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Counterfeit Realities

Mothers Day, Counterfeit Reality, Higher Stress and #MoneyTalk

It is Mother’s Day on Sunday, normally the day with the most long-distance calls (if that data is still being collected). Traditionally, Father’s Day was when the most collect phone calls happened. To paraphrase Keith Hampshire “Be Good to Your Mother!”, remember everything she did for you?  Time to start paying back a little.

Counterfeit Reality

Do you realize that many articles you read are AI-created? Not here, as you can tell by my bad grammar and punctuation no computer could easily recreate my awkward writing style. Gartner in their Top Strategic Predictions for 2018 pointed to the dawn of Counterfeit Reality 1 (analysis by:Daryl Plummer, David McCoy). The funny part of this analysis is that with the explosion of fake news via AI will be tools to combat it. It will all become an AI arms race, with your brains being the target. The best recommendation was, “…Do not underestimate the number of counterfeit reality sources that exist in the world today….”. This is very important in the world of Financial News. So much of Financial Documentation in general and Financial Media in specific is becoming AI based.

How can you tell you are getting a Real Financial Reality? For lack of a better term, guess you will have to do some research. Just because it is on Face-hole doesn’t mean it is the truth.

A more telling statement about Counterfeit Reality is from the same report, “By 2022, most people in mature economies will consume more false information than true information” (research by Magnus Revang & White Andrews). If this is true, we end up with the liar paradox of “All financial blogs are liars, and I write a financial blog“. Good luck figuring out what is the truth, and what is fiction in the coming years sums it all up.

What might Counterfeit Reality in the financial world look like? Maybe we can talk about how investing in any of the 900 cryptocurrencies (at last count) is a great idea. I’m just saying, folks, if I was going to send Hype to pump up an investment, that is where I would start.

If you believe that this is in the future, think again, the Associated Press is already augmenting their writing staff with AI (according to the MIT Tech Review). Maybe Financial Blogger won’t be a job of the future?

The Bank of Canada announced a 20 basis point increase on the Stress Test Rate, that is to be used to figure out whether you can afford a mortgage. The rate is now 5.34%, according to the CBC. This means if you want a mortgage you will have to prove that you can live with a mortgage rate of 5.34%, can you?

I did enjoy a Twitter discussion this week about Financial Media Whores, well worth checking out and I will be talking more about this soon.

1. [“Counterfeit Reality” is the digital creation of images, video, documents or sounds that are convincingly realistic representations of things that never occurred or never existed exactly as represented (according to Gartner)]↩

My Recent Writings

I did write about Get Your Taxes Done Dammit ! However, you are late now. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t file your taxes, just that you might have to pay penalties if you owe money. It really isn’t that hard, time to get that done, and if you are due a rebate, think how next year you can stop loaning the government money (for free).

Micro Blogging for Motivation

I do wander around the financial internet and found a very interesting article outlining a long list of things to do. Normally, I hate list articles, but this one was OK by me.

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Decisions, Bitcoin, Inflation and #MoneyTalk

This past week my wife and I celebrated our 32nd year of living in Ottawa. When we first moved to Ottawa in 1986 I was sure we would be here for only a year or two. All our friends and my wife’s family are near Toronto, so I was sure we would decide to move back, at some point. The problem was that decision was never made, so by not making that decision, we decided to stay in Ottawa. In life not making decisions, is still a decision (and some folks never quite figure out that philosophical point). Keep this in mind when you cannot decide things financially, your lack of decisiveness is a decision.

DecisionsFor those unaware Michael James (friend of this site), knows his algebra, computers and cryptography, so I have waited for him to write about Bitcoin, and write he did this week. As usual his article is pointed, and excruciatingly on the mark for those who want to dabble in Cryptocurrencies. Yes, I have called you an idiot for investing in Bitcoins, but now you are hearing from someone who is an expert in the area, he thinks you are an idiot too. No he doesn’t call you an idiot, but you can plainly read that is his sentiment.

