30 Life Lessons Learned in my First 30 Years- Y&T edition

On the rare occasion that I check out Nelson Smith’s Financial Uproar blog (no, not because I don’t enjoy his writing, but because I don’t have much time these days to check out my favourite personal finance blogs), I saw an interesting post called “30 Life Lessons Learned in My First 30 Years“- really enjoyed reading it, knew that Nelson was a person of substance behind that chauvinistic stuff he posts objectifying women ;)

I enjoyed reading it so much that I thought I would share what I have learned in my first 30 years in this world.  I have a few more months to go before I officially turn 31 (and over the hill haha) so might as well make it count, right?

Unlike Nelson, my thirty observations probably wont’ be good enough or interesting enough to print out and put on your refrigerator, but perhaps they will be food for thought anyways.  After all, isn’t it wonderful to gain collective wisdom together?

So here goes!

  • You Don’t Know Anything at 20

30 Life Lessons Learned in my First 30 YearsI used to think that I had my life set at age 20, and thought I knew it all.  I didn’t.  I still don’t.

  • You Can’t Change Anyone

In romantic relationships, you need to make sure the other person shares your values- otherwise you end up trying to change the other person.  I learned one thing from the relationships I have had in the past 10 years, and it is that you can’t change anyone.

  • Life is going to through you a curve ball

One day something will hit you that will change the way you perceive life, will change the way you perceive your future.  Life will throw you a curve ball.  It makes it more interesting that way.

  • Nothing is Permanent

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Escaping the Rat Race

According to Wikipedia, the Rat Race is “an endless, self defeating, pointless pursuit”.  Envision a rat going through a maze, trying to find the cheese, but ultimately achieving nothing meaningful.

Depressing, isn’t it?

I recently watched “The Secret” movie the other day (read the book a while ago) and it reinforced the importance of how our thoughts shape our actions and what the universe has in store for us.  While I am completely happy in my job, I find the 9-5 grind tiring sometimes.  Those weekends are just a little bit too short, you know?

For those that believe that you are destined to continue with this every-day grind and this ‘rat race’, unfortunately you will likely self-fulfill this prophecy.  If you can envision yourself breaking free from the daily 9-5 hours and the daily slog and have a plan on how to get there, you are closer to achieving this than the other people out there who have not thought of a plan.

What is your Escape?

Escaping the Rat RaceEveryone has a different vision what what “escape” is.  For some, it is simply being able to take a sabbatical from their normal career to travel the world or pursue a hobby or learn a new language.  Whatever makes you happy.

For me, I would be happy if I could take off work to go traveling and to learn about the world.  I would be happy if I could work part-time and have flexible hours.  I would be happy if I could spend time with my family and not have to worry about work if I had to take my aging parents to a medical appointment.  I don’t think I would want to retire completely early, because I believe that working can give you a sense of accomplishment and socialization that you probably can’t get easily elsewhere, but I can’t imagine myself working full-time like I am now, with children, with aging parents, and being tied to a large mortgage.Continue Reading

So I Over Contributed on my TFSA


Yes, that’s the first thought that came to my mind when I received the letter from the Canada Revenue Agency that informed me I over contributed to my TFSA.

I was in disbelief when I received the letter.

I didn’t think it would ever happen to me.

I even had a post titled “Watch Out for TFSA Over Contributions!”  No one ever thinks it will happen to them, but it did.  It happened to me too.  No one is immune (haha okay maybe most people who actually keep detailed records of their TFSA contributions are immune).  Although it’s not very much that I had to pay (around $500 for this year and I think another $300 or so next year), I wish I knew about it earlier so I didn’t have to pay the penalty for a full 6 months (and then another 6 months or so next year because I found out in June).

How I Over Contributed To My TFSA

So I Over Contributed on my TFSAI thought I was doing really well because I checked the Canada Revenue Agency Quick Access Tool and saw that I had X contribution dollars.  It wasn’t straight and easy (not simply $5000 per year) because I took out money in 2011 and was able to contribute more the following year because I made more money than the annual TFSA contribution limit.  I was doing a lot of in-kind transfers from my non-registered accounts to my TFSA as well, for small amounts like $452.14 so it was hard to keep track (no excuses I know).

Related: 3 Reasons Why a TFSA Is Likely Better than a RRSP if You’re Under 30

Anyway so I used the Quick Access Tool.  I ended up thinking hey, this should be reliable since it’s straight from the government.  However, it was not.  It was not updated and I ended up having a domino effect happen to my TFSA account and I over contributed by almost $5000 or so in 2013.

Yikes, right?Continue Reading