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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Apr 012017
 

A Real Education About Money

April is officially financial literacy month. Yay! Information is free and everywhere. The problem is some can be misleading. One of my favourite PF gurus, Gail Vaz-Oxlade, recently noticed a slough of pretentious ninnies online pretending to be financial experts.

Personal finance is really popular these days. But I agree with Gail. Real financial advice is rare. I bet dollars to doughnuts many bloggers don’t know what they’re talking about 😛 The current education system is failing the public. This is why I’ve created my high school investing course.

Retiring early should be achievable for anyone. So over the next few months I will be visiting various secondary schools around the city to lecture and teach students how to make money, using other people’s money. 😀 Financial experts such as Robert Kiyosaki have been using this lucrative strategy for decades to make millions. 😉

I was compelled to take on this project after receiving tons of positive feedback from visitors about how reading my blog has made them a lot of money. On my previous post about index investing, one commentator even suggested I charge exorbitant fees to do consulting work, haha. 😉

Let’s be honest. As an authority in this area I should take on a leading role to help others make sense of the financial world. And the best time to teach someone is when they’re young. 😀 I already have years of teaching experience. So naturally I am the best person for this job. 🙂

The Investment Course Outline

For now things are going as planned. After a few meetings with the trustees of the Vancouver School Board I managed to convince them to allow me to give classes to grade 10 students. The course is once a week for 8 weeks. This will be a mandatory part of their Career and Personal Planning (CAPP) program that all students must take to graduate.

Okay. So the first 4 classes will be focused on learning how to use margin accounts to increase stock returns. For example, I started using 2.5 times leverage with margin debt in 2011. By 2014 I showed how my portfolio had doubled in value (100% gain.) This would not have been possible with cash savings alone.

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Sep 292016
 

A Crappy Way to Smuggle Gold

In a story that would fit right into a heist movie, an ex-employee from the Royal Canadian Mint has been accused of stealing gold nuggets from the government facility by hiding the precious metal in his butt. 😆 Talk about gold bottoming out. I guess you can say this alleged gold heist was an inside job, if you know what I mean. 😁

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35 year old Leston Lawrence sold multiple nuggets of gold called “pucks” to a local gold dealer in Ottawa, and then deposited the proceeds into his bank account. Each puck weighed about 210 grams (7.4 ounces.) According to records, he sold 18 of them in the span of 4 months. Investigators with search warrants also found 4 gold pucks in his safety deposit box. The combined value of all this gold is estimated to be $180,000. His job was to measure the purity of gold coins at the Mint, but he has since been fired in light of the accusations.

It was a bank teller who first raised the alarm. She could smell something was not right,Â đŸ’©Â noting the frequency of Lawrence’s deposits, his requests to wire the money overseas, and the fact that his account with the bank listed the Canadian Mint as his place of employment.

The bank teller notified her supervisor and the RCMP was soon involved. They even found a container of Vaseline in Lawrence’s locker. Prosecutors alleged that he smuggled the gold nuggets out of the Mint by concealing them in his anal cavity one at a time. This would explain why the handheld wand used as a security measure at the Mint didn’t detect anything on him. So despite the Mint’s sophisticated security system, it was still vulnerable to a backdoor exploit. ROFL. 😆

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Jun 232016
 

I heard this parable on a radio talk show. It explores some important lessons about conventional wisdom, expectations, and opportunity, so I thought I would share it. I don’t know where it originated from here’s a paraphrased version of it.

16-06-janitor-cigarettesThere once was a janitor who worked for a large corporation in the 1900s. Like many working class folks at the time this janitor couldn’t read or write. 🙁 Although he was a quick learner, he never finished school because he started working at a young age to help out his family. Over time many of the other custodians at the company would go through janitorial education and get certified and promoted. But because this janitor was illiterate he couldn’t pass the certificate exams to become a world class janitor.

On his way home he would sometimes pass by a group of men loitering outside a local pub. They would often complain how there was no place to buy cigarettes around the neighborhood. They had to walk 10 blocks away to get to the nearest store that sells smokes. The curious janitor stopped one day to ask the men why not start their own cigarette business close by. “We don’t have the time,” they would reply.

Eventually the janitor decided to open a small cigarette store right beside the pub. He operated the store on his own during the evenings and weekends. It became very popular and he soon opened another location, and then another, and hired people to help his growing business. Then he quit his job as a janitor and continued to grow his cigarette company, which made him a ton of money. 🙂

When a large tobacco company offered to purchase his company he asked his accountant to read the offer letter to him. The accountant was unexpectedly surprised to learn that the successful entrepreneur didn’t know how to read. “You’ve already accomplished so much with your knowledge,” said the accountant. “Imagine where you would be right now if you were literate.” The ex-janitor chuckled and replied, “I’ll tell you exactly where I’d be. I would still be back at my old job sweeping floors.”

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Random Useless Fact:

There’s a piece of land in the far Arctic named Hans Island. Since the 1930s, this nondescript island has been at the center of an ongoing battle between two countries.

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May 262016
 

Windfall from a Bank Error

Engineering student Christine Lee became a millionaire by accident when the Australian bank Westpac accidentally credited her account with an unlimited overdraft. Between 2014 and 2015 she took out AU $4.6 million from this account, and spent most of it on designer handbags and other luxury goods because that’s apparently what young people do these days. 🙂

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Westpac claims it gave Christine the generous overdraft funds 4 years ago by mistake. Fraud cops began an investigation into the matter in 2012. But it wasn’t until March this year that an arrest warrant for her was issued. She was then arrested by the Australian federal police earlier this month. The prosecutor said Christine had failed to notify the bank that she was not entitled to the money. Welcome to the real world, Christine. 🙂 If you make a mistake and don’t pay your credit card bill on time, you will be harassed by the bank. But when they make a blunder such as reckless lending it’s still your fault. 😛

However, the magistrate Lisa Stapleton has reportedly agreed with Christine’s defense lawyer that the police would “struggle to prove the spending of the money was illegal.” She points out that Christine “didn’t take it from them. They gave it to her.” I would be inclined to agree with the magistrate. The police is charging Christine with “dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.” I don’t know much about Aussie law but this statute is concerning to me. Who exactly would Christine have deceived? Westpac practically gave her the money in the form of a glorified line of credit, lol. And how would it be a crime to buy handbags with overdraft money? Westpac also had 2 years to notice and correct the overdraft error before Christine used it. There are many bank sponsored credit cards that feature no spending limits so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that a teenager would see an overdraft account and think the bank was just being extra accommodating. Westpac even claims it offers “a range of innovative financial packages to suit your needs.” Maybe some people feel they need a shopping spree. 😉

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