Thoughts on Inflation

Thoughts on Inflation

I remember hearing about inflation on the news when I was growing up as a child in the 80s. But I never understood what it was. It sounded like some ultra-boring financial topic that didn't impact me or my life.

Fortunately, up until recently it has had little impact on my life.

But that has all changed now.

The Real Impact of Inflation

I remember when I lived in East York in Toronto, I had a neighbour who I really didn't like. I somehow found out through a real estate connection that even though the house prices on our street had risen quite a bit recently, he was still underwater in his mortgage because he bought his house at the peak of inflation in the late 80s.

That really sucks for him. The housing market has since increased and he is not underwater anymore.

Today, inflation seems to have percolated down to the average person in a way that it didn't previously. I think a large part of that is because its not just contained to the evening news. It's being posted about on Facebook, Reddit and TikTok – and that's bringing the awareness of inflation to a wider audience.

However, at the same time, the understanding of inflation is still obscure to most people. Most people think of inflation as the rise in the prices of consumer good, namely groceries. And while that's a big part of it, it's certainly not the whole picture.

So what is inflation?

 Inflation is defined as “a general increase in prices and fall in the purchasing value of money” and traditionally inflation is measured in year-over-year change.

The Ugly Truth About Inflation

Inflation is a subtle way for governments to steal your wealth.

In times of high inflation, its best to park your wealth in hard assets that are inflation resistant, such as real estate, cryptocurrency, art, precious metals like gold and silver, and any other store of value.

Because the poor and middle class own the least of these assets, they tend to bear the brunt of the force that rampant inflation has on an economy.

I should point out the mathematics on this.

If a government keeps printing more paper (fiat) money, without creating any value, the value of ones own currency becomes less. That's basic supply and demand.

And it can easily snowball out of control. Look at the effects of hyperinflation in Post-war Germany, when people were using a wheelbarrow full of paper money to pay for a loaf of bread.

Or look to Argentina where the inflation rate is expected to be 100.70 % by the end of Q1 2023.

Scary stuff.

In Portugal, where I am currently spending most of my time, I recently estimated that although groceries are much less expensive here than in Canada, the price is about 20% higher than when we first came to Portugal a little more than a year ago.

Speaking of Canada, iceberg lettuce is now nearly $6. And there are Reddit groups that are posting the incredulous cost that groceries have risen.

This beef roast has a price tag of over $100 CAD which I saw on Reddit.

Thoughts on Inflation
expensive beef roast due to inflation

But these is even more that is going on with inflation.

Inflation Part Two

Inflation is reported as a basket of goods and areas of the economy. But that basket does not reflect what the majority of people spend their money on. And that by design. The government can report lower numbers (and generally cause less panic) by under-reporting the groceries for example and balancing that out with other sectors that can make the overall inflation numbers more palatable. That is precisely why you may hear a number reported at the official inflation number, or hear the phrase “goods and services have risen x percent in the last quarter.” And yet feel that those numbers are lower than the price increases you see at the grocery store.

Just this month, I was informed that ACP, my insurance company, was increasing my monthly premium. And today, I got an email from my cell phone provider. I wanted to share the message with you, which is translated from Portuguese.

In recent months we have been witnessing a substantial and general increase in prices, which has had a strong impact on family and business budgets. The telecommunications sector was no exception, having also been significantly impacted, especially with the increase in energy, fuel, logistics and equipment costs, the latter very much related to the shortage of chips, fundamental in our sector of activity.

This has been a reality since 2021. So far we have been absorbing this increase in costs, not reflecting it in the prices of our services. However, in order for us to continue to provide you with a quality service, it is inevitable that we update the monthly fee for our services, as contractually provided for.

In this way, following our previous communication and after publication by INE – National Institute of Statistics of the last Consumer Price Index for a complete calendar year, with reference to the date of this communication, we inform you that the monthly fee for your service no. [phone number redacted] will be updated by 1.00 Eur, VAT included.

– MEO Telecom company

In the end, the cost of inflation gets passed down the line. Businesses raise their prices and the person who is the end consumer bears the brunt of the effects.

But it gets worse

Remember that definition of inflation in the beginning of this article? Well, the US government has decided to CHANGE yet again how it is reported. (Yes, they changed how it is calculated before, and they change the weighting of each basket of goods.)

Inflation is now going to be reported based on only 1 year of previous data instead of two. And maybe that does not seem all that different. But because inflation is on such a climb right now, that change changes YOY inflation from 14% down to 6% according to this report. Comparing to only one year of data in periods of higher inflation, will lead to lower numbers.

Thats why its important to always know whats going on with inflation and your money.

Always look to the numbers. If you want to see some of these numbers and how they effect inflation, and your savings, I would recommend you check out some calculators to help you see the overall impact on your life.
I know that it might not be the most fun thing in the world to see how much money you're losing from inflation, but its too important a subject not to look deeper into.

