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.

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

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

April 2014 Net Worth Update +0.48%

Another stagnant month with not much happening to any of my numbers. In the last few months I've tried to reduce some of my fixed bills and while I've been successful in doing so, it hasn't resulted in much of a difference in the end as you can see. I know I need to increase my savings rate as well as cut down on my food expenses each month which are ridiculous for one person. However, I really don't expect much improvement until I find a new position with a higher salary, as there's only so much that one can cut back on.

April 1, 2014
TD Waterhouse e-series TFSA - $34,838.89 -0.23%
TD e-series RRSP - $5,097.83 +0.16%

Company stocks - $1,481.13 +38.74%
(stocks purchased this month = $298.64)

ISA - $150.77
Chequing - $272.57

Total: $41,841.19
Gain: 0.48% or +$201.31

Saturday, 1 March 2014

March 2014 Net Worth Update +4.03%

Another excellent past month for my investments as the markets are at or near their all time highs. It's pleasing to see your investments climb higher but at the same time it also makes your future purchases more expensive. I still have $4,500 left of TFSA contribution room for the year and am having trouble deciding where I should invest next because of it. Fortunately or unfortunately, I don't have the funds to top up the TFSA anyways so I have some time to think on it.
Earlier this month I made my first actual stock purchase, aside from taking part in my company's Employee Share Purchase Plan. If you are wondering which stock I purchased it was Vancouver based Urthecast Corp.: TSX:UR.

It was only a small amount of $1,000 and will probably be my only foray into purchasing individual stocks as opposed to low-cost index funds or ETF's. I was motivated to make a purchase partly because of Good Financial Cents' "Grow Your Dough Throwdown" where personal finance bloggers invest $1,000 and see how their returns compare to each other by years end. I didn't have the cash on hand to buy in early January as the rules state so I'd already be disqualified for the throwdown, but I'll pretend I'm taking part anyways.

I wouldn't advise anyone to buy or not to buy Urthecast and am only making it public in case someone is interested. I happen to be interested in the field and business of space imaging/ exploration and I would like to see Urthecast succeed, along with other companies in the field such as Skybox Imaging and Planet Labs. I figure in the worst case scenario the company doesn't find a market and more or less goes out of business whereby I'd be out only $1,000 and have learned a valuable lesson about buying individual stocks. On the other hand if the company actually succeeds in some of their aims then there could be a sizeable upside to their stock price. Even though it was a small amount of money I still did quite a lot of research on the company, going through their quarterly reports and investor presentations so at the very least I have not bought into the company on a whim.

Here are my numbers for the month.
March 1, 2014
TD Waterhouse e-series TFSA - $34,918.52 +3.95%
TD e-series RRSP - $5,089.57 +3.75%

Company stocks - $1,067.59 +44.86%
(stocks purchased this month = $298.64)

ISA - $150.61
Chequing - $378.53

Total: $41,639.88
Gain: 4.03% or +$1,612.93

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Feb 2014 Net Worth Update +6.02% - $40k Milestone

Well it took me longer than I expected but I finally reached the $40k net worth mark this month. I would have hit it months ago if it weren't for my trip to Asia and a couple other large expenses incurred last year. Hopefully the gains will accelerate from here on.

I've added more to my RRSP because of my employer's matching program and I also contributed $1,000 into my TFSA which leaves me with $4,500 worth of contribution room remaining.

Here are the numbers for the month.

Feb 1, 2014

TD Waterhouse e-series TFSA - $33,593.02 +4.15%
TD e-series RRSP - $4,905.78 +54.71%

Company stocks - $736.99 +64.53%
(stocks purchased this month = $298.64)

ISA - $150.44
Chequing - $640.72

Total: $40,026.95
Gain: 6.02% or +$2,273.14

Previous Milestones
July 2011 - $20k
April/ July 2012 - $30k

Sunday, 5 January 2014

2013 Year in Review / Goals for 2014

Happy 2014 and welcome to my 2013 Year in Review. 2013 was without a doubt the most challenging year of my life. To start off on a very personal note, over the year I began to learn what life would be like from now on without a mother and it is not a happy situation. I had kept myself occupied for a number of months with a hopeful relationship but as that ended abruptly in early 2013 I was revisited again with the sadness, fear, and depression that comes with the death of a loved one. I had focused all of my emotion and hopefulness into the relationship and when it fell apart so did everything else it seemed like.

On the financial side I achieved two goals of topping up my TFSA and transferring my RRSP into e-series funds, but I also failed miserably at the more important goal of finding a career path. To say that I lacked motivation this year would be an enormous understatement. The one aspect that I am pleased with is that I finally enrolled in and passed the Canadian Securities Course in May. I have been asking myself whether a job in finance is what I want to strive for and doing the CSC has made me a little more hopeful that it might be the right direction for me.

In late September I travelled to Asia for two and a half weeks and loved it, but also spent quite a bit of money and dented what would have been a more substantial increase to my net worth over the year. Early in January I also started my Invisalign dental treatment and I am happy to say that I am now almost finished and not hiding my smile anymore. Invisalign has also set me back a bit as my work coverage paid only 60%, though I am still grateful.

Goals from 2013
  • move ING RRSP to TD e-series PASSED
  • find a new job and one that is a career starter FAILED
  • if new job - find new apartment (better location and amenities) FAILED
  • relationship FAILED
  • improve fitness to the next level PASSED - averaging 25hr's of cardio per month and reached a new personal best on the Grouse Grind of 45:55.
  • be more sociable PASSED
  • improve wardrobe FAILED

Net Worth
Jan 1, 2013

Jan 1, 2014
Gain: +13.22% or $4,406.87

Once again my goals for the new year are mostly unexciting.

New goals for 2014
-top up TFSA by $5,500
-try to increase monthly savings somehow
-invest in my first individual stock apart from my employer's shares
-reach the $100 payout level from Google Adsense (this has been a very old dream)
-START A CAREER - take any courses that might help

-continue to improve fitness - push to 30hr's of cardio per month + Grouse Grind time under 45 minutes.
-improve sociability and confidence
-finally improve wardrobe to the point where I am comfortable in my clothes and appearance
-read more books, esp. finance related

I will end this post just as I did last year by sharing a few quotes, but this time from probably my favourite author Bertard Russell.

On work:

"All serious success in work depends upon some genuine interest in the material with which the work is concerned.

Without self-respect genuine happiness is scarcely possible. And the man who is ashamed of his work can hardly achieve self-respect."

On decision making:

"The wise man thinks about his troubles only when there is some purpose in doing so.

When a difficult or worrying decision has to be reached, as soon as all the data are available, give the matter your best thought and make your decision; having made the decision, do not revise it unless some new fact comes to your knowledge. Nothing is so exhausting as indecision, and nothing is so futile."

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