Jul 272017
 

A recent poll from Harvard University points out that 51% of young adults between 18 and 29 years of age do not support capitalism. 🙁 Only 42% said they support it. Of course the results of these kinds of surveys are not easy to interpret. Capitalism doesn’t have the same meaning for everyone. One explanation for the outcome could stem from the fact that not all millennials understand what capitalism is. They may be frustrated with crony capitalism or corporatism, which is rampant in the world today. But those are not the same as capitalism.

The idea of capitalism simply means a free market system where individuals have the rights to personal property and the enforcement of their contracts. 🙂 That’s it. Another survey that included people of all ages found that only respondents who are at least 50 years old supported capitalism for the most part. Older people understand that capitalism works well because government intervention was measurably less in North America before the 70s so there were less lobbyists and public bailouts. The ratio of government employees to the general population in the United States has grown under Obama and Bush.

It’s ironic that the cohort most against capitalism is generation Y. They of all people are most dependent on the advantages offered by the free market system. 🙂 Millennial don’t really care about government pensions or public health insurance all that much. But they will be become very upset if you take away private services like Facebook, Amazon.com, Netflix, or any of Google’s services (Google Search, Gmail, etc.)

Popular TV personality Jim Cramer once created the acronym FANG. It represents 4 of the most popular and best-performing technology companies on the stock market. FANG stands for Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX) and Google (GOOG) (GOOGL), which has now become Alphabet.

Last week I purchased 8 shares of Facebook at $164 each. 🙂 It’s a U.S. stock and doesn’t pay a dividend, so for tax purposes I bought it inside my TFSA at TD. Year to date all the FANG stocks have returned at least 25% to investors. Yay! I already had the other 3 stocks so by picking up FB I now have a full FANG portfolio. 😀 Amazon has grown to a market capitalization worth half a trillion dollars as of writing this post!

Millennials in general may say they don’t support capitalism. But they sure spend a lot of money, time, and attention helping some of the most capitalist entities in the world become even more profitable. As the saying goes; actions speak louder than words. And the trend is clear. For the sake of my financial goals I will continue to invest in large tech stocks and trust the free-market will provide growth over the long run. 😉

 

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Random Useless Fact:

Carrots were originally white or purple. Then a yellow carrot appeared through mutation and the familiar orange carrot we see today was bred from it.

 

 

Jul 262017
 

If you’re a landlord, you will have a lot to do. Attracting and keeping the right tenants for your property may be high on your list of priorities. However, it’s essential to your rental business to maintain the property and help you have the most lucrative business. CBS Money Watch states the average cost of rent in the US is $1,231 per month. You will want to ensure your home or apartment is livable and always ready for a new tenant, in case you have one that suddenly leaves. Here are some things you can do to maintain your property and keep it safe as well.

Tip #1: Install a security system

The last thing you will want to deal with is intruders on your property. This could cause a financial loss if any of your items have been stolen that are valuable.

You will also want to be alerted if there’s a fire in your home and you’re not there or are in another room. The best way to do this is to install a security system that may allow the right officials to go straight to your home if necessary.

Many of the more modern systems will call the police or fire department and have them dispatched directly to your home; an early response is crucial when an emergency happens.

Tip #2:  Complete a routine inspection

At least every few weeks you should do a thorough walk through of your property to ensure all components are in good shape. This will allow you to repair or replace certain things. Listed below are areas you will want to inspect:

  1. Roofing – Is your roof in need of being repaired or replaced? Do you have any shingles that may be missing or is there a leak in your home?
  2. Floors – You will want to be sure the flooring of your rental property is in good shape and there aren’t any holes or places that could cause your tenant to become injured, which could lead to a lawsuit.
  3. Structure – Ensuring the walls in your rental property are in good condition is essential. Taking time to review the structure and foundation of your apartment or home is important.
  4. Appliances – Are the refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher all working well? These are things your tenant will use on a daily basis, and if there is a problem, you will be the first one to know.

Tip #3:  Use pest control

Keeping insects and other pesky critters away from your property is one thing you will want to do. Many of these, such as termites, can cause extensive damage and you’ll want to have a pest control expert visit your home routinely.

Additionally, if cockroaches or other unwanted insects are found when a potential tenant visits your property, this could prevent you from getting it rented out quickly.

Tip #4: Take care of the HVAC unit

Your tenants will want to be comfortable when living in your rental unit. This means keeping the home cool in the summer and warm during the winter.

Avoiding break downs in your HVAC unit is essential when you’re a landlord. Take time to schedule annual services with an HVAC professional to avoid issues or catch problems early.

Some of the advantages of getting a professional cleaning done to your HVAC unit includes helping your tenants lower energy costs, improving the air quality of the home and preventing breakdowns.

You can have success as a landlord by caring for your rental property on a regular basis. Get started today to have less stress and a regular source of income!

 

Jul 132017
 

Lending Loop Update

Earlier this year I blogged about investing $20,000 in a peer-to-peer lending platform called Lending Loop. My goal was to make 8% return overall, net of fees and write-offs. To be frank I was a little apprehensive at first when I learned about the high interest rates.

