I almost pulled a significant blunder this month by forgetting to pay my MasterCard Bill when it was due. It wasn’t in my Calendar.
Let us review. When you don’t pay your Credit Card Debt off monthly, you then incur exorbitant usury fees that dig you a hole that you will have a tough time getting out of, so paying your Credit Card debt off monthly and on time is of vital importance in any financial plan you put together.
I usually end up putting the date of when the payment is due in Outlook or Google Calendar. My Calendar will remind me on my SmartPhone (or Watch), but you need Notifications turned on as well. I should write it on the Calendar at home on the Fridge as well, and you may have other places where you put important dates, but that one is essential.
I was able to call and ask that the penalties be reversed since I am a “good” customer (i.e. I spend a lot of money with the card, and I pay it off every month). MasterCard was nice enough to forego it for that month. Since I had paid the entire amount, I didn’t have to pay any more penalties.
Use Your Calendar Don’t Be Proud
Don’t be too proud of your memory. This is creating a reminder for you, and maybe for your spouse. If you share your calendar with your spouse they can be aware of bills as well. The more information you share (financially) the fewer misunderstandings about money. Shared Calendars can be a very good thing.
I read with great amusement an article in Business Insider Rich people make the same 5 mistakes over and over. I found it amusing, because it attempts to fool you into thinking that if you act like rich folk, you’ll become one. Unfortunately, Lies travel faster than truth.
Maybe the article is attempting to convince you that Rich Folk and you are similar, since you make the same mistakes? This is hardly the case.
Why are rich folk rich?
Started with money, most of the time. Family money makes getting rich a lot easier than you think.
Education and advantages that being rich gives you. Not just what you know, but who you know.
Pay lower tax rates, because they have people who make sure that happens.
They have enough money to make mistakes. They can take risks, that most folks can’t.
Rich People Can Make Financial Mistakes
That is what you should take from this story. Rich folk have the luxury of being able to make financial mistakes, they can recover from them. Most of us don’t have the wiggle room to escape financial blunders.
Rich folks can become like the rest of us, if they make mistakes, that is true. The story the great Investment Monolith wants you to believe is that the reverse is possible too. I think it is possible but the former is much more likely than the latter.
Mistakes are easily made, we all do them, every day. To succeed financially takes dedication, discipline and damn hard work. The mistakes mentioned in this article are bad:
Assuming they can out-earn bad spending habits. That is not a mistake reserved to the rich, in fact this is how we all dig the big hole called debt.
Not speaking with a professional for tax-planning or estate-planning purposes. This seems like sound advice, if you take it as, making sure you do your taxes well, and you have your Will and Power of Attorney up to date.
Assuming they don’t need a financial adviser because they’re successful. This is the heart of the article, as it seems to have been written by a financial professional. I have a great mistrust of the financial industry in general and in advisors in specific, but if you use this type of service, you had better trust them (and you had better watch them closely). In the end, it is your money.
Thanks to COVID-19 Office Planners may finally be forced to give up on the Open Concept work environment. For those not sure of the term Open Concept is where the team workspace is ope. There are few if any walls and all can easily see each other and speak to each other. The concept was supposed to create more communication and co-operation between team members.
I have lived in these environments throughout my 35 years of working in office spaces. I have loathed the concept completely. There is no privacy, there is no sense of personal space, and you get to learn far too much about your co-workers lives. In some office models this idea can work well. If the team is a support team that all share tasks, however, that is the exception, not the rule.
The nicest office I had, was when I first graduated. It was large and had a locking door. Every office since then has been worse. For COVID19, open concept offices are the worst design. One might even argue, that it is an optimal design for the spread of germs, viruses and rumours.
The figure shows how the proximity of folks sitting near each other spread the COVID19 very quickly. There were very few walls and impediments to the air borne spread of germs.
The direct quote from the CDC report is:
This outbreak shows alarmingly that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can be exceptionally contagious in crowded office settings such as a call center. The magnitude of the outbreak illustrates how a high-density work environment can become a high-risk site for the spread of COVID-19 and potentially a source of further transmission.
Anyone who has worked in this kind of environment knows full well that once someone on the team picks up a cold or the flu, it will easily cycle through the group, so this information is by no means surprising to me.
September and the start of school usually meant someones child would bring home a new flu or cold, which would then be passed to their parents and then throughout the team sitting in close proximity (as a crude example).
The alternatives is going back to a more segregated model, where teams may be in proximity but they are closed off from other groups (and hopefully each other) using walls. This is a less optimal use of space, however, now the argument of passing of disease can no longer be easily ignored.
