TFSA Thursday, Jan 15 2009 

Oh, I forgot to mention one massively unforgettable item in my 20 words:

The government has granted Canadians the privilege to open a tax-free savings account where we can deposit $5000 a year. interest earned is tax free AND no penalties for withdrawls.

Now, if I read this correctly, if you grow your account above the $5000 in a year due to ROI, you are allowed to replenish the account to the highest level achieved. For example, if I deposit $5000 into super risky penny stocks that double in the first year to $10K you can now withdraw and replenish the account to the $10K amount. Then the next year you can add another $5K, etc. etc.

If this is indeed the case, in 20yrs you could have a tax free account that has a minimum of $100K. This is very, very, very sweet! With some aggressive work and some fortune (depending on how risky you go), that number could be even higher. You could have a nice little egg on top of your RRSP, Pension and other taxable investments. And this egg, you could pull off of the interest without ever having to worry about paying taxes.

So, continue to maximize your RRSP investments. But also make sure you tap in the 5K a year into your TFSA.

Now, here’s the bad, and I mean BAD news:

When (not if) in 10-15 years from now the government claws back on OHIP and we have to start footing most (or all) of our health bills, they can point to this bone they threw us and take the stance: “Hey, we gave you a wonderful opportunity to save your money for your health when we introduced the TFSA in 2009. Too bad if you didn’t have the foresight to anticipate this happening.” – OUCH, could the government be this ruthless?

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20 Words for the last while, and, is somebody tapping my brainwaves? Thursday, Jan 15 2009 

Yes, it’s been a long time. Life has passed by in a blur since September. With the addition of Christien, beyond the day-to-day efforts to give him a head start, it’s hard to do and see much beyond the joys of daily life.

So, 20 Words will pick up again as life gets just that little bit more flexible and provides us with more opportunities to do things outside the home. For now, here are some things I’ve recalled:

- Halloween 2008, Olivia’s 1st ‘true’ outing for candy. Mom went out, Dad stayed home to give out candy.
- November….can’t recall much there…Sonia, can you help? Other than OBAMA becoming the king of America.
- Christmas. See kids’ blogs for details. For me, I had some really nice gifts
- housecoat and slippers. The transition to Old Man Roach has begun. And lovin’ it! Slippers are so sweet on the feet
- guitar lessons. Yes my friends, it’s time to pick up a new hobby. One I have a good chance at succeeding
- no Wii Fit. But not for lack of trying by Sonia. By far the most popular game of xmas 2008
- gps. Garmin Nuvi 360w. It’s clear to me. This gift is the true indicator of the difference between men and women. Even though I know where I’m going 99.9% of the time, I still love seeing where I am! Sonia considers the toy to be simply static overhead.
- For new years ‘weekend’ we started off with a small party at home. Dave/Kirstin/Julien and Jay/Tina/Zach. Almost a cancellation when OG was showing signs of becoming sick. Lazy, quiet and with a slight fever. Her mood changed once she had friends to play with.
- followup skating on the river at Karla and Bill’s place Saturday. Olivia soon to upgrade fro bobskates to the real deal.
- our gift to ourselves – we took the parents’ gift money and bought ourselves a 15ft upright freezer. Time to dump the handout freezer donated by Chad those many years ago. Kijiji time!

Finally, on an ‘I told you so’ note, some entrepreneur stole my sure cash idea: open an ‘authentic’ mexican restaurant in the University Plaza. Now, their approach is more spartan ‘cafeteria/catering’ style, i.e. a mini-step up from fast food, but they certainly have the location down (across from the mongolian grill) to capture the students who walk by, the RIMerites and the various businesses in the area. The food is ‘average’ at best and the offerings are minimal as per their business plan I’m sure. Overhead is small. I hashed out the numbers that I think they’ll make and it would not have been enough for me to go this route…unless we had a couple of these operations.

Nope, the goal is still to open a mid-high scale authentic latino-mexican restaurant that goes above and beyond the taco/burrito level. And there’s still plenty of room for one of these in the area. Guacamole my friends, guacamole.

