Profit From Your Everyday Financial Problems

ONE of the easiest ways to make money is to seek opportunities where others are complaining about something. There is often a silver lining to every financial problem, and learning how to take advantage of that can be very profitable. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are 4 common financial problems I hear people constantly complain about and my solution to each one.


The financial problem: Housing prices too expensive.

What other people do: Complain they can’t afford to live in the city anymore.

What you canย do instead: Buy real estate or offer financing to others. Take Vancouver as an example. It’s land size is not getting any bigger, but the population will continue to expand. The following tables show the development of the number of inhabitants according to census data of Statistics Canada.


2.2 million people currently live in the Greater Vancouver area. The population is expected to grow by 30,000 new residents each year, for a total population of 3.4 million by 2041. This is according to a projections report by Metro Vancouver (report in PDF format.)

So based on common sense, housing prices should rise in the long run because of growing density.

Some people say they can’t afford to buy a house. But nobody is forcing them to buy a million dollar bungalow right away. New home owners can start small and slowly work their way up. My down payment was only $15,000 for the condo I bought in 2009. I will purchase a larger home later as I build up equity.

Offering real estate financing is another way to benefit from the housing market, especially if you don’t have a lot to invest. You can lend money to a home buyer so they pay you interest instead of a bank. This can be done through a private mortgage or a mortgage investment corporation. Higher real estate prices just means more wealth for real estate investors who have exposure to the market. ๐Ÿ˜€

This mindset turns expensive housing from a liability into an asset. The higher prices go the more wealth is produced.


The financial problem: Oil prices too expensive

What other people do: Complain they’re getting gouged by oil companies and they can’t afford to drive anymore

What you can do instead: Buy oil and gas companies, especially the ones that pay out dividends. A lot of them have a history of growing their dividends because their profits are growing over time. Every year for the last 4 years I’ve been investing thousands of dollars into Suncor, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and other oil businesses.

I was getting paid $10 a month in dividends from these companies in 2009. But with persistence, as well as ALL of these companies raising dividends in the last few years, I am now earning $81 a month.

Oil companies are now paying me MORE money, than I’m paying them to fill up my car. ๐Ÿ˜€ No complaints here.



The problem: Food getting more and more expensive

What other people do: Complain how food inflation is too high and they can’t afford to eat as they did before.

What you can do instead: Buy a farm or invest in agriculture. Historically farmland prices tend to out inflate food prices. When consumers pay for their food at the store eventually some of that money goes back to the farmers or producers of the food. So common sense tells us that if you own the means of production, or at least the land it’s being produced on, then you are in a pretty good position.

Last year I bought a farm in Saskatchewan and rented the land to a farmer to grow his crops. Over time if the price of soft commodities increase, then I will increase the rent, and my farmland will grow in value.


The financial problem:ย Slow wage growth and stagnant career

What other people do: Blame their employer for underpaying them. Complain their taxes are too high.

What youย can do instead: Ask for a wage increase. I asked my boss for a raise because I’ve been working at the company for many years. He went to the accounting department and came back to me with a $5/hour increase. The worst thing that could have happened was my boss saying no. But most employers want to keep their workers happy.

You can also utilized tax advantaged accounts. I spent the last several years saving at least a third of my gross income from working 2 jobs, and slowly investing that money to build up dividends and other passive income.

13_01_passive_history income Financial Problems


Plan for the future you want to live

Investment income such as dividends or capital gains are also taxed at a much lower rate than ordinary salary. And ANYONE can do it, even if you don’t have a lot of savings to start investing.

  • $1,000 can buy you more than 50 units of the index fund XIU.
  • $5,000 is enough of a down payment to buy a small farm.
  • $15,000 can be the down payment for a small one-bedroom apartment.

It DOES start off slow though and will be a decade before most people will see any noticeable results. But the year 2023 WILL come to pass. So when it does, people who start investing today (in 2013) will probably be in a much better financial position than those didn’t take any action.

