Hard Work Pays Off

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Hard Work Pays Off

We are all familiar with the slogan “hard work pays off”. I certainly am. Perhaps it is a byproduct of growing up watching American TV shows and their depiction of families in pursuit of the American Dream; the idea that if you work hard enough, you can have anything you want. Assimilating this message in my childhood, I worked hard to impress my parents, teachers, hockey teammates and of course… girls. In my high-school and university years, hard work allowed me to excel in my schoolwork, earn scholarship money and eventually get a good job. Lately, with the responsibilities of fatherhood only days away, I’ve found myself working hard in an attempt to provide a life of prosperity for my growing family. Hard work seems to have followed me (and it is probably why I’m still working on this blog post at 12:30am).

I think it safe to say that having a strong work ethic is considered a good attribute to have. At the same time, most of us probably desire a prosperous life for ourselves and for our families. Lots of us are even willing to put in the effort to attain it. In fact, those who do are generally esteemed within our society. But is working hard to gain a life of prosperity how God wants us to spend our time and energy? It is a question I have been thinking about quite a bit lately. Continue reading

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Our Role in Helping Others Out of Debt

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This past week I got thinking about what the Bible teaches us about helping each other get out of debt. I have been studying personal finance for a few years and I recall reading something over the years which suggested taking extreme action against debt by cutting major living expenses; to the extreme of selling or renting their house and finding someone to live with in the meantime. With very low living expenses as a result, people could then make serious headway out of their debt! As my house is currently my only source of debt, I shrugged off this advice as something that didn’t really apply to me and probably better related to something a recent graduate with high student loans would say to their parents as they moved back into their old bedroom.

Or does it apply to me… in a different way?

I also recall thinking that while living with someone may be great for the debtor, what about the person whose house is invaded? What I did not think about at the time, was whether it is our responsibility as followers of Christ, to help others struggling with debt in such dramatic and simply put… inconvenient ways. Continue reading

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Because You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

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I have discussed why comparing yourself to others based on your income is a terrible way to judge your self-worth. There I listed some barriers people have when talking honestly about money; things like feeling self-conscious about how much they make or not wanting others to feel bad about their own income level. Like everything in life, discretion is needed to judge with whom you are speaking and the type of conversation you should have. There needs to be a balance to how much you talk about money. You can talk about it too much (I’ll admit I might fall into this category) but I also think you can talk about it too little as well.

Continue reading

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The Other Cost of Debt

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Recent years have caused much debate over the impact and opportunities available to Canadians due to the high availability of cheap credit. Much has been written in personal finance circles about how the costs of credit cards, mortgages and zero percent financing on car loans can add up over time, regardless of low rates. The fact is that the hard costs of borrowing money (ie. interest payments), although not always intuitive or simple, can always be quantified. That said, I’ve found there is another possibly even more substantial cost to borrowing money which makes up the topic of today’s post. Continue reading

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The Canadian Approach to Debt

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Chart - Canadian Debt Indicators

A paid off home has long been considered a fundamental of a good financial plan and something I hope to accomplish in my thirties. Currently 3 years into the first 5-year mortgage term with my lender, I have no plans to refinance and incur the associated financial penalties to lower my rate a few points. However, I do like to keep note of current lending rates and if you are a Canadian, you probably heard that the Bank of Canada cut it’s key overnight lending rate by 25% this week. While the jury is out on whether this was a good move for Canadians, my preoccupation with lending rates in general is purely out of curiosity as it has little bearing on my current financial plan. If the rates were to move sharply, whether up or down, my plan would be the same: to continue to pay off my mortgage as quickly as possible. Before I get into why, let me back up a little. Continue reading

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Another False Measure of Worth: Income

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Have you ever been asked how much money you make? Did you answer them? It is a question that often puts people on the defensive. It might be a cultural thing since most North Americans in general tend to avoid asking questions like this. Those who do ask are usually kids, or foreigners, who aren’t familiar with the nuances of Western social norms. Talking about personal finance ranks up there with politics, religion and bedroom antics as topics that are only discussed on a need-to-know basis. Typical responses to such a direct question usually end up with answers like “None of your business”, “Not enough” or “I do OK”; which politely try to deflect the question.

Why don’t we talk about our income?

These responses do beg the question: why are we so hesitant to talk frankly about topics surrounding our financial situation? Continue reading

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A Measure of Worth

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The Christmas Season just finished up and it is not hard to see how materialistic our consumer society really is. I generally try to stay out of the stores since I’ve found the best way to prevent myself from overspending is to not tempt myself walking though the store aisles. I am fortunate that my wife has much more self-control while shopping than I do, so she usually handles the purchasing. While thinking about what motivates me to buy something, I came up with the following non-exhaustive list: Continue reading

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Money is the Root of All Evil

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I wanted to start here since “money is the root of all evil” is a phrase I have heard many times growing up. A quick Google search reveals many who hold that opinion. Money’s evilness is blamed for everything from stealing to stock market crashes, damaged relationships, broken families, greed, loneliness, selfishness, addictions and pride. Money seems to cause people to do terrible and often self-destructive things. Continue reading

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An Introduction

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It is amazing to me the sheer quantity of blogs now on the Internet. From software and computers, to cooking, to DIY hobbyists, there are hundreds of blogs related to each topic.

I too am not immune to their pull and have found myself drawn to a few bloggers over the years, mostly covering a favourite topic of mine: Personal Finance. However, most blogs I have stumbled upon have only held my attention for a post or two. This is because I have found many personal finance blogs to consist of the same watered down tips and tricks that have been posted and re-posted, again and again. Posts like  Continue reading

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