20 Jobs Which Pay More Than $100K

For many of us, a six-figure job might seem out of reach. After all, the average annual pay across all occupations is $47,230, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  However, that doesn’t mean you have to settle for average.

Here are 20 jobs that pay six-figure salaries, and what it takes to get them.

1. Air Traffic Controller

If you can handle the stress of directing airline flights and traffic at airports, you can make good money as an air traffic controller.

The average pay is $118,870, but the top 25% of earners make more than $150,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

You need a bachelor’s degree or work experience to become an air traffic controller, and you must be a U.S. citizen. You also have to pass background and medical checks, and take a course at the Federal Aviation Administration academy.

2. Airline Pilot

The average pay for airline pilots is $131,760, but the top 25% of earners make more than $160,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of jobs for airline pilots is expected to grow 5% by 2024.

To become an airline pilot, you typically need a bachelor’s degree. You also need to complete coursework in physics, aeronautical engineering, mathematics and English as well as obtain a license from the Federal Aviation Administration.

3. Anesthesiologist

Doctors who administer anesthesia earn a whopping $246,320, on average — the highest wage listed in the Bureau of Labor Statistics database. However, salaries for anesthesiologists can top $400,000, according to a compensation survey by the Medical Group Management Association.

Becoming an anesthesiologist requires years of school: 4 years at the undergraduate level, then 4 more years of medical school. Then, you have to complete 4 years of residency, possibly followed by a fellowship for another year, according to the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

4. Architectural and Engineering Manager

This job involves planning and coordinating activities or research and development in architectural or engineering fields. These managers are paid $138,720, on average, but the top 25% of earners make more than $162,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Competition for these jobs is strong, but employment in this field is expected to grow slightly over the next several years. You need at least a bachelor’s degree and 5 years of experience to be an architectural or engineering manager.

5. Chief Executive

A six-figure salary often comes with that corner office chief executives get. CEOs earn $180,700, on average, but that big paycheck comes with the big responsibility of overseeing the operations of an entire organization.

An MBA often is seen as the ticket to a CEO position, but plenty of chief executives got to their top spots without an advanced degree or even a college degree — the most famous of which is former Microsoft CEO, Bill Gates.

6. Computer and Information Systems Manager

There’s a growing demand for computer and information systems managers, who are paid an average of $136,280, but can make more than $187,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment of these managers, who coordinate computer-related activities for organizations, is expected to grow 15% from 2014 to 2024.

This high-paying job typically does not required an advanced degree — just a bachelor’s degree in computer or information science and related work experience.

7. Dentist

Dentist ranks as the second-best job — after orthodontist — because of its high salary, low unemployment rate and job satisfaction level, according to U.S. News & World Report. The average annual pay for dentists is $166,810, and employment in this field is expected to grow 18% by 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It takes time to become a dentist, though. After college, you have to attend dental school and a residency program. Then you have to pass state licensing exams.

8. Financial Manager

Financial managers plan and direct accounting, investing and other financial activities for companies and organizations — and they make good money doing so. The average annual pay is $130,230, but the top 25% of earners make more than $159,000.

It’s also a relatively fast-growing job, with employment expected to increase 7% from 2014 to 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Typically, you can get this job with just a bachelor’s degree and several years of related experience.

9. Lawyer

The average wage for a lawyer is $133,470, but the top 25% of earners bring home more than $172,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The job outlook also is good, with employment expected to grow 6% from 2014 to 2024.

However, the stress level among lawyers is high, according to U.S News & World Report’s best jobs rankings. But, you don’t have to spend as many years in school as doctors do. After college, you have to complete three years of law school and pass a state’s bar exam and, in most states, pass an ethics exam.

10. Marketing Manager

Marketing managers make $137,400, on average, but the top 25% earners take home more than $171,000 a year. The job involves planning and coordinating marketing programs for organizations, identifying customers and overseeing product development. Most marketing managers have a bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications, business or a similar field.

U.S. News & World Report ranked marketing manager as the best sales and marketing job because of its high salary, number of positions available in the field and potential for growth.

11. Nurse Anesthetist

You can still pull in the big bucks without spending so many years in medical school if you choose to be a nurse anesthetist, who assists anesthesiologists and oversees patient recovery from anesthesia. The average annual wage is $158,900, but top-earners bring in more than $187,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This job requires a bachelor’s degree in nursing, registered nurse licensure, at least one year of acute-care experience in an emergency room or intensive care unit, completing an accredited nurse anesthesia program and passing the national certification exam, according to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.

