3 simple financial resolutions you need to start

3 simple financial resolutions

Happy New year everyone!  

I hope 2016 was better to you than the media portrayed it to be. For the last few months of the year you’d swear nothing good happened. I think those people just didn’t have time to look at their retirement savings. The year was pretty solid overall for the markets, the Dow Jones was up 14.4% as of closing just before Christmas.

3 simple financial resolutions you need to start

Very solid year for the Dow Jones

For Canadians, the TSX composite index was up 17.8% over the same time period! So, if your investments are close or matching these indexes you’re looking at a possible 14-18% return for one year.  To put that into perspective you’ll double your portfolio in 5 years without any additional contributions! Read more

Q2 2016 Update – An uneasy time with Fort McMurray Wildfire

Q2 2016 Fort McMurray Wildfire

Andddd here’s another one! The second quarter of 2016 is over and it seems like time is flying WAY faster than normal. There’s not a whole lot to talk about that happened in this quarter but there’s one major thing you may have heard of.

On May 3rd, my second home of Fort McMurray, Alberta was evacuated. Over the next few weeks 15% of the town was burned to the ground and the majority of the city had major smoke damage. I happened to be extremely lucky and wasn’t in town, was scheduled to fly back the morning of May 4th. Which is now starting to become a trend for me, avoiding major disasters by a day. In 2013 my other hometown of Calgary, Alberta had a major flood that caused billions in damages throughout the province only weeks before their biggest tourist attraction, The Calgary Stampede. Luckily, I wasn’t there for that either, flew out of town for 2 weeks the day before it happened and the evacuation order was lifted just before I got back. I’m like a disaster dodger and I really hope that trend doesn’t stop! Read more

How to NOT become a millionaire

hot to not become a millionaire

There’s tons of websites and guides out there to help you get rich fast. Well here’s another list for you to read, but it has nothing to do with getting rich quick, or even getting rich at all. Here’s 7 ways to NOT become a millionaire as if we NEED more help with that!

  1. Don’t take advantage of your employer matched GRRSP contributions – This is an instant return on your investment, but you probably don’t want to do it because it’s a hassle or the management fees from the designated broker might be a little higher than your own Canadian Couch Potato Portfolio and you can do better without their money weighing you down. Turning down a 100% return to save 1% is a sure fire step to ensure you do not become a millionaire.
  2. Don’t negotiate a salary – Employers are ALREADY offering you more then your last job AND they said that’s as high as they’ll go, so you don’t want to make them angry by asking for more. In my day to day work I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing and sending job offers to people and they almost never negotiate their salary. This is fantastic from my point of view because I just got an employee on sale for that project.
  3. Stay in one job miserable job – After all you should be thankful you have one right? Some say that if you stay in your jobs for more than 2 years you can make about 50% less than those who don’t. So that’s a pretty quick way how to not become a millionaire just by staying put.
  4. Don’t teach yourself about personal finance – They don’t teach us anything in school for a good reason, right? Public school boards totally have our best interests in mind when it comes to teaching us life skills. I constantly use Pythagorean’s theorem and dissect small animals at my job.
    You’ll probably want to write down these books to make sure you never accidentally read them: The millionaire teacher, The Wealthy Barber Returns and well really just anything about money, don’t bother with it. School taught you enough, after all you came out of high school knowing how to file your taxes right?
  5. Keep up with the Joneses – They’re financing everything and so should you! After all it gives everyone the impression you’re doing so much better in life then they are and that’s how you want to live right? Leverage every purchase you make so the majority of your income is going to interest payments and while you’re at it make sure a few of those purchases are on credit cards. The quickest way to never be a millionaire is to always carry a balance from those designer goods on your credit cards so you rack up that 18-21% interest. If you’re paying enough interest each month that’s an excellent way to not become a millionaire!
  6. Invest in highly volatile stocks and trade with your gut – There’s people that study the markets and world trends for a full time job and they can’t predict how the markets will go, so trading with your gut is the best way to not become a millionaire, right? Just buy and sell as you see fit, you don’t need any training but if you’re going to take some training make sure it’s those from one of those get rich quick guys you might see paying models to promote on Instagram and on some YouTube channels. They’re definitely a scam, so they can certainly help you to not become a millionaire.
  7. Don’t learn from your mistakes and accept responsibility – Once filed for bankruptcy? It probably was just bad timing in the markets and will never happen again! Definitely repeat those same steps to ensure you’ll never become a millionaire.

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3 ways I discovered how to reduce my taxes

Reduce my taxes

3 ways I discovered how to reduce my taxes

I remember a few years ago I read this article online that I now cannot find. It was basically an explanation on how the rich pay much less in taxes as a percentage of their income.  I didn’t think too much about trying to reduce my taxes at the time because I had recently graduated university, and was starting my new career in another province.  I had too much to worry about before I could worry about trying to reduce my taxes…like getting enough income to start paying taxes. I thought that would be the best place to start!  But I think it really stuck with me subconsciously because over the next few years I started to think of multiple “hustles” to help reduce my taxes as I felt this could be another avenue for retaining more money.
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9 Great tax deductions for income properties

tax deductions for income properties

9 Great tax deductions for income properties

Tax season is just about over for everyone and I was able to get a pretty nice return thanks to my tax deductions for income properties. You may know by now that I have two income properties. If not, go and read about my first one which became an income property by accident. When you’re done there you can check out my search for a purpose bought income property.  Go ahead! I’ll wait right here!

Why so many income properties?

