Nov 282012

See if you can you figure this one out (^_-) It’s a variation of the old missing dollar riddle.

Three bankers walk into a restaurant and order some curly fries and soft drinks. Their total bill comes to $25. They decide to share the bill and each person pulls out $10. So the waiter takes the $30 and goes to get change. So far so good 😀 When the waiter returns with the $5 change the bankers realize they can’t split $5 evenly between the three of them, so they decide to each take $1 and give the remaining $2 to the waiter as a tip 🙂

Since each banker has been given back $1, essentially they each paid $9 for their meal, bringing the total to $27 for all three. The waiter has $2 as a tip. If the bankers initially handed over $30, why is there only $29 accounted for? What happened to the missing dollar? ಠ_ರೃ

dog confused about the missing dollar riddle

Can you figure out this brain teaser? No cheating now (^_^)

Nov 262012

Yesterday I went to the mortgage forum at the Vancouver Convention Center, put on by Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP.) They had an educational seminar followed by a meet-and-greet session with mortgage related companies. The whole event was to promote the mortgage industry and get people interested about starting a career in the vast mortgage market.

What is the mortgage industry? It’s a part of the overall financial industry that deals with loans for real estate.  When someone wants to borrow money to buy a home they generally go through an originator (commonly known as a broker) who then talks with a lender (bank, credit union, private company, etc) to obtain a loan for the buyer. In a high ratio mortgage case (down payment <20%) the lender must go through an insurer 😀  That’s basically how everything works.

As usual, my favorite part about these kinds of events is all the swag companies were giving away. Colorful pamphlets, pens, notepads, Canadian maple syrup, mini first aid kits, eco-friendly shopping bags, food, shoe polish, lent remover. etc… Oh my goodness so much free swag(⌒▽⌒)

branded swag from companies in the mortgage industry

There are many different kinds of jobs in this sector. Even if you’re with a company that has nothing to do with the mortgage industry, you may still find yourself working indirectly in it. D+H (Davis and Henderson) for example, known for printing cheques, had a booth at the event. They told me they have expanded their expertise to provide targeted services to mortgage brokers and lenders.

Jobs directly related to the mortgage industry:

Broker channel: To become licensed within your province to help borrowers find lenders.
Property valuation: This includes appraising the value of homes and keeping up with market trends
Insurers: The 3 big ones here are CMHC (government insurer), Genworth (a spin-off from General Electric’s financing division), and Canada Guaranty (used to be a company under AIG)
Regulators: To license and authorize business, and to set standards in policy and enforce rules.
Lenders:  Must learn how to adjudicate, meaning they must determine if the borrower can pay back the mortgage or not. This is called the underwriting process.


Nov 222012

Last Friday I was watching the news and heard that Hostess was going out of business. If you’ve ever watched Zombieland you’ll know that there are some people who would do just about anything to get their hands on a Twinkie. I thought I’d better buy some while I still can. So over the weekend I rushed to the Superstore, a Loblaw company, and bought some Twinkies. (pic below) I paid $4 for each box of Twinkies. My plan is to sell these endangered delicacies some day and make a profit 😀

Investing in Hostess Twinkies

A couple days ago Hostess had one last chance to make a deal with the Bakers Union, but ultimately the two parties failed to come to an agreement. Over 10,000 employees who work for the union will have to be let go. It’s always sad to see so many people lose their jobs and I know it’s a devastating event for their local communities :0( I can only hope someone else will buy the Twinkies trademark from Hostess and get people back working again 🙂 This story has been getting a lot of attention in the media and has become very popular on Google trends.  So how much can I sell my rare boxes of golden deliciousness for? Here are some recent listings on eBay.

Ebay listings of Twinkies

 Wow, pretty good profit! However just because a seller is asking for a certain price doesn’t mean a buyer will pay that much for it. So let’s take a look at some actual sold listings, to give us a better understanding of the current market price of Twinkies.

Twinkies sold in Canada

Although there’s always the possibility of fake bidders on eBay, there were multiple people with feedback scores over 100 bidding on these items so they appear to be legitimate auctions. On average it seems I could sell my Twinkies for $10-$15 per box. That’s at least a 150% return on investment \(^_^)/ Not too shabby. If you want to invest in Twinkies like me, I recommend you go to your local supermarket at your earliest convenience and pick up a few boxes before they run out.

If they’re fetching for this much today, imagine how much they’ll be worth in the future (゜o゜) I plan to eventually sell a couple boxes to a museum, break open a box at my wedding, donate a box to charity, and pass down the rest to my heirs (If I have any) This is probably the most ridiculous investment idea I’ve ever had (>_<), but even if it doesn’t work out financially, I still have the option to just eat them right? 😀 We all know the real shelf life of a Twinkie is something like 100 years or so.

