Financial analysts spot small problems while the majority of average Canadians face really big ones.
[From 'Alison on Money', Jan. 29, METRO]
Alison says "setting up an automatic contribution plan will help you deal with this stressful time (i.e., RRSP season)." Meanwhile the average Canadian family is up to their eyeballs in debt and has no money for an RRSP contribution plan.
Someone other than a financial analyst has to soon deliver a series of new messages to help average Canadians avoid financial stress.
Try these on for size while we wait for government and business officials to prepare their notes:
Downsize the North American Dream Buy or build a much smaller house Buy a much small car Buy 50% fewer furnishings for your house
["I'm still waiting for a store like this in Old South, London"]
Buy Canadian and keep more jobs at home Learn to cook more of your own meals Include nature walks on your entertainment schedule
What other messages does the average Canadian need to hear in order to avoid financial stress or ruin?
Financial analysts may at times appear to have all the answers - related to our financial health - but they fail to address very big questions. While 'Avoiding the stress of RRSP season' may sound helpful (and it will be to some readers), consider the following:
The average Canadian is up to his eyeballs in debt He doesn't make enough money to have an RRSP When he hears "the maximum you can deposit to an RRSP for 2012 is $22,970" he wonders if he even makes that much and what planet is the writer from anyway?
Welcome to Canada, eh, the land of milk and honey for fewer people each year.
There are many reasons why fewer people are prospering each year and why comments from 'Alison on Money' (e.g., "setting up an automatic contribution plan will help you deal with this stressful time") sound really out of place for the average person. Canadians buy foreign products as if they're going out of style and 'Made in Canada' products and related jobs are going the way of the Dodo just as quickly. Modern machines do the jobs of many men and women and related unemployment figures seem destined not improve. Other reasons abound.
Since this is the season for financial analysts and gurus to pedal their wares, I predict a certain amount of financial stress will surface as a result of some of their encouraging words.
For example, when 'Alison on Money'says "$69,426.19 (is) the value of $100 saved monthly for 25 years at six per cent average annual return...", the average Canadian will wonder where they are going to scrap up that $100/mo. for 25 years. Unfortunately, on that final matter, Alison remains silent. So do and many others, including most levels of government and businesses. Why is that? Photo by GH *** Please click here for more about Money Matters
I could not fix my busted table saw so I saved up real hard and bought a new one. 'Mini' log cabins and more will pay for the saw - in the long run. (Ten years of marathoning have prepared me well to deal with the long run.)
I recently felt the difference in size between the mini and large log cabin (seen directly below) was so great there was room for another size in between.
So I created a medium (directly below).
After dusting off my eyebrows I realized there was room for yet another size.
["L to R: Small, medium, large. Mini on top"]
Now I feel there is room for a log cabin triplex. I'll be busy in the workshop all week, I'm sure.
Today is Wednesday. Check. I play hockey at 3:45. Check. I'm motivated. Check.
Last week I scored my first goal in a long time after getting moved up to right wing from defence. Opposing players stood amazed. My brilliant speed - thanks to pedalling 106 miles that week - left them in awe.
Well, it left them in something. (How do I start the laugh track on this thing?)
[Sure, I only pedalled 1.2 extra miles, but I reached my goal!]
Three-year olds must have a different inner clock - regarding meals, baths, TV time, outdoor time - than adults my age. I finished washing the lunch dishes a few moments ago and Anna subsequently asked for spaghetti.
"How about a walk outside?" I asked.
"Spaghetti," she said.
Why didn't she eat it at noon with the rest of us? I wondered.
I said, "Why didn't you eat it earlier?"
"I wasn't hungry."
So I heated up the spaghetti (she also wanted more sauce than I had added) and after she ate she wanted a bath. Because of the extra sauce Anna needed a good soak.
It took me 45 minutes to make toast this morning. Usually it takes five. The twins took a long time to decide what kind of jam they wanted - with or without bananas on top - and the first batch didn't pass the sniff test.
