Posted in Canada, Guest Blogger, Sports, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Are we witnessing the end of America’s Past time?


Even though Major League Baseball (MLB) and it’s players were quite far apart on a deal needed to play a season this year, baseball will be played in 2020 and I don’t know why. Between issues with COVID-19, the locations chosen to play the games in, racism, homophobia, and the underlying issues related to owners refusal to budge on monetary issues and players a demanding full pay while playing less than half a season – the game is broken… Very broken.

Regardless of what is actually happening, this very public bickering could be the beginning of the end for America’s past time.

Take a look at the staggering figures below to get an idea what it must be like for owners of team’s must be facing when they look at paying players ever increasing salaries. Taking into consideration the very slight increase in attendance over the past 40-years (the league added more teams during this period), the total league payroll has gone from a quarter billion dollars to 4 billion dollars a year.

With less people attending games, the teams need to make up the revenue somewhere, right? You can only increase ticket prices so much, plus fans in cities with non-competitive teams historically draw fewer fans than cities with competitive teams. But it theoretically takes revenue to build a team, does it not? If fans stop showing up, then teams don’t have the revenue to field better teams. We’ve all been told that, at one point in time.

That might have been true, back in the day, but in present days, teams – even non-competitive teams – turn profits because of their TV deals.

TV deals range from a low of $20 million dollars to the Miami Marlins to $289 million dollars being paid to the LA Dodgers. The average seems to lie around $45 million dollars. With average payrolls of $133 million, and taking out the TV revenue, it still makes for a huge loss for the owners.

But the players want to get paid, and they want a piece of everything the owners make. When you consider the average of 10K fans per game in Miami, $15K in Tampa Bay, and $16K in Baltimore, you have to think how much longer this can go on.

Looking at Miami, for example, with $20 million dollars a year in TV revenue, and total team payroll of $75 million, the team begins the season down $55 million dollars. At 10K fans per game and an average ticket price of $22/game, the Marlins earn $220,000 per game, or $17,820,000 over 81 home games (around $18 million).

This does not include any additional revenues from parking, concessions or products sold, nor does it account for salaries of employees, advertising, rent, property taxes, concessions to be sold, or other costs like taxation.

What makes matters a bit more obscure is that teams drawing below a certain threshold are provided support from other teams, such as the Yankees who exceeded payroll ceiling by $52 million dollars in 2019 and had to pay a luxury tax of $26 million dollars – or 1/3rd of Miami’s payroll.

Throwing all of these numbers together, and staying in the space of averages and previous year’s reported figures, the Miami Marlins made around $250 million in revenue.

How?

See how the players become skeptical of the owners figures?

Without fans, and that gate revenue, a considerable portion of the revenue disappears.

Attendance is dropping. Speculation is that it’s a result of outdated stadiums or a bad product on the field, but truth be told, it’s likely the $10 hot dog, $20 beer and $30 to park a car that has been driving fans away.

Attendance Avg Game Attendance League Payroll Avg Team Payroll
2019 68,494,752 28,198 $3,999,827,072 $133,327,569
2018 69,671,272 28,659 $3,964,096,903 $132,136,563
2017 72,678,797 29,908 $3,983,892,634 $132,796,421
2016 73,159,044 30,131 $3,761,011,880 $125,367,062
2015 73,719,340 30,349 $3,680,887,206 $122,696,240
2014 73,739,622 30,345 $3,398,869,156 $113,295,638
2013 74,027,037 30,451 $3,150,727,861 $105,024,262
2012 74,859,268 30,806 $2,950,092,506 $98,336,416
2011 73,425,667 30,228 $2,872,256,542 $95,741,884
2010 73,061,763 30,066 $2,757,480,197 $91,916,006
2009 73,430,580 30,218 $2,791,645,244 $93,054,841
2008 78,624,315 32,382 $2,694,090,063 $89,803,002
2007 79,484,718 32,696 $2,499,198,987 $83,306,632
2006 76,043,902 31,306 $2,337,874,617 $77,929,153
2005 74,915,268 30,816 $2,189,013,398 $72,967,113
2004 73,022,972 30,075 $2,078,657,943 $69,288,598
2003 67,630,052 27,831 $2,128,862,128 $70,962,070
2002 67,944,389 28,006 $2,028,877,522 $67,629,250
2001 72,581,101 29,881 $1,969,086,313 $65,636,210
2000 71,358,907 29,377 $1,685,767,602 $56,192,253
1999 70,139,380 28,887 $1,503,589,250 $50,119,641
1998 70,601,147 29,030 $1,285,345,371 $42,844,845
1997 63,168,689 27,876 $1,127,440,885 $40,265,745
1996 60,097,381 26,509 $958,715,050 $34,239,823
1995 50,469,236 25,021 $951,698,367 $33,989,227
1994 50,010,016 31,256 $928,257,287 $33,152,045
1993 70,257,938 30,964 $903,115,234 $32,254,115
1992 55,870,466 26,529 $803,497,323 $30,903,743
1991 56,813,760 27,002 $613,253,418 $23,586,669
1990 54,823,768 26,044 $460,267,193 $17,702,584
1989 55,173,096 26,198 $375,490,540 $14,441,943
1988 52,998,904 25,237 $319,514,557 $12,289,021
1987 52,011,506 24,708 $304,799,122 $11,723,043
1986 47,506,203 22,589 $309,189,518 $11,891,904
1985 46,824,379 22,265 $264,965,530 $10,190,981

