Author Archives: Justin

Take Control of Your Tax Bracket – Weekend Ramblings

Take Control of Your Tax Bracket

I hope the Canada Revenue Agency doesn’t come after me for writing this post If too many people read this article then our government will never have a balanced budget lol. Since it’s that time of year again the topic I’d like to discuss today is income tax, and how rich people are able to dramatically reduce their taxable incomes because they understand that tax brackets are a moving target, and we all have the ability to manipulate our income tax rates as we see fit…

The Olympics of Investing

The Olympics have been at the top of many peoples mind as athletes from around the world congregate in Sochi to compete in events that they have been preparing their whole lives for. It is an exciting time that instils pride in ones country and an opportunity for the host country to showcase all of its accomplishments. It is also a period that requires a large amount of planning, as host countries need to be able to handle an influx of visitors who will for the most part all be concentrated in a relatively small geographic region. With this in mind, it would make some wonder if there is an investment opportunity related to countries that host Olympic events.

Having A Car Is Expensive

Back in the fall, I wrote a post called How much is your car costing you?, where I calculated that I was spending around $300/month for gas and insurance (11% of my net monthly income). And that didn’t even include maintenance like oil changes, repairs, or the actual cost of buying the car.

Even though I concluded that having a car was a clear “want” and not a “need,” I still depend on my car to lead the lifestyle I want for myself. Deciding to live in the suburbs, that’s the choice I made. And it’s the right choice for me now, but I’m not sure if it’s the right choice for me in the future…Continue Reading

Should I Get A Real Estate Agent? – Weekend Ramblings

Should I Get a Real Estate Agent?

Our feet are still stuck in two feet of snow but it’s time to think about what happens each spring: the largest number of real estate transactions. But here’s the catch; housing transactions conclude in spring, but they start in February. The best time to sell your house is definitely in February and March. This is when most people put their house up for sell in the hopes of finding a buyer quick enough to move in the spring or early summer time. As we approach the crucial moment to put a “for sale” sign in front of your home; the $20,000 question is: Should I Get a Real Estate Agent?

Why A Mortgage Vacation Might Be the Most Expensive Vacation You’ll Ever Take

Who doesn’t enjoy a nice, relaxing vacation? When you hear “mortgage vacation,” you probably imagine yourself lying on the beach, sipping on umbrella drinks. Although you have the vacation part right, you forgot the most important part – your mortgage. A mortgage vacation lets you skip paying your mortgage for a few months after you’ve made mortgage prepayments – with a catch.

How RBC Funds Compare Against Index Funds, ETFs

Thomas Edison was dubbed a wizard when he created the electric light bulb. The Wright Brothers became American icons when they flew the first airplane. But when John Bogle created the first index fund in 1975, it was labelled Bogle’s folly. That a passive collection of stocks could outperform most professional money managers was considered a joke. Now, nobody’s laughing. Vanguard’s Total U.S. Stock Market Index, thanks largely to its popular, lean-cost structure, is now the largest fund on the planet.Continue Reading

How To Save Money At Starbucks – Weekend Ramblings

My Advice To Switch Out Of Mutual Funds Draws Ire Of Industry Group

In a recent Toronto Star column, I wrote that mutual fund fees in Canada are some of the highest in the world and because of these fees the vast majority of actively-managed funds lag behind the market.  I said that switching to low-cost index mutual funds or ETFs will cut your investment fees to the bone while likely increasing your overall returns.

Joanne De Laurentiis, President of the Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC), a mutual fund lobbyist group, apparently took issue with my column.

How to save money at Starbucks

There is no doubt that if you are a Starbucks lover you already have some of these tips down pat but if you don’t know your way around the Starbucks menu you will do after reading this post. These hacks are designed to save you money on your Starbucks drink yet still allowing you to enjoy your favorite drinks by switching up your drink requests at the till.

This guide to saving money at Starbucks shares drink hacks, tips on ordering, stretching your coffee budget, and unveiling some secret drinks. Enjoy!

How To Make Your Own Pension Plan

With some financial discipline, in many cases, making your own pension may work out to be even better than the corporate pension or forced government pensions like CPP.  If you really do it well, you can build your own pension and get the regular income for life along with some of the extra benefits that a traditional pension can’t deliver.

So how do you build a really strong pension? Here are five steps to getting it done:Continue Reading