A Money Coach in Canada

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So like any Canadian with a penchant for shiny, bright objects, I’m considering the Kindle as a Christmas present for, well, myself.

I divested myself of a household full of books a few years ago (yes, it hurt) in favour of Audible.com. But I miss reading.

It’s available from the States for $259USD (approx $275 Cdn) plus duty, and we need to purchase all the books from the US amazon site in $USD.    (side factoid:  apparently the average book takes 60 seconds to download).   We can download over a cel wireless connection, however, unlike its US counterpart we won’t have browsers on the Cdn Kindles so we can’t surf the net.

Three questions I’m curious about are:

  1. Which wireless company will provide the wireless connection – Bell?  Telus?  Rogers?  (he he – I wonder if they even know amongst themselves who got the contract!)
  2. Will apple produce a kindle-killer tablet in 2010, as rumoured?
  3. Can my eyes bear to look at an lcd screen any more than they already do?

Photo Credit: goXunu

3493128907_d4e4fc08b9Photo Credit: kanegen

Massive DISCLAIMER – see masthead – I am not a financial planner.  I want to post a wee bit in the coming days on the topic of ethical investing.  But these posts should in no way be construed as advice or recommendations.  Do your own homework, or contact a licensed financial advisor/planner.  These posts are simply my thoughts as a citizen who is hoping to invest ethically and make money at it.

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In an earlier post, I mused about general expectations I have for ethical investments.   In short, I’m not looking for perfect purity.  I’m looking for things which are better than the current status quo.  And things I can influence as a shareholder.

Over the next couple years, I’ll be scanning for green energy businesses. It’s a bit iffy, I know, and does not conform to my usual investment principle of looking for companies that have been money makers for several years already.  But I’m pretty convinced that Green Energy remains the Next Big Thing.

Here’s why.

My hunch is that indeed we’ve reached peak oil – ie., we’ve maxed out how much can be produced, and from now on production is going to decline.

BP’s Review of World Energy states: The amount of proven oil reserves awaiting to be exploited fell last year for the first time in a decade. The amount of crude left in the ground was 1.258trn barrels – 3bn less than last year.    Speaking of Canada specifically (the 2nd largest producer in the world), according to the National Energy Board (NEB), gas production in Canada peaked at 17.5 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) in 2001, and has been decreasing since then. 

While this may be contested, the uncertainty is of grave concern to business – how can you do business when you don’t know what price you’ll be paying any given year for your energy?  Even the US Military, the biggest consumer of energy in the world, has clearly indicated they want out of traditional energy sources and want green alternatives.  Not only is it a price concern, it is also a death concern – fuel convoys are popular targets and account for half the American deaths.

So if there’s business incentive to move off of traditional energy, and military interest as well, I’m guessing I will live to see a fundamental shift in energy sources.

Please God, let it be towards energy sources that mitigate climate change!  (as opposed to euphemistically named ‘unconventional gas‘ – or, as I like to call it ‘I know!  Let’s do the same old, same old, but worse!’)

So.

I’ll be exploring:

Which companies build wind turbines?

Which companies build solar cells?

Who builds geo thermal heat pumps?


Readers:   any companies you recommend I investigate?

One of the up-and-coming nifty tools for managing your money is PennyMinder – and it’s by a Canadian developer, hooray!  You can follow Vince on twitter @pennyminder.   For readers who want to keep on top of your holiday spending easily, his online tool may be your answer.  I asked Vince to say pop by my  blog!

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It’s almost that time of the year and it can be especially difficult
to stay on budget during the holidays.  One of the things my wife and
I are doing this year is tracking our holiday expenses using
Pennyminder.

A Project at ChippedIn would have worked just as well, but
since we use Pennyminder to track our day to day family expenses,
that’s where we are using to track our holiday expenses too.

There are a few different ways we could have set things up, depending
on the level of detail we wanted. For us, one big category for
everything seems to be working okay.

It’s also possible to be a bit more detailed and have holiday related
categories for things like gifts, food or decorations. You could even
go so far as to have a separate category for each gift recipient.

Once the categories are set up and shared with the other members of
the family who might be buying things for the holidays, simply add the
expenses for the holiday purchases.

Pennyminder (or Chippped.In) will do the rest by keeping track of the
total.  It’s definitely helping us to stay on budget this holiday
season.

2650359120_f03d519fd0photo credit: Jaroslaw Pocztarkski

If you haven’t heard about it yet, you will over the coming months:  Bees are disappearing and the implications for our food supply are a whole lot scarier than you probably think.

Eat apples?  check

Eat carrots?  check

Onions? check

Blueberries?  check

Garlic?  check

Broccoli?  Tomatoes?  Squash? Cherries?  Almonds?  What about oranges?

Each of these foods among countless more, require pollination by bees.

Truth be told, my knowledge about the role bees play in putting food on my table only extended as far as honey on my toast.  I didn’t realize they played such a keystone role in so many other foods that both humans and livestock require.  In economic terms, in Canada the value of honeybee pollination is estimated at $1.2 Billion a year.

30% of all bee colonies in the USA have died in the past couple years.  And similar numbers are being reported from all over the world.  No one really knows why.  They’re just dying off every year.

So while we’re increasingly anxious about peak oil and climate change, it could be the demise of this tiny little creature that does us in.

Haagen-Dazs has created a site with further info, a wee bit lite in tone: www.helpthehoneybees.com.

What does all this have to do with money?   Not much, directly, but everything indirectly if our food supply suffers a catastrophic breakdown.  So if you’re able, #HelpHoneyBees !