Business Posts

My Current RRSP Investment Portfolio

Written on January 29th, 2011

I’ve gone through various mutual fund companies and financial planners over the years, but ultimately decided last year to take my finances into my own hands and manage my own portfolio. My main issue with the financial planning/advice market is that there is an inherent conflict of interest in most of the advice given out. Yes, a par-life plan may in fact be a great investment vehicle, but when your purchase of one results in a $1,000 bonus for the financial planner, how can anyone ever be sure that the advice was given solely because it was in your best […]

Economies Based On Debt

Written on January 25th, 2011

One of the things I’ve come to realize over the last year is that in most cases, debt is horrible thing. Granted, many businesses look towards debt as a way to fund capital purchases in their beginning stages, and I have no problem with small business loans. But all the other debt that people are addicted to is ultimately bad for the economy in general. There are many people who believe that the reason housing prices are skyrocketing in North America, as well as education costs, is due to the availability of cheap credit. I’m one of those people. Stated […]

Comparing RRSPs And TFSAs

Written on January 21st, 2011

A few years ago, the government opened up a new investment vehicle for people looking to save for retirement, the tax free savings account (TFSA). An RRSP is effectively a tax-deferred investment account. When you contribute to it, you are doing so out of pre-tax dollars (or, if you get a tax refund due to your contribution, you are getting the tax you paid on that amount back). Eventually you have to pay the piper, so when you start pulling money out of your RRSP to fund retirement, you will pay tax on that amount. The upside is that you’re […]

The Real Inflation Rate

Written on December 28th, 2010

Inflation is technically an expansion of the monetary supply. Prior to the invention of fiat (i.e. paper) money, inflation occurred when pure gold or silver coins were melted down and mixed with less valuable metals. The end result was a coin that was worth less, even though it was the same size, shape and colour. Another form of inflation occurred when people used to subtlety shave the edges of coins off and use that metal to purchase other items. The coins ended up becoming deformed, and had less metal than the used to have, making them worth less. With fiat […]

Fed Says QE3 Is Possible

Written on December 5th, 2010

In times like this, I hate being right. I met with a few financial people Friday afternoon at their offices in Abbotsford. As I was leaving, I casually asked everyone who worked there what they thought about the recent run of gold. Surprisingly (or not surprisingly, depending on how up to date you are with what’s going on), they didn’t seem to think it meant anything, and that the US economy was going to recover shortly. I then made a comment that I wouldn’t be surprised if the US did another round of Quantitative Easing (QE3 I dubbed it), but […]

Money Supply And Inflation

Written on November 24th, 2010

There are various statistics used to track each country’s currency in circulation. The main ones that most people reference are the following: M0: The total of all physical currency, plus accounts at the central bank that can be exchanged for physical currency. M1: The total of all physical currency part of bank reserves + the amount in demand accounts (“checking” or “current” accounts). M2: M1 + most savings accounts, money market accounts, retail money market mutual funds,and small denomination time deposits (certificates of deposit of under $100,000). M3: M2 + all other CDs (large time deposits, institutional money market mutual […]

Gold Hits $1300 An Ounce

Written on September 24th, 2010

Hard to believe that less than 30 years ago gold was trading at $35/ounce. At that time, the US Dollar was fixed to the price of gold due to an agreement called the Bretton Woods Agreement. That agreement effectively forced countries to back their currencies with gold, which ultimately enforced sound fiscal policies on the participating countries (you can’t spend money you don’t have). Unfortunately the inability to spend money they didn’t have eventually caused the United States to break out of the BWA: In 1971 Nixon decided to end the convertibility of the US Dollar into gold, which effectively […]

Finances With Garth Turner

Written on September 19th, 2010

I’ve been meaning to do a posting about the Garth Turner event the other day, but haven’t gotten around to it. While Garth is a good public speaker, I didn’t really learn anything at the event that I didn’t already know or believe. Yes, Garth believes real estate in Canada is in for a rocky ride, as do I. Yes, we are about to head into a period of asset deflation following by price inflation. I’ve spent the last six months reading tons of books on investing and retirement, partially because I’m interesting in the subject, and partially because I’ve […]

The Federal Reserve: A Federal Problem

Written on August 21st, 2010

Within the United States, there is a strange entity, neither completely public or completely private, that manages the monetary policies of the United States. This entity, The Federal Reserve, has the task of adjusting interest rates, and also attempting to stimulate the economy using various mechanisms such as Quantitative Easing. Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of the United States, had this to say about a government influenced monetary system: I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a money aristocracy that has set the government at defiance. […]

Inside The Economy

Written on June 24th, 2010

My background obviously isn’t in finance – I’m actually some weird hybrid between an electrical engineer and a physicist. While I understand a lot of the basics in finance, there are still quite a few gaps in my knowledge, and I’m slowly working towards filling those in. Last night I was pretty beat, so I crawled into bed and purchased a book about capitalism and the economy. I actually managed to read most of that in a few hours, and decided I’d grab another book as well. Wouldn’t you know it, I finished that one as well sometime around midnight, […]