Friday, July 26, 2013

How To Reduce Mortgage Loan Portfolio Risk

Imagine managing a loan portfolio with ten 30-year fixed rate mortgages. In a perfect world, your borrowers would pay their mortgage payments on time for the life of the loan. But the world is not perfect, and borrowers do not stay in their jobs or homes forever and these are the types of loan decisions you need to make. Circumstances and market conditions change, affecting even the most qualified of borrowers from time to time. Now imagine what would happen if all ten of your borrowers defaulted on or paid off their mortgages early? Your business would be impacted dramatically.

While this isn’t likely to happen at that scale, all loan portfolios have both internal and external risks. Use the following steps to manage and reduce loan portfolio risk:

1.     Do a loan portfolio risk analysis – Once you know what risks your firm is susceptible to, you can then monitor them as well as take steps to reduce the risk. Risk should be examined at the loan level, the portfolio level, and the market level. While you may not be able to control external risks such as the economy, you should be aware of them

2.     Identify the most risky loans in your loan portfolio – Consider the Pareto principle which is known as the “80/20″ rule. Under this theory, 20 percent of your loans could be responsible for 80 percent of your risk. By focusing on the most risky 20 percent, you could potentially slash your loan portfolio’s risk by a much larger percentage.

3.     Eliminate loans that are too risky for your firm’s comfort level – The mortgage business is risky by its nature; it’s impossible to avoid risk completely. However, each firm must decide how much risk is acceptable and then work to eliminate loans that exceed those thresholds. This may mean selling risky loans, working with borrowers to get them into a more suitable product, adjusting loan pricing to account for high risk levels, or being more selective about the types of loans you originate. (Source: Mortgage and Loan Pipeline Management by NYLX)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Best Solution With Payday Loans

There is some evidence that a loan is the best solution if you are having financial difficulties. You can decide as many people that the level of short-term interest rates really have value. And if you're just going to give consideration, you will find that you really do not need to worry about the issues that you think very hard. Now some basic guiding payday loan companies. Most borrowers choose to jump to take a loan despite higher interest rates and ultimately long-term problems because of their inability to pay back the borrowed cash on your next payday to generate added interest. This is the most effective way to use for payday loan today.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Here we are at Worldwide Financial commitment strategies in Cyprus?

Due to the regulation in most nations, every nation is looking for foreign and regional traders to be able to help replenish its economic system and offer career.

Cyprus is one of these nations with several techniques to entice this type of extensive traders, but then what type of investment can a possible trader do in Malta to help create his worth while?

Real property is out at this point of your efforts and energy and effort for the known reasons,unless for traders who have having access to audience and can be engaged in the harbour and golf tasks. But even these (the latter in particular) there are so many tasks around that it makes their fascination difficult to maintain. Already one (existing) golf venture in Pafos is growing with another 18 opening golf providing moreover to the current unsold (first golf project) of around 300 models, another 400 models for the new phase/expansion and all these moreover to the several resales. This is one and there are another 4 golf tasks with allows. Limassol harbour is doing well, but then it is the first and only one, it is in Limassol and its outcomes cannot be estimated in the same way to the other two marinas and the one awaiting (in Pafos).

In our search to determine some kind of appropriate investment possibilities in Malta, the only ones we came up with is that of touristic platform tasks and wellness care/ areas and knowledge.

Tourism is on the up, whereas the long run objectives are beneficial with regard to top quality resorts on the seaside. This new creation of resorts must be along with spa, enjoyment and extensive meeting places which can provide around 1.000 individuals. These resorts are more appropriate to Limassol and Pafos, in contrast to other places, since meeting individuals merge a meeting with enjoyment and as such places such as Polis, Paralimni etc are not in first concern. Even resorts with some kind of golf facilities/connections are not doing as well as one would anticipate with the golf relationship.

Water recreational places and places is another choice, but then analyzing the water recreational places, one has handled to endure, plus another two whose financial outcomes are not so clear. Another 2 which handled for a while closed down. Concept recreational places need a lot of area in appropriate places which is not easily found in vacationer places.

Health-private medical facilities are another choice especially for those who can offer top medical minds and devices, to be able to entice our Arabic others who live nearby. A relationship with say an Israeli medical center is one way and which can entice part of the over 200 mil. Arabic citizens, as well as from other nations. The cost of comparative good care must be examined however. A most effective regional heart medical center for example, is asking for more or less the same as a specific In german medical center. So is there a upcoming for this (let alone the free Govt medical facilities - be it with a lot of failings)??

