Thursday, September 4, 2008

Payday update

I never did get around to posting payday updates in August, what with vacation and a generally hectic schedule. Today was payday, though, so I've brought my progress bars and NCN Network chart up to date, and I'm making continuing to make headway on my revolving debt and Emergency Fund.

As of today, my revolving debt currently sits at $17,778.20, which is less than two-thirds of what it was when I started tracking last April. That's not bad progress. I'm working toward a goal of $17,500 by the end of the month, and I'm well-positioned to hit that target.

My Emergency Fund is at $1,927.41, spread between a few online savings accounts, an account at my primary bank, and some cash in an envelope stashed at home. Hitting the $2,000 mark for September shouldn't be too much of a stretch, so it will be nice to have that buffer in place.

Nothing too exciting, but I'm continuing to move forward, and I'm a lot better off than I was when I started this blog. That feels really good.

Goals for September 2008

At the beginning of every month, I post my update for the previous month's progress, and set goals for the month to come. I'm a bit late this month, but I've still got a few things in mind for August:
  • Reduce my revolving debt to $17,500 (currently at $18,078.20) - I've missed the last two months' "stretch" goals, so this amount seems right in line with my progress to date.

  • Grow my Emergency Fund to $2,000 (currently at $1,912.41) - Getting the fund to this level will comfortably cover the delay between my own payday and Ms. Loonie's paycheque, and lets me ease off this goal for a bit and focus on debt elimination.

  • Run at least twice per week. My exercise schedule was virtually nonexistent in August, so it's time to pick up the pace. Twice per week should be manageable, so let's stop talking about it and get running.

  • Try two new recipes for foods that we would usually buy prepared. We had a lot of fun making gazpacho last week, so I'm eager to try this again. I'm looking at ideas like from-scratch pasta, salsa, and some other items, so I'll keep you posted.
September is a month for new beginnings, so it's time to get things back on track.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Deposit Insurance at Canadian Credit Unions

Nickel at Five Cent Nickel posted recently about protecting credit union deposits in the United States. Nickel points out that the NCUA is a federal agency that adminsters the NCUSIF, which insures deposits at credit unions in a way similar to the protection provided by the FDIC.

I've written before about the equivalent insurance available to Canadians and Americans for assets held at a bank (CDIC / CDIC) or brokerage (CIPF / SIPC). I was interested to see yet another kind of asset protection, and I immediately started wondering whether Canada had equivalent protection for credit union members.

It turns out that there is similar protection in Canada, but it is structured differently.

Canada's credit unions and caisses populaires (as they are known in Quebec) are provincially incorporated, whereas credit unions in the U.S. are federally chartered entities. As a result of this, regulation of Canadian credit unions is almost exclusively at the provincial level. The CUCC is federally chartered and regulated, and receives some liquidity support from the Bank of Canada and the CDIC, and several provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Saskatchewan) have credit union centrals that are registered under both federal and provincial legislation.

Each province provides its own insurance on deposits at credit unions. The details by province are as follows:
  • Alberta - Unlimited deposits protected under Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation (CUDGC)

  • British Columbia - Deposits protected up to $100,000 under Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation (CUDIC)

  • Manitoba - Unlimited deposits protected under Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba (CUDGC)

  • Newfoundland - Deposits protected up to $250,000 under Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation (CUDGC)

  • New Brunswick - Unlimited deposits protected under Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation (CUDIC)

  • Nova Scotia - Deposits protected up to $250,000 under Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation (CUDIC)

  • Ontario - Deposits protected up to $100,000 under Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario (DICO)

  • Prince Edward Island - Deposits protected up to $60,000 under Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation (CUDIC)

  • Quebec - Deposits protected under l'Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF - I couldn't find details on a limit to the coverage)

  • Saskatchewan - Unlimited deposits protected under Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation (CUDGC)
Note that, as with protection provided by CDIC, eligible deposits must be in Canadian currency. There are some intricacies that vary by province, but in general the protection is comparable to that provided by CDIC (with the exception of the $60,000 limit in P.E.I.).

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

August update

August is over, Labour Day has come and gone, the CNE is closed for another year, and the 2008 school year has begun. How did last month treat you?

Let's take a look at how I did with my August goals:
  • Reduce my revolving debt to $18,000 - I missed this one by nearly $80, coming in at $18,078.20. August had us hosting friends from the U.S. for a week, as well as spending some time up at the cottage, so there were a number of exceptional expenses that needed to be covered. Excuses are all well and good, but the end result is that I paid down the debt by less than I was hoping for. Still, a $576.02 reduction is nothing to sniff at.

  • Grow my Emergency Fund to $1,900 - Once again, things look rosier on the savings front than on the debt reduction front. I ended August with an Emergency Fund of $1,912.41 in total. This gives me a nice cushion between my bi-weekly paycheque and Ms. Loonie's semi-monthly payday, while also putting me comfortably above the $1,500 target I set for the year.

  • Run at least twice per week - Fail. Between hosting our friends, traveling to the cottage, and getting caught up at work, my exercise plans were thoroughly derailed. I did do a fair bit of waterskiing and swimming at the cottage, but I didn't manage to fit in any running.

  • Try two new recipes for foods that we would usually buy prepared - I'd call this a success. Ms. Loonie and I made gazpacho this weekend, and I whipped up a few batches of guacamole throughout the month. The soup was delicious, as well as being easy (and fun) to make, so I think we'll be making it again soon. I think I'll be setting more goals like this, to give myself some "project" meals to prepare over the months to come.
Now, on to my month-end update:

Online Savings - $2,608.31
Self-Directed RSP - $44,073.75
Employer Group RSP - $7,517.73

Revolving Debt - $18,078.20
Student Loans - $25,420.83

Net Investable Assets: $10,700.76
Net Liquid Assets: ($40,890.72)

A number of irregular expenses and gift purchases hit my Freedom Account this month, so even with the growth in my Emergency Fund, my cash savings dropped by $245.55. However, thanks to a market uptick at the end of the month, my retirement investments finally showed a month-over-month increase, growing by $1,290.77, for a net growth of $1,045.22 in my investable assets. I was able to knock $576.02 off my revolving debt, in addition to progress made on our student loans.

Overall, my net investable and net liquid assets increased by $2,180.39 and $889.62, respectively. My NetworthIQ profile has also been updated (including loose cash, home, car and mortgage). It's nice to see my RRSP grow by more than my monthly contributions for a change, and the substantial growth in all three net worth metrics is encouraging.