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Northern Expressions

Northern Expressions: On Democracy

Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

“Democracy is the worst form of government… except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” – Winston Churchill

He’s right, you know. Democracy is horrible, unpredictable and wonderful. At the end of it all, we celebrate our right to vote. We celebrate the freedom the people have to choose a leader.

Also, on Veteran’s Day, we celebrate those people that have made that freedom possible. It’s worth the fight and I thank you. Sincerely.

Lessons for my Children

Along with that democracy comes the expectation to listen. We vote for people to represent us. We like to throw around the phrase “Every Vote Counts” and then ignore people outside of ballot numbers. A few things I hope to teach my children emerging from this election:

  • If someone expresses that they feel unsafe or scared, our first response should NEVER be “get over it” or “you’re making a big deal about nothing.” Our first response should be “how can I help?” or “You’re safe with me.” Maybe we’ve never felt threatened. That doesn’t make their threat any less real. (I will be wearing a safety pin to represent this. Maybe it will mean nothing. Maybe it will comfort one person feeling alone. I’m going to take that chance.)
  • Stories need to be told. If I only listen to the group of people with a very similar background or ideology, I learn nothing new. You wouldn’t come up to Alaska and just know how to mush dogs or dipnet. You would learn from a local. Everyone has knowledge and talents that we don’t. We can learn from them. More voices = more knowledge.
  • Humans relate best based on human need. We spend too much of our interactions arguing about things like politics where we struggle to find common ground. Can we hug? Everyone needs that. Can we share a meal? Everyone needs that. Can we play a game with a kid? Every kid needs that. Can we be kind? Every heart speaks kindness.
  • My son needs to be a champion for women in this world and know what toxic language exists and how to change it. And my daughters need to know that they are strong and capable and fierce and that’s not only okay, it’s wonderful. They can stand up for themselves and be a voice in this world. They may need to shout a bit louder, but they shouldn’t stop trying to shout.

On Wednesday, I sent my kids to school with a charge to be extra nice. I give that same charge to you grown-ups. It’s okay to hurt. I’m here. No one should apologize for how they feel. We should just try to be aware. Before you speak, listen. Before you judge, hug.

You people are the best people. I know it. I’ve read your comments of encouragement and love. The world needs that now (no matter what your political views). The world needs your goodness.

Go, friends. Be the light.

Love, Maggie


Perfect Gets in the Way of Good: Finances Edition

Perfect Gets in the Way of Good: Finances Edition

I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase “Perfect is the Enemy of Good.” I’m experiencing that in my financial situation here at the end of the year. Last week, I calculated our projected taxes for 2016 (PRO-TIP: Do this earlier than November!) and realized we’re set to owe nearly $7,500! Yikes! (It doesn’t help that I am self-employed and our PFD and Energy Program Rebate are both taxable.)

*Rewind* *Rewind*

(blatant Hamilton reference, yes)

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It's Time to Face Your Financial Reality

It’s Time to Face Your Financial Reality

Last week, in celebration of Halloween, I shared a tweetstorm of the scariest things you could say to a Personal Finance Geek. Maybe you read that and felt bad about yourself because you have done some of those things (or still do). DON’T. I shared the original tweets. What I did not share were all of the conversations that followed. SEVERAL of these tweets inspired responses from other personal finance bloggers that said things like “Me 2 years ago,” “…said my husband,” “been there!” or “still paying off that debt!”

We are not better than you. And you are not worse.

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Roth Ira TFSA Challenge

The Roth IRA… I mean TFSA Challenge

Today’s post comes from my blogger friend, Tawcan. He’s a fellow parent with two children. He’s also an all-around awesome and fascinating guy. In his spare time, he adventures outside, writes cookbooks, does some amazing photography, and blogs over at Tawcan on the journey to financial independence, dividend paying stocks, and living a good life. Tawcan also lives in Canada (our next door neighbor!) and he comes today with his Canadian perspective. Take it away Tawcan!

When Maggie asked me to write about the Roth IRA Challenge I thought she had lost her mind completely. In this hockey-playing-toque-wearing-polar-bear-riding-igloo-living-poutine-eating country that we call Canada, we don’t have anything called the Roth IRA. So I was confused why she wanted a Canadian to write about the Roth IRA Challenge. Did she think that Canada has become a part of the US? After chatting with Maggie a bit more, I realized that the challenge isn’t tied to Americans only. The challenge has more to do with… how do you save $5,500 or more each year so you can put that money toward a tax-free savings account?

Lucky for us Canadians, we have an account that is very similar to the Roth IRA. This account is called Tax Free Savings Account. Boy us Canadians sure are original when it comes to names eh?

