27 Ways to Get More Sh!t Done | Greatist.

How to Get More Done

Whether we’re overwhelmed by that never-ending to-do list or simply distracted (thanks, Facebook), sometimes it feels like we just can’t get enough out of the day. Until 30-hour days are invented, follow these easy, effective tips for getting more done in the 24 we have.

 

Productivity Hero—Your Action Plan

 

1. Get enough sleep. Whoever coined the phrase “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” didn’t have all the facts straight. Not getting enough Zzz’s could hinder productivity at work, so try to get those recommended seven to nine hours of snooze time [1]!

 

2. Create routines. Make a habit of, well, sticking to habits. Schedule actions like writing emails at a certain time or hitting the gym after work, and try to do them daily. Soon that routine will happen on autopilot.

 

3. Wake up earlier. As long as you’re still able to squeeze in enough sleep, try extending the day by getting up an hour earlier—when it’s still quiet and there are fewer distractions.

 

4. Step away from the inbox. Incoming emails can be a nuisance. Make a habit to only check the inbox at certain times of the day to avoid getting sidetracked with requests and responses.

 

5. Make a daily to-do list. Stay away from huge to-do lists. Instead, create a daily list of realistic jobs to tackle, like folding laundry, scheduling a doctor’s appointment, or paying the cable bill. Break up big goals into micro-tasks, like going to a yoga class over getting six-pack abs, or writing a page over completing a thesis. Soon, the small things will add up to big accomplishments.

Read the rest…. 27 Ways to Get More Sh!t Done | Greatist.

Owning Excess is Not the Same as Experiencing Success.

Excess is Not the Same as Success

excess-is-not-success

When success is equated with excess, the ambition for excess wrecks us.” —Switchfoot, American Dream

We live in a complicated world—one that has confused excess with success.

We desire lasting significance and influence and impact, but spend most of our time chasing temporal possessions.

Consider how many of our resources are directed towards this accumulation of material goods. We spend our hours earning money. We spend our money buying products. We waste our energy caring for them. And then we punch the time clock on Monday to start the process again.

For an economy based on consumerism to thrive, goods must move. Money must be earned, money must be spent, and the demand for material possessions must continue to increase. Our economy must constantly create goods and manufacture needs.

The result is a world of excess. Even when basic physical needs are met (shelter, clothing, food), the cycle must continue. More goods must be created and more need must be manufactured.

Excess becomes the unintended goal of a consumeristic economy. (tweet that)

Somewhere, understandably, excess also became the goal of the individual. Whoever dies with the most toys wins became the reigning mantra of our culture.

This was an unfortunate turn.

Our souls long for greater accomplishments than the accumulation of material possessions. Nobody sits across the table from another human being and unequivocally declares their greatest goal is to own as much stuff as possible. We think and dream in much broader terms.

We long for something greater than material excess. Our hearts define success differently.

We desire significance. To be known as good fathers and mothers and husbands and wives and friends and citizens.

We desire influence. To use our gifts and make the world better. We want to know our lives mattered for something.

We desire freedom and opportunity. Not just for ourselves, but for others.

We desire love. To be fully known and fully accepted.

Unfortunately, too often, our unchecked pursuit of more stands in the way of this success. Excess material possessions steal our money, time, energy, and freedom. Our definition of true success gets lost in the noise.

Rediscover your greatest goals. Redefine your greatest pursuits. And refuse to equate material excess with lasting success.

Owning Excess is Not the Same as Experiencing Success.

How Scary is the US National Debt? Almost as scary as the fact Tony Robbins, yes the motivational speaker, is the one delivery this most depressing of economic insight.

Hell no, we won’t pay: How technology transformed our perception of value

Open Source. The backlash against Software Patents. Cloud Computing. Bitcoin. 3D Printing. Post-PC. Cord-Cutting. Electric Vehicles and Alternative Energy.

There are ideological and social drivers that are unique to every single one of these things, and yet there is a common thread that ties them together. I call this trend “anti-spendism”.

