Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sick Babies, Vacuums and Microwaves

Sick babies, vacuums and microwaves. What do they all have in common? Hard to guess for most, but for me they are a flurry of things that went sideways in my house last week. It brings to mind the old adage trouble comes in threes. Our challenges were small this month but what about months when you're hit with bigger and longer lasting bumps in your path? The ones that go from speed bumps to small mountains.

Deepak Chopra wrote that America's safety net is unraveling to the point where an illness can wipe-out a middle class family.

In Canada (and Japan) we have relatively good health care systems, especially when compared to elsewhere in the world. Last week our son Ronan had a cold that went to his chest (bronchitis) and had to spend the night in hospital getting an I.V. That was worrying to say the least. We are fortunate to be able to move our schedules around to look after our little guy.

It makes you consider weaving the safety net even finer and stronger to protect yourself more. That may mean increased flexibility around your job or in your business or greater control over your finances; magnifying the point that creating a wall of financial security around your family is paramount.

The microwave and vacuum? They blew up the same day and were easily replaced.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Alberta Cities North American Top Economies

Regardless of what is happening in the short term Alberta, specifically Edmonton and Calgary are the best places to keep your money for long-term returns.

"Cowtown is Wowtown but Edmonton isn't far behind, says a report released yesterday that gave Calgary a top-of-the-class grade on a global scorecard for overall economic prosperity.

Calgary was the lone metropolis in a survey of international commerce heavyweights to earn an A grade in the Calgary Economic Development-commissioned Conference Board of Canada report.

Edmonton was third. Dallas was sandwiched at second between Alberta's two major centres in the 23-city ranking.

Such results aren't surprising for Calgary, which accounts for 5% of national gross domestic product, despite a local economy cooled by the recession, said Cowtown Mayor Dave Bronconnier."

Read More

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sick Babies

Nothing like a sick baby to throw a wrench into things! New babies get sick a lot and mine is working hard at building up his immunity by collecting almost every virus known to man.

I know it will make him stronger and in fact most children get 7 t0 8 colds in the first year. I wonder how he knows which ones I haven't had so that I can partake in the fun too?

Anyway what doesn`t kill us and all that.

The one thing I've learned from all this is every cold can turn serious in a baby and you should ALWAYS take the baby to the doctor at the first hint of a sniffle - better safe then sorry.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Jeff Rubin On Canada's Future

From Globe and Mail

"Jeff Rubin, former chief economist at CIBC World Markets Inc., took your questions at Wednesday at 12:15 p.m.

Mr. Rubin built his reputation on a number of successful predictions, including one in 2000 that oil prices would hit $50 (U.S.) a barrel within five years and correctly calling the residential real estate market bust in the early 1990s. He was named Canada's top economist a number of times.

Mr. Rubin recently forecast that the price of oil will reach $225 a barrel by 2012, and his book, called Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller, is about how oil scarcity will lead to the end of globalization.

"It's a book about the way the world is about to change. We've all got our eyes right now on the global financial meltdown, but I believe that oil scarcity will change the global economy even more profoundly and, in the process, change all of our lives - from where we work to where we live to what we eat," Mr. Rubin says"

Monday, May 18, 2009

Edmonton Continues to Rock

With the the hint of warmer weather and a couple of dead cat bounces, market sentiment seems up. I'd say that for Edmonton real estate it is a combination of the increasingly lower prime rates; soon banks will be stuffing dollars into our pockets. And the cyclical
lift that spring/summer bring to home listings and sales.

Folks that have been waiting to buy are now cautiously dipping a toe or two testing the waters. Is it a good time to buy? Yes, of course it is - whenever you buy for cashflow in a fundamentally strong area, it is a good thing.

Did you know that CMHC has even backed mortgages for commercial multi-family apartment buildings for as low as 3.45% for a 35 year amortization?


It's great to see so many people taking action and adding additional properties to their portfolios. What an excellent time to build up cash flow and put another brick into the financial fortress.

“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” -Jim Rohn

Sunday, May 17, 2009

This is scary stuff!

Have you ever left your house and miles away wondered if you locked the door? Well apparently it doesn't matter if you did or not because thieves and miscreants can now open almost any door with a technique called bumping.

