Aug 112015
 

Most Bosses Aren’t Rich

Some workers have a passive outlook on their salaries. They believe their income is based on what their boss can “afford” to pay them. But the irony is that employees have more control over their own salaries than their bosses do. 😉 This becomes apparent when we consider the source of all salaries. Money doesn’t come from our employers. It actually comes from the consumers who buy our goods and services. And the amount of money they pay us is directly proportional to the quality of goods or services that we give them. :) So if we want a raise, we should try to please our customers, not our bosses.

Besides, most bosses aren’t that rich to begin with anyway. A 2013 study found that the average salary a small business entrepreneur makes is $68,000. Let’s say a Japanese restaurant makes $100,000 a year after expenses and employs 20 people. If the restaurant owner gives all his employees a $5,000 annual raise, then his entire profit would be wiped out! It’s a different story in large fortune 500 companies or in professional industries, such as engineering. But 70% of Canadian workers in the private labour force are employed by small businesses with fewer than 100 employees. So for most workers, asking for more money from the boss isn’t going to get them very far.

Wealth in Numbers

So if we want to earn more, we have to set our focus on the consumers. :) Our customer base has an endless supply of money that we can tap into. If that Japanese restaurant mentioned earlier manages to attract just 100 more families to dine there every month then the business can easily earn $100,000 in additional sales every year. Everyone can get a raise and the business remains profitable! 😀 The boss is only one person, but hungry consumers are abundant. There truly is wealth in numbers. Instead of trying to get more money from the employer, we should be thinking about ways to work with the employer to get customers to spend more money. 😉

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But for this to work we must offer something of equal value in return to the paying customers. This means finding ways to make them more satisfied. Create additional value to our product or service. Give consumers a legitimate reason to pay us a premium over a generic competitor. Don’t work to please our boss. Work to please the customer instead. Don’t work for money. Work to solve the customer’s problems. The money will ultimately follow.

If you’ve shown that you can bring a lot of new business to the company then usually the promotion will come to you. :) Talent is hard to find. Your boss knows that if you feel underpaid, you can simply leave and work for a competitor instead.

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May 072015
 

Unpaid Internship is in serious disrepute. Many economists and labour activists believe graduates shouldn’t be allowed to work for free. On the other hand influential people like Stephen Poloz, the Bank of Canada Governor, advocates that it’s not a bad idea for young people to do them. He says an unpaid internship is a valid way to avoid the “scarring” of long-term joblessness, especially among the Generation Y cohort.

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In most cases, unpaid internships are in fact illegal in Canada. There are some exceptions however. Federal government departments and agencies have employed up to 1,000 unpaid interns since 2008, for example. In the United States the rules around intern compensation can be a bit more confusing. Nearly half the internships in America are completely unpaid. Currently Obama can employ hundreds of unpaid White House interns, even if he publicly advocates for higher minimum wage lol. Of course non-profit and charity organizations are allowed a free pass as can classify their unpaid interns as “volunteers.” :)

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Mar 162015
 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone. :)

Here on the blog I like to share interesting opportunities to make money without doing a lot of work. That’s why many of my posts are about investing, which produces passive income. But actively working for money can also be very rewarding. :) A few years ago I told my readers about a permanent full-time position that paid $60,000 a year for doing menial clerical duties. I would have applied for that job myself if I wasn’t already working full time.

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Here’s another job posting I found recently for a full time position as a producer for a software company in Toronto. The job pays about $60,000 a year, for 40 hours a week. A university degree is NOT required, which means even I can apply for the job. The listed skills required for the job include working well with others, problem solving, critical thinking, and other subjective qualities. The position is still open so I would apply if I were living in Toronto. If the bar to land a $60,000/year job is set this low then I believe opportunities to make easy money are everywhere as long as we’re willing to go after them.

