Become a Tangerine client today

What you Need

What you need is what you have. Life is just that simple for most of us. I know many folks that are working incredibly hard, and making lots of money, some saving it, others spending it, but at the end of it, do you need all of the things you want, or do you already have what you need?

Another way of putting this that Michael James asks is, “How many yachts do you need to water ski behind?”, and it’s a very good question. Is that what you need ?

what you need

Want vs. Need ? Seems a little out of kilter here…

When I was younger, I kept thinking I needed so many things, but how many of those things did I really need? Many of them are clutter in my house now, others have been simply thrown out, while others I just decided I didn’t need (or they became so pricey I gave up on them).

What do you Need?

So what do you need? What you have? Maybe, but it depends on what you have, doesn’t it?

  • Do you have your health? If you do, keep it, fight to keep it, stay in shape, stay healthy, and live a long life. What do I mean? Violet Large donated (most of) $11 Million that she won on the lottery and died yesterday, all that money couldn’t buy her health back, but she did the next best thing (in my opinion).  Health, if you don’t have it, get it, and if you do keep it, simple? Health is what you need.
  • Do you have a group of family and friends around you that you are happy with? If you don’t, work on that, and if you do, treasure this and move on. Remember as my Dad said, “… you are born with your family, there you have no choice that is why you choose your friends very carefully…” (I hoped he implied you had to love your Family no matter what in that statement as well). Friends are what you need.
  • Do you know how much money you need to live on for a year? A month? A week? A day? If you can’t answer that question, you are in trouble. You must know how much money you need (not want, not for all the crap you covet, the money you need to live) to live each day, week, month and year (and if possible the rest of your planned life). Figure this one out, or you will always need more (and you’ll never have enough). Money is what you want.

Is This Hard ?

Yes, but if life was easy, there wouldn’t be idiots like me telling you how to live it, now would there?

What do you need to live? How are you going to get it (that is the next hard question to ask), and can you do it (the meaning of life really)? (I should really stop watching so much Gordon Ramsay, my inner hard ass comes out a bit too much at times).

{ 5 comments }

Sometimes The Problem Changes

Sometimes The Problem Changes

As part of my every day life, I help out at my Church with the computers (remember volunteering is a good thing to do), and one of the weekly events that should happen is back up of the computers at the Church (as it should for all of us, are you doing backups?). For the longest of times I used a CD-RW (read write CD) to back up this data, but over time the data set grew, and eventually we had to use 2 CD’s to accomplish the task.

The Problem changed when we got a new system for the church that came with a DVD burner and suddenly we were able to back up much more data onto One DVD-RW (holds about 7 CD’s worth of data, uncompressed), thus the problem changed, so we adapted the answer to that change.

This past little while the DVD burner has gone “on the fritz” (my term for being broken and I can’t figure out why), so I have been unable to do these backups, which frustrated me to no end. On the way home from a fruitless repair attempt it dawned on me that maybe the problem has changed again?

The price of USB memory keys has dropped dramatically lately, to the point where now, I can purchase a 4 GB USB device for about $12, so instead of attempting to fix the DVD burner issue, I simply have changed the problem, and will now do backups to USB devices instead, thus making it faster and easier to store (securely and safely).

A side note, remember that backups are very important, but RESTORE is the most important capability, so you need to test your backup sets are readable and usable occasionally too (don’t wait until you MUST have the backups to find out whether your backups are unusable).

So What?

What does this have to do with Personal Finances? Some of us sometimes become enamoured with the solution we have put in place for a specific Personal Finance issue, examples would be:

  • Putting money on RRSP dutifully monthly, and only paying normal Mortgage payments, when in fact you may already have a Pension at work?
  • Making over payments on our Mortgage while still carrying balances on Credit Cards.
  • Paying for Banking Services or fees when we can get it for free elsewhere.

These are examples of solutions to problems that may have (or may in the future), change and you may need to rethink your response (because it is an answer to a problem no longer in play).

Stay on your toes and keep asking “why am I doing this”, when it comes to your finances, and in life as well, because you might find a better way, if you re-think the problem you are solving.

As part of my every day life, I help out at my Church with the computers (remember volunteering is a good thing to do), and one of the weekly events that should happen is back up of the computers at the Church (as it should for all of us, are you doing backups?). For the longest of times I used a CD-RW (read write CD) to back up this data, but over time the data set grew, and eventually we had to use 2 CD’s to accomplish the task.

The Problem changed when we got a new system for the church that came with a DVD burner and suddenly we were able to back up much more data onto One DVD-RW (holds about 7 CD’s worth of data, uncompressed), thus the problem changed, so we adapted the answer to that change.

This past little while the DVD burner has gone “on the fritz” (my term for being broken and I can’t figure out why), so I have been unable to do these backups, which frustrated me to no end. On the way home from a fruitless repair attempt it dawned on me that maybe the problem has changed again?

The price of USB memory keys has dropped dramatically lately, to the point where now, I can purchase a 4 GB USB device for about $12, so instead of attempting to fix the DVD burner issue, I simply have changed the problem, and will now do backups to USB devices instead, thus making it faster and easier to store (securely and safely).

A side note, remember that backups are very important, but RESTORE is the most important capability, so you need to test your backup sets are readable and usable occasionally too (don’t wait until you MUST have the backups to find out whether your backups are unusable).

So What?

