A Money Coach in Canada

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So Darren Barefoot (a legend in Vancouver) got this great idea on how all of us who acquired any great music … uh….errr… via less than fully legitimate means can pay back the artist (note: not the record company, if you, like him, think they’re evil).

Here’s the deal: you visit his new site, DearRockers, write the artist you’ve offended an “oops! Sorry!” letter, scan and upload the letter to the site, and send the letter with $5. Now that’s what I call entering the party season with good karma!

Axl RoseHere are some hilarious excerpts:

Dear Whitney,
I remember listening to your music and I thought “GOD DAMN, here is a woman that can sing and is going places”. Even though the only place you have gone is to rehab, I still love your music. I would send you $5, but I know that will just go to crack. So instead I am donating $5 to the local orphanage. I figure they can make a lot out of a little. Don’t worry though, I will always love you. Just like your song.

Dear Axl,
There are a lot of musicians I could have sent this money to; people lke Bob Mould or Henry Rollins or Robert Plant, whose music graced the mix tapes of my youth. But I figured out of all of them, you could probably use the money the most.

Dear Billy Joel,
I should tell you that, about a decade ago, I taped some of the songs from your “greatest hits” album off a friend’s tape. The songs “My Life” & “Moving Out” served as the perfect inspirational soundtrack for a 20-year old aspiring actor, just beginning her career in the Big Apple.

So if you’ve ever downloaded, burned a cd, or (any readers old enough?) taped an LP, you know what to do!

Move over, Nancy! Money Relations is here!

When Nancy first approached me to do this guest post, I… shuffled my feet at the opportunity.

What was she saying? Blog about my baby steps towards investing…? Was there a hidden message somewhere – that any idiot can do it?!

Good thing I’m not that easily offended by the truth. Below describes my financial story with notes of insight along the way.

My first investing experience came when I was a kid banking at the Bank of Mom . I had saved my birthday/Xmas monies and I had deposited it with BMOM at separate installments. Little did I know that the bank did not keep good accounting records and when it came time to withdraw, I got an NSF.

As you can imagine, that was the last time I banked with Mom and I opened an account with a CDIC institution member.

Note to self 1: Keep track of own dang money.

Things went swimmingly after that, I had my own pocket money at an early age with a paper route and I could afford my own things.

Note to self 2: Lugging newspapers in winter sucks. Need to retire from newspaper biz. Save money.

Later on, I puttered around in university but I have to admit I really didn’t find my calling until I was hanging in the computer labs. Unfortunately, I hadn’t signed up for any computer courses. As a result, I flunked the courses that I was registered for and I enrolled in college instead for computer engineering. I had already blown 2 years of tuition in university.

To this day, it nags me that I don’t have a degree as I’m pretty bright (really, I swear). I graduated from college and Mom bailed me out of tuition debt.

Note to self 3: Thank and forgive Mom for BMOM fiasco.

I got my first real job in the tech field during the dot com meltdown. It was with a small company and I considered myself lucky that I could even find a job. During the interview process, I said my expected salary was 42k. I started at 28k!

Luckily, after my 3 month probation, I got what I had asked for (which was unexpected). At my year end review, my salary was raised to 52k (which was also unexpected as I didn’t even negotiate nor was it requested).

Note to self 4: Get foot in door. Shut pie-hole and work. Project positivity – rewards will come.

It was rough times working with this company as all the R&D money had dried up to go to defense contracts after 9/11. Still, being in such a small organization I learned a lot. And Mom was at it AGAIN nagging me to save.

Note to self 5: Look towards future. Start saving and investing for real. Begin with mutual funds.

After 3 years with the company, my hours were reduced in half. It wasn’t unexpected as bodies had started disappearing (in a non-murderous way). During my off days, I started to look for work elsewhere.

Note to self 6: Financially stability rocks. Don’t live paycheque to paycheque.

Within three months, I got a job at my current organization. I earn a good living and it’s secure with a great pension and health benefits plan. The chances of career development are low and I’m not sure if I want to put in the same blood, sweat and tears as I did with my old company.

Note to self 7: Don’t live for job. Nice to have choice to work or not. Seek financial freedom.

So here I am today. I’ve done my due diligence with savings and I’m debt free. I don’t own a house and I rent. I’ve reached the step in my financial progression where I want my money to work for me.

I looked into my previously invested mutual funds and I realized that their performance trailed comparable funds that track indexes – with much lower management fees. Now why would I pay more to people to screw up for me? I can do that very well on my own, thanks.

And that’s exactly what I have been doing… investing by myself and screwing up here and there but it’s okay. I’m learning from my mistakes and my good decisions have outweighed my poor ones. I just need to do this more consistently.

Note to self 8: Start small. Get in the game and learn. Motivation: don’t lose money.

I started my blog to write down my journey in life as it relates to money. It helps keep my finances on the front burner but I don’t obsess about it. Making money for its own sake is meaningless. I am lucky in that I grew up in a family that stressed financial prudence but I don’t let its influences dictate who I am.

Note to self 9: Need to find own investment style. Gather information from internal and external sources. Make decisions best for self.

So there you have my financial story up to now. We each tell unique stories with different chapter emphasis on budgeting, savings, investments, etc. It just depends on your life circumstances.

Now go write your own fairy-tale by finding out what works best for you.

Note to self 10: Tell readers to write their own dang notes.

Lots of great stuff this week!

Avril LavigneAvril Lavigne is giving a free concert courtesy of BestBuy in Burnaby, this Sunday. Check out the full scoop on Miss 604s site.

First Weekend Club presents the film “Tears for April: Beyond the Blue Lens”. It’s an extraordinary (true-life) film following the life of a young woman in Vancouver’s downtown eastside, but most remarkably, the film is created by 5 police who are deeply familiar with the area. It’s playing for 4 days only over this weekend, at Tinseltown.

If you know anyone with teenagers in Vancouver, esp. ones vulnerable to drug use, this is a must-see. If you live or work around gastown/dtes it’s also a must see.

Want 9% interest on $500 for 6 months? citizensmall.gif Citizens Bank of Canada’s campaign concludes this week. Shoot me an e-mail at ngzca at yahoo (the commercial one) and I’ll invite you! The only ‘catch’ is the deposit has to be $500, and stay in the savings account for 6 months. It’s an awesome bank – truly unique on the Canadian landscape.

dscn0009.JPGSaving the best for last: just in time for the Party Season, this Cranberry Glass Sautoir, ca 1920s, in mint condition. $50. Thanks, 10onWednesday!

I’m participating in the Canada FlagCanadian Tour of Personal Finance Blogs!

My submission was the post on the Process of Change, as it relates to our Financial Habits.

The Frugal Trader gave his top 7 tips on saving money over Christmas .ph03468i.jpg

Riscario also chimed in with his 3 tips on getting genuinely good boxing day sales.

Thicken my wallet gives his lessons-of-experience about not getting sucked in by Seminars by Billionaires telling you to Do It My Way.

Canadian Dream opens his wallet and tells us how much he spends, on whom, at Christmas.

Thanks again to Monty for organizing us all!

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