I wondered if it was really possible to earn 15% or higher rates of return consistently. Being greedy, I decided to give Lending Loop a try. I primarily invested in B and C loans because they are relatively safer, although the returns are lower than loans in higher risk categories.

Here’s what my Lending Loop portfolio looks like after half a year of investing. This screenshot was taken at the end of June.

As we can see I have made about $846 so far. Yay! 🙂 That’s about 4.2% return, or 8.5% annualized return. This is very much in line with my expected 8% return I had initially set as my goal. I have invested in roughly 30 different loans so far on the platform, each loan averaging $700 of principal. Thankfully none of them have missed a payment yet so I’m really pleased about that. 😀

If this trend continues I should be able to earn a double digit return by the end of the year! But this rosy picture assumes there are no defaults on my loans for the next 6 months. 🙂 Anyway, I will update again at the end of the year so we shall see what happens.

Unlike investments in a tax advantaged account, my Lending Loop returns will be taxed at my marginal tax rate, which is about 30%. This means if I earn 8.5% from the P2P investment, I will only end up making roughly 6% return after tax. To me 6% after tax is pretty good and certainly beats many alternative options out there. 🙂 As interest rates are starting to climb slowly in North America, fixed income investments such as Lending Loop should continue to be attractive for investors looking for yield.

 

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Random Useless Fact:

Due to the lower surface gravity of Mars, if you weigh 100 pounds on Earth, you would weigh only 38 pounds on Mars.

Jul 052017
 

In an interesting turn of events the Canadian dollar is showing signs of strength. It gained against the US dollar and the British pound. This is a double edged sword. The good news is my wealth is greater since I have more purchasing power. 🙂 The bad news is my net worth in Canadian dollars went down. 🙁

Since I have investments in foreign currency my assets fell in value. Oh well. I’m not cashing out any time soon so I will continue to hold and see what happens. Energy companies also lost value in June, following lower oil prices. I also purchased a vehicle in cash that cost over $1,000. It was expensive, but it’s important to have a life. 🙂

Liquid’s Financial Update

*Side Incomes:

  • Part-Time = $900
  • Freelance = $800
  • Dividends = $800
  • Interest = $200
*Discretionary Spending:
  • Fun = $1500
  • Debt Interest = $1100

*Net Worth: (ΔMoM)

  • Assets: = $1,113,700 total (-6,300)
  • Cash = $5,300 (+2100)
  • Canadian stocks = $146,400 (-200)
  • U.S. stocks = $91,600 (-4600)
  • U.K. stocks = $20,100 (-1300)
  • RRSP = $82,600 (-2800)
  • Mortgage Funds = $31,000 (+300)
  • Peer-to-Peer Lending = $20,900 (+200)
  • SolarShare Bonds = $9,800
  • Home = $270,000
  • Farms = $436,000
  • Debts: = $486,000 total (-5,500)
  • Mortgage = $182,900 (-500)
  • Farm Loans = $188,800 (-500)
  • Margin Loans = $60,300 (-3200)
  • TD Line of Credit = $13,000  (-600)
  • CIBC Line of Credit = $25,000 (-500)
  • HELOC = $16,000 (-200)

*Total Net Worth = $627,700 (-$800 / -0.13%) 
All numbers above are in $CDN. 

 

This is the worst month I’ve had in over a year, lol. It looks like my fixed income assets performed well at least. Hopefully I can turn things around in July and get back to increasing my net worth.

 

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Random Useless Fact:

Canada produces over 80% of the world’s maple syrup.

Jun 292017
 

According to Chelsea Fagan, founder of the Financial Diet, transportation is one of the biggest unseen costs in people’s lives. Americans on average spend about “9% to 25% of their monthly budget” on transportation. That’s a pretty large portion of one’s take home pay. 😮 The surprising thing is, most people can easily cut their transportation costs down by half, according to Chelsea. In today’s post I’ll write about my new vehicle, and how I plan to save money with it. 🙂

Recent Purchase: Used Scooter

Motor scooters are like motorcycles; they can sit up to 2 people. Here in Vancouver, Canada, all you need to ride one is a helmet and a regular class 5 driver’s license which most people have already.

I started to look into buying a scooter after I drove to a restaurant last month and had trouble finding a parking spot. But I saw a scooter that sat comfortably in a small space between two cars on the road. So then I did some research and calculations, and realized that I wanted to get a scooter for economic reasons.

So earlier this month, after checking out some used scooters on craigslist I ended up buying a 2009 50cc Derbi scooter for $1,400 including tax and registration. It only has about 2,250 KM on it. It’s really enjoyable to ride and easy to control.

Here’s a photo of my new ride in Batman’s favorite color. 🙂

Cost of Owning a Scooter

Like I mentioned, I bought the scooter for $1,400 tax included, which is much more affordable than a car or even a motorcycle. The seller accepted e-transfer and the transaction went smoothly. Now let’s talk about the ongoing costs of operating it. Spoiler: It’s cheap. 🙂

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