In five years I likely won't get as frustrated with them at breakfast time because I'll just point toward the kitchen and say, "The bread and toaster are in there. Jam is in the fridge. Pass me the remote, please. Cartoons are over." That's how they learn. Anna just dropped her toast. Peanut butter, jam and banana side down. I don't know if I'll last five years.
My twin grand-daughters Anna and Ella (age 3) are visiting today and one girl woke me up 30 minutes ago. Unexpectedly. She was looking for her small cow.
Anna was carrying her medium cow, large cow and a lion that looked like it had seen better days, and let me know in no uncertain terms she wanted the small cow to round out her collection before she could get on with her day.
The London Free Press published a story and photo ('Young runner idled', Jan. 16) related to an issue involving politicians, teachers, parents, students and money (and much more). Something the student Jessie Fleming said caught my attention.
["I give her that. I liked sports too. Still do."]
Sports are so big. If we studied the history of sport within the school setting we would likely be amazed. The number, intensity and importance of sport has literally exploded. We've gone from bags of clay marbles and games of scrub with borrowed bats and spongy balls to badminton, football, hockey, track and field, basketball, soccer, to name a few. You name it, a child can sign up for it. Some students will even say, "(Pick a sport, any sport) is my life."
At the same time we should study those things that contributed to the wild growth from marbles to a mountain of athletic activities.
Because it's a new year I'm raising the bar. Because I've hit my goal (100 miles per week) six weeks in a row I'm raising the bar. Because I've collected 743 'extra miles' over the last couple of years (another 8.9 mi. last week) I'm raising the bar.
This week's goal will be 105 miles. My latest bargain book will motivate me to pedal hard for the next few days, I'm sure.
Lon cabin birdhouses are essentially made up of 24 logs for the four sides, two triangles (one with a hole) and 6 - 8 slats for the roof. Though I can make them fairly quickly a few things happen to slow me down.
Making trim, e.g., a telephone pole perch, slows me down. Fussy work. Cutting a 10-inch length of wood in half through the center (for roof slats: it's like taking a two-inch thick slice and bread and cutting it into two one-inch thick slices), is time-consuming as well, because once I see the wood's innards I stop to appreciate the different colours, grains and patterns.
I know some people like a painted roof. Not me, not this time.
I moved a potted plant off a back deck table a few moments ago in order to create space for a birdhouse I wanted to photograph. The pot was difficult to move with one hand because it was frozen in place. Once I'd succeeded I noticed an icy target had been left behind.
Note to the curious: Yes, my last post, re Happy Hour, was several days ago. No, Happy Hour didn't last several days, but busy times in the workshop continue.
It doesn't happen often. Happy Hour rolled around in the workshop yesterday and I still had chinking to do on a birdhouse. So, I had to ask myself an unusual question. "What cold beverage would go down well while I'm filling cracks between a few logs?"
["Happy Hour is at five in the afternoon. Whoops! I'm late!"]
I thought about it. I drummed my fingers on my work bench. I hummed along to the music by Van Morrison and eventually settled on something from across the way.
['Hymns to the Silence' made me think of Ireland]
I didn't have any Guinness so I selected Gooseberry Wheat Ale, a fine product of Scotland. It was perfect. Light, nicely carbonated, gooseberry-ish, a titch tart (and I like 'sours').
I have log cabin birdhouses on the brain. They're fun to make and eat up scrap, thereby reducing the need for me to light a fire and send leftover wood up the chimney.
["Five of seven cabins all in a pile awaiting trim"]
I am using pine that once was attached to my house in the form of exterior board and batten. The batten sat under a tarp for many years and I am feeling very satisfied with myself now as I use it up - as logs and slats - to provide distinctive homes for chickadees, finches and the ubiquitous sparrow.
["I'm using up my eight-penny washers as well. No expense is too great!"]
Two of the cabins looked a bit wonky, with gaps between logs, so I grabbed a can of crack filler and went to work like an old pioneer on the Canadian Prairies. I'n no expert on chinking but if any chickadee comes to my door this year to complain about losing sleep because of a cold draft on its neck I'll be very surprised.
["Chinking the log cabins took but a few minutes"]
Today I'll add the last of the trim and paint a sign for my sales corner: