Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, family, government, Life, money, Recommends, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Introducing Personal Banker


In effort to provide you, the reader, with the truth about your tax arrears and dealings with the Canada Revenue Agency, it would be a disservice if I did not provide information about companies who can help in addition to companies who can harm.

Companies who can harm you want to be paid a lot of money, right away. They won’t tell you what they’re going to do, or how they are going to do it. They won’t give you a progress update, and they’ll advise you to NOT contact the CRA for fear of “screwing up their work.”

Who operates like that?

Scammers do.

Companies that operate like this are usually fronts for trustees and when you balk at paying, say, $5000.00 for their services, assume that you are broke and send you to their other business, the trustee, so that they can save you by having you file a Consumer Proposal, not a Bankrutcy.

Same shit, different pile.

In both cases, you’re trading a tax debt that you can deal with, for really bad credit.

But they get paid, and you… Well, you’re a statistic.

That approach does not sit well with me. Never has. Never will.

What works for me is looking at a tax debt / problem from every possible angle, and consider all approaches. Then, having that conversation with you so that we can resolve it together and to your benefit.

An Example

Some debts can be resolved through re-financing. I don’t do that. I do, however, work with a couple of mortgage brokers who take care of that service. They provide low interest rates, and can work with liens on properties. Why can they do this but other firms cannot? It’s because when a group of like-minded businesses work together and share their expertise around the CRA, it is the customer who wins!

Another Example

Other tax debts can be resolved through a filing, or re-filing of tax returns. Again, I do not do that, but I work with a couple of accountants who take care of that for you.

I don’t recommend bankruptcy or consumer proposals right away, however should the situation really warrant one, then I have a couple of firms that I could recommend.

The Truth!

In the process of helping someone with their tax matters, I always look at it in depth so that I can suggest the best plan of action for resolving it, and then let the Taxpayer decide the path they want to take. I don’t tell them what to do. I suggest the options, and provide the steps for them to take in each scenario. If they need my assistance, I’m here to help. If, not, then I’m a shoulder to cry on, or a person who listens.

Personal Banker

Recently, a firm called Personal Banker came onto my radar. I met with the owners and absolutely love what they do and how they do it. They, like myself and my network, put the interests of the Taxpayer first and foremost and provide a service far more valuable that one could imagine.

Again, that’s my opinion.

What I like about Personal Banker is that they perform a function which I strongly recommend in the majority of the tax debt cases, and that is to have their previous 10-years worth of tax returns reviewed to ensure that all the eligible credits have been taken.

This is the best way to reduce a tax debt! If there are missing credits, that you are entitled to and were missed for whatever reason, you have 10-years to apply them and either increase a refund or reduce a balance owing to the CRA. The experts at Personal Banker apply the credits, for a percentage of the findings, and you can either apply them to your tax debt, or take the money and run.

It’s brilliant.

It’s what I recommend to people with tax debts, whether personal, or business. Everyone can use a bit extra money, and especially if it’s available to you, and you just didn’t know.

What’s more brilliant is that this company operates Canada-wide, and are growing on a daily basis.

Don’t believe me? Check it out.

If you think that there might be tax credits that you have not claimed, visit their website, sign up and let them do the rest.

If you have not filed your personal tax returns, they can take care of that for you for a ridiculous low rate (I told them they are way too low, so take advantage now).

If you’ve used them before, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments.

Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, family, government, Life, money, news, Parenting, politics, school, Toronto

Ontario Teachers Working to Rule and Strikes. Some Facts: Does this make sense to you?


I’m not going to lie, but I’m on the side of the government in this dispute.

Fact: The Conservative government was elected in the province of Ontario.

Fact: The teachers unions were not elected.

Fact: The government of Ontario makes the laws and policies for the province.

Fact: Teachers unions do NOT make laws or policies. Their mandate is to look after the interests of their membership.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look a bit closer at my bias against unions – I don’t hate unions – I just don’t feel that unions have their place in every single field of employment. Considering that unions were created to give workers a collective voice against employers, I’m not sure today’s employees are so hard done by that they need a collective voice. Especially in light of the pattern or wage increase after wage increase.

That being said… Do the teachers unions, and their actions of rotating strikes benefit their members?

Fact: No.

Let me explain.

Many moons ago, I worked for a federal government agency which went on strike 3 times in the 10 plus years that I was there. In each case it was because we did not have a contract. That never concerned me because I had a job, I was being paid, and for the most part, enjoyed my job.

After living through a couple of strikes, I came to realize that striking was more than just walking off the job and forcing the government to give us a raise. I had never walked a picket line, why would I?

That was until the 3rd strike, when I started to do some math.

I realized this:

Our union wanted a 1 1/2 percent wage increase. The government wanted to hold salaries at the same level because times were tough.

We walked off the job for the week. I checked in at the picket line to receive my $50/day “strike pay”. After a week the government and union reached an agreement and we received 1%.

But…

We lost more than 1% while on strike.

So we walked the picket line and lost money.

That doesn’t make sense, now does it…

So let’s look at the Ontario teachers and use some very round figures.

Fact: The average teacher salary in Ontario is $92,000 per year.

Fact: The average teacher makes $1,769.23 per week before taxes.

Fact: The average teacher makes $353.85 per day, before taxes.

Fact: If the union accepted the 1% pay increase, Ontario teachers would have received a raise of $920 per year.

That means if the Ontario teachers are off the job more than 3 times ($353.85 x 3 = $1,061.55), then they will lose money once the new agreement is signed, even if you add in the $50 strike pay per day.

That’s crazy, right?

Unions forcing their teachers to walk the picket line in order to lose money. The Ontario government should thank them.

But beyond the lack of fiscal responsibility, comes the issues of government funding, special needs funding, class sizes and online courses.

Let’s briefly look at those:

  1. Government funding. Fact: The Ontario Conservative party has spent more money on the public education system than the previous Liberal government. Based on the fact that teacher salaries increase every year, the government would have to cut a lot in order to spend less. But they have not. It’s akin to the Democrats in the US telling media sources that they were going to impeach the President of the US before the President had even taken office, the rhetoric began to fly in Ontario before the government even announced how much the education budget was going to be. Interesting bargaining / foreshadowing
  2. The Conservative government has spent more money on special needs education than any party before them. Listen to the unions and special interest groups and you would be led to believe otherwise. When presented with facts, such as total dollars spent, these groups just state that the information is not accurate. That’s a convenient argument.
  3. Class sizes. So this is a tough one because there are no studies which state a specific class size is the perfect class size. It’s up to the Minister of Education to determine and not the unions. Dare I be skeptical here and say that of course class sizes are too big for unions. That means more work. It would be so much better – possibly – if it were a 1-to-1 ratio, because that means more teachers and more teachers means more union dues, which means a more powerful union. It also means more money that unions can spend on ads attacking the government rather than on education which they claim to care so much about.
  4. Online courses. I understand why the unions are all over this one. It means at the outset, less teachers, which means less dues-paying members, which means less power for the union. It doesn’t have to be that way, but with teachers salaries always increasing, it’s not like they’re going to suddenly give themselves pay cuts, right?The fact here is that Ontario was spent into massive debt and deficit amounts thanks to the Liberal government. Everyone who elected the Conservatives did so knowing that they were going to have to tighten their belts. (This over-spending must be a Liberal strategy to ensure that they get re-elected). Apparently the teachers and unions are exempt from this, and forgetting that these are our tax dollars being spent on their wages. I don’t even have children in the public education system anymore, but I’m paying for their salaries.

With all of that being said, spend some time browsing the Internet for countries and cities who have push for more online courses and you will find educated, high-achieving communities taking advantage of technology and moving ahead of the pack.

Heck, I completed my MBA online, and would have benefited from having prior experience taking online courses. Every organization that I volunteer with requires me to take online courses. Why is this good for the rest of the world, but not good enough for Ontario? Because the teacher’s unions tell us it’s a bad thing???

None of that makes sense to me.