 

With players now opting out of the 2020 season and citing issues related to negotiations, racism, sexism, cheating (yes you, Astros and likely Red Sox), it’s not putting the sport of baseball in such a good light. Certainly these cannot result in increased attendance, unless significant changes are made. MLB could lead the way and lure fans back to the stadiums in drove, if they took a back to basics approach, lowered ticket prices, and concession prices, kept people safe and put a diverse product on the field.

Or, they could fight over millions and billions of dollars while North Americans struggle with earning income, racism, sexism, and intolerance, and a general lack of respect for each others lives.

The ball is in your field, MLB… Batter Up!

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 money, Parenting

Holidays, Money and a few last minute ideas…


I hate to break it to you but the holidays are here, and for many of us this means spending far too much money on gifts our kids and families really don’t need. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-gifting, I just don’t like having to buy gifts as a result of socially constructed consumer norms (to be addressed in a future post). That said, I’m a mom of 5-year-old twins and explaining what a social construct is will result in the consumption of far, far too many bottles of wine so I’m opting for conforming – at least to a certain extent.

Everyone knows the holidays are about family, friends, spending time together and sharing the love and,  if you’ve done your job well, your kids know this well. Ya know what else kids know? Holidays = presents! So, since I’m buying into the holiday crap, I’m at least going to do it in a way that doesn’t put my family into peril. Peril? yes, peril.

The holidays are expensive. If you’re not careful, the parental guilt that inevitably comes with the knowledge you can’t get your kids everything they want could put your family into a negative financial situation that’s difficult to recoup from.

“No, you can’t have the Nintendo, doll house, race car and Barbie… many kids don’t even receive gifts during the holidays…we’ve very fortunate to have everything that we do… when I was your age I got a matchstick for Christmas/ Hanukkah/ Kwanza…” Sound familiar? As parents, we want to give our kids the world and everything in it. We also don’t want to raise assholes. And this principle is what often alleviates that guilt I was talking about earlier. Now, we’re not just trying to save money, we’re teaching our kids a valuable lesson, right?

I dunno about you, but I still feel like total shit when I can’t get my kids what they want or, more to the point, what I want to get them. That said, DON’T GO INTO DEBT FOR THE HOLIDAYS. IT’S NOT WORTH IT. Yes, like a crack addict, you’ll get that initial high of being the ‘best parent ever’, but come January you’re going to crash and it’s gonna be ugly. (Please trust me on this, I watch people do it every day, let alone every year, it’s the line of work I’m in.) So, how do you avoid this scenario? Here are my 5 top tips I use to financially survive the holidays:

Tip 1 – Everyone loves photo gifts. Sign up for all of the online photo-gift sites and throughout the year they send great freebies, ranging from mugs to calendars to bags and prints.  You pay the shipping (which isn’t cheap but it’s far cheaper than paying for a gift and shipping) and that’s it!

Tip 2 – Shops the sales before the ‘sales’.  If you’re like my husband and don’t plan all that far in advance for gift giving then wait until September to take advantage of the back to school sales for toys, home stuff, clothing, make up etc. they often end up being cheaper than all of the sales that are currently out right now.

Tip 3 – THE DOLLAR STORE IS YOUR FRIEND. There is absolutely no good reason to spend five times the amount of money on a brand name toy or game when you can get the exact same one at the dollar store? They’re all made in China so why spend $20 instead of $4 for a logo? For the record, half of my son’s gifts are from Dollarama (no, they didn’t pay me to endorse them, I’m just a big fan)

Tip 4 – New does not mean better. I just bought half of my daughter’s gifts from kijiji, craigs list and Facebook market (again, no endorsement). If the toys are in good condition then who gives a crap about the plastic package? This way, you’re saving yourself some $ and giving Mother Nature a hand!

Tip 5 – It doesn’t have to be fancy. My kids are getting books, markers and fun earmuffs as gifts. They’ll love it because it’s all about the delivery. I’m in my 30’s and I still love getting this stuff as gifts, but maybe that’s just me.

I hope these tips help ease your guilt and keep enough money in the bank to pay the bills at the end of the month.