The Bank of Canada says Inflation has returned (given gas is $1.35 a litre in Ottawa, I tend to agree with that statement). Even though they held their overnight rate at 1.25% they also warned that Inflation is here and they will need to react to it soon (in a separate statement):

Assuming our forecast remains on track, it is Governing Council’s view that interest rates will need to move higher over time to keep inflation on target.

Does this mean that Interest Rates will be going up soon? The Magic 8-Ball of Personal Finance replies, “Signs point to yes”.

My Recent Writings

Does a Credit Card Appear Out of Nowhere? That is the question that came to mind when my daughter told me about a credit card that appeared on her on-line banking page, but she never did apply for one. How is that possible? Best read and see how that happened.

Micro Blogging for Motivation

John Young and I were at the University of Waterloo at the same time, we caroused a few times together, and he is even somewhat related to me (he is my wife’s cousin), but the fact that he ran the Boston Marathon is amazing. The fact he is going to then run many more marathons this year, is even more amazing. What does John normally do? He is a Math Teacher.

Read More »Decisions, Bitcoin, Inflation and #MoneyTalk

Stock Picks

Stock Picking Update, Crypto Credit, and #MoneyTalk

At the start of the year I actually published a Stock Picking post about what to buy this year. It was mostly me being snarky about stock picking done by other bloggers, but I started to think I should continue to eat my own dog food, and figure out what my stock picks did, in terms of return.

Stock Picking
Here is where my stock picking stands now:

Jan-01 Apr-01
VDY $1,000.00 $950.00
TDB911 $1,000.00 $1,013.30
TDB909 $1,000.00 $998.00
TDB902 $1,000.00 $1,015.50
TDB900 $1,000.00 $954.50
Value $5,000.00 $4,931.30
Loss or Gain  0.00% -1.37%

Losing about 1.4% is nothing to brag about, but, given the volatility of the market it isn’t too bad either. My guess is this could be a volatile year. We shall see what the summer does my stock picking prowess.

It is Friday the 13th today, it must be true that someone has done something odd financially today, because of this date. If you have, shame on you!

I was intrigued by a statement I saw on Reddit, that the RBC will no longer allow you to buy Crypto Currency with their credit cards. The statement doesn’t give a reason, and simply does the Canadian thing, and apologizes for the inconvenience. I am a big fan of brevity, but that is astoundingly terse for that kind of decision. My guess is they just don’t trust the Crypto-currency marketplaces enough to allow their credit vehicles to be used there. If I can’t use credit cards to buy cryptocurrency how do I pay for it? Gold (Au)? Cash? Other cryptocurrencies? Intriguing.

In other financial news  I threw up in my mouth when I read Mackenzie fined for excessive promotional spending. The money spent is your Management Fees, and that is where that extra money goes? I still feel nauseous .  Your retirement money is giving folks iPads? Wow.

My Recent Writings

What is a Serial Refinancer ? You know someone like this, they keep building up credit card debt, then either getting consolidation loans or adding it to their HELOC or worse their mortgage. This is serial murder for your finances.

I don’t think folks understand that with investing, when you sell is more important than what you buy. I attempt to elaborate on that with 2 Key Investment Strategies. Being a Millionaire “on paper” means nothing, until you have the money in your hands, you are not a millionaire.

Micro Blogging on Finance

More women are filing for bankruptcy, is this a win for women? Truth of the matter is, I don’t think so, but there is a podcast to talk about that one this weekend.

Read More »Stock Picking Update, Crypto Credit, and #MoneyTalk

Spring Financial Cleaning

Facebook, Spring is here and #MoneyTalk

Spring is here ? That is a question most of us are asking in Ottawa. Previous years we have had warmer temps and things starting to grow, but not yet this year. For those thinking financially, good time to start thinking about doing your taxes, and what to do with your refund, if you are getting one.  Possibly the RRSP to TFSA pas de deux?