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The Curious Case of ‘Where the Hell has Roach Been’? Thursday, Jan 15 2009 

1st off, I’ve got to laugh. I’m sure the new Brad Pitt extravaganza is an excellent movie and perhaps Academy Award worthy (which means blah to me). But correct me if I’m wrong: Didn’t Mork & Mindy introduce this whole ‘born old, die young’ notion with the character Mearth? And please, Brad Pitt can’t possibly hold a candle to the incomparable Jonathan Winters! This Benjamin Button flick had better be one hell of a comedy….

Anyway, I haven’t been blogging much these past months. At least on this site anyway (OG’s and Christien’s sites are somewhat more active). There are 2 reasons for this:
1. No time! With OG at 3yrs and Christien at 3mths, it’s hard for me to find the time. When there is time – I’d rather be sleeping.
2. Zombie-like lifestyle. In a sleep deprived state, it’s hard to keep up on what is happening in the real world. You know, the world beyond the doors of the house. My tracking of the news is disjointed at best and the ability to retain the facts and observations I wish to keep has diminished.

It is frustrating to have set aside my pencil and forgone my blogging over the last 4 or 5 months. When I look back at my site years from now there will be this void in the annals. Along with passing along observations, anecdotes, etc to outside readers, a personal goal for blogging is to be able to document what I was thinking and doing over my life and what influential and noteworthy things were going on over my history.

Which brings me to the problem. At the time something occurs in my life, I am quick to think ‘Hey, I should blog about this’. In fact, this happens a minimum of 4 times a day. What I end up doing at the end of the day is writing down thoughts and concepts on scraps of paper that are now accumulating on my desktop or jammed inside of my wallet. What often happens is that by the time I scribble down the ideas, I’ve undoubtedly missed many of them and the ones I do write down, enough time may have passed that I miss a little intricate detail that I wanted to convey.

I recall my friend Chris used to have a voice recorder that he used to log information. I wonder, does he still use this approach to retain his many thoughts throughout the day. If so, what is the best recording device to use? If he doesn’t use voice recording, how does he retain his ideas before putting pen to paper?

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Our God is a Vengeful God Thursday, Jan 15 2009 

On the coldest day of the year, the heater in the car doesn’t work. Oh Lord, why hast thou forsaken me?

Life revolves around the delicate balance of if and when to renew the vehicles in the household. In a duo-car home, the situation you want to have is to have one car that is ending its life while the other one is in its early years. This avoids the double-whammy.

Circumstances such as opportunities can arise that place both vehicles on the same life-track. We are in this situation, albeit a little bit to our surprise.

The ‘97 CRV is nearing its demise. However, it is still a reliable vehicle and has little maintenance requirements other than the standard upkeep for aged vehicles. The yearly upkeep however is still well below the annual cost of a new vehicle (either leased or owned). Note: the CRV has racked up 255,000 KMs. I truly believe this vehicle could go to 500,000. Yet, this may be the year to trade the bad boy in before something does go wrong.

The ‘00 Accord is in ‘mid-life’ and our expectation is to keep this vehicle for another 4-5 years. Thus, we are on the alternating life-cycle plan. But there is a kink in the execution of the plan. We’ve had to replace the transmission already, and now the heater is blown….which likely means there is some sort of coolant leak somewhere. It appears we are averaging about 1 additional trip to the mechanic beyond the standard maintenance trips. This introduces uncertainty and an additional cost that is approaching the annual cost of a new and more reliable vehicle. However, the plan is to stay the course.

The twist to the strategy is when to strike into the new car (or slightly used) market? With the changing technologies with electric cars, etc, is it more prudent to wait 1 or more years to let some of this stuff unfold and come down in price? If we hit the market early before some of the technology plays out would we be investing and wasting $$ on the current archaic technology?

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The shortest verse on my blogsite….. Wednesday, Jan 14 2009 

Christien laughed.

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