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. :D

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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. :D 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 :D It’s also serious business ;)

The watch maker Roger Dubuis is located in Geneva, Switzerland (of quartz it is :D ) And it’s behind the Excalibur Quatuor, (right) which costs $1,100,000 8-O

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 :D

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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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Sep 222014
 

Have you ever wondered which university degrees provide the best opportunities for financial success? Well a study by the wealth consultancy WealthInsight may have the answer. A ranking was produced by gathering together the academic histories of millionaires around the world. The top field of study is Engineering.

  • 1. Engineering
  • 2. MBA
  • 3. Economics
  • 4. Law
  • 5. (Bachelor’s) Business Administration (BBA)
  • 6. Commerce
  • 7. Accounting
  • 8. Computer Science
  • 9. Finance
  • 10. Politics

Note: This list contains both graduate and undergraduate degrees.

I happen to work with some engineers and I can say most of them are in fact doing quite well financially. Petroleum engineers can easily make six-figures a year straight out of university if they’re willing to work in the oil fields. Software, materials, and industrial engineers, all make above average incomes too.

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The personal finance blogging community also shows categorical evidence that engineers are indeed a financially savvy bunch ;) Tim from Canadian Dream is in his 30s and reveals he makes six-figures a year working as an engineer for a crown corporation. 34 year old Frugal Trader from Million Dollar Journey recently reached a household net worth of a million dollars. Both him and his wife are full time engineers. And Phil, one of the most knowledgeable commentators who read my blog, met his wife in their engineering class at university. He retired in his 40s after reaching millionaire status and is now doing lots of volunteering work.

Of course at the end of the day it takes more than just a degree to become a millionaire. Having certain soft skills and personality traits are important as well. This means we should be efficient, personable, seize opportunities when they arise, and know when to take risks (both professionally and financially.) The point of a degree, above anything else, is about showing an ability and willingness to learn.

Here are what random denizens of the internet had to say about the wealth study.

“Most millionaires I know drive around in old Ford trucks and have jeans with holes in them; not sitting in a park wearing a tux with a top hat.”

“The only real way to become truly wealthy is to engage in something with substantial risk, though often you can substitute some of that risk by exploiting people. And even so, your chances are pretty good that you will lose your pants instead.”

“One of my best friends growing up got kicked out of high school during his junior year. He worked as a plumber’s helper and now owns three plumbing companies and retired eight years ago at age 45.”

Although there are many ways to become a millionaire and retire early, earning a degree in engineering, MBA, or economics seems to be a popular way to do it! However I have tried to go down that path and failed miserably, so it’s not the right strategy for everyone.

 

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Random Useless Fact:

Dilemma is a difficult choice between just 2 options. Trilemma, quadrilemma, and so forth exist for more options.

May 212014
 

Talking heads often say that young adults are struggling more than older generations in this economy. But a recent BMO report suggests that millennials are doing just fine compared to what their parents went through at their age. The study compares the financial situations of young adults today (age 25 – 34) to that of young adults from 3 decades ago.

Millennials looking for jobs today have a 93% chance of finding one (not bad,) compared to only 90% for those in the mid-1980s due to a higher unemployment rate back then. So don’t feel discouraged if you can’t find a job right away :) Just remember that your parents probably had it worse.

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The median income of people between 25 to 34 rose from $33,900 in 1984-1988, to $34,700 in 2011, after adjusting for inflation. This means we can buy 2% more goods and services than our parents could in 1984 haha :) #feelingrich. Median net worth of households of generation Y was $52,000 in 2012, almost double that in 1984 ($28,752 in 2012 constant dollars.) Wow.

I understand where the older generation comes from when they say “Kids these days. They don’t know how good they have it.” The recession they experienced in the 80s must have been pretty bad :( But then again, maybe it’s not a fair comparison because the world was such a different place back then :?

While many baby boomers prospered financially in the past thirty years, one could say that their children are starting new careers and families on an equal, if not firmer, footing in most regions.”
~Sal Guatieri, BMO economist.

As a millennial I realize that on average we do have more debts today than our parents did 30 years ago. And the costs of education and real estate have outpaced inflation so certain things are definitely less affordable to us. But we have better job opportunities than our parents did. We are better educated. We have higher incomes and more purchasing power. We have almost twice as much wealth (net worth) than they had. We even have access to new innovations like the internet and smart phones, which make our lives so much easier. So I’m just glad things aren’t worse for us right now :D

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Random Useless Fact: Sometimes evolution can backfire.

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