Now for some examples of the aforementioned tips. (Disclaimer, I received all of these products as free samples, but you can bet your ass you’ll know if I didn’t like something about them.)

Books:

But I don’t Eat Ants is a super cute story for picky eaters and their parents. Not to spoil it, the lesson for parents goes back to tip #5: it’s all about the delivery! The final line of the book confused my kids a bit but  it was a fun story for all and every time I make tortellini they laugh hysterically yelling “TORTELLINITOTALLINI!”

Finding Gobi is one of the best feel good books for young kids that I’ve come across in a long while. The first time I heard the story Gobiwas on CBC and the publisher blindly reached out a couple of weeks later. I wanted to see if the story I heard on the news was accurately depicted in the book and how they were going to adapt it for young kids.  Much to my surprise it was really well written, succinct and colourful, which is key for young kids. They also sent over the novel version which I didn’t have a chance to read but my friend’s son, who’s 8, said it was a great book – why would he lie, right?

Home:

I was never a coffee drinker and figured it was dumb to get one of the single cup machines for tea since they always tasted so diluted, so I never bought any of the ones on the market. I have seen the light thanks to the Keurig that was sent to us. It has a new ‘strong’ brew option which actually allows tea to taste likcoffeee tea!  I also like that it doesn’t take up all that much counter space. The machine is also pretty tough, which I realized as I used pliers to pry the wrong K-Cup that I jammed in, out of the machine (don’t judge, I was running on 2hrs sleep!)

Random fun things:

Cozyphones are a super cute alternative to headphones, with the bonus of keeping your munchkins’ ears toasty. I’m hoping they come outcozyphones with a version that can be worn in summer since these are fleece. Regardless, the kids look freaking adorable in them and love wearing them around the apartment.

Sigma Beauty reached out and sent over a bunch of items from their new Creme De Couture line. I was pretty hesitant to include makeup in a gift guide since I reallymakeup don’t wear much unless I’m out for an event and because isn’t all makeup basically the same? Evidently not! According to my makeup-wearing friends quality varies drastically. So I figured I’d try a bit myself and share some with my mom (avid makeup wearer). I have to say I was shocked at how much I liked it! The colours are super vibrant and the Liquid Lipstick stays on the whole night (hubby can attest to that!). My next thought was that it must be super expensive since it’s pretty good quality but again I was pleasantly surprised! All in all, I really liked the products and I wear a bit more makeup these days. I hope these help in your last-minute shopping frenzy and I wish you good luck!!!

The Urban Daddy and Urban Twin Mommy would like to wish you all a very happy holiday season, filled with love and light. May the year ahead be filled with happiness, health and success (in whatever form that means to you!).

XOXO

 

 

Posted in boo, Canada, Daddy, family, Life, money, Parenting, sleep, The Urban Daddy, urbandaddyblog

What Do You Mean The Tooth Fairy Does Not Exist???


Has this already happened in your family?

All hell broke loose at The Urban Daddy household, and it all had to do with the “Tooth Fairy”.

Turns out that the Tooth Fairy somehow managed to write a letter to one of our children from my wife’s laptop…

Unbelievable.

Taker of teeth!  Giver of money!  Hacker!

This fact was discovered by our oldest hacker, er, child, Linus, who managed to keep that quiet from his younger brother and sister for the better part of a year.

This piece of information came to light as Stewie lost a tooth, and with the boys engaged in a brotherly game of “I’m smarter than you”.

Thankfully, it came at the exact right time because Stewie was none too excited about the prospects of some flying, tooth stealing, letter-writing fairy coming into his room at night and grabbing things out from under his pillow.

He could do without the money, heck, he could just continue to grab those funds from his brother or father’s stash, as we believe he’s been doing for a while now – although he does deny it.

Besides, in his mind, if that damn fairy can get into the house, so could the dreaded raccoons which live on the roof of our neighbours, or a robber, dinosaur or anything else…

Males sense, right.

So armed with this new information, we armed the alarm at night and let the cat out of the bag.

The Tooth Fairy, Santa, Easter Bunny, and the like are real…  Real to those who want to believe they exist and it’s not our place to tell that to others.

We all need to believe in something, right?

I still believe the Toronto Maple Leafs will one day win the Stanley Cup (but I no longer believe that will be done in my lifetime as I did when I was 8-years-old).

Oh, and it took Stewie less than 1/2 hour to tip his sister off on the truth, which we had to correct in part due to the fact that we told them not to tell a soul!

His little sister, however, finally is being regularly visited by the Tooth Fairy.  Two teeth thus far, and he’s kept that secret, OR, he’s convinced her to not tell us that he’s already told her the truth.  I suspect the latter.

How did the Tooth Fairy story go in your family?

Posted in Daddy, family, Parenting, urbandaddyblog

Should you pay your kids to do chores?