12. Pediatrician

Pediatrician is one of the top 10 best jobs in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings because of its high compensation, low unemployment rate and employment growth. On average, pediatricians earn $175,400 per year.

Although pediatricians earn less on average than what surgeons and some other doctors make, they have to go through much of the same training: four years in medical school and three years in a residency program. Those who specialize have to spend another two to six years in a fellowship.

13. Personal Financial Advisor

If you love personal finance, you can earn a comfortable wage helping others manage their money better. The average wage for personal financial advisors is $108,090, but the top 10% of earners make more than $187,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The job entails providing advice on investments, insurance, taxes and retirement, as well as estate planning. It’s one of the fastest-growing careers — with the number of jobs in this field expected to grow 30% from 2014 to 2024. To be a personal financial advisor, you need a bachelor’s degree, or higher, and additional coursework for a certified financial planner or similar certification.

14. Pharmacist

The average annual pay for pharmacists is $118,470, but the top 10% of earners make more than $150,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment in this field is expected to grow slightly over the next several years.

To become a pharmacist and dispense prescription medication to patients, you must complete college and a 4-year doctor of pharmacy degree. You must also pass 2 licensing exams.

15. Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists earn, on average, $182,700 annually, which is one of the reasons it is one of the top jobs in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings. Plus, jobs in this field are expected to grow by 15% over the next several years, according to U.S. News.

To become a psychiatrist, though, you have to complete medical school and a residency program, then complete a licensing exam and board certification.

16. Obstetrician and Gynecologist

You can make a lot of money delivering babies and treating diseases affecting the reproductive system of women. Obstetricians and gynecologists earn $214,750, on average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Like other medical careers, becoming an OB-GYN takes 4 years in college, 4 in medical school, then another 4 years of residency training.

17. Optometrist

This is one of the top 20 fastest-growing occupations because eye problems are common among older adults, who are a growing percentage of the nation’s population. The average annual wage for optometrists is $113,010, but the top 10 percent of earners make more than $187,000 per year. To become an optometrist, you have to complete a bachelor’s degree and a 4-year doctor of optometry program.

18. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

In the field of dentistry, this is the top-paying job. Oral surgeons earn $219,600 a year, on average, performing surgery and other procedures to treat dental and medical conditions.

To become an oral surgeon, you must complete college, four years of dental school and an oral residency program that can range from 4 to 6 years. The 6-year route involves a medical degree, according to the American Student Dental Association.

19. Orthodontist

Orthodontist ranks No. 1 in the U.S. News & World Report best jobs list. You can make good money fixing crooked teeth — more than $200,000, on average. Plus, it’s a fast-growing occupation, according to U.S. News.

You’ll have to spend years in school, though, to become an orthodontist. In addition to an undergraduate degree, you’ll need to go to dental school and get 2 to 3 years of additional education in an orthodontic residency program, according to the American Association of Orthodontists.

20. Surgeon

Employment for surgeons is expected to grow 14 percent from 2014 to 2024 — a much faster rate than the average for all jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s also one of the highest-paying occupations, with an average annual wage of $240,440.

However, you’ll spend years in school and training before pulling in the big bucks. Surgeons must complete 4 years of college, four years of medical school, then 3 to 7 years in internship and residency programs.

Source: Internet

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Published in: on September 13, 2017 at 10:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

15 Places in the World Where You Get Paid to Live There

1.     ALASKA

Considering Alaska’s reputation of very cold and dark winters, periods during which the sun doesn’t set and lots of barren land, it’s no surprise that local officials have resorted to paying people to move there. Newcomers can take advantage of the Alaska Permanent Fund, which takes money earned from the state’s oil reserves to give back to the community. Alaskans get almost $2,000.

2.     BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

Baltimore has been losing local residents to more prosperous cities for decades. It’s trying to win people back with the Buying into Baltimore program. People get $5,000 toward the purchase of a home in the city. Every year, there are two events: A spring/summer event and a fall/winter event. Another incentive is the Vacants to Value. It gives people up to $10,000 to purchase a formerly vacant, renovated house.

