Become a Tangerine client today

I received the following email graphic from Starbucks today. I thought, hey that’s a good idea, but then I remembered something from 2015.

Reloading for Points !

A while back, I was the victim of a scam using this system. Starbucks’ customer list had been breached. Using that information, bogus Loyalty Cards were created.

The scam is well described in the graphic below. This outlines the importance of not turning on Automatic Reloads on any card like the Starbucks Reward Card.

It is important to audit your automatic bill payments as well.

The graphic shows how simple it is to start up a quick scam. I only clued in when my phone had many messages about the auto-reloads happening.

Loyalty Card Scam
A Graphic Rendition of the Scam

Things to take from this

  1. If you use your Credit Card to “refill” your Loyalty card, do not allow auto-reload.
  2. Turn on messaging, for the system to tell you when things happen. This will at least warn you about all activity.
  3. If you hear that your loyalty system has been hacked, change your card and log ins, right away. Do not assume it will not happen to you.
  4. Are the points that important? What is the risk to reward giving out your credit card for this reward?

Glad I wrote about this a while ago, or I might have done something silly.

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Free Credit Bureau Access

I received the good news is that I have EquiFax for long period of time to check my credit bureau status. The better news is it is Free. The really bad news is the reason why. I was part of the Desjardins data-breach so now I am being “compensated” for this by getting Free Equifax.

Previously, I had access due to Home Depot having a data-breach. Surprisingly, my account with Equifax still existed (with the same password?). My access was granted for a long period of time, and I did notice a few things when I logged in.

  1. My first name is still incorrectly written in my report. This mis-spelling makes me wonder how accurate this report is. I tried to have it changed a while ago, but it never happened.
  2. I have a lot of Desjardins credit vehicles on my report. Makes me think someone DID create them and was simply waiting to use them? Will try to cancel all of those.
  3. A very large credit vehicle that should be on my report is not. That is interesting as well.
Credit Score
Credit Score by percentage in Canada

I am glad to see I have such an excellent Credit Rating, but it means nothing to me. It is most likely inaccurate, and unless I plan on buying another house I don’t really need it. The other danger is that given my Personal Info is compromised, any perpetrator could get away with a lot of money fraudulently.


Epilogue

Interesting that 57% of Canadians have Excellent Credit Ratings? That seems a little skewed, in terms of a data set. Either that or the actual term “excellent” has little or no meaning?

EQ Bank Savings Plus Account

Related Topics

Free is a good price for things, however, things are rarely without some cost associated with them. This is how I got free EquiFax, the first time!

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When to Put Money in RRSP

I have come up with a relatively straight forward heuristic on how to figure this one out.

heu·ris·tic adjective
enabling a person to discover or learn something for themselves.”a “hands-on” or interactive heuristic approach to learning”

Google Dictionary description

It is a simple trickle down or waterfall decision tree. Many times I get asked this question, or see it float by in other sites.

Personal Finance Waterfall

Where to Put Money Heuristic

  1. Pay off debt , it has the highest guaranteed pay back today.

    I mean all debt except perhaps your mortgage. A mortgage is your biggest debt, so my view is investing elsewhere, and not paying down your mortgage is a mistake. I have been told my opinion is very “old fashioned”.
    • This lowers your risk in life and gives you choices.
  2. Put money in your TFSA.

    My opinion is that this is a good place to put your money. How you invest it, is up to you. It should be within your Risk tolerances. Whether you want to buy stocks, Index Funds, ETFs or mutual funds is up to you. Do this in a trading account. In a trading account you can buy all those savings vehicles. In a Mutual Fund account, you usually can only buy Bank or Insurance company (read high MER) funds.

    TFSA until you reach your limit. You find that in your My CRA Account (limit as of start of current year).
  3. Do you have Kids? If you do, maybe it is time to think about an RESP? This could be, before (2). The Registered Education Savings Plan will help your child’s future. You may decide you don’t want to do this, so you could skip this step.
  4. Do you have a disabled loved one? Before step (1) you might want to think about an RDSP. A Registered Disability Savings Plan will help their future a great deal.
  5. Time to use your RRSP. It will lower your tax levels, so you should reinvest the money you get back into the RRSP, until you have no RRSP limit left.

    Sometimes you can’t use your RRSP, if you are lucky enough to have a Pension. This is a tragedy of riches, so don’t complain to your friends about it, or they might kick you in the shins.
  6. You have reached savings nirvana. If you are at this point where:
    • All your debt is paid off
    • Your TFSA limit is reached
    • Your RRSP is full
      You are now at the Zen level of life.

At this point in your life you have choices that most folks don’t have. Your Risk level should be quite low. Your stress level (due to money) should be non-existent.

