Good Friday, COVID continues, XRP, Tax Time and #MoneyTalk

Good Friday is a day of reflection. Why is it called Good Friday? (click here to find out) It is a day of endings, but of new beginnings too. If you need a milestone to start new behaviours Easter is actually better than the New Year. In the Christian perspective Easter is the New Year.

The old problem? We still have COVID, and all the associated issues. Vaccines are now deploying, but not as fast as they should. Businesses are failing, jobs are being lost and people are dying. Amazing what you get used to, I suppose. I have not been jabbed yet, even though I am over 60, but that may happen soon? Given all the vaccinations going on, why are the numbers so bad today? People are people.

How about Bitcoin? I keep getting asked about it because I am a Technology Geek and I write this, and my answer is simple, what? I have always viewed Bitcoin as currency (at best), and I have shied away from Currency Arbitrage whenever I could. I am not investing directly in Bitcoin, although the Index Funds I hold might do something with it. What about other Cryptocurrencies? What about XRP ? It is actually being used as a currency, but no one really talks about that. Axios (on HBO) episode 6 season 4 does a segment on XRP, very interesting. There are many cryptocurrencies out there.

Tax Time is here! I have already submitted my return and got my refund. I have also realized I may not have claimed something and may need to send an update. Tax Time is a wonderful time of year, so go get it done.

The good new is the Suez Canal has been cleared, so shipping can start again. The better news is the number of Memes that are created because of it. See farther down for only a few of these classics.

Inflation (year over year February 2021) 1.1%
Bank of Canada Overnight Rate April 2nd0.25%
Unemployment Rate (as of February 2021)8.2%
Real GDP By Expenditure (Q4 2020)(quarterly change)2.3%
Population of Canada (Est January 2, 2021)38,048,738
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 April 2nd, 2021

COVID19 Data Canada

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

Total Cases971,715
Total Deaths22,900
Data as of April 2nd, 2021

Past Writings

So, haven’t done one of these in a long while. I am reworking some of my older articles, and attempting to start writing a bit more often. Maybe I’ll try to become an #Influencer? 💩

  • CPP and EI for 2021, never mess with a winning topic. The deduction allowances have changed and here is where you can read about it!
  • Quick Financial Thoughts just a few financial ideas to read about.
  • A Mortgage Changes You no matter what anyone tells you. You either learn to be fiscally responsible, or you lose your home.
  • Chutzpah in Job Interviews a rewrite from before I got laid off, when I was interviewed by an interesting chap. I assume he was well intentioned, but still, don’t use a term when you can’t pronounce it correctly. Also, never correct someone interviewing you either.
  • The One Thing That Helped me Get a Job is back when I was hunting for a job and the things I learned about how to find a job.
  • Paying Off Debt is Risky ? An odd comment on Instagram (when I was trying to become an influencer) caused me to erupt here.
  • My CRA Error ERR.021 what happens when the CRA gets advice about possibly hacked accounts? The hilarity that follows, is astounding.
  • RDSP Grant Entitlement Statement 2021 for another year we can put $1000 into our son’s RDSP.
  • How do You do your Taxes? A rewrite of an older commentary on doing your taxes.
  • Property Tax Alternative idea? Property taxes are becoming more and more expensive and it is mostly due to the sky-rocketing prices of homes in major Canadian cities.
  • Advice for New Grads? Another rewrite of some notes I made for an interview, for a magazine, that no longer exists.


Easter, a time to rebuild and restart?

As I have said many times, Easter is a great time to restart things. How about those resolutions you made on January 1st?


Sobering Message From Preet B.

At the end of it, somebody gets paid

Rick Mercer’s Nasty View on Taxes

I don’t think there is a more descriptive video for Tax Time than this Rick Mercer classic.

Rick Mercer for Governor General

That looks Stuck

That is what most of us thought of…

Hoyes Nails It

At the end of it, somebody gets paid

Canada is #1 But Maybe Not For a Good Thing

At the end of it, somebody gets paid

Random Thoughts from the Past

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Happy New Year 2021 and #MoneyTalk

Happy New Year, and with this new year we can finally say, “Hindsight is 2020”. Sorry for the Dad Humour, but that is only way I can laugh at 2020. Truly a year that will be one we talk about for a long time.

