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Not Asking is Rejection by Default

I have written many times about if you don’t ask the answer is always no, but the title of this post is also a good turn of phrase. Too many times folks feel they have no one to ask for help, so they just give up. Most of the time that is exactly what service companies want you to do.

Many times return procedures are convoluted, complex or just downright silly, but it is to stop you from returning things. If you keep it, but don’t want it, they have won.

A good example is, if you want to use TD E-series mutual funds, inside your TD Mutual Fund account, it is not an easy procedure. You must apply via a written form, and wait for the “OK” from them to be able to buy them. Once you are granted permission, you then must figure out which funds are the E-series funds. If you wish to cash the E-series Funds out of the account, you must first go on-line, transfer them to a Money Market account, and then go into a TD Branch, to do the cash out?

The best way to deal with this, is simply don’t use the TD Mutual Fund vehicle. Other reasons to be wary, will be the Risk Profile trade cancellation issues.

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This example shows that the system seems to be set up to discourage you from doing what you want. Worse, to do nothing, when you should be rebalancing or other important investment tasks.

Why Not Ask?

This is the question. If you do not ask for what you want, you will rarely get what you want. You may sound like a pest, you may upset whoever you are dealing with, so be polite, but ask for what you want. The worst they can say is, No.

Not Asking is Rejection by Default

Unknown, but words to live by

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Covid-19, Stay Home and #MoneyTalk

Haven’t done this for a while, but I do have a little more free time as well. So let’s start with the best joke about this year so far.

I’d like to return this year (2020), I don’t like it and it isn’t doing what I want. It is within 90 days and I expect a full refund, or at least store credit.

The 2020 Dad Joke

How are you all doing? I hope you are doing well, and if you are still working, I say Thank You, for that.

If you are not essential, STAY HOME! This is what you can do for your loved ones and yourself, STAY HOME! I cannot visit my Mother or my Brother because I could kill them, I don’t know if I have been exposed or am a carrier, so I STAY AWAY. I want to go see them, but I know I could kill them, so I stay away.

Toilet Paper?

Stay home and don't hoard toilet paper

So the one thing I will remember about this vividly will be the folks who have hoarded Toilet Paper. I hope that they have to use all that toilet paper in a very short time. Remember COVID-19 attacks your lungs, it is not a stomach flu. On this date (March 27th) I continue to look for another pack of TP, but Costco was out.

Feels like an episode of M*A*S*H when their supply lines got cut. I suppose that makes me Klinger (or Frank Burns). Lighten up folks, let’s let everyone wipe their derrières safely.

I also have heard from every place that ever asked for my email address (it is a HOTMAIL address which I usually ignore). Everyone is telling me how they are trying to help me be safe during these times. Thanks?


Past Writings

So it has been a long while since I have written one of these, so we have a long list to wander through.

  • COVID-19 Are we F*cked ? OK, so the title was a little click-baity but I had to write this down. Sometimes these thoughts need to be put in print to see where we stand. Apologies for the rant and salty tones.
  • RDSP Statement of Grant Entitlement 2020 yes another year has passed and the government has told me how little they will match in terms of my son’s RDSP. It’s free money, but it will increase over time.
  • Reflections on 15 Years means I have actually been doing this for more than 15 years. I am attempting to rewrite, edit and delete many of my older posts.
  • Impact of COVID-19 on Small Business and Self-Employed my daughter is a Chiropractor, and she offered to write a piece on the impact of this thing, on her financial and professional life. I think I may have a few more posts from her in the future.
  • Financial Disaster Plan would have been good to have one of these before all of this, but maybe it is time to write one anyhow?
  • Aging Family Members and How to Deal with their Real Estate was another Guest Post done for me, that I really like. Sean writes about things happening in my life right now.

There are more, but you can go check them out on the site. As you can see my writing rhythm may be returning (for good or bad). Hopefully more from me in the coming weeks.


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Financial Reads for Troubled Times

I give you an excellent reading list of articles to help you get through these troubled and worrying times.


Tweet of the Week

For those that have not noticed, Squawkfox has not been around much, and that is because she has been battling with Cancer. She is a friend, and I hope you all send her good thoughts and love. She is one of the reasons you should stay home!

Oh, and if you are on Twitter a lot please add The Canadian Cyber Center, they are the Internet Watchdog, so watch them.


Video of the Week

Speaking of our old amigo Preet B. here is a helpful video with resources for you to help you out, during these troubling times.

Thank you Preet B!

2019 Random Thoughts

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Financial Disaster Plan

I guess this is topical for these days (written during the COVID-19 pandemic), but let’s do a quick wander through what your Financial Disaster Plan might need to include.

Will and Power of Attorney

Doesn’t matter if you think this will not affect you, you need to have these documents in place. If you are single, OK it isn’t urgent, but if you have a spouse or more, do this first. Plenty of easy on line sites to do it with, or call a lawyer or notary.

For the Power of Attorney, different provinces have different rules, so make sure you set that up correctly too. I have learned too much about Quebec’s rules lately, thanks to a loved one still living there (and their POA).

Insurance

If you have a family you should have life insurance. It should at least pay out to leave your family debt free should you die. It would be better to leave them more money to help out given the loss of your income. No, not full life or any stuff like that, TERM life insurance (5 or 10 year terms) is fine.

Disability insurance should be considered as well, especially if you are the sole income earner for your family.