This is your goal. Being out of debt, with money in the bank means you are financially in the right place. You can do what you want.

Am I Done ?

If you somehow get back into debt, restart the process. You did it once, you can do it again. Maybe create (say after step (1)) an Emergency Fund, in case something bad happens.

Is this easy? No, however, it is a good heuristic.

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I Like My Money Like I Like My Coffee

Safely invested, with low fee drag and growing every year.

Big Cajun Man 2020 (with respect to Letterkenny)
I Like My Money This Way

Frankly this makes as much sense as a lot of financial advice that I hear these days. At least the punch line is on point.

The Debt doesn’t matter crowd seems to think that due to low interest rates, debt is an afterthought. Unless the entire economy changes, Debt is going to comeback big time.

These days it is reminiscent of the hay days of the Internet Bubble. Back then the statement was:

Profits don’t matter. It’s eyeballs!

90’s Internet Bubble Investing Credo

That drove the 90’s Internet bubble. When you read that I am sure you smirked or laughed how insane that reads, but it was the gospel of investing in the 90’s. We saw the explosion of that bubble, and the associated side effects (i.e. loss in wealth for day to day investors).

Show your love of The Times. Shop Now!

One More

I like my women, like I like my coffee. Respected in the workplace and compensated at an equitable and fair level.

Big Cajun Man 2020

Same Topic

best advice

I wrote an article in 2005 about Experts? It’s your decision where Harry S. Dent Jr., back in 2000 advised how great the Internet was as an investment. This was written as the Bubble Exploded.

Index Investors, who purchase Canadian Indexes need to remember they are Highly Exposed on Banks. Banks hold a high portion of most major Canadian Indexes.

Key investment strategy

You need Two Key Investment Strategies, if you plan on investing for the long term. The first is easy, when to buy, but what might be the second?

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COVID19 Opening Up, Middle Aged Canada and #MoneyTalk

Slowly we attempt to return to a semblance of normalcy, in our new COVID19 dominated world. In Ottawa, most businesses are “open” but under strict rules about distancing and masks are to be used pretty much everywhere.

Don’t expect Interest rates to go up any time soon.

The Bank is also continuing its quantitative easing (QE) program, with large-scale asset purchases of at least $5 billion per week of Government of Canada bonds.

Bank of Canada July 2020 Monetary Report

They are ready to react if Inflation occurs, but it sounds like they are not expecting that any time soon. Cheap credit continues on.

Not sure about the whole kerfuffle about wearing a mask. I wear it to protect my family and to protect the folks I interact with. Why folks are yelling at minimum wage employees of firms, is beyond understanding.

Can we nominate Dr. Fauci for President? Asking for a friend. Border being closed is good for Canada overall, but bad for tourism and those towns that rely on our American visitors.

On the topic of masking, my battle against unwanted email continues. I have not slain the dragon but it is wounded and my influx of spam has slowed.

The median age in Canada is 40.8 years old? I was not aware of that (the data is from July 2019). Seems like the country is not aging nor is it getting any younger.

There are more Seniors than Young Folk and it is only going to increase in the future.

Of those old folks most of them are Baby Boomers too. Stats Can’s definition of a Boomer is born between 1946 to 1965. That is interesting because for the longest time I wasn’t a boomer, but now I am included in them. I don’t know if that is a good thing or not?

Inflation (year over year May 2020) -0.4 %
Bank of Canada Overnight Rate July 17th 0.25%
Unemployment Rate (as of June 2020)12.3%
Real GDP By Expenditure (Q1 2020)(quarterly change)-2.1%
Population of Canada (Est April 1, 2020)37,971,020
CIBC current prime rate2.45%
BMO current prime rate2.45%
Scotiabank prime lending rate2.45%
TD prime lending rate2.45%
Tangerine prime lending rate2.45%
Some Useful Financial Data for Canadians as of July 17th

COVID19 Data Canada

Click here to find an up to date graphic from the Government of Canada

Total Cases109,264
Total Deaths8,827
Data as of July 15th 2020

Past Writings

Thanks to a bad tooth infection I have been distracted with other things. It is slowly being repaired, but I will hopefully have an implant to replace the missing teeth soon.


The Economy Limps Forward

While businesses slowly reopen, can they survive in this environment? That remains to be seen. Real Estate, however, continues to defy logic, in terms of market elasticity.


Tweets of the Week

I have said, Don’t Click That, before, I guess some folks will do anything if a Celebrity tells them to on Twitter.


For those who thought that somehow the Financial Industry was an ethical place.


An interesting perspective from our friends in Reddit.


Random Thoughts from the Past

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