Wintery Updates

Just some financial updates:

Sirius XM: Canceled my annual subscription (~$250), since I moved back south.

TSFAs: As I’m not working every single day, and I still have a habit of eating out, cash flow is a bit tighter. For the second time in my life, I withdrew about one year’s worth of contributions from my TSFAs. I don’t feel particularly guilting for eating out with friends or on my own. If anything, I’m just focused on being good to myself and enjoying my life. I’ve lived for 4 years without being able to do this much.

RSPs: I cancelled my ASP transfers ($333/month) to Wealthsimple for the reasons stated above. Going to reassess what my finances look like this coming January. For now, I am depleting my TSFAs and not making that much, so putting RSP contributions on hold for a little bit.

Auto: Recently had to make a CAA service call, when my battery wouldn’t start on a cold morning. The battery itself is only 3 years old – on average, it should last 5 – but I believe living in the north, where it can be -30 C for many days at a time, wore it down a lot more quickly. I did get a DriveClean test today, since my vehicle is now just over 7 years old, and will be renewing my license stickers ($240).

Books: Just finished Roxane Gay’s memoir, Hunger, as I was inspired to read it after seeing her TED Talkafter seeing her TED Talk. This is definitely one of the best memoirs I have read (it’s not necessarily my favourite genre). Highly recommended. She really is a good writing and choosing words is quite the craft.

Desire Mapping: I’m still working on this Cody plan, that was put together by Danielle LaPorte. I put it down for about a month and am at the halfway mark right now, module 5. If you’re a Cody App member, you’ll know that everything is switching over to subscription ($20 USD/month*), since Alo Yoga bought out the company. You won’t be able to buy individual plans after December 2017.

Happy winter solstice!

*I’m paying a special rate of $10 USD/month as a long-time member. It’s been, what, 3 years?


WealthSimple ASP

Change my mind again, on the RSPs investments. I had mentioned last week I wanted to set up an ASP biweekly to match the paychecks. I’ve decided to contribute $333 off each paycheck towards my WealthSimple account, rather than into Tangerine Portfolios, which still has an MER of 1.07%.


It’s sort of the funny, the more and more you talk and the more you think about this stuff, you realize how each decision prior could have been better made …

It’s a learning process!

Starting ASPs for RSPs

I read Robert Brown’s Wealthing Like Rabbits, over the Christmas holidays. For a personal finance book, it was a really easy and quick read. I picked it up because it was recommended on Jessica Moorehouse’s podcast and I really like Brown’s interview.

One of the things I haven’t done in a while is set up RSP ASPs. I used to do this, but in the past few years, I’ve just been throwing chunks of it money once in a while, which is really just making more work for myself than i need.

Since reading the book, I’ve realized I need to restart an ASP at the same time as my biweekly paycheques come in, because it at least allows time for my investments to grow. If my contribution room is approximately $8000 (based on last year’s contribution room), then $8000 divided by 12 months, over two biweekly pay would be about $333. If I transfer it from my chequing account right away, then I also won’t be tempted to think I have lots of money to spend stupidly :/

Thank goodness for Tangerine though. It’s so easy to just click and make it happen!


The only thing I don’t like about the ASP setting within Tangerine is that you can’t make them go to external accounts. I might give them a call to see if I could do this, because it would great to put it in my TD Canada account when I make my car and car insurance payments.

How One Podcast Causes Me To Lose Sleep (In a Good Way)

Tonight, I was relaxing with a glass of Cavespring 2014 Riesling in the bathtub. I was listening to an episode of the Mo’ Money podcast, whom my lovely childhood friend, Sarah Li Cain of High Fiving Dollars recently recommended to me. I really loved the  interview that Jessica Moorhouse had done with Gail Vaz-Oxlade, so I downloaded another episode of Mo’ Money with Bruce Sellery.


If you live in Ontario, you may have seen Bruce Sellery on CityTV, or perhaps his articles in MoneySense magazine. After seeing that his book was highly recommended in MoneySense, I purchased and read his book in April, and decided that I need to reassess my RSPs using Sellery’s tips.

While listening to the podcast tonight, I realized that, since purchasing a 2-year GIC, I hadn’t done much more. I’m not sure whether the wine assertive, but I went to the Wealthsimple website, since Jessica Moorhouse said that using her link would get you an extra $50.


