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Showing posts with label Investment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Investment. Show all posts

12 September 2016

Setting an Appointment in Canada

Appointments are usually made in advance so that the slot of someone's time is reserved.  The one who made the appointment will cross out the date in his/her calendar.

We know that there are instances such as emergencies or sudden change of schedules may occur and the worst thing is, if it happens on that appointment date.  It can be a valid excuse, but there should be notifications in advance. We are in a society where there are different ways to inform each other, such as text message, email or phone call.

This post is to remind people that time is important to everyone.  The level may be different, but still is precious.  You may take someone's time for granted thinking that it's just his/her time anyway, but that should not be the case.

In Canada, time is important, we are paid by an hour.  Make it a point that when you schedule an appointment with someone whether he/she is a service, delivery guy or a salesman, you must be there at an agreed time and place.  If you can't make it, a simple message to inform the person involve so he/she can adjust accordingly.

On my previous post, Educate Yourself in Financial and Investments in Canada,  where I stated that I had coordinated with the Financial Advisers in Ontario,  I clearly wrote in the appointment form that a Financial Advisor will contact you based on your preferred media. You can see the form here.


If you filled up the form, it only means that you are open for an appointment with an advisor.  If you made one, make sure that the advisor is well informed in advance if something popped up or you had changed your mind.

A simple excuse message will do:
" Sorry Mr. or Ms. Advisor, we can't make it at the agreed time of the appointment because we need to go to a doctor."
 " Hi Mr. or Ms. Advisor, can we reschedule the appointment to this day, because something very important came up?"
If you are no longer interested or something prompt you that changed your mind, an honest message will do:
" Sorry Mr. or Ms. Advisor, I'm no longer interested about your FREE financial literacy.  Please cancel our appointment."
These excuses are no big deal for the advisors.  At least there are feedbacks coming from you.  There are no bad excuses. It's better to have one than no replies or zero messages at all.

Why am I saying this?

Financial Advisors are professional people. They are licensed by the Financial Services Commission in Ontario.  If you feel that there's a fraudulent act from them, you can report them immediately to the government.

You have to understand that they are also busy individuals.  A certain appointment set for them will ignore others that comes in.  They will set that date for you and that makes you a very important person.

You may say that "It's part of their job!".  We all know that, but would it be great to respect their time as well?

Tips for Making an Appointment with an Advisor:
1. Talk to them clearly.
2. If you are not interested, tell them straight to the point.
3. For the Financial Advisors, a date is a date, unless an emergency comes up.
4. If you are no longer available on that date, postpone it.
5. Leave messages.

Everyone has the right to be respected.

31 July 2016

Educate Yourself in Financial and Investments in Canada

Coming from a country where financial education was not the primary concern in the school curriculum, it was the reason why I didn’t learn finances and investment when I was still young.  

Yes, we have investments in class, as far as I can remember, but it’s all about the computation of interest, compounded, yearly, annually, principal, and etc… Those were the terms I learned in that era.  But what exactly was the practical meaning of those words?  How can we apply that in our daily lives?  Teachers should have taught us about stocks and mutual funds and how to apply it once we have the money to invest.

I really felt that I know a lot about investing, mutual funds, stocks and insurance when I was in the Philippines and in Singapore.  I thought that I already learned them all through online research and watching YouTube financial videos.  But I was wrong.

When I Started Investing
The college education plan, which my sister had for me, was a big help in college.  At the age of 18, I got my first insurance from a reputable insurance company and in addition to that, got my pension plan at age 23, which I received the pension lump sum few years of investing.  Then I have a fully paid house, 2 investments with insurance and a small aquaculture business.  I really thought that I know finances and investments.

But, I was mistaken.  I was not aware of how much should I really be spending premiums or benefits for my insurance, where and what to invest in.  Maybe, I’m just like you who don’t bother to read what was inside the insurance and investment contracts.  It turned out that I really need more knowledge on it.

Learning Investments in Canada
Having my existing small portfolios on hand, I made sure that I have my insurance and investment options when I arrive in Canada.  I talked to my sister in Toronto and luckily she arranged a Financial Adviser to discuss Canadian financial education.

Thinking that I knew everything, I was hesitant to hear the options and other investment options in Canada.  As soon as we reached the middle of the discussion, I felt the interest and my eyes go wider, shoulder and head go nearer to the speaker.  I was surprised to hear new information about it.  Although some are familiar to me, but most of it were new.