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Jan 172015
 

The discount retailer Target Corp. recently announced that it will be closing all its 133 Canadian locations. Target simply can’t compete in the retail space up here. There are less people in all of Canada than in California, so it’s not worth the investment for Target to stay here anymore. Canadian Targets generally offer few products, and at higher prices than in the U.S. Their inventory problems only add to the negative shopping experience. No wonder traffic is slow at Canadian Target stores. It must be frustrating to go buy some soup, but then find out the store is out of stock. 😀

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It will cost Target Canada another $600 million to close down for good. 17,600 employees will lose their jobs and will probably have to set up kiosks in the mall to vend for themselves. 😕 At least they will each receive 16 weeks of severance pay.

This is why building up multiple income streams is extremely important. It provides insurance against unemployment. I currently have 4 other sources of income besides my full time job. If I was laid off tomorrow, my other incomes will cover 70% of all my current living expenses. The aim is to get this number up to 100%. I can do this by taking a portion of the money I earn from my full time job, and turn it into an income creating asset such as a private mortgage or dividend paying stocks.

Target Canada Clearance

Target stores will continue to be open during the liquidation process so keep an eye out for reduced prices in the near future. :) I was excited to see Target come into Canada almost 2 years ago. But I suppose it just wasn’t meant to be. As a shareholder I’m glad management has decided to pull out before they lose any more of my money. TGT shares immediately jumped 3% after the announcement was made to leave Canada.

Target’s stock price has performed well since my initial purchase back in 2013. I’m currently up 16% on my TGT investment. At first this might seem like a decent return over a 2 year period. 😀 Many people would be grateful for an 8% annual rate of return. But to be honest it’s actually quite underwhelming. In the world of finance everything is relative. Since I purchased my Target shares, the overall stock market index (S&P500) has climbed 32%. This unfortunately means my investment has underperformed the market. :( Oh well. Win some, lose some. 😕 I believe Target is still a strong company and will recover from its recent mistakes. It still has over 1,800 stores in the U.S. and 366,000 employees worldwide. The dividend yield is 2.8%.

Disclaimer: I’m long TGT. :)

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Random Useless Fact:

Google can graph mathematical equations like a graphing calculator. For example, copy and paste the following line into Google.
5 + (- sqrt(1- x^2- (y- abs(x))^2))cos(30((1-x^2-(y-abs(x))^2))), x is from -1 to 1, y is from -1 to 1.5, z is from 1 to 5

 

Sep 282014
 

14-09-Roger-dubuis-excalibur-quatuorWhen most people think about a luxury watch maybe a very snazzy $50,000 Rolex or Omega comes to mind. There are also watches covered in gold and diamond that sell for $200,000 or more. But for an even higher level of refined taste in wearable fashion there are names such as Richard Mille, Greubel Forsey, and Roger Dubuis. These brands have watches that can cost over a million dollars U.S. each.

Watch making isn’t just about sitting around all day making faces 😀 It’s also serious business 😉

The watch maker Roger Dubuis is located in Geneva, Switzerland (of quartz it is 😀 ) And it’s behind the Excalibur Quatuor, (right) which costs $1,100,000 😯

14-09-Roger-dubuis-excalibur-quatuor-break-downThis luxury watch represents the pinnacle of modern science and innovation. The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Quatuor is the product of more than 5 years of research, development, and testing.

Expensive watches made by other watchmakers usually have only one sprung balance, but the Excalibur Quatuor has four that all work in tandem for unprecedented calibration accuracy :)

The Excalibur Quatuor watch is made from nearly 600 distinct parts (left), including 5 differentials, and it has a 40-hour power reserve function that is patented by the Roger Dubuis. All of this analogue technology is housed in a silicon body that is four times stronger than steel, yet weighs much less.

The entire process of putting the watch together from start to finish takes about 2,400 hours. Since each watch sells for $1.1 million, this means the company is getting paid $458 per hour of work, not too shabby :)

Moral of the story: Watch makers make a very decent living :) And they get to make their own hours 😀

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Random Useless Fact:

From the edge of space Vancouver and Seattle doesn’t look very far apart. And Bellingham looks like it’s just an extension of Vancouver (click image to enlarge)

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