Ever since Halo 3 was launched, my little brother wanted me to buy him an Xbox 360. The price tag for one of those was around five hundred dollars and I couldn’t afford to get him one at the time. I told him that if he really wanted to get one, he’ll have to save for it. So far, he’s doing a good job.
Kevin is eleven years old, turning twelve this December. He’s the youngest of the boys and he gets spoiled by my mom. Every time he goes shopping with my mom, he’ll come home with a toy of some sort. I tell him not to waste money on toys because they don’t last that long. He’ll buy it one day and he’ll break or go missing by the end of the week.
I try to encourage him to save up for things but usually he’ll save up and then waste his money on toys. During the summer, he saved up fifty dollars and then he blew it on a toy Nerf Gun. When I was younger, I never had money to waste on toys like that. Heck, I barely had any toys at all. When I had money, I tried to save up as much as I could and then buy stuff that I need like shoes and clothes. I didn’t have the luxury that he has today.
He’s the youngest of us so he gets what he wants most of the time. He knows how to get what he wants. Sometimes, even I give him what he wants but not this time. He wants an Xbox 360, he’ll have to save up for it. I made him a deal, that if he saves up from now until Christmas, I’ll cover the remaining costs of the system. He doesn’t work so it’s hard for him to get money. I told him that he if he does household chores, I’ll give him an allowance.
I started off by giving him ten dollars a week just to take out the garbage every Sunday night. So far, he hasn’t missed a day. But then my girlfriend told me that ten dollars a week to take out the garbage was a bit too much and she’s right. Taking out the trash takes about five minutes. So, Kevin’s making ten dollars for five minutes which is equivalent to one hundred twenty dollars an hour.
In order to justify the ten dollars a week, another task was added to his weekly chores list. Along with taking out the garbage, he’ll have to do the dishes as well. But he won’t be doing the dishes on a weekly basis, he’ll be doing it in a daily basis. Reports from my mom says that he’s doing a good job as well. I guess he really wants an Xbox 360.
To date, he has one hundred sixty dollars saved up. According to my calculations, he should have half that much so he’s making extra money somewhere. It’s good that he’s learning to save. Basically, that’s the habit that I’m trying to get him into. When it comes time pay for the Xbox, I’m not going to take his money. I’m just going to let him keep. So, hopefully he’ll learn his lesson and save up more often.
I haven’t been in the workforce for that long but I’m already thinking about retirement. My dream would be to retire by the age of forty but I’m not sure I can save that much right now to reach that goal. Instead, I’ll do what others are doing and plan for retirement at the age of sixty five. According to my present savings, I’m right on track to reach my goal.
When it comes time to retire, I would like to receive an income which is equivalent to the income that I’m presently making. I’m currently saving up my retirement with three different banks: Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), ING Direct and Sun Life Financial (SLF). At present, I think I’m saving up a lot more than I should be at this stage so that means that I’m ahead of schedule.
I started my retirement savings plans with RBC in 1999 which was during my last year of high school. One of the tellers asked if I wanted to start one up and I agreed. I didn’t know what an RRSP was but I was looking to save some money and I really wanted to save. With an RRSP, my money was sort of locked away and I couldn’t touch it. Technically, I can take it out when I want but I’ll be taxed on the amount that I withdraw and I didn’t want that.
I was working at Burger King at the time so I couldn’t afford to put too much into my RRSP. I decided to contribute twenty five dollars a month from my pay cheque to my RRSP. It wasn’t much but it was a start.
I didn’t pay too much attention to my RRSP. Throughout the year, my bank was automatically withdrawing twenty five dollars from my chequing account and depositing it into my RRSP account. One day, I checked my RRSP account and saw that I had well over doubled the amount that should be in there.
As I moved from job to job, my pay started to increase and so did my contribution to my RRSP. When I got a full time job, I increased my contribution from twenty five dollars a month to five dollars a month. Eventually, I started to notice that I was making a bit more so I saved even more. I upped the contribution to one hundred dollars a month.
