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 :D 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 :D  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.

If you’re interested to learn more about how to get your foot in the door you can visit and even submit your resumé.


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 :D

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? :D 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 192012

The following is a guest post. To submit a guest post, please contact me.

According to the BBC, UK payments have seen major changes in relatively recent history. The way we transfer money and pay our bills has developed rapidly – so let’s take a look at key events that have shaped the way we pay:

1659: The earliest cheque was drawn

Believe it or not, the earliest handwritten cheque can be traced back to the 16 th February 1659. That’s right; it was drawn on an account at Clayton and Morris (a London-based bank) and started a new trend throughout the UK. While early cheques were often used by merchants and traders, they soon became popular and were incorporated into everyday use.

1694: The Bank of England was established

In 1964, the Bank of England was established and used to raise money for King William III’s war against France. All banknotes were handwritten and from 1696 were not issued for sums of less than £50. As the average person’s wage was only £20, most people never came into contact with a bank note, meaning they were mostly for the elite.

1793: Currency started to develop

The Bank of England issued the first £5 note in 1793 and by 1855 the first fully printed notes came into circulation. This was all very exciting, but real change came in 1966 when the first UK credit card was introduced. By 2008, 30.8 million people were using a credit card to make purchases and in 1987 the first debit card was introduced.

1997: Internet banking services

As the internet became more popular, the first internet banking services were introduced in 1997. While the technology was groundbreaking at the time, 2003 saw the introduction of a Chip and PIN service which made things even more secure and impressive. Chip and PIN cards were issued throughout the UK and a microchip was used to store data on a card. These are still popular today and have changed the way we shop.

2012: PayPal and phone services

Everything from reward credit cards to cash back credit cards and specialist credit cards are popular these days, but there are other ways to pay. PayPal has made it easier than ever to transfer money and now you can even pay bills using your phone. There are sure to be other developments in the pipeline too, so watch this space.

The way we pay has changed significantly, but it’s good to remember how everything started.

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)