Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Another Potential Win for Canadian Investors

Was happy to notice a wee blurb in Monday May 2 ,2016's Globe and Mail
entitled "The investment industry's growing unrest over hidden fees" by Clare O'Hara.( section B--pages 1 and 7)

There is more hope on the horizon for those Canucks who still insist on purchasing mutual funds. The
"hidden" commissions that "financial advisors" earn for the period of time that a consumer holds units of a certain mutual fund will, Clare asserts, in the near future become more restricted, AND/OR much more transparent.

After all, why should there be so much murkiness in the "investment product" industry?
Since when are investments now known as mere "products "??

Since when are "investors" merely treated as "financial product" consumers?

It used to be....or at least it "felt" more that way when I was young, that investments were something
that held "unlimited " potential. The mystery and the myriad of ways in which a potential financial investment could grow or morph or produce multiple income streams was a beautiful and alluring "unknown".

Now it seems that banks and financial investment companies are determined to
"capture and control" every single aspect of an "investment". No more surprises....only more legaleze, and more ways for the investment industry to make money off the backs of hard working and naive "investors".....They don't even call us "investors" any more. We are merely "consumers" who are being sold "products".

By the way, we prefer to be called "investors"....no matter what the amount we are able or willing to "invest".

Anyway, pardon the rant..... This post is intended to be positive.
If even the investment industry is ready and willing to admit that there needs to be changes that "help" individual investors, then we are indeed poised for greater gain.

Tony Robbins,through his book  "Money, Master the Game" , exposed much of the murkiness in the USA's mutual fund industry and explained how so many many fees and hidden costs are bound up in the American mutual fund industry. The fees and extra charges are so complex, hard to find, and so "murky" that few, if any, invididual investors even know how much in fees that their investments are actually costing them at the end of their investing life. Those hidden fund fees and charges can eat up the majority of any potential profit that an individual investor may earn over their lifetime by holding mutual fund units."Mutual Fund Buyers beware"......was Tony's timely advice.

Yes, Tony's book was written for the States. But maybe Canada listened in on the conversation and has begun to take some preventative measures.
If Canada's mutual fund industry is willing to play a little more fair and transparently, then maybe, just maybe, you won't have to run and hide from mutual funds any more and stop picking stocks for yourself. Maybe.... just maybe.. maple syrup toting DIY investors might start trusting the advice of the "professionals" again.

Clare's article sheds a few good Canadian rays of light on the matter.
Happy investing, friends,
May you live long and prosper.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Learning Without Mastery

 On several occasions I have blogged about Tony Robbins and Napoleon Hill's thoughts on success and mastery. But what I wanted to discuss today is that there is validity to all learning and all knowledge even if we never reach that point of mastery.

For example, I may never become a "master chef" .....but that doesn't mean that my attempts to learn how to cook new dishes is wasted. I am learning...but mastery is not necessarily my goal.

You may enjoy knitting or crochet or some other crafty hobby, but  it is valuable because of your enjoyment of it, not necessarily because you must press towards mastery.

There has been a rather all encompassing flow of social pressure towards "mastery" in all areas of life.
But must we always put so much pressure on ourselves to perform and become obsessed with perfection?
Athletic activities are still valid even when they never progress beyond amateur status.

But I want to ask you, my beloved readers, isn't it still wonderful and well worth your time, to continue to learn even when mastery is not your goal?

It is still wonderful to master one simple piece of piano music rather than forcing oneself to master an entire collection. It is wonderful to memorize one verse of scripture, even if that is the only one that you commit to memory in your lifetime.

I suppose that what I am speaking of is simply doing things out of the joy of life and out of a personal interest or respect for a certain subject matter.

My endorsement remains towards "life long independent learning" however, I still encourage learning and the gathering of knowledge....... no matter what the result is.....even if the student stays at a "beginner" stage for many years, or even forever. There does not need to be "performance orientation" in everything we do.
The term "performance orientation" was thoroughly explained and researched by the Christian author team of John and Paula Sandford. To develop a better understanding of their teachings, I would highly recommend anyone to gather up as many books that they have written as possible. It may take the expenditure of  many valuable hours  to ponder and grasp their writings, but I promise that it will be well worth it.

Doing certain activities are valid and legitimate in their own right. I am not talking about laying down your list of goals. I am talking about encouraging you in your personal path of growth and knowledge gathering, even when you are not heading for mastery. To continue to increase your knowledge base, in any measure.... is a beautiful path. But sometimes, in our obsession with performance and "measuring" our achievements, we mistakenly invalidate our modest efforts.

So, in conclusion, I wish you all, my readers a blessing on all your learning, both your grand exploits and achievements, as well as our most meek and modest interests.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Let the Woman Think

Despite opinions to the contrary....businesses are led by thought.

Thinking must be respected as a legit activity.

If you have an attitude toward "thinking" as a lazy man or woman's escape, then you've missed the boat.....completely.

I see great beauty in that Rodin sculpture called "The Thinker"

I see that often men are given more space for "think time" than women are.
 How often do you see and value a woman who appears to be lost in thought. Do you respect the steam pouring forth from her ears, or do you judge her as a day dreamer?