Then one year, during tax season I decided to take a two thousand dollar loan from ING Direct. I took all of that money and opened up an ING Direct RRSP account. Before taking out this loan, I did my homework and some research. By taking a thousand dollar loan, I would be charged approximately sixty dollars in interest. I wanted to pay off this loan as quickly as possible to reduce the amount of interest and maximize the amount of investment. The loan was supposed to gain eighty dollars in interest so basically, it was a win-win situation for me. This account has climbed up pretty well since I was making bi-weekly contribution to it. I only have three hundred dollars left from the loan which should be paid off by next month.
The last of my RRSP account is with Sun Life Financial. This account was opened when I started working at my new job. They had a very good retirement savings plan and I jumped in as soon as I could. The deal was, whatever I contributed each month, the company will match seventy five percentage of it. Before I opened up the account, I decided to contribute about ten percentage of my bi-weekly pay. With the contribution that the company makes, it’s as if I’m contribution seventeen percent of my pay to my RRSP on a bi-weekly basis.
SLF has a small application that helps me see if my goal is being met with my current savings. I just have to answer a few questions and they’ll show me some charts and project my balance at the time I retire. And all it took was fifteen minutes of my time.
Based on my current saving habits, it is likely that I will have the desired retirement income. Every month, I put nearly $1000 into my retirement savings plan. I’m trying to save up so that I can retire with an annual income of $75,000. To make sure that I stay on track, SLF suggests that I monitor my investments to ensure that it doesn’t deviate from my current risk profile. I have to make sure that my investment returns meet my performance criteria and take any actions necessary if it goes off track.
I’m hoping to retirement at the age of sixty five. If I continue to save the same amount that I’m saving now, I’d save up over $900,000.And thanks to compound interest I’ll have close to two million dollars to spend when I retire. If the rate of return is good, my investment can climb to six million but if it doesn’t do too well, I’ll have less than a million dollars. The two million dollar mark is a projection of what I’ll have if things remain the same.
To be realistic, I’m not sure if I’ll reach the one million dollar mark. I hope I can but there are going to be bumps along the way and I’ll need to dip into my savings in order to get through. They say that the first million is the hardest to get. After that point, reaching the next million is fairly easy, thanks to compound interest. At present, I’m trying to get rid of some debts, which aren’t even mind. Since I’m contributing so much towards my RRSP, I’m hoping to use my tax return to pay off these days. I was hoping to use that tax return to buy a new car but I need to get rid of this debt first.
Last week, the people of Ontario went out to the polls and voted during the Ontario Referendum. We were given an option of selecting our candidate and choosing whether or not to change to a new electoral system. I make an effort to go out and vote but sometimes I don’t because I’m not aware about what’s going on. That’s exactly what happened this year with the change of the new electoral system. I didn’t know much about it so I voted against it. The government didn’t do a good job informing everyone either.
I watched the results of the election and saw that the candidate that I voted for had won. I voted for Andrea Horwath of the New Democratic Party (NDP). I don’t know what her platform was in the riding but I know that she planted some trees outside my parent’s house when the neighbourhood requested it. To me, it shows that she can provide results and that’s good enough.
In last week’s election, the Liberals came out the winner. Although the Liberals gained a majority government, they received less than half of the votes. When you compare the percentage of seats won against the percentage of votes, the other parties had a higher proportion. The Liberals received sixty six percent of the 107 available seats but the only received forty three percent of the votes. The NDP received seventeen percent of the votes but only gained nine percent of the seats.
The new electoral system did not get passed. I believe that it was dropped due to the lack of knowledge that people had regarding the new system. I had no idea what it was until a week before the referendum. Now that it’s over, I have a bit of a better idea about what it is. If I had known the difference, I would have voted otherwise.
Basically put, the Mix Member Proportional system would allow voters to cast their votes for their riding and their party. For example, I voted for Andrea Horwath of the NDP but I don’t necessarily want NDP to run the country. I just like the way the NDPs are running the city but I don’t know what they’ll do if they were running the country. The reason for the MMP is to shift the voting patterns made at the Parliament. Since the Liberals has majority of the votes, they get things their way and the other parties can’t do much about it. But with MMP, the Liberals wouldn’t get too much say in everything.
