Archive for the 'money' Category

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

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!

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.

Some things in life are more important than paying off interest?

I have quite a few posts that were sitting in my drafts from when I was keeping up this blog. Here’s one that I found particularly interesting from a then vs now perspective. It was a conversation circa November 2008 between myself and DH (at the time future DH) discussing our plans for the future.

CS: and we live two years of blissful servitude to pay off student loans
and then another two years of servitude, not as blissful by this point, to save for a wedding
MrCS: what! no! we can’t wait 2 years for the wedding!
CS: no?
MrCS: no!
MrCS: it will just have to take us 4-5 years to pay off my loan
so that we can save for other things in the meantime
CS: but we’ll end up spending thousands more on interest
MrCS: ok darling, some things are more important than paying off interest. like having a wedding. don’t you think?
CS: this is a good topic for a blog post
i shoudl ask my readers
MrCS: hahha
ok
you have readers?
CS: like.. 1 or 2, maybe.

Well I never did ask ‘the readers’, and what ended up happening is that we had a budget wedding, and now after a couple of years of saving, the loans are ready to be paid off in full after I transfer the money over. Which I should have done last week, but didn’t. I stopped sweating the interest because I figured it was negligible given how low rates have been these last couple of years. I’m not going to worry about how much interest we paid, because this will all be over soon and we can get on with our lives.

A Revelation

It’s been about a year since my last update, truth be told PF had fallen to the wayside over the past year. However, today I opened an account at wesabe.com to try and get a clearer snapshot of our financial situation. It’s a pretty neat tool, but it took me for ever to tag all of our transactions. However, it was worth it to get a better picture of our spending. For example we spend a lot less eating out than I figured we did. Interestingly enough we have about 25% more money saved than I thought, but save 20% less than I thought we were saving. I thought we were saving close to 45%, but it turns out that our YTD is closer to 25%. Granted that I was jobless for 2 months of the year so had I been working that figure would probably be higher. 25% is a good amount, but it’s not amazing considering how hard we work at saving!

Basically, I realized that no matter how frugal we are or how much we save we just aren’t going to get ahead unless our income increases significantly.

And that is where I need to focus my efforts.