Archive for December 2021

I was Determined not to Enjoy my Pay Increase

If you get a significant pay raise, what do you do with the extra money? Say you get a 10% raise or $5K, assuming that works out to $175-200 per pay.

Do you just spend it? Do you allocate to a category in your budget? Or do you pretend like you never got it and simply roll it over to your savings?

I don’t know about you and we are all different but I personally did a mix of 2 and 3: assigning some to existing categories in the budget (bills, charity) but the majority went to savings.

The idea is simple and this concept is not my creation by any means: I never had this money , so the idea is to shift it to something else , this way I am not getting used to it. Otherwise, if I started using it for leisure and entertainment, then force to shift it to saving, it will feel more like a pay cut than raise.

If you do put it towards saving, best to automate the process. If you have a saving program through your employer-or better yet one where your dollars are matched- that makes things easier. If not, sign up for a high saving program or an index fund ETF where the long term appreciation could be in the 5-10% range, depending on which one you choose.

Another idea would be to redirect it all to a new long term savings goal, such as saving for a new car, home renovation, a grand vacation plan. That is, the goal is for something that is 3-5 years out, allowing you enough time to build a good chunk. For example, if your 10th wedding anniversary is three years away, and you would like to take the family on a European tour that will cost over $10K, then the new pay raise can be fully shifted to that goal. Automate the process, forget about it and when it is time to book the vacation, the money will be waiting for you, with no need to dip into debt.

As long as your meets and wants are met, there is no reason to keep spending any new pay raise you get. It will almost be like a waste. Instead, save it and you will be happy you did when there is a bigger calling for it. Otherwise you will need to use a credit card and go into debt.

One small decision about what to do with your pay raise can mean huge difference for your future.

Creative and Life Shaping Holiday Gift Ideas for Kids in the Family

Are you struggling with gift ideas for that kid who has everything already, at least materially speaking? have you already bought every LEGO set out there? If you have more than a few kids in the family, be it your own, nieces, nephews or your friends’ kids etc, then chances are you have already bought all there is and it is now time to get them something different, something they will not only find interesting and stimulating, but will be like a gift that keeps on giving for years to come. The idea is to give them something that inspires, promotes creativity and learning, while also giving them something fun to play with. The idea is not to bore the kid to death with something they will neither enjoy or have any clue what it even is. Here are some ideas for you to consider and make your Christmas shipping a bit more stress-free this year:


Let us start with the easiest one: gift card to a book store or other stores where they can buy something other than toys. My preference would be for a book store to get them started or more interested in reading.

Cash rewards are the next obvious choice, where you can either give cash in an envelope, write a check, or even inquire about making a cash gift towards a kids’ existing education savings account (RESP in Canada, or 529 Plan in the U.S) . In fact, we strongly encourage the latter, since it will help with their education, while allowing it to compound in the process.

Want to stay with the theme of financial rewards while making it more fun? how about a see-through piggy bank, where you get them started by putting couple of bills and coins and gifting it to them with a head-start. You can make it fun and label it with the year you gift it to them (2021-???) and let them and the parent (if they are not your own kids) have a time saving goal in mind. In fact, you can go an extra step and promise to contribute to this bank every year for Christmas or their birthday. Giving them a clear (see-through) type of piggy jar will make things more and motivate them more as they see the money pile up. This as long as they are not short on patience and decide to open it the next time they want to buy something that their parents will not pay for!

And last, and this is more suitable for your immediate kids and family, you can even consider purchasing stocks on their behalf (since there is an age restriction on who can open an investment account and own stocks) . The idea is that they are young and the power of compounding will be put to maximum efficiency. If you give them even one stock of a reputable blue chip stock a year, from the time they are 1 through 12, these could compound tremendously and be worth a lot more by the time they turn 18.


Most of the toys below, if not all, require no charging, batteries or involve much in the way of electronics. We already have enough of these in our lives with all the iPads, tablets etc., and the idea here is to be different. Another common theme below is the commonality of STEM-based functionality of these toys. The earlier you start engaging them with math, science and creativity, the better for their academic growth

Let us start with the easiest gift you can give them, one that won’t cost a lot either: a globe. This will help them learn about geography, explore new places, and make connections between places and other landmarks.

