My TD e-Series TFSA - 1 year later

It was a year ago in April 2012, that I finally transferred my whole TFSA to TD Waterhouse to purchase their e-Series funds. The initial process was a real pain in the ass but looking at the gains a year later I think it just may have been worth it.

Know your Coffee - Caffeine Content

Myth: Tim Hortons coffee is stronger (ie has more caffeine) or is the same as Starbucks. Answer: False. Starbucks coffee contains more than twice the caffeine of a comparable size at Tim Hortons.

Who has the largest TFSA Balance?

A recent article from the Globe and Mail has got me wondering who has the most valuable TFSA in the country and how they managed to achieve it.

To what end do we work?

If I were to answer the question, I would tell you that I make money so that I can provide for myself and my family. To live comfortably and without worry.

A credit card is a tool. Learn how to use it.

The personal finance world is rife with bloggers that went way into debt in their early university years, only to overcome it finally after many years of struggle. In a way these people learned a lesson which should have been understood before they even got their first credit card.

Greatest apartment hunting tool

As I'm currently in the process of looking for an apartment, I'd like to suggest to anyone else in the same situation to definitely take a look at Padmapper.

Goals and Happiness

I have thought a lot about what my goals should be for this site. I see other people have set theirs as paying off credit cards, student loans, or mortgages.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

June 2014 Net Worth Update +1.87%

TFSA - $36,132.21 +2.81%

RRSP - $5,173.30 +0.56%

Company stocks - $2,280.55 +31.2%
(stocks purchased this month = $447.96)

Chequing - -$431.26

Total: $43,154.80
Gain: 1.87% or +$792.10

Monday, 19 May 2014


Another departure from Personal Finance but as this site is very much my life on show, I might as well share my thoughts too. It's a rather serious post so you should skip it if you're not in the mood.
What good is fear? How does it affect our lives? 

Well that probably depends on what it is that you fear. Fearing that you might be robbed in a dangerous neighbourhood? Okay seems reasonable, maybe it will make you avoid that neighbourhood on your way home just to be safe. But a fear of the spiders that crawl across your bathroom floor? Not so much. The question really is what does your fear do to you? Does it control you or do you use it to your advantage.

Before I continue I should admit to you now that I have only one fear. Whereas most fears vanish when you interrogate them long enough, the fear I hold will in fact be very real one day. 

The fear I am talking about is Death. An unpleasant thought for many. 

First, let me clarify. It is not a fear of the process of dieing, whether it be peaceful or painful, but of the state of being dead.
Seeing, hearing, and feeling nothing. Rationally someone might ask how I can fear something that I won't be around to experience? Well the answer would be that this is the very thing that I fear.

Nothingness. I fear the nothingness.

The video below sums up the fear, and I would suggest those who would rather not confront death right now not to watch the video. Even though I have read the words many times I still find myself caught off-guard by them in times of weakness.

If you are still reading this, know that my aim was not to depress you, but to show you how a fear can affect you, or in this case how it affects me. My fear hits me when I am at my most vulnerable and when I am least prepared to deal with the thoughts. It sends panic signals racing through my brain along with an urge to run and escape. I know this and can guard against it by trying not to put myself in a situation where the fear takes shape. What I am able to gain from the fear when it does occur is an appreciation of not only my time but also the time of others. An appreciation that every minute counts and not to waste them or to put off something until tomorrow.

I tell myself often that I am alive now and only maybe alive tomorrow.

This principle has guided me through a lot in life and I use it to battle the persistent bouts of procrastination that I encounter.

So what good is fear? My fear pushes me to accomplish things and to value the time that I do have. Would I rather not have this fear? Absolutely. But if I didn't have the fear, would I have gotten this far? Where would I be without it pushing me along to strive for greater things and to not accept that this is as good as it gets.

Whatever your fear is, whether it be death, spiders, or your massive debt, confronting it is vital to understanding it. By understanding it you can then maybe defeat it outright or at least lessen its effects by learning to guard against it. Or maybe you will never get rid of your fear, just as I will never be rid of mine, but that doesn't mean you can't gain something valuable from it. Even if it is just a new insight into why you feel the way you do or what is triggering the fear.

