Thursday, March 29, 2007

All you need to know about taxes in Canada

I am so cheap I read old tax books from the public library on the bus - amazing how all the predictions from the late 90s are sooo wrong.... but then, any good financial guy really doesn't bet it all.

Anyways - after reading a dozen books by Suze Orman, Evelyn Jacks, Dummies, Idiots, Billionaire's way of Investing, etc and a few visits around the websites, I have been able to distill it all down to a few simple principles:

1) Taxes are high. And you have no real choice in paying or not 40-50% of your income for the rest of your sick life in taxes so if you can save a few $ now and then on your taxes legally - you are the stupidest thing on two legs if you don't try and should just give up now - send me all your money first - and join the Peace Corps and help others because thinking not claiming something actually helps someone somewhere in Canada get 50cents more benefit is stupid beyond relief - so screw the Tax Guy - with a hot poker - and your liberal friend at work who wants to pay tax so he/she can help the unfortunate because it's just going to go to a politicians daily bubblegum expense account - and YOU REALLY HAVE NO CHOICE IN THE MATTER, WAGE SLAVE!

2) You are screwed. Royally screwed. Eating cat food in retirement while being gang-raped by punks on bail joyriding in your car - type screwed. You don't have enough for retirement - you never will - your future will be determined by about a dozen trillionaires living in foreign countries - but you'll download enough tunes on your iPod Generation #89484834-B that you will think you have control. Unless you sell or smoke crack in which case you won't live long enough to retire anyways so what the heck!

3) You shouldn't start today - you should have started yesterday. Actually, the collector silver dollar your grandmother gave you at birth shouldn't have been spent on diapers but put in a very high risk mutual fund and your parents should have raised you in the yard naked. Are you at the bank now setting up a savings plan? No - then you are wasting even more time and since you are too much of a coward to kill yourself - you should probably don a mask and rob the bank since it will have a higher rate of return. There's a babysitter in her 20s in Edmonton who wrote a book because she's saved nearly a million; a cleaning woman in Georgia in the 60s donated half a million to a university out of her petty cash because she was cautious - you are just fivolous!

4) You blow way too much money on crap. You always have. You really are a shallow person. That stereo you bought won't fetch $3 at a garage sale in 5 years and paying more than $2 for anything with the word 'coffee' in the description is way over-priced. Eat a baloney sandwich, ride the bus, stop smoking, quit renting movies that are crap and wait for them free on TV - and you might have a dime to hide away for later. You can get by on 90%.... 80% is better... hell, why not 25%. If you have $1 for bottled water - you have WAY TOO MUCH income anyways.

5) Stop blowing money and hide it -not in a mattress - but in an evil corporation or bank because they actually grow while you are always in danger of shrinking. Why do they grow? Because they steal your money anyways!!!! Slurp slurp - so might as well identify with the abuser. How much to save? As much as you can. And then more. It's called an RRSP and is the best thing going - beats most things in the whole world. 99% of Canadians haven't maxed out their RRSP contributions... and should really stop reading financial books once you get to that point because maybe some day you might get to look at trailing-fee wraps with tax sheltering blahblahs in off-shore blah blah - IT DOESN'T MATTER!!!!!!!!!! YOU COULD HAVE PUT ANOTHER DOLLAR IN YOUR RRSP AND GOT 30c BACK FROM THE GOVERNMENT THAT THEY ALREADY DEDUCTED FROM YOU WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION BUT YOU BOUGHT A STUPID BOOK ON FINANCES INSTEAD!!! And then you can dump the tax savings back in, which gives you another 30% back - like herpes, it is the gift that keeps on giving. If you can afford to think of investments outside of an RRSP - you are hereby dubbed RICH GUY#949 and need to go away now. Buh-bye.

6) TAKE THE MONEY! If someone came up to you and said: "Hey, got a dollar? Promise to put it in your piggy bank at home tonight and I'll give this dollar coin. OK? In fact, whatever you dump into this bank over here, I'll match it." 'Sorry buddy - I'm much too savvy and wealthy to take your money.' Then you obviously have too much money and should be mugged - repeatedly. If your company offers matching RRSP contributions or reduced price stock options or whatevers or 20% government match automatically into your kid's RESP account - and you don't take advantage of it - you need to just shut up and keep paying and let me have the money. I will take it. Warren Buffet would love a guaranteed 20% return with no risk! Don't want Harper's child-care money? No one makes you cash the cheques. Are there actually people who don't apply for GST rebate? I have no pride left - and if it feeds my family and means I'll be able to afford gourmet dog food in my retirement - I'll take it. Take the cheap stock or RRSPs, hold it as long as you have to - dump it into something you like better- repeat as necessary. Don't be a putz!

7) Educate yourself. The only thing to redeem the human race is our capacity for humanity and accumulation of knowledge. Better yet - find a Royal Smart Person in whatever field and copy them. Bush is not the sharpest tool - but he's made the most of his connections and has very smart people doing his bidding - and is the most powerful man on earth. Geeks rule. Make them your friends and you won't be always at the bottom of the pile.

8) Invest in yourself. You can spend all your time reading the Financial Post but if that ain't your regular job - you might want to hook in with a rich guy who does that for a living and follow along. Spend time with your family and friends now because the bank manager won't help you move to the retirement home and won't pick you up at the airport with a travel mug of coffee in hand and save a 40$ cab ride. Be the change you want in the world. Don't invest in carbon tax businesses - plant a fruit tree in your backyard and pick apples with the kids and eat the carbon and turn golf courses into forests again. Why are grass boulevard dividers tree-free? Figure out needs and wants - you probably need a TV or you'll go postal one day - you just don't need one that big.

9) There is no 9.

10) See 9.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Eternal People

We used to be an eternal people - focussed on the future and rooted in our heritages. Now, the pinnacles of our culture without heart stand outside clubs in short shirts listening to iPods and complaining about life while drinking a $4 latte...

We are soooo dead....

I can't stand teenagers anymore. Well, the 'normal' ones who strike me as solipsistic freaks and the angry ones whom I see no reason for why they are angry.
I still like the geeks.

Gotta love geeks. Different obsessions, same old geeks.

Geeks are proof that ultimately: Culture is Pop Culture.