Lent Begins and #MoneyTalk

Today is Ash Wednesday and that means in the Christian world that Lent Begins. For many folks this is a time of reflection, and a time of sacrifice. I don’t really buy into that, I view this more as a time of reflection and growth.

Lent
Lent

This Lent try to add things to your 40 day journey to help you grow as a person. Some great financial ideas might be:

  • Read. Read financial books, read philosophical books or just read something. Reading expands your mind.
  • De-Clutter: I really like this idea. Many Churches are jumping onto the Marie Kondo de-cluttering bandwagon. Try to get rid of 40 bags of things that you can donate to charity. Don’t use it as an excuse to buy other crap though.
  • Get out of Debt. If you want to celebrate at Easter, start getting rid of debt now.

Did you realize that the 40 days of Lent means you can take every Sunday off? Do the arithmetic, from today until Good Friday, that is more than 40 days.

Recent Articles

I haven’t written one of these in a while, so I do have a bit of a backlog on things I have written. Stock Picks for the end of the year, was me simply checking what my picks did over the year. I think it is not too bad, given the whacky year 2018 was.

Tangible Financial New Years Resolutions was pointing out the importance of doing measurable resolutions for the New Year. Yes, it has been a while, since I wrote one of these. CPP and EI for 2019 gives us the rundown on how much we’ll have to pay for CPP and EI this year. Remember to be careful telling folks when you have finished paying CPP.

Are we Exposed on Banks in Canada? Currently most Indexes do seem to include a lot of financial stocks. How important is your Credit Score? More important than your blood pressure levels? No! How about When to Use a Pay Day Loan Service? Never! See a trend?

Pay Taxes or Your RRSP ? Too late to decide now, but still an interesting question. I grow weary from the The Anti-Virus Shell Game, sometimes cheap, most times too damn expensive.

RDSP Statement of Grant Entitlement 2019 is our yearly report on what we can put in my son’s RDSP.

Money Deep Thought

The Daily Stoic an email list I subscribe to had some very good advice about debt.

Be wary of debt. Because it is not simply a financial matter. It can be a spiritual matter as well. For to owe can mean to be owned. It can mean that you’ve given up the little bit of control you have in the world and handed it over to a capricious or an insensitive person—or just somebody who values their money more than they value you.

— The Daily Stoic
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Christmas Treats, RESPs, The Markets and Polkas and #MoneyTalk

With Advent upon us, it is not much time until Christmas will be here (and then gone). Did you realize there is actually a Financial Advent Calendar on this very site? You can consult it here.

With interest rates slowly rising, is it time to rethink short term savings? A good example is your RESPs for your kids. Should you be thinking about using GICs to ensure the money grows slowly but safely? Can you even use GICs in your child’s RESP? All good questions. Now you can get GICs with interest rates above 2%, maybe you should at least be putting your kids’ Grant money and put that in  there? Remember it is near year end, if  there is room still left you should  put a top up to get to your $2500 yearly maximum payment to the RESP.

My view of the Stock Market is it is currently having a shart. If you are unclear on what a shart means, please clock on the link. This shart might become something worse soon, given the trade stupidity going on, but for nice it is a mess caused by someone thinking they were only letting off gas.

Are planning on playing the Christmas Money Polka this season? It’s a simple game where you have bought many things on credit, and when the bill arrives in January, because you didn’t budget well you take the cash you got from family and pay off some of those bills. The money just goes round and round, and at the end of it you feel sick (just like a Polka), and broke.

Did you start your Emergency Fund with the idea that you were going to pay off Christmas with it? That’s not an emergency fund, that is a Christmas Fund. Maybe you should have both? Remember starting to plan for Next Christmas can start before this Christmas. You will have a better Christmas perspective now, than in July next summer.

Recent Articles

I really need to read letters more carefully, as I ended up blundering my way into a very large tax bill because of my inability to read letters well. I outline the predicament of my own creation in CRA and me: Assessment Excitement, the CRA was very helpful is the moral of this story.

Podcast of the Week

Finally you get to see what I actually look like, and you may realize why I have commented that I have a face for Radio. I do like the preview photo makes you wonder what I was thinking.

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GM, PC M/C Changes, Podcasts and #MoneyTalk

Allow me to be clear on my opinion of GM shutting down their Oshawa plant, F*ck you GM! You take government bail-outs (fail-outs?), and you then turn around and do this? As a tax payer I am disgusted by this attitude. Yes, I realize this is a business, and it is only a “business decision”, but as a regular person, I still think the thing stinks. I have had 3 GM cars, and all have had issues, and the last one was a Lemon. My opinion of their products is they are low quality.

I recorded yet another Podcast with Doug Hoyes last week, and dropped in on the Hoyes-Michalos offices in Ottawa.  Spoke to a few of the folks in the office, and heard about the scope of the Phoenix pay debacle has had on Ottawa. The chap I spoke to said he has seen plenty of folks who ended up being burned badly by the Phoenix “Pay” system. This included folks who didn’t get paid, and tried to live on their credit which cause the entire “financial apple cart” to fall over. I passed on my personal findings of folks who are turning down promotions, for fear of it causing a “Phoenix Profile” change and endangering their pay.

The content of the Podcast was well-defined by Doug and he had questions written down, but as usual it all broke down quickly, and I am not clear exactly what the real topic ended up being. Stay tuned on the Debt Free in 30 podcast and see how he edited it together. There were cameras as well.

Banks News?

The Banks will be announcing their results, TD already has, and they seem to be doing well. Somewhere along the line things will change, but not today.