First watch what it is:

There are special lock sprays and bump-proof locks you can buy. The above video also mentioned two lock brands that are bump-proof.

Here is one cost efficient way to stop bumping. I've never used this product so I can't advocate it but the video is very informative:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

This And That

Local bankers see thaw in economy Alberta the place to be to 'ride out' recession - "I'd rather be here in Alberta than anywhere else in the world right now to ride out this recession," said Garth Warner, chief executive of Servus Credit Union

Alberta's jobless rate highest since 2002 - "Alberta gained 5,700 jobs in April but its unemployment rate still inched up to six per cent, according to figures released Friday by Statistics Canada. It’s the highest provincial rate since 2002.

The increase in unemployment from 5.8 per cent in March despite job growth was attributed to the labour force growing by 9,400 people."

He said much of Alberta's problem is that its residents see the bad news and cut back on spending.

"The key message is that we are in a great place, the economy is strong and the banking industry in Alberta is supporting the economy here."

Canada Real Estate Forecast - "The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) recently released its predictions for 2009-2010, and it expects Multiple Listing Service (MLS) sales to decline in 2009 before rebounding in 2010."

Green economy could create thousands of new jobs in Alberta: report - "We're starting to realize that in the long run, a healthy environment is essential for a healthy economy and that the economy can be put to work to improve the health of the environment."

A move toward creating more environmentally sustainable energy sources could provide jobs for electricians, computer and electrical engineers, iron and steel workers, welders, construction workers and sheet metal workers, the report says."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Is a little knowledge dangerous?

My husband forwarded House Miners to me today. The information from three simple drop down menus is analyzed to help you decide whether or not to sell or buy a house now.

The parameters are:
1. Where is it? - Country, Province/State, City
2. I'm thinking about -buying or selling
3. How much is....?- the house price and if applicable the monthly rent
4. Hit Analyze and you're done.

After "careful" analysis the site will advise you whether to sell or buy.

Is it really that easy? Do people honestly make large financial decisions based on a website that couldn't possibly have even the slightest idea of well... anything?

Perhaps I'll call the psychic line and ask if I should get a divorce or maybe I'll throw the dice and have that many children.

I think you get the point.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Yes, speculating is dangerous.

If you stood in line for hours two years ago hoping to pick up a pre-build condo when Alberta prices were going up - I hope this article isn't about you.

Builders are suing buyers who backed out of a condominium development in Leduc. Now that prices are softer and the condo sale price has lost value, going from $400,000 to $355,000, buyers want out.

Buyers put down $20,000 and are being sued for $75,000 - it's probably the most expensive line-up they've ever been in.

There are two kinds of investing, the first based on economic fundamentals and the other based on speculating. Of course you can turn a profit both ways but speculating will always be more dangerous. If these people are buying a home then the value is not so much in the price but the function it provides.

"Maybe I walked into this a little too fast, but they should have been looking after me," said one buyer. "I'm still interested in the place, but I want a fair deal."

It's your own job to look after yourself, investing is about responsibility and taking hard knocks when they come. How could they look after you? Fixing the market? No one ever complains when the make a profit.

Read Article here

Small Business Newz - Disaster Plan

What do you do when a natural disaster strikes your community? How will it affect your business?
Payroll, separate operating locations and client contact information are a few of the preparations you must consider.

"A survey from Office Depot last year found that 40% of small businesses in the US were unprepared for disaster. Hopefully that number has gone down since then. " (I know we're Canadian)

Chris Crum at Small Business Newz has put together an excellent Disaster Plan checklist for small businesses. Take a look.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Edmonton Mayor Mandel Sees Sunny Side

Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel sees the sunny side of the "bust". He's not being a Pollyanna rather a realist who realizes the area as the economic powerhouse that it is.

Below are Mayor Mandel's quotes from an exclusive interview with Metro

“(Edmonton was) so overpriced that it was ridiculous,”

“What we need to do now is to retrench and plan for what we are going to do in the future.”

“(We) need to put in place a kind of infrastructure planning so we don’t face the huge growth, the huge pressure on our economic growth that has happened here over the last three or four years,” said Mandel.

“We rivaled the growth in China within the last few years an we will continue to do that when things settle down a bit (with the markets).

“Our economy in Edmonton will way surpass any other place in the country.”

