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Thursday, February 28, 2008

On how I will benefit from the Tax-Free Savings Account

Yesterday, the Canadian government presents his budget and they came with something that similar to RRSP but in better: a Tax-Free Savings Account. In better because it will be possible to withdrawn at anytime and the money taking from the Tax-Free Savings Account will be.... TAX-FREE! Wow!

I read from here and there about this new product. And some had in opinion that only rich will benefit from it. I am not rich, and I am able to save a little bit less than half of my income every year on an average of 30 000$ after taxes income. So if I can do it, a lot of people can too. I just don't like the idea that only rich can do this or that... Whatever..... I invest the maximum in my RRSP, pay off debt and invest in non RRSP.... Desjardins had this kind of idea regarding the Tax-Free Savings Account and it is my bank. Would it be time for me to switch of bank?

I am really excited about it. The Tax-Free Savings Account will be available starting January 2009 and I can't wait for next year. The maximum aloud for 2009 is 5 000$. I just hope they will let everyone invest 5 000$, no matter what are our income. I have thousand and thousands of dollars in investment and savings, it will be so good if a part of my investment will be put in a tax-free account!!!! On a short term basis, I might not see a huge difference, but in a long term... WOW! I can't wait for January 2009!

Proudly Canadian :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

On how it's important to pay credit card debt

I knew, of course, I was paying interests on the 2 549.52$ (which is a little bit more than what I taught), but it just catch my eyes that I was paying 18.89$ per month in fees for that debt. I didn't pay too much attention because my plan was to invest first for my 2007 RRSP and but some money away in mutual funds.

But now that I am done with that for 2007, the next step was to pay, if not my student loan that is more than 10 000$, at least pay that credit card debt. That debt was under 7.99% with American Express. It's a low rate, but knowing it cost me almost 19$ for money that I can easily pay off...

I would like to pay off another 1 000$, but my plan is to wait in 3 weeks, at the next pay.

My living expenses for March (which were made for February) are very low, 170.78$ at my Visa, 520$ rent, 67$ metro pass, 165$ student loan, 200$ (extra, like going out...), for a total of 1122.78$. Which is nice, because this month, I made something like 1 000$ for the 2 pays, so there's an 877.22$ right there this month that can go for savings, but it's not enough if I want to reach 18 000$ in savings this year to reach my fabulous 50 000$.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Non RRSP investments and taxes

I find MorningStar very good to find any kind of information regarding mutual funds. As I previously post, I would like to invest a little 500$ in a mutual fund that still have a good return after taxes. I was than thinking of the CIBC Monthly Income Fund.

To find information, I consult the MorningStar Quicktake Report. Each Canadian mutual fund has one. I really enjoy Morningstar because their Web site exists in both French (yes!) and English. When I don’t understand something in English, I just switch for French… and vice versa… lol, since I do most of my financial reading in English.

I try to consult their articles as much as I can but one time, I invest in the RBC O’Shaughnessy International Equity Fund without doing any search. I didn’t do any because I told myself if it’s an O’Shaughnessy, it’s a good fund. And it’s happen that the author of the review of this fund in Morningstar, David O'Leary, believe that the management fees of the fund are too high, and as highlight at the beginning of the review “We are disappointed by this fund's higher fees.” And just to let you know, the same analyst in saying the following about my super RBC O'Shaughnessy All-Canadian Equity: “Don't let the recent dip in this fund's performance concern you.” I plan to keep that fund forever. I am all proud of that fund, even if my initial investment of 3 000$ drop down to near 1 000$. This fund is now close to new investors……

In date of today, I regret that choice because since I acquire that fund, I lost my initial investment, which was of 1 000$. In date of today, my 1 000$ now only worth 762.78$. So why should I pay higher fee if the fund is not doing well? I believe O’Shaughnessy magic trick to invest might only work well in countries were the economy is in good shape. From what I notice, International funds don’t have a very good return since inspection, Canadian mutual funds are way better. I would like to invest in Canadian mutual funds only, but I understand it’s important to diversify a bit my portfolio. That’s also the reason why I also invest more than 2 000$ in the RBC U.S. Mid-Cap Equity Fund C$, a US funds. I don’t really like to invest outside Canada, because I believe the best funds are here.

What I dislike about RBC is that they ask too much for non RRSP investment. They ask for a minimum of 1 000$ for non RRSP investment. Compare to TD who just ask a cute little tiny 100$, the difference is huge. And CIBC only ask for minimum of 500$ for non RRSP investment. So why should I stick to RBC? The only reason why I begin buying funds at the RBC is because of the O’Shaughnessy mutual funds.