Since the electoral reform was turned down, we won’t know how the voting would have been represented in the Legislature. The Liberals still sway things in their favour but it could have been different if the other parties have been assigned more seats. But then again, I still don’t have a full understanding of how the MMP works but this is just the gist of it.
I’ve written in my blog before about how I’m taking on other people’s debt in order to help them out. When I took those debts, I was under the assumption that it would help them in their daily lives. As it stands, my helping them hasn’t changed a thing. They are still in the same boat but now they’ve brought me onboard with them. I have just over two months to get myself out of this mess and it doesn’t look like anyone of those people are going to help me out. In my time of need, some of them are willing to help me but aren’t able to. I don’t know if the others are willing though. I’m very disappointed at them for doing this.
In today’s world, a little bit of money goes a long way if you know what to do with it. In an ideal world, no one would have to worry about their finances because all of that would be taken care of but today’s world isn’t an ideal world. We live in a dog-eat-dog world where people will sue each other for everything. If you so much as look at them the wrong way, you’ll be sued. There are a lot of greedy people out there who wants more and more. If they want something that they can’t have, they’ll find a way to get what they want.
Money causes more problems than it solves. I’m trying to help out some friends by taking over some of their financial debts but I’m causing a problem for myself. If I hadn’t taken on their debts, I would have $10,000 in my bank account by now. I don’t miss all that money but right now, I wish I had it because it doesn’t look like everyone will be able to repay by the end of the year. I don’t quite understand how they can’t pay me back since I’ve taken this load off them and haven’t bothered them for six months.
When they pay me back, I’m not asking them to pay me back with interest. I’m only asking them to pay me back what they borrowed. So, what I’m doing is giving them money to pay for their bills. If I didn’t help them out, their creditors would be charging them interest month after month. Basically, I’m getting charged the interest because they haven’t back me back in a timely manner.
One of my credit cards is a 0% interest credit card. I’ve been making a lot of balance transfer over the year in order to reduce the month of interest that I’m paying. That 0% promotion ends as of December. Once December rolls around, that credit card will be charging me their regular interest rates. I was hoping that six months was enough time to get rid of debts but apparently, that isn’t so.
It appears to me that with extra money in their pockets, they don’t have to worry about paying me back right away. When people have extra money in their pockets, they tend to spend it. So far, of all the people that I’ve lent money to, only one of them has taken my advice and saved. The others are just spending money on who knows what. They’re spending money that isn’t even theirs. It’s money that I gave to them in hopes of helping them out with their finances and if this is the way they’re taking advantages of it, I don’t think I’ll be helping them out anymore. Whether they pay me or not, I’m done with helping people out with money. It’s only putting more burden on my shoulders and I don’t want to go through that.
Before taking over their debts, I didn’t think that this would be happening but now it looks like I’m in way over my head. I don’t have much time left to get this problem solved and it doesn’t look like I’ll met the deadline. Those who have said that they would help me get out of this problem hasn’t really committed to doing that yet. All that they’ve done so far is say that they’re going to help but actions speaks more than words. They haven’t done much so their word is no good to me.
In just over a week’s time, Ontario will be going to the polls to decide which electoral system the province will use. We will be choosing whether to stay with the current system or switch to an alternative system. From my understanding of the system, I’ve already made up my mind as to which one I’ll be voting for.
October 10, 2007 is the date that is set for Ontario’s general election. On that date, two ballots will be given out. One ballot is for voting on the general election and the other for the referendum. The referendum asks, “Which electoral system should Ontario use to elect members to the provincial legislature?” On the ballot there are two choices.
- The existing electoral system (First-Past-The-Post)
- The alternative electoral system proposed by the Citizens’ Assembly (Mixed Member Proportional)
Ontario is divided into 107 electoral districts. On Election Day, we will cast our votes for the candidate whom we want to win a seat in the provincial legislature. The candidate with the most votes wins. The party with the most electoral district will be asked to form a government.
Mixed Member Proportional
This system combines two systems, a First-Past-The-Post and a Proportional Representation System. If this system is selection, the citizens of Ontario will have to vote for two different things in the future. One vote is for a local member and one for a political party.