What does this have to do with Personal Finances? Some of us sometimes become enamored with the solution we have put in place for a specific Personal Finance issue, examples would be:

  • Putting money on RRSP dutifully monthly, and only paying normal Mortgage payments, when in fact you may already have a Pension at work?
  • Making over payments on our Mortgage while still carrying balances on Credit Cards.
  • Paying for Banking Services or fees when we can get it for free elsewhere.

These are examples of solutions to problems that may have (or may in the future), change and you may need to rethink your response (because it is an answer to a problem no longer in play).

Stay on your toes and keep asking “why am I doing this”, when it comes to your finances, and in life as well, because you might find a better way, if you re-think the problem you are solving.

{ 1 comment }

Mid-Year Personal Finance Check Up (Now What)

Looking at your mid-year personal finance check up, you can ask the all important question, “Now what?”, and as usual my mealy mouthed answer is, “That depends!“.

If you have met all of your financial goals for the year and it is mid-year, you set your goals too low (or you sand bagged to make yourself feel good), or you got really lucky. No matter what reason, you can celebrate a little bit for achieving your goals, but now is the time to make some “stretch” goals for the end of the year, and prove that your success at the start of the year was not just a fluke and that you can work hard the whole year. Simply sitting on your financial laurels is just not the thing to do, build from your success and show that you can finish strong for the year.

If none of your goals are met, and you think you will be unable to hit any of your goals this year, maybe it is time to re-vamp, or re-think your plan (or scrap it completely). Not to worry, look at where you had problems with your plan and figure out whether you were:

  1. Too aggressive in your planning, and set unattainable goals
  2. Very unlucky and the world conspired against your plan
  3. You never really planned to follow this plan

If the answer is (3) don’t kid yourself, you need to plan, this is going to hurt you some time soon. If the answer is you were too aggressive then maybe go back to your original goals or plan, and maybe scale them back so that they might be attainable by the end of the year (but still make them challenging).

Become a Tangerine client today

If things are going OK, and you think you can succeed with your plan, good for you, you have made a good plan, and you are following it. You can celebrate a little in your success, but get back to your plan, enjoy your success and keep up the good work.

{ 1 comment }

If You Hear Hoof Beats

I was discussing with someone about misinterpreting data on the weekend and remembered one of my favorite phrases for this type of activity:

If you hear hoof beats, don’t automatically think Zebras

I believe I first heard this one CSI, but I do like the sentiment. I view it as a corollary of Occam’s Razor, but I do like the idea of simplicity. Complex ideas and theories always worry me, given I am a simple thinker.

The simple answers in many areas are the right answers (especially in the area of personal finance). 

Whose hoof beats are these?

Some of the areas where I have had people hear Zebras when they should have thought horses:

Thundering Hoofs
Thundering Hoofs
  • I am in debt because of the credit crunch. No, you are in debt because you spent more than you made, and you had to borrow to deal with this spending. For some it is borrowing money to buy a house, others borrowed money for a car but the majority, is borrowing money to pay for debts they didn’t need to incur. That ain’t no Zebra!
  • It’s too complicated to stop using Credit Cards. This is a rationalization from folks who really are saying, “I like using credit cards and don’t want to give up my current lifestyle“. You can stop using your credit card tomorrow, put them in the freezer in 2 lbs. of hamburger, and they are gone. That wasn’t a buffalo, just a horse.
  • A budget is too complicated to figure out. No, that is the statement, “I don’t want to use a budget because I will have to give up my current lifestyle” (again), a budget can be very simple and living to it can be simple, don’t make it a complicated thing, or you will fail. That wasn’t a gazelle, just a horse.
  • I can’t save money given my current salary. How many times have all of us said this every time we get a raise? I have made that rationalization myself, you can save it just might be hard to do, that’s all. Wasn’t a wildebeest either, just a horse again.

Don’t make financial planning, personal finance or budgeting more complicated, keep it simple and listen for horses, not Zebras.

{ 2 comments }

Gone in 15 Minutes

Friends of ours gave us a small plastic play structure for our back yard about 3 years ago, for our son to play on. That play structure had been handed over to another family who had finished with it, and so we put this toy in our backyard and my son enjoyed it, but has outgrown it (he doesn’t fit in it).

We didn’t know of anyone who wanted this backyard treasure, so I put it out front of our house expecting someone to see it and take it away. A new record was set as it was outside for 15 minutes and was gone (without a knock on the door or anything else). I don’t know who took it, hopefully not someone who is going to try to re-sell it to make money, maybe someone who has kids and needs some fun in the backyard.

Just another sign of how folks are willing to ‘recycle’ older treasures like this and others.

Toy Recycling

Having a double generation family (one group nearly university age and a son in Nursery school), means we can recycle a lot of old toys (that we should have disposed of a long time ago).  In 2000 Me and My Dog Shadow came out and we bought it for our youngest daughter and she enjoyed it, although it’s voice recognition software was very primitive.

Sure enough, my wife found this old gem in the basement and my son thinks this is the greatest thing, even though the voice recognition software seems to be mostly broken and the dog seems a little lame (one leg is badly bent), but no worries, my son thinks this dog is hilarious and has lots of fun with it.

Luckily, the Furbies my brother gave my daughters all miraculously broke and were thrown out (now there is an annoying toy I hope never to see again).

Is this being thrifty, cheap or showing that sometimes being a pack rat pays off?

{ 0 comments }

%d bloggers like this: