Dec 142015
 

Achieving More Notoriety

Once again Freedom 35 Blog has become the subject of debates and discussions across several online news sites and public message boards. 🙂

This humble little blog is becoming more popular than ever! I’ve found some of these online remarks and wanted to share them with my regular readers here. Below is a collection of mean comments about me and this blog from forums and discussion boards around the web.

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Sweet butter crumpets! Well guess what, internet? Now it’s my turn to respond!

Where to even begin? Well first of all, let me just start by pointing out how surprisingly refreshing it is to hear all these unique viewpoints. 😀 As a novice investor who still has a lot to learn I genuinely appreciate any helpful feedback I can get. I don’t know any of these commentators, but I’m sure they’re all friendly people in real life.

But with that said, I can also take a hint. I think the general gist from these comments is clear: If interest rates go up then I’m screwed. 🙁

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Apr 102015
 

I’ve been blogging for awhile now and it’s been a pretty fun experience for me so far. This hobby has allowed me to meet interesting people online which have continued into real friendships offline and encourage me to research all kinds of interesting financial topics that I would have otherwise not learn about. It also helps me flush out my ideas and shower-thoughts further by spelling them out into words. Some people have asked me how to go about creating their own piece of real estate on the internet so today I thought I’d share how to start a blog.

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Reasons you may want to start a blog:

  • To keep yourself accountable
  • To write and learn about something you feel passionate about because you enjoy it
  • To keep a record of your goals and accomplishment
  • To compliment your career or other aspects of life
  • To earn some side income
  • To express yourself online using words, pictures, or video (ie: vlog)

My reasons for blogging today are the same as when I started 5 years ago; to track my progress to become financially independent and share my journey for anyone who wants to read it. So far it’s been a pretty enjoyable experience. 🙂

There are many ways to start a blog. If you just want to blog about your cat for your family and friends to see then you can use a service such as tumblr.com, weebly.com, blogspot.com, or wordpress.com. You’ve probably seen some of these sites around online. 🙂 These kinds of blogs take a few minutes to set up and are pretty straight forward. But if you want your blog to have a wider appeal, own your domain name, and have more customization options then you probably want to create a self hosted blog. This means it won’t be free, but you get to have complete control and ownership of the files on your blog, and instead of having a website like www.YourBlogName.blogspot.com, you will actually have www.YourBlogName.com, or whatever name you choose. This can be a little tricky to set up so let’s go over some key details.

Creating a Self Hosted Blog

Step 1: Register your domain name. There are many registrars out there, but hosting companies like bluehost.com will allow you to register a website as well as host all your site’s contents with them. I’m going to use Bluehost as an example. My blog is being hosted on their servers. There are a few different pricing options but it appears they currently have a deal going on right now.

1-Homepage

After signing up for an account at Bluehost it’s time to register a domain name, which is your website’s url. You can either choose a new domain name, or transfer over an existing one if you already have one registered elsewhere. When creating your domain name I would try to keep it easy to remember, and not too long, and don’t add dashes “-” or other weird symbols. Also try to keep the name relevant to your blog’s purpose. For example if you enjoy blogging about vegan recipes or writing restaurant reviews you could try to register the domain: myveganfoodblog.com. After this step you will be taken to your site’s cpanel page. 3-Domain Registration

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Feb 152013
 

In North America there is no shortage of complaints about the cost to drive a car and gasoline prices. But relative to the rest of the world like England where they have loony petrol taxes, or most of Europe, our prices are quite affordable (゜∀゜) A recent Bloomberg article compares the relative cost of gasoline prices in 60 different countries from most expensive to least. The countries were ranked in 2 different ways.

Global gasoline prices

The first way is purely based on cost, so how much in US dollars to buy one gallon of gas (or 3.78 liters for those of us outside of the States :D) By this measurement Turkey has the most expensive gas in the study at $9.89 per gallon. Norway is number 2 at $9.63, still very expensive. Near the bottom of the rankings we have Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and in last place, the least expensive country, is Venezuela at just $0.06 haha :O)

The second way is based on affordability, so what portion of an average person’s daily income can pay for a gallon of unleaded gas, starting from most unaffordable. On top of the list is Pakistan where the average daily income is just $3.55. Since gas costs about $4 per gallon there, the average person would have to work more than a whole day to afford one gallon of gas! Affordability wise, that’s the equivalent of Canadians or Americans paying well over $100 per gallon at the pumps. Yeah.. no thank you t(°_°t) India which has a population of 1.24 billion came in close at number 2 on the list. Below I’ve just gone and grabbed the stats for 3 countries out of 60. The lower the ranking the more affordable gas is.