3.     CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE

Chattanooga, one of the most underrated cities in the country, is the first city in the Western Hemisphere to offer 10-gigabit-per-second fiber internet service to all residents and businesses. Called “GigCity,” it lures young entrepreneurs who want to create their own startups. GeekMove was a 2011 incentive program designed to financially assist computer developers interested in relocating there. It no longer exists, but it did its job. The city continues to grow and has many up and coming startups looking for geek talent.

4.     CHILE

The government launched a program, Start-up Chile, which provides up to CL$60 million ($90,000) in equity free funding across their programs and over $100,000 of perks as a participant. The country is looking to become the business hub of South America.

5.     CURTIS, NEBRASKA

This is where you should move if you are a golfer. There is a possibility for a free lot at the Arrowhead Meadows, a 9-hole golf course. It is nestled in the Medicine Creek Valley, with the Medicine Creek meandering throughout the course. The trick is that you have to build the home.

6.     DETROIT, MICHIGAN

Detroit has been in a lot of trouble over the last several years. The city even filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in 2013. Many residents have moved away; some neighborhoods have been abandoned. But, as you know, when one door closes another one opens. Local official created an opportunity with the Challenge Detroit program. It encourages new career seekers and entrepreneurs to move to Detroit by paying them to live, work, play, give, and lead in and around the greater Detroit area for one year.

7.     HARMONY, MINNESOTA

The money people are paid comes in the form of cash rebate for new home construction. This small town has a population or just about 1,000 people. The Harmony Economic Development Authority (EDA) offers a cash rebate between $5,000 and $12,000 to people who build a home. Rebate amounts will be based on the final estimated market value of the new house.

8.     KAITANGATA, NEW ZEALAND

A town, no matter how small, with a population of about 750 will definitely want to attract more newcomers permanently. People won’t get cash but will get other financial benefits. They comes in the form of a home and land that are together worth no more than NZ$230,000. Jobs are also readily available, guaranteed. More than 1,000 need to be filled.

9.     KANSAS

Lincoln, for example, is investing in the future offering free home sites in a completely new subdivision. This is great especially for people who like the rural kind of life. Marquette, a small town of about 630 people, offers free building lots to families who want to live in “the heart of America.” Also, Rural Opportunity Zones are 77 counties that offer financial incentives to new full-time residents such as income tax waivers for up to five years and student loan repayments up to $15,000.

10. MAATSUYKER ISLAND, TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA

Work and housing are offered to people willing to move so far away—off the coast of Tasmania. The job is to take care of and live in the lighthouse and maintain the land and housing on the 460-acre isle. Observing the sea and swell conditions are also part of the responsibilities. The weather on the island is windy all the time and it’s cold for the most part.

11. MISHIMA VILLAGE, JAPAN

The village has come up with a very intriguing way of luring people there. Locals are targeting single people, who will get paid to go on dates. Japanese citizens will get 100,000 yen as moving expenses, as well as some money every month for the first three years of residence. If you have a child while there, you won’t have to worry about giving birth and education expenses. Everyone also gets a free cow.

12. NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT

As is the case with most cities who try to lure people there, New Haven is experimenting with home ownership incentives. People will get an interest-free, $10,000 assistantship to help cover closing costs or a down-payment on a home. It’s also 100 percent forgivable if the owners live there for five or more years. Make it eco-friendly and you’ll get up to $30,000. The city will cover up to full tuition to a Connecticut public college for any resident that graduates from a New Haven public school.

13. NIAGARA FALLS, NEW YORK

This is a popular place with tourists but not so much with people who are looking for a permanent home. One way the city is trying to make folks reconsider is by giving those with student loans about $7,000 to pay it off if they live in Niagara Falls for two years. You’ll have to live in a specific neighborhood though.

14. PITCAIRN ISLAND, SOUTH PACIFIC

The island is one of the most remote on Earth. About 60 people live there and they want more company. Newcomers will get land, totally free. You show up and you get the land. In 2015 only one person made the most of the opportunity. Probably because living there will be like being cast away. There is only one store and you’ll have to order anything you need from the mainland, which is 3,000 miles away, every three months.

15. SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA

It’s good to be a graduate student in Saskatchewan. They are reimbursed up to C$20,000. The goal is to encourage more people to go to school there, which should result in boosting the local economy. The rebate is paid out over seven years, provided you file your taxes in Saskatchewan. It is applied to reduce the amount of income tax residents owe.

Published in: on July 27, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

How to Calculate Your Odds of Winning the Lottery

Lotto_Max_Logo.pngIn Canada, there is a lottery called LOTTO MAX.  Basically, you pick 7 unique numbers between 1 and 49.

