Dec 262016
 

It’s time again to learn about you, the readers. 🙂 Last year I asked what people thought about lower oil prices and daylight saving time. Here are the results.

I agree with the consensus here. Although a lower price for oil means cheaper gasoline at the pumps I would much rather see higher profits and more dividends from the energy companies I own. More oil revenue also means more capital expenditures which creates more jobs in the economy. There’s only so much money we can save, but there’s no limit to how much we can earn in the capital markets. It looks like 59% of Freedom 35 Blog readers feel the same way. It probably means most people here care more about investing than about consuming. 😀

Six years ago I complained about the negative health effects and lowered productivity of DST.  It just makes everything unnecessarily more complicated. For example, clocks in most of Saskatchewan match clocks in Winnipeg during the winter, but then match clocks in Calgary and Edmonton during the summer. Wtf? o_O That makes it hard for me to conduct my cross provincial business. According to the results of this next poll, it appears that most people agree with me.

I’m surprised no politician has addressed this issue yet. I would vote for anyone who promises to get rid of daylight saving time. 😀

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Random Useless Fact:

Sony is currently working on a new animated feature film. 😀

 

Jan 282016
 

What Does Risk Mean?

It’s time again to learn about you, the readers. :D  Awhile ago visitors of this blog were asked which word first comes to mind when they hear the term, “risk.”  Here are the results. Thanks to everyone who voted.

16-01-poll-risk-first-thing

It appears most readers associate risk with uncertainty or opportunity. I would choose uncertainty as the first thing I would think about when facing or talking about risk. Opportunity would probably be the next thing I would think about. Opportunity and loss can both derive from uncertainty but financially savvy people are usually cautiously optimistic about the unknown and we try to seek out serendipitous possibilities. Investors have to think like heart surgeons; we must never bypass a good opportunity. As Winston Churchill once said, “a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Usually the best chance we have at success also comes with a good amount of risk. But the good news is we can lower the risk without diminishing the potential gain. 🙂 We can lower risk through self knowledge and an understanding of the financial world. A lack of wisdom leads to risky behavior. As Warren Buffett once said, “risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” That’s why countries that are less financially literate tend to have a less affluent population. People who work in business and investment banking understand how finance works, and not surprisingly they tend to make a lot of money in their fields. The more we know, the less likely we are to fail, and the less risky our decisions will become. 🙂

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Random Useless Fact

According to the BBC, in some parts of Australia, 90% of koalas are infected with STDs. Koalas are at risk of becoming extinct because over half of them have chlamydia.

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Mar 272014
 

Time again to learn about you, the readers :D Last year I ran a poll asking about people’s household debt levels. Thanks to everyone who voted (^_^) Results below.

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Wow, about a third of readers are debt free 🙂 Congrats!

About 1 in 20 owe a million dollars or more 😕 That’s probably not hard to believe since a typical two story house in Vancouver can cost over $1 million 😉

Canadian individuals in total have about $1.36 trillion of debt, and this number has been consistently rising due to sustained low interest rates. This means that on average each man, woman, and child, owes about $39K each if split evenly. So good job if you have less debt than this 🙂

I’m in the $500,000 to $1,000,000 debt group which is good because why be “average”  when we can be extraordinary? 😀 I think people go into debt in order to solve a problem, or make life better. And almost always taking on debt will lead to a positive outcome, enhancing our livelihoods 😀 I’m not even talking about investments. The 3 largest forms of debt (most of the $1.36 trillion) are mortgages, student loans, and car loans.

Who has mortgages? Home owners! 🙂 and studies show that on average people who own their homes over time have a higher net worth than renters. Who has student loan debt? People with higher education! and studies show an investment in human capital is one of the best ways to open up doors to new opportunities 🙂 Who has car loans? Drivers! And anecdotally I can say that switching from public transit to driving my own car for commuting to work and grocery shopping is one of the best lifestyle decisions I’ve ever made 🙂 Maybe debt is just a necessary evil that we need in order to make society a better place 😉

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Random Useless Fact: The colours of the Canadian bank notes resemble the international LGBT pride flag (rainbow flag.)

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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  😀