On Thursday Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced the new Federal budget in Canada. There is too much information in it to fit in a blog post, but I wanted to make sure you are aware of it and add some links so you can do some reading.
One again I want to remind you to read and learn as much as you can about saving and investing. It is my opinion that by the time we retire, there will be very few government benefits to draw on. The cost of an aging population is weighing heavily on our country and people are now living longer, so they are withdrawing benefits for an extended period of time.
In 2011 the cost of the Old Age Security Program was $38 billion. In 2030 the cost of the program will hit $108 billion. This has forced the government to increase the eligible age for old age security from 65 to 67 and offer a 7.2% bonus for each year that you delay receiving benefits (for up to 5 years).
Ottawa will start making the adjustments in 2023, and phase them in gradually over six years. That means anyone over 54 won’t be affected. People in their early 50s will see moderate changes. And people under 50 will feel the full force of the new policy.
Garth Turner – Geezer Dole
Yahoo Finance – Budget changes old age security
One of the things I enjoy about working in the film industry is that I get to work with new people and visit different towns. I am currently working on the film “The 12 Disasters of Christmas” which is shooting on location in the city of Squamish, B.C.
I have spent my time in Squamish talking to the locals and walking around on my lunch break so I could read the listings at the local real estate offices.
It turns out that Squamish is the fastest growing community in Canada with a population growth of 14.6% between 2006 and 2011 which is more than double the national average.
Squamish is located half way between Vancouver and the famous Whistler ski resort. Many people who live in North Vancouver have decided to drive a half hour North where their real estate dollars go twice as far. There are 15 new residential developments currently for sale in Squamish, as well as extensive plans to develop the waterfront lands and revitalize the downtown core.
The picture above is an example of a beautiful one bedroom condo built in 2011 which is currently for sale for under $200k.
Do you think you should wait until you are debt free to start investing, or start investing even though you are still in debt?
I don’t have a definitive answer for you on this one and welcome your feedback in the comments section. I think everyone’s personal situation is different and there is no “one size fits all” answer.
Some things to think about…
- There is nothing more important to your financial health than becoming debt free. The average Canadian’s non-mortgage debt in 2011 was $25,594.
- There is no point working, paying tax on the income, then investing what’s left over in a “high interest” savings account earning 1.5% (taxable income!) while paying 18% interest on a department store credit card balance.
- Every dollar you use to pay down a credit card balance at 18% is the same as investing a dollar in an investment with a guaranteed rate of return of 18%.
- Not all debt is “bad debt”. Money borrowed for investment purposes is tax deductible. Using leverage to grow your investments can be very powerful.
- It takes years of experience to become a savvy investor. Even if most of your money is being used to pay down debt, using a small amount to invest can be a great learning experience.
- Learn how to set up a mutual fund, and then invest $50/month into it. Follow that fund and learn how global events are effecting the value of the companies that fund holds.
- Learn how to set up a brokerage account and buy a few shares of your favourite company. Go to Tim Hortons every day? Buy a few shares, follow the company, feel like an owner when you walk in!
- Treat yourself like a business. Businesses have some debt and they also have some assets, but they always try and do what’s best for their balance sheet.
- Create a personal balance sheet. List all your assets, then list all your liabilities. Subtract your liabilities from your assets. This is your net worth. Do you have a negative net worth?
- Try and improve your net worth. Notice how both paying off liabilities and adding assets improves your net worth equally.
Although paying off debt is important, I also know that when it comes to investing, there is nothing more important than starting early.
A reader called in and said she enjoyed the bite-sized format of my last post, so here goes another one…
- On Wednesday Apple became the 6th company in U.S. history to have a market cap (total number of shares multiplied by share price) of $500-Billion.
- Apple has gained 32% since the beginning of the year, which is more than it gained in all of 2011.
- Tomorrow Apple will unveil a faster and better-equipped iPad 3 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. It will be Chief Executive Tim Cook’s second major product launch after the death of Steve Jobs.
- Tim Hortons announced today that it is buying back up to 1.2 million of its common shares for cancellation. Remember, the less shares that are out there, the more they are worth.
- The federal government has announced measures that will stop banks from mailing unsolicited credit card convenience cheques to customers. These cheques are treated like a cash advance and forgo the usual interest-free grace period credit cards offer.
- Stocks suffered their worst selloff of the year today with the Dow (American market) down 1.6% and the TSX (Canadian market) down 1.8%. Investors are worried about a recession in the euro zone, a Greek debt swap deadline and China lowering it’s target for economic growth.
- Over the past decade, shares of Fortis (Canada’s largest publicly traded gas and electricity distributor) have posted an average gain of 10.3 per cent annually. Throw in dividends, which Fortis has raised every year, and the total return has been a sizzling 14.3 per cent.
- Bank of Nova Scotia reported a 15% increase in first-quarter profit today, but the increase was helped significantly by the recent sale of several high-profile office buildings.
- Scotiabank, Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank all increased their quarterly dividend by 6% this quarter.
- Scotiabank is the most international of Canada’s banks, with branches in Canada, Mexico, South America and Asia.
Leaky condo owners in Vancouver touched by a rainbow.
Everyone who lives in Vancouver knows how crazy the real estate market is right now. You may feel bad that you can’t afford to buy a place and are forced to rent. Don’t.
Things are getting crazy out there fast! Stay put, pay your rent and don’t listen to people who say renting is like throwing money away. If you are dying to buy real estate, buy a real estate investment trust (REIT) that invests in rental apartment buildings. You will get monthly income from it and the shares are liquid and can be sold within hours.
One of the bad things about being an actor is that in order to get a job and get paid, you must first attend an audition.
With all the modern advances in computers and communication, the casting directors still prefer that you drive across town, sit in a waiting room with a bunch of other nervous strangers and wait for your chance to read for them.
Sometimes the casting director will allow you to submit your audition on tape which I think is a much more sane way to proceed. This way the actor is able to work with his coach in a relaxed setting, record the audition a few times and send in the best take. I think casting gets a much better idea of what that actor is capable of this way.
Rachel McAdams auditions for “The Notebook”
This is an example of a near perfect audition. There is a reason this talented actress went on to become a big star. And she’s from St. Thomas, Ontario!
She is 100% focused and connected to the person she is reading with. She brings in a simple prop and makes it work for her. The scene has structure and she is clear on the beat changes and when she is going to turn away and when she is going to come at the reader. And the main thing is she is emotionally full and trying hard to cap those emotions (but fails beautifully).
More celebrity auditions: Continue reading