And that, folks, is why I invest in Edmonton!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Stable conditions for the long term

Edmonton real estate market expected to be steady in 2009 -"Buyer reluctance will continue through the first part of the year, but confidence will return in the latter part of the year and sales will pick up," Charlie Ponde with the Realtors Association of Edmonton

To read more:
RBC Housing Market Outlook 2009 Glenn Simon Inc
RBC Provincial Forecast 2009
Glenn Simon Inc
Alberta's Growing Workforce
Glenn Simon Inc

Edmonton's exceptional economy, industrial expansion and business confidence creates a climate that promotes long-term investments such as property. The conditions that are helping to fuel unrelenting demand for housing, pushing building permit values, housing starts and resale prices to record levels. National and global economists agree that the long term forecast for economic growth will continue well into the next decade.
Alberta Profile - Scotia Bank of Canada

Friday, May 08, 2009

About Alberta

This is from the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation About Alberta page. Great info!

Alberta, number one in Canada

  • Alberta was named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Princess Louise was the wife of the Marquess of Lorne, the Governor General of Canada from 1878 to 1883.
  • The total population of Alberta is approximately 3.62 million as of January 2009.
  • Alberta is in the west of Canada, next to westernmost British Columbia, the coastal province on the Pacific. Alberta’s border to the west, with B.C., is mostly formed by the Rocky Mountains. To the north, Alberta borders the Northwest Territories, to the east the province of Saskatchewan, and to the south the American state of Montana.
  • Alberta is the fourth largest province in Canada. It is similar in size to Texas, three times the size of Great Britain or equal to the combined areas of France, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands.
  • The province has a diversity of natural terrain—parklands, grasslands, primordial badlands, vast tracts of wildlands, boreal forests and plains, ancient glaciers, thousands of lakes and rivers, and mountain ranges that run the length of North and South America.
  • More than 12 per cent of Alberta’s total land area is protected in 500 provincial parks, five national parks, and four national wildlife areas. Five of Canada’s 14 UNESCO World Heritage Sites are in Alberta, including Jasper National Park, 370 km from Edmonton.
  • Alberta is home to a pair of the world’s most magnificent skiing areas, in Banff and Jasper National Parks in the Rocky Mountains. Much of northern Alberta is boreal forests, which offer great cross-country skiing and wildlife viewing.
  • Alberta offers the lowest income tax rates in Canada and some of the lowest in North America.
  • Canada’s economic driver, Alberta has consistently led in annual rates of growth and job creation. While natural resources, particularly petroleum products, were long the base of Alberta’s economic success, the province’s economy today is diverse and sophisticated.
  • Alberta is the world’s second-largest exporter of natural gas.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Terminate California's Fuel Standard?

"Federal and Alberta officials were lobbying hard last week against the specter of California - with a population larger than all of Canada's - shutting its doors to Alberta crude, dubbed "dirty oil" by environmentalists."

Perhaps "The Terminator" feels like a fight and prefers the blood soaked oil of the Middle East?

The irony is California doesn't even buy oil sands oil! Way to go Arnold! It's a lot of chest banging especially if importing oil won't affect your state but gets you pats on the back for being green. That's what politics is I guess. Anyway maybe now that he wants to legalize marijuana Californians will be to high to notice.

"Certainly California is an attractive market, but California on its own not purchasing oilsands oil, that simply means ... oilsands oil can feed the demand in other states, said University of Alberta professor Andrew Leach."

Don't get me wrong I really respect Mr. Schwarzenegger. I even read his biography.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Is that a glimmer of hope?

It seems as though everyone is seeing them nowadays. Glimmers of hope caught here and there in the news. Obama saw one and now the heads of three major Edmonton-based financial institutions are seeing them too. Is it something in the water?

Low interest rates and a slight loosening on mortgages both stimulate the real estate market and help more and more people get into a property.

"I'd rather be here in Alberta than anywhere else in the world right now to ride out this recession," Garth Warner, chief executive of Servus Credit Union

CREA also got into the happy hour with predictions of a slump in sales but then increases across Canada by 2010.

Edmonton felt the slowdown first so it will be the first area to get out of it. Meanwhile I'm buying properties at soft prices with $300 per month positive cashflow.

Seems like the time to buy.