To calculate your odds of winning the lottery, you need to find how many ways there are to pick 7 unique numbers, in any order, from a group of 49 numbers.

Here is the formula:

= \frac{49!}{7! * (49-7)!)}

= \frac{(49 * 48 * 47 * ... * 3 * 2 * 1)}{(7 * 6 * 5 * 4 * 3 * 2 * 1)(42 * 41 * 40 * ... * 3 * 2 * 1)}

= 85,900,584

Therefore, the odds of winning Lotto Max is 1 in 85,900,584.

Good luck!

Published in: on December 9, 2016 at 2:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

TFSA vs RRSP

tfsa-vs-rrsp

Published in: on September 14, 2016 at 6:32 am  Leave a Comment  

20 Supermarket Survival Tips to Save You Money

Supermarket Survival Tips

Published in: on July 25, 2016 at 3:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

24 Famous People Who Struck It Rich After Age 40

Stan Lee Spider-ManFor the more neurotic among us, a birthday can be a reminder of how another year has passed and our loftiest aspirations have faded farther into the distance.

There are plenty of examples, however, of successful people across many industries who prove that you don’t need to have it all figured out by the time you turn 30.

We’ll take a look at some of them, from renowned fashion designer Vera Wang, who didn’t design her first dress until she was 40, to writer Harry Bernstein, who authored countless rejected books before getting his first hit at age 96.

Get inspired by those who show it’s never too late.

1. Stan Lee

Born: December 28, 1922

Stan Lee created his first hit comic, “The Fantastic Four,” just shy of his 39th birthday in 1961. In the next few years, he created the legendary Marvel Universe, whose characters like Spider-Man and the X-Men became American cultural icons.

2. Donald Fisher

Born: September 3, 1928

Donald Fisher was 40 and had no experience in retail when he and his wife, Doris, opened the first Gap store in San Francisco in 1969. The Gap’s clothes quickly became fashionable, and today it’s one of the world’s largest clothing chains.

3. Vera Wang

Born: June 27, 1949

Vera Wang was a figure skater and journalist before entering the fashion industry at age 40. Today she’s one of the world’s premier women’s designers.

4. Gary Heavin

Born: 1958

Gary Heavin was 40 when he opened the first Curves fitness center in 1992, which ended up becoming one of the fastest-growing franchises of the ’90s.

5. Robin Chase

Robin Chase cofounded Zipcar at age 42 in 2000. She left the company in 2011 and continues to build and advise startups, as well as serve as a member of the World Economic Forum.

6. Samuel L Jackson

Born: December 21, 1948

Samuel L Jackson has been a Hollywood staple for years now, but he’d had only bit parts before landing an award-winning role at age 43 in Spike Lee’s film “Jungle Fever” in 1991.

7. Sam Walton

Born: March 29, 1918

Sam Walton had a fairly successful retail management career in his 20s and 30s, but his path to astronomical success began at age 44, when he founded the first Walmart in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962.

8. Henry Ford

Born: July 30, 1863

Henry Ford was 45 when he created the revolutionary Model T car in 1908.

9. Jack Weil

Born: March 28, 1901

Jack Weil was 45 when he founded what became the most popular cowboy-wear brand, Rockmount Ranch Wear.  He remained its CEO until he died at the ripe old age of 107 in 2008.

10. Rodney Dangerfield

Born: November 22, 1921

Rodney Dangerfield is remembered as a legendary comedian, but he didn’t catch a break until he made a
hit appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” at age 46.

11. Momofuku Ando

Born: March 5, 1910

Momofuku Ando cemented his spot in junk food history when he invented instant ramen at age 48 in 1958.  He founded Nissin Food Products Co., Ltd.

12. Charles Darwin

Born: February 12, 1809

Charles Darwin spent most of his life as a naturalist who kept to himself, but in 1859 at age 50 his “On the Origin of Species” changed the scientific community forever.

13. Julia Child

Born: August 15, 1912

Julia Child worked in advertising and media before writing her first cookbook when she was 50, launching her career as a celebrity chef in 1961.

14. Jack Cover

Born: April 6, 1920

Jack Cover worked as a scientist for institutions like NASA and IBM before he became a successful entrepreneur at 50 for inventing the Taser gun in 1970.