Higher knowledge is another choice usually a division of a Western school is also to be regarded not so much to protect the regional needs but the Center Eastern, as well as far southern nations. The levels given must be comparative and the charges billed much be less to help create it aggressive.

Sports facilities are another choice using the good climate. A activities set up which will consist of moreover soccer, golf, diving, gym etc, to work with regional regulators and use the current public works for boating, kayaking and other aquatic activities could be an all year function, gaining foreign groups for coaching. The latest success by a Western company to identify a boating school in Pafos is a start, as is the predicted Snorkeling investments (to be) all over the isle.

Using the old Larnaca terminal or the under used Pafos terminal for light aircraft training/pilots could be another, based on regional costs in regards to those, overseas.

There must be other, but whatever one chooses to look at, financing is the significant issue since regional fund is not available and inbound foreign traders must have their financing in place. Another issue is the paperwork which takes too plenty of your efforts and energy and effort. Despite that the Govt has set up a "fast-track" process, time is still a issue - see Qatar deal, the Larnaca Shopping Shopping mall, the Western Conference Area at Alamanos and so many other who remaining due to time. We have a somewhat difficult mind-set, as individuals, we are scared. A most latest example is the old Limassol slot which is being designed into a "fishing/entertainment" slot, but because a couple of the structures prevent the perspective to the sea (from where?) there is a lot of conversation to destroy them and thus putting the whole venture under query. We wish that now that we are "poor", we will put some kind of feeling in our head and we could ignore some of our unusual actions.

The finishing of this National phrase will, hopefully, open the entrance to gambling house and other investments and a more generous strategy to such issues. Time is not with us we are scared and other nations in more or less the same economic system such as ours are viewing and speaking with the restricted international traders that have left

Friday, February 8, 2013

Ten Market Estimates and Predictions From 2012 - An Evaluation

Market estimates and predictions are always viewed with a degree of caution. Attempting to forecast the direction of shares, currencies and interest rates is very difficult to do, especially with any accuracy or consistency. However, some crystal ball gazing can be a necessary exercise for investment advisers and strategists, and it does at least allow us to focus our thoughts, consider various scenarios and evaluate risks and opportunities. Rather than rely too heavily on market predictions, we prefer to consider them as talking points that might encourage some insightful debate and thought.

On that note, let's recap and evaluate what we wrote a year ago regarding 2012.

1. Recession in Europe, while the US economy surprises us

Correct. Europe did fall back into recession despite most forecasters expecting at least some growth, while the US economy was much more resilient than many predicted as house prices stabilised and consumers began to spend again. Many of the worst problems in the United States over 2012 were political, rather than economic.

2. No break-up of the Eurozone in 2012

Correct. The Greek election was a bit of a debacle, but in the end the Eurozone stuck together and the European Central Bank resolved to do "whatever it takes" to keep things stable. For now, it's working.

3. No "hard landing" for China

Correct, but only half a point. China did avoid a hard landing (which would have had severe consequences for Australia and to a lesser extent, New Zealand) but we also said it would hit 8% growth. It looks to have just missed this hurdle, with actual growth for the year likely to be in the high sevens.

4. Shares have a positive year

Correct, but only half a point, because we weren't nearly optimistic enough. We picked the local market to deliver "at least 5%" and the US to rise 10%, but share investors have had an outstanding year with the NZX50 up 24.2% and the US rising 15.9%.

5. NZ Interest rates remain very low

Correct. A year ago the bank economists were, on average, expecting the Official Cash Rate (OCR) to hit 3.0% by the end of 2012, but it was unmoved all year at its current 2.5% as the recovery remained very sluggish.

6. The NZ dollar rises against our major trading partners

Correct. The NZ dollar rose 6.6% against the US dollar as the Americans continued to undermine their currency with their money printing policies. It also rose against the British Pound, the Euro and the Australian dollar.

7. Fixed interest doesn't repeat its 2011 performance

Correct. Fixed interest was the star asset class of 2011, delivering a stunning 13.3% compared with NZ shares, which fell 1.0%. But in 2012, shares had their best year since 2004 rising almost 25%, while fixed interest delivered a reliable yet much less inspiring 6.2%.