It was Napoleon Hill, in some of his books in which he teaches principles of success, that Hill describes
the thinking process for business leaders as "setting for ideas".
So what exactly is "setting for ideas" ? It is simply sitting and being alone in a room or in some other quiet and isolated location where you allow a creative thought process to occur.

It was also Napoleon Hill who respected the activity of "thinking" so much that he connected a relationship with God with the thinking process. He seemed to believe that it is God who helps us hatch good ideas, and that all great ideas come directly from His Divine Intelligence.

What do you think? Do you put value in your own "think time"?

Please don't allow a "blue collar" mindset to dictate the false propaganda which shouts "Ya gotta be DOING something with your hands or body actively in order to be rewarded for "work". Often blue collar management have been so indoctrinated into boosting "production"  in a factory mindset, that they fail to put any value at all in intellectual or mental pursuits of any kind. How many precious minds have been completely destroyed in modern North American factories, by bosses and supervisors whose only focus was on what they could see and touch and count? Thoughts can not be immediately seen or touched or counted, and therefore, it is only those with faith in the value of "thought" that can encourage respect for any decent amount of time to spend in creative or problem solving thought.

The truth, in my humble opinion, is that the best problem solvers and inventors and business people are those who value THOUGHT, as a very precious treasure. ...... A treasure so valuable, that they create special places in their homes and cottages and lifestyle to incorporate their fave places they have set aside for thinking.

Thinking time is a blessed time.

Peaceful productivity,

Blogger Vs. Word Press Blogs

Well, folkies, I am contemplating creating a Wordpress blog.
There seems to be a huge following for Word Press, whereas Blogger seems to be a much smaller community.
Do you have a preference? Could you see yourself prefering to visit a Word press site rather than a blogger site?
Do you find that Word Press is created more for professional business users than regular bloggers?

I'm looking forward to your comments in the section below.

Peaceful productivity,

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

String Theory

There are times when I jump head first into immersing myself in subjects waaaay beyond my comfort zone.
And so, I've been delving into some online classes having to do with Physics. I have never taken a "real" physics class in my life, so these efforts deserve a pat on my back don't ya think?

Well, one of the classes I've been listening to is searchable on Google with the following search term:
"String Theory for the Scientifically Curious with Dr. Amanda Peet".
I was heartened to hear that she is a professor at one of my old schools, the University of Toronto.

Anyway, in case you are interested in just a tidbit of what I have gleaned so far from her talks....permit me to share just a few notes I jotted......

Particles can be described like marbles or like waves. Dr. Peet coined  a new funky term called "waveicles" which is  combination of the two descriptions. Particles can be round-ish and still have "wave-like" characteristics. And then there is "string theory" which describes particles as shaped like rounded strings or even wavy tube like "things".

Part of my self led educational journey has to do with increasing my vocabulary.....so here are some of the terms that I am attempting to add to my grey matter:
fermions and bosons
quarks and leptons
gravitons ( have not yet been actually seen)
W's or Z's
black holes


According to Dr. Peet there are four essential forces in the universe. The strongest force is known as
the "Strong Nuclear Force" and the weakest is "Gravity". The other two forces are
"Electro-magnetisim" and what is called "Weak nuclear Force" and their strength is somewhere in the middle, neither the strongest.....nor the weakest.

Atoms or subatomic particles are described in three ways:

by Mass, which is another word for weight
by Spin, ( does that mean how they turn?)
by Charge (whether negative or positive)

Another interesting bit is that photons,which are "light" have no mass.....meaning that they are weightless. Kinda cool.

Well that's all for now.
May God's Spirit lead your learning.

Peaceful Productivity,

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

When Your Words Matter

Are you a carnivore for great blogs? great reading in general?
There is a space for your words.

This is "the age for the common man" and the internet has made it so.

Quirky individuals can make a living from telling their own story.....with finesse and regularity....hence the inspiring success of folks like Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin et al.

But back to my thought for you today, my tribe, my gang of readers.....

If you are one of those people who simply must write something on a regular basis for the public, perhaps it's time for you to consider going professional....sort of.

At least you can start carving out some space for your voice via a handful or even just one of the following platforms.

Some of them are free and some cost money......and some may result in you earning some coinage:

Blogger blogs    https://support.google.com/blogger/answer/1623800?hl=en

Word Press blogs or website https://wordpress.com

Seth Godin likes typepad:  http://www.typepad.com

Or you could simply start self publishing some of your own homespun wee books of wisdom
via websites such as Smashwords :https://www.smashwords.com

or Lulu.com  :https://www.lulu.com

Or Kindle Direct Publishing:  https://kdp.amazon.com

Make your mark, my brothers and sisters. Why write for free for hours on Facebook, when you can get paid for your brilliance, just by packaging your words ?

Peaceful productivity,

Saturday, March 19, 2016

To Tell Your Own Story

What is it that motivate epic bloggers like Seth Godin or Tim Ferriss???

I believe it is that they have seized that brilliant joy that can be discovered from refusing to repeat everyone else's story.....and actually tell your own.

Yes, it's risky.....downright scary and occasionally embarrassing to be authentic and say something original and creative. But oh sooooo very cool.

Have you done anything original today???