The discussion taught me these things:
Options on where to invest our Settlement Funds
Where and how to invest to get the higher rate of return
How to protect our current income
Planning for Children's College Education 
How to prepare when we live longer than expected
Financial analysis

These were the lessons that I had put in mind until now.  It changed the way I handle money in Canada and how to have a lifestyle that fits my income.

After the meeting with the Adviser,  I got my first insurance in Canada to protect my family when I die sooner.

After a few months, I started investing in government savings plan, my retirement, and my children’s college education.  I was grateful to learn those things few weeks after arriving in Canada.  It helped me a lot to be a better financial manager to my family.

That is why I like to share this with you.  Open up your options by getting whatever knowledge you need especially when you have just arrived in Canada.

Please be aware that you should only listen to a licensed financial adviser in Canada. When it comes to financing, of course, you can get inputs from your relatives and friends but not rely on them 100%.  It’s similar to going to a doctor when you are sick or seek for health options.  They’re the only one licensed to do that.

Be Financially Educated
Financial Advisers in Canada are highly regulated.  They are regulated by the Financial Services Commission in Ontario. 

I made an arrangement with the Ontario Financial Advisers so they can conduct a financial literacy to you in Toronto.  They will explain and teach you about investments, how to compute for the proper income protection and where to invest for a higher rate of return.


Click this link to reserve a date and time for your financial literacy.
https://goo.gl/forms/xYg64jirxxb2Ngxe2


Listen to the Advisers and decide what is the right option for you.  The future of your family is in your hands. Prepare for it. You alone can make a difference.  

If you have questions regarding this post, send me an email at benalagnam@yahoo.com.

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30 September 2015

How To Prepare For the University Education of our Children in Canada?

There's a list that I found in my Facebook wall, which states the Top 10 Most Expensive Colleges and Universities in Philippines.  I started browsing it and the top most expensive costs around US$9,435 or C$12,671 (P442,067) per year.

The chance of studying in these universities, when Mom & Dad is working with minimum wage is so thin.  Scholarship or having a student loan is possible though.  These were mostly built for elites.

I remembered the cost of my tuition was around PHP36,000 per year (C$1,000).  Luckily, my sister got me a scholarship plan when I was just 7 years old.  Although I had one, we still needed to pay PHP6,000 (C$200) for the miscellaneous fees, which was not covered by the scholarship plan.

You might think that it's a small amount of money, but for my sister, she worked really hard for that.

That's the reason why my monthly allowance was sacrificed.  Imagine having PHP500 (C$14) per month in your pocket.  It made me thrifty when it comes to food. Clothing and entertainment were not in the budget.

Honestly, writing this post made me realize how lucky we are as a family to be here in Canada.  Here's why...

Education in Canada
When we came here, we already had the idea that the government will give allowances for our children and their education is free, but we are not aware of the details behind it.

We enrolled our eldest son (10 years old) to a nearby school and submitted all the requirements. The school registrar encoded it to their system and that's it! He's enrolled already. No tests. No fuzz. No materials to buy as well. It's all FREE and provided by the school.

Since the education is free from Kindergarten till they reach Grade 12, it's also the time we need to save for their University education.

If you're living in a minimum wage, you and your spouse, this is possible with discipline and budgeting especially if your child/children is/are 10 years below. On the other hand, it can be difficult to those who have older kids. That means you have less TIME to save.

No worries, I'll teach you how to do it as we go further down.

What If We Don't Have Enough Time To Save?
Here in Ontario, the government will not leave our kids behind, they made sure that every kid can gain access to College.  They have an option for a student loan.  It is called the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). 

The program was mainly designed to give financial support to eligible students who don't have enough budget for College.  The program will pay the tuition fees, books, mandatory fees, living costs, and transportation.

In return, students will pay their OSAP debt to the government once they graduate and find their respective jobs.  It's a Study Now & Pay Later type of program.


Although it is helpful for students, they are bonded with DEBT once they graduate.  They have to pay the loaned amount 6 months after they cease to be a full-time student.

Based on my estimate, which I mentioned in my previous post, University Education in Toronto Canada, an Engineering degree student will pay a total estimate of C$80,000++ 6 months after graduation on the year 2023.  I made this computation to have a glimpse on my eldest son's tuition fee.