What does make sense is the fact that these unions have decided year-over-year to put their interests over those of the students that they claim to support. If they really felt that it was all about the students, then let them run for election under that platform and see how they do. If they win, great, give them a raise. If they lose, then no more putting self-serving interests over top of the students.

Just my two-cents worth.

Posted in Canada, Coffee, hockey, money, Parenting

Overheard


Overheard

I love when I have the opportunity to create a blog post entitled “Overheard”. It means I am in the right place and the right time, and I am able to quickly jot down conversations between random strangers from very public places, which are utter nonsense.

It’s been a while, but I have such a post.

The Location

I was just settling in to a local hockey arena, when I noticed that there were 2 guys not too far from me who looked quite suspicious. They were waiting for the rest of the group to leave, or looking for some privacy.  At first, I thought there was going to be a drug deal, or something illegal going down, so I placed my ear buds into my ears, flipped open my laptop, and pretended to be working while I listened to – what I thought was going to be – a sketchy transaction.

Little did I know, they wanted privacy to begin a conversation of absolute nonsense.

In fact, their conversation was so inaccurate that I really wanted to interject and correct them… But I couldn’t.

So I typed away on my laptop a bit quieter and I took down some of their brilliance.

The Conversation

“So I need to earn some more money and pay for all this hockey.”

“I’ve noticed there are a lot of Chinese kids playing – is it because they have billions of dollars and billions of citizens and they come to Canada to spend their money so they choose hockey because it’s the most expensive sport?”

“Yes.”

“So I need to compete or the entire NHL will be Chinese and there will be one else playing.”

“Right.”

“Or, I need to train these kids.”

“No.”

“You need to earn money and compete. You need to earn your money in Bitcoins.  Bitcoins are the future.  The Government is going to seize all the money.  They won’t print money anymore.  Every country is going to stop printing money.  Money is in the real estate.  Buy now, sell later.  It’s a conspiracy.”

“Like what’s going on in the US?”

“Yes. It’s a massive conspiracy to get money out of the hands of people.  Then the government will tell people what to spend and how much they can spend.  It will be like they’re controlling you.”

“We’re going to have to move to China to get away from it all. There will be room, because they are ALL moving here.”

“Is Trudeau Chinese?”

“No. He’s an Indian.  But not from India or Indiana.  From here.”

“Is Trump part-Chinese?”

“No, but I hear he likes coffee enemas…”

 

SILENCE

 

Then they whispered a bit more. People showed up.  I packed up and left.

Leave it to the words; Trump, coffee and enema to kill a conversation.

Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, family, money, Parenting, Recommends, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Essay Writing Contest (Closing October 16th, 2018). Grade 12 Canadian Students – You can win $500-$5,000.


The Urban Daddy is a HUGE fan of teaching Canadians about finances, taxes and debt, and finding solutions to get out of debt and stay out of debt.

I came across an essay writing competition for Grade 12 Students, sponsored by an organization that I have worked with in the past and strongly respect.

Details:

Grade 12 students across Canada are invited to confess their financial misfortune story by submitting an essay to the Credit Education Week 2018 Essay Contest.

Prizes range from $500 to $5000, with over 20 prizes to be won.

Entries must be written in English or French and must not exceed 1000 words.  Essays must be submitted between now and Oct. 9, 2018. EXTENDED: October 16th, 2018.

For full contest rules, see the essay submission page.

Credit-Canada-Essay-Contest-Flyer-V2

Here is a note from a winner last year (name redacted)

“As it has almost been a year since I participated I thought I should give Credit Canada an update. I was able to accept a position at my first choice school in the Law and Society program (minoring in Criminology). I was accepted into a residence community that allows me to participate, volunteer and plan community events to better the quality of life in town. I’ve also been accepted into numerous campus leadership positions. Overall, I’m working hard as a student and as a citizen here in university. Now, this email may seem random but I wanted to sincerely thank everyone involved with Credit Education Week. Though a scholarship in this amount may not seem like a lot of money to a large company, it makes a gigantic difference to students like me. Rather than spending my nights picking up extra shifts at work, I am participating in my school and studying hard with a chance to thrive. I cannot thank you and everyone else who participates in this program enough.”