So what can you do to combat inflation

First, don't put your head in the sand and not think about inflation.

Run some numbers and see how inflation is having an impact on you. Without awareness, you cant take precautionay steps.

Second… I recommend you research starting to DCA (dollar-cost-averaging) into Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a good store of value, and is selling at a sharp discount right now. I use Shakepay to DCA every week without having to pay attention to the market. (Shakepay is only available in Canada. If you are not in Canada, you can use this instead.)

I also recommend to diversify your portfolio. Invest in stocks of good companies or into ETFs.

And lastly, keep some of your savings in peer-to-peer lending. This type of investment is non-correlated to the stock market so it can be booming wven if the stock market is struggling.

And final tip – don't keep your money under your mattress. That's where it loses value due to inflation.

7 Reasons You Need To Use The Koho Debit Card

The KOHO debit card is pretty awesome. In this blog post, I break down the best features KOHO has packed into it so you can get the most out of your KOHO experience.

1) It's a debit Card

KOHO is a debit card, but works like a credit card. This is pretty awesome because it allows you to pre-pay and still have the convenience of using a credit card.

2) You earn 2% Cashback

You earn 2% on the x categories and 0.5% on the rest of the categories.

It's smart to avoid potential interest charges by using a credit card, but is' just plain smart to earn cashback on every purchase. The “Big 5” Banks in Canada don't need to offer cashback – but that means that the smaller companies like KOHO, have to be innovative and offer features that Canadians actually like.

Top 5 Reasons I use the KOHO Card

3) Earn 1.3% Interest

KOHO has an option to earn 1.3% interest (calculated daily) on the money you have loaded on your card. This allows you to easily save some extra money without doing any work. One caveat is that you need to link a direct deposit account to your KOHO. A workaround is linking a Paypal account to your KOHO. I did this, but never fund the KOHO from my Paypal – simply because I use my Paypal account exclusively for business.

But linking this account activates this feature.

Earn $20 for referring other Canadians.

Yep, you can earn $20 cash for creating your KOHO account. And they pay you $20 every time you refer somebody to KOHO. All you need to do is to fund the account and make a purchase in your first 90 days. Boom! Hello Queen Elizabeth!

Get your card here.

4) You can personalize your card

Want to express that lovely personality that you are inside? When you order your KOHO, you get to choose from one of 4 awesome cards that showcase your personality. Yes, who wants to use a boring TD Card? Life should be lived with flair, don't you think?

koho visa debit review
Koho Visa Debit Card colors

Which one will you choose?

5) Round Ups

Moka pioneered the concept of Round-Ups and I love it! With KOHO, you can pick an amount to round up to the next dollar, $2 dollars, $5 dollars or $10 dollars for every purchase – and KOHO takes it out of your spending account and puts it in your savings account.

I love this method as a way of easily saving – without noticing it. I have this activated on my account. You can also cash out easily in one-click over to your spending account.

6) Lightning Fast e-Transfers

KOHO e-transfers are instantaneous. At least from RBC they are and I'm not being hyperbolic. It's literally instant – as soon as I send an e-transfer to my KOHO, I get a notification on my iPhone that it's already on my card and ready to spend.

This is different from the MOGO card, which I have used also – and the difference is you can fund your card in a checkout line with the KOHO. As fast as using a debit card, but with the added perks of real cashback.

7) No Foreign Transaction fees

If you have KOHO Premium, KOHO does not charge any FX fees, which typically are 2.5-3.5% on top of the bank making even more money on the FX conversion. You skip that with KOHO, so it's essential to use when travelling – this will save you so much money.

Get your KOHO Card here and get $20 free!

Public Mobile Review

Ready to learn about the nity-grity of Public Mobile? Should you consider switching? Here's everything you need to know!

public mobile logo transparent

My Public Mobile Story:

Cellphones: a necessary evil. Do you ever look at your cellphone bill and wonder, “Why it is so high?” This blog post could be the most important thing you read this year.

So first, a little backstory.

I was on Telus and had been for years. They had me and my wife hooked on a “grandfathered” business-only plan that was no longer offered. We were paying about $287 per month! And that's with no data overages.

Even on that expensive Telus plan, we still had to be careful about data, as we sometimes went over the data limit. Telus, like all the major cell phone carriers, has harsh penalties for going over-limit on your data plan.

We were stuck on this plan because we had a “business” account and had an unlimited amount of US-calling. I run a marketing agency where we build funnels and run advertising for small businesses

Even though we were calling US numbers less and less (Hello Zoom!) we were afraid to leave the plan, because we could never get that US-long distance place back if we left.

Now, truth be told, it was a little annoying that I couldn’t call Public Mobile and ask a rep some specific questions about porting my number – which was important to me. But eventually the desire to save a lot of money each month prompted me to give it a go.

public mobile review reddit legit

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that it took us about 4 months of hemming and hawing before actually making the switch.