15. Betty White

Born: January 17, 1922

Betty White is one of the most award-winning comedic actresses in history, but she didn’t become an icon until she joined the cast of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in 1973 at the age of 51.

16. Tim Zagat

Born: 1941

See 17.

17. Nina Zagat

Born: August 12, 1942

Tim and Nina Zagat were both 51-year-old lawyers when they published their first collection of restaurant reviews under the Zagat name in 1979. It eventually became a mark of culinary authority.

18. Taikichiro Mori

Born: March 1, 1904

Taikichiro Mori was an academic who became a real estate investor at age 51 when he founded Mori
Building Company. His brilliant investments made him the richest man in the world in 1992, when he had
a net worth of $13 billion (£8.3 billion).

19. Ray Croc

Born: October 5, 1902

Ray Kroc spent his career as a milkshake device salesman before buying McDonald’s at age 52 in 1954.  He grew it into the world’s biggest fast-food franchise.

20. Wally Blume

Wally Blume had a long career in the dairy business before starting his own ice cream company, Denali Flavors, at age 57 in 1995. The company reported revenue of $80 million (£51.6 million) in 2009.

21. Harland Sanders

Born: September 9, 1890

Harland Sanders, better known as Colonel Sanders, was 62 when he franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken in
1952. He sold the franchise business for $2 million (£1.2 million) 12 years later.

22. Laura Ingalls Wilder

Born: February 7, 1867

Laura Ingalls Wilder spent her later years writing semi-autobiographical stories using her educated daughter, Rose, as an editor. She published the first in the “Little House” books at age 65 in 1932.  They soon became children’s literary classics and the basis for TV show “Little House on the Prairie.”

23. Anna Mary Robertson Moses

Born: September 7, 1860

Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as Grandma Moses, began her prolific painting career at 78. In 2006, one of her paintings sold for $1.2 million (£774,000)

24. Harry Bernstein

Born: May 30, 1910

Harry Bernstein spent a long life writing in obscurity but achieved notoriety at long last at age 96 for his 2007 memoir, “The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers.”

Published in: on June 27, 2015 at 5:18 am  Leave a Comment  

11 Common Financial Mistakes People Make in Their 40s

lotteryTurning 40 represents a unique period in your financial life. You’re older, wiser and well-established, but there are still a few things you have yet to figure out — like how to afford your children’s university education and where you’re going to retire.

Though you might feel settled, becoming complacent could impact your financial well-being. Don’t fall prey to these common money mistakes that people often make in their 40s.  In this article, we will show you common mistakes many 40-somethings are doing and what you should do instead.

1. Not Having a Plan for Your Money

The bar has been steadily rising for 40-somethings who are working to maintain their place in the middle-class pack, notes economist William Emmons of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. On top of that, many Generation Xers took a financial torpedo during the Great Recession right at the time they were stretching to afford housing and establish careers.  “That’s the group we feel maybe doesn’t get enough attention for having suffered a great deal in this cycle,” he said.

Forty-somethings who are just now recovering from losing a house or a job need to make a plan for their money now and stick to it. “If you’re reeling from this blow financially in your 40s, there’s not a lot of time to recover,” he said.

2. Not Maintaining Enough Liquidity

A lack of access to cash in an emergency sends many Gen-X families to predatory payday lenders, Emmons said. “It should be a high priority to have enough cash reserves so that you don’t have to go to a high-cost lender or to sell off assets or pass up opportunities when they arise,” he said.  If you don’t have an emergency fund by this point, you might need to make some aggressive moves to establish one. The short-lived sting will pay off big over the years.

3. Letting Your Emergency Fund Fall Behind Your Growth and Expenses

If you’ve had an emergency fund in place for years now, don’t pat yourself on the back too hard. Many people realize in their 40s that their emergency funds now fall woefully short of supporting their larger incomes and budgets.

Whether your cash reserves have kept pace with your budget or not, when you’ve reached your 40s, it’s time to invest your emergency fund for maximum growth while keeping your funds liquid.

4. Getting Complacent About Carrying Consumer Debt

It’s easy to get too comfortable when you’re tucked into a good job and cozy home. Don’t get complacent about carrying consumer debt. “Not that everyone that has borrowed has trouble, but people who have trouble typically have borrowed,” Emmons said. Limit your exposure to debt, and don’t use a current position of strength to justify putting yourself in precarious position.

