A Money Coach in Canada

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We have a red hot economy, a sustained red-hot real estate market (just because it’s not white hot doesn’t mean it’s anything like ‘normal’… whatever that means, these days), the olympics coming, and we’re starting to come apart at the seams.

Vancouver city staff are on strike. One of the biggest provocations – and frankly, I’d be choked too – is that in today’s tight labour-market, the city wants to offer significantly higher salaries to attract new workers, while keeping current staff at the same rate.

And meanwhile, disaster, utter disaster, in Burnaby. For 25 minutes, a ruptured pipeline shot oil 30 metres into the air. It rained down on homes and also Burrard Inlet. Kinder Morgan, an energy transportation company, broke the line. The Tyee pointed out Kinder Morgan as having a history of negligence way back in 2005, when it was attempting to take over Terasen Gas. Kinder Morgan is blaming city contractors for poorly marking the line.

These are the ways in which the bigger economy is directly impacting our backyard.

Practicing what I preach.cooking together

Money and politics and values are all entwined. Here’s a wonderful opportunity to discover how your food purchase habits can radicalize towards sustainability.

The 100-mile diet is all about encouraging those of us in the lower mainland to have plates full of locally produced food. Did you know our average meal travels 2400 kms from farm to your plate?

I’m going to give this a go, myself.  Frankly, eating properly for my body, much less for the planet, is a real struggle for me.  I eat on the fly, have a lot of packaged food, and rarely shop in any organized fashion.  As mentioned in previous posts, this costs my wallet, and more, costs my sense of well-being.  I’m hoping taking this kind of challenge with others will help me be more thoughtful and orderly in this area.

Here’s an event to learn more:

100mile challenge networking event

Rhizome Café at 317 E.Broadway

Thursday, July 26 between 6-9pm

Eleanor has an income in the low 70K range from her work as an engineer. She is about 15 years away from retirement, and while she has little debt, she has no assets either. She does have a pension, but no rrsps of her own, no savings, no property. She is utterly baffled where the money goes. She does rent an $1,800/month apt in Kits (Vancouver) which she shares with her college-age son.

While successful professionally and working very long hours, Eleanor is chronically and seriously disorganized. Brilliant, yes. Competent yes. But require or suggest structure and she runs for the nearest exit.

What would you suggest to help Eleanor take control of her money so she can start building the assets she could have, with her income level?

Disclaimer: as usual, these case studies are based on real-life people and/or issues I’ve encountered, but details are altered to thoroughly disguise the identity of the individual.

One of my favourite financial sites is wisebread. It’s a terrific blend of savvy tips, fun, and outrageous … all about money.

This week they’re hosting a contest ($25 amazon gift certificate) for the wicked-est story about an attempt at frugalitygarage sale that went sideways. Way sideways. If you have your own story, head on over and jump into the foray. Your competition includes …

  • a college student who took advantage of the all-you-can-eat curry nights, only to discover a main ingredient was ….
  • a mom’s attempt at being frugal on her son’s birthday goody bags resulted in …
  • a pre-1st-date visit to the hair-salon-school resulted in …
  • an inexpensive sofa that infested the house with…
  • the dad who got his kids to dig the swimming pool hole on their summer vacation ended up …

If you need a laugh, and permission to not cheap-out this particular weekend, you know where to go.

I found a really interesting question posed on a fellow Canadian finance blog. She writes,

I just went to Quizno’s for lunch (I printed off a free coupon off their site!) and ordered a yummy sandwich. I paid via VISA (I’m only allowed 10 debit transactions for free a month) and promptly left. On the walk back to my office I realized that I never signed the Credit Card slip.

Now I know my VISA can be charged directly to my debit account, however, I didn’t enter a PIN, so I know that didn’t happen. The receipt I got shows that it was a VISA and the charge went through, but I don’t know if they can put the payment through if I didn’t sign the slip.

I’ll have to wait and see if it shows up on the ‘net.

This got me thinking – when it comes to company mistakes, how far will you go?

Wow. What a thoughtful question. I recall in my 20s, making a 15 minute trip back to a hardware store to give back a couple bucks for an item they’d neglected. I’d noticed at the time, hadn’t spoken up, but was troubled the whole way home.

I think my de facto m.o. is now: weigh out the cost to the business, plus my inconvenience to correct the mistake, plus estimating whether I’d want the customer to correct the mistake if I were in their shoes. (the answer isn’t always yes.)

How ’bout you?