One of my friends told me that some students can't bear the burden of paying such amount, they ended up taking their own lives.  I hope it's not always the case and sure there are other reasons for such behavior.

What is RESP in Canada?
Most parents don't want their kids to be burdened by the DEBT from OSAP.  Although it's a great help for our special ones, but we want our kids to have a better future and debt free after graduation.

This way, they will earn money for themselves, save earlier for their future.  It is also advantageous for us parents, we will be complacent when that time comes.

A savings plan was designed by the government to help parents save for the post-secondary education of their kids.  This plan is called the Registered Education Savings Plan or RESP.

Parents can save a certain amount on the RESP every month and the Canadian Government will match-up an additional percentage amount on to it and some grants as well.   As it matures, it grows interest because it's invested.

This is how RESP works:
"
  1. A subscriber enters into an RESP contract with the promoter and names one or more beneficiaries under the plan.
  2. The subscriber makes contributions to the RESP. Government grants (if applicable) will be paid to the RESP. These grants can be the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)Canada Learning Bond (CLB), or any designated provincial education savings program.
  3. The promoter of the RESP administers all amounts paid into the RESP. As long as the income stays in the RESP, it is not taxable. The promoter also makes sure payments from the RESP are made according to the terms of the RESP.
  4. The promoter can return the subscriber's contributions tax-free.
  5. The promoter can make payments to the beneficiary to help finance his or her post-secondary education.
  6. The promoter can make accumulated income payments. Source: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca

Where do I get the money for the RESP of my sons?
As promised, I'll teach you how to save and invest the money "I do not own" to my sons' RESP.

We received monthly allowances from the government that was covered by the CCTB and UCCB.  These were:

CCTB - Canada Child Tax Benefit
UCCB - Universal Child Care Benefit

The money that goes into our household were FREE from the government.  It will be used for our kids monthly expenses.  We can now save and invest in the RESP.

A quick summary...

Remember that the benefits were free money from the government. When I invest in the RESP, the government will again, add a percentage of it with some grants.

Isn't it great?  What do you think?


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21 August 2015

University Education For Your Children in Toronto, Canada

Yup, children have free education here in Canada.  But, not all of it are FREE, it's only for the Primary School and Secondary students (4-18 years old).

This is a system that was provided by the government, which they gave ample time for parents to save money for the University education of their children.

The next question is, how much do we need to save and when do we start?

In this post, I'll give you an idea about 
* What you need to know about University tuition?
* How much to save for our children's University education?

How Much are the Tuition Fees for Universities Degrees (2013)
I have done some research about the average tuition fees in Canada and here's the data that I've found from the Statistics Canada as of the year 2013.



The data was taken from the school year 2011 to 2013.  It shows the percent change of tuition fees between the school year 2011/2012 and 2012/2013.

As you can see, at the table for Undergraduates, Dentistry (C$16,910 with a rate increase of 5.4%) has the most expensive tuition, while Education has the cheapest (C$4,006 with a rate increase of 5.3%).

With this yearly increase of tuition, with a maximum of 6.8% annually,  we can predict how much would it cost for the tuition fees after 5 or 10 years.

How Much Should I Save?
I always ask my son on what course should he take when he'll be in college. He's still 10 years old now, but he is very serious on getting an Engineering degree.  Well, what I can do is to support him the best that I can.

So, I computed the cost of an Engineering degree 8 years from now, when he turns 18,  with a rate of 6.8% or let's say the worst and the easiest to compute is 10%.
Engineering Tuition 2013 - C$6,552 per year
Rate Increase - 10% per year
Tuition on the year 2023 (my son turns 18) - C$16,994 per year
We also need to consider the miscellaneous fees like books, dorm, etc...

I asked a mother with a son in college.  She explained that the miscellaneous fees would cost her another C$3,000.  There are books that cost about C$800 each.

So, in order for my son to be in the University on 2023, we need an estimate of C$19,994 on the first year.  That would be about C$80, 000++ for the whole Engineering degree.

Are you interested more about Education for your kids in Ontario, Canada?  Email me at (benalagnam@yahoo.com) to get more information about education loans and education savings plans with the help from the government.  There are ways on how to save now and give yourself and your child a worry-free education.