In order for the new system to implemented, it needs sixty percent of the votes. At the moment, I don’t see any need for a new electoral system. I’m not too informed with the politics of this city but I try to be as informed as I can. Voting starts tomorrow but I’m not knowledgeable enough about the other system to vote for it. Elections Ontario was attempting to inform everyone since July but I didn’t hear about the referendum until I received my notification to vote.
The way I see it, the new MPP system will cost taxpayers more because there will be more politicians added to office. I don’t like politicians as it is so I don’t think it’s wise to add more of them.
When I was asked to make a speech at Sao and Sokie’s wedding reception, I wasn’t prepared to make one. I wanted to say something nice and memorable but I had no idea what to say. I was only given a week to think of something to say and that wasn’t enough time since I worked a lot. I was more worried about giving the speech than thinking of one. On top of that, since I was the last of the groomsmen to give a speech, I was asked to make a toast as well. The toast was something that I came up with as soon as I walked to the podium. I didn’t get to say everything that I had written down but I did manage to deliver some of it.
To Sao and Sokie,
Would you all join me in raising your glasses. I just want to take this opportunity to thank the bride and groom for sharing this special day with all of us. It’s a unique milestone in their lives and I feel honoured to be a part of it. So cheers to the both of you!
Now, I had a speech written up but I didn’t have access to the internet so I lost it and forgot what I was going to say. Now I have to start from scratch. For those of you who don’t know me, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Don. For those of you who do know me, well, I’m sorry but my name is still Don. I’m very honoured to be here today. The bride and groom, the bridesmaid, my fellow groomsmen and everyone involved have done a wonderful job at putting this all together.
I’ve known the bride and groom for some time now. Sao and I practically grew up together. We went to the same school, played the same sports, took similar school subject and occasionally, the same video games. Let me tell you now that the guy that I grew up with is the same guy that is sitting before you. He hasn’t changed much and he’s still his goofy self every now and then. As for Sokie, I’m only beginning to get to know her but since the both of them recently moved in across the street from me, I’ll have plenty of time to get to know them better.
During a speech like this, I guess it’s best that I say some kind words. Now, I’m not one to be giving advices on marriage because I’m not even married myself. I’m not ready for marriage yet but there are some things that came to mind. It’s something that my girlfriend said to me one day. She told me that “it’s important to keep each other happy.” This relates to what Bishop Voeun mentioned earlier at the ceremony. He mentioned how important it was to satisfy each other’s need. There are going to be days in the future where you’re going to run into some obstacles but you have to remember to help each other out. You have to be willing to make that sacrifice because that’s what love is all about.
They say that “if you love someone, let them go. If they come back then it was mean to be.” To that saying, I say that it is wrong. If you love someone, you’re not going to want to risk losing them. If you really love someone, you hang on to them with all your might and you love them with all your heart.
My advice to you, Sao and Sokie is that you continue to love each other day by day. Because after tonight, the true test of your love for each other begins. So love each other with all your hearts and respects each other. Don’t think that you’re better than one another but don’t think that you’re worse either. Think of yourselves as equals because when you’re walking down the road of life together, one of you is not going to lead while the other follows. You’ll be walking together hand in hand, side by side, husband and wife. Value each other’s company and cherish every memory that you build together. Tonight is the beginning of the rest of your lives. May you both know nothing but happiness from this day forward. I wish you two all the best! Congratulations!
No, I’m not the one that’s getting married. My good friend Sao is getting married to Sokie. They were married on October 6, 2007. I had the honour of being one of the five groomsmen. It was a busy and eventful day with some unexpected twist and turns but I’m glad that everything went according to plan.
Last Saturday, the wedding party had their final meeting. We ran through a few things to make sure that everyone was on the same page. Most of us were except for me and a couple of the other groomsmen. Sao told us that we had to make a speech during the reception. I had no idea what to say because I’m not really good at making speeches. I had a week to come up with something and that’s hard to do when you don’t have much time on your hands. But I did the best that I could and spoke from my heart.
