Mortgages and Interest Rates

TSML Mortgage Rates 2

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions most people will ever make. Taking on hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt to purchase a home is an immense decision that shouldn’t be approached casually. There are a myriad of factors you must consider before leveraging so much money for a single, illiquid asset. This is especially important in a “hot” real estate market like Vancouver.

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Of Inflation and Investments

Inflation vs Investing

My recent post about inflation got me thinking about holding cash versus investing. The image above demonstrates the extraordinary effects of inflation and investing. The black line shows the deteriorating effect of inflation on $1 and the red line shows the wealth generation of investing $1 – both over a 100 year time period. The $1 held in cash deteriorated from possessing a purchasing power of $20.52 in 1914 to just $1 in 2014. In contrast, a $1 invested in the S&P 500 in 1914 grew to $15,197.23 of purchasing power in 2014. In a nutshell what does this mean? Like a previous post I had titled Why You Need to Invest Your Money… you need to invest your money!

Inflation: When $5 Billion Can’t Buy Bread

5 Billion TSML

$5 billion. Five billion dollars. $5,000,000,000.

The heartbreaking irony when I was holding this $5 billion bill was that it wasn’t even enough to buy a loaf of bread.

We were nervous going into Zimbabwe. We were only going to Victoria Falls, a tourist city located just 40km away from the western border between Namibia and Botswana. But it was the summer of 2008. There was bloody political violence over the elections in the spring of 2008. Thousands of Zimbabwean refugees had illegally crossed into South Africa to escape the political violence. I witnessed the refugee camps that sprung up in Cape Town. Things got violent in Johannesburg; Zimbabwean refugees were necklaced there. Our guide told us that we would be safe. We weren’t so sure.

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Student Loan Homestretch

TSML Student Loan

Back in November 2013, I posted a visualization of my student loan payoff progress - please refer to that post if you want to understand the graph. I had $25,100 left to go in November 2013. Today, I am left with $13,800. I am so close to single digit thousands owing that it is making me giddy. I used up my remaining bulk of student loan tuition credits this tax season and got a substantial $5000 return, which I immediately put towards my student loans. I’ve eliminated 75% of this debt and racing to kill the remaining 25%. I’m on the homestretch. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And it feels damn good.

Tax Time with UFile

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 7.58.31 AM

I just finished filing my taxes with UFile. I made the switch from years of using TurboTax. I definitely like the UFile interface much better. Anyways, I’ll keep this nice and short: if you do decide to use UFile for filing your taxes this year, use this coupon code to receive a $3.99 discount for a single return or $6.49 off for a family return X2U5BT18KW. Again, that code is X2U5BT18KW. I found it on my travels around the internet and I was pleasantly surprised in worked. Happy tax season!