The switch was painless and quick.

So what is Public Mobile?

Public Mobile is a low-cost SIM-only service provider.

In my opinion, Public Mobile is the best, lowest-cost self-serve cell phone platform in Canada.

Essentially, they are a discount prepaid-only carrier that runs on the Telus network. (Public Mobile was bought out by Telus in 2013; originally they had been an independent carrier.)

The Telus high-speed 4G-LTE network provides extensive coverage, but every cell phone plan from Public Mobile is limited to “3G speed” data, but honestly, I have not noticed a difference. Since all the plans are set to 3G speed, you can turn off LTE on your phone.

The nice thing about it being a pre-paid plan is that you won't have a surprise by going over your talk or data limit. This is also a good thing to keep in mind if you have a teenager or somebody who doesn't pay attention to the data limits on their plan.

My biggest hurdle had always been that I was skeptical about the quality of the service and the coverage. If it's so much less, there must be some sort of nasty catch, right?

But the truth is that Public Mobile, being a self-serve department of Telus, has exactly the same quality of coverage.

Public Mobile Network Coverage

Telus uses the Bell Towers across Canada, so the coverage is just as good as Bell or Telus. This is important, because I live in a slightly rural area, and I have a cottage that is well-hidden from the world on a very private lake without motorized boats.
It's remote and beautiful.

cottage by lakehouse

And one of the main concerns was I wanted to verify that we had coverage there – which we should have because we had coverage with Telus. We have had visitors to our cottage who are on Rogers and they had really spotty coverage there. Anyway, we actually activated a test phone just to verify it worked and it did.

That gave up the go ahead to leave our plan at Telus after over a decade and switch to Public Mobile.

Is there an activation fee?

There is no activation fee with Public Mobile.


I get notifications when I get a referral, make a payment, or hit 75% of my data threshold. So that gives me plenty of time to adjust.

Here's what I see when I make a new referral to Public Mobile and reduce my bill:

public mobile referral code

If you want to sign up for Public Mobile, use my link and you'll get $10 off your first month.

IMPORTANT: Make note of this referral code when signing up to activate that bonus: WX60K0

You will need to enter it in step 4 (payment section) of the activation PublicMobile signup page to get your discount.

Can I Port/Use My Current Phone With Public Mobile?

Yes, you can just use your current number. There is no charge for using your current number, and the process is very simple.

In fact, you need to bring your own phone to Public Mobile. There are no contracts, so you can leave at any time. So use your current phone, and if you want an upgrade, buy a new phone straight out. Easy (and cheaper in the long run.)

My wife and I ported our numbers no problem.

How do I switch to Public Mobile?

To signup with Public Mobile, you do it all online. Use this link to get a discount on your first month. Be sure to use this referral code to get your discount: WX60K0

You do need a new Public Mobile SIM card. These cost $10 at Walmart in the electronic department. You need to ask at the counter. They are one-size (3-in-1) SIM cards with a detachable part to fit all SIM card trays. (Sounds weird, but it's easy.)

If you have an unlocked phone already, getting started is as simple as buying a SIM, activating it, and inserting it into your phone. You will be prompted to do this as you complete the signup process.

If you don't have a SIM card tool, you can use a pin to pop out the SIM card tray.
Everything else is done online and in the peace of your own home.

How To Sign Up For Public Mobile & Port Your Current Number From Another Cell Phone Company

I have a video demonstrating how this works:

Public Mobile Plans:

Every cell phone plan with Public Mobile includes nationwide long distance, unlimited texting internationally, voicemail and caller ID. They are charged on a 30-day billing cycle.

Here are the current Public Mobile plans:

Public Mobile Review
Public Mobile Plans

The plans are straightforward with no hidden gotchas. For example, even the lowest priced plan allows international texting and picture messages.

Voicemail, Call Display, Call Waiting, Call Forwarding and Conference Calling are included in all Unlimited Talk plans from Public Mobile.

Incoming from anywhere on the planet (when you are in Canada, that is) does not use up your Plan Minutes.

The plans all feel fair, which is kinda weird for a cellphone company.

They do have some addons so you can customize your plan and still keep it as inexpensive as possible. Personally, I'm on the $50/mo plan because I call to the States semi-frequently.

Public Mobile Add Ons:

They have some good add on plans. You can add these international long distance plans.

We have several long distance options available for calling from Canada including:

  • 1000 Minutes to the U.S. for $15;
  • 1000 Minutes to the U.K. for $15; 
  • 750 Minutes to India and Pakistan for $15;
  • 500 Minutes to China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan for $15;
  • 100 Minutes to the Philippines for $15 
  • 300 International Minutes for $15 
  • 500 Canada-wide Minutes for $5  

*Note: these minutes roll-over to the next month… and stay in your account as long as you have an active plan, even if you drop the addon package…which is awesome!