Planning any great New Year Resolutions? I think they are for suckers, you can change any time of the year. I’ll bet the Gyms take a big beating as most are closed and all those folks who want to get in shape for the New Year can’t sign up for a year long subscription. I am not dissuading you from making a Financial Change, just be realistic. Start with small changes, they add up slowly.

Many folks think that the New Year will be a panacea for how bad 2020 was, but I am skeptical. This year has potential to be better later on in the year, but the Winter has potential to be as bad as 2020. Hope is a good thing, as I have mentioned before, but don’t get your hopes too high.

Will we all be working at home more, after things settle down? Maybe, but don’t be so sure it will continue as it did during the Pandemic. I can work remotely, but many teams cannot for many reasons. I am hoping for a hybrid solution for me. Less days in the office, would be nice, but I am not sure it will happen that way.

I turn 60 this year, so that makes me a Senior, I suppose. Given I am part of the privileged class (old white guys), I don’t feel that privileged. Must be subscribing to the wrong magazines?

Inflation (year over year November 2020) 1.0% ⬆️
Bank of Canada Overnight Rate December 24 th 0.25%
Unemployment Rate (as of November 2020)8.5%
Real GDP By Expenditure (Q3 2020)(quarterly change)8.9%
Population of Canada (Est July 1, 2020)38,005,238
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 December 31st 2020

COVID19 Data Canada

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

Total Cases572,982
Total Deaths15,472
Data as of December 30th 2020

Past Writings

As the year closes, I realize I have not driven too much this year. I will write more this coming year, but not sure on which topic. More on RDSPs, but maybe a few other topics. Maybe I’ll try to become an #Influencer? 💩

  • The Perils of Automatic Payments outlines why you need to audit your automatic payment situation. If you use PayPal or allow companies to take money from your bank account, you need to know who is doing it. I was astounded to see how many were set up on my PayPal.
  • Merry Christmas 2020 are my Christmas wishes for this year. I also linked to all my previous Holiday Wishes. I have been doing this a long time.
  • Weirdest Boxing Day Ever? Certainly from the retail store perspective it was. In Ottawa most stores only did curb side sales. The Costco near me was not busy at all. On-line things may have been different.


Good Bye 2020, and Good Riddance?

This belief that 2021 has to be better than 2020, is naive. For some folks 2020 was a great year (ask Jeff Bezos). It is all a question of perspectives.


Password Security

PC Magazine published a list of the most common passwords. I have written previously about insecure pins, but these are wild. Take advantage of the year end to update your passwords!

Most common passwords for 2020
From PC Magazine’s Best Products of 2020 https://www.pcmag.com/

Internet Gouging?

Ellen Roseman points out that Canadians are getting gouged, and not just at the pump.

Canadians continue to get gouged for their Internet

Dancing Robots?

Great now even Robots dance better than me?


All Those Happy New Years

Yes, for about 15 years I have wished you a Happy New Year

  • I must have had an inkling about 2020, as I didn’t wish you a Happy New Year to start things. Hopefully with this post I have helped make the year better?
  • In 2019 I was too practical with Tangible Financial New Years Resolutions but still worthwhile thinking about it, eh?
  • For Happy New Year 2018 I had a great photo of being stuck on the 401 during a snowstorm, and links to previous New Year Messages.
  • 2017 I pointed out that you start paying CPP and EI again, so your net pay is going to be lower.
  • 2016 Happy New Year, just didn’t happen, not sure why, must have been having a grinchy holiday?
  • 2015 Happy New Year and I included a really bad joke about it being the year of the RAM in the Chinese Calendar.
  • 2014 Happy New Year again I pointed out that CPP and EI rates were increasing as well, I really am a kill joy.
  • 2013 was a Happy New Year, a celebratory Sunday was the photo to start the year.
  • 2012 I used to post best of Twitter posts, and it seems to have fallen on a Sunday as well.
  • Merry New Year! It All Starts again…  was how 2011 started, and I included a bunch of resolutions in that article.
  • 2010 New Year began with me in a new job, which was very nice, given I had been unemployed for a while.
  • 2009 started a little bleak, in that I was unemployed, and was looking for a job, during a major economic crisis.
  • Belated Happy and Prosperous New Year was how 2008 started, the economy was booming, employment was high, but there were hints of the systemic failure that was coming soon.
  • A New Year Brings Tax Breaks? The tax breaks appeared in 2007 but later disappeared, unfortunately.
  • 2006 I was still figuring out what this whole thing was going to be, but I did show some signs of a ranting good time.