I estimate that in roughly 10 more years, my personal investment income combined with the salary from my full time job, will bring my total annual income to over $100,000. I also plan to lower my average tax rate at the same time, just like how the rich do it. ๐Ÿ˜€

The solution to so many of our everyday financial problems in life are sometimes right in front of our eyes. We can complain and do nothing about it, or take action to create a better future. The choice is ours. ๐Ÿ˜‰


Random Useless Fact:
Sometimes eating healthy and exercising isn’t as good for the body as people say it is.

13_01_health_women Financial Problems


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Renee S
Renee S
01/10/2013 9:15 am

Always love reading your posts…Short, sweet, to the point! I thank you for this one because I recently started to invest (i’ve always been a saver), and it feels as though I will never get to where you are. But your graphs and words of encouragement make me realize that I just gotta keep doing what I’m doing because in a few years I will be where you are. Can’t wait!

TB at BlueCollarWorkman
TB at BlueCollarWorkman
01/10/2013 9:35 am

It’s all good and makes perfect sense except for one thing, it all requires money. If you have ZERO expendable income then you can’t really invest. Your “tiny” property with a downpayment of $15K is actually a lot of money! You really do need money to make money. That’s not to say that people shoudln’t start trying to save bits of money here and there, so that they can accumulate enough money to invest and such…they should definitely do that.

01/10/2013 10:35 am

You don’t need lots of money to make money, you can start a website with under $100 and solve a problem too, whatever your nice is. A friend started making themed birthday cakes, for the cost of one cake for a birthday party, she usually comes back with 2 orders for more parties. Of course you won’t make millions like investing in stocks or real estate but you can start small.

01/11/2013 4:59 am
Reply to  Pauline

Pauline is right. Think about it, we all start out poor as we leave our nest and venture into the world. I had 3 jobs when I entered University back in 1991 with zero in savings and zero equity. Today, at 40, I have coupled with my wife, bought a home, created a familyand most importantly amassed a decent nest egg. Long term planning works, you just need to Do IT. as to the accumulation part, counding works. Do not wait to see the results, know they will be there if you give them time. Cheers,

Jordann @ My Alternate Life
Jordann @ My Alternate Life
01/10/2013 10:39 am

I love how your taking common problems and turning them into opportunities! That outlook alone goes to show that you have the right mindset and are sure to succeed in your future.

Jordann @ My Alternate Life
Jordann @ My Alternate Life
01/10/2013 5:16 pm


01/10/2013 12:25 pm

I love your outlook and your optimism. Clearly it will get you far!

07/10/2021 8:10 pm

Did you also listen to that tape from McDonalds when you were a child?

01/10/2013 2:28 pm

This has been true forever. Most people do not take action out of fear. It is the unknown that scares them. Buying real estate seems obvious, but the person who is scared thinks they will lose their money or values will go down again. If they cannot overcome that fear, they miss out,

01/10/2013 2:31 pm

love it. Had no idea Nigella and jillian were the same age. For balance sake, maybe you can eat like jillian monday to friday then indulge like nigella on the weekends.

01/10/2013 2:44 pm

Great post! I always look forward to reading them. Great solutions to common problems. I’m impressed that your passive income is already $10,000!

01/11/2013 2:30 am

If your costs are less than $10,000, you are really out of the rat race according to CashFlow! Well done. Property is clearly a good investment if you stick to small islands and areas such as Vancouver, New York or London. Otherwise it can be a problem. But your approach is good – make it yourself and you don’t have to worry about pensions and stuff because passive income will go on for ever!

01/11/2013 5:15 am

I feel my New Years fridge quote is approriate here – JUST DO IT – “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan” – Eleanor Roosevelt. Years 1 through 5 are typically the hardest in saving/investing, as the curve upward (compounding) is not that visual when graphed, but after that, the miracle of math really begins to shine through as made money begins to make money(^U^). Frugality and patience early in life, pay life long dividends. Cheers.

01/11/2013 6:47 am

This is exactly our mindset with investing in Vancouver real estate. Our first down payment in 2010 was only $12,500! I also own HSE which has been good to me. We are interested in getting into farmland but haven’t developed a plan for that yet.