In addition, you can add data plans, and even US roaming plans if you plan to travel to the US.

Regrets About Switching To Public Mobile:

Regrets? My only regret is that I didn't switch earlier. I get the same coverage without the whopping bill from Telus each month. I save literally OVER $200 per month! That's $2400 per year in savings.

Who own Public Mobile?

Public Mobile is owned by Telus. You are basically getting the exact same service as Telus for a fraction of the cost.

What are the drawback of Public Mobile?

You can't speak to somebody on the phone. Because of this, it might not be the best for older people who don't have anyone to help them get set up… not that it's very difficult, mind you.

They do have an active support community, and you can get a quick answer to your specific question from them. I have used this forum and received a prompt, personalized response. They do reward customers who answer questions in the community for a phone bill.

They don't have overseas support. So if you plan on using your phone overseas, you'd need to look at getting a temporary phone for all your awesome travels.

Lastly, I was hesitant about 3G speed. But I have found not a single time I have been waiting for something to load. I use Google Maps, Taxbot to track (and write off) my mileage, and sometimes on the go, I might use Safari and FIFA Companion App.

I have watched YouTube and it works fine – but I try not to blow through data by watching video while I am on data.

I have not noticed a difference in any way.

How to the rewards work?

You get $2 off for setting up Autopay – paying your phone bill automatically with a credit card. This makes sense and it's one less bill to take up your time.

You also get $1 off for every customer you refer per month. If you refer 10 customers, and they remain active, you would get $10 off your phone bill. This is a way to further reduce a necessary recurring expense. You also get a one-time $10 bonus for referring a new customer that first month.

There is also a long-term Loyalty Bonus: you get $1 off every 30 days after your first year as a customer, $2 off after your second year, $3 after three years, etc.

Support Agent Bonus: You get up to $20 off every 30 days when you contribute to their online customer support community.

If you join Public Mobile through this link you'll get a $10 credit on your account.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you already signed up and did not use a referral code, you can contact support and ask them to apply this to your account to claim your discount.

WX60K0 (Those 0's are Zeros by the way!)

What is the average speed of 4G and 3G data?

You can check coverage and network types in your area at the Public Mobile support page. The Telus network ranked second for download speeds in both the 4G and 3G network categories in Tutela's 2020 “Mobile Experience Report,” tests showed an average speed of 15.68Mbits/sec for 4G downloads and 5.30Mbits/sec for 3G downloads.

Public Mobile Cheapest Plan:

The cheapest Public Mobile plan is the $15/month 100 Minutes Canada-wide Talk Plan. This can be customized with some low-priced add-ons. With AutoPay, this is only $13/mo – plus you will get an extra 250MB of 3G data.

Why this plan rocks: As a base plan, this is everything most people need. You get 100 minutes of outgoing calls, unlimited incoming calls, no long distance charges within Canada and unlimited international text and picture messaging.

By the way, if you want to see just how much you pay for recurring charges each month is to download a cool app called

The Public Mobile Plan I am on:

The best premium plan offered by Public Mobile is the $50 plan, which includes 8GB of 3G-speed data, nationwide unlimited calls, and free long-distance to the United States. This is great if you have relatives in the US. And the 8GB of data is plenty for streaming Spotify and doing whatever without worrying about hitting the limit. (I don't watch Netflix while on data.)

Check out the plans by clicking here.

Public Mobile: Should You Switch To Public Mobile?

Bottom line is that if you consider a cell phone a necessary expense, as I do, why not reduce that bill as much as possible so you can put that money towards something more productive?

Use this Public Mobile code to claim your $10 credit when you create your account: WX60K0

I'm putting my savings into this investment and into this one.

If you are Canadian and want to earn some free money every day, check out this blog post.

9 Tips On How To Pay Off Your Debt Fast

Like so many people (the average Canadian owes $1.71 for every dollar of disposable income), you may find yourself trapped by debt. Paying off debt can feel like an uphill battle, and the longer you wait to take action, the harder and more expensive it can be. Sisyphus anyone?

However, there are steps you can take now to help you pay off debt faster, and even have the advantage of time working for you instead of against you.

This blog post will give some some practical tips on how to get yourself out of debt. Fast!

1 – Re-Frame Your Credit Cards

Credit Card companies love to give credit. It's how they make money. And they make a lot of money. Even taking into account bankrupcites and uncollectible debt, companies like Visa and Mastercard are very profitable.

9 Tips On How To Pay Off Your Debt Fast
Visa Revenue is in the Billions!

But just because you have a credit card, doesn't mean you have to spend it. Many people mentally consider money available to them (in the form of unused credit) as money they can spend. This is a common mistake – and one that credit card companies exploit ruthlessly.