Yes, I really did start in 2005.


Random Thoughts from the Past

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I received the following email graphic from Starbucks today. I thought, hey that’s a good idea, but then I remembered something from 2015.

Reloading for Points !

A while back, I was the victim of a scam using this system. Starbucks’ customer list had been breached. Using that information, bogus Loyalty Cards were created.

The scam is well described in the graphic below. This outlines the importance of not turning on Automatic Reloads on any card like the Starbucks Reward Card.

It is important to audit your automatic bill payments as well.

The graphic shows how simple it is to start up a quick scam. I only clued in when my phone had many messages about the auto-reloads happening.

Loyalty Card Scam
A Graphic Rendition of the Scam

Things to take from this

  1. If you use your Credit Card to “refill” your Loyalty card, do not allow auto-reload.
  2. Turn on messaging, for the system to tell you when things happen. This will at least warn you about all activity.
  3. If you hear that your loyalty system has been hacked, change your card and log ins, right away. Do not assume it will not happen to you.
  4. Are the points that important? What is the risk to reward giving out your credit card for this reward?

Glad I wrote about this a while ago, or I might have done something silly.

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I received the good news is that I have EquiFax for long period of time to check my credit bureau status. The better news is it is Free. The really bad news is the reason why. I was part of the Desjardins data-breach so now I am being “compensated” for this by getting Free Equifax.

Previously, I had access due to Home Depot having a data-breach. Surprisingly, my account with Equifax still existed (with the same password?). My access was granted for a long period of time, and I did notice a few things when I logged in.

  1. My first name is still incorrectly written in my report. This mis-spelling makes me wonder how accurate this report is. I tried to have it changed a while ago, but it never happened.
  2. I have a lot of Desjardins credit vehicles on my report. Makes me think someone DID create them and was simply waiting to use them? Will try to cancel all of those.
  3. A very large credit vehicle that should be on my report is not. That is interesting as well.
Credit Score
Credit Score by percentage in Canada

I am glad to see I have such an excellent Credit Rating, but it means nothing to me. It is most likely inaccurate, and unless I plan on buying another house I don’t really need it. The other danger is that given my Personal Info is compromised, any perpetrator could get away with a lot of money fraudulently.


Epilogue

Interesting that 57% of Canadians have Excellent Credit Ratings? That seems a little skewed, in terms of a data set. Either that or the actual term “excellent” has little or no meaning?


Related Topics

Free is a good price for things, however, things are rarely without some cost associated with them. This is how I got free EquiFax, the first time!

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Financial Redundancy

In the high-tech world the term redundant is actually a good thing. Most folks think of redundant in terms of jobs, and being declared redundant (i.e. being laid off, or the like). In the high-tech world redundant is actually a vital part of reliability. If there are redundant systems in place, or redundant connections then there are backups in place to take over if one of the systems fails, and that is what I mean by Financial Redundancy.

Last week there was a very good tweet that inspired me to think about this concept.

The point being made is that you need to have a separate bank account in a different bank or savings concept (trust company or the like) just in case your main bank account or bank gets compromised in some way. What do I mean by compromised?

  • Your account has been hacked and thus locked out so you have no access to it, until the issues with the security intrusion is remedied.
  • Your bank “goes down”. This can be a myriad of possible issues including: Interac failure, Computer system crash, bank is hacked (as mentioned in the tweet), etc.,
  • Your bank fails? Yes, this is ridiculously drastic, but it has happened, and I am sad to say, it will happen again (ask the folks who had money in Savings and Loans in the states)

Redundancy ?

Really the question is what do you do if you don’t have a redundant money supply to fall back on? You could use your credit cards, and you already have a redundant system there don’t you (pretty much everyone has more than 1 credit card, a Visa, a Mastercard, an Amex, maybe even a Diners Club), so why don’t you have some redundant savings in place too?

Redundancy
This Seems Redundant

An idea is maybe putting your Emergency Fund (which we all should have in some fashion) at a different bank? That way it really can help in an emergency.

If you are looking to back up your data, here is a link to Backblaze a very useful computer backup and restore site.

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