Financial Priorities

A family budget can help you control your expenses, but many people are uncomfortable with the concept or worried that they won’t stick to a budget long enough for it to become a habit. It takes some planning, but the U.S. News & World Report website has some advice:

• Bring everyone together. You should all be on the same page. If not, have an honest discussion about your individual and joint goals. Do so regularly.

• Establish a consistent way to track income and expenses. This is a crucial first step. Figure out how much money you bring in every month and what bills you have to pay. This helps you set priorities.

Evaluate your spending. Look at everything you all spend your money on— bills, food, entertainment and everything else. Look for areas where you can keep expenses down.

• Build your savings. Set aside a certain amount of money every month to put into savings. It doesn’t have to be a lot. In time, even a modest monthly sum can grow into something substantial, so look at the long term.

• Reduce debt. Don’t carry a balance on your credit cards. Pay down any other loans as fast as you reasonably can. The less debt you have, the more breathing room you have for the future.

Provide the Best

When asked what’s “extremely important” for a father to provide, a recent telephone survey of 1,004 American adults resulted in far more than financial support.

According to a Pew Research Center report:
• 58% mentioned values and morals.
• 52% said emotional support.
• 47% included discipline.
• 41% mentioned income.

The results follow a similar trend for mothers, with “values and morals” at the top and “income” coming in last.

Canadian Employment (Sept) – October, 2019

Canadian employment increased in September by 54,000 jobs, driven by Ontario (41,000). This brought the unemployment rate down from 5.7% in the previous month to 5.5% in September. Leading the increase in September was full-time employment, while part-time fell. Most of the increase was reported in healthcare, and accommodation and food services.

Employment in BC fell by 8,400 jobs in September. This marks the fourth consecutive monthly decline, driven by a decline in part-time employment (-17,200), while full-time employment rose (+8,800). By Industry, the most significant employment losses were in information/culture/recreation. The provincial unemployment rate fell by 0.2 percentage points to 4.8%. Compared to one year ago, employment in BC is up by 1% (33,400 jobs).

Stats Centre September 2019 for Housing in Great Vancouver

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Canadian Housing Starts (Sept) – October, 2019

Canadian housing starts decreased by 2.5% in September to 221,202 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) due to a pullback in singles. The trend in Canadian housing starts was up, averaging 223,507 units SAAR over the past six months, continuing a healthy trend.

In BC, housing starts rebounded partially, increasing by 13% on a monthly basis to 39,553 units SAAR after falling by 29% in the previous month. This largely reflected developers pushing forward activity in the previous months to get ahead of a new development charge in Vancouver. Compared to the same time last year, provincial starts were up by 54%. On a monthly basis, starts of multi-units were up by 19%, while singles were down by 7%.

Looking at census metropolitan areas in BC:

Housing starts in Vancouver were up by 26% in September at 25,020 units SAAR, following a 38% decrease in the previous month. The increase was entirely in the multi-unit segment. Compared to last year in September, housing starts in Vancouver were up by 74%.

In Victoria, housing starts were up by 263% on a monthly basis to 6,010 units SAAR. This is the highest level reported since December 2018. Compared to a year ago, housing starts were up by 95%.

In Kelowna, housing starts decreased by 74% in September to 1,527 units SAAR, following very high levels reported in the previous month. Year-over-year starts were up by 100% in the region.

Monthly housing starts in Abbotsford-Mission were up by 84% at 2,070 units SAAR. Compared to this time last year, new home construction was up by 405% due to strong multi-unit starts.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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Fur, Feathers and Fun

Did you know that October 4th is World Animal Day? There are a multitude of animal awareness and educational events happening all over the world, but here are a few ideas for a local celebration with the children in your life… none of which require so much as a passport.

Organize a pet party for younger children: Have them bring a favorite soft toy animal and make or draw a bowl of “food” for the guests. Stock up in advance with plenty of drawing materials, fabric scraps, etc. Get the children to think carefully about their guests’ seating arrangements – would it be fair to seat a cat next to a mouse, for example, or a tiger next to a rabbit? How might they entertain their guests?

Create fantasy pets out of junk model materials. Allow the children to be as fanciful as they wish, for example, an animal with ears like a rabbit, a face like a fish and the body of a horse. Get them to think of a name for their animal. What would it eat? Where would it live? How would they care for it?

Spend an afternoon on animal-related games that are fun for all ages. For example, label each child’s back with an animal name, then challenge them to guess what kind of animal they are by asking the others questions. “Do I eat grass? Can I fly? Do I have four legs?”

Give athletic kids a fun twist on practice by adding an animal slant to drills. For example, ball drills could become “sharks and minnows”, swimmers can play “snake in the water”, etc.

Engage older children: Guide teens through organizing a fundraising event for a local animal shelter or favorite animal charity, such as planning a local, sponsored dog walk.

Canadian Monthly Real GDP (July) – October, 2019

Growth in the Canadian economy was flat in July, following fourth months of growth. The goods producing industries reported a decline (-0.7%), led by mining, quarrying, and oil and gas. This was exacerbated by a facility shutdown in Newfoundland and Labrador. In contrast, the service-producers reported a gain (0.3%), leading the way was wholesale trade, professional services and real estate.

We expect growth in the Canadian economy will moderate to between 1.5 and 2 per cent  in the second half of 2019 after posting strong second quarter growth and will post trend growth of about 1.8 per cent in 2020. Significant downside risks remain due to elevated trade tensions and their consequent impact on exports and business investment.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.


The Power Of Technology

There is an old business adage that whatever you put into your work will be echoed in three months’ time. For instance, this week, you’re probably enjoying some benefits from the work that you put forth back in early July. That also means the work that you’re doing right now is going to come back and benefit you just about right when the new year is upon us.

The time that you put into crafting your business takes focus and a growth mindset. It can seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get work done before sliding into the holiday bustle that starts in October. One thing that I find very helpful at this time of year is to utilize my interest in technology to organize my days and continue to grow my business while maintaining my connection with the people who matter more to me than anything else in this world.

Consider this: you can take the time to write out multiple shopping lists for several meals, or you can use a shopping app that consolidates ingredients and spend more time crafting that special dinner to share with friends. To take that a step further, think of how you envision personal success and ask yourself what could be automated or better organized in your life. With the myriad of apps and technological helpers that are out on the market these days, there is bound to be a tool that would help you bring that vision to life.

This October, dedicate yourself to putting new practices in place so that the work you put in right now pays off, whether that looks like setting up a calendar that allows you more time to spend with family, a daily workout routine that brings you satisfaction, a commitment to learning a new skill online, or whatever else you decide to achieve. By the time the new year rolls around, you will have already put in hard work establishing new routines to feed your personal and professional life.

Where will you begin?

A Freshly Brewed Idea

Before Facebook Live videos, Skype and videoconferencing, there was sometimes an empty coffee pot outside a computer lab at Cambridge University. Because necessity is the mother of invention, that empty pot led to the creation of what we know as the webcam.

In 1991, computer scientists at Cambridge found a way to connect a camera to a computer and transmit images across their lab’s network. They decided to focus the camera on the coffee pot in the break area because most of them had felt the sting of disappointment that occurs each time you enter a break room only to find the pot empty.

The camera was dismantled in August 2001. By then, we were already sharing images and video online. We’re guessing there was also a strong coffee culture in place at Cambridge, and that coffee pots were never left empty for long.