Jan 102014
 
Retiree Wins Lottery – Then Gives it all Away

What would you do if you won the lottery? Tom Crist, retired CEO of an electrical wholesale company who lives in Calgary, said he’s giving away his entire $40 million Lotto Max prize. He lost his wife to cancer 2 years ago. He now plans to put the lottery winnings into a trust fund to be given out over the years to charities such as the Canadian Cancer Society. “I don’t really need that money.” He said. Faith in humanity restored :D

 

Weak Loonie

The Canadian dollar fell to just 92 cents USD lately. This is the lowest our currency has been since 2009. Fantastic news for manufacturers and exporters :) If you are American this is great news for you too because Canadian goods are now more affordable for you. Last year when we were at parity I suggested Canadians should buy U.S. assets like stocks or currency. I wrote about buying Google, Qualcomm, Starbucks, and Disney when the $CAD was still high.  Now the tides have turned, our Loonie’s value has dropped, and I’m reaping the rewards :D

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2014 Movie Releases

Speaking of Disney (DIS), they have several Marvel blockbuster movies coming out this year. Each one is expected to make huge profits. Disney shares are up 43% year over year! How can anyone possibly resist investing in this globally diversified, money printing company? :D Anyway, here are a list of popular movies that are coming out this year :)

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TFSA Participation Fail

A recent ING DIRECT survey revealed that 53% of Canadians still don’t have a TFSA.

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Not having the money to contribute is the main reason they haven’t opened a tax free savings account yet. If you are currently in school and have $50,000 of student loan debt and no income yet, then it’s understandable that you have no savings. But for most people who can put some money away the TFSA is one of the best tax saving vehicles there is. We have a perfectly legal way to not pay any taxes on our investment gains, yet less than half of us are actually using it? ( ಠ_ಠ)

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Video of the Week

Caterpillars in Hawaii have developed hunting skills

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Blog roundup – Below are some finance and other articles from around the web this week.

Dec 202013
 

Fed Taper

The Federal Reserve announced earlier this week that they will begin to taper their bond/mortgage program from $85 billion a month to just $75 billion starting from January next year. I was a little surprised when the stock markets jumped on this news. I suppose investors believe the economy is doing better. What does this mean for regular folks? Not much. It’s a pretty small taper relatively speaking so I expect stocks to continue going up in early 2014 :) I’m planning to do some more investing next week.

CPP Reform Talks

Also this week, the Canadian finance ministers gathered to discuss policies. One hot topic talked about was enhancing the Canada Pension Plan (U.S. Social Security equivalent.) The concern is that some Canadians aren’t saving enough for retirement on their own. So one proposal is to increase the contribution rate, effectively forcing people to save more, which will allow for higher pension benefits at retirement age :) I wouldn’t mind paying more into this public pension fund if it means I can get more out of it when I retire. But what really grinds my gears is that the earliest you can start receiving benefits is at age 60, which makes it difficult for people who want to retire earlier like myself :? I currently pay about 5% of my income into the CPP program every year, but if I wanted to retire at 45 I would have to delay the fruits of my contributions by 15 years. There’s no choice to retire early and receive a reduced pension like you can in the private sector (>_<)

Positive News For Consumers

Credit monitoring company TransUnion recently said it expects loan delinquency rates to decline next year, “falling to 1.66% at the end of 2014 compared with 1.76% forecast for the fourth quarter of this year.” Less people defaulting on their loans must mean it is becoming easier for Canadians to handle our consumer debts. Yay! I guess there’s no rush to pay back my $69K of consumer debt between my various lines of credits :D

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I just saw a cool camera pen in London Drug’s flyer. I don’t have a lot of money in my bank account right now. I guess I’ll have to dig deeper into my LOC again lol. I should also probably get a new fridge this holiday. The one I currently have is over 20 years old :) #AddictedToCheapCredit

Video of the Week

This is why we haven’t sent any people to the moon in decades…

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Blog roundup – Below are personal finance and other articles from around the web this week.

