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Finance Things To Do On The Last Day of the Year

This being the last day of the year, and it falling on a weekday, means you can try to sneak in one or two financial transactions for the calendar year. Is this a good day to be calling in to your banks call-in centre? Absolutely not! You will be on the phone for a very long time, I would suggest doing anything on-line, and if you cannot do that be very patient with the folks on the phones.

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Fun things to get done before the end of year:

  1. TFSA withdrawal, yup, you can take something out now, and then replace it some time next year (which would be tomorrow). Is this a good idea? No, especially if it is for impulse buying, but if you will need to, then I guess it is an OK idea (but I am not saying it is OK, just that it works).
  2. RESP, TFSA, or RDSP deposit ? Not really, it is never a bad idea to put money in these saving vehicles but the limits tend to roll-over to the next year, so no point in wasting your time, unless, you have some left over cash that you got for Christmas, then maybe today is a good time to put that away in savings.
  3. Withdraw lots of cash for a huge party tonight? C’mon guys, blowing huge wads of cash to celebrate the end of one year or the start of another year is just dumb.
  4. Make your quarterly tax payment? If you are on a payment plan with the CRA, maybe it is time to get that done?
  5. Stop by the Licensing bureau to renew your cars registration? Again, be patient, remember, this is your fault!
  6. Got any old insurance claims you haven’t submitted? Might want to get those done too.
  7. Here is a good one to do, make a charitable donation, this is the spirit of the season and you get a tax break in March.
  8. Make resolutions for the coming year? Nah, that is hokum too.
  9. Start your financial plan for 2016 is the best thing you can do on this last day of the year.
  10. Maybe make an appointment with your Doctor? Best to know where you stand health wise. There is one thing to do for your retirement planning.

Enjoy the coming year, hope the year that past was OK for you too! Remember the fiscal year typically only ends in March and that Chinese New Year is still a few weeks away.

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Influencers: How do I get 7% growth?

This is an oldie but goody from 2007, back then Influencers were promising the moon, I suspect it still goes on. Just look at the Crypto world. Remember if it sounds too good to be true, it just might not be! Remember Bernie Madoff .

Investment Strategy it’s Important

Suppose you are expecting an answer to the Question in the Title (i.e. how do you get a 7% yearly growth) you are asking the wrong guy that question. In that case, I am not a financial influencer, and any money I have made over the years has mostly been by accident, not by some grandiose investment strategy. When I was a younger man, I fooled myself into believing I knew what I was doing, but at the end of it, I didn’t (remember my comments about my tech investments here).

I would say that right now my investment strategy is to use index funds and slow growth bonds mostly, just because I am old enough now that I don’t think I can afford another massive hit like I did in 2000. Should you do this? Have you not been reading, I am saying, GO and find out what YOU should do, I am simply telling you what has worked for me.

Remember a few important points:

  • The more the risk, the more the potential gains, but I am here to tell you that RISK sometimes is a bad thing, too (remember Slim Pickens riding that h-bomb).
  • If you are younger you can afford to take risks because you have time on your side to recover, if you are older, you shouldn’t be risking money you can’t afford to lose.
  • If you use Index Funds and/or Mutual Funds, research them well, and try to buy ones with low management fees, and no entry or exit fees. Don’t buy Mutual Funds solely on the say-so of a co-worker or friend. Research them, at your library or online.
  • If you are going to buy stocks, be careful because no matter what stock you buy, you are at Risk. I have shares in Financial Institutions because they are making so darn much money, but if the housing BOOM turns into a BUST, these stocks are going to take a hit.

You have time if you are young create an investment strategy but don’t fool yourself into procrastinating, remember:

If it weren’t for the last-minute, I wouldn’t get anything done. ~Author Unknown

Is not the credo to live by in your financial planning and investing lives.

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What is in it for me?

One of the nice things about having written over 2000 posts and being on the job for over 8 years now, is the fact that you have a massive back-log of stuff that my current readers may not have read, so here I give you a post that didn’t really get much notice back 7 years ago, note the style of writing.

Dear Reader,

So as you can tell I am a mercenary blogger and will do many things to make an extra buck or two (witness the ads plastered all over this BLOG if you are unsure of this), so let’s ask ourselves how we can put a few extra bucks in our pockets (and review a few of my initial rants), What’s in it for us?

