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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.


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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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🇨🇦 Happy Canada Day! 🇨🇦

It is Canada’s Birthday, but it is an odd one with the COVID19 Pandemic going on. I live in Ottawa, but there are no outdoor celebrations here for the first time I can recall. Canada Day 2020 falling on a Wednesday makes for an odd work week as well. Is it two 2-day weeks? I 2-day week and a 5 day weekend? Chacun va choisir.

I continue to see the majority of folks I see “outside” not wearing masks, and many ignoring distancing as well. Let’s hope Canada does not follow the US model of simply assuming it is all OK and life has returned to normal ? I wear mine for everyone I love that I don’t want to infect, why aren’t you wearing one?

The new Ontario Math curriculum for Grades 1-8 is interesting. I think it is a good idea, but I am also a Math Graduate. The subject matter is fine, but they need to find more ways to make Math (and STEM in general) more inclusive. I would love to see program information on how the system teaches the subject. Far too many kids are “turned off” or “left out” on the subject, I want to see more fresh faces in the world of math. If you saw my graduating class in 1986 you would understand what I meant.

Evidently Financial Literacy is also being included in this program, which is important, but again, hopefully it will be taught in a way to be inclusive. Me standing in front of a bunch of 8 year olds teaching them about Bond Yields, would be less than ideal (as an example of how NOT to teach Financial Literacy).

I tip my cap to celebrate 100th Anniversary of the Negro Leagues #tipyourcap2020. The “Negro League” (apologies for using the historic term) was where segregated black players could play baseball before Jackie Robinson broke the ceiling and joined the Major Leagues (in Montreal).

My battle against unwanted email continues, it is manageable, but I am finding that many subscriptions seem to be like herpes, they never really go away.

An excellent Canadian Financial Quip is that Peter Jennings (a great Canadian Newsman), never purchased a new car (only used cars).

Inflation (year over year May 2020) -0.4 %
Bank of Canada Overnight Rate June 30th 0.25%
Unemployment Rate (as of May 2020)13.7%
GDP Growth (Q1 2020)-11.6%
Population of Canada (Jan 1, 2020)37.894 Million
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 June 19th

COVID19 Data Canada

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

Total Cases103,918
Total Deaths8,566
Data as of June 30th 2020 AM

Past Writings

I seem to find my writing muse last week and there were a bunch of articles written. The backlog of stories, dropped, a little.

  • Not Asking is Rejection by Default is very true. I have written about this previously, but it is still very true. You need to stand up for your self (while not being rude or mean either (which is the Canadian way)).
  • MER : A Worm in the RESP Money Tree has been a theme I have written about many times. The Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) is a shorter term savings plan, so a high Management Cost in your account is taking a big bite out of your growth.
  • Banking Malware Be Aware is from my technical blogging and security blog, but very financially relevant. Do not click on anything sent to you from anyone, without being positive it is what you think it is.
  • RDSP : Quick Points started out as my notes for an interview I did with Tom Drake on the Registered Disability Savings Plan. The interview link is there as well, and it went well.
  • A Guide to Understanding the Tax Considerations When Cashing out an RESP is a Guest Post (I must be getting soft in my old age) about withdrawing funds (the right way) from your child’s RESP.

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Celebrating Canada Financially

There may not be a lot of fireworks and celebrating together, but still some great Canadian financial perspectives on Financial Literacy, and money.

  • Will the Supreme Court Decision against Uber change the Gigg Economy? I don’t think as much as folks hope, but any movement towards making folks actual employees is a good thing. It is a fairly narrow decision, but maybe it is a small step forward.
  • The Globe had a round up article last week, that had a section on someone asking, “What to with an RESP for $500,000“? Kind of gives you a good perspective on who reads the Globe, don’t it?
  • For those unaware Kerry from Squawkfox (a friend of this site) has been in the battle of her life, read more about it here, This could save someone’s life
  • Michael James reviews yet another books for those who have issues dealing with money, Talk Money to Me, is a good book if you really do need help.
  • Mark from the Blunt Bean Counter sums up my current views about working at home nicely in, Working from Home – Get Me Out of Here! I must admit that I am getting a little house happy these days, as well.

Tweets of the Week

First, a great public health message from a person of whom I am not very fond.


I keep having deep thoughts these COVIDy days. The thoughts can’t be turned into an actual article, but they fit a tweet well.


I am really not sure of the validity of this set of tweets, however reading the entire set of them is not surprising, more is the pity.


Videos of the Week

Think you are an expert about Money Laundering now that you have watched Ozarks, Breaking Bad and Narcos? Not so quick there slick. A real professor does some fact checking on the topic. See, you did learn something from this site.


Random Thoughts from the Past

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To all the Fathers out there, I wish you an early Happy Fathers Day (never sure where the apostrophe goes here). I am lucky to be a Dad, and also a GrandDad but just hoping for a quiet Sunday.

As I have said before, most Dads will be happy to hear from you however way you wish, and just want to know you are Safe and Happy. During these more interesting times, that is truer than ever.

So, that COVID thing seems to have been a big scam eh? Like President Trump said, it would go away, if we stopped testing, much like my debt would go away, if I stopped looking at my bank balance? In Canada, we seem to be doing OK, but I have guarded optimism now. I am certainly glad my dentist is seeing folks again (having an infected tooth is another exciting part of the lock down).

With Ontario (except Toronto) opening up, but the US border staying closed, we may do OK, but it might be a little early for optimism.

I have spent this week unsubscribing from over 50 email newsletters that have been bombarding my inbox. The actual number I think is higher, and I will be on it for a while. I have a new credo to live by.

If I delete an email twice in a row (BEFORE reading it), I must unsubscribe from it.

BCM Quarantine 2020

I would wake up and have over 200 unread emails each morning (after cleaning my inbox the previous evening). This needs to be changed, so a new project was born. And I still do not allow cold call Guest Post requests either.

Inflation is negative for a second month? Interesting numbers but all must be taken with a grain of salt for now.

Inflation (year over year May 2020) -0.4 %
Bank of Canada Overnight Rate May 21st0.25%
Unemployment Rate (as of May 2020)13.7%
GDP Growth (Q1 2020)-2.1%
Population of Canada (Jan 1, 2020)37.894 Million
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 June 19th

Past Writings

Somehow I have managed to get “busy” and haven’t written much lately. The summer has arrived at least? Having health issues at the same time, does kind of distract you.


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More Financial Writings for Dads Everywhere

Fathers Day will be different for many of us. Should you visit? Maybe a Video Visit? Either way, your Dad would love to hear from you (in most cases). My Dad has been gone a while, but I still think of him often.

Debt to Disposable income
Household credit market debt to household disposable income, seasonally adjusted

Tweets of the Week

I follow the OPP East Region mostly to see these kind of tweets. There is a lot here, but it is as close to “speed shaming” as we can go in Canada.


Would I be showing my age, if I said I remember seeing this on its first run in the 70s?


Videos of the Week

Preet has been pumping out video content about all the new COVID19 programs, and here is another good one. CERB goes on, as does his luscious beard?


Random Thoughts from the Past

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Boxing Tuesday, Opening Up and #MoneyTalk

It is a long weekend, but a weird one since most of us haven’t really been going into work. Is it a long weekend? Well it will be in Ontario, because on Tuesday May 19th 2020 more stores will be opening up. Will this cause a Boxing Tuesday effect (i.e. people lining up to get in, showing up at 5 AM)? Maybe not, but it may cause more shopping mayhem. Stores that have opened so far do seem quite, crazy.

In Ontario we are only in Phase 1 of opening back up, and there are many rules still in place, but will people follow the rules? That remains to be seen. We see our rowdy southern neighbors are already acting like, it was all a bad dream. Time will tell whether this is the right way to do things. My opinion is a slow opening is a good thing, but until we have a vaccine or cure, we won’t be anywhere near “normal”.

Much more financial help announced by the government this week, and you should read about all of them. Seniors are getting some money, students are getting some money, etc.,. The Tories are worried about possible fraud in the system, I am confident the CRA will find the obvious ones. I am with the pundits that are asking, how will this all be paid for? Again, we shall see.

Note that Unemployment rate is now at 13.0%, that is a very high rate of Jobless Claims.

Inflation (year over year February 2020) 2.2%
Bank of Canada Overnight Rate April 21st0.25%
Unemployment Rate (as of April 2020)13.0%
GDP Growth January 2019-201.8%
Population of Canada (Jan 1, 2020)37.894 Million
CIBC current prime rate2.45%
BMO current prime rate2.45%
Scotiabank prime lending rate2.45%
TD prime lending rate2.45%
Some Useful Financial Data for Canadians as of May 16

Past Writings

My hope is that my prediction that things will change in the world of office design really will change, but I am pragmatic enough to know it may not happen in my career space.

  • The Death of the Open Concept Office Space is my perusing of a CDC report and hoping that it really does mean the end of the open office space, and get back to a bit more respect for employees. Is this really going to happen? We shall see.

It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.

Josiah Stamp

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More Financial Writings for a Long Weekend

Some interesting reads for your long weekend, while you are still practicing social distancing (I hope). It was also Privacy Awareness Week this past week, did you realize that?

From Kiplinger Magazine June 1, 2020
A Polite Spit Take

Tweets of the Week

The PM makes a very good point, if you are shopping right now, Buy Canadian, and even more, Buy Local. So many small businesses need the business (Jeff Bezos is about to be a Trillionaire, so he doesn’t need it).


Possible the most esoteric Twitter discussion about Bitcoin, ends up with J.K. Rowling buying one? The Interweb is a wild and whacky place!

Don’t really care, I still am not buying any…

Videos of the Week

Preet has been pumping out video content about all the new COVID19 programs, and here is another good one. Can someone please send him a razor?

Just Subscribe to Money School, Your Life Will be Simpler

What if there was no Privacy?

Luckily this is not how it works…. yet

Random Thoughts from the Past

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The Death of the Open Concept Office Space

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 open 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 worked in these environments throughout my 35 years of working in office spaces, in varying styles and such, and 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. To be fair, in some instances this model 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 spacious and had a locking door, and every office since then has been less and less ideal. COVID19 and the now provable spectre of the Pandemic, open concept offices are the worst design to battle the spread of germs and viruses. One might even argue, that it is an optimal design for the spread of germs, viruses and rumours.

Erin Bromage wrote an excellent essay about the spread of COVID19, “The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them“, he points to a CDC paper, “Coronavirus Disease Outbreak in Call Center, South Korea“, which has an office lay out that is similar to many now set up in many different companies.

Figure 2. Floor plan of the 11th floor of building X, site of a coronavirus disease outbreak, Seoul, South Korea, 2020. Blue coloring indicates the seating places of persons with confirmed cases. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/8/20-1274-f2

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.

Coronavirus Disease Outbreak in Call Center, South Korea

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).

Alternatives

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?

Contrary Views?

Of course there are, Bloomberg is of the opinion “Why Open Offices Will Survive“, seems more like optimistic hoping on their part.

The Associated Press seems to be more on my side with, Cubicle comeback? Pandemic will reshape office life for good.

Coughs and Sneezes Travel How Far?

Kind of Gross really…

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