A Money Coach in Canada

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Congrats to last week’s contest participants, who each won a year of free banking for a year, at VanCity!

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2 new goodies for everybody this week:

1. Anyone here a fan of Getting Things Done? Well if you’re a mac user (sorry, there goes 80% of you, I know, I know) – there’s a rock-solid free app to download to help you igtd.

No mac? There’s still the book – 5% off Getting Things Done at Chapters!
Getting Things Done

2. And for the rest of you, the jazz festival starts this weekend, and that includes a lot of free concerts, starting with one on my doorstep – in gastown! Watch for me and the daschunds taking in coastal jazz in gastown this Saturday and Sunday.

Want to make sure you get the scoop on free stuff every wednesday? Subscribe to my feed! (click the orange icon)

The June 25 issue of MacLeans’s magazine asks the question, “why do we feel so poor, if everyone is working, the dollar is soaring, and Canada is booming”?   I imagine it will get a good readership:  enquiring minds want to know!  Especially those of us in greater vancouver who wonder what happened to our middle-class visions of homes, pets, and a good annual vacation.FACTOIDS:

  1.  Despite a strong dollar, we still pay $299 for the ipod nano that costs only $249 in the States.  Or $69 for Ikea’s Billy the Bookcase, while Billy’s american friends get him for only $49.
  2. A litre of gasoline costs 72% more than it did in 2002.
  3. Our total personal debt as a country is approaching 1 Trillian (not a typo), of which 2/3 of that is for our mortgages (I think my mtg may actually account for 20% of the trillian, truth be told).

MacLeans theorizes that this is due to our gains being realized in corporations, not on a personal level.  Furthermore, on the personal level, our costs are rising all over the place – real estate (hello), and gasoline (hello) and corn flakes. Corn Flakes?Well, as we go green, and turn to ethanol as a fuel alternative, that leaves less corn available for bread and corn flakes.  Ergo, our corn flakes price goes up too. It’s a fun read, and a great way to connect big picture economics to our personal wallets.  

OK.  Last Monday I vowed to monitor my eating and spend less.  Success in some fronts; a couple disasters – entirely avoidable ones, I might add.Success:  did a good grocery shop at Costco.  Nothing like a full fridge to assist home-cooked meals.  I’m sure I cut my eating out by half.
Disasters:1.  Thur.:  gave seminar from 12:30 – 2:00.  Silly me – thought I’d last til 3pm.   One $12 ‘coffee break’ later…

2. Sat:  bought my gorgeous new Mac!  and in the process all thoughts of food fled, but when I went to the bank to work, hunger struck and off to, ugh, McDonald’s.

3.  Monday:  today, again – lost in MacLand, and brought no sustenance to the bank.  So again, off to WhiteSpot this time.

Between the three, easily $30 gone in a flash.  I wouldn’t mind if it was intended – like Sunday brunch at Docker’s – but this was pure waste. Next week, I’ll post my excel results on this.  With any luck my eating-out column (the only one I’ll post!)And, I’m thinking my daschunds may need to modify their dining habits as well!  In with the homemade, out with the high end treats from the Store of Doggie Temptation, Bow Wow Haus.  

Saturday Case Studies are just that: case studies, dilemmas, issues that I have encountered with my clients (Your Money by Design)past and present. For obvious reasons, the individuals are thoroughly disguised, but the issue remains the same. Your suggestions on the issue are very welcome. The following Saturday I will describe what I suggested to the client.Case Study #1:Jack and Maria come from different backgrounds. Jack immigrated here to create a better life for himself, and he has generally succeeded at this. He enjoys a solid middle-class background. He also supports his family back in his former country. Maria is a stay-at-home-mom for now, looking after their young kids. Eventually she intends to resume her career.The issue is this.In Jack’s culture, looking out for your extended family is a high priority. He has family members who are hovering around a serious poverty line. Every time a member loses a job, or has a medical issue come up, Jack fills in the financial void. It’s just what you do, in his mind.Maria, however, is increasingly concerned that this is jeopardizing their own finances. They haven’t had a holiday with the kids since they were born. Their RRSPs are minimal. They still rent, and she wants them to own a home. While initially supportive of the extended-family needs, she is increasingly resentful, yet feels uncomfortable raising the concerns since she is not the bread-earner at the moment. Plus, she doesn’t want to be selfish.I offered one solution that worked for them (to be posted next week) but if you have ideas, please click on the “comment” link below, and write your idea!_____________________________________________________________Money Coach’s Suggestion:The advantage they both had going for them is that each ‘bought into’ the their respective values.  Maria had sincere compassion for Jack’s family.  Jack ‘got’ that their family also needed and deserved things like holidays, savings etc.Here’s what they did.  The decided upon a certain amount which would be the yearly slush-fund for Jack’s family.  Each month, Jack would set aside an amount to build up the slush fund.  Once the agreed-upon amount was reached, that was all that would be available for helping out his family for that year.  If it got depleted, it would get replenished, but not used, until the following year.In this way, Maria’s anxiety about the ongoing nature of the need was alleviated:  they would not be, at all time and in every case, diverting money aware from their own nest.  Jack also was able to feel like he was still looking out for his family, and fairly generously, but in this plan, would also be able to have funds available to build cushion for his new family. 

In the sometimes-tradition of Canadian Financial Stuff’s blog, Fridays here are about FUN with money. Sometimes we take it all waaaaay too seriously, and forget that money is here for us, not vice-versa. So for today’s fun, find out how rich you are in global terms! (click the ‘how rich are you’ link in the box)

How rich are you? >>
I’m loaded.
It’s official.
I’m the 713,886,509 richest person on earth!
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