Well besides the fact they can make you tons money in four different ways, any accountant (always helps to check with an accountant if you’re going this route, they can save you lots of money!) could tell you all about the tax deductions for income properties.  Read more

7 ways to spend your tax return

spend your tax return

7 ways to spend your tax return

In case you haven’t heard all the radio ads about how scary your income tax is SUPPOSED to be(it isn’t) in order to scare you into paying money to have someone file your taxes, you may not have realized that it’s tax season.  An exciting season for a lot of people because it’s the one time of year they get “paid” from the government.  Unfortunately, your tax return isn’t getting paid from the government but only getting your money back that you’ve loaned them interest free.

If you’re like the majority of the population you’re probably getting some money back in the next few weeks and I’m going to share with you some ways how to spend your tax return. Some of these will be great for future you, others are going to be instant gratification for present you. It will be all your choice; I can only pass along the ideas. Read more

Income Tax season: Is it really that scary?

Income Tax

Is income tax season as scary as they want us to believe?

Spoiler alert: Nope!

Well it’s the end of February and I’m starting to hear all of the usual ads on the radio when I’m driving anywhere now. Even on TV you’ll see a few of them. They’re all reminding you of the same thing and trying to tell you that you need a professional’s help.  They’re all about tax season! With Canada’s personal income tax deadline coming up on April 30th, 2016 I’m going to tell you why you don’t have much to worry about and why you should file your taxes yourself.

Judging by all the commercials I hear on the radio you’d think filing taxes was the hardest thing in the world.  These commercials like to emphasize that if you don’t get it right the government is going to come after you for more money.  Sometimes they’ll use terms you might not be completely familiar with like deductions, tax credits, or audits.

I think a lot of people are under the impression a lot of these tax preparation places employ accountants and highly trained professionals that know the income tax structure inside and out.  Unfortunately this is about the furthest thing from the truth. Read more

Don’t worry Justin Trudeau and the Liberals will probably NOT be raising your taxes.


Don’t worry Justin Trudeau and the Liberals will probably NOT be raising your taxes.

 

Dear people who think they’re a part of the 1% and are going to “suffer” from the proposed new tax regime that the Liberals talked about during their campaigning, you probably don’t need to worry as much as you think!

First of all let me say, I saw an unbelievable amount of “end of days” comments after the election. Everything from terrorists are now going to invade us to how much more in taxes Albertans are going to be paying. I can’t really dispute the terrorism thing with cold hard facts, other than nothing has happened so far!  Now with us heading into winter I think we’re probably safe until Spring 2016. On the other hand, the tax issue I can definitely shed some light on.
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What does it cost to drive a kilometer?

What does it cost to drive a kilometer-

Driving can be very expensive. Everyone knows how much they pay for their vehicles and they know how much they pay for gas and insurance and everything else, but does anyone actually add it all up and see how much does it cost to drive a kilometer in their particular mode of transportation?

For me personally, I drive a 2009 Toyota Rav4. I bought the Rav4 used in 2013 after the 14 year old Grand Am that I inherited had everything break in it. Seriously, the AC broke on my drive from Halifax to Calgary in June of 2011 and the heater broke in January 2013. Needless to say, spending several thousand dollars to get them fixed on a car worth maybe $2000 once everything was fixed wasn’t really a great financial decision.

I bought the vehicle because I thought it was the right thing to do. I do need a vehicle occasionally to get certain places that public transit doesn’t reach. Sometimes it’s nice to do a small road trip to the mountains or wherever I want to go.

The cost of the having the vehicle doesn’t bother me, I personally think it was a great deal. I bought it used in 2013 with 69,231 kilometers (43,018 miles) on the odometer, fully loaded, leather seats, spare winter tires and rims, all of the options. It would have cost me just under $22,000 if I have paid for it outright in cash. Everything comparable was several thousand more and the Rav4 had won best in its class for several years running by consumer reports and many Car and Driver comparisons.

Lately I’ve been wondering how “good” a deal I really got for myself or is it just expensive personal travel? I took a look into my old files from when I bought it to find out what it’s currently costing me (and my girlfriend) to drive each kilometer.

So here’s the break down:
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Why don’t we learn about personal finance in school?

Why don't we learn about personal finance in school?

Why don’t we learn about personal finance in school?

I don’t think I’m alone here when I say everything I was taught about money was either self-taught or taught to me by family members.  I went into high school knowing almost nothing about money and came out “prepared” for the real life, knowing almost nothing about money. I mean I came out with some really useful life skills like knowing that mitochondria is like a power plant for your cells. Or that calculus sucks. Probably my most useful skill was learning how to break an egg from several floors up while trying to not break the egg…Seriously, did anyone’s egg not break or am I just a terrible engineer?

Upon my graduation, the whole money thing wasn’t a big deal, I was heading to University. I had some money saved up, was working 20 hrs a week and was living at home with my parents help. Sad to say but I wasn’t overly concerned or really even aware of my situation in life and I don’t think I was alone. Then one day some student organization put up some craft paper on a wall with the title “Debt Wall”. Students were encouraged to write how much in debt they were in anonymously. After a few days this thing was filled with insane numbers. There were a lot of $30,000+ numbers, hundreds of them all probably from only student loans and maybe some credit card debt. It astonished me that people had put themselves into this much debt this early in their lives, such a deep hole to climb out of so early in life when soon you should be buying your first car, house and getting married or whatever else we used to think we were supposed to do right after high school or after your post-secondary education.

But that wasn’t me, I had no debt and I thought they were fools; without knowing how much I didn’t know.

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