Don't make this mistake. It's not your money. It's literally money belonging to Visa or Mastercard. It's simply the option to borrow money at a high interest rate. Never forget that.

2 – Cut Expenses

The next thing to do after re-framing who the available credit on a credit card belongs to is to cut expenses…ruthlessly. Being in debt means that you are living above your means and you are literally spending more money than you actually own. That's a recipe for disaster.

9 Tips On How To Pay Off Your Debt Fast

So look at what you are spending and decide what to cut. You absolutely must cut some expenses. Spotify & Netflix subscription. I'm looking at you, kid!

“We've seen that the average number of subscriptions per-person has doubled over the last 18 months.”

Yahya Mokhtarzada – Truebill

There is a cool app called Bobby that tracks your recurring subscriptions and helps you see what you are paying for subscriptions. I really like this app, because:

a) it's the cutest squirrel you'll ever see and
b) it helps you see all your subscriptions in one place.

Bobby - Track subscriptions

Another thing Bobby does is that it lets you see the subscriptions you pay annually – just because you chose the pay annually option to save a bit of money, you still need to consider this a monthly subscription.

This is also helpful if you want to add in things you might pay quarterly, like car insurance payments or water utility bills. One of the problems people have with budgets are lump sum semi-regular payments that are hard to quantify on a monthly basis. Bobby can help sort that out for you, as typically those are under-estimated.

Trim is another service that can help you cut down unnecessary expenses, and even negotiate with lenders to reduce your debt. The key is to really reduce the amount of (unnecessary) subscriptions and other expenses you can cut.

Are there lower cost service providers you can switch to? I recently switched from Telus to a self-serve phone plan at Public Mobile. I love it. Same service for almost 1/3rd of the cost.

By the way, I highly recommend Public Mobile if you are in Canada. They run on the Bell towers, so coverage is excellent across Canada.

3 – Convert Personal Expenses to Business Expenses

I run an online business, and that entitles me to certain business deductions. You should always take advantage of any tax deductions you are entitled to. The problem for most people is that just don't know how – and often their accountants don't ask the right questions.

You may, in this new gig economy, have a side hustle. Maybe you do some writing on the side. Or you started a YouTube channel, or maybe you do some influencer work.

(By the way, this is a great platform for getting started as an influencer even if you don't have a larger social following.)

tax deductions for entrepreneurs

All of these things open up the door to converting expenses you would normally have no deductions for – to being tax deductible. For example, if you have a business, printer paper, new software and even that new camera you've been eyeing all become valid business deductions.

Pro Tip: Keep in mind that even if you deduct expenses, you still have that expense, and any deduction you take reduces your overall income. So it's best not to make a purchase at all. But if it's something you need, and you can write it off, that's better than not writing it off.

Obviously, you need to track these expenses and be able to show the purchase receipts.

I use an app called Taxbot that allows me to write off the portion of my car expenses I use for business, and it also allows you to easily write off expenses – even if you don't have a separate business bank account. Here's how I use Taxbot to do that.

4 – Get a Second Income

Being in debt means that you spend more than earn. So maybe you need to earn more. This could be starting a side hustle in your spare time, or it could be a second job. There are also lots of opportunities where you can work remotely.

COVID-19 has opened the eyes of many business owners to the fact that remote work can even be more effective than a toxic workplace environment.

Do you have any skills? Why not start selling a service on Fiverr? There are gigs you can perform for doing simple tasks like running software you may already own. A couple examples are doing keyword research for somebody – or perhaps create pins for them in Canva.

Maybe you're crafty? You could start an Etsy shop for free and start selling some of your awesome creations. Show the world your skills!

5 – List Out Your Credit Card Debts

Open up a Google Sheet and list of your credit cards along with the minimum payments and the interest rate.

pay off debt fast

You have to have a clear view of your problem before you can find a solution.
Here is a site that has some calculators that give you insight into how much you're actually paying toward your principle vs your interest when you make payments.

This can help you prioritize which debts to pay down first. Be sure to include all consumer debts you have in addition to your credit cards, which could include medical bills, student loans and car payments.

6 – Debt Snowball Vs Debt Avalanche

Now that you have all your consumer debts listed out, you can pick your plan of attack.

Instead of randomly paying more to this card or that card every month, the best plane of attack is to choose to use either the Debt Snowball or the Debt Avalanche method.

Both allow you to consolidate your focus around a particular strategy and pay off your debt faster. This ensures that your drive down your debt with an intensity and focus.

Dave Ramsey often uses the Gazelle analogy to explain this concept with a line from the Bible:

“If you've signed surety, my son, do this. Give no sleep to your eyelids, no slumber to your eyes, and deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, a bird from the hand of the fowler.”

Proverbs 6:1-7

The Debt Snowball Method

With the debt snowball method, you pay the lowest loan amount first, regardless of the interest rate. This will give you the quickest win and knock off the smallest source of debt the fastest.

