Winning The Birth Lottery

The Economist magazine came out with their trademark Year in Review issue this week (stay tuned over the next few weeks for our “year end” articles and what we think 2013 might look like) and it had some interesting stuff in it.  The article that caught my attention was the analysis they did on where the best places to be born are today.  In other words, The Economist used a variety of metrics (such as education, healthcare, income, etc) that looked at which countries are in the best circumstances to provide a good life for their citizens going forward.

Here is the shortlist:

 

  1. Switzerland
  2. Australia
  3. Norway
  4. Sweden
  5. Denmark
  6. Singapore
  7. New Zealand
  8. Netherlands
  9. Canada
  10. Hong Kong
  11. Finland
  12. Ireland
  13. Austria
  14. Taiwan
  15. Belgium
  16. Germany & USA
  17. UAE
  18. South Korea
  19. Israel

Oh Canada

best country to live inSo the True North Strong and Free came in at #9, a very Canadian thing to do when you think about it.  I rarely see fellow Canucks running around shouting, “We’re Number One!”  Number nine is pretty decent when you look at the rest of the list.  None of the countries ranked in the top eight really surprise me that much and it seems that we are often compared to these places whenever country rankings come out.  What is more polite than effectively saying, “We’re pretty good, and we’re sort of happy about that, but not overly proud”?  Yay, Canada.

#16?!

The more interesting finding to me was the USA and Germany tied for 16th place respectively.  This basically confirms the feeling in those two countries that they have seen better days, and that they are going in the wrong direction.  It seems a little crazy to consider that Ireland who is just coming out of a major financial crisis, and Taiwan who isn’t even a recognized country by most of the world would come out ahead of the Stars and Stripes.  Income inequality was cited as one of the key reasons for this relatively low ranking, and one can only that the political gridlock that has taken the USA hostage sees a list like this and wakes up (I’m not betting it on it though). It’s a little telling when a country like Israel that lives in perpetual fear is only a few spots behind the former unquestioned sole hegemonic power.

No word yet on if Psy and the K-pop movement are solely responsible for moving South Korea up the ranks. Continue Reading

When Life Throws you a Curveball…

Life is unpredictable.

One day you think you’re set, happy, and ready for the next step (e.g. engagement) with your significant other…

The next day, the aforementioned significant other doesn’t see you as significant in his life and tells you he doesn’t know what he wants.  He says he doesn’t want to get married simply because it was the “next step” or that it is expected of him.  Basically, he admitted that he did not (and was not) ready to grow up because marriage, in his mind, meant growing up.  He was not ready to commit and would not be ready in a few years.  I am not ready to wait a few more years for him to decide that I was not the one for him…because you would think men would know after seven+ years of dating.

As much as I wanted to cling on, to plead him to reconsider his decision, I know there is nothing I can do except to learn from this experience and move on.

Here are a few things I learned about money, power, gender roles, and relationships through (and during) this ordeal:

Don’t be his Mother

As much as I like to think all men are children who need to be taken care of (sorry guys), one of the biggest mistakes I made was acting like his mother.  I was essentially the CEO of the home (or trying to be anyway) by organizing the finances, dealing with the tenants, buying groceries, ensuring dinner was ready, cleaning, and doing small repairs around the home.  Basically I guess I gave off the vibe that he wasn’t needed (which is true, but I guess guys don’t like feeling that way, obviously!). Continue Reading

Weekend Ramblings & PF Blog Love: Boxing Day and New Years Edition

Since I am running out of cheap and good eats (I think I need to get out more to explore new places to eat), I thought I would add another weekend rambling this month.  Although the holidays are a time meant to spend with family and friends, after the holidays is when the real fun starts.

I usually don’t bother to go out shopping on Boxing Day.  It’s something about the crowds and the lack of parking spaces that really bothers me.  Unless there is something that I need or want, I don’t bother to shop on Boxing Day for the sake of shopping.  In 2009, I bought a Macbook Pro for a discount during Boxing Day.  It was one of the best Boxing Day purchases I have made (even though the discount, like most Apple discounts, was almost negligible).

This year, I am hoping to succumb to the tablet craze and buy an Apple iPad.  I may or may not skip the negligible $20 discount (or whatever it is) to skip the headache of shopping online and just buy it in the store before Boxing Day.

What is everyone planning to do for New Years?  I’m not a big fan of spending $100+ for a glass of champagne but at the same token, I’m not too interested in watching television for the countdown either.  I can’t believe it is 2013 already!  Where are the Jetson style buildings and cars?

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday season!

PF Blog Love!

Girl Meets Debt @ Girl Meets Debt writes Have Yourself a Very Merry and Not So Expensive Christmas – This holiday season, I have been surprisingly really good and resisted many spending temptations. I am going to share with you some tried and true tips I used to save money this year:

Buck Inspire @ Buck Inspire writes Meet My New Virtual Assistant, Siri! – Since time is so hard to come by these days, I needed help making phone calls, looking up directions, and most importantly, creating content. Fortunately for me, my new virtual assistant lives in my smartphone!

John S @ Frugal Rules writes 10 Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Budget – Many can struggle with keeping their grocery spending in check. With a few minor changes and some planning you can stretch your grocery budget and still have high quality meals.

Miss T. @ Prairie Eco Thrifter writes How to Remain Inspired – I’m a big believer of staying motivated by doing something that inspires you on a regular basis. Here are my suggestions to maintain inspiration:

Everything Finance @ Everything Finance Blog writes How to Recover from a Financial Holiday Hangover – The problem for me is the aftermath. Those dreadful few weeks at the beginning of every new year when I lament my financial bad behavior and nurse one heck of a financial holiday hangover. Here’s what I plan to do this year to soften the blow.

Steve @ Grocery Alerts writes Would you pay for a $7 cup of coffee from Starbucks? – Has anyone tried the new Costa Rica Finca Palmilera coffee from Starbucks? I did and it was the most expensive coffee I ever drank at $7 for a Grande.

Glen Craig @ Free From Broke writes The Roth vs. Traditional IRA – Which is Best for You? – It can be confusing trying to figure out what’s best for you – the Roth IRA or the Traditional IRA. They are similar but have great differences. See the differences so you can decide which is best for you. Continue Reading

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