Companies that have this configuration are now scrambling to alter their floor layouts to allow a resumption of work in a safer workspace (safety from virus spread). I have already read of temporary walls, and plexiglass going up, but these will end up only being interim solutions.
There will be a great deal of money spent to retrofit these office spaces. Open Office was the office space of tomorrow, are they now the office space of yesterday?
I found this one in my archives, and I started writing it a while ago, having no idea what 2020 would bring. Please read it with that in mind. It is about Personal Financial Doomsday.
One of my favourite Star Trek episodes is The Doomsday Machine, where a robot is let loose to destroy both sides in a long-past war. There was much overacting and emoting by both William Shatner and William Windom, but I liked it.
We are not in a Doomsday scenario right now (COVID19 Pandemic), but we might be in a big mess in the financial world (on the Macro Economic side of things).
2008 showed that things could go off the rails badly, but now we live in entirely uncharted waters. I worry, this is going to be a very long mess, so we shall see.
I think the financial apocalypse I was thinking of is at a personal level. As we have learned from a few financial books, the personal finance apocalypse can happen much more quickly than we think.
Your health failing suddenly is more likely than you hope, as I learned in my Movember story. There are other more catastrophic health issues that can arise, and that can easily trigger a personal finance failure.
Simply losing control of your debt load, or maybe a sudden increase in interest rates, is the most likely financial doomsday. The interest rate sudden jump is not out of the question, but I suspect governments are fighting against this, knowing the impact it might cause, financially.
This is being written during March 2020 the COVID-19 Pandemic. At the time of publishing things were quite confused and unsure, but this is my simple opinion of where we in Canada may stand financially.
We are f*cked.
Is this me being overly alarmist? I hope so, but there are countless areas that are not likely to ever recover from the Pandemic.
The Air BnB industry and that side dodge is done. People will not be travelling much, for the next year or two. What happens to all those condos in Toronto that were bought with that in mind?
Cruises and Cruiselines? Good night, they are now synonymous with the Pandemic, if they recover it will be not in the near future.
Travel bloggers? Freebies are not going to be given out much, I think this gig is going to curtail or die off too. At this moment, Las Vegas is closed. This is not the W.C. Fields joke about visiting Philadelphia, this is Vegas, which never closes.
Airlines? These may recover if business travel returns, but they are going to take a beating, and will ask for a bail out.
Construction sites are shutting down, thus screwing up the whole system.
People who are buying the new properties need to sell, but will have nowhere to go.
No one is buying a house right now, and when will they start?
Mortgages are being called and payments are being missed, renters are not being given reprieves either. What happens next? People being kicked out on the street? I doubt it, but you really don’t know right now.
Big wave of homelessness? I hope not, but the economic models aren’t there for this.
Over priced real estate may soon be worth less than their financing (i.e. mortgage), will we seeing folks walking away from their expensive high-rise downtown condo?
F*cked, we had a weird job dynamic already, (the side gig world) but now it is F*cked.
My kids’ generation has had to have 3 part-time jobs to add up to a full time job, but none of those jobs exist right now. Restaurant jobs, are gone mostly due to the restaurants being closed. Retail jobs are gone, stores are closed.
The growth industries are:
Delivery, that is about it. Everything is being delivered now, but does anyone make any money doing this?
Government, because there is going to need to be a big government to deal with a broken country. Is this a good thing? I don’t think so, but I am a small L libertarian.
Debt, the world of debt is going to explode in terms of big money. Payday Loans, alternate loans and Bankruptcy Trustees are going to make big money in the short and mid term.
Will industries other than Travel go in the crapper? Lots of potential there
Retail, when folks don’t have a job, they aren’t going to be buying a lot of stuff.
Cars? If interest rates stay low, they may be OK, but if interest rates go up, this could make folks keep their old cars.
Oil and Gas already is in the crapper, with gas at 70 cents a litre, which makes it not worth working on the Oil Sands in Alberta.
Coming, much like the four horsemen.
Governments are injecting Infinite money into the economy to try to prop it back up. I am not an economist, but even I know this is the recipe for Inflation (ever hyper-inflation). If money loses value, prices go up. Most folks don’t remember the 1970’s but this could be where we are heading (if not worse).
If we end up in an Inflationary spiral Interest Rates will have to be used to control things, and that is a world many folks have not lived in. I have seen 19% CSB’s in my lifetime, will I see them again?
I really hope so. I hate to think we are financially f*cked as badly as I am guessing we are, but these are uncharted financial waters. I am not an economist, but I have lived for 60 years, and seen a lot of financial changes, and this one has me scared.