You pay the minimum amount to all the other debts and throw all your extra money at the one card until it's gone.

One of the main benefits of this method is that with those early wins, you can feel yourself getting out of debt and start to hardwire a new pattern with debt in your mind.

The Debt Avalanche Method

The Debt Avalanche method is a little different. With it, you pick the highest interest rate, and tackle that first. Again, you pay only the bare minimums on the other cards and pay as much as you possibly can to the highest interest rate card.

Technically speaking, this is can be a wise method, but it can also be a little more challenging to set the pattern because you won't necessarily reduce the number of your debts as quickly.

7 – Go Used

Consider selling your car and getting an older used model. This can save you thousands of dollars each year.

Another thing you can consider is if you can reduce your household to just one vehicle. This may not be possible if you live in a rural area, but if you live in an urban setting, this can save thousands of dollars each year.

By getting rid of a car, you not only reduce the auto payments, but also the gas, maintenance and insurance associated with that second vehicle.

This is a handy calculator that you can use to see exactly what kind of savings you can achieve by changing up your car situation.

8 – Get a New Credit Card with a Low Interest Rate

This is a little dangerous, because you're actually opening up more credit, but if you can get a teaser interest rate and transfer your debt to that new rate, you can come out ahead.

A good example is if you have a credit card at 21% interest and you can get a 1-year teaser rate for 0% – that would give you relief from that heinous 21% and as long as you didn't use the extra credit, you would save money.

Be careful using this method and be sure to re-read the first step in this article.

9 – Sell Some Stuff

We all have stuff. What can you sell (or rent) to earn some extra income?

Maybe you have a stack of books you'll never read, or an old computer, or guitar, or maybe you have boxes of CDs and only listen to Spotify now. (Hopefully you're on Spotify Free and have ditched the Spotify Premium subscription in Step 2!)

Give away or sell these things. You can make some extra money, and you can free up space and chi for new energy to come into your life.

Remember, you need to change up your action if you want different results in the future. So don't just read something else. Start making those changes now!

Any other tips you think I missed? Let me know in the comments!

GoPeer Review

GoPeer Review

My personal experience using GoPeer, a peer-to-peer lending platform for Canadian investors.

GoPeer Review

So what exactly is GoPeer?  GoPeer is Canada's first consumer peer-to-peer lending platform for Canadians. They have been featured in the news here.

RELATED: if you want to understand more about what cryptocurrencies are and how they impact the future of banking, check out this free book.

What is Peer-To-Peer Lending?

Peer-to-Peer Lending is also known as Crowd-Lending or Alternative Lending.  It is a unique way to earn credit card-type interest without putting up a lot of capital.

Normally, if you are looking to get a loan, you would have to apply for a line-of-credit through a bank or a credit card.  However, peer-to-peer lending offers a unique alternative to traditional lenders.

GoPeer Review

GoPeer Vs Lending Loop?

GoPeer offers consumer loans to individuals. And they allow unaccredited private investors (like myself or any Canadian) to invest in consumer loans. Lending Loop offers business loans to businesses. And they allow private investors to invest in business loans.

So GoPeer offers Canadians peer-to-peer lending on the consumer side, while Lending Loop offers alternative lending for the business side.

If you're interested in learning more about Lending Loop, I have a detailed blog post about my experience with that platform.

How Much Can You Earn From GoPeer?

You can earn credit card-type interest. Take a look at a screenshot from the marketplace and you can see how you can be earning between 11.7% and 25.4% interest on your money.

gopeer canada review
GoPeer Platform Dashboard

Is GoPeer Legit and Safe to Use?

GoPeer is registered in all provinces and territories and is headquartered in Toronto, ON.

GoPeer is not accredited by BBB, has been established for two years and does not have any reviews on the GoPeer BBB page. There are lots of Gopeer Reddit reviews that verify it is working for real Canadians.

They have 29 ratings on Google Reviews, with an average rating of 4.5 across all ratings.  The negative reviews were mostly people complaining that they got denied for a loan.

gopeer reviews
GoPeer Reviews on Google

Yes, GoPeer is legit and safe to use. All investments can be risky, and because of the de-stabilizing nature of COVID, it would be prudent to only invest money you can afford to lose.  I like the GoPeer model, however, because of how they vet their clients.  You do need typically a 600+ credit score rating to be approved, and the credit score is shown in the marketplace as one criteria to evaluate which loans you will invest in.

Peer-to-peer lending is not correlated with the stock market, which makes this a good addition to any portfolio, in my opinion.

How does GoPeer Work?

GoPeer is a lending platform that allows you to invest in micro-loans to individuals.  It is a peer-to-peer lending platforms that essentially is an intermediary between borrowers and private investors, allowing average folks to lend money directly to other individuals while earning a substantial return (interest rate) in exchange.