5. Prioritizing Paying Off the Mortgage

Some people crave the security of owning their home free and clear, but putting your mortgage ahead of other financial obligations is almost always a bad idea. Before you pay off your home, Dave Ramsey recommends paying down all your other debt, establishing your retirement savings and setting your children’s university funds into motion.

6. Assuming Remodeling Will Add Value to Your Home

The luxurious bathroom remodel you feel brings a little slice of heaven to your humble cottage-style home may be exactly the thing a potential buyer will want to rip out and redo. Don’t count on others to value remodeling and renovations the same way you do. Over customization can lower the value of your home.

7. Putting Kids’ Education Ahead of Retirement Savings

When your family, friends and neighbors are putting their kids through university, the pressure’s on to do the same — but if your retirement savings aren’t already on or ahead of target, funding the kids’ education is the wrong move. Your children can take out a loan for their education, but you can’t take out a loan to live on during retirement. Treat this like putting on your own oxygen mask first in case of an airplane emergency and don’t help the kids until you’ve helped yourself.

8. Dipping Into Your Retirement Funds

The power behind retirement savings is time — time for interest to work its magic, time for the market to lean your direction over time. When you dip into your retirement funds, even with the best of intentions, you take away the very time that makes long-term savings so effective. Not to mention the hefty penalties that you’ll receive for early cash-out.

9. Not Diversifying Your Investments and Savings

The reason boomers came out of the recession in better shape than Gen Xers is that they had diversified their savings and investments. “It’s true, the stock market crashed at the same time as the housing market did — but the stock market came back,” Emmons said. “Older people tend to be more diversified, so they have done very well in that regard.” Don’t throw all your eggs into one basket, he advises, whether that’s your house or a particular investment.

10. Considering Being Risk-Averse a Bad Thing

“It doesn’t get glamorized the way entrepreneurs and risk-takers [do], but being risk-averse is a very good strategy for most people,” Emmons said. “And by that I mean keeping your checking account stocked so you have emergency cash, having a very diversified portfolio and keeping your borrowing very low. … Control the things you can control — so reduce risks and be boring and conservative and prudent.”

11. Assuming Your Best Earnings Are Still to Come

It’s easy to assume that your income will always grow the way it has so far in your career. “Incomes rise in their 20s and 30s and a little bit in their 40s, but peak earnings are usually around 50,” Emmons said. For people with more education, that peak comes a little later but is generally stronger, with more of a peak and more of a fall-off.

Forty-somethings should plan not only for a flattening income curve but increasing concern for job security. “There’s more risk as you get older,” Emmons said. “It is a little more difficult if you lose your job, the company shuts down or you lose your job for whatever reason. … It’s illegal to discriminate against someone based on their age, but we know that there are some difficulties.”  It’s easy to become complacent once you’ve reached your 40s, but don’t set your finances on cruise control just yet. Keep your head up for what’s just ahead, to prevent poor assumptions and common mistakes from tanking the financial security you’ve worked so hard to build.

Published in: on June 23, 2015 at 4:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cycle of Stock Market Emotions

Cycle of Stock Market Emotions

Published in: on April 18, 2014 at 4:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

5 Bad Investment Ideas to Avoid

cashflowThe stock market can help you grow your wealth and enjoy a comfortable retirement. However, it can also fry your precious nest egg if you’re not careful.

Here are 5 Bad Investment Ideas to Avoid

“This cheap stock is only $0.11 per share! I can buy 10,000 shares for just $1,100!”

Penny stocks — those trading for less than about $5 per share — are usually very bad investment ideas, as they can be easily manipulated and are often tied to shaky, unproven companies. Sure, they entice us with their seemingly cheap prices, and the thought of owning 10,000 shares of something is somehow more exciting than owning far fewer shares. But a low price isn’t necessarily a cheap price. A $200 stock can be undervalued and more likely to rise than fall while a $0.11 stock can be worth much less than that and be more likely to fall than rise.

“I have my eyes on this stock.  I’m going to buy some as soon as its price drops further.”

Many investment mistakes we make are things we didn’t do instead of things we did do. If you’re ready to invest in a stock because you have great faith in its future growth and believe that its stock is undervalued, then consider just going ahead and buying it, instead of hoping to snag a slightly better price for its shares. After all, if it’s such a great buy, others might be thinking the same thing and may snap up shares, resulting in the stock never falling to your hoped-for price.  It is a good investment idea to wait for a better price if you think a stock is overvalued. Just aim to buy stocks when they seem like bargains, given their growth patterns and promise and their valuation measures such as price-to-earnings (P/E) ratios, price-to-sales ratios, price-to-cash-flow ratios, and so on.