The day before the wedding, all of us got together at church to rehearse the ceremony. The rehearsal wasn’t what I expected because I was use to seeing a different type of ceremony. The bride couldn’t walk down the aisle because there were two aisles. The groom, groomsmen and bishop walked down the right hand aisle while the bride, her father and the bridesmaid walked down the left hand side. The odd thing about this was that the groomsmen walked down the aisle first and then sat down. Then the bishop walked down followed by the groom. When the groom got to where the groomsmen were, he sat down. Then the music got a little louder, that was our queue to get up and walk to the front. Once all of us were standing at the front, the musician played another song to queue the bridesmaids. Then at the end, the bride walked down the aisle with her father and when they get to the front, the father handed over Sokie to Sao.
We ran through this over and over again until it was perfect. The bishop wanted to do this by the book but we had to interject. There were some things that didn’t seem right. One thing that I noticed was the part where I walked in first. This caused a bit of a traffic jam because when we got up to walk to the front, the other groomsmen were in each other’s way. I suggested that I walk in last so I can get up first. I was at the back of the line when we were at the front so it only made sense. The bridesmaid did the same thing only they didn’t walk in together like the groomsmen. They walked in individually with a large gap in between them.
When the wedding day came, everything was going according to plan. Sao and I woke up early to get some last minute errands done. We had planned on getting breakfast before getting ready but that took a bit too much time. All of the errands we ran felt like it took only an hour but before we knew it, it was already time to get ready. The limo was scheduled to pick us up at 12:30pm so we had to get back to the house to get dressed.
Getting dressed doesn’t sound like it’s a hard thing to do but it’s a bit difficult when you have to share the washroom with five guys. Everyone was in and out of the washroom but then it would be occupied because someone had to shower. Something that should have taken us ten minutes to complete ended up taking about an hour. We had to make sure everyone was perfect and that nothing was left undone. Each groomsman ended up helping each other out to make sure that everything was put on correctly. Some of the guys didn’t know about the buttons that goes on with their shirts but it wasn’t a big deal since the vest covered up the button. It’s just that the buttons matched the cuff links.
After we were done getting dressed, we went outside to have some pictures taken. I didn’t realize how hot it was outside until we were out there in our tuxedo. Earlier in the day, it was a bit chilly and all of a sudden it was scorching. It’s a good thing that the limo was air conditioned or else we’d be drenched.
The limo took the guys to the church first and then turned around to get the girls. The church was in London but the girls were in St. Thomas. While we waited for the girls to get to the church, the clouds started to roll in. We feared that it was going to rain and possibly ruin the wedding down. We gathered outside the front entrance to speak with some of the people that arrived early. When we tried to go inside, we found that the doors were still locked. That meant that we’re the first few to arrive. That also meant that the florist hadn’t arrived yet to arrange the flowers. We found out later that our fear was coming to life. It started to pour like no tomorrow. I could see on Sao’s face that he was starting to get worried. It’s his wedding day and things are starting to go downhill.
It would be an hour before the limo would return with the bride and the bridesmaid. The rain seemed to come and go but we were hoping that the rain would stop completely because we still had to go to the park to get pictures.
By the time the ceremony ended, the rain had stopped and the sun had come out. Things were starting to look up again. The day went by fairly quickly and things were back on track. Before heading to the hall for the evening reception, we all decided to grab a small bite to eat. We stopped by McDonald’s to get something small. A meal was served at the hall but we were hungry now. We didn’t know exactly when the food was going to be served so we just grab a little something.
I wasn’t worried too much about the food. I had a speech to give and that had me worried a lot more. I had written what I wanted to say on my blog but I didn’t have access to the internet the whole day so I was trying to remember what I had written down. Every chance that I had, I would try to recall what I had jotted down but I could only remember a few sentences. When it was my turn to speak, I just went with the flow and said whatever came to my head.
The night went by without any disruption. It was a pleasant evening and fun was had by all. Everyone congratulated the newlyweds and wished them a happy life together. Those who were still sober drove back home and those who were too drunk ended up staying the night in the hotel. I didn’t want to stay the night because I had a girl waiting for me back in Hamilton.