But before I threw any funds in, I also wanted to see what the company was about, so I watched this great Lunch and Learn with CEO Michael Katchen, when he spoke at the MaRs Centre in Toronto back in 2015.

Yeah, it’s 30 minutes long:

Mmmmm, okay. He’s a pretty smart guy and he knows what he’s talking about. This seems like a good company and I’ve seen their ads floating around for a couple of years now. His vision is to give a simple, straightforward investment vehicle that all Canadians can get into without paying ridiculous fees*. Even though I just brought back my Questrade account from the dead, I need all the help I can get, sooooo … eeeh, might as well. I opened an account and threw down $2500 into an RSP account, while trying to figure out if I’ve already maxed my TSFAs for 2016. It won’t be processed until a couple of days from now, so at this point I stopped and wondered how tired I was.

And yes, now I’m blogging, my boyfriend is grumbling that it’s past my 10 pm bedtime. I check the clock and it’s 11:47 pm.

It’s not a Wiki-hole, but it’s kinda like one. At least I’m coming out financially better from this. I will tackle this further another day!

*It’s not a secret that Canadians pay some of the highest investing fees, including MERs.

Looking into Investment Vehicles for RRSPs: Part 1

Back in March, I started reading Bruce Sellery’s The Moolala Guide to Rockin’ Your RRSP, and when I got to this page, I felt like I got a much-needed figurative slap in the face.

I have a RRSP savings account. And I do have more than $25,000, but never even figured to look at my interest rates. I checked and found that it was an appalling 0.8%, not even matching the average rate of inflation, which, in Canada during 2015, was 1.13%. Since then, I’ve been trying to figure out how I should invest my RRSPs.

Investing is one of my biggest weaknesses, and I now I drag my feet when it comes to researching investments, therefore, it’s a task that I have to hit head on. Sellery suggests, as a rule of thumb, that the percentage of your RRSPs allotted to fixed income investments should be similar to your age. The remainder should be dispersed amongst equities.

This morning, I mapped it out in my new Rocketbook*, then digitized it to Evernote through my mobile app.

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While I need to do some research for the equities, I decided to start with a 2-year GIC with a return of 1.6%. Yeaaaaahh, it’s not very high, but it’s decent** and I’m forcing myself to, within the next 24 months, to research better options. And setting this aside first also allows me to put my energy into the harder task of finding where to invest in equities.

More work will need to be done, but I figure this is a start and I was able to complete it fairly quickly. The next five days, I’ll be packing and wrapping up some work projects, so I won’t have much more time for this before I head down south for my vacation. Anything else will have to be handled when I come back to work in May.

Now off to make some Red Lobster cheddar biscuits for a dinner party tonight!*** These are definitely not vegan, but they are delish!!


*A cloud-connected microwavable notebook from Kickstarter.

**Taking a quick look at GIC options through Bank of Montreal, there’s nothing that matches Tangerine’s 2-year term.

***Costco sells these in packs of 4.

New Book: The Moolala Guide to Rockin` Your RRSP

Earlier in the fall, I started a subscription to Money Sense magazine. I admit that I don’t read it from cover to cover; there are a lot of terms and articles that make me feel completely lost, but I am forcing myself to be regularly exposed to more money management ideas.

Already, I’ve picked up some interesting “life hacks”, including setting a “money date” with your partner to discussing planning and budgeting, and have a list of recommended finance books to check out. I ordered a couple last month (and got a wee bit o’ cashback on to boot) and last week, started Bruce Sellery’s The Moolala Guide to Rockin’ Your RRSPs. 

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His book gets you to frame your retirement savings through 3 C’s: context, consequences and complexity.

  • Context: When it comes to retirement, what is your money for? Traveling the world or settling quietly in a small home? Create a vision that is relevant and realistic for your desires and goals.
  • Consequences: What will be the consequences of your current method of retirement savings? What will be the consequences if you don’t save for retirement?
  • Complexity: Do you have too many investments spread out in too many places? Or do your money plans lack complexity and depth? Do you know how much you need to retire?

The book is quite well-structured. It`s easy to read and set up in a way that helps you understand why retirement planning is so critical.