8. Obama is re-elected US president

Correct. It was a tight race and Mitt Romney put up a good fight, but the eventual election result meant an unchanged US political landscape. Ironically, rather than the usual post-election optimism, markets saw the status quo outcome as a major negative. The expectation of further political gridlock and further decision-making stalemates drove the S&P500 down 5% in the days immediately following the election.

9. Mighty River Power might not be the only game in town, as legislative changes might enable Fonterra to introduce share trading allowing the public to invest

Correct. A final decision on Mighty River was deferred into 2013 and Fonterra did indeed come to market (in the form of the Fonterra Shareholders Fund), and what a stunning debut it was.

10. Inflation falls back to low levels

Correct. Official inflation was just 0.8% - below the Reserve Bank's target band of 1-3% and unlikely to spark any interest rate rises in a hurry.

That's nine out of 10 for 2012, which is a great result during what was another difficult year to navigate, despite the good returns we saw in the end. Following this stellar performance, how will the market perform in 2013 and what sort of themes should investors be thinking about? See my next article 10 predictions for the year ahead.

Monday, February 4, 2013

February NetWorth

Just a brief post today with February's Networth update.


  • Increase to RRSPs & Pension (regular contributions)

  • Increase to Savings (regular contributions)


  • Decrease in Mortgage and Escape (regular payments)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Spending Sequester Will Grow the Private Economy

Today’s report of a 0.1 percent GDP decline for the fourth quarter came as a surprise to most forecasters. But it actually masks considerable strength in the private economy. Namely, housing investment in the fourth quarter jumped 15.3 percent annually, business equipment and software spiked 12.4 percent, and real private final sales rose 2.6 percent. All in, the domestic private sector of the economy increased 3.4 percent annually -- a very respectable gain.

And here’s one for the record books: Working ahead of year-end tax hikes, individuals shifted so much money to the fourth quarter at the 35 percent top rate that personal income grew by 7.9 percent annually -- a huge number. And there’s more: In order to beat the tax man, dividend income rose 85.2 percent annually. You think tax incentives don’t matter? Guess again.

Now, all this private-sector strength occurred despite the fact that government spending -- namely military spending -- dropped 6.6 percent. Inventories also lost ground and the trade deficit widened.

But here’s a key point: Military spending has now fallen virtually to its lower sequester-spending-cut baseline. It did so in one quarter by about $40 billion. So the brunt of the impact over the coming years has already been felt. (Normally, as of recent years, military spending has been virtually flat.)

Which leads me to another key point: Even with the fourth-quarter contraction, the latest GDP report shows that falling government spending can coexist with rising private economic activity. This is an important point in terms of the upcoming spending sequester. Lower federal spending, limited government, and a smaller spending-to-GDP ratio will be good for growth. The military spending plunge will not likely be repeated. But by keeping resources in private hands, rather than transferring them to the inefficient government sector, the spending sequester is actually pro-growth.

Big-government Keynesians think big spending provides big growth. They are wrong. This has been a 2 percent recovery -- the worst in modern times -- dating back to 1947. So let’s try something different. Let’s shrink government. Let’s let the private sector breathe and generate entrepreneurship and risk-taking.

Spending is the true tax measure of the economy, according to Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, and others. Even a modest sequester spending cut of maybe $60 billion in 2013, and perhaps more than $1 trillion over ten years (most of which will come from a slower spending growth rate, not real reductions), will be the best thing to inspire business and market confidence as well as international credibility. And it maybe even shave a point or two off the spending share of GDP.

On March 1 the spending sequester is supposed to kick in by law. If Congress wants to help the U.S. economy, the best thing it can do right now is implement this sequester. Then it can round out an even larger growth package, including large- and small-business tax reform and adjustments to stop entitlements from going bankrupt.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Money Saving Continues

As our conversation continues on way to eliminate the fat in our spending, Jordan and I took on our Fishtank. We have been maintaining a 90 gallon tank (pictured) for the last three or four years. Prior, both Jordan and I had smaller tanks growing up.

I expressed to Jordan that I felt like the fish tank had become my hobby rather than our hobby. I knew he was on board when it came to buying plants and fish – and I’ve always known he’s wanted to move from freshwater to saltwater – but lately when it comes to the muck work (cleaning the tank) – it felt like a chore rather than a part of a hobby we enjoy together.