John S @ Frugal Rules
01/11/2013 7:18 am

Great post! I love how you point out ways of how to make money off of what seems to be a “problem”. I think it’s a great idea and points to a shrewd investor who will look for these opportunities and see themselves grow their worth as a result.

Johnny ca$h
Johnny ca$h
01/11/2013 7:52 am

First of all : I would trade a lot of 20’s and 30’s women we see on TV for that Nigella! She’s definitely my kind of woman: sexy, curvaceous and a great chef. Come on, she’s got the whole package!

Your investing strategy is spot on. You use their services, you might as well be rewarded by these same companies for doing so. It reminds me a little bit of Derek Foster. Careful, you might be rich by 34 instead of 35…

Only thing is : it’s not because they provide you with a service that they can’t go bankrupt. Make sure to bet on strong companies that dominate their sphere of activities and have a history of raising their dividends. And be careful to keep a good leverage effect by betting on enough positions to provide that but not on too many so you lost that leverage as well as the ability to follow these companies closely enough.

Take care Liquid.

01/11/2013 9:59 am

I’d like to start doing some investing this year now that we have enough cash to pay off the mortgage and no debt at all. I’ve always fancied Nigella Lawson as a British chef because she is real. She does everything that is supposedly wrong but she still looks stunning at age 51. Great post Mr.CBB P.S Mrs. CBB fancies Jamie Oliver so it’s even game for the chefs lol.

01/11/2013 12:18 pm

Great eye opener post ๐Ÿ™‚ Always fun reading what you’re up to and other’s opinions on the post.

Buying an investment property with my parents when I got my first job was the best financial investment. At that time, I was only making $10/hour. But that didn’t phase me from owning property… who knew property in Vancouver would go up so much more! Too bad, my dad decided on an apartment that cost $110k versus the duplex near our neighborhood for $270k. He didn’t want to take on that much debt at that time, he gave up SO many opportunities. This is one of them, I think. if we had bought the duplex, our financial situation would have been much much higher!! It is what it is… c’est la vie!

Dustin Small
Dustin Small
01/11/2013 6:34 pm

Great way of looking at things. This is almost like taking “contrarian” investment mentality and applying it to everyday life — in other words do the opposite of what the crowd is doing. Nice work.

Fig (Figuring Money Out)
Fig (Figuring Money Out)
01/11/2013 7:42 pm

Great post! It’s usually a good idea to look at things differently than the way everyone else is looking at them.

01/13/2013 12:18 am

Be careful with real estate. I know things are likely to return to norms soon growth wise, but many people aren’t cut out for toilets and tenants. Also its funny that a lot of finance bloggers with full transparency often operate at very little ROI when it comes to their rental property.

Think about cover calls imo versus rentals.

Alex Yang (@yyangalex)
01/13/2013 3:33 pm

but housing prices correlate with income growth, not population growth or density growth. it might be better to just rent a place instead of buy. renting isnt quite throwing all that rent money down the drain, since mortgage interest, property taxes, and maintenance costs or condo fees are all money being thrown down the drain (aka not building net worth) anyway.

01/14/2013 2:03 am

I’d disagree with you there, because you don’t have anything to show for it afterwards, besides which you always have the additional security of a large asset you can trade off, whether you decide to sell it or borrow against it.
Also, taking your points in turn, mortgage rates are at their lowest for decades, maintenance costs are modest (a house has no moving parts) and a lot of the time you can do it yourself, and property taxes, well as a UK citizen I can;t really comment.

01/14/2013 5:52 am

You really need to do the math. ownership works for some, and not for others. The key is tyou need to have your money working for you, and for some having a base to work out of is part of that. For others, maybe renting is the solution. Housing has typiclaly done quite well, but the markets have over the longer term typically done better, so if you rented,a nd put what you would normally have put into owning and operating the house into the market, who knows… As long as your money is not stationary, you live frugaly early in life during your accumulation years and are fully invested, either way you should do fine. It really comes down to what you want to achive as part of a balanced life. Cheers.

