The Daily EO: June 14th, 2013

I have a vivid memory of being in a store – I don’t remember which one – and my dad pulled out a five dollar bill to pay for whatever he was buying.  We waited to pay and while we did, he showed me how crisp the bills were – right fresh from the bank – by snapping his fingers on them.  He leaned over and showed me.  Snapping them and letting me feel the firm unmarred paper.  I was old enough to start understanding the concept of money, but too young to have any of my own.  I understood that $5 was a lot of money.

Dad was so pleased with these fresh bills – he fingered and snapped those bills the whole time we stood to waiting to pay.  He was especially pleased that he didn’t have to hand over all the new bills he had – that his wallet would have more to feel later.

Every time I pull out a crisp fresh bill, I think of my dad and snap my fingers over it.

June 14th, 2013 Extra Ordinary:  The simple pleasure of touch.

The Daily EO: March 5th, 2013

I’ve been looking for a financial advisor for a long time because I am picky – you can’t be associated with a large chain or bank and you need to charge fees not use commission for compensation.  To me, it is a conflict of interest to make commissions from buying and selling and selling your own company’s products.  How do I know you are giving me the best advice or just making more money for your self and company?   I’m not saying that non-fee based financial advisors are self-interested, I just think that a payment scheme that is based on anything other than maintaining my capital and growing it can lead to difficult situations in the future.

And I found one – one that doesn’t usually look at people who are as small as we are asset wise.  But really, the fact that our equity from our house is untouched after 2 years of under- and un-employment is excellent.  I am pleased with our progress and hope now that we are working to build a plan, we will start to grow again.

March 5, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:   I’m getting “people” again – love it.

The Daily EO: January 2nd, 2013

Yesterday, I did what I am sure all people rising on January 1st did – I checked to see if had updated their website so I could start 2012 taxes and I transferred my 2013 allocation into my TFSA.   (It’s the most wonderful time of the year).

I did meet a hung-over bearded man in the elevator wearing last night’s clothes, a toque and a large booger on his mustache.  I am sure that he did his transfer by cell phone just after the clock struck midnight.

But today, I remembered what I forgot: the TFSA contribution room each year is indexed to 2009.

January 2nd, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  $500 more dollars in the old TFSA.   People, don’t forget!  Deposit today!  And organize your tax receipts!

The Daily EO: August 30th, 2012

In February this year, I was sitting in a Starbucks in Vancouver – in Yaletown, I believe – and having an emphatic discussion with my friend Gillian.  We were sitting at a bar side by side, and other patrons were sitting beside us.  All enjoying their overly complicated coffees with ridiculous names.  I was intently telling my friend that it was one of my favorite times of the year.  Not Spring Break, not Christmas, but it was time to sit down to my favorite puzzle and math problem: taxes.

As her eyes goggled out at me, she also made eye contact with the guy sitting behind me.  He had started snorting his coffee listening to my statement.  I do not think I could have created more of a stir if I had grabbed him in a headlock and gave him a noogie.  They both thought I was crazy.  Still do, I am sure.

But the fact remains, I enjoy doing my taxes – looking for legal deductions, grey areas, potential investment strategies.  2011 tax season really didn’t have too much activity except for an expensive move.  Part of this was paid for by Emile’s new employer, but it still resulted in a pretty lucrative deduction.  I smugly sent in our taxes and had our refund in our bank account by mid March – the delay strictly on the government’s end.

I listened with false sympathy to others complaining in April about needing to get their taxes done.   Really?  Do I have any understanding of this?  Do your taxes.  Keep your receipts organized, have a system, it’s just a puzzle that needs to be solved.

This year I made a mistake and forgot to put an exam fee on Emile’s taxes.  It was my pleasure to hunt down the needed information and submit it.  It allowed me to review the taxes again for the year.

Today as one of our last pieces of mail, Emile received a letter from the Canada Revenue Agency requesting significant documentation on our move.  Employer statements, accommodation receipts, statements of meal calculation, Lawyer Fees.

