Friday, May 23, 2014

Toronto will have to Wait

Break out the white flag of surrender.  After much home searching and soul-searching, we decided to delay our move to Toronto.  The housing market there is too hot, making it all but impossible for out-of-towners to buy anything good at a reasonable price.  We will try again next year and hopefully the market will be more balanced.  Besides, the Leafs did not make the playoffs so the level of excitement in town is low.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Canadian CFP Course 1

Just finished the first Canadian CFP course (1 of 4) and I will sit the exam up in Canada in mid June.  It was a challenging course and kept me engaged.  Most of the complexity in Canadian retirement planning comes in all the government rules and regulations on taxes, eligibility, savings, withdrawals, "clawbacks", and pensions.  They are all set up to maintain the Canadian "Goldilocks Model" where you cannot be too poor, or too rich, but just in the middle (class).

If you are interested, the New York Times had an Op-Ed piece on why Canada does a better job maintaining the middle class than the USA.  The link is here.  It seems to be a popular article as it has sparked over 650 comments.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Everything is Up to Date at

One of the advantages of having more free time is that you can make sure all your electronic gizmos are up to date.  All our personal electronics are stuffed with software that contain bugs (mistakes) that the manufacturers fix (we hope) and propagate to us over the Internet.

In the last few months I updated:

  • Windows PC BIOS, operating system, Virus definitions, drivers, and various software programs
  • Camera and lens firmware
  • Iphone and Ipad software
  • MAC operating system, virus defs, and various software programs
  • Printer firmware
  • Router firmware
  • Home built file server software (FREENAS)
  • Samsung big screen TV firmware and applications
Our stats at my previous employer showed that about 4% of our Internet traffic was Microsoft updates.  I would hazard a guess that at least 5% of overall Internet traffic worldwide is fixing software bugs.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Exam Nightmare

One of my standard nightmare for the last 35 years is that I am late for an exam and do not get there in time. Pretty strange since I was not taking any courses at the time.   Evidently, this is a pretty standard nightmare and does not indicate any deviant personality traits, I hope.  I usually get nightmares after eating a huge dinner and/or drinking too much and/or sleeping too long - so a Porterhouse steak with a bottle of Cabernet and sleeping in until 10am is a guaranteed terror.

I have just checked up on the financial planner website and it turns out my CFP exam for my first course will be held at my old University (University of Toronto) and it will be closed book test unlike the assignments in the online version of the course.  I am going to accelerate my course work and hit the books to get ready, but no nightmares yet.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Bring Back My Bonnie to Me

I finally sold my Triumph Bonneville motorcycle (Bonnie).  I was not using it and it needed the carbs cleaned again due to lack of use.  It went to a good home, a motorcycle mechanic who appreciates British bikes.  Another sign of growing old but it will make my mother and my wife happy that I no longer have a motorcycle.

On the second career front, not much progress.  Still working on the Canadian CFP course, which seems to have a few themes:

  • Get the most that you can from the government (pension, allowances, credits..).
  • Reduce your taxes
  • Be politically correct - lots of exotic names used in the examples, some gay couples, and some non-traditional family arrangements.