Confront it, understand it, and use it.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

May 2014 Net Worth Update +1.25%

As you can see from the numbers below I've managed to post another modest increase this month thanks to the markets performing well. This is now the eight month in a row that I've increased my net worth since returning from my trip to Asia last October. Since then I've been focusing more on my expenses and savings and I am finally beginning to see some payoff. By the next update I am expecting a sizeable increase due to May being a three-paycheque-month and my usual plan of saving the entire amount of one of them. I have always based my monthly budgets on receiving two paycheques and so the two times during the year when I receive a third I can put that straight to savings. I recognize that this probably wouldn't work for people that have bi-weekly mortgage payments to deal with but it could be useful for people like me that pay rent monthly. 

New posts this month

May 1, 2014
TFSA - $35,144.14 +0.88%

RRSP - $5,144.37 +0.91%

Company stocks - $1,738.23 +17.36%
(stocks purchased this month = $298.64)

Chequing - $336.04

Total: $42,362.78
Gain: 1.25% or +$521.59

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Coin counters everywhere! - Stop rolling your coins

If you are still rolling your loose change by hand then please put down the roll and step away from the coins. This tedious and time-consuming task is no longer necessary thanks to a number of banks that have installed free to use coin-counting machines in their branches.
BMO Bank of Montreal, TD Canada Trust, and a number of credit unions are among those who have installed coin counters for their customers to use.

As of today the BMO machines are FREE to use by customers and non-customers alike.
TD's coin counters are far more numerous, but are free only to personal banking customers while business customers and non-TD customers will pay a fee of 3% and 8% respectively. Needless to say, if you're not a TD customer then don't waste your money paying a fee at TD if you can avoid it by going to an equipped BMO branch nearby. Vancity Credit Union also has two locations in the GVR which are equipped with coin counters and are free to use for members and the public.

Here's an actual video of a BMO coin counter in action. It's amazing how quick it is.

Video credit - Youtube user:MPRussSel.

I can remember rolling coins for my grandparents when I was young and thinking how there must be a better way to do it. Sorting and rolling pennies and nickels for a couple dollars didn't seem like a good use of one's time. I didn't think so when I was just a poor kid and now that I've become a poor adult I still don't think so. I also remember our family buying an at-home coin counter and thinking how useful it would be... if it actually worked as it was supposed to. Ah the cheap products of the 90's.(Amazingly you can still buy this product and judging by the Amazon reviews they are just as bad as ever.)


Click here to see a map of coin counters in the Greater Vancouver area and on Vancouver Island.
By Richard Chu, accompanying his article below in Business in Vancouver.
TD Canada Trust bets big on coin-counting machines

Find a BMO coin counter near you

Find a TD Canada Trust coin counter near you

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Tim Hortons increases caffeine content in coffee by 35% - or do they?

Tim Hortons increases caffeine content in coffee by 35% - or do they?

Two years ago I wrote a post dispelling a number of myths regarding the caffeine content in coffee and a few other drinks. Know your Coffee - Caffeine Content. It was a moderately successful post until about two weeks ago when someone in the comments mentioned that my numbers for Tim Hortons were incorrect and that I should check Tim Hortons' website and see for myself. I am not usually one to make errors when it comes to specifics so I went and checked the website and lo and behold, my numbers are incorrect. They may be incorrect now but they weren't when I originally wrote the post in March 2012. The caffeine content guide from Tim Hortons that I had originally used was last updated on Jan 23, 2012, but they have now released an updated one as of Nov 6, 2013, which I have placed beside each other for comparison below. I've linked the full guides at the bottom of this post if you're interested in seeing their full list of drinks.

The thing that is apparently clear is that the caffeine totals for their standard brew have all increased and not by an insignificant amount, roughly 35% or greater. I sent a request to Tim Hortons' customer support inquiring as to whether a new source of beans was the reason behind the change or perhaps a new and refined testing technique gave more accurate numbers this time around. The response below which I received from Tim Hortons' customer support doesn't do much in the way of clarifying the increase. While I would expect some variation in the caffeine totals because as they mention it is an agricultural product after all, an increase of this size doesn't seem to fit. Simply saying that a supplier had changed or that the beans were sourced from somewhere else would have been a sufficiently reasonable answer.

Dear xxxx,

Thank you for your interest in Tim Hortons products!

The caffeine content changed simply as a result of us just updating the information, there was no change to the product. In general, since it is an agricultural product, there can always be some variance in the caffeine content.

Please call us on the guest service number at 1-888-601-1616, if you require more information or any clarification.

Yours truly,

The TDL Group Corp.

Guest Services Representative
Toll Free: 1-888-601-1616


Tim Hortons - Caffeine Content Guide
New - Nov 2013:

Miiockm -  Know your Coffee - Caffeine Content

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