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Top 10 Bad Financial Lists

Yes, I am in one of those moods today, so for those who are lovers of Top 10 lists (no disrespect to David Letterman), here is another great top 10 bad financial lists of my own thinking, and please note the number of entries as well.

Top 10 Bad Financial Lists Ever

Yes, this is a list of lists about Personal Finance that I hope I never actually read. If any of these lists please point them out to me, I’d dearly love to read them.

10. Top 10 Stock Tips from Barbers

Now this is not a slight to barbers (even Wealthy Barbers (amazon book link)), I like barbers in general (although whoever thought up Justin Bieber’s hair thing should have his license revoked), however, if you are looking for stock picking advice from your Gardener, Barber, or your trash collector, you may be looking in the wrong place. I am skeptical of every stock tip I receive in my life, and you should be as well.

9. Top 10 Stocks Rated by their CEO’s Bonus Levels

This list might actually be interesting to read, the real list might be by how little bonus their CEO receives, or should it be by their how much their CEO gets? Either one, is not likely to be published by anyone.

8. Top 10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Pay Taxes

Note to anybody from the CRA or the IRS, I am not espousing not paying your Income Tax, this is a humorous list remember? If I didn’t pay taxes I would pretty much double my income, and that should be reason number 1 (if this list existed).

7. Top 10 Credit Cards Based on their Look

If you are getting a Credit Card solely because Kim Kardashian is on it, you really need to rethink why you have a credit card. It might be kind of cool to have a Led Zeppelin Credit Card, if it hard the graphic from their first album on it (the Hindenburg in flames), very topical in terms of personal debt.

6. My Top 10 Favorite Bank Service Charges

I don’t know who could write this list, a favorite bank service charge is like your favorite cold sore, how could anyone really like this? I’d sooner see a list of my top 10 favorite paper cuts!

5. Top 10 Reasons Whole Life is Better than Term Life Insurance

I’m almost positive this list exists somewhere, and at the end of it is a link to where you can buy whole life insurance.

4. Top 10 Pick 7 Lottery Pick Number Sets

This list isn’t as stupid as you think. All sets of numbers should have the same chances of winning, but on the top of the list should be 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 it has the same chance of winning as all others. If you pay to get one of these lists, invest in the person selling the list (they are an entrepreneur).

3. Debt and the Top 10 Reasons You Shouldn’t Pay it Down

On the top of this list, you might as well replace the Gordon Geko statement, “… Greed is good…” with the dumb ass statement, “… Debt is Good…”, no it is not!

Remember I have already got a list about the Top 10 Excuses For Being In Debt. It’s a good list too!

2.3 Top 10 Places to Blow Found Money

This list would be hard to keep to only 10, but if you find money, you should not be looking for a list of places where you might simply spend it, without thinking. Some guesses of places on this list: Strip Club or Bar, Car Dealership,  A Three Card Monty Table and/or Casino, etc.,

2.2 Top 10 Fashion Accessories that will Appreciate in Value

Instead of buying GIC’s or Index funds, this list outlines the Fashion Accessories that you can then use to retire on.

I have no doubt that some clothing may well appreciate in value, but if this is your retirement plan, you really need to seek professional help.

2.1 Top 10 Reasons Why Birth Control is Overrated

Why on this list of lists? Do you know how much kids cost? Using no Birth Control is a financial decision, as well. If my kids are reading this, I will personally staple on all Birth Control if I have to.

#1    Top 10 Reasons Pay Day Loans are Good

Do I really need to explain why this one is number 1? Modern day loan sharks and usury houses should be more tightly regulated, their ability to suck the life out of the poor folks who fall victim to them is tragic, if not immoral.

Did I miss any Top 10 Bad Financial lists ?


Advice for New Grads?

I got called by Insight Magazine to give some advice to new grads on what they should be doing about their finances, and I gave some answers to the interviewer, but as usual, I am not sure I was very clear or eloquent, so now I will attempt to be more clear to those that might read the article coming up.

Get The Heck Out of Debt

You have just graduated from University, and you might be carrying upwards of $40K in debt (hopefully in student loans only), you most likely won’t be paying that debt off in your first year of working (should you find a job right away) (if you can pay it off, good for you!), however, you should put together a plan on how you are going to pay off that debt and WHEN it will be retired.

Carrying debt is a drag on your finances, and the sooner the debt is retired, the easier your financial life will be. You should not aspire to “get used to living in debt”, this is the one thing my generation does NOT want to hand down to you.

Don’t Fall In Love With Having Money

Just because you have graduated from University and you no longer have to eat Kraft Dinner with Hot Dogs for dinner, does not mean you must go out every night to eat. You have lived a frugal lifestyle as a student (I am assuming), but if you continued that frugal lifestyle for a while longer, you may be able to pay down your debt faster and then be on a much stronger footing financially.

Yes, you deserve to enjoy life, but it is very easy to get used to the “Let’s go out to dinner tonight we deserve it” lifestyle, and once you are in that lifestyle the habit is very hard to break (speaking as a 49 year old, I can attest to that issue).

You cannot live your parents’ lifestyle (yet) so don’t try. It took them 30 years to get where they are, don’t rush your spending habits to mimic their spending habits.

If your parents paid for you to have a Blackberry or an iPhone or paid for your Cell phone bill, maybe it’s time to get rid of this expensive toy? You don’t need $120 a month cell phone bills. Discretionary spending (i.e. money haemorrhage) is a bad thing which you must watch diligently. Middle age men’s wastes spread, but their spending spreads like that as well, don’t let it happen to you.

Have a Savings Plan

The sooner you start saving, the better it will be for you when you reach my age, however, saving while still carrying discretionary debt (i.e. non-mortgage debt) is paying Peter to feed Paul. Lowering your debt is first and foremost, if you have left over moneys from your year, yes, starting an RRSP early is a good thing to do, but pay your debts first.

