TSFAs Fees with Tangerine

I’ve spent a lot of money the past few months, both on travel (i.e. India) and fitness (i.e. gear, Cody programs, yoga props). Since it was payday today and I haven’t started contributing to my TSFAs yet, I thought I might as well throw some money for 2015 before deciding if I want to shift them elsewhereI.

Then I noticed an unread message in my Tangerine inbox:

TFSAs have no fees while you’re saving with us. If at some point you decide to transfer your funds to another financial institution, a $45 fee will apply.

GRRRRRRR. Good thing I read this.

I really really really REAAAAAALLLY should put more effort into trading, as I put my 2014 TSFAs into Questrade to play around. But I just don’t feel comfortable knowing what to buy. I always default to the priority of RSPs and car payments out of laziness, but I still need to learn more about trading …

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Finally Reinvesting

It’s official!

After two months of paperwork and waiting, I finally have opened a Questrade account. This is after three years of twiddling my thumbs after liquidating poorly-performing mutual funds.* I want to be more active in my investments and I know that for the past few years, I’ve been putting it off, despite having claimed that it is a priority. It was nice that my friend, B., sat down with me one evening and walked me through the platform. She gave me the little boot that I needed.

Currently, I am reading about the basics of trading stockshow orders are executed and different types of orders, such as limit vs. market.

I transferred my 2014 TSFAs over from Tangerine* and have decided I need to finally get my hands dirty. I’m not expecting to gain much; my primary goals for the next two to three months are:

  1. get comfortable with executing different types of orders and understanding when they are used
  2. watching a few stocks and reading trends in the markets
  3. calculating the cost of trades versus profits
  4. understanding the Questrade trading platform
  5. making a few bucks … but not losing!

At this time, just keeping it simple and playing around.

Yay for new projects (and actively reinvesting)! 

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 5.56.46 PM

*Mind you, I also went through the entire hassle of setting up a TD Waterhouse account. So for the past three years, I had $500 USD sitting dormant and not accumulating any interest, without ever having placed an order. Bad Me.

**Formerly known as ING Direct

Thoughts on Net Worth

Net Worth: As you may have noticed, I no longer post my net worth on a monthly basis. I’ve decided that focusing on the numbers are silly, but I should be looking at my overall net worth and the trends.* As you can see in the chart, I bought a car in August but I am only starting to save a bit of money again. I am meeting my monthly insurance and car payments with no trouble.

Screen Shot 2014-02-01 at 8.26.08 PMGroceries: I’ve not taken any more weekend trips down to Val D’Or, Rouyn or Amos. as gas and hotels add up pretty quick. Instead, we started ordering groceries online through IGA.ca every two weeks. The two stores in Waskaganish have limited selections, but online, we can get avocados, zucchinis, eggplants, antipasti, pomegranates and pressed apple juice. Sometimes there’s even enoki mushrooms, bean sprouts and bok choy! The prices are also very reasonable. However, it costs about $50 for shipping, but the school reimburses this as part of our ‘northern allowance’.

I’ve also put my Air Miles collector number onto my IGA account, so I’m getting points for every purchase!

Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 11.35.01 AMInvestments: I just sold off $5000 worth of my Industrial Alliance investments, as they weren’t doing well and finally recovered slightly past the purchasing prices. I still scratch my head over investments, as these purchase were made by my parents. I’m going to do some reading the next few months to try to figure out where I can set this.

Since my car purchase, I still have some contribution room left in my Tax-Free Savings Account, but I feel I need to take a risk and start playing with my money. I’ve been slacking on this the past few years and I need to face this as I’ve procrastinated way too much on it.

My good friend B. is recommending QuestTrade, which offers the first three months with unlimited free trades; I feel that I need to do some research before I sign up as I don’t want to waste that opportunity. On the website, they’re even offering free ETF purchases!

Maybe I will pick her brain about it sometime next week …Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 12.07.54 PM

*Therefore, I am not showing the y-axis values on my chart.

Safety on the Road

I’ve been daydreaming about the kind of car that I want. A few people have recommended Subarus, while this year’s Consumer Reports on the best and worst used cars got me thinking about Toyota RAV4s. Can I find something decent for under $10,000? My mom has offered to help me out if my budget goes over. At the same time, I’d like to be able to do this on my own.