These P2P platforms leverage the power of the multitude to make capital available for businesses to operate and grow the economy.  And for investors, they allow you to diversify into multiple loans, as low as $10 per loan, which reduces your overall risk.

How can I get a peer to peer loan?

You can apply to get a loan here from GoPeer using this link and get $30 back when you may your first payment.  You should have a solid (600+) credit rating, as GoPeer has a proprietary method of evaluating who they will make loans to. 

Reddit has become a source of due diligence these days, but there are not many reviews on Reddit about GoPeer.

Is P2P lending a good investment?

I like P2P lending because you can earn credit-card level interest rates of return.  This is significantly higher than parking your money in bonds, money market accounts, or even a high-yield bank account.

One drawback of P2P lending is the time frame.  You can't liquidate your investment early, so you will have some money locked in for the duration of the loan.  Most loans on GoPeer range from 3-4 years in length, during which your capital illiquid.  I should point out that each month when the loan is repaid, you do get a bit of principle and interest back.

How much does it cost to start peer to peer lending

To fund your account you need to make an initial deposit of $1000.  It's important to invest the full $1000 in order to get your bonus.  The minimum you can invest in any loan is $10.  This low amount allows you to spread even a meager investment of $1000 over many different loans, which reduces your overall risk.

What's the average return with GoPeer?

It depends. On average, including defaulted loans, the average return is over 10% in 2021, which is 3 times HIGHER than the S&P High Yield Corporate Bond Index. (And if you want to diversify some of your stock portfolio especially considering the market is at a high at present, GoPeer is a good way to do that):

GoPeer Review

For my personal account, I am currently as of March 2022 at 12.9%, which I am happy about.

GoPeer Review
My personal GoPeer returns to date.

Which Loans Should I Invest In?

That depends on your risk profile. Best practice is obviously to spread your money amongst the maximum amount of loans. I tend to favour loans that are C+ or better. Here is the criteria you will see that will allow you to make an informed decision about whether or not to invest in a particular loan.

gopeer loan review
Sample GoPeer Loan

I look at the credit score, the reason for the loan, the debt to income ratio, and the annual salary as a starting point.

Where can I get started with GoPeer?

You can use this link to get started with GoPeer.

You will earn $30 when you invest in your first loan as an investor, or when you make your first payment if you apply for a loan from GoPeer.

If I was older, or less risk averse, I would have more of my portfolio in GoPeer. Currently, I have a large portion of my investments in crypto. I am using BlockFi to earn some interest on my crypto that you may be interested in learning more about here:

Get started with BlockFi

If you do have any questions, feel free to reach out in the comments or privately via my contact page.

Top Tips For Creating A Functional Workspace at Home

Since March 2020, the world has been turned upside down.

With the Covid pandemic people from all walks of life have had to drastically change the way they lead their lives. 

No matter what part of the world you’re in, things that we took for granted in our everyday lives have changed dramatically to adapt to this new normal.

On a personal level, I know that not having the freedom to simply see friends and family has had its challenges.  Schooling our children has also changed – many of us opting to homeschool – and even how we go about doing our grocery shopping and enjoying our leisure time (from going to a restaurant to vacationing) has changed so completely that it has left the world spinning…

That said, as an online entrepreneur working from home the last 16 years, a home office has been my normal, but since the start of the pandemic many people have had to adjust to working remotely or starting a new way to make a livelihood by working from home because of job loss. 

Over the past year what’s changed for me is not only have I had more people contact me about creating a business from home (in addition to small business owners who need help with digital marketing solutions) but what has changed is that now I find myself having to counsel people on setting up workspaces at home that will serve the purpose of building and sustaining a business/working remotely for the foreseeable future.  

The Challenge of “Working From Home”

It’s a challenge to learn “how to work remotely” from home.  

(This little device certainly helps me out a ton!)

There is a delicate balancing act that involves adjusting to a new workflow having family around (especially if you have children and they are home during the day), learning to keep your personal life at bay, and keep it from invading your working hours. (This can be challenging especially when you want to do something around the home that you've been putting off.)

And this requires many of us to create a more multi-functional home than you may have ever intended it for when you first purchased your home.  

In fact, where I am in Canada, my rural area has seen an influx of people moving here as we are within 35 mins of a major urban center but far enough that they are able to buy homes within budget that will cater to the new situations (as mentioned above) that we are finding ourselves in since the start of the pandemic.

Moving: Bigger Spaces and Multi-Functional Homes

In fact, according to the Financial Post, a total of 87,444 people left the three major Canadian cities (Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal) between July 2019 and July 2020 for other parts of the same province, up from an average annual exodus of 72,686 the previous three years… which is pretty significant.

Families are finding they need bigger spaces and different types of setups in their homes. People are now adjusting to raising their families and working from the same space whereas these traditionally were kept separate with having a workplace to go to pre-pandemic.  