Such a great topic, and one in which I have spent a lot of time discussing with my wife over the years.  Last week, I was interviewed by the Globe and Mail on this very topic and the article can be found here:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/should-you-pay-your-kids-to-do-chores/article23076370/

Here is the article for you to read and comment.  I’m curious as to your thoughts as a parent who has tried this and found that it works, or failed, or if there a compromise which worked.

The article:

Final_wrk1+(2)

The phrase “the value of a dollar” is misleading. The truth is, there are so many values contained in a buck it’s hard to count them all. It’s these values we are trying to impart when we give kids an allowance – that money has to be earned, that not every desire can be instantly gratified, that it’s important to give to those in need. Perhaps the biggest point of contention is whether to pay kids to do chores. Dan Lieber argues against it in his new book, The Opposite of Spoiled. Parents don’t get paid for housework, so neither should children, according to Lieber. But a strong case can be made for the other side of the debate as well. We asked parents on each end of the debate to explain their allowance philosophy.

NOT TIED TO CHORES

Kids should do chores to help the household and learn to take care of themselves, not to pocket cash. “Let’s fast-forward to when your child goes to college. Is he going to want to be paid to take out the trash and keep his room neat?” says Kristan Leatherman, co-author of Millionaire Babies or Bankrupt Brats.

Lori McGrath, Vancouver-based blogger of The Write Mama

Kid’s age 6

Allowance $3 per week: $2 goes into his wallet, $1 goes into a piggy bank.

The lesson “I want him to learn how to be independent with money. I want him to feel empowered about it, and to learn how to make good decisions about money.”

Why it’s not tied to chores “He does have chores, but [the allowance] is just to teach him financial responsibility. We don’t want it to be an emotional thing – ‘You’re being a good boy, here’s money.’ We want it to teach him about making his own decisions and saving for things.”

Warren Orlans, Toronto-based tax consultant @ inTAXicating and blogger @UrbanDaddyBlog

Kids’ ages 10, 8, 5

Allowance $5, $4, $2 per week, respectively.

The lesson “The value of money. Money is not something you throw away, but it’s not the be-all, end-all. You can do without money. You don’t have to buy everything you see. But if you see something you want, you can save up and purchase it.”

Why it’s not tied to chores “The kids have to do chores as part of being members of the household. … I’m a big sports fan, and there’s nothing worse than having a player on your team who’s only in it for the contract.” But if Orlans has to clean up after the kids after two warnings, he makes them buy back the items, whether socks or comic books, from their allowance.

Denise Schipani Huntington, NewYork-based author

Kids’ ages 12 and 10

Allowance $12 and $10 per month, respectively.

The lesson “That money has worth. And it has consequences.”

Why it’s not tied to chores “The very idea of that turns me off completely. None of us [in the family] pay each other for doing what needs doing. But they get an allowance so that they can decide what they want to do with money. We presented it more as a way to help them understand how money works.”

TIED TO CHORES

Paying kids to do chores teaches them about working for what they want. “Having the feeling that the money comes from your effort appears to be related to the notion that money doesn’t grow on trees, and that you’re not entitled to any money,” says Lewis Mandell, an economist and financial literacy educator.

Tibetha Kemble, Edmonton-based consultant in First Nations relations

Kid’s age 6

Allowance $10 after a full slate of chores is completed, usually every two weeks.

The lesson “That there is a direct connection between doing work and getting something for it … and that things are expensive and if you save up your allowance you can afford to buy it – that it’s not just about immediate gratification.”

Why it’s tied to chores “It was really the only way that we could tie money to something without it seeming arbitrary or punitive or behaviour-related.”

Jen Kern, Toronto-based events and business development director

Kids’ ages 6, 3

Allowance No allowance for the three-year-old. Older son has a chore chart with various amounts (25 cents for making his bed, for example) with a weekly maximum of $7. His parents match whatever he saves.

The lesson “That money isn’t free … linking savings to that was really important. Neither my husband nor I were ever taught that, and as result we were really crappy with money for a lot of our late-teens, early 20s. We’re trying to explain to him that if he puts his money away, it will be there when he needs it. He’s saved $85 already.”

Why it’s tied to chores “There was going to be no free ride.”

 

Danielle Riddel, Calgary-based real estate assistant

Kid’s age 14

Allowance $70 per month ($10 has to go into savings)

The lesson “Nowadays I feel like kids get money all the time for everything. I want her to learn that you can’t have everything as soon as you want it. You have to work for it. You have to save for it.”

Why it’s tied to chores “She doesn’t get allowance for cleaning her room or taking care of the dog. She gets it for doing all the floors in the house and cleaning three bathrooms. I wanted her to have money because I want her to learn to spend and how to save money, but I didn’t want to just give it to her.”

Thoughts?

Comments?