A recent Financial Post article suggests that the most important determinant of your sick leave use is whether or not you work for the government. On average, public sector employees take about 10.6 sick days annually, which is a 47% increase from 7.2 sick days back in 1987. Meanwhile, sick leave use in the private sector is only up 5% from 6.1 days to 6.4 days over the same time period.
Of course the mainstream media does not get into the underlying cause of this dramatic gap between public servants and private sector workers. But I think we all know what’s going on here. 😉
Obviously government jobs are so demanding and stressful that they cause public sector employees to become sick more frequently than their private sector counterparts. It’s either that, or people are taking advantage of privileged opportunities. But your guess is as good as mine. ?
Speaking of uncertainty, we have received some unprecedented market signals lately. Oil closed lower than $40/barrel. Yet the banking sector announced record profits again. The financial markets have been overwhelmingly bullish over the past 5 years even though the underlying economy has been worryingly weak. That’s why it pays to be financially prepared. Anything can happen. So always maintain a diversified portfolio of fixed income and equities. Stay away from high-fee, actively managed mutual funds. Stick to dividend stocks or index ETFs. 🙂
My Personal Finance Update
I’d like to give a big shout out to the Smart REIT units I purchased a few months ago. This investment is already up 10%. 😀 Yay! Real estate is a major part of the Canadian economy so it makes sense to have at least some exposure to it. Railways also keep the economy chugging along. 🙂 I’m really grateful for our railroads, for keeping us on the right track. ?
November was a great month for my finances. Luckily I live in Vancouver, B.C., where the cost of living is quite low, so I managed to save about $1,200 from my full time job. The rest of my net worth increase this month came from a combination of currency fluctuation, part-time job, passive income (dividends and interest), and appreciating share value. Details below.
- Part-Time Work = $500
- Dividends = $500
- Interest = $200 [bond interest]
- Fun = $200
- Debt Interest = $1400
*Net Worth: (MoM)
- Assets: = $923,400 total (+9,500)
- Cash = $2,500 (+300)
- Stocks CDN =$101,800 (+5900)
- Stocks US = $71,900 (+3000)
- RRSP = $61,400 (+300)
- MICs = $15,800
- Home = $259,000
- Farms = $411,000
- Debts: = $502,000 total (+2,700)
- Mortgage = $191,300 (-500)
- Farm Loans = $198,300 (-500)
- Margin Loan CDN = $30,500 (+2800)
- Margin Loan US = $29,000 (+2000)
- TD Line of Credit = $23,500 (-500)
- CIBC Line of Credit = $10,000
- HELOC = $18,200
- RRSP Loans = $1,200 (-600)
*Total Net Worth = $421,400 (+$6,800 / +1.6%)
All numbers above are in $CDN. Conversion rate used: 1.00 CAD = 0.75 USD
I picked up two new positions in November: 100 shares of TransCanada in my Canadian margin account, and 100 shares of Match Group in my U.S. margin account. The stock market was pretty flat overall. I did receive $200 of interest from my Sherritt bonds which was nice. The growing strength of the U.S. dollar was helpful as well since I hold many U.S. equities.
Speaking of stocks, here’s a look at my TFSA portfolio at one of my brokers, TD. I like how its online software can track the performance of my account over time. Due to the purchase of more defensive stocks since 2014, my TFSA has experienced positive returns while the S&P/TSX Composite index has fallen.
I try to be mindful about what I put in my TFSA so it complies with my tax efficiency plan. I don’t have any secrets to picking winners or beating the market. But if anyone is curious to know, here are all my holdings in this TFSA.
I have other tax free savings accounts. One of which is worth about $11,000 and is with a different brokerage company. I’ll share the details of that next time.
Random Useless Fact:
Both male and female walruses have tusks that can grow to be over 2 feet long.