Feb 202014
 

In a recent poll commissioned by the Bank of Montreal, 34% of Canadians say they are planning to fund their retirement by winning the lottery. That has to be the most optimistic retirement plan I’ve ever heard of 😆

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Most personal finance experts will probably tell you that buying lottery tickets is a waste of money and isn’t worth your time. And they would be right, if for financial reasons only.  After all, the odds of winning the jackpot is something like 1 out of 14 million (O_o)

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Oct 082013
 

Most investments I blog about are moderate to aggressive in nature. Some readers may feel neglected because they’re looking for a more conservative (safe) way to invest. Well if you’re one of those people then today’s post is for you 🙂

13-10-liquidstampEarlier this week I mailed a letter. When I went to buy a booklet of stamps however I noticed they didn’t have any indication of value on them. Instead of “63¢” I only found the letter “P” in the corner of the stamps. The friendly post office lady, Jackie, kindly explained that these are Permanent Stamps 🙂 They are always accepted at the current domestic postage price. So if we buy a Permanent Stamp today, we can still use it at any time in the future. No more adding those 1 or 2 cent stamps when the postal rates increase 😎 Hallelujah  \(~o~)/

Why have I not heard of this brilliant investment opportunity before? I must have been living under a rock all this time lol 😀 These perma-stamps were first introduced to Canada in 2006. Back then regular stamps sold for 51 cents. Today they sell for 63 cents as I mentioned earlier. That means if you bought perma-stamps 7 years ago, they would be worth 24% more today!  [63¢/51¢]

On average that’s a 3% return per year 🙂  [(63¢/51¢)^(1/7yrs)]

YearStamp Price
201363¢
201261¢
201159¢
201057¢
200954¢
200852¢
200752¢
200651¢
200147¢
197917¢

 

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Sep 092013
 

The Dilemma

A lot of people across the country are going back to school this fall. But with the unfavorable employment prospects for younger workers some people may be hesitant to take out student loans and get back into debt. Is improving your human capital through further education a good reason to take on debt? Since the cost of education, even just for textbooks, is growing every year if anyone is thinking about going to school it’s probably better to take those courses sooner rather than later.

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The Changing Times

In 2002 there was $300 billion Federal student loans outstanding in the US. Today it’s more than $900 billion. Part of this dramatic increase is due to the extended period of low interest rates which creates incentives for people to take on more credit (loans,) as well as the ability to refinance student loans to secure more favorable terms. The other reason is that the western world feels more entitled to creature comforts and luxuries than ever before. Of course I’m generalizing but when our parents went to college their dorms were cheap and dirty. They drank cheap beers. They ate cheap pizza and baloney sandwiches. They saved more of their own money to pay for things instead of using credit cards, or relied on the government for financial aid. If they didn’t have enough cash to buy a TV, they simply wouldn’t buy it. Period. But today young people like myself live in nice apartments. We eat steak, sushi, only drink quality beers, and enjoy posting photos of our Bloody Caesar on Facebook for the world to see. Some people even purchase gym memberships on their credit cards, which puts them further into debt. But it’s okay, because they have to impress their friends right? 😉13-09-gymyolo

There’s a cost to everything. The older generation funded their lifestyles by saving and producing real goods and services. But today most of our lifestyles are funded by debt. The whole world is changing. Debt isn’t seen as a bad thing anymore. It’s actually necessary if we want a normal life. As long as we go into debt for the right reasons and not waste it on frivolous spending then every dollar we borrow today will be an investment in our future. Corporations WANT us to keep spending. Universities WANT more enrollment. Financial institutions make their profits via interest on our debts. Even our governments (despite what they tell us) WANT us to continue carrying debt because if too many people stopped borrowing the economy would slow down.

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Aug 222013
 
Earlier this year I wrote about buying a Saskatchewan property at an auction 🙂 But I had to raise $25,000 by the completion date, or I lose my deposit forever! 🙁 The seller has since pushed back the original completion date to October (lucky me) but regardless of the extension I’ve successfully secured the rest of my downpayment now 🙂

But what knocked my toque off is that I’ve managed to exceed what I actually need and somehow doubled the size of my property fund to $50,000 😯 And it’s all thanks to liquidity.