I’m also thinking about upgrading my CAA membership. Currently I’m on the basic plan and in the past year alone, it’s saved me twice and I was lucky that both times, I was in a city. On the roads up north, however, you can be driving for quite a stretch – sometimes a few hours – without seeing a gas station or a town. After I purchase my car in the summer, I’ll likely upgrade to CAA Plus because it covers towing up to 200 km rather than my current plan, which only includes the first 10 km.

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Lots to think about! I also need to learn more about how to maintain a car. Can’t do much right now up in the north but I’ll be busy this summer.

Phone Bills

I’m a moron.

I woke up in Poipu, Hawaii yesterday morning, to find a phone bill of $123.75, rather than my usual $25 a month.

After going through the bill, I realized that I’d been carelessly calling before 7 p.m., eating up my 100 minutes and building up a big, fat bill.

Paid it off this morning. Sigh.

#firstworldproblems

(More) Lifestyle Inflation

Math course: I finished my exam yesterday! It cost me $100 to use Seneca College as my inviligator, but it was much more convenient in terms of travel and time, since the campus was only a 10-minute drive away.

However, I totally flunked my last assignment and scored 28%; I didn’t have time to cover all the topics and decided to focus more time on focusing the core concepts instead.

Business math is not something I would teach in the future, but it was useful to learn about how compound interest, mortgage payments and bonds work. Even though I moaned and groaned the last 5 months, I am glad I took the course. Now I wait, results will probably take a couple of weeks … I hope I passed!

Credit cards: I read about the Choice Card from American Express on Boomer and Echo this morning and decided to switch over. My mom and I went over the list of retailers and she helped me choose my ‘5 Choices’; since I’m still mostly working in Quebec, it makes sense to bank on places I regularly make purchases at (i.e. gas stations). My final list  is below:

  1. Esso
  2. Shell
  3. Metro
  4. Koodo
  5. Apple

Then I look at this list and wonder, should I switch one to LCBO or SAQ instead?

Sports gear: Oh, I blew a lot of money after my exam! Stopped in to MEC for a new harness ($54), climbing shoes ($99), chalk ($5) and chalk bag ($11). In the evening, I went to Sail and picked up a new pair of snowshoes. I got a 30% discount at Sail, so I paid $120 + tax instead of $170 + tax!

snowshoes

A Series of (Unpleasant) Events

Today is payday!

Checking your bank account to see that there’s suddenly more moolah is great … until you see are surprised with bank fees. There were three charges listed:

Other bank fee 1.50
Value account fee 3.95
Withdrawal fees 12.00

Normally, I have zero bank fees. I always keep the minimal balance to have the fees waived and go to my own bank to withdraw cash. Under the unusual situation when you currently live on a reserve in the middle of nowhere and are about 7.5 hours drive from the nearest Toronto-Dominion bank, you don’t have much of a choice but to withdraw when you run out (I made sure that I had enough cash for the past two months up here). And yes, I withdrew the maximum amount of $500.

There were a chain of events that lead to the high bank charges. I still haven’t been able to find my lost Visa card and while it’s suppose to expire at the end of November, I can’t get the new one since Toronto-Dominion won’t mail to a P.O. box – the only option on a reserve. While I picked up a prepaid Visa, I’d lent it to my coworker since she had to be flown out for a hospital visit for a foot injury. She doesn’t have a credit card and started using a prepaid Visa, but only put $100 on it, even though there is a $15 activation fee (not exactly the wisest choice). With a $200 hotel charge pending on my card, I haven’t been able to use it and instead, resorted to swiping with my debit card. My account, normally only allowing 10 transactions, accumulated to about 30 transactions over the month of October (since I had little cash).

Therefore, I’ve paid $17.50 in bank fees and $18 for the prepaid Visa ($15 activation plus $3 monthly charge), to a grand total of $35.50. This could have been a new shirt, a bag of groceries or two bottles of wine. Honestly, I abhor paying fees. I also hate prepaid Visas and how my coworker talks about it as if it’s a credit card. ! It is not a credit card at all; it’s just a debit card you have loaded with money with a bunch of unnecessary fees. Obviously, I would never, ever have purchased one if I hadn’t lost my Visa to begin with. After reflecting on all this, I’ve made a few conclusions:

1. I’m generous and trusting with others when it comes to money, that I’m willing to lend my card out.
2. I’m usually aware of what fees/charges there are to an account. Most of the time, I avoid paying fees.
3. Prepaid credit cards are not actually credit cards.
4. I need to refrain from being overly generous.

Sighhhhh.