Credit Canada, the sponsor of this competition, is a non-profit and charitable organization providing free and confidential credit counselling, personal debt consolidation and resolutions, as well as preventative counselling, educational seminars, and tips and tools in the areas of budgeting, money management, and financial goal-setting.

Credit Canada is Canada’s longest-standing credit counselling agency, helping Canadians manage their debt since 1966.

For more information, please visit www.creditcanada.com.

You can also interact with others on Twitter using this hashtag, #CEWC2018

Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, family, money, Parenting, Recommends, The Urban Daddy, travel

Sunwing’s 5 Fun Family Vacations (with Kids)


I came across an email which was entitled; “Creating Back to School Memories NOW!” and I’m a huge fan of anything which creates fond memories for us, as parents, and especially for the kids.

Since we’re never really sure when an opportunity for vacation might pop up, I thought I would re-post this fun list from Sunwing.ca, just in case it could inspire us in the future or inspire one of you.

If you’re looking to take a family vacation this summer that won’t break the bank, grab the kids and Join the Club!

From slime to surfing, Sunwing has rounded up some amazing experiences that are bound to make your little one’s friends jealous come back to school this September. Plus, Kids Clubs are free and part of your all-inclusive package, and the best part, they’ll ensure the kiddies are occupied all week long, you are voted “the best parent ever,” and that you get in some time to relax under the sun.

Here are five extraordinary experiences in the Caribbean to check out this summer:

Get Slimed at Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts Punta Cana

1

Prepare to get slimed and partake in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle slime-making classes! Kids can get up close and personal with their favourite Nickelodeon characters including SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer. The resort’s Kids Club also features a mega-ball pit and two-storey slide. When the children are not at the Kids Club, the whole family can join in on the Nickelodeon experience: from breakfast with Dora the Explorer, to meeting the splash mob of characters at Aqua Nick water park, to grabbing a selfie with all your favourite characters at Character Central.

Be a Zookeeper for a Day at Memories Holguin Beach Resort
2

Kids can look forward to Zoo Day Tuesdays at this resort in Holguin, Cuba. Hop on a fun carriage ride to the petting zoo as part of the daily Kids Club program. Other highlights include a Friday talent show for kiddies to express their creativity, water games and meet-and-greets with favourite characters, Toopy and Binoo. While the kids are being entertained, parents can look forward to sipping on tropical cocktails on the beach or trying out some exciting water sports such as windsurfing, kayaking and snorkelling.

 

Splash-tastic Fun at Grand Riviera Princess All Suites Spa and Resort

3

Get ready for some fun in the sun in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico! Boasting its own pool and waterslide, the Mini and Teen Club at the Family Club section has everything needed for endless water fun. The property’s daily program of activities run until the evening so parents can take advantage of the many onsite, à la carte dining restaurants with options that include Italian classics, sumptuous seafood dishes, authentic Mexican dishes and more.

 

Live like a Cowboy at Jewel Runaway Bay Beach and Golf Resort

4


Visit the Red Ruby Ranch in Runaway Bay, Jamaica, where little ones can pretend they’re in the Wild West with activities that range from horse grooming lessons and hay rides to bonfires and laser tag. After dropping off the kids at this Kids Club, parents can work on their swing at the Championship golf course (green fees are complimentary) or enjoy a game of tennis. Afterwards the whole family can cool off in the onsite water park, the largest in Montego Bay.

 

Surf it Up at Royalton Bavaro Resort and Spa + Big Kid Fun

5

Surf’s up in Punta Cana! At this newly opened resort, the entire family can experience the ultimate surf machine ‘FlowRider’ and practice catching waves. When the family has dried off, enjoy meet and greets with favourite characters Max & Ruby™. For the teens, a hangout club includes all the latest video games, flat screen TVs, snooker tables and more. A phone charging station makes sure they won’t miss a beat posting their fabulous vacation pics on social and making their friends jealous. They can even call their friends for free with the Royalton app and access to free Wi-Fi. While taking a break from the kids, parents also enjoy their own downtime, relaxing as they float down the resort’s lazy river or savouring a cocktail at one of the eight bars.