House insurance, Apartment Insurance and Car Insurance you should have as well (should have those things, of course).

Cash

A certain amount of actual cash available to you would not hurt. No I am not saying have $10,000 in cash hidden in your house, but a couple of hundred couldn’t hurt having around. Maybe a little US Cash too? If you live near the border, never a bad idea

Toilet Paper?

Dear Lord, why do people hoard toilet paper during a crisis? You are assuming there will be toilets (or something like that) during this crisis? Maybe some canned food, and some water would make sense, but bum wad? Really? COVID-19 is a respiratory sickness (i.e. your lungs not your bum).

disaster planning financially ?
Yes, this is a real photo from Kitchener

List of Critical Information

What if you become incapacitated, how will your designated helper do things without the hundreds of passwords needed to do your banking, or anything else? Who will scrub clean your Google and Search logs?

Somewhere, somehow but securely you will need to have that information available to the people you trust, to act for you. A list inside a safety deposit box? An encrypted Word document somewhere?

What about all of your insurance policy numbers, your pension information, and anything else loved ones might need should you find your untimely demise? How do they get at the “safety blanket” you left for them?

Debts and Emergency Funds

Yes, you should be paying down debt and have an emergency fund or plan on how to deal with your finances during an emergency.

Keep Calm and Plan

We are currently in an emergency, but if you are at home with not much to do, maybe it is time to start planning?

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5 Mistakes Rich Folks Make

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.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Not automating their savings. Another spin on pay yourself first, which is something you can do as long as you are not spending more than you make.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Not having any idea how much they spend, again not a mistake reserved to the rich. I had no idea I was that far in debt ? We’ve talked about that before.

What Should You Do ?

Don’t make financial mistakes? Easier said than done, but you must be careful with your money. Don’t make rich folk financial mistakes? Absolutely, because you don’t have the luxury of making them.

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Why Waiting 6 Months to Update Your Financial World is a Bad Thing

Thanks to an illness, I let my financial world slide a little (not just this web site).  This all started around November (right after I went to a financial blogging conference). The whole episode has caused a lot of agitation in my life, but I am hoping things are back on track.

I continually harp on the need for a Plan B, and Emergency Plans, yet I really didn’t have one. Luckily, I didn’t have to take too much time off work, but illnesses mess up more than just your job. My home life has suffered but my wife has been very patient with me.

emergency plan

The one thing I really let slide was the day-to-day financial aspects in my life. I hadn’t updated Quicken or any other aspects of my financial tracking system since November, which was a very bad thing. Trying to catch up on 6 months of financial tracking is very frustrating, and painful.

I ran into a few specific issues:

  1. Although I managed to pay most of my bills on time, I did find two credit cards where I had missed a payment and I was paying interest on the balances. I fixed that problem first.
  2. Going back six months to find your financial statements on-line can be a royal pain in the rear. Most on-line sites are OK for this, but you have to dig around to find them.
  3. Trying to catch up using Quicken (Canadian version, not the new version) is an even bigger pain in the arse.

Let me pass on a few conclusions that I have come up with in terms of illnesses and having Plan B’s and emergency plans.

  1. Having an emergency plan for your employment is important.
    • If you have a short-term disability plan at work, are you a member? When does it kick in? Can you top it up, and how much does it pay (rarely does it pay 100% of your salary). This is really important.
    • How about long-term disability? I was lucky my issue was only a short-term problem, but it could have put me out for longer. Long term disability is usually expensive, and will not pay your full salary, but is still a necessary evil.
    • How does your work deal with sick leave? You need to understand this before you need to use the system. Will there be gaps where you don’t get paid if you have a serious illness where you are absent for an extended period of time?
  2. Having an emergency account (most likely in your TFSA) is a very good idea. Do not assume you will have credit available in the situations. You will not be able to live on your credit cards or short-term credit for long, and the mess this may create could be lethal to your finances (in the short and long-term).
  3. Does your spouse or significant other know enough to be able to take over the financial world you have created? At my Church there are countless cases where the spouse was unaware of how the money worked because they just were never told. Ignorance is not a good thing when it comes to your financial life. How will your finances work when you are ill, or worse?
  4. Do you have a Will, and power of attorneys set up? If not, why not? Yes it is a morbid topic, but if you don’t do this, you are giving the government a gold opportunity to make a money grab from your estate. In my case I have a disabled son, so I really need to have specific instructions in place for financial stuff.
    • If we are going to be morbid, does your family or spouse know what you want done should you die? I have been clear that it is up the chimney with me (cremation) after all bits someone could use are gone. As I age I suspect my bits are a lot less useful for other folks. Next, have a lot of drinks afterwards, tell plenty of stories about what an idiot that I was, and then spread my ashes somewhere nice. I have sworn that if any money is wasted on a lavish funeral, I will come back and haunt anybody involved (possibly writing a ghostly blog from the hereafter).
    • What about all of those logins for all those financial sites? Does your spouse know what they are? I am talking about a list in a very safe place, that is kept up to date.
    • What about your on-line persona? How will the Big Cajun Man live on after my death? What about the passwords to the 70 different accounts I use on-line? Interesting thing to think about too. What will happen to this hallowed site?

I am only scratching the surface folks, and remember this is an ongoing process. Keep all of this up to date. Yes, I can be a little obtuse, but this is a short list in terms of things to think about if you get ill.

And Now For Something Completely Different

Sometimes Monty Python sums it up best:

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