today’s bits

I have done something different and went to a cafe 20 min away from home. I did not take my laptop with me, either. So I have had a great coffee (I like their coffee the best) and two bagels. I also read the newspaper the cafe have had. I sat in front of the window and enjoyed my breakfast and life for sometime.

It was well worth to visit this cafe. Plus, its prices are more affordable than my favorite cafe; so better coffee+free read of newspaper+better affordability = I should be going to this cafe all the time!! 🙂

There is another catch with this cafe; it is just next to my favorite second hand bookstore. I admit; I wanted to visit the bookstore and possibly buy a book; that is why I went to that cafe (first visit since december or so). And I am glad I have. I missed being there and going thru all the interesting books….This is an amazing feeling. I know I have been on shopping freeze for books for some time, but every once a while having this pleasure of being there and buying a book should be okay 🙂

I bought a book. It is about finances and investing. I enjoy reading this kind of books. Considering it is my objective to save and invest as much as possible for my future, I am glad I have bought this book. The book does not say anything new we do not know;

1. start saving and investing early

2. invest in stocks; stock market eventually corrects itself

3. invest over time and regularly (such as monthly or biweekly)

4. invest when you have money and wish to invest; do not wait or delay

5. do not try to time the stock markets

6. buy and hold rather than buying and selling frequently, unless there is a very good reason (what would that reason be, I have no idea)

7. work with financial advisors or investors

8. buy, if you can, when the market is low (just like nowadays…)

9. maximize your company retirement plans (401K if you are in the USA) and take advantage of the company matching plans (For my fellow Canadians, that would translate into maximizing the RRSP contributions)

10. do not try to pay off your mortgage in a short time by extra payments or by increasing the mortgage payments; rather invest the extra payments or keep cash at hand so that if you need it, you can use your own money.

Okay; this last one is tricky and after I read it it made some sense to me. Yes, by paying the mortgage early we do save from the interest and it feels quite exciting to be able to have the “home” in nearer future. Yet, nowadays the interest rates are really low and one wonders whether if investing the money would bring a better return? I really do not know. I for one lost confidence in the market as they are volatile and they are predicted to go even more down as the countries struggle with their economies as well as the aging populations.

This being said; I am  planning to increase my mortgage payment by a small amount in the fall, only because I am getting a little salary increase at that time. But that is pretty much it.

BUT, I love the idea of keeping my own money should I need it (for repairs or other urgent matters of life, like health problems etc.) rather than making it my day and night effort to pay the mortgage off first. As a matter of fact this is what exactly I am trying to do for now; accumulating an emergency/house contingency fund in my TFSA account. My prediction is that after maybe 2 years or so, I will be comfortable enough to divert my money to investments for retirement, or to reduce my mortgage by extra payments.

I keep telling myself I should be patient…

Time will show 🙂

 

 

problems with economy and anxiety over retirement

Looks like Canada has an economic problem – our stock market has gone down, Canadian dollar is losing its value against the US dollar, employment rate in some provinces are as high as 19%, oil-producing provinces like Newfoundland and Labrador as well as Alberta are struggling and losing jobs fast, and overall looks like we have a deficit this year, too.

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine today; we both never ever thought that the oil prices would go down like this (and create this havoc at least in the oil-producing provinces); as long as I know myself, oil prices always went up. It was the best investment for many people.

Not anymore.

I guess that is what it means to have an unpredictable economic future.

Economists for a very long time have predicted an economic slow down for countries like Canada, whose population is rapidly aging. My friend and I are relatively young, but today we also got depressed about our retirement and pension plans. Will the company retirement plan and CPP (Canadian Pension Plan) be healthy 20-30 years from today?  What will happen to our personal savings and retirement investments, such as TFSA and RRSP, which are also dependent on the market?

Will we able to ever retire?

We really do not know. But maybe this would be the chance for me to move to a south American country at my retirement should I afford a better life standard with my savings/retirement plans at that time. This of course is possible should we all keep our jobs…

Cannot think about losing my job. It is true that I am not perfectly happy with the city I live in or the weather. But I love my job; it is the best job for me and if we do not count the stress it creates in me, I love, love, love it. Plus, it is more or less stable and my salary and benefits (although are not as good as other institutions around the country) provides me with an above-average living standards and insurance plans/protection.

I have had chased a job like this for decades and I know how losing a job feels. All the uncertainty and financial hardship it brings. The hopelessness and low morale that comes with it… Although eventually we mostly end up finding a job good enough for us, no, I do not wish anyone to lose their job. I included.

 

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