While I was doing some search in the Morningstar Web site, I was quite surprise to find out that a mutual fund I previously invest in, the RBC Global Resources fund, was quote five stars for after taxes value. I have a good return after taxes for that fund and I didn’t even know.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Still no part-time job yet

I am so disappointed, I didn't find a part-time job yet and I am in need of one now. I went to a Linkin Park concert at the Bell Centre on February 22. I gave 40$ to my friend for the ticket, but to that 40 bucks, add money for beer(s), a t-shirt at 35$, and 10$ for stickers… At the end, it do cost a lot, and I gave 1 000$ this month to pay on my credit card. It’s a good thing I don’t go out too much often, it do cost a lot. I am just thinking about my New Year Eve, when I finish the night in an hotel room with the same friend because we couldn’t find a taxi….. or were too … to find one…….. “Taxi, taxi, we need a taxi….”, that’s the way I call for a taxi when I am … But the taxi never come, so we had to find a hotel room, which was easier to find than a taxi…lol!

My 1 000$ check for my credit card, had been taked. I had to say bye bye to a 1 000$. I have been with that debt for a long time now so it was about time I get serious about getting out of credit card debt.

I should be ok to get another 1 000$ on my next pay check. I just hope things will remain the same for the next 2 months. I really want to pay off that credit card debt for goods. But what appear difficult for me now is to remain debt free. Once that credit card is pay off, my student loan will remain. That one doesn’t bother me that much. There was a period of time, was before I start blogging, were I pay 1 000$ per month on my student loan. I did so for about 6 months. Which shortly after I invest in my first fund, Fidelity Frontière Nord. I know I can stay debt free, I just have to stay focus.

My search for a part-time job continues. I had found some part-time job; it could have work out if not of my work schedule. I didn’t really try that hard to find a part time job. I am going to look more seriously this evening. And than, I hope it will work out. I was thinking maybe just work on Saturday and Sunday. During weekdays, my shift at work only begins at 3 pm.

I am off today from my job, but I sleep most of the day. I begin my day at 3 pm, and I have a funny taught, I would like to invest 500$ in the CIBC Monthly Income Fund, non RRSP of course, I don’t want the nightmare to continue… (see previous post “RRSP nightmare” )

Thursday, February 21, 2008

My TD 2007 RRSP Portfolio: the best of the best

I was so proud of myself to get what I wanted from TD. I follow day by day the performance of my TD 2007 RRSP portfolio. What I call portfolio is a mix of the following mutual funds:

TD Entertainment & Communications
TD U.S. Mid-Cap Growth
TD Latin American Growth
TD Precious Metals
TD Dividend Growth
TD Monthly Income
TD Canadian Bond
TD Emerging Markets
TD Energy

I wasn’t able to get those right away, but at the end, I finally got what I wanted and I was quite lucky, knowing just the little money I had invest in each of those funds (100$ initial investment in each, except for the TD Dividend Growth in which I invest 200$).

Since January 2008, the month I made my initial investment, the overall portfolio didn’t do so badly, it went down to 996$ once, and now, in date of yesterday, it’s up to a super 1 012.13$!!!

For me who like mutual funds that much, I find it very hard to pay out my credit debt instead of investing in mutual funds. I would like to have a similar portfolio in non RRSP. If I was able to get it once, I should be able to get it twice. Even outside RRSP investment, the minimum investment is only of 100$ per mutual funds. Which I wonder why, because it’s the only bank I think who ask for an as low minimum. And knowing what kind of funds have TD, I just find it great that someone can invest as low as 100$ in any of their best funds.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Missing 18 000$ to reach my first 50 000$: can I make it this year?

If I want to reach my first 50 000$ this year, I will have to save an average of 1 500$ per month, which I find quite difficult to do, since for now I have to work 50 hours each week to receive bi-weekly a 1 000$ paycheck. Unfortunately for me, I cannot live on 500$ monthly. My average expenses for a month is about 1 200$. So I am currently able to save something like 800$ per month for now, with the one and only job I have. I now only have one job.

Starting from next week, I will have a regular schedule, which I ask for a long time ago. I am supposed to get a regular schedule, with weekend off. It will make it much easier to get another job, a part-time one. I was also thinking about trying to make money from Internet. I try it before, but it didn’t work out. But I can’t say that I really try.

To be able to save 1 500$ per month, I will need to have a monthly income of 2 700$ per month, which is not impossible and it’s quite realizable to make an extra 700$ by having a second job.

But the problem is that we are almost at the end of February, and I know I won’t be able to save this month, March and April that much. I ma trying to pay that 2 381.17$ debt I have in credit card. I paid 1 000$ this week, I will pay 1 000$ in March and in April, I will pay the rest, which should be around of 400$ or so…. It’s even more difficult to save because of this credit card debt, but fortunately, it’s not a major credit card debt.

It will be quite difficult to reach my first 50 000$ this year, but it’s not impossible. First step is to find a part-time job as quickly as possible.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

About the CIBC Emerging Markets Index Fund

I had invested 500$ at the end of January and ever since them, I just keep making money on that fund. At the date of January 22, I had 501.75$; January 23: 502.38$; January 28: 518.22$; February 1st: 505.94$; and February 15: 523.54$. In less than 2 months, I made 23.54$ with the fund, which is very good, considering the market crisis we are currently on.

Things are not so bad, but I still didn’t recover from the money lost in January. I had lost the amount of the initial investment for many funds.

I just keep thinking of what would have happen if only I could have invest about 10 000$ or more in the CIBC Emerging Markets Index Fund, instead of 500$. I would have made 470.20$. And than I keep thinking of why didn’t I invest more…. One thing I would like to do is to invest 10 000$ a little bit around, keep the money in the fund for the minimal period without getting any penalties, which is I believe 60 or 90 days, but I will have to verify that, and than, as soon as I begin to make money in the fund, sale my parts, all of them, and continue like that to invest for short period only… If I want to invest that way, I know I will probably tell to buy stocks and sell them whenever I want, but I still prefer mutual funds at this time.

When it will get to point where I will notice I have a lot of money, which will probably be when I will reach my first 50 000$, I than probably buy my first stocks. I don’t know how to proceed to buy and sell stocks.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I hit the magic 1 000$ on my pay check....

I work 100 hours in 2 weeks, but it had worth it, I just receive a little bit more than 1 000$ as pay and I really appreciate it. I am going to be able to pay 1 000$ on my credit card. After what I will only have left 1 300$ to pay. I plan to pay another 1 000$ next month, and the other month, 300$. In another 2 months, I will be done with this credit card debt. Finally!

I could pay it all immediately, but for security reason, I prefer to pay a little by little. And a 2 months basis is a good schedule. After what the next money will be put for RRSP.

I just refresh a little bit my blog. I believe it look better this way rather than the all pink blog.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

RRSP nightmare

I just get through my papers for 2007 tax. I was scared that I put too much in RRSP.... The maximum I was able to put in my RRSP was 5 712$ for 2007....... I almost stop breathing yesterday when I went to get my mails.... I get a receipt for 2007 RRSP coming from London Life. I totally forgot that my late employer was putting money in my RRSP. I was with that employer until June 2007... Anyway, I totally forget about that one.

What I had in mind for my RRSP was to put 5 000$ in it. And I taught that I had put that about in so far... So when came that letter yesterday of 1 137.78$ that had been put from my late employer in my 2007 RRSP, I was shocked and I was really scared that I pass out the 5 712$ that I am eligible to put in for 2007.

I calculate and calculate again......

London Life: 1 137.78$
Canada Trust: 1 500$
CIBC: 1 000$
RBC: 1 500$
Desjardins: 500$

TOTAL: 5 637.78$

It was a short one... Since the advisors of the bank where I went to give my RRSP papers immediately after doing the transaction, if it's not of Caisse Desjardins, because I don't have an account in one of Montreal Desjardins Bank, I believe I am ok for this year, but it was a short one....... I was so sure that I already put in 5 000$ in my 2007 RRSP for whatever reason... But I know I only put 500$ at Desjardins because I can see it online, via my bank account.

If I would have passed out the 5 712$, I don't know what I would have done... Anyway, enough is enough. I have been working so hard, I don't even remember how much I have put where. In previous post, I was saying that it was 2 500$ that I had invested, in 2 separate times... I just corrected those posts. First time it was 2 500$, second time less..... But I don't want to calculate, I mess up so much around, it's hilarious.

I am so bad with the numbers and I am so tired of the 2007 taxes thing. I can wait it will be all done. I was off yesterday and I took time to place my papers in order so it will be easier when it will come time to see someone to do my taxes for me.

But I didn't receive all my taxes paper. I am missing 2 from employers, one from government because I receive a little tiny 300$ and something for the unemployed insurance and one from Desjardins, for the mutual fund I have, non RRSP. So I cannot do anything now. I also have to remember my banks paper from ING Direct and Desjardins.... what a nightmare lol.... I was all confused yesterday and I had one of those hard times...

I can't imagine what is like to be a millionaire and doing taxes. I already have so many problems to get through my little life the way it is right now. In my fifty, I am going to have a lot of fun. The problem will be that there will be money under my name all over the place, and if it's difficult now, what it will be in about 30 years... lol

Anyway, for good news, I receive the paper coming from RBC regarding the non RRSP mutual funds I have with them. I made around 700$ with those mutual funds, which is really good, but unfortunately, I just lost that money in January, with the crash we had.... The only place I didn't lost money is with a placement I did in 2005, at Desjardins, with my super Fidelity Frontière Nord.

Now that I am completely done with RRSP and that things don't look to good regarding mutual funds, I prefer to wait a little before investing again and I prefer to get off credit card debt, like I previously post about. Since I have more than 8 000$ in regular savings, plus non RRSP investments, the best thing I can do for now is pay out debt.

I receive by pay check today after
midnight and I really hope to be able to get the famous 1 000$ pay check after taxes, for 2 weeks of work. I already pay all my expenses for February, and I was planning to give the totality of the pay check to pay off that credit card debt of mine. On that 2 000$ and something, I pay 17$ in interest, which irritated me. And knowing I am currently making no money from my investments right now, the best thing to do is to pay off that debts I believe, especially the credit card debt.

I didn't find a second job yet. I plan to get one, but I didn't do major searches. I am at a cafe right now and I am searching for job. I get some kind of tired and confused for now so I plan to search more seriously at the beginning of March, maybe earlier, but it's difficult for me at this time.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

My projects for 2008

Now that I am done with the 2007 RRSP contribution, I have other project I am thinking about, like paying that 2 000$ and something debt that I have in credit card and finding a second job. I have been able to get a regular schedule at work, so now it's going to be easier for me to find a part-time job.

I had previously found a part-time job, but at the time, my schedule at my first job was changing week from week. So the employer told me to contact him once my schedule get more regular, because he was only able to give a fix work schedule and once he gave a work schedule, that one is the one their employees have for 3 months. Anyway, once I got my work schedule fix, I gave him a call, but he told me he had all the staff he needed...

So now, I don't have a part-time job, only a regular work schedule. I continue my search for a part-time job, which it shouldn't be to hard to find I believe. But I am currently sick with a cold. I sleep in for most part of the day. I take a look at the performance of my funds, and I was surprise to see that everything had went up up up. I didn't completely recover from my lost, but it's a good start.

I finally got what I wanted with TD

I went back to TD yesterday. I finally was able to get the funds that I wanted. I invest 100$ in each of them, except for one, in which I invest 200$. I was really happy. And after what, I went to work. So in date of today, I am done with my 2007 RRSP and I am quiet tired, running all over the places for my investments. I got a cold and I have been sick. It's the reason why I wasn't happy at all when the advisor told me I will have to come back on yesterday for my mutual funds. But my hard time is finally over.

I believe I have made great choices. I invest in a mix of GIC and mutual funds. I didn't want to put everything in mutual funds. I wanted to have money put in risk free investment because I don't benefit of a pension plan of any employers. And since I also have money put in mutual funds as non RRSP investment, I wanted to put money in a capital guarantee type investment.

Last year, I try segregated fund with Manuvie. 2 of my segregated fund (on 5) had made well. I had invested in those because a couple of them are 100% risk free investment, other 75%. I was anxious last year about putting money in mutual funds for my RRSP, but not anymore, since I now understand more what it's all about.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

About my experience with TD

I went to TD in other to place 1 500$ I have rest to invest in my RRSP. The girl I got as an advisor didn't let me buy the mutual funds I wanted. It's the first time ever I am getting that much trouble to invest in mutual funds. I now have more experience investing in mutual funds and I understand the risk and what I can lose. My profile was aggressive, since I have a high tolerance of risk.

She wanted me to put money in one of their portfolio who had a return, since date of creation, of 5 or 7%. That what she had to offer to me as growth portfolio. She didn't want me to invest in the mutual funds of my choice. She told me she would have to ask if I can possibly to so, and I have an appointment with her tomorrow morning. Usually, I do extra hours at work, I arrive always earlier. But tomorrow, I won't be able to do so because I need to deal with the most incompetent advisor of TD bank.

I wanted to invest in the mutual funds I had selected (see below post), but she didn't want. She was sticking to the idea of putting my valuable money in one of her placement idea. Maybe she get a higher commission if she sales a portfolio. Anyway, if it's happen that the poor girl doesn't let me do what I want to do with my money, I am going to complaint.

I had present to her my list of funds, saying I wanted to invest 100$ in each of them. I told her I understand if I am not able to get them all, that just a couple of them would make my happy. Anyway, she could had make the call for me immediately, but the jerk didn't want to.

I ask her if it was the TD U.S. Mid-Cap Growth ($US) or the one in Canadian $ that had receive an investment award. She wasn't able to tell. Isn't hilarious, an advisor who doesn't even know which of her fund had win an award....

I had a similar experience with a TD advisor from Gatineau (QC). The advisor there didn't want me to invest in mutual funds.

I had a credit line and a visa with TD, and next thing I do on Monday morning is I go paying the little money that I have in there and after what I will close the credit line and Visa that I have at TD.

TD suck, and I don't recommend them to anyone.

I got a lot more service at CIBC and RBC, Caisse Desjardins also.

I understand I am a small investor, but I have another 2 or 3 thousands I would like to put my money in, but TD won't get any more money from me. I feel release, I have enough of TD.

I rock.

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