Category Archives: Uncategorized

Square Payments System Comes to Canada

This is going to be huge for small and micro businesses. Now everyone who makes and sells something from home, or sells at conventions, flea markets, farmers markets and other odd places will have access to the electronic payment market they didn’t have before.

Imagine the artists, writers, home bakers, cleaning ladies, dog walkers and everyone else who can now participate in the real economy.


Square: Now Available in Canada from Square on Vimeo.

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Figure Out Your Net Worth


I recommend that everyone sit down once a year and figure out their net worth. Around the time you do your taxes seems to work out best, since that’s when you’ve already got all your financial documents spread across the dining room table, and a calculator at your elbow.

Net Worth is simply the total of what you own, minus what you owe. The idea is that each year you should see a gradual increase in your net worth. If not, you have to stop and yourself why.

Sometimes there’s a darned good reason. You got laid off from your job. Or you’ve got three kids in University.

But if the reason for the decline is because of an increase in non-productive spending, then it is time to assess your priorities. Perhaps a trip around the world is a priority, and you are willing to take the hit for it. You just need to be clear in your mind what the consequences of your financial decisions will be.

Net Worth Calculator


Bank Accounts  $
Savings  $
Stock Market Accounts  $
RRSPs  $
TFSAs  $
Company Pensions  $
Real Estate  $
Vehicles  $
Art & Collectables  $
Investments  $
Companies you may own (net)  $
Other Valuable Assets  $
Total  $  


Credit Cards  $
Lines of Credit  $
Outstanding Bills  $
Overdrafts  $
Student Loans  $
Car Loans  $
Mortgages  $
Investment Loans (like for RRSPs)  $
Business Loans  $
Other Loans & Debts  $
Total  $  
Net Worth
Total Assets minus Debts  $  


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Economic Theory Run Amok

For economics buffs out there (is there really such a person?) and those of you who are really just trying to figure out why the world is so messed up, I have to recommend a paper by Dan Ciuriak and John Curtis called What if Everything We Know About Economic Policy is Wrong?

Ciuriak and Curtis take a look at the current global economic situation and examine how Economic Policy has failed. They contrast the promises of Trickle Down Theory with the actuality of recession, high unemployment and government debt.

Download the pdf here for free.

I recommend that you print off a copy and hand deliver it to your local member of parliament, congressman or other favourite member of the political beau monde.


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Filed under Economics, Economy, Employment, Finance, How It Works, Inflation, Regulation, Uncategorized

The Consequences of Debt

The US government is in the process of learning one of the key lessons of the debtor.

The Creditor calls the tune.

The Chinese who hold trillions of dollars in US are not happy, and they are not afraid to let the US know that they need to shape up and fly right. Let’s hope that this credit downgrade is treated as a wake-up call, and the US uses the opportunity to get their fiscal house in order.

But don’t count on it.

The disfunctional houses of congress are too busy stabbing each other in the back in a pointless and self defeating series of internecine battles.

If the US doesn’t sort this out, expect more dire consequences in the future.

In the meantime, use this dip in the Dow to snap up any high quality blue chips while they are on sale. Just make sure you go for quality, look for income in the form of dividends to  tide you over until the markets recover.

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Filed under Dow Jones, Economy, Finance, How It Works, Inflation, Investing, Recession, Stock Market, Uncategorized, US Debt

Ask a Question

Ask a question time again.

If you have a question, just leave send it to me in the comment box. All comments are private. I’ll see if I am able to answer it for you.

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RRSPs & Divorce

I’ve been getting  a number of questions lately about how RRSPs are treated during a divorce.

Although every province has slightly different divorce laws, they all treat RRSPs in a similar way.

It doesn’t matter who the RRSP or Spousal RRSP belongs to, and it doesn’t matter who actually contributed the money in the RRSP or Spousal RRSP. All RRSP contributions made during the years you were married (but not before) are considered marital property, just like your house. So they can be divided up between the two of you, or traded off against another asset.

For instance, say one partner has both an RRSP and a company pension, while the other doesn’t. If the money is close to equal, the partner with the pension could offer to give up the RRSPs in order to keep the pension for themselves.

In my own situation, I traded my share of the RRSPs for his share of the house.

Spousal RRSPs can be contentious during divorces because they belong to the spouse who’s name is on the account, not the person who contributed the money. But! Because you are getting divorced, all the money has to be counted in the communal pot.

So the contributor may, or may not, get some of their contributions back. Although, in practice, the higher earning spouse who has contributed to their wife’s or husband’s RRSP usually has a lot of RRSPs and Pension credits in their own name, so the chances of that happening in real life are pretty slim.


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Filed under How It Works, Pensions, Retirement, RRSP, Spousal RRSP, Uncategorized

50% off Coupon on Easy Tax Tips

To celebrate the first day of Tax Season, from now until April 15, I’m happy to be able to offer a coupon for 50% off the price of Easy Tax Tips for Canadians at Smashwords.

Click on the link here, enter the coupon code SM43D and download the book in your favourite version.

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Filed under Taxes, Uncategorized

Easy Tax Tips for Canadians

Available at or

My new book “Easy Tax Tips for Canadians” is now available.

Written in the same accessible style as my blog, this is the tax book for you if:

  • You hate tax season,
  • You don’t understand your taxes,
  • You’re afraid you always miss a deduction,
  • You wish someone could make this easier.

Easy Tax Tips keeps it simple, with hints and tips for regular wage earners, in plain English that allows you to save money by doing your taxes yourself.

You can buy the ebook version for $2.99 in all formats including Kindle and epub here. Or you can get the paperback version for $5.99 from Amazon.

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Filed under Taxes, Uncategorized

Financial Train Wreck

Stephen Roach, chief of Morgan Stanley’s Asia unit, says that Asian economies will not be able to withstand the “Tsunami” of American cash which Bernanke is flooding into the financial markets.

American fiscal policy is a train wreck that is set to sideswipe the rest of the planet. The little guys are likely to get squashed.

I see inflation becoming a threat before the global economy has had time to fully recover from the recession. We could be facing a period of stagflation which would be as bad or worse than what we have seen so far. It would most certainly drag out the jobless recovery in the US for a very long time.

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Filed under Economy, Employment, Finance, How It Works, Inflation, interest rates, Recovery, Stock Market, Uncategorized, US Debt, US Dollar