Such a brown envelope in the mail would cause normal people to sigh, complain and then wait to the end of the 30 day deadline to finally get to it – if not calling in to get an extension.  I – on the other hand – am itching to get started.

No, there something wrong with you people – not me.

August 30th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Getting to do the taxes 3 times this year!

The Daily EO: August 25th, 2012

I slept fitfully the night before – nervous about the garage sale.  Yes, nervous about a garage sale.  I worried that nobody would want my stuff – cast-offs yes, but my things that I had gathered in my life.   I wanted all this effort to be worth it.  But I am always anxious about something I plan going well.  I am not casual, nor spontaneous.  I plan and worry and reconsider.

You can make bets with yourself about what will sell and what won’t – and you’re always wrong.  I mean, I would have never guessed that all of my paperbacks would go, or that nobody wanted Ansel Adams prints that were mounted beautifully and in perfect condition.

Turns out about 5 other houses along the road were also having garage sales so the traffic was brisk.  Some wackos, some friendlys and cheapos of course.  Can you have a garage sale without someone negotiating on the 25-cent items?

And the garage door opened.

August 25th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Stuff turning into $800.


The Daily EO: August 17th, 2012

I used to send money to my mom and brother through this complicated Royal Bank process that required me to know their banking information.  Fine, as they could trust me.  But what about strangers – they don’t know I’m probably not going to steal their identity.  So, I don’t think that ever took off.

When I sold my furniture to someone, he wanted to send me money and asked if I banked on-line.  No way buddy – you’re not getting my banking info!  But turns out, you can send money to people via e-mail and interac.  Cool.  I didn’t know – it was all completed within 15 minutes, and there was my $80 in my bank account.

August 17th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  The vague uneasiness felt when someone 20+ years your senior teaches you about some new fandangled technology thing.  That’s backwards, grandpa!

The Daily EO: April 16th, 2012

When I started work at Dairy Queen at 14 it was my first experience handling a lot of money.  Mom would give me cash to go to the mall – and a ride too – but it was usually something like $7 and it would disappear quickly.  Usually on something useless like make-up (which to this day I cannot apply – you’d think its instinctual)

When I started at Dairy Queen, I learned how to clean tables, fill drinks and run orders.  Then Prep2, Ice Cream, and to the pivotal position of Prep1.  I eventually earned my way to Till2, then Till1, then Drive-thru.  When training on till, I learned how to handle money, count back change and basic math.  I should say I had to use math, as mother had made me attend school and get good grades.  However, Dairy Queens can not make that assumption about all employees.  So basic math – or how to use the till to tell you what the correct change was – was taught.

My quasi-friend outside of work and my supervisor at work taught me how the money was stored in the tills – and I have never forgot that lesson.  Heads together at the back of the till, top of the bill on the left hand side.  But, always heads together at the back at till.

To this day I obsessively store money heads together facing forward.  If you give me a couple of $20s, I feel uncomfortable until I twist them together to line up.  If I get money of different denominations, I must stack them highest value to lowest value (highest on the bottom).  Heads together.  This money is then stored with the higher denominations at the back of my wallet – heads on the left, top of bills at the top of my wallet.

It was a real problem for me when the currency design changed in the early 2000s to move the heads from the right side to the left.  What won out?  Having the heads together or having the bills right side up?  (FYI, bills right side up wins.)  Fortunately, most of the old bills have now been taken out of circulation, and this is no longer a decision I have to make regularly.

Today I went to the bank to get $200 to pay for our two massages this week.   I got ten $20 bills from the Royal Bank Automatic Teller Machine at the Huntsville Royal Bank Branch.  They were upside down, backwards, and the heads were definitely not together.  Tension.  15 seconds.  Aaah, much better.

April 16th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Having a better organizing system for money than the Royal Bank (or whoever tells those Brinks fellows to fill the machine).