Jordan expressed that he wasn’t enjoying it as much either – the placement in the house (our office) isn’t ideal and we don’t have the money to invest in making it amazing (the tank pictured is not what it currently looks like – it’s what it looked like a few years ago).

So, we decided to decommission the tank.

We sold some fish as part of our the project to fund the new couch, and donated the last few to a pet store in the city. On Monday night we drained all the water, cleaned the tank, and cleaned the filtration system. It’s a lot of work – but the hardest part will actually be moving the tank into the basement as an empty tank weighs about 160 lbs. Jordan and I have moved it by ourselves before but I’m just not as strong as I used to be – so hopefully we can get a friend or two to help out.

We’re not going to sell the tank/stand because when we develop the basement in a few years, we’re going to set up a salt water environment instead. We will however for the time being save on electricity from the heat/light/filtration system as well as water (evaporation, regular cleaning-water changes). I’m not sure exactly how much – but it will be interesting to compare our bills from last year to this year.

Monday, January 28, 2013

We Sold Our Truck

Yup, that's right.  We are officially a one vehicle household again.

You were with us when we bought the truck at the end of 2008 - lack of past credit history led to me co-signing a loan for Jordan for $4,500.  It was scary then - we weren't married, just newly living together and everyone in the PF world say's 'never co-sign'...but I did and it worked out.  We successfully paid off the truck in May, 2010 - way ahead of the 24 month amortization on the loan - through lump sum and increased bi-weekly payments.

It was a lesson for Jordan and I - a big lesson on how to manage money as a couple and the power of duel income when paying down debt.  We really became a partnership then when it come to managing money.

So, what does this mean?

The truck sold for $850 (high kms...over 400K) - $250 of which was the last chunk to pay off the line of credit for the new couch. Jordan and I carpool every day to work - so while there may be a couple times of year when it's a headache to have one vehicle - the longer term savings will be well worth it.

We originally intended for the remaining $600 to go towards the house/back yard pool of money - however; Jordan would like to use some of it to buy some work clothes for me.  I really do need another pair of pants and a blazer - so that might work out to split it up some.

My mom, who comments here often, has always said to dress for the job you want - not for the job you have.  So, in that case, I do need to step up my game a bit in the clothing department.

The longer term implication of selling the truck however, is a reduction in our insurance premiums/registration fees.  Jordan made those phone calls and found out that with two vehicles we were receiving a 15% multi-vehicle discount which, of course, we lost.

In addition to that, now that we don't have second cheap vehicle, my name has to go on the Escape as on occasional driver and I have a crappy driving record.

So. Our premium only went down by $9.38/month or $112.56/year.

We also stopped in the Registry office.  In the province of Alberta in Canada your insurance and your vehicle registration are separate.  We had just recently renewed and so when we returned the licence plate, we were informed that we would be eligible for a refund.  So, that said, in the next two to six weeks we'll receive a cheque for $64.50.

Saving on annual registry fees and insurance means an approximate total annual savings of about $200.  Not too mention that thing was a gas guzzler.  Even though we didn't drive it often, it will be interesting to see if our 2013 gas expenditure trends down.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mortgage Pre-Payments

Jordan and I secured our mortgage just prior to the Canadian Governments move last year to reduce the maximum mortgage amortization from 30 to 25 years.  While right from the beginning, we knew we wanted to pay it off faster - the flexibility of a 30 year amortization meant we could adjust our payments to reflect our life circumstances higher or lower (within the confines of the mortgage agreement).

Our total mortgage financed was  $348,818.31 - monthly payments based on a 30 year structure, (5 year fixed) at 3.39% would have been $1,540.44 - our minimum.

Most of you know, that we chose the accelerated weekly option - $385.11/week.  Four months out of the year, there is a fifth week which reduced our amortization, and interest costs significantly.

Our 2013 plan is to finish our back yard and our 2014 plan is to pay off our car - but with all my posts lately about saving money, I couldn't help but look into the future about the impact of adjusting our weekly mortgage payments.

The calculator on my mortgage holder's website lets me review four different scenario's at one time.

The first - just by increasing our weekly  payments by $9.89/week - would shave another two years off of our amortization schedule.  $10 = 2 Years!

Going further you can see that by maximizing our pre-payment schedule, we could increase our payments by as much as $55.77/week to reduce our amortization to just under 17 years.  Jordan and I would be 45 years old!  Wowza!

While I don't think we're ready to come up with the extra funds before the escape is paid off (it's at a higher interest rate anyways) - I know that within the next 3-5 years, we're going to be able to make some serious changes to our mortgage and be mortgage free before we're 50!  Incredible!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New Couch & a Deal

Jordan has been looking for a sectional ever since we moved into our new place a year ago.

Among other furniture in our small living room, we currently  have a regular couch (brown, microfiber, 3.5 years old, $500), and a recliner (brown, pleather, 1.5 yrs old, $200) - they are still perfectly functional - clean and all that - but they just don't fit.  They are not only too big, but they are awkward for the shape of our space which makes it hard  for more then two people to be comfortable.

So, when Jordan was perusing Costco over Christmas he found the sectional pictured above (sans ottoman).  Fell. in. love.  When I finally got home, it was gone, sold out.  He's been keeping tabs on the store ever since, and lo and behold just this past week they received a few more in stock.

Jordan wanted it so much - and the risk of it being sold out again was high.  At $899 (plus 5% tax) - it's unlikely we would find another model that was compatible in quality and price.  Why unlikely, because it took a year to find this one.

So, I made a deal.

I told Jordan that he could buy the couch now (using our line of credit) and then come up with the money buy selling the furniture it would replace to pay ourselves back.  The kicker being, that he can't open the boxes until the debt is paid.

This is what Jordan had to say when I asked him to tell me how he felt about it:

"I wanted the sectional because of overall seating, how it will open up the living room in terms of brightness, color matching theme, and because my wife said she wanted the living room to feel comfortable like the show homes.  We need open and colorful living spaces to help uplift our moods, given the cold and dark winter months.  I love selling items on kijiji, so the deal is easy :)"

So far - he's already sold the couch, ottoman, recliner, old kitchen table, 2 matching bed side tables, some fish and a queen bed frame - there's still a few items to go so we'll see how much $$ we end up with.  The side benefit - we've started cleaning out our basement to get access to quite a few of these items - so all in all, it's been a pretty good deal for both of us.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Tax Assessments

Do you check yours?

Have you ever contested it?

For my NetWorth post a few days ago I went to my cities website and did a search for our tax assessment - pretty quick and easy!  In looking at the details of the page, it indicates the square footage, if the basement is developed, if there is a fireplace and if their is a garage.

All of our details were correct...except for the garage.  It says we have one, we don't.  I called in to let them know, and the person I spoke to was amazing.  Very helpful!  She made the change right away.

Today, I got a letter in the mail that said my monthly tax payment has been reduced from $189.36 to $183.38 until Mail, 2012 - a savings of $29.90.

Not too shabby for a 10 minute phone conversation.

Friday, January 18, 2013

I Heart ING & RRSP Season

There have been times, where I have been frustrated with ING, but by and large, I have been very happy since we switched to Thrive back in January, 2011.  These last two weeks have been no different.  I was fortunate enough to be chosen to be part of the trial of their cheque in feature which allows me to deposit cheques by taking pictures with an iPhone app - a really cool feature!

Over Christmas this was especially handy.  Not only did we receive gifts to be deposited but we also were paid back for shopping for others using cheques - so in my very small town of 3,800 people - I could still get all the banking done that I needed.

Once we got back from the holidays I realized that there was a bit of a snafu.  Several of my cheques had been deposited twice...once when I submitted the photo, and then again once they received the original in the mail - whoops.  One of them was even deposited three times!

Well, ING got it sorted out and I can only imagine audited the rest of the beta users to make sure it hadn't happened with them too.

That was all over the last few weeks - when I checked today I noticed I had a hold on $250 (the value of one of my deposits). I have good history with ING (no holds up to $5,000) - so called in.  It had to do with the other snafu, but not only did the representative I spoke to get it corrected, he told me he would follow up with the Rep who put the hold so they could both learn from it.  Wowza!  Good customer service!

Picture Credit:

Finally, when I was getting off the call, the Rep let me know about an RRSP promotion they have on right now.  At every other financial institution I bank with, I always feel like they are trying to sell me something - but not in this case.  I was receiving 1.35% on my RRSP account - and now, for the next 90 days, will received 2.5%!  It's not a lot, but it's a lot more than it was - and I didn't have to do any work to get it!