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October Plan Update

October 2016 Plan Update

Farewell October! This was a very exciting month because we got our PFD money! YAY money! But then immediately, a whole bunch of bills came in and we bought plane tickets. BOO money! I am choosing to be grateful that we were able to put the majority of the PFD money toward the mortgage. YAY paying off debt!

As for the Stock household updates… the girls took swimming lessons and Penny graduated! We got our first snowfall, which has now entirely melted (boo!). We dressed up as Harry Potter characters for Halloween, with Lui being Hagrid (he wins), Mr. T being Harry Potter, I was Prof. McGonagall, Penny was Hermione (my 80s crimper to the rescue for Hermione hair!) and Florin was Moaning Myrtle (though she did not want to wear a toilet seat around her neck as we suggested!).

The Numbers:

You guys… if you haven’t signed up for Personal Capital, I think you’re nuts! It’s free! I look forward each month to logging in and seeing all of my accounts in one place. It shows all of my credit card accounts, my mortgage, my investment accounts, analyzes my fees, and is very visually compelling. I mean, it’s a geeked-out way to see it all in one glance without spending too much time. Sign up here to help yours truly speed toward financial independence! It has cut down my end-of-the month reckoning significantly since I can see all my accounts together (with graphs!).

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Scariest thing to say to a personal finance geek

Scariest Things to Say to a Personal Finance Geek

In the spirit of this spooky Halloween holiday, I made a list of the scariest things you could say to a personal finance geek. Then I opened it up on Twitter:

The response was overwhelming. I immediately threw out my own list since all of them were covered. So, turn on the creepy Halloween music and prepare yourself for a Twitter storm of the scariest things you could say to a personal finance geek (ordered by category).

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Northern Expressions

Northern Expressions: Election Edition

All I want to do it bicycle!

These Northern Expressions are usually picked out by me and designed by Mr. T. Today, Mr. T created his own for the crazy election time. If you didn’t know, Mr. T is a biker. We love family bike rides in the summertime and Queen just so happens to be my favorite band.

So, as the election cycle (pun intended) starts getting you down, Mr. T just wants you to remember:

I don’t want to be a candidate for Vietnam or Watergate. All I want to do is BICYCLE, BICYCLE, BICYCLE! – Freddie Mercury

Happy Friday, friends!

Love, Maggie

(and Mr. T – who adds: “next week, I’ll do a ‘fat-bottomed girls’ quote”*)

*Queen reference. Not just a random crude remark. 🙂

Practicing Escapism

Practicing Escapism

What day of the week would you guess searches for jokes are at their peak?

I would guess Monday. How else would you get through a “bad case of the Mondays”? Turns out, I’m wrong! Searches for jokes are at their LOWEST on Mondays! And highest on Fridays-Sundays (when I commonly search for lunchbox jokes for the kids for the week).

So what search terms are highest on Mondays?

Depression. Anxiety. Doctor. 

This is devastating. Joke searches also dive after traumatic news events like bombings. This information suggests two things:

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It's Not Your Fault You Want to Spend Money

It’s Not Your Fault You Want to Spend Money

FLASHBACK: Thousands of years ago. You live in a cave, kill your own food, carve your own pictures into cave walls, and communicate very effectively through a series of grunts (clearly, I have no actual sense of what this period of time was like).

We know our bodies evolve based on our circumstances. THIS IS STILL TRUE. Example: Wisdom teeth. Remember back in the cave when we had to tear flesh apart with our teeth. No forks. No knives. Teeth. “Oh” you say, “THAT’S why we have wisdom teeth!” Now, wisdom teeth are a hassle. They crowd our smaller jawlines, mess up the rest of teeth, can get impacted, and cost money to get removed. Well, guess what? Humanity has gotten the memo! I, personally, only had 2 wisdom teeth, and my husband only has 1 that’s never grown in (I know. We’re advanced specimens). Some predict wisdom teeth will disappear altogether within just a few generations!

What does this have to do with spending money?

Oh yeah… I was talking about money.

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Paying off my mortgage

Roth IRA Challenge: Mustard Seed Money Mortgage

Today we have a FABULOUS guest post about paying off your mortgage. If you haven’t noticed, I am SO SICK of my mortgage. On my September plan update post, I expressed my disdain of my mortgage balance and Mustard Seed Money wrote the greatest comment about paying off his mortgage. I basically begged him to write this post. By way of introduction, Mustard Seed Money works for the federal government as an accountant and is on the way to financial independence in just a few years! When he’s not inspiring my comment section, he shares amazing wisdom over at Mustard Seed Money. And now, his thoughts:

Paying off my mortgage was the best thing that I ever did in my financial life.  In the beginning, I thought of my mortgage as a necessary evil.  I was pretty grateful to get a 15-year mortgage with an incredibly low 3.5% interest rate, when I purchased my home in 2004.

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