Savings is good, getting out of debt is better.

Get the Heck out of Debt

Did I mention this yet?

Banks Can be Negotiated With

As I have pointed out before Free Banking is possible, but it is more likely for old farts like me, who have a good track record with the bank already.  Paying $12-$25 a month in bank service charges you should try to avoid, since you most likely don’t use enough services with the bank to justify this charge. Go with as cheap banking as you can.

The Three Worst Ideas After Graduation

  1. I deserve a new car! -or- I deserve a vacation in Las Vegas!
  2. I’m a little short until my next pay cheque, I’ll get a pay day loan
  3. I am only carrying a few hundred dollars on my credit card balance this month

Keep this in mind, did I mention Get the Heck Out of Debt?

And don’t move back in with your parents either


Financial Pornography?

That was the label I put on the Pay Day Loan and Cheque cashing shops, but I think I will revise my statement, not wanting to put Pornography in a bad light (given how much of the Internet was built because of it, I don’t want to seem to be biting the hand that fed me).

Financial Head Shop

I am revising my statement saying that Pay Day Loan and Cheque Cashing places are actually the same as Head Shops (financially at least).

Head Shops are where you buy the paraphernalia and “bits and bobs” you need for your drug habit (e.g. bongs, rolling papers, Bob Marley T-Shirts, etc.,  just ask Michael Phelps he can fill you in on this).

Pay Day Loan establishments are like Financial Head Shops and use the same arguments as well. “…We don’t make our customers use our services, we are simply supplying a needed service to our customers…” (talk to a Head Shop owner, you’ll get about the same statement of business (i.e. if we didn’t do it, someone else would)).

No matter that you are charging at a rate that would make “Olaf the Loan Shark”  blush, or that once someone starts using a Pay Day Loan it is very hard (nearly impossible) to get out of the cycle (sounds like a bad habit, like say, drugs?). It is a service to take a $5 service charge off a Government cheque that any bank SHOULD cash for anyone who has sufficient identification.

Sorry folks, guess I woke up on the bad side of the financial world this week. I do like the comment yesterday about how the picture I posted looks a lot like an old time strip club (given the amount of Neon lighting used), that comment I had to chuckle at (glad to see my readers have as twisted a sense of humor as I do).

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The Most Hideous Financial Image Ever

I opened my Ottawa Citizen a few years ago and I saw this picture and I was hit by a combination of revulsion, anger, and lurid curiosity.

Revulsion and Anger

Why am I repulsed? You haven’t really read much of my posts, but I think the Cheque Cashing and Pay Day Loan industry is the worst financial service out there, and shouldn’t just be heavily regulated (which it is not) it should be shut down. Anger because the surcharges and interest rates taken by these modern-day Loan Sharks is obscene even at the Loan Shark level.

Lurid Curiosity

This is the most amazing entrepreneurial set up I can see. Whoever runs this particular business has nailed their clientage exactly and are pandering to their every whim and need.

  • Cheques cashed at a fee
  • Lottery tickets sold (and given away as incentives to good customers)
  • Cigarettes sold
  • Foreign Exchange
  • Money Transfers
  • Income Tax “Refunds Now!”
  • Payday Loans

What other services could they offer?

Modern Day Loan Sharks
Modern Day Loan Sharks (from the Ottawa Citizen)

It’s staggering that the government allows this kind of “financial pornography” to go on. I must admit I didn’t think there was places like this around my house, but I noticed a  “Modern Day Money Lender” has opened in my neighbourhood, why? I have no idea.

My guess is over the next year or two, this may be one of the growth industries along with repossession and bill collection, and that is a very sad statement about life in general.


Banking Shenanigans (boot to the head)

Scotiabank takes a Boot to the Head

Thanks to their dealings with Lehman Brothers Scotiabank is going to take a $595 million hit to their bottom line:

“Both the equity and fixed-income markets have experienced significant declines in value and extreme levels of volatility over the last several weeks, exacerbated by the Lehman bankruptcy,” stated Rick Waugh, Scotiabank president and chief executive.\

I wouldn’t call that a “hit”, that is more like a boot to the head (to quote the Frantics).

In case you didn’t know what I meant about the boot to the head reference, and figured I was only putting stock charts up these days. For you I leave you this boot to the head.

“Rogue” Trader at BMO

Bank of Montreal took a boot to the head with the charging of former Lead Natural Gas Trader David Lee, who has plead guilty to “…inflating the value of his portfolio and conspiring with others to deceive the bank…”, ouch. Makes you wonder how prices of commodities are set after reading:

Separately, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the CFTC filed civil charges against Lee and several other traders he is accused of conspiring with between 2003 and 2007 to fraudulently overvalue a commodity derivatives trading portfolio at Bank of Montreal.

Due to this BMO had to take a 1st quarter 2007 write down of almost C$237 million against it’s income. BMO seems to have taken a boot to the head as well?

Pay Day Loans Boot to the Head!

A while back I reprised my posting Pay Day Loans No No No! but I continue to get inquiries about advertising on this site directly by Payday Loan firms. Now, I must put the disclaimer that one of my “group” advertisers has sold space on my site to a Pay Day Loan site, which I am displeased about and will attempt to remove them as soon as I can.

Do not mistake my humor, or frivolity at times about this subject as me being flippant, or not caring, as I think this “financial service” is evil. The victims of these “services” are those who can afford to deal with them the least, and I am sure during this ‘credit crunch’ Payday Loan Companies will jack up their “fees” even more than they currently do. I would urge my readers to contact their MP’s and MPP’s to have this industry more closely regulated.

Oh and a boot to the head for all of those Pay Day Loan companies too!


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