subscribe to the RSS Feed

Friday, April 18, 2014

Financial Procrastination

Posted by Dave on April 15, 2014

Dave is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.

I will be the first person to admit that when it comes to spending money – even if it’s a small amount, I hesitate. I drive my wife nuts over the amount of research I’ll do over a $20 widget that she knows I’ll like, or the fact that there have been times when we’ve gone somewhere to buy something only for me to pick it up in my hand, hold it and put it back on the shelf. She is much more of a spender than I am and enjoys new things. I on the other hand hate to waste money, and would rather do without that widget most times rather than part with money in my account.

Where I run into trouble at times are when deadlines become involved with the spending decisions I need to make. Recently, we just accepted the house and car insurance package given to us, instead of shopping around a bit (a serious personal finance no-no). My upcoming mortgage term is approaching (I need to finance the last 10% of our house) and I really haven’t even looked into my options at all.

I know I’m procrastinating, but like most things of this nature, it’s hard to talk myself out of. I think that I get paralyzed by the many choices available and don’t want to make the wrong choice. I experienced the same thing when I was doing Accounting courses – if I left the assignment until the last minute, anything I put together was better than the alternative (a mark of zero) and I was able to get working and get it done (usually resulting in a lack of sleep for the evening).

With school, at a certain point I had enough of the late nights, which was affecting my ability to concentrate at work and also putting unrequired stress on me during the final late-night burst. I started getting the assignments done days before they were due so that I could at least have an opportunity to read them over and check the math on them (not that I ever did, but the option was there). I think I need to make the same type of effort when it comes to personal finances, as a significant change is going to happen. I am going to have to make many different transaction, when I have to buy income producing assets.

The multitude of purchases (in relation to what I am used to) will need to be thoroughly researched and thought about before making the investment. A significant amount of money is going to be spent on the stocks or bonds that are going to make up my retirement portfolio, and these decisions shouldn’t be made hastily or at the last minute, making my current method of procrastinating ineffective.

So, much like I did when I was in school I have to change the way I’m doing things to become more pro-active in the financial decisions I make.

Have you ever found yourself procrastinating on a financial decision?

Goodbye Jim

Posted by Tim Stobbs on April 14, 2014

Out of all the characters in the federal government as the federal Finance minister I spent the most time following what Jim Flaherty did since it was most relevant to this blog.  So I was a bit shocked to find out he was dead after just a few short weeks from leaving his job.

On the whole I have to say from my personal point of view his record on the job was a mixed bag.  On the one hand he created the 40 year mortgage and created the huge surge in housing prices in this country, which has totally screwed over anyone who didn’t already own a home.  Yet later on this was undone and we reverted back towards 25 year mortgages as he did the hardest thing to do in life and admit you were wrong and fix something after the fact.   Yet for the average person his biggest legacy is the creation of the Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) which allows all Canadians to save money in an account that doesn’t trigger tax on investments.  While it hasn’t been well used by the average person (since the majority of people just keep their money in a savings account, sigh), it was a good step in the right direction to help encourage saving.

Yet Jim’s last lesson is likely the most notable to me.  Life is short, so don’t spend all your time working.  It doesn’t do you any good to spend you life building a retirement fund if you drop dead shortly after leaving your job.  Stress can be a killer and you have to take care of yourself now and in the future.  So I will try to recall this lesson and not spend all my time working in life.  You have to sit back and enjoy life as well.

So goodbye Jim.  Thanks for trying to make life better for people, while I don’t always agree with what you did I do appreciate you tried.  My condolences to his family in their time of grief, while I didn’t know him personally I respected his actions.

Standing Up, Again

Posted by Tim Stobbs on April 10, 2014

Yesterday I had a second opportunity to vote  for myself in an election, which trust me that doesn’t get any less weird doing it more than once.  This time I was picked by our local engineering association (APEGS)’s nomination committee to be nominated for their council.  The council is the governing body for the association and it would be for a three year term.

I really don’t even know how my name came up to that committee, but never the less I understand that our engineering association exist because we are self governing body.  So in my mind that means some members have to help run it or we end up with getting run directly by the provincial government which could be unpleasant.  So I agreed to let my name stand for this year’s election and I will serve if elected.

Besides I’m hardly a shoe in for the job.  Actually the other nomination ironically taught me when I took my engineering degree.  So yes I’m running against my old professor, which I think provides a nice contrast in choices.

It might seem odd that I’m volunteering for more work , when I fully admit I’m obsessed with not having a day job.  Yet the reality is I want more time to do other things like this, I enjoy contributing my time and skills to organizations which I believe can help improve people’s lives.  Being free from having to work for salary doesn’t mean I want to stop being involved.  Instead it means choosing the work I do based on interest and not the salary.

Do you stand up to support organizations you believe in?  If so, how do you contribute?  If you had more time to get involved, would you do more?