Anti-spendism is not necessarily a social movement that is tied to the betterment of society as a whole. It’s not like socialism or communism, where we are talking about a desire to more equitably distribute wealth to the have-nots.

It is by definition, the personal, self-centered desire not to expend capital at all. Or to put a more modern take on it, rapid advances in technology have so lowered our perceptions of what things should cost, that ultimately many goods and services have become devalued far below what people are willing to pay for them.

To put it bluntly, anti-spendism is “Hell no, we won’t pay” syndrome.

via Hell no, we won’t pay: How technology transformed our perception of value | ZDNet.

How to transfer cottage ownership – and reduce the tax bite

TIM CESTNICK

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Jun. 11 2014, 5:38 PM EDT

Last updated Thursday, Jun. 12 2014, 2:21 PM EDT

 

Cottage memories are like none other.

If you’re visiting a friend’s cottage this summer, here are a few tips that will be sure to create lasting memories for everyone: Bring four very large suitcases (store one in each bedroom if necessary), bring at least two dogs (those with digestive problems are best), start a fire (preferably outside the cottage, and big enough to burn a picnic table), roast marshmallows (bring those mini ones with toothpicks and see who can stand the heat) and scare the kids (ghost stories to give them nightmares for three days can add to the fun).

How to transfer cottage ownership – and reduce the tax bite – The Globe and Mail.

Lowest cost versus best value

Posted: June 1, 2014 in articles

Originally posted on Prepared in Canada:

I have a great day job…I get to shop for a living!  I work for a large, multi-national construction company and I head up the procurement operations for their Canadian division.  Every year my team of 20 buys hundreds of millions of dollars worth of goods and services.  And because our company has a profit share program there is a tremendous incentive to find the lowest cost.

However, finding the cheapest price is not always the best thing to do.  What my department is always focused on instead is finding the best value.  Understanding the difference is critical.  We have to balance many items to find the best value and cost is just one of them. A particular supplier might have an incredibly low price but if I can’t get enough of the item or I can’t get it when I need it, then the low price is irrelevant. Or…

View original 158 more words

Vancouver company hopes to kickstart micro home revolution with $25,000 units – BC | Globalnews.ca.

Imagine being able to own a brand-new home for $25,000.

A Vancouver man hopes to revolutionize homeownership and small space living with his easy-to-assemble micro homes.

Nomad Micro Homes and its President Ian Kent are raising funds on the crowd-funding website indiegogo to make affordable micro homes a reality.

Kent says there are multiple uses for homes which are about 160 square feet in size.

“There’s a wide range of uses, from people using them as additional accommodation, to recreational property — you could basically drive this home in and assemble it in a week.”

The homes are easy to assemble and set-up.

“At least one handyman with a helper could assemble it in less than a week, it’s kind of an IKEA type model,” says Kent.

Three different models are proposed, starting at $25,000 for the base model, and $28,000 for the “Live” model that includes kitchen appliances and bathroom fixtures.

The homes don’t have a traditional foundation, instead they sit on screw piles. Screw piles are piles you can screw into the ground with your hands.

“You would be feeling very good about establishing a trend-setting mode of sustainability,” says Kent.

“You’re flexible in location – you could pick up and move it somewhere else.”

Buyers who want to go “off the grid” can upgrade to a composting toilet, solar power system, greywater treatment system and rainwater collection system.

All of the models can be hooked up to existing sewer, water and electrical systems.

The micro homes could be an answer to B.C.’s high real estate prices, but first, cities and municipalities need to change their bylaws, says Kent.

“The bylaws in many municipalities and cities don’t quite allow something like this, it’s something that we are going to start lobbying for once we have this product fully established.”

Vancouver currently stipulates that a home cannot not be smaller than 320 square feet.

“The bylaw may be a bit antiquated for the new sustainable housing models coming out. They’ve allowed laneway houses, but they still seem to be quite expensive to build and rent.”

“People are building small houses on trailers and remove locations where there are no bylaws to contend with,” says Kent.

