Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Interview with Canadian Financial Stuff

Welcome back everyone from our commercial break (aka: the links to your right). Our next interview is with the Big Cajun Man of Canadian Financial Stuff. His posts are often packed full of humor and entertaining rants and I recently had a chat with him.

CD: In the personal finance blog world, you've been called quirky, interesting or down right eccentric. What do you see yourself as adding to the blog sphere?

BCM: Humor, a different point of view, and a small 'c' conservative point of view. I am not trying to tell anyone how to live, and they should really not be following my advice as "gospel" more as a guide towards what has worked and NOT worked for someone. That is the best way to view the blog sphere, as a giant water cooler where folks come and tell you stories and give you FREE advice, and you then go back, think about it, and decide whether you think it is something that makes sense to you or not.

CD: A giant water cooler that’s a good way of putting it. So what do you love about blogging?

BCM: Writing. I am not a very good writer, but I am not a bad storyteller, and I just enjoy telling stories, and vomiting my point of view on anyone who cares to read about it. Sometimes it feels like I can see the people I am talking to, and a lot of times, I am mostly looking in the mirror trying to tell myself what to do about things, that is why it is pretty easy to write, but really hard to read.

CD: Storytelling can be a lot of fun, but also a lot of work, so how many hours a week do you spend blogging?

BCM: About 7 hours a week or so (an hour a day or so). Sometimes I get ahead of myself, and will have a few topics already queued up, but usually it is a spur of the moment decision of what I am going to babble about that day. I have a family blog as well, which I tend to update at the same time.

CD: Seven hours a week isn’t that bad, but do you find the entire work/home/blog balance difficult to keep?

BCM: Right now, it's not very hard, but my wife sometimes ask why I keep doing the blog, given the amount of time I spend on it, and how little I make doing it

CD: That kind of begs the question, what do you hate about blogging?

BCM: The technical aspects are a pain the butt. I know too much of how this whole thing works, and I wish it was easier to publish things, and figure out how to get folks to find you. I have spent two years trying to get a readership, but it is still quite small for now. Sometimes finding topics is a little hard too, but I have a large enough network now of different sites I can usually get 1 or 2 postings out a day.

CD: So moving along to my favorite question, when do you want to retire and how much do you think you need to do it?

BCM: I want to retire NOW, given I am 46, yet I know that it is unlikely that I will ever "retire", because I have many different things that I do, that I can't see myself stop doing. I hope to finish with my current occupation in about 15 years, if I can arrange my finances the right way, but I also have a 2 year old son, so it isn't likely that I can do this either, given how much kids cost as well. Unless I find a huge influx of money, I will work until I can't any more. There is a long list of things I would do if $4 Million appeared out of nowhere (this is about what I figured I'd need to stop doing my job), most of them to do with the community and sports, I'd stay very busy.

CD: So the retirement question reminds me that the Canadian government allowed pension income splitting recent and before that was announced there was also talk of income splitting for working couples. What are your thoughts on system that would finally balance large income gaps between spouses?

BCM: I make infinitely more than my spouse, in mathematical terms (she has no income right now), and I am taxed severely for this. My wife is worth about $1500 in tax rebates, and that is about it. If she and I could split my income or create a household income, I'd save over $10,000 in taxes collected from me, which astounds me. I never thought I'd be paying this much in taxes, and I pay more now in taxes than I earned (gross) my first year of working full time (by a lot). The Canadian Tax system favors dual income families who put their kids in day care, that is the bottom line, and it frustrates me that the government refuses to admit this is the case. What would happen if there was a household income, is a very good question. Maybe a lot of folks who are working, who don't want to might find a way not to have to do that? Maybe not, I am not sure.

CD: I’m completely agree that the system does favor dual income earners. I personally get piss off over people that swear that their kids are the most important things in their lives, but then bitch about the costs of daycare. Ok, I’m getting sidetracked into a rant. I’ll save that one for another day. See you tomorrow folks when I’ll have an interview with Larry MacDonald.

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