Speaking of banks, President’s Choice has redesigned their PC Mastercard site, and have decided that an ability to download into Quicken or Quickbooks isn’t needed. You can download in CSV format (for Excel or a spreadsheet), but not directly from your bank account. Given how competitive the marketplace is for Credit Cards, taking away functionality for customers isn’t something rd assume was a good thing. I have voiced my displeasure, we shall see whether I take action, or not.

Recent Articles

It’s been a while since I did one of these so here are a few of my articles from the fall of 2018.

Never was So Much Owed by So Many outlines the latest numbers from Stats Canada about household debt, and how consumer debt is a hobby Canadians dearly love. My apologies to Mr. Churchill for such a crass paraphrasing.

Make More by Reducing Debt has been sitting in my almost finished queue for a while. Again, I am being quite cheeky about the subject, but sometimes the simplest explanations are the best. Continuing in that cheeky line, Savings Motivating System really was just a quick bad bit of humor I thought up one night. Remember with interest rates going up, a savings account might not be a bad place to put money.

Do credit cards just appear on your doorstep? In Farewell New Credit Card I outline how an old credit card (that I had forgotten about) morphed into a new card, which I didn’t want. The one really important part of a credit report is to see which credit cards you thought you closed are still open.

Deep Financial Thoughts

Doug Hoyes has thoughts everywhere, and here he is in his car telling us why high interest lenders (59% rates) are causing stress.

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RDSP Awareness , Volatility and #MoneyTalk

It is RDSP awareness month in October (according to Plan Institute). As most of you know the RDSP is a topic near and dear to my heart. Watch all my social media streams ( Twitter and Facebook) for many great archive stories I have on the topic of RDSP Awareness Month. I will also include a bunch of other information about the DTC (Disability Tax Credit) and a great article about Henson trusts too.

RDSP AwarenessGiven the latest Market Volatility and drop in value, is now the time to crack open our skulls and eat the soft gooey stuff inside? No! Remember if you are an Index Investor, now is not the time to panic. Have the picadores finally slowed down the Mad Bull Market of 2009? I have no idea, but it is fun to create click bait for folks based on that.

This coming week it will be Happy Cannabis day (on October 17th). What exciting things will happen that day? I am not sure, but I think I may stay off the roads for a few days. Some employers are being quite strict with their rules (RCMP says you can smoke up to 30 days before your next shift, and DND’s regulations seem quite voluminous). Will folks show up to work stoned? It all remains to be seen, but remember, ” … Dave’s not here man!”.

Seems we will be saying good-bye to Google+? Must admit it never drove much traffic and ever seemed to have anyone on it, so this is no great loss. Will Google create another better Social Media site?

Deep Money Thought

“Believe me it is better to understand the balance-sheet of one’s own life than of the corn trade” –Seneca

You need to understand yourself before you attempt to understand your finances,
might be a conjecture from this thought.

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Tech Infiltration, NAFTA/USMCA, WiFi, Tornadoes and #MoneyTalk

A story of tech infiltration broke about how a server manufacturer was compromised by the Chinese security folks (allegedly). The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies, outlines how many US firms use the technology that was compromised. Why am I talking about this here? This is a game changer for technology. Most of your technology is assembled by small companies in the far east, and now that it has been proven that they are compromised, how the manufacturing chain works will have to change.

Who is compromised? Every firm that matters: Apple, Amazon, NASA, Banks, Government Agencies, etc., etc.,. Expect statements soon from all of them, attempting to downplay the scope of this hack (however it is very big).

The current U.S. regime is already xenophobic, there will now be a push to “Buy BUILT in America ONLY”, especially in the tech area (and absolutely on Government contracts).

Tech Infiltration

Dunrobin after the Tornado (courtesy Global News)

This leads to the other big news this week the completion of NAFTA USMCA. The new agreement has changes that will screw affect farmers, but it seems to be better than nothing. It did not remedy the “buy America” policy the U.S. governments currently have, thus Canadian firms still cannot easily penetrate the lucrative U.S. government contract world.

The tech infiltration will not help with this lack of access to the U.S. Government contracts. If anything rules will get tighter in this area.

Are you feeling paranoid about your own tech security? You should, since Wired just told us, How Russian Spies Infiltrated Hotel WI-FI to hack victims up close. Remember if you are using any kind of public WiFi, don’t use your banking app, better still, just don’t connect to it. Your phone will tell you it is not secure, believe your phone. If you get a VPN (virtual Private Network) you might be safer, but never completely.

Hell of a Wind

We were lucky that all that happened to our house, during the Ottawa Tornadoes, was we lost power for about 49 hours. This meant all food in all of our freezers and refrigerators had to be thrown out (about $1000 worth is my guess). Given my home insurance deductible, it is not worth claiming. We have friends that were much worse off, and my wife and I actually were in Burlington the weekend (visiting my Grandson).

My daughter got to enjoy Barrhaven in the Dark for the weekend, and did an excellent job taking care of the house. Our City Councillor and Provincial MP did a great job helping folks out as well.

I will be putting together a better power outage plan, as the current one wasn’t very good. A generator is an idea, but would entail a great deal of work on our house wiring too. Maybe Solar or a Tesla house battery system?

My Recent Writings

Keeping with my technology theme here, I did write, FinTech’s Foundations COBOL. I loved COBOL at school, it was so easy to comprehend, and maybe I can retire and get some contracts programming in it? Maybe my skills are a bit too rusty though.

Wonder what kind of Tech Infiltration there is on the COBOL side of things?

Deep Money Thought

“Fortune aids the audacious” -Virgil

“What Fortune has made yours is not your own.” -Seneca

A stoic thought about money, what Fortune gives you, you must be wary of, and plan for when it is not there. Virgil’s comment is the more popularly quoted, but Seneca’s view is important to remember as well.

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