  1. Stop paying those ridiculously high banking charges (remember?)
  2. Use some coupons when you shop (hey a couple of extra bucks is nothing to sneeze at)
  3. Get a Credit Card that pays you to use it. PC Financial has a nice one (if you like shopping at Loblaws that is), and gives you cash. AMEX and Costco have one that pays cash as well. For heaven’s sake don’t pay to get money back or points (like that CIBC Aeroplan Gold, only if you are a traveling salesman would that work).
  4. Join Petropoints or whatever other “I give you points for shopping here” program you can find (as long as it is free). I also am a member of the CAA, so I get money back for buying gas at PetroCanada
  5. Stop buying those bloody “Lattes” will ya? What’s wrong with the free coffee at work!

OK, so that is the rant for the day, put your money in your pockets!

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Celebrate the Slow Thinkers

Many of my friends think of me as a fast thinker, in that many times I have very snappy answers to their quips or stories, but it took me a while to figure out that while I do have a quick mind, my initial ideas and response to most problems that I am confronted with is wrong!

That is correct I am a quick wrong thinker, but I am a much better slower thinker, if you give me enough time, I will eventually figure out the correct answer to a problem.

I used to think not getting the correct response right away was a sign of a weaker mind, but now I realize that some problems need time to view all the possible different angles, before they are acted upon. There are a few remarkably quick and smart minds out there, but there aren’t that many out there (trust me, I have met many folks who think they are quick thinkers, but they are usually as wrong as I am).

Countless times I have made “snap” decisions which at the time seemed great ideas, but in the end they were wrong (or effectively wrong) when I look back on them. There is no shame to ask for time to think about things, and if someone pressures you to make a snap decision follow the advice of a noted child psychologist, who says that when ¬†your child confronts you with a snap decision simply answer:

If you need an ¬†answer now, the answer is NO, if you want to wait a while, we’ll see what I decide.

This is the mature way to deal with any decision (now I am not saying get into over-think gridlock, however, under thinking a problem is just as bad).

The next time you think that someone is somehow inferior because they take longer to make decisions, ask yourself if they end up making good decisions or not, that is really the real barometer. As my wife points out to me many times, if, instead of listening or looking at a problem, you are attempting to formulate a quick “solution” you are in danger of choosing the wrong “solution” or worse the right “solution” for the wrong PROBLEM.

The Great Wall of China Did not Get Built Overnight, it took a while, just like a good decision!

This is a great picture my brother took when he visited China. Sometimes good things just take a while, so be patient, and don’t rush things too much, you might not like how the rushed version turns out.

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Two Step Financial Plans

In these days of folks who can barely read a single page and comprehend what it is about (yes, I count myself in that group), this article will outline the utter simplicity of making two step financial plans and succeeding like a hero.

The inspiration for these two step financial plans are based on a really cool drawing you can see around the net if you google (in images) how to draw an owl. You’ll see some amazingly descriptive steps, but the one I am looking for is the simplest and most direct way.

I have included one of the many copies (if anyone can tell me who the original artist is, I will gladly link to them and give them full credit, since it is an amazing technique):

two step financial plans
How to Draw An Owl (made easy)

Isn’t this easy? If all plans and descriptions could be this simple, we would all be much better off! For those who might not be able to read the methoodology on the diagram it is simple:

  1. Draw some circles
  2. Draw the rest of the bloody owl

This follows the same methodology I have heard some stone carvers use, break off all pieces of stone that aren’t part of the final statue (that seems even simpler, doesn’t it?).

With this in mind here is a simple plan on how to create a fool-proof financial plan that will most certainly help you become financially independent in a short period of time:

  1. Create a spread sheet with categories and dates
  2. Do the rest of the plan, implement it correctly, until you are out of debt

Simple eh? What you expected me to make it easy? If I knew how to do this, I wouldn’t be publishing here for free, I’d be charging you $100 a head and make you sit through a hellaciously long talk by me, and then make you subscribe (at a very high premium) to a newsletter and even then don’t divulge the full story (and also make sure my lawyers have had you sign something that completely let’s me off the hook if you follow the plan and fail).

Maybe that is the way to get rich? Don’t worry, if I figure out the fool-proof plan, I will publish it, but then again, you still might not believe it, given it is me giving it to you.

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