As most of you know, Jordan and I contribute regularly to RRSPs rather then at the end of the year - so this is really the only thing we'll be doing this RRSP season.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Our Life Pie

Inspired by a new year, and one of Gail Vaz-Oxlade's older posts about the life pie, I wanted to do some work to put together ours.

According to Gail, the Life Pie "is very flexible and is only meant as a guide so that you have some sense of balance in your budget. If you’re way over in one place, you have to be way under in another. The bottom line is that you can’t spend more money than you make."

You can see that because Jordan and I have 0% allocated to debt repayment, that leaves us a lot of wiggle room.  We have decided to allocate this money towards life - we've got plans to finish the back yard this year (deck, fence ect) - so that money will come in handy.

 For anyone who doesn't recall the post, or didn't click on the link, here is the breakdown of Gail's recommendations vs the exact percentages of ours.

Not only do we have 0% allocated to debt, we also spend less in housing then she suggests, and we contribute more to long term savings.

For those who like the details, keep reading below.

When filling this in, I started with what we spent last year and also had a look at what our budget for 2013 was - that helped guide this.  Using our utilities tracking history and tracking our daily expenses (gas, vehicle maintenance etc.) also was a big help in being accurate.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Phone/Internet/TV Services


So, I know this is a long post - but we really need help deciding what to do....all comments are much appreciated :)

Jordan and I spent an approximate combined three hours on the phone this past Saturday morning with Shaw, Bell and Telus.

We did a detailed review of our current services and then price matched with Bell and Telus followed by another call to Shaw (our current service provider) to see if we could push for any price changes on our bill.

It's a game. a very competitive one at that - and these providers know it.  They no longer are going to just drop the price, or give you a promo rate just because you ask for it - you have to know your stuff when you call in to force their hand.

....and, you have to be patient.

A part of our conversation was also a review of the need for a home phone.  Jordan and I each have a cell and we still have a home phone.  Crazy...who needs three phones, plus we each have phones at our respective offices.  I'm considering canceling my cell phone and keeping the house phone for more significant savings - really...I don't need to be checking my email when I'm grocery shopping or making a twitter update when I'm mowing the lawn.  Jordan uses his phone for work - so we're a bit more limited with cancelling his.

Here is a detailed break down of the numbers and special offers:

Overall, Telus offers the most competitive long term pricing.   You can see from my notes that Shaw is offering a six month discount, and Bell a 12 month discount - but long term, Telus beats them both. 

Bell would come with a two year contract and Telus with three years - pretty significant commitments when Shaw offers no-contract service.  They do try to sweeten the pot with the aforementioned temporary  discounts and with Telus - a $300 pre-paid Visa.

So here's where we need help.

Jordan is sold on Telus - not only is it the best pricing, we would also be able to get fiber optic services - the latest and greatest - beyond standard cable and they say.  

I am apprehensive about the contract.  The wording in the cancellation clauses are pretty serious - basically they could bill you for any promo's you received in addition to discounts on rental receivers ect. (so that includes that $300 pre-paid visa).    They also can bill you for downgrading services - so you have to be sure when you sign up that the services will meet your needs.  So cancelling - would not be an option.

The flexibility to cancel all services should our financial circumstances ever change is pretty important to me (say a maternity leave sometime in the future for example).  However, I'm pretty sure that we would never cancel the I'm torn.

The $300 pre-paid visa would go towards our back yard fund to help pay for that project.  The 2013 savings of $742.20 would also go towards the back yard fund.

So...what do you think?  what would you do?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Utilities - 4 Year Trend

As long as I've been tracking our daily spending, I've been tracking our expenditures on utilities longer.  This late in the game, I wish I had a break down on gas, water, electricity, power, sewer, ect - but this includes it all.

Total Breakdown

Having this much data gives me a huge advantage when setting up our annual budgets.  I know, within a small margin, how much our bills will be each month.  Given that the annual monthly average was $235 last year with the smallest bill being $149 and the largest $333 - it's very helpful to know how much to budget for.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Net Worth: January, 2013

It's been quite a long time since I posted on our Networth - so I thought I would do a bit of an update.  I don't think it's worth doing on a monthly or more frequent basis because quite frankly, our finances don't change that frequently - but I think ever six months could be a bit interesting.

Yay!  It's in the positive!

p  dot s

Did you notice?

Did you?