You can’t go wrong with a telescope either: depending on their age, you can start them with a basic one ($40-50) or go a bit more advanced where they can see things more clearly, thus stimulating their astronomical curiosity and interest. A future astronaut’s first steps towards that future is having a simple telescope.

Jigsaw Puzzles (250-500 pieces) is another great option, where it can not only be a fun group activity, it can also help with visual-spatial reasoning, as well as focus and concentration. Speaking of the latter, in our hyper-distracted lives today, anything that can teach a kid focus and concentration is a great thing!

Wooden building blocks may overlap with LEGO sets, but these can be different in that they are bigger and can make larger shapes, buildings and other ideas that mimic how an engineer or an architect would think

Finally, another favourite of ours are Magna-Tiles construction toy system. The pieces are plastic tiles of varying shapes that snap together magnetically, allowing users to build various geometric structures. Given their different shapes and the many ways you can piece them together, they are great for stimulating creativity and allowing the kids to approach an idea from different angles (how many ways can you build something?)


While a child may be more thrilled with a toy, the luxury and enjoyment can only last for so long. With experiences on the other hand, it could give them a lifelong lesson and experience, or something they will remember and cherish for a long time. Here are some ideas to consider

Purchase them a pass to a program or camp such as coding classes, sports etc. For example, Code Ninjas is a popular kids coding business, where you start kids early with coding and programming, in a fun and class environment. Alternatively, you can buy them a pass to a camp or other sports programs. Karate, Soccer, Swimming and Volleyball are some of the most popular ones, but you can always check with the parents or he kids themselves on what they like. Check your local community centre for upcoming programs and activities.

Or make them feel responsible and empowered, by buying a gift card to their local grocery store, where they can take the parents for grocery shopping and pay for it themselves, giving them a huge lesson about money, accountability and being responsible and caring for others.

Last, if the kid has more altruistic nature and intentions, enable them to donate to charity or help in some other ways. Again, the experience and the lesson will be lifelong and extremely beneficial for their character-building.

At the end of the day, it may take time to find the perfect gift, or at least one that you know will put a smile on a kid’s face, but more importantly, keep in mind the long term implications for what it will mean for them. You want to strike a balance between the kid being happy with their gift in the immediate, while getting tremendous value in the long term, in terms of growth, learning and life lessons. And remember, these ideas can come in handy for a kid’s birthday as well.

My Daily Walks Make me Healthy, but even more Wealthy

During the first few weeks of Covid19 lockdowns, our GYM shut down and it never came back. It simply went out of business.

Since then, and even before I realized our GYM wouldn’t be come back, I started walking and hiking and made it into a daily habit. In fact, I am currently on a 500+ days walking streak according to my Apple Watch, going all the way back to the start of summer 2020.

But my walks have become more than just about a daily health habit. They are much more. In fact, health is just one of the many by-products. They have become my personal Swiss Army Knife for personal, health and wealth growth.

First off, I wear my Apple Watch which helps me keep track of steps, mileage covered, steps and more. As they say, what you measure, you improve.

Next, while walking , I like to listen to my favourite podcast shows, from a variety of topics, including self-help, personal growth, finance, current events, health and more. Although I was into podcasts long before the pandemic had started, since then, I have become addicted to them, virtually replacing my radio and music listening time. And I am so glad I did, as I have gotten tremendous value from them, learning about so many different topics, and getting a lot of motivation and insights on the way.

I also like to spice things up at times and listen to music, depending on the mood, weather and other factors.

And last, I like to use my walking time to do quick reads and research on the latest stocks and finance news, researching my next buy, catching up on my portfolio and more. Think ‘Wealth Walk.’

It is a health walk that is jam packed with learning, productivity and more. In fact, I get so much out of these walks, I literally look forward to them, knowing how productive they are and how many things I get done at once (learning, productivity, wealth and health)