Now is the Time to Shuffle The Deck ?

You Guys are Bookies!

Given the upheavals in the financial world, now is the time to shuffle the deck, trade stock, buy new mutual funds, sell old ones and do lots more stuff that will incur you plenty of financial service charges, or at least that is what the financial services industry wants you to do. 

In the immortal words of Ray Valentine in one of my favorite Financial Movies, Trading Places, “… you guys are like bookies…”, when the evil Duke brothers explained how their commodities trading business works. The Financial services industry is just like bookies, they don’t make money if you make money, they make money if you use their services and incur their fees.

Lent is Coming

Remember Lent is coming folks and maybe it’s time to start thinking what you are going to do spiritually in this area, but also, you can use it for a Financial Period of Penance, Enlightenment, Learning or Cost Cutting. Keep this in mind Ash Wednesday is coming on February 25th, so keep that in mind. 

Some Ideas:

  • You could cut out using Credit Cards, and see how your spending changes
  • Use cash only, like Gail Vaz-Oxlade does on her program and see what happens
  • You could take a course on the Stock Market or read to learn more about why you are investing where you are.
  • Give up buying lunch and coffee at work, and save the money (or donate it to a worthy cause)

Just some ideas.


Advent Financial Calendar Box Day 24 (Final Day)

Welcome to Christmas Eve the last day of Advent, and this final box in our Personal Finance Advent Calendar holds a bunch of Loonies, which seems like a good way to end this calendar.

Do you own money or vice versa
Does it Own You, or do you own it?

These Loonies signify the importance some people put in money and how they work for it, but maybe it’s time to get your money to work for you and not have money run your life?

Look at all of that money in that box, but wait if you look closer, they aren’t actually Loonies at all, they are actually foil covered chocolate money.

As a child I really enjoyed the surprises my mother used to put in my stocking for Christmas morning and my wife continues this tradition in our family as well, and I always enjoyed the chocolate gold coins. When I was younger these sweets were more important to me than real money, maybe that is a good thing?

Make your money work for you, and don’t be a slave to your money.

With a good Financial Plan and a good budget money can be a tool and not your master, remember that this time of the year.

Remember in these times Thrift is the new Chic!

Personal Finance Advent Calendar

The complete Personal Finance Advent Calendar box postings.

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Found Money and the Prisoner’s Dilemma

Michael James talked about found money yesterday and the joy of paying off bills with found money, and how we should not squander this found wealth, and really use it to create happiness in the future by paying off debt now. I think this is a sensible approach to found money, but it made me think about another post I did a while ago, which was how couples deal with money.

Many times found money can cause a great deal of consternation between spouses because each have their own idea of what the best thing is to do with found money.

I think this is natural, as with most every subject possible spouses are going to have their own ideas, but the problem arises when the two ideas are contradictory or even orthogonal to each other.

Say Mary and Bob get $10,000.00 in found money from an inheritance. Mary thinks she’d like to go on a nice vacation with the family because the family has never really been on a vacation, however, Bob thinks that putting that money on their Mortgage (thus shortening it’s term by 5 years), is the right answer.

Reading this, it sounds like an easy enough “problem” to deal with, both folks want to do what they think is best with the money, but the problem now is you have is a simple difference of opinion. The problem I have seen in my life and from other folks I know is that this is not a simple problem, because:

  • There is no wrong answer (or right answer)
  • Both spouses have voiced their opinion, and thus feel they have the right answer.
  • Money and money management is a divisive factor in many relationships

Is there a Solution?

Only if both parties are willing to compromise, or one is willing to lose (i.e. typical Prisoner’s Dilemma issue). Wikipedia’s explanation of the Prisoner’s Dilemma is:

Two prisoners (the players) during the interrogation each have a choice: whether to betray the other one, and thus to decrease his own jail time by, for example, 1 month (as a compensation for the cooperation), while increasing the jail time for the other by, for example, 10 years, or to stay silent. Each of the prisoners is only interested in receiving the least possible sentence. It shall be assumed that the prisoners make their choices (to betray or to stay silent) simultaneously, and they know for sure that their choice cannot affect the choice of the other one.

All right I am stretching this (feel free to leave a comment), but the need to compromise and find the best solution for the couple is not always obvious to either spouse, and sometimes they feel it is not in their best interest (they got their way the last time, so I want my way this time). Sound familiar to any of my readers? Never happened to you?


I have no canned simple answer for this one, because as I keep saying, Money is a strange and divisive thing in a relationship, especially if the spouses do not agree in terms of money and how to use it.

What needs to be done is have clear lines of communication and rational discussions between the spouses about what they want to do, and a decision made that doesn’t cause either to feel that they have “lost” in this decision. Sounds easy doesn’t it ?

Think this is a simple thing to resolve? You and your spouse never have these issues? Then you are either very lucky (or very naive).


Shopping at the Boutique

That is the code phrase a friend of ours has for when she goes to the Salvation Army thrift store to buy clothes, “I’ve been shopping at the boutique”. Why do folks like me shop at the thrift stores that seem to be opening all over the place? Because we are cheap? I can’t afford to shop at the Gap every time? I think the answer is YES to all and a few other reasons too.

If you have four kids (and three of them daughters) keeping them in new clothing could easily bankrupt us (if our kids were insane clothes horses like the ones on MTV, luckily they aren’t). They are growing and active kids and a lot of times clothes are grown out of or ripped so quickly, I’d go insane if I’d bought them brand new.

My wife has made shopping at thrift stores almost a science, and her only comment to me was that you need to be very patient and know when new “deliveries” come in. My kids have not made too many complaints about wearing “used” clothes, in fact they are starting to go there themselves, which is a good thing. They also buy new clothes but mostly with gift money from their relatives.

Most of these thrift stores have a charity component to it, so that is a good thing as well. We typically dispose of our “lightly used” clothing in the Salvation Army red boxes or whoever is collecting at the time.

Finally if you ever see me complaining about it isn’t cold enough in Ottawa, please feel free to leave a very rude comment. I can only say I thank my mechanic every morning this week for convincing me to put a block heater in my Honda!

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