Living in a smaller space would also force people to do more with less, says Kent.

“Your consumerism would drop, because you wouldn’t be able to fit in things that people usually buy. You would become very efficient and that’s going to be a forced savings in your bank account. Plus, you are going to become a fantastic recycler and you are going to come up with new methods of recycling, because you can’t fit garbage in your unit.”

Vancouver company hopes to kickstart micro home revolution with $25,000 units – BC | Globalnews.ca.

Differences between an RRSP and a TFSA

Since its inception, the goal of an RRSP has been to help Canadians accrue after-tax income to finance their retirement. While a TFSA can also be used to save for long-term needs, the two savings vehicles have important differences:

  1. Tax deductibility – RRSP contributions are tax deductible and reduce your income for tax purposes. In contrast, TFSA contributions are not tax deductible.
  2. Contribution limits – You may be able to contribute more to an RRSP—up to 18 percent of your previous year’s earned income or to an annual RRSP dollar limit ($23,820 for 2013) adjusted for certain amounts (e.g., pension adjustment, past service pension adjustment, and pension adjustment reversal). In 2013, the annual TFSA dollar limit is $5,500. In future years, the annual TFSA dollar limit will be indexed to the inflation rate in $500 increments. This means that the annual TFSA dollar limit could increase in some years but not every year depending on the inflation rate. However, your unused contribution room in either program may be carried forward to subsequent years. RRSP withdrawals (excluding the Home Buyers’ and the Lifelong Learning Plans) are added to your taxable income and are subject to tax at your marginal tax rate at the time of withdrawal. TFSA withdrawals, on the other hand, are not counted as income and are tax-free. You can take out as much as you like at any time for any reason.2 Unlike an RRSP, your TFSA withdrawal will be added to your contribution room in the following calendar year(s).
  3. Withdrawals – RRSP withdrawals could reduce amounts you receive from federal income-tested benefits and tax credits such as the OAS, the GIS, and the Canada Child Tax Benefit. TFSA withdrawals do not impact these government benefits.
  4. Spousal contributions – Attribution rules apply to spousal RRSPs (i.e. total contributions made to your personal and spousal RRSP must not exceed your personal contribution limit), but they do not apply to TFSAs. Although you cannot directly contribute to your spouse’s TFSA as you can with a spousal RSP, you can give your spouse money to contribute to his or her own TFSA without affecting your personal TFSA contribution room.
  5. Maturity date – An RRSP must be collapsed by December 31st of the year in which you turn 71. A TFSA has no plan maturity.

The answer to whether it may be better for you to contribute to an RRSP or to a TFSA, will depend on a number of factors, including whether you will need to access your money on a short-term basis or your expected tax rate at the time of contribution and at the time of withdrawal (i.e. during retirement). For example, if your income level and corresponding tax rate are unlikely to change between now and retirement, a TFSA may be a sensible choice due to its flexibility and because you won’t lose any tax-savings benefits should you need to access your cash along the way. If you’re in a higher-tax bracket now but expect to be in a lower tax bracket in retirement, it may be a good idea to contribute to an RRSP first as the contributions could produce favourable tax benefits now while deferring taxation on your investments to the future. Any extra savings could then be allocated to a TFSA. If you’re just beginning your career, you may not be earning much at present. However, if you foresee your income rising down the road, you could start off with a TFSA now and then contribute to a RRSP later on when you’re in a higher tax bracket—this strategy would allow you to reap an RRSP tax deduction in the year you make the contribution and would create additional TFSA contribution room (in the following year).

Important Estate Planning for Tips You & Your Executor

Choose Your Executor Wisely – Candidate should be capable, responsible, local and impartial.  Importantly the Executor you choose needs to outlive you, otherwise their Executor becomes Your Executor.  A Named Executor Can Renounce their Position, be sure your Executor is willing to serve, which means talk to them in advance.

No Will? – Intestate – Not leaving a will, means leaving a big mess! – Otherwise the Courts decide who gets your hard earned Estate.

