Archive for May, 2005

Financial Facelift Column

May 22, 2005

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The Globe and Mail newspaper runs a regular column that examines the financial situation of an average Joe or Jane and asks a financial planner for advice. The stories allow us to indulge in a bit of financial voyeurism and hopefully, learn a few things that can be applied in our own lives.

Last weekend’s edition featured a young Calgary couple, Mike and Suzy. Mike earns about $100,000 per year as an engineer in an oil company. For 32 year olds, they have done extremely well, having a net worth close to $600,000. However, the couple seem to be betting it all on continued strength in one sector: energy. Mike’s job, a significant portion of their retirement accounts and all of their taxable investments are in energy companies. Incredibly, 25% of their net worth is invested in Mike’s company stock. The financial advisor correctly points out “Betting four lives on the price of oil is a gamble that I would not take.” I hope they took that advice seriously.

Canadian Inflation Report

May 21, 2005

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Statistics Canada released the inflation report for April 2005 yesterday. Inflation came in at 2.4% higher than year-ago prices. The report said that prices of gas (up 15.3%), new homes (up 5.8%), restaurant meals (up 3.1%), fuel oil (up 31.6%) and property taxes (up 4.3%) rose, while computers (down 20.1%), women’s clothing (down 2.9%) and hotel accommodations (down 5.1%) were cheaper. The CPI was 0.3% more than the previous month.

Since the so-called core rate of inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food prices, increased only 1.7%, Bay Street economists think that the Bank of Canada will leave interest rates unchanged at 2.5% next week.

Best Canadian Investment Blogs

May 19, 2005

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I am really honoured to find this blog listed among the best Canadian Investment Blogs in MoneySense magazine, a leading Canadian finance publication. The article by columnist Larry MacDonald is in two parts: the first mentions really good commentators like Bill Cara (check out Mr. Cara’s post about the mention), Irwin Michael and Norm Rothery (of the Stingy Investor). Mr. Michael and Mr. Rothery also write insightful columns for MoneySense.

The second part mentions the hilarious The Market Guy, which I stumbled upon just the other day. He writes mostly about his adventures in income trust investing. I have to confess that I haven’t heard about the other blogs mentioned, but I am going to check out all of them and note down my thoughts over the Victoria Day weekend.

Here’s what Mr. MacDonald said about this blog:
Written by a software developer with a keen interest in investing, this blog has a pleasing design and writing style. There are many links to and reviews of articles, books and blog pieces on investing (and personal finance). It’s good for drawing attention to items you might not otherwise notice. The author goes by the nickname Arbe but his ‘About Me’ button has been disabled — maybe because he has a new job with a big software firm in Ottawa and is trying to play it safe.