United Kingdom
Price per gallon of gasoline: UK $8.06
Rank by most expensive: 13
Rank by affordability: 39

Canada
Price per gallon of gasoline: $4.76
Rank by most expensive: 44
Rank by affordability: 53

United States
Price per gallon of gasoline: $3.29
Rank by most expensive: 51
Rank by affordability: 56

So when you think about it, we’re quite lucky in North America here. Canadians only spend 3.3% of what we earn in a day to buy a gallon of gas. Meanwhile you have countries like China, which requires 26%. Not to mention India and Pakistan, which is even worse at 110%. Next time I fill up my car I’m going to think wow so cheap! If you live in the US, even better for you 🙂

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 Top Canadian Finance Blogs

best blogs poll and global gasoline prices

I’m really stoked that fellow blogger Jeremy over at ModestMoney.com has nominated my blog again in his poll for the best finance blog in Canada this year. If you have a spare minute please go and vote for your favorite personal finance blogs  😀

Mar 142012
 

We often hear about wealthy individuals finding loop holes in the tax system by storing their money in offshore banks. Companies, as legal entities, also have tools to pay less taxes. The corporate tax rate in the US is 35%. But a lot of companies get away with a much lower rate. Below is a graph from focus.com explaining how it works, known in some cases to be called the Double Irish strategy.

Giant tech companies have huge influence in our political system and they hire oodles of talented lawyers and accountants, and compensates them very well to make sure the companies are saving as much money as they can in the long run. Canada’s corporate tax rate is usually below 30% depending on the province. And our government wants to lower it some more to encourage entrepreneurs to do businesses here, but now we know it’s not that simple. Corporations could still end up paying more taxes here than in the US despite our lower tax rate.

According to this bloomberg article, US companies now hold over $1.2 trillion in profits around the world, that’s $1,200,000,000,000. GE and Pfizer have $102 billion and $63 billion respectively (゜o゜) Companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft have increased their accumulated overseas profits by more than 40% last year. This creates a bit of a dilemma. Companies have lots of money to innovate, to spend on R&D, and to create jobs inside the US (which is what everyone wants, including us Canadians.) But they don’t want to repatriate their offshore money back into the States, because they would be forced to pay the full corporate tax rate on worldwide profits, maximum being 35%. It’s similar to how I can use an RRSP (401K plan) to defer my taxes. There’s no point redeeming my RRSPs if I’m currently still working, saving, and in the highest tax bracket. Companies are the same way. They are making so much money right now the US stock market is hitting multi-year highs (+_+) 

There are lots of different opinions out there on how to improve the economy and lower unemployment. One particularly interesting idea is a tax holiday for companies to bring back some of their profits from lower-tax countries, without facing such a hefty tax penalty. Personally I would rather see this happen than another round of quantitative easing.  Why not make use of all that money sitting on the sidelines (^_^) 

  • R&D – Research and Development. Developing new ideas or products.
  • repatriate – Send something (money) back to it’s original country.

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Random Useless Fact: There are 2.3 billion internet users around the world.

Feb 032012
 

Last month in Europe, an Austrian man found €7,000 in an envelope by the side of a road. But instead of keeping it for himself, he reported the lost money to police and all the cash was later returned to its original owner.  It’s these kinds of stories that give me hope for humanity. This guy should run for government. I think he would really make an honest politician. I’m not sure what I would do if this stroke of luck happened to me. Perhaps keep a portion for myself and donate the rest to charity? It’s difficult to know until the situation arises.

camping in the city

image from theprovince.com

Maybe the richer people become the more greedy and dishonest they get. Poor people normally don’t talk about making money or financial planning, but the upper middle class tends to think about their personal finances quite a bit more, and the super rich often spends the most time on dodgy funds, private banking, legal tax avoidance, and looking for new opportunities to expand their businesses, often despite questionable ethics. I have witnessed kind and giving people who once valued the simpler things in life to have now turned into workaholics, even after they’ve become successful and can already retire very comfortably.  Perhaps money is like an addictive drug, the more you have the more you want. I certainly fit the bill myself, when I was a child I didn’t have any money and didn’t concern myself with it so I would have given back any money I found as well, because that’s what I was taught to do. However, now that I understand the value of 7,000 Euros and what it can buy I find myself dealing with a moral dilemma. I now understand the meaning behind the saying “money is the root of all evil.” Maybe the world would be a more generous and less greedy place if everyone was poorer. Probably not, but I wonder…

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By the way, this blog got a slight redesign. Sorry about the redundant email, broken links, and lack of posts this week. There are still some minor tweaks I have to work out still but it’s mostly done so things are back to normal now and I can post regularly again.