What is Probate? The process of the Provincial Court approving the presented Will as authentic and valid.  When an executor of a will applies to probate (in other words prove) the will in British Columbia, he/she must pay probate fees before the court will grant probate.  Similarly, a person applying to court to be appointed an administrator of an estate (where there is no will or no executor willing and able to act) is required to pay probate fees before the court will grant letters of administration.

Calculating Probate Fees – In the province of British Columbia - The amount of probate fees is based on the value of the estate assets. There is an initial filing fee of $208. After the application for probate is filed, but before the court registry will release the grant of probate, the executor is required to pay $6 for every $1,000 or part of $1,000 by which the value of the estate exceeds $25,000 up to $50,000, plus $14 for every $1000 or part of $1000 by which the value of the estate exceeds $50,000. Accordingly, for most estates probate fees are a tax approaching 1.4 percent of the value of the estate.

Strategies to Avoid Probate

Joint or Co-Ownership – Can trigger a taxable disposition/capital gains, if you are joint owner with someone other then a spouse (like your kids)  .  While still alive, you are exposed for their misfortunes.  If they divorce the ex can lay claim to half of your asset. If they go bankrupt, the jointly owned asset could be subject to the bankruptcy.  I feel this is poor estate planning and can do more to you and your beneficiaries then good.

Segregated Funds, the Estate Friendly Investment - Segregated Funds are much easier for your Executor, the value is not submitted for probate, thus avoiding probate fees, avoids delays, and remains private and out of public record.  Segregated Funds (Investment funds offered by a Canadian Life Insurance companies), are an excellent tool to avoid probate fees & delays  Available in Money Market Funds, Bond Funds, Dividend Funds, etc… (like other Investment Funds).  They can be held in a variety of accounts: RRSPs, RRIFs, TFSAs, and Non-Registered accounts.  Chartered banks haven’t told you about them because they can’t offer them!  Lawyers often don’t even know about them, and are unlikely to recommend them as they can greatly simplify Estate Planning, and can preclude the need for complex trust structures.

A Probated Will becomes Public Record – Anyone can pay a fee to obtain a probated copy of your Will.   This may create problems, from disgruntled family members wanting a larger piece, too scam artists looking for the those who just received more money then they know what to do with.

Critical illness insurance is a type of protection that provides you with a lump sum payment if you are diagnosed with a covered critical illness and survive a waiting period (which is usually 30 days). With the advancement of technology more people are fortunately surviving these conditions but are often unable to get back to their pre-condition potential.

What’s the difference between disability and critical illness insurance?

Unlike disability insurance (that pays out a percentage of income as a monthly benefit), critical illness insurance actually pays out the entire tax free lump sum immediately, giving you flexibility to use the money as best needed. That’s where the critical illness benefit comes in—you are free to spend the money as you wish—such as to help cover lost income, to pay for private nursing or out-of-country treatment, for medical equipment or even to pay off your mortgage. It can help you where you need it most so you can focus all your energy on recovering.

NOTE: I have seen the benefits of this coverage first hand when my partner Tom suffered a heart attack in 2007 and fortunately had this coverage in place (although he didn’t take us to Hawaii like he said he would!!)

Could A Critical Illness Really Happen To Me?

(not the funnest facts but definitely an eye opener):

80% of heart attack victims survive
2 in 5 Canadians will develop some form of heart disease during their life time
Half of heart attack victims are under 65
153,000 new Cancer case in Canada in 2006
1 in 3 develop cancer in their life time
There are 40,000-50,000 strokes each year in Canada
One third of stroke victims are under 65
300,000 Canadians are living with the effects of stroke
Approx. 75% of all Canadians that suffer a stroke will survive but will be left with some form of disability
Sources: Heart & Stroke Foundation (2006), Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Cancer Statistics (2006), Veterans Affairs Canada (2006)

As an independent insurance broker with Manion.ca,  we have contracts with all the top insurance carriers allowing us to shop the market to find the right critical illness insurance product for you at the best price.

Need more information?

For more information on Critical illness insurance in Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows BC please