In fact, some of our close friends just bought a house sight unseen (except for pictures on the internet) and recently did a cross country move to accommodate working from home (both remotely for one parent and a start-up home business for the other parent) all the while homeschooling their children. 

One of the main reasons for moving into a new home was the fact that interest rates have been so low since the pandemic started that buying a home with the space they needed to function in their new situation made the most sense versus renovating or staying where they were.

From my own experience, having always worked from home, we have moved several times and any space we move into has had to accommodate our home life as well as our work life – which means at least 2 rooms need to be dedicated to work offices.  The latest home we bought had 4 bedrooms, 2 of which were converted to workspaces and an opened attic loft that now serves as the bedrooms of our 2 children.

Different Businesses, Different “Work From Home” Set-Ups

Let me start by saying, if your work situation has changed because of the pandemic and you find yourself needing to create a workspace for yourself, (whether that be in current home or if you are in the market to find a new home to suit your needs) budget is obviously a huge consideration. 

If that’s the case, I have some tools later on that I’ll share with you like a mortgage calculator, tax programs etc…) to help you determine what you can realistically afford, but the first thing to brainstorm is the type of business you operate and the type of space you need.  

work from home set ups

For example, if you operate a freelance photography business like one of my clients, your workspace might be a studio where you set up your props, lighting etc…in which case you will need a large, and undisturbed area – preferably away from the hustle and bustle of the family, and possibly even a separate entrance for clients.  

A friend of mine, who is a photographer, just bought a new home during the pandemic because of the low-interest rates and the need to increase her studio space. Her old studio did not have a separate entrance which meant clients always had to pass through her private home which she didn't like. And of course now, with the pandemic, she wanted a complete separation of work and family space and found a larger space to comply with some of the new pandemic regulations.

If you offer massage therapy like another one of my clients do, your workspace will probably be a portion of your home dedicated to a  treatment room.  Again, a separate entrance might be helpful.  A massage therapist I knew ran her business out of her basement, another out of a second bedroom.  Again it all depends on the existing space or if looking to buy, what they can afford in a new home.

Another one of my clients needed a home office to conduct Skype sessions for personal development classes she held online or in my case, we needed 2 offices for each of us and a video creation room for all the tutorials and informational products that we created.  

So as you look at your own home or prepare to look at homes to purchase, here are some different setups you might want to think about:  

What Is Important In A Home/Work Space?

Since I have to deal with balancing the business-family dynamic, I look for spaces that can be shut off from the hustle and bustle of the house. 

If the space is available and you can afford it, choose a separate room as a dedicated workspace. You want to minimize distractions.  

importance of work from home space

Closed off areas that come to mind would be a dedicated separate room like a spare bedroom, a dining room that has French doors to which you could close, a finished basement in which to put an office, or even a separate structure on your property like a small studio space is ideal.  If you are in the real estate market, when looking at houses keep in mind all the above points, but don’t overlook the garage.  A converted garage is a great space to create an office.  In fact in one of our rental properties, the tenants use the garage as an artist's studio and can work from there to create her beautiful pieces of art.

Other tips are to select a workspace that is large enough to operate your business. Instead of working out of several spaces in the home, keeping everything related to your business in one area is much easier to handle and to keep from your business taking over your home. 

If clients will be coming to your home, the ideal is a workspace with a separate outside door or very close to an outside door.

My First Home Office

For those of you who can’t find the space or lack the budget, the least expensive way to create a home office is to set up a space in the corner of your home.  In fact, many kitchens have a small nook or workspace that could function as a workspace for your business.  Clients of mine in small condos or flats have simply extended kitchen counters to make a functional workspace.

When I started my online company, the only space I had in my small basement apartment was a corner in the kitchen, right by the fridge.  Amazingly, that first year cramped into that small space my business made 6 figures year – which goes to show you that you can work from anywhere!

Helpful Resources

Having gone through many of the potential options for creating conducive workspaces in the home, I wanted to leave you with some of my top resources.

First, if you are new to working from home and are branching out on your own, there are definitely expenses that can be written off. I use a great program called Taxbot that helps me get organized so it’s one easy transfer to my accountant come tax time.  It tracks many of the deductions that I incur running a business and so I encourage you all to check it out.

For those of you realizing the limitations of your current home/workspace and are looking to find a new home, understanding where you are financially and having a good understanding of what you can afford is paramount. 

I have included a link to a mortgage calculator to help you figure out what you can afford and what I like about this particular calculator is that it provides graphs of loan repayments along with monthly and yearly amortization tables.    

Lastly, be sure that when you are planning your ideal workspace that you take into account how your own life works around you. Working from home is a delicate balancing act and with much thought and reflection can be a very positive and rewarding experience.

Good luck and welcome to the “new normal!