2009: The Year of Passion

Here is some thoughts I had during my latest vacation.
I am sitting on the patio of my room in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic as I write this. It’s a beautiful morning with the ocean breeze providing an orchestra of rustling palm leaves.


Before I left I was debating whether or not to bring my laptop. There were things I wanted to get done but people that know me were telling me that I was crazy,to just go, relax, and don’t think about the work that lies ahead.
But it didn’t feel right, a conversation with my wife while packing pointed me in the right direction. She knew that I am a much more satisfied (and happier!) person if I am able to get things accomplished during the day.
You can see from this picture which point of view won!
It doesn’t matter if I am on vacation or sick at home I always want to get things done, or be reading more, just progressing in some way.
It made me start to wonder if I was hooked on work. Did I really fall into the ‘workaholic’ category? I always prided myself on realizing there is more to life than that.

Is this really the best Canadian reporting has to offer?

— Rant begins —6a00e54fcc27ac88340105368e9c95970c
I almost started laughing out loud when I read the last week’s front page article in the Saturday globe and mail:
The untold story of how elements of the first Conservative budget in 2006 encouraged big U.S. players such as AIG to make a push into Canada, creating our version of subprime mortgages
This type of reporting is getting hailed as fantastic investigative journalism.
Read the article.
It does have some interesting reports of how mortgage insurance lobbying plays out in Ottawa.
But come on.
Does anyone really think that when CMHC has a monopoly on mortgage insurance in a great market like ours that foreign companies wouldn’t want a piece of the pie?
And they’ll lobby our government to get into the game.
That is not a surprise.  Not by a stretch.  In fact, the surprise is that it took so long for it to happen!

Sometimes It’s Not Pretty


Here I am last week at one of my real estate investments.  It doesn’t look too glamorous, does it?

This is a home that we rent out to students by McMaster University.  They are super excited about the new deck.  I think I heard plans for a January party already.  All I could think about was my poor house!

Now, building a deck in MINUS 5 degree weather really isn’t on the top of my list of fun things to do.  Not to mention that the snow we were working in on Saturday night didn’t make it any more fun.

Yes, Saturday night! We took floodlights with us so we could work after the sun went down and the temperatures really dropped.

I am not sure if we are a bit crazy or really driven but I know in the long run putting in the work has really paid off.

Tweet, Tweet, Twitter!

6a00e54fcc27ac8834010535ca361a970c-800wiHave you heard about Twitter yet?

It’s the latest instalment of the social networking craze and it really answers one question.  What are you doing?

Often when we speak with friends over the phone we ask what they are doing, right?

We want to see if that task has any relevance or interest to us.

Twitter takes away all the bells and whistles of My Space and Facebook and just boils it down to answering that question.

It is actually kinda cool!

On The Front Line….Gaining Some Insight Into the US Woes

Tom and I returned late last night from some meetings in Florida.

It was definitely eye opening to see and hear what is going on with the US economy from the front lines.  I had trouble believing the amount of negative amortization loans that some people had seen in the past.

For anyone that needs to understand why the Canadian mortgage industry is not in the same shape as the US one, this is a perfect example.

Some people seeking out a mortgage before the financial crisis hit the US would sign on to a mortgage a an unbelievably low teaser rate.  Let’s use 1 % as an example, even thought the lending rate at the time was 5%.

So what happens to the other 4% as each month passes?

It gets added on to the principle of the mortgage!  So in reality your mortgage gets LARGER instead of smaller!

Camel Negotiations

Well, I am back from my trip abroad and it was definitely an ADVENTURE.

The difference between the Greek Islands and Cairo, Egypt were huge.  Seeing a country that is so culturally different to ours changes your perspective on so much.

There are so many stories but as my wife says ‘You always relate everything back to business” so I let’s talk about negotiating for a camel.

By the way, I don’t totally agree with my wife about relating things back to business.  But I do tend to always look for life lessons in many of the things I experience…..hey, I can’t help it!

OK take a look at this camel.

Camel Negotiations How could I resist the opportunity to have a this camel take me through the desert to see the Pyramids?

Uh oh, here comes the hard part.  The negotiation!

Actually, it is fun for me.  But it can be difficult sometimes.

The Rule of 72


I love learning new tricks!

Last week I learned about the rule of 72.  I had never even heard the term before, never mind how it works.

Plus, it has to do with finances and investments which are my two favorite topics.  Yup, sports definitely takes a back seat with me.

I am sure there are a few people that know the ins and outs of this, but for anyone that has never known about the rule of 72 here is how it works. (here is a much more detailed explanation from wikipedia, if you are interested)

First for the fun side of it.

It is a quick and easy way to tell you how long it will take a particular investment to double, if continually reinvested with compound interest.