01/14/2013 6:28 am
Reply to  Phil

OK, maybe I’m being a bit slow here, but surely your landlord has to cover their mortgage/property taxes etc. which will in turn be covered by the rent you pay? Why is renting ever cheaper than buying, thus giving you that additional spare cash to invest?? Maybe it’s different across the pond for some reason…

Alex Yang (@yyangalex)
01/15/2013 4:09 pm
Reply to  Matt

the issue, like any investment, comes down to purchase price. risk is directly correlated with purchase price of the asset, relative to underlying value. many landlords are essentially speculating in the housing market, hoping to sell down the road for higher (kind of like one idiot buying stocks in hopes of selling to another idiot for higher). to use an example, my condo would currently go for around 400k. the same condo can be rented for ~1700 per month. property taxes are around 200 per month. condo fees 500 per month. if someone puts 20% down, and gets a 5 yr fixed mortgage at 3% for 320k loan, their interest cost comes to 9600 per year, or 800 per month. all in all, 1500 of expenses down the drain per month, vs 1700 rent, that means the owner pockets 200 per month in net profit. 200 * 12 / 400k is 0.6% per year. it would of course gradually go up as interest costs decrease (but keep in mind this is 3% interest rate, which is historically LOW). Even if you could pay the entire condo price, and take 0 mortgage (its also reflective of your rent income after you’ve… Read more ยป

01/16/2013 1:20 am

OK, so 0.6% isn’t a huge gain but you do need somewhere to live anyway is my point, although I have to say, it’s very different to the UK.
Here property prices unfortunately do not show a correlation with income. Over the last 10 years, the average house price has increased by around 100% (would have been more without the banking crisis), and average wages have gone up less than 40%, also over the last 90 years, property has consistently increased in value by 8% annually. You really don’t get a lot for your money here and I’ve often wondered how it’s sustainable, but it keeps on going still.
As an example, my house is worth about ยฃ120,000 ($200,000 US), I’m quite far from London and it’s the same size as this one – (I live a few doors up, and my house isn’t as nice, with a smaller garden). It’s certainly a hell of a lot smaller than something I could buy in the US isn’t it? Yet it’s worth double what I paid for it 10 years ago, and my mortgage is just 1.5%…

01/14/2013 2:11 am

A good post, as usual, and one that makes perfect sense.
I fully intend to use this strategy myself to offset my ever increasing energy bills. (I think we actually discussed this on another post of yours a while back…). In fact, it’s a method that you can use in a variety of ways.
For example, I said to a relative who’s very into Greenpeace, why don;t you buy shares in Shell? At least you can take the dividends and pay them to Greenpeace! Better yet, you can go to the AGM and raise your issues directly with them.
I guess it’s true what they say: every problem is an opportunity in disguise.

P.S. Nigella: phwoooarrr!

rnd technologies
rnd technologies
02/02/2013 1:24 am

Your thought is useful and nice.


[…] pay a lot of money forย high speed internet access. One way to get around this costly expense is to own the means that produce the service. This means buying shares of the internet service providers that we use. […]

Nate from LendEDU
Nate from LendEDU
06/13/2015 2:49 pm

This is a great post. You’ve got a unique way of looking at things and are blunt. If you’ve got a problem with something, find a solution. Farming and agriculture is a great thing to invest in. So many things are outsourced now days our country needs its people to invest in local farms and businesses. We grow most of the food we eat in the summer and can what we don’t eat. There are things we NEVER buy at the grocery store like: bread, pasta sauce, tomatoes, etc. Growing and storing those things myself has taken a huge chunk off our grocery bill each month.

09/19/2016 3:35 pm

Cool blog and really like your efforts. I laughed at the “Random Useless Fact” too!

Manjit Singh
Manjit Singh
08/15/2020 2:10 am
Reply to  00J

I love this too thanks to freedomthirtyfiveblog sharing this article to us.