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03 August 2015

Pursuing My Passion In Canada

For the past 10 years,  the dream to be in Canada was just a part of my fantasy.  Now, I had achieved it with my family.  Though there had been hardships along the way, it is now giving me back what I deserve little by little.

One of the best thing that happened to me here was having a good life with a decent job and intact family relationship.

What I haven't mentioned was that I had a very strong passion.  A passion that started way back 3 years ago when I was looking for something to get hold on to for my future investments.  It was only a few browse online, then I found it instantly.  It lured me during that moment and keeps me haunted until now.

It's been 3 years since and finally I got what I wanted most.

What's My Passion?
Precious Metals Stacking...YES, it's my passion. One of my fulfillment and gives me pleasure is when I get to hold a precious metal on my hand. Others will say their passion is all about collecting lots of jewelry, tons of branded shoes, expensive cars, and/or "golden" mansions.  Some would even say, taking care of high-end chicken for cockfighting.

Yes, I'm not kidding on the cockfighting thing. It's my Dad's passion back then.  Even though I grew up feeding these fighter cocks, I had never been passionate to follow my Dad's footstep.

The precious metals were now my THING.

Why the Precious Metals?
Having an entrepreneurial mindset that I got from my parents, I grew up thinking of having something that I can profit for.

I want to combine entrepreneurship and passion so I can live a better life doing two things at the same time.  This is why I became passionate about precious metals.

There were many options that I wanted to invest my money from and I had few of them in my portfolio.

Ever since I stumbled upon the precious metals, I can't get it out of my mind! I'm stuck with it.

One of the reasons of buying the precious metals is because of the value of the currency and inflation.
 The currency that we are using now is a piece of paper with printed faces of government leaders and coins that are made up of 60% less precious metals and mixed with alloys.  These pieces, when kept for a long time, will devalue with inflation.

As we all know, inflation is the increase of good's price against the currency per year.  That means, a kilo of rice today was worth more than the previous years.  It will not stop climbing.  I remembered back then when a kilo of rice was about P3.00 and now it's around P40.00, a 1,233% inflation rate.

So, do I care?  Yes, I need to have a way that can preserve the value of my money today.  This I found in the precious metals.

The price of GOLD for the last 10 years was US$400/oz, now, you can buy it for US$1100/oz.  The price of SILVER, on the other hand, was US$5.00/oz against the present of US$18.00/oz but was US45.00/oz last 2011.  The best advantage of having these things is that it won't rot.  Gold and Silver will remain Au and Ag for the next centuries and beyond.
Coversion: 1 Troy Ounce (Oz) = 31.1034768 gram
You see how the price of precious metals rises if kept for the past 10 years?

In addition to that, Gold and Silver were the only stuff that I know which we can purchase without a GST tax, in Singapore, and HST/GST in Canada.

What Precious Metals to Choose?
At first, I was thinking of having a GOLD to stack.  Then I thought that it was way too expensive for me to invest for the time being.

Since Silver was found to be an important raw material in the electronics industry because of it's lower resistivity properties against Gold, I think that it will be scarce when the next electronic boom will occur.

When I went to Ottawa, I visited the Royal Canadian Mint, where the precious metals were made.  Canada is the only country that can make 99.999% (five 9's) pure silver and gold. Unfortunately, their souvenir store will only sell numismatic coins and not the investment type ones.

Front Door of the Royal Canadian Mint where I bought
my first Pure Silver numismatic coins.
Anyway, I was really struck with the beauty of the metal and I didn't hesitate to buy the numismatic pure silver coin to ease up my craving.

So I bought one coin of the Exploring Canada: 2014 Gold Rush collection and one of the Exploring Canada: 2014 Arctic Expedition.

Each coin is placed inside a red box with a signed certificate and a serial number indicating the coin's number over the total number of coins made. It was nicely packaged inside a carton box designed with the drawings from the coin.

My first collection of pure Silver coin from the
Royal Canadian Mint
I also bought a vial of gold foils in a clear liquid as a souvenir.  It's my first collection of gold.

My next action plan is to buy the investment coins and I'll inform you on my next blog posts.

If you need to know more about Silver and Gold, email me at benalagnam@yahoo.com.  Share your thoughts of physical Silver and Gold investing here.
Ben Alagnam - MeMovingToCanada