“Always aim for the Moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

― W. Clement Stone

I have definitely landed among the stars 😀 A few months ago I had no cash savings, and no rainy day fund. Today, I can literally buy a brand new BMW 3 series or an Audi A5 in cash!!! 13_08_audiconvertible

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May 222013
 

Want kids some day? 😉 What if not every toddler is born equal and that there is a secret formula for making elite babies? I apologize in advance because the point of this post is to try and use probability to potentially give our future offspring a competitive advantage in life over their peers, and by the nature of the subject some parts of this article may contain offensive stereotypes or racism.

The Birth Date Effect
13_05_soccergameThe University of BC published a study that shows January and February babies are almost twice as likely to become CEOs than those who are born later in the year. The study investigated the birth-date effect in a sample of 375 CEOs from S&P 500 companies. Older students born earlier in the year are singled out as leaders throughout their school life and tend to do better than the youngest, who might be less developed. This Relative Age effect (RAE) is well documented in the world of sports as well. In an elite hockey team the best 40% of the players will likely be born between January and March. Early success is often rewarded with leadership roles and enriched learning opportunities, leading to future advantages that are magnified throughout life 🙂 Even the BBC believes there is evidence that children born in the Summer months suffer in school.

The Mixed Race Effect
13_05_weddingSome studies suggest mixed-race people are more attractive and disproportionately successful in many professions. According to Darwin’s hypothesis on heterosis, crossbreeding leads to offspring that are genetically fitter than their parents. Although mixed-race people make up a small proportion of the population, they are over-represented at the top level of a number of meritocratic professions. Halle Berry, Keanu Reeves (quarter Chinese,) Lewis Hamilton, Tiger Woods, Steve Jobs (half Arab), Just to name a few.  Not sure why I and many of my friends find mixed-race people attractive but studies suggest that good looking people do in fact earn more money.

The Name Effect
Are some names more successful than others? Apparently yes according to the online job site TheLadders which analyzed the first names of their 6 million members against variables such as industry, salary level, and location. They found that people with shorter names make more money than those with longer ones. The top 10, highest-paid, executive names earn, on average, 10%more than other names. And unusual names such as Apple or Moonbeam and names that sound African American such as Tyronne and Jamal were not viewed as positively compared to more common names like John and Susan. They tested 24 pairs of similar names like Steve and Stephen, Bill and William, Sara and Sarah, etc, and in all but one case those with shorter names earned higher pay. They’ve concluded that every extra letter in a person’s first name may reduce his or her annual salary by $3,600. They’ve even identified the top 5 highest paid female and male names in their study.
Female names: Lynn, Melissa, Cathy, Dana, Christine
Male names: Tom, Rob, Dale, Doug, Wayne
This isn’t the first study of its kind either. In 2011, LinkedIn reported that American CEOs do often have short names, or nicknames like Peter, Jack or Tony.

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So to ensure that our children will have the best possible start in life we just have to find a partner of a different ethnicity than ourselves, get really frisky in April and May (゜o゜), and name our kids something like Cathy or Rob 😀 Then statistically our kids would have a better chance than most others to be top in their class, better leaders, more athletic, and make 6 figure incomes 😉 And now you know the secret to making elite babies :0) As responsible and loving parents-to-be shouldn’t we do our best to give our future children gorgeous looks, and the highest probability for success? (^_^)

I don’t mean to imply that one group of people is superior to another, or that attractive people don’t have to work hard for their success, or that Moonbeam is a dumb name. These studies could simply be statistical realities and NOT factors of causality.  And it goes without saying that attitude, education, temperament, and work ethic will effect one’s life much more than how one is born. But unlike those other factors which are dependent on upbringing, the initial circumstances of how one is brought into this world can never be changed, (except names can be legally changed I suppose) 😀

I don’t believe the results of the studies are conclusive, but if there is even a slight truth to their findings then it’s something interesting to think about isn’t it? I’ll have to remember these points when I have the “baby talk” with my future spouse 😉