“I’m going to load up on my employer’s stock. After all, I know this company better than any other.”

Another of the most dangerous investment ideas is buying a lot of your company’s stock. It does seem like a good idea, as most of us tend to understand our employer better than we do other companies. But consider this: Your employer is already responsible for much of your financial security, as it provides the income on which you live. Most of us can’t diversify our work across many companies. We have most or all of our income eggs in that one basket. So if you then entrust much of your stock portfolio to that same company, well, you’re taking on a lot of risk. Think of Enron and Lehman Brothers and other companies that essentially went out of business or saw their stock values vaporized. Employees heavily invested in them lost much of their savings — at a time when their jobs were in jeopardy or lost, too.

“This analyst on TV is making a great case for this stock. I’ll have to buy some.”

Beware of financial commentators or money managers who appear on TV (or in print, for that matter) touting their investment ideas. It’s easy to make a compelling case for most stocks, as you can simply leave out negative factors or red flags. Some of these folks are making recommendations that will serve you very well. However, others will flame out. Remember that you rarely know the full performance record of these folks, and even the worst of them will have some successes. Meanwhile, truly smart stock pickers will make occasional bad calls. No one is perfect. Meanwhile, even stock analysts are not necessarily looking out for your best interests, either.

Take responsibility for the investment ideas you act on, and if you discover a seemingly compelling stock somewhere, don’t buy into it without doing further research on your own. Make sure the company is healthy and growing, that it has solid competitive advantages, and that it’s trading at an attractive price that offers some margin of safety. If you’re not sure, add it to your Watchlist as you keep learning more about it and perhaps as you wait for a more attractive price. This advice applies to investment ideas you get from friends and relatives, too, in the form of hot stock tips.

“As soon as I make my money back on this lousy stock, I’m selling.”

Finally, another of the many dangerous investment ideas out there is a common one — waiting and hoping for a fallen stock to recover. It’s natural: Your stock plummeted, and rather than sell it now, you’d like for it to rise a little or a lot, to recoup more or all of your loss. If the company is healthy and growing and you still have great faith in it, waiting does make plenty of sense. After all, many great companies see their stocks slump now and then.

However, if the company’s problems seem long term instead of temporary, and if the stock is no longer among your best investment ideas, you’re probably best off selling it. YES, you’ll take a hit. But think of it this way: If you lose $2,000 and are left with $3,000, you can either make some or all of that loss back in the stock in which you’ve lost faith or you can sell and move the $3,000 into a stock you’re very bullish on. Your goal is to have that $3,000 grow — won’t it have the best chance of doing so in your best investment ideas and not ones about which you’re doubtful?

The more you learn about investing, the better your investing ideas will be. Stick with the good and avoid the bad ones. Your portfolio will thank you.

Published in: on June 30, 2013 at 5:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

7 Hidden Ways to Save Money When Filing Your 2011 Income Tax

Here are 7 hidden ways to save money when filing your 2011 Canadian income tax.  Most of these new measures stem from the Canadian federal budget brought down on June 6, 2011. Others are merely a result of routine indexing.

1. The Children’s Arts Tax Credit

This new credit was a budget measure that was designed to address criticism that the earlier Children’s Fitness Tax Credit (which is still in effect) unfairly left out parents who paid for programs where the kids had to do more thinking than sweating.   It provides a 15 per cent non-refundable federal tax credit on the first $500 spent on your kids’ artistic, musical, recreational or cultural development in 2011. That means the tax credit is worth a maximum of $75 per child.   Parents of disabled children can claim a 15 per cent tax credit on the first $1,000 of eligible spending, or a maximum of $150.   To get the credit, children must be under 16 at the start of the year in which the program is taken (under 18 in the case of disabled children).   To qualify, a program must be at least eight consecutive weeks in length, or, in the case of children’s camps, at least five consecutive days. Receipts are a must.

