Weekend Ramblings – February 2

Investor Junkie @ Investor Junkie writes How to Create a Successful Business Plan – Even if you aren’t trying to raise funding, going through the steps of putting together a business plan can be helpful, since it forces you to really think about your business, and what you hope to accomplish.

Girl Meets Debt @ Girl Meets Debt writes Saving for Retirement Early: I Get It Now! – It is a given that most people know you are supposed to start saving for retirement early. The ambiguous part is how early?

Gary @ Gajizmo.com writes Best LinkedIn Profiles – Tips On Creating A Great Public Profile – Building the best LinkedIn profile is an important way of marketing yourself, but are you doing everything right? Here are a list of tips to create the best public LinkedIn profile.

Little House @ Little House in the Valley writes How to Finance Your Self-Build Home – If you have decided to take the plunge and build your dream home the first thing you need to do is work out how you’re going to pay for it. Financing a self-build isn’t as simple as applying for a regular mortgage.

KK @ Student Debt Survivor writes Personal Finance is Personal-Butt Out – If you share details about your personal finance situation with your friends and peers should you expect that they offer advice? Are you annoyed when they do?

Jen @ Master the Art of Saving writes Why Didn’t I Get A PrePaid Cell Phone Sooner? – While I would love to have a shiny new iPhone and be able to get online no matter where I am, I’m not willing to spend that much money. Granted you can…

krantcents @ KrantCents writes Rich Man, Poor Man – Rich man, poor man is not intended to leave out women! I am really trying to examine the difference between rich and poor and help you achieve what you say is a goal. Most 18-25 year old say getting rich and becoming famous are important goals for them.

Sustainable PF @ Sustainable Personal Finance writes Why You Should Take Care of Your Finances First – One of the financial virtues that our society lauds is helping others.

Kanwal @ Simply Investing writes What is a Dividend Aristocrat? – A dividend aristocrat is a company that has paid dividends consecutively for 25 years or more. Standard and Poor’s (S&P) maintain a list of US dividend aristocrats. Dividends are key to investing successfully. Dividends are cash payments made to shareholders. Once a dividend is paid it can never be taken back.

Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy writes When quibbling over finances leads to a rift in friendship. – Sometime money discussions and escalate to bad feelings, read my experience and advice.

Aloysa @ My Broken Coin writes Why Some Women Prefer Older Men (Money is Not The Reason) – Where are the reasons that some women prefer older men. It’s not just for the money.

A Blinkin @ Funancials writes Diversify Your Taxes, B!tch – Consider shifting some of your assets from a taxable account to one that is taxed later or never taxed. This way, you’ll be taxed on what you spend rather than what you earn. Checking accounts, savings accounts, stocks and bonds are examples of accounts that are taxed now. 401(k), IRAs, and annuities are examples of accounts that will be taxed later. Continue Reading

The Mad Scramble for RRSP Contributions

Over the last few weeks we’ve noticed a considerable surge in people headed to our site to check out topics surrounding RRSPs and TFSAs.  During the same time period I’ve heard several of my co-workers talking about RRSPs and how “it’s that season”.  Finally, in some of the financial sections of the newspapers that geeky people like me browse, there have been both some good and not-so-good articles written about Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) and Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs).  The conclusion I’ve come to is that there is still a ton of confusion and misinformation out there (much of it being encouraged by our illustrious financial services industry) surrounding the topic of retirement planning.   I can already hear some of the Ph.Ds in personal finance out there in blogland cringing at the thought of ANOTHER RRSP article, but I think it’s worth clearing up a few things for people that aren’t geeks that read the finance section every day.

No Cookie Cutters In Financial Planning

The first thing you should know about retirement planning is that no one knows or can tell you how much money you will need at a certain age in order to retire.  A common practice this time of the year is for financial advisors to tell their clients that they need to have two million dollars to retire at 65.  They then show a chart with some math that doesn’t exactly lie (… lies, damned lies, and statistics) but misleads the client into thinking they need to make major sacrifices (not by itself a bad thing) in order to put money into their preferred mutual fund RIGHT NOW (almost always a bad thing).  Here is the truth of the matter: No one knows when you’ll die, what sort of life you’ll want to live as you age, or several other variables.  A good financial adviser (I’m hugely bias to a fee-only adviser, but that’s a debate this site has seen far too many times) will sit you down and explain these variables and look at a few different probably scenarios in order to give you a better overall picture of what you need to invest.  Don’t get panicked into making rash decisions about your retirement savings because of a carefully orchestrated marketing campaign that seeks to get you to do just that!

Alphabet Soup?

investing fadNext on my list of pet peeves is the explosion of TFSA vs RRSP articles out there (I should probably guiltily admit that we even have our own on Y&T) that categorically recommend one over the other and then give a bunch of cherry-picked examples about why this is the case.  Again, in layman’s terms, this doesn’t have to be that complicated.  Here is the nuts and bolts of what most people care to know.  Both of these investment vehicles are good.  Neither are investments in and of themselves (the sentence, “I should really buy some RRSPs this year” is one of those things that irrationally gets under my skin), and as long as you’re saving for your retirement and have some clue about asset allocation, your 90% of the way home.  As far as which one to pick, you can truly educate yourself about the matter, or you can just keep it simple.  The basic idea is that the taxman is going to get his bone sooner or later.  If you believe your taxable income for 2012 was lower than it will be when you retire, then you’re better off in an TFSA.  If you think you made more this year than your likely to make in retirement (including RRSP withdrawals), then you’re better off in an RRSP.  That’s it (in a nutshell).  In my case, as a young teacher, I would actually be a great case study on someone who would benefit by putting money in their TFSA before their RRSP (due to the substantial pension I will receive – in theory anyway).  The only problem is my ridiculous USA taxation situation. Continue Reading

Step-By-Step Guide on How to Make a Dividend Income Spreadsheet

As you know, recently I created a dividend income spreadsheet with Google Docs.  It took me probably 6 hours to do just because I am spreadsheet illiterate.  I thought it might be a good idea to immortalize a “step by step guide” on how to create a dividend income spreadsheet in case I need to do it again in the future.  And it might be helpful for those of you who want to create a spreadsheet too, of course.

For those of you (like me) who are pretty much excel illiterate, this might be a helpful post for you if you’re interested in creating a dividend income spreadsheet that is connected to Google Finance and will provide you with up to date information on the latest dividend stock price.  Also, like with other excel stuff, you can colour the title of your excel spreadsheet and make it all pretty (like mine, which is a pretty lilac shade, lol).

So without further delay, here’s a step by step guide on how to make a SIMPLE dividend income spreadsheet (because anything more complex than this, I can’t do).

  • Create a Google Account

If you don’t have one already, you should create a Google account so that you can use Google docs.  Then click on Spreadsheet to begin.  You’ll be taken to a blank spreadsheet and it will probably look overwhelming if you haven’t looked at a spreadsheet in a while.  Just look at the lettered columns and the numbered rows and you’re off to a good start. Continue Reading

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