch the hosts laugh at them about it, and attempt to fix this issue.  I must admit I do watch these shows and laugh, but I also feel guilty for doing it. I am also not a “fix it” kind of guy unless it is a computer, then I am ok with that.

You Spend How Much Money?!?

This last type of show is more in my neck of the woods, but again it is painful to watch them. The hosts usually try hard to show the couple or person the folly of their way (I like Gail Vaz Oxlade’s show, but can’t watch it because the stories of how the people got into debt drive me insane).  It is important to help these people, but it is important that these people realize that all of this is a lifestyle change, not just a quick fix. Again, follow up with these folks after a while might be very interesting.

I am astounded at some of the folks who go on this show and let their financial misfortunes be put on TV for all their friends and family to see. I think I would sooner see naked pictures of me on the net, than publish all of my financial failings (fear not, I suspect there are no naked pictures of me out there, and if there are, nobody really cares).

Congrats Preet!

Why am I writing about this? Preet over at WhereDoesAllMyMoneyGo won the W Network Expert challenge so he will be doing his own personal finance show pilot and we wish him the best of luck on that.


Nothing Like a Pandemic…

Written in 2009 just as the H1N1 Pandemic was starting. Seems quite mild in comparison to COVID19 doesn’t it?

… to make the financial markets even more jittery. The WHO has now moved up their scale for the pandemic to 4 out of 6 and that may mean more jitters in the financial markets.

This will make for some very interesting trade decisions in the next few days, is my guess, since a lot of produce and such come from Mexico, will we see an embargo? Will this drive up food prices (which are already sky rocketing)? Inflation, did you order Inflation with your Global Financial Apocalypse? Sorry, it comes with the deal.

Kiss the Mexican tourism trade good bye for a while, not many folks will be wanting to go Loco down in Acapulco.

Swine Flu again? I’m sure Maple Leaf is deliriously happy to give consumers ANOTHER reason not to buy their products. Stay away from pig farms would be the best advice for now.

Let’s hope this ill wind does not kill off any kind of rally.

Tax Day – 2

Yup remember Thursday at midnight you’ll need to have filed and PAID for your tax bill if you live in Canada. Not sure if they are giving Swine Flu dispensations yet, but get it done folks.


Best of: Cancer, now that I have your attention

Busy week, so I am taking a break and publishing one of my favorite posts, about Risks and dealing with Risks.

Cancer, Now That I Have Your Attention

Yup, I am really talking about that, as Cancer’s ability to kill Canadians is rising, and Canadians are taking care of Cardiovascular issues more. Six out of every 10 deaths in Canada are caused by these two issues. Cancer is becoming more of a killer, is the bottom line for now.
So what the heck does this morbid topic have to do with Financial Planning issues? Maybe I’m just feeling morbid? No, but, if you look at this data, maybe you need to ask yourself the following important financial questions:

  • Do I have enough life insurance so that my family can survive my death? Same question for your spouse too?
  • Can my family survive financially a prolonged illness (as Cancer is capable of being)? Do I have any disability insurance?
  • Do I have a will?
  • Do I have enough health insurance to deal with a catastrophic illness?

If you are young and single, no it doesn’t matter that much, but if you are young and just married and planning on having kids, NOW, is the time to do this kind of stuff in place. No I am not selling insurance (and I am not advocating whole life insurance at all), but I am saying, go find out about what you need to deal with these concerning numbers about Cancer.

Hope for the best, and plan for the worst! (a wise saying).


Doctor Fees

Yesterday I received in the Canada Post a very interesting package from my family Doctor. I am one  of the lucky Canadians who actually has a family doctor that I can go see on a regular basis (and make appointments with). He is a good Doctor, and has served me and my wife well over the years.

Critical Illness Insurance

Lots of Fees to Pay

The mailing outlined to me the fees that my Doctor will be charging for various services not covered under the Ontario Health Insurance Program, which included:

  • Prescription renewal (over the phone) $11.72
  • Back to work note  $14.45
  • Wart Removal $20.00
  • etc., etc., etc.,

I wondered why some of this stuff wasn’t covered under the OHIP program, but I am not going to  stop my Doctor from getting paid for services that he does either. If you are asking my opinion, this kind of extra charging is what is going to kill OHIP and I think all this should be paid for in some fashion as part of my medical taxes (but we can discuss that further later, just my opinion).

I then turned the page and saw that in fact this was not just a list of service fees, it was my Doctor offering me an extended warranty program (effectively). For a fee, I can either enroll myself and/or my family in the Coverage plan, and many fees would be waived.

Naturally with any good coverage plan there is the Basic or Standard Plan and the Premium Plan. In the Standard plan a few of the services are covered (mostly administrative), however under the Premium Plan I can get full coverage from all service fees:

  • Basic Family $100
  • Premium Family $130

Let me be clear very few of these services are actual medical procedures (Wart removal, uninsured vaccinations, TB Skin test and driver’s physical seem to be the only services that are Medical in nature, the rest are simply administrative services (notes, referrals, etc.,)).

I did have a “WTF” moment after I finished reading the letter (and then I read the front page which explained it all to me, yes, I should have read the letter in the order it was sent).  I am not happy about having to pay for these services, but this seems to be the Normal Business Procedure for Doctors these days, but now, my Doctor is branching out into the Insurance Business?

The business of running a Doctor’s office is not a trivial one, I fully agree, and there is an overhead involved that needs to be reimbursed in some fashion, but is this the best way to recuperate your operating expenses? None of these expenses would be covered by my Health Insurance at work (I don’t think, I should check), so I am the one that must pay for these services (if I need them).

More Fees Coming?

What is next? My Doctor will start offering Health Insurance like Sun Life? Might not be a bad idea really, if he starts selling Health Insurance he’d make good coin there too.

Any opinions on what my gentle readers think of this program?

  • Should I sign up for it?
  • Is it justified that my Doctor offers this?


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