2. The Volunteer Firefighter’s Tax Credit

If you performed at least 200 hours of service as a volunteer firefighter in 2011, you can see your tax bill reduced by up to $450 – another new non-refundable tax credit introduced in last year’s federal budget.   That’s the net effect of a 15 per cent tax credit on the $3,000 volunteer firefighters’ amount.   The 200 hours doesn’t have to be entirely spent fighting fires. Attending required meetings and training also qualify.   Be aware that there’s a big wrinkle in this tax credit for those who get an honorarium for their volunteer efforts. Currently, the first $1,000 of that honorarium is exempt from tax. But if you claim that income exemption, you won’t be eligible for the volunteer firefighter’s tax credit.   No documents need to be filed, but the CRA says it may require claimants to provide certified proof that they actually do qualify.

3. Family Caregiver Tax Credit

This measure doesn’t actually take effect until the 2012 tax year, so you won’t benefit from it when filing this year. But people who will eventually benefit can file a new TD1 Personal Tax Credits Return with their employers now to reduce their withholding tax for the remainder of 2012.   This credit amounts to an increase of $2,000 in the claim when a taxpayer’s dependent is physically or mentally infirm. So the spouse, common-law partner or other eligible dependent claim becomes $12,780 instead of $10,780.   Similarly, the claim for a disabled child becomes $4,191 rather than $2,191. The caregiver amount claim for looking after an infirm relative also goes up by $2,000.

4. TFSA

Tax-free savings accounts were first unveiled in the 2008 federal budget and have continued to grow in popularity – in part because Canadians can put more money into them each year.   If you haven’t yet contributed to a “Tiff-sa,” the available contribution room rose by $5,000 on Jan. 1, 2012 and now stands at $20,000.   TFSA contributions can go into GICs, mutual funds, bonds, stocks or savings accounts and earn profit tax-free, but keep in mind they don’t work like a bank account with a maximum balance. When you withdraw funds in one year, TFSA rules don’t let you redeposit that amount until the next.   In 2009, about 70,000 people withdrew money from one of their TFSA accounts and then redeposited it the same year, so the Canada Revenue Agency levied penalties of one per cent per month on redeposits that were classed as excess contributions. The government eventually relented because of the widespread confusion, and rescinded the penalties in 2010 for people who accidentally put too much into their accounts during the TFSA’s debut year.   The amnesty is over now, however, and savers can’t expect that kind of pity from the tax collector anymore. If you want to move your money from one account or institution to another within the same calendar year, you have to use a formal transfer process that requires filling out forms and, with most banks, paying a fee.

5 Changes That Affect Students

As of the 2011 tax year, examination fees now qualify for the tuition tax credit. That is, as long as the total fees, including exam fees, amount to at least $100 and the exam is required to obtain professional status or to be licensed or certified in a profession or trade.   For students enrolled full-time in a university outside Canada, the minimum length of course that qualifies for tuition, education and textbook tax credits has been lowered from 13 weeks to three weeks.   The 2011 budget also loosened the restrictions on transferring investments held in one sibling’s Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP) to another sibling’s RESP.   Under the old rules, transferring RESP investments property from one sibling’s plan to another’s could trigger a repayment of the Canada Education Savings Grant unless the sibling receiving the transferred investment is under the age of 21. But transfers occurring in 2011 and after will not trigger grant repayments as long as the receiving RESP was set up before the beneficiary turned 21.

6. Medical Expenses And An RDSP Change

As of 2011, the maximum medical expense claim of $10,000 for a dependant relative (other than for a spouse, common-law partner or a minor child) has been eliminated. Now, there’s no limit.   The last budget also made a change to the rules governing Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSPs). Under the old rules, all grants and bonds paid into the plans in the previous 10 years had to be returned to Ottawa if a disability assistance payment was made to an RDSP beneficiary.   Now, no repayment is necessary if a doctor certifies that a plan recipient isn’t likely to survive for five years.

7. Changes To Federal Tax Brackets And Credits

Most tax brackets and credit amounts were raised in 2011 to account for inflation. In the case of federal tax brackets, they have been raised by 1.4 per cent from 2010’s levels.   Most of the basic personal amount claims have also been boosted by 1.4 per cent. The 2011 TD 1 tax forms and all of the software and online tax programs reflect the new amounts.   Similarly, the thresholds at which some benefits begin to get clawed back (like Old Age Security payments) have been raised by 1.4 per cent. Some refundable tax credits, like the Canada Child Tax Benefit, have also been boosted by 1.4 per cent.   Many provinces and territories have also boosted their personal tax credits by indexing factors ranging from 0.8 per cent to 2.0 per cent.   But two provinces – Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island – made no changes in their personal tax credit amounts.

Published in: on March 3, 2012 at 3:12 pm  Comments (4)