I spent a good chunk of Sunday completing the exercises, making notes in Evernote and calculating – for the first time in my life – an estimation of a nest egg that I’d need for retirement 30 some odd years from now, using a Retirement Savings Calculator from TD Canada.* The results are always shocking and most people realize that their current projections don`t necessarily match the daydreams that they have. Bruce reassures us that most people feel anxiety, depression and confused after this exercise. I definitely did, and it`s a good kick in the seat of your pants!

I don`t talk about money a lot with people – I wish I did more – but after chatting with a few coworkers my age (late 20s to early 30s), what shocks me the most is that a few of them** have not even started their retirement savings. AT ALL. It thought I was being lazy for simply maxing out my contribution room each year and not doing any additional research, but, but … not starting at all?! That’s insanely silly and foolish considering the fact that the job security that existed for Baby Boomers no longer exists!

I’ve heard excuses that RRSPs are “just a way of deferring your taxes” (this is true) and that “you’re going to have to pay it later anyway” (this is also true), but uhhhh hello, Home Buyer’s Plan? Or Lifelong Learning Plan? Having security that you will be able to have a home and feed yourself with you`re 72? Or even just getting a nice tax return seems like an incentive enough in itself!

So yes, you are deferring your taxes, but there are many reasons why you should contribute to an RSP even if there is a chance your income could be higher in your 60s. For the coworkers who haven`t started, I`ve offered advice, I`ve offered help and given them tips, but there`s only so much I can say before it falls on deaf ears.

I`m glad at 33 I`m learning more about retirement planning. I wish I had started sooner, but when I was underemployed 5 years ago, I stuck with TSFAs, just as my mom told me. I did the right thing then, deferring contributing to RRSPs when I was still in a lower-income bracket. Now that I’m working full-time, this is a perfect opportunity to keep learning and playing around with my money so that bad luck doesn’t play with my retirement!

*If you’re curious, check out some of the resources that are listed on the Moolala website.

**Sadly, all female coworkers, which drives me even more insane!!!

Getting Ready for Taxes

I’ve decided I’m going to try to do taxes on my own this year.

I know, I know … I’m suppose to be an adult, and really, I should have done this already, but having an awesome, supporting and lovely mom sometimes means that you forget to do a few things on your own! The past couple of months, I started prepping for taxes:

  • Bought and installed the TurboTax software, since I finally have a laptop that supports Windows
  • Collecting and printing out membership fees, donation receipts and tax forms (T4, RL-1)
  • Utilized the full contribution room on my RRSPs
  • Bought a new book to help me learn more about RRSPs (this will affect me more in the future than this year)
  • Started a Revenu Quebec clicSÉQUR account too (I’ve put this off since last year)

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To be completely honest, I hadn’t gone farther than installing the software. I haven’t really looked at it yet … the idea of doing taxes by myself feels intimidating, but I know this is just a mental block for me.

My mom did tell me about a site called AnswerXchange to support Turbo Tax users*, which will be great when I’m trying to find help if I’m stuck.

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That’s as far as I’ve made it so far. It will be a work in process!

Helpful Links

*Ahem, someone needs to buy their software soon!!

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 …

End of January: Road Trip to Eastmain

Took an overnight trip up to Eastmain to visit old coworkers. It was fun to chitchat and catch up. Went alone, without J.; it’s important to keep good friends around and stay connected with them, even if you don’t see them much.

Here’s a picture of my friend C.’s cat. He grew attached to me very quickly and even watched / sniffed me a few times when I was sleeping!


Monthly Goals: My head feels a bit muddled and I didn’t get too far with my goals, so I’m going to wipe a clean slate and refocus for February. The only thing I did accomplish was try a lot of different handstanding exercises and do a unit of Pimsleur Digital Mandarin.

RSPs: Doh. I think I over-contributed by $300. I forgot to include an ASP I had set up when I went to fill up my contribution room. The penalty is 1% per month, which might mean $3 penalty.

No more online shopping: I’ve ordered a couple of yoga toys, include Yoga Paws ($50), a Dharma Wheel ($110), some yoga mp3s ($10) and a David Robson yoga DVD ($22). Today, I picked up a David’s Tea package ($40) as well as a leakproof travel tea mug for work ($30). None of these things were cheap, so this means no more online shopping – unless they are health foods or household goods – for the next three months.