Oct 252013
 

Thanks a Latte

For all of next week there will be free coffee being served at participating McDonald’s restaurants in Canada. You can see their Facebook page for more detail :) If you want to exploit other people’s caffeine addictions like I have, then consider investing in profitable coffee companies :)

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I bought shares of Starbucks and Tim Hortons earlier this year. On average these 2 companies have so far produced over 30% return on investment since I blogged about buying them in January. I hope some of you guys were also able to take advantage of that opportunity. I predict their prices will rise even higher going into 2014!

Growth Downgraded 

A couple days ago the Bank of Canada pointed out that the country’s economy is growing slower than previously thought. It’s even considering to lower the interest rate. This changes everything for businesses. For the past couple of years, we’ve believed that rates could only go up. But now we realize that they could just as easily go down in the future. This is excellent news for investors like myself :)

How can we benefit from this news?

  • First. Realize that this means borrowing to invest is now less risky than before because we know with relative certainly the cost of short term lending won’t be going up any time soon (exception being in the fixed rate mortgage market.) So personally I’m going to use more of other people’s money to hopefully accelerate my own profits.
  • Second, buy US assets. After the Bank of Canada announced this news my net worth increased by $400 immediately :D Why? Because I have $40,000 USD in American stocks, and the news brought the Canadian Loonie down by a whole 1% compared to the U.S. dollar. I have a feeling the $CAD will fall even more over the next 12 to 18 months. Since I calculate my net worth in $CAD, for every 0.25% weaker our currency becomes I’ll get an extra $100 for free :D

The Panes of Building a Home

A young couple, both artists like myself in their 20s, had quit their jobs to build a home in the woods in West Virginia. They scavenged abandoned yard sites for building material and spent as little money as possible. Slowly but surely they built their dream home for only $500.13-10-glasshouse

They also claim their diet contains a lot of rice and beans, which is understandable since they purposefully quit working! But hey, good for them. I admire their creative passion and how they did something meaningful with their lives :) This is a great example of frugality taken to the extreme! But it’s not something I’d want to do myself.

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Sep 062013
 

Real Estate Sales Strong Despite Higher Mortgage Rates

Yesterday we just saw the yield on the 10 year US treasury climb to 2.99%, a multi-year high, and mortgage rates are starting to creep up. But houses are still being sold with unimpeded fervor in many parts of Canada 8-) The number of homes sold in Vancouver was 52% higher last month than the same period in 2012. 28% higher in Calgary year over year. 10% higher in Edmonton, and 21% higher in Toronto. Holy guacamole! :-o This is good news for myself and the other 69% of Canadians who are homeowners because it means there is still lots of transactions and liquidity in the real estate market. How to profit from this trend? Buy a home :) People told me to wait for the bubble to pop when I was looking to buy a condo back in 2009. Fiddlesticks! If I had listened to them my net worth would not be even close to $187,000 today :P  Continue reading »

Aug 102013
 

I didn’t get the new job (-_-;)

About 4 months ago I blogged about going for an interview at one of my favorite restaurants in the world. I was already making passive income from their stock dividends, but I decided it would be fun to make some active income as well by working there part time! Unfortunately I still haven’t heard back from their recruiter yet so I think it’s safe to assume they do not want me. Maybe I’m just not qualified to work at McDonald’s :roll: Oh well. Perhaps the sluggish economy is partly to blame.

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July Employment Numbers

Speaking of the economy, south of the border the US gained 162,000 net new jobs last month. Employment rose in retail trade, services, and financial activities. They need to create about 250,000 new jobs every month to sustain a normal recovery. So the US dropped the ball a little bit in July, but it’s still an enormous success when compared to Canada’s poor performance. We lost about 39,400 net jobs last month :( Most positions lost were in the public sector like teachers, social service workers, and other government employees. Below is a broken down look at Canada’s job numbers.13_08_july_jobs

Making Money at the Movies

This actually happened a couple months ago but Cineplex has increased their dividends :D This has been one of my favorite stocks :) A couple years ago I blogged about how I invested $2,000 in CGX:TSE which owns movie theaters in Canada. I predicted that theaters would be in a great position to take advantage of all the upcoming movie brands and releases without the risk of investing in individual Hollywood studios directly.  CGX dividends rose from 11.25 cents/share every month, to 12 cents :D

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