A quote

I wanted to make a note of this quote I came across, because of my constant state of confusion on whether to focus on a career or side business.

If you research how wealth is built the most common source is business with most of the remainder coming from real estate. The third asset class – paper assets – is typically a parking place for wealth built in business and real estate rather than being a source of wealth in itself.

From the blog post When To Retire? – Try Age 35


Oh hai

Yup so clearly I didn’t follow through on that goal of mine to update this blog once a week for 3 months. I got distracted with a new purchase that was supposed to help me start a business, and the learning that came along with it. As it stands, I’ve grossed about $160 from that venture, and had a lot of fun learning new skills. There is potential for more of course, but I’m not working very hard at it.

In the larger picture, I keep going in circles about what to do about growing my income. Do I focus on trying to grow said business on the side? Do I focus on my career (and if so, in what direction)? Do I focus on learning more about investing and generating passive income? All of the above? All of the above would probably be best, but let’s face it I just don’t have enough hours in the day to go full throttle at all of the above and still have some kind of semblance of a life I enjoy.

I definitely need to learn about investing and take action. Our savings keep growing and sitting in a high interest account and that’s just not doing anyone any good. I did open an RRSP since my last post, with automatic contributions deducted from my paycheque. So at least not all of my money is sitting in savings. But I still haven’t contributed anything to my TFSA. Need to get on a plan with that!

Making progress

Well I missed making an update last week because I was out of town. However I did have a productive week as I made the change to my investment account that I needed to as well as opened a TFSA account and also enrolled in an automatic RRSP savings plan.

As for Chapter 4, which is the next chapter on Conscious Spending, I rolled through pretty easily. I’ve been using Mint.com for a while now so it was very easy to get a snapshot of my spending and see that it falls well within the recommended percentages for fixed costs and spending money. Nice to see!

Auto saving for retirement

This next chapter in I Will Teach You To Be Rich is a little harder to relate to from a Canadian perspective since it’s all about 401(k)s and Roth IRAs. I’m guessing our equivalents are RSPs and TFSAs. I know I should open a TFSA so that is next on my list to do. What’s been holding me back is uncertainty on how to invest it. Couch potato portfolio? Dividend paying stocks? The book alludes that it will cover this information later on so I will keep reading. In the meantime I do need to make some changes to an account so that is what I will get done this week.

Bank account optimization

This week is Chapter 2 of I Will Teach You To Be Rich and it’s all about bank account optimization. Not much for me to do on this front, as this is something I’ve been on top for for the last 5 years or so since I opened my PC Financial no fee online bank accounts (savings + checking). Over the years I’ve kept an eye on the other offerings in Canadian no fee online banking land, such as ING and Coast Capital Savings, but in the end I’ve stayed put with PC Financial.

One of the big reasons I like PC Financial for my checking account, asides from the no fees, is the ease of withdrawing cash from any CIBC ATM machine since there are lots of them around where I live/work. I don’t use cash a whole lot, but when I need to get some, it’s nice not to have to go on a mission to find a no-fee ATM.

As for the savings account, it’s just easier to have both accounts in the same place for money transfer purposes and while PC Financial hasn’t always had the very highest interest rate, it’s usually been pretty competitive. In fact just now I took a quick look and both PC Financial and ING are offering the same interest rate on their high interest savings accounts.

That said I still haven’t found a very good option for a US$ bank account which is the bane of my existence. I’ve tried to open online checking accounts with some of the no fee US online banks but they won’t even talk to me since I don’t have a SSN. Why do I need a US$ bank account? Maybe it’s not really necessary for the little bit of US$s we receive and have, but it just seems better to save the conversion fees when we get money and when we got shopping in the US. So I keep a lousy TD Bank US$ account that doesn’t charge me fees unless I withdraw money. Lame, I know. If anyone knows a better solution please let me know!

And on that topic, I still keep an account with TD. I barely touch it since when I do I get dinged fees (boo, hiss). But I keep the relationship because once in a while one needs things from a brick and mortar bank that an online bank doesn’t offer, such as US$ accounts, money orders, etc.

Interestingly enough, a few months ago we when we had to go in to the bank because we needed one such special service, the person helping us out asked why we didn’t do all our banking with them. I straight out told him that they charge too many fees and I was giving my business to PC Financial because they don’t charge fees and if he could do that for me I’d bring my business to them. He shrugged and dropped it. Oh well!

Credit report

Missed posting this yesterday… So this past week I read the first chapter in I Will Teach You To Be Rich. It was mostly about credit cards, their advantages and pitfalls. Overall I felt like I was in pretty good shape in regards to my credit card situation. I always pay my balance off every month, and I shopped around for one that suits me and my spending while still offering the best return in terms of rewards.

One of the action items from this chapter is to get a free credit report. I wasn’t sure if it was so easy to do in Canada, but a quick google search lead me to this cbc article on how to check your credit rating. I went to the website of one of the two companies that could send me one, found the link to their form on the front page, filled it out and sent it in. I should be getting my report in the next couple of weeks. It’s great how taking action can seem so empowering sometimes.

Debt free!

Well the student loans are now finally paid off! Approximately $25K in 3 years.

Next on my PF to-do list is to read I Will Teach You To Be Rich. I get the feeling not everything will apply from a Canadian perspective, but hopefully most of it will still be relevant.