Our credit card is 100% paid off!!! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

This Christmas

This Christmas was hard.

It was the first without my dad.  It was also the first without my brother (he's moved to Winnipeg).  It was Jordan's first without his mom and his brother (they were on a trip together).

I tried to stay upbeat and positive, mostly I faked it until I could make it.  I think for the most part people believed that I was in good spirits, and that put me in a better mood then I would have been otherwise.

I had a lot of lists.. I always do, but this year it felt a bit more mechanical.  That helped get through I think...task lists...accomplishing things.

To distract myself, I made a lot of Christmas gifts this year.  We also spent a lot - but instead of telling you how much we spent (I don't 100% know just yet... haven't added up all the receipts), I would like to share with you some photo's of my creations...

Homemade Chocolates

Hand Painted Christmas Bear

Home Made Spice Blends

Stocking Stuffer for Jordan

Scarf for Jordan's Cousin

Scarf for my Mom

Scarf for My Cousin 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Three Year Spend Trend

It’s hard to believe we’ve been tracking our spending for the last two and a half years…when I started that project, I really didn’t know how long it would go on for – turns out, it’s been an invaluable tool.

Here is a look at our spending history for the last few years:

Something key to note with both Annual Expenses and Emergencies – I am really bad at tracking those things. Typically what happens is the rest of spending (like eating out and gas w/ regards to emergencies and vehicle maintenance w/ regards to Annual) just goes up.

Be that as it may, there’s still some interesting data here.

A couple of downward spending trends that I’m happy about include gas, pets, and banking. Carpooling is working – and we stopped buying more toys then the dogs actually need. Our interest costs have gone down – but I am truly looking forward to seeing a much smaller number here next year. Like $0.

Notable upward trends include groceries, entertainment, and home maintenance. My aunt suggested that perhaps we aren’t just eating more but it could be that the cost of groceries has just gone up over the last three years – something to think about. I don’t know if entertainment has actually gone up, or again, I’ve just gotten better at tracking that. This includes things like our Netflix subscription and any fights that Jordan has rented/watched with friends at the house. Home maintenance is a biggy – we moved last year, and bought a lot of ‘things’ for the house. What is not tracked well is the amount of $ gifts which helped us make some significant purchases this year.

Does anyone have a tip on how to track spending that is unusual but was gifted?

Some up/and/down trends include alcohol, and vehicle maintenance. We tend to buy a lot of booze. That’s true. We do a lot of socializing at the house and like to have a well-stocked bar. I also probably accidently included some Christmas gifts in the Alcohol spending. Vehicle Maintenance has changed as our vehicles have changed – I expect that this will continue to fluctuate.

We’ve remained pretty consistent in our spending on medical, clothes/shoes/hair, and education. I actually think that we need to spend a bit more on clothes – I work in a professional environment and feel a bit raggedy-ann sometimes. We also need to make sure that Jordan always has proper footware for work too.

So those are the trends…here are the goals:

  1. Track Annual/Emergency Expenses better 

  2. Monitor Grocery budget by trying to eliminate food waste

  3. Track Gift Alcohol vs Consumption Alcohol better

There will probably be  more, but that's what I have for now.

One-on-One with Senator Ted Cruz

Last week on "The Kudlow Report", I asked Republican Senator Ted Cruz if he'd go with a government shutdown if it came to it on the debt-ceiling debate.  His answer: "I think we have to be prepared to go so far as to shut the government down -- if we don't get some serious policies to stop the out-of-control spending, to tackle the debt, and to get economic growth."

It was a bold statement.  Watch the full video here:

Friday, January 4, 2013

BMO Sega....

Today, I hate the Bank of Montreal.

All I wanted to do was change the payment frequency of my auto loan...shouldn't have been a big deal. They messed it up so bad the first time that my mortgage payment bounced. thanks.

Then...then..after it was 'fixed', I found out that it actually wasn't.

As it turns out the payments we had made weren't a change to the old frequency. They had just put the old payments on hold and created new principal payments.


So when I called yesterday b/c Friday's payment hadn't gone through I was told that while I had made $200 in principal payments, my account was in arrears by nearly $400.


Plus today's $100.


So, I had to come up with a whopper of a payment that we weren't expecting or planning to avoid the account being sent to collections or some such thing.

We didn't even get a phone call.

And it was THEIR mistake.

Hate them.