Spring is here
Saw this in My Backyard, I think I agree

Will you be removing your Facebook account? Remember that we are on Facebook as well, but yeh lots of folks are talking about Facebook betraying them? Really? What did you think they were going to do with all the data they had? You were all Facebook had to sell, and that is their business. Yes, I have a Facebook account, yes I share photos and make personal quips on it, but do they have all my data? I hope not.

A more colon tightening expression could not have been thought up, yet I received an email with the title, “3 Reasons Your Retirement Is One Big Math Problem”. If you are trying to convince people they can’t do their own retirement planning, that is the headline you want. People are paranoid about anything to do with Math, and will run from it like a frightened deer, if it is mentioned. The headline while truthful is almost a false flag to convince them they need to get a retirement financial advisor. No, you don’t need that, it’s arithmetic really, which wasn’t that hard, was it?

What do I have planned for the coming personal finance year? Not sure, still working on that.

My Recent Writings

I am still astounded it has been 13 years since I started writing here, but Still Financially Crazy after 13 Years does outline some of my favorite topics. There are more than 3000 articles here, need to make it easier for you folks to be able to find them, I think.

K. Trevor Wilson is a very good comedian, and not a bad financial advisor, as I point out in More Financial Advice from a Comedian. It really is cheaper to go see a comedian than it is to go to a financial advisor, think about it.

Micro Blogging on Finance

I am trying a small experiment with the tag #FinancialDeepThoughts where I precurse something from my archives with a quote from a smart person. See what you think.

A more colon tightening comment is this one.

Read More »Facebook, Spring is here and #MoneyTalk

Potholes, Tuition Increases, and #MoneyTalk

February’s new symbol in Ottawa is the Pothole. Due to the quick temperature swings, we have been experiencing, the roads are slowly deteriorating, and the size of the potholes cannot be discerned until you hit them. I think big money will be in realignment, hub replacements and tire repair because some of these potholes (or sinkholes) are pretty deep. They are as inevitable as tuition increases!

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Pot Holes are getting out of Control Here in Ottawa (Photo Courtesy CBC News)

My Alma Mater (the University of Waterloo) announced their new fees schedule, and tuition and all associated fees continue to track higher than inflation. Undergraduate tuition will rise by about 3%. However, co-op fees will increase by 2.8%. If you are planning to help your kids with University Costs, you need to know that you should prepare for these tuition increases every year. I don’t mean to pick on Yuppy U., but at least they publish this information.

RRSPs continue to be the non-topic for February, with few ads being seen. There are more ads for PayDay Loans and Short Term Loans than for RRSPs. The only thing people care about less is the Roll up the Rim at Timmy’s. What is going on in Canada? The next thing I’ll hear is that a Canadian Tuxedo has gone out of fashion!

The CRTC has rejected a call for a public inquiry into the big Telcos and Telecomm companies? It must mean that the frequent visitors at my front door, on my phone and in my mailbox must be my imagination. Well, that puts my mind at ease. The Canadian Telcos have it too darn easy, and what we pay for Mobile Phones, Internet and Cable is just too damn high.

This Flu season does seem to be a nasty one, with a second-round coming at us. I have noticed more folks sick at the office and more folks coming to work to share their illness. I got a flu shot for the first time this year so far, I don’t seem to have caught the Flu, but I guess I might be speaking prematurely?

Tangerine went a bit berserk a week or two ago and sent me countless tax forms in my emails (in both languages). I only have one account, so I’m not sure why I got that many emails, but I got an email saying they knew they sent them, but no real explanation why.

My Recent Writings

I guess I got caught up in the Olympics and work and ended up not writing anything new this week, but as I have mentioned, if you follow my Twitter feed, you will get a hefty dose of my archives as well. Remember that RRSP season can also be RRSP Re-Balancing season too.

Micro Blogging on Finance

The City of Hamilton is looking into limiting the number of PayDay loan places, and I am all for it. Our friend Doug Hoyes spoke, but this graphic did hit me.

Read More »Potholes, Tuition Increases, and #MoneyTalk
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