Am I sitting on a gold mine of yellow bars filled with creamy richness :D, or do I just have boxes of an empty promise 🙁 I guess we’ll see what happens….

Enjoy the Twinkies while you still can

Nov 172012

Popular search terms that brought visitors to….

Nov 16th – from Halifax, NS…
canadian net worth statistics
The median net worth for an individual Canadian adult is $89,014. But the median net worth for a family in 2005 was $148,350. 

Nov 15th – from Chicago, Illinois…
“i bought apple stock on margin, what should i do”
Depends on your investment philosophy. As a giant tech company Apple may be volatile in the short term, but most analysts on Wall St. believe the long term prospects of the company is solid. I would hold onto it personality.

Nov 15th – from Williams Lake, BC…
“1500 dollars a year dividends”
You would need an investment portfolio of $50,000 worth of diversified stocks with an average of 3% dividend yield to make $1500 a year. If you buy the XIC ETF, which follows the S&P/TSX composite index, you will need about $54,000 because the yield is a bit lower.

Nov 14th – from Toronto, ON…
“where to purchase box gold bullion coins in toronto”
Easiest way is to phone a local Scotiabank and ask if they have any. I’ve heard they deal more bullion than the other big banks. Of course it’s always a good idea to compare prices so feel free to use Google maps, and you want to search for the term “bullion exchange in Toronto.” You will see at least half a dozen companies that buy/sell gold.

Nov 14th – from Prince George, BC…
“which stocks to invest in rrsp”
Canadian REITs (because some distribute income which is taxed at your marginal tax rate,) Canadian bond ETFs, and US stocks that pay dividends (so you can save 15% tax on those dividends)




Nov 132012

Do you have debt? Whether it’s $5,000 in credit card debt, $30,000 in student loans, or a $100,000 mortgage, debt can be stressful for many people. Well here are some things you can tell yourself to feel better about your debt 🙂

1) I’m in my mid twenties and I have over $230,000 of debt which includes a hefty mortgage, $7,000 RRSP loan, and more than $20,000 in a margin trading account. I used to have over $10,000 of student loans as well, but paid that off early since it had a relatively high interest rate. I have plans to increase my total debt owing to over $300,000 by the end of this year after I secure a loan to buy a piece of property I was looking at. If someone like me with an average salary can go this deep into debt and still sleep like a baby at night, then you probably have nothing to worry about (^_~)

2) Debt is a depreciating liability. You know how you can stash away $100 under your bed, and by next year it’s only worth $98? What happened to the $2? Inflation happened right? The rising cost of living can be a pain, but it can also be a gift to people who have debt. If you owe the bank $100 for example, then by next year if you haven’t touched the principle, that $100 balance you owe will only have $98 of purchasing power which means it’s EASIER for you to pay it back. So my $230,000 debt, assuming a 2% inflation rate, will only be worth $225,400 by next year. Wow, I just increased my net worth in REAL terms by $4,600 without even paying back any principle :0) Thank you inflation! Take that TD Bank! lol. The US has over $16 trillion of national debt. And its growing by billions of dollars every day because their government continues to spend more than they take in. Actually our Harper government is not doing that much better (>_<) But anyone who can do simple math understands this trend can’t continue forever.. or can it? Mr. Bernanke, the person in charge of monetary policy in the US explains-

debt - ben bernanke on money printing

 3) Interest rates are low. If you see a potentially lucrative investment opportunity whether it’s to give yourself more education, renovate the home, or start a retirement plan, then going into debt to fund these things to make your life better is okay (^_^) Don’t feel bad about taking advantage of easy credit. For example, if you’ve always wanted to buy a caravan and drive around the country, Positive Lending Solutions has options for people with poorer credit so you can still do something educational and fun.

4) Ben Bernanke still has a mortgage despite having millions of dollars in liquid financial assets. Mr. Bernanke bought his house on Capital Hill in 2004. Today his home has appreciated in value by $126,468, and the stock market has gone up by nearly 100%. This means by continuously borrowing money from the bank he has been able to free up his own savings to get a better return on his capital.

At the end of the day, just remember that DEBT is only as bad as we think it to be. Nobody appears to be losing their hair over our public debt in Canada, which sits at about $32,000 per person. However when we take on a $10,000 car loan it can become this daunting burden, and we stress over how to pay it off ASAP.  But if anything, I think public debts like the ones held by CMHC, and our Provincial debts (AKA Ontario’s) should be a bigger concern to the quality of our and our children’s lives in the future.  You can pretty much rationalize debt any way you want. It can be scary, or it can be no big deal. Sometimes it’s just all in our heads (@_@;) I’m just trying to say nobody likes to have debt, but if you do, don’t worry. As long as you have a plan to deal with it, there’s no reason to let it get you down. Just relax and enjoy life 😀