How This Bear Market Compares to Other Bear Markets

The New York Times has a great graph that compares this bear market to other bear markets. Of course, it only looks at the S&P 500. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like they are updating it. I’d be very surprised if we reached the same bottom that we did in 1932, but who knows, anything can happen. The current bear market looks a lot like the one from 1937 to 1942.

XIC Stock Split

Anyone who owns iShares CDN S&P/TSX Capped Composite Index Fund (XIC) may have noticed that it is trading at around $20 when it should be in the $80s. It is because they announced a stock split, however, the additional units haven’t been disbursed to share holders yet. Meanwhile, in my E*Trade account it says that holdings in XIC have a market value 73% less than the book value because the split price has already taken effect.

Google Ads No More

I’m proud to announce that I am getting rid of all the Google Ads from my site. They just don’t make enough money to be worth it. A second factor is that I have always written on this blog for fun, as a hobby, and not because I want to make money. I want to make sure people know that when they read my posts. I find that some blogs tend to pump out articles just to increase ad revenue.

I may think about phasing out my link ads as well. As some of you might already know, Google frowns upon links ads these days and some sites have had their page rank reduced due to unrelated paid link ads. The link ads on my sites are mostly debt-related and not very related to what I blog about so this has worried me a little. Most of them don’t expire until later this year so I’m not worrying about those yet.

Christmas is Approaching

Christmas is almost upon us and with everything that is going on at work, Christmas parties, Christmas shopping, and a few other things, I might be blogging less for the next month. I just wanted to say sorry to the few people who have sent me great questions that I have no responded to yet (I think there are just about 2 or 3 right now in my queue). Also, this blog has managed to sustain over 300 subscribers according to FeedBurner for the past few days. This blog has been around just over 2 years so that’s about one new subscriber ever 2 days or so. Thanks to everyone for subscribing (please tell your friends) and have a great holiday season.

Get Rid of the Penny

There has been debate for many years on whether or not Canada should get rid of the penny. According to an article from CBC news called “A ‘penniless’ Canada?“, “more than two in five consumers surveyed (42 per cent) were in favour of withdrawing the penny from circulation, while 33 per cent wanted to keep the copper, according to the survey. The rest were uncommitted.” Those that wanted to get rid of the coin stated reasonable reasons, that “they wouldn’t have to carry as much change if the penny disappeared. They complained that the penny is inconvenient, lacks value and is too expensive.” Those that wanted to keep the copper stated utterly ridiculous reasons: “Those who opposed the penny’s death felt prices would increase as businesses “rounded up.” Other penny supporters said it holds sentimental value or they just plain liked the coin.” Huh? Now you know why the recent MMP referendum did not pass in Ontario…

Australia has already gotten rid of their penny and two-cent penny in 1990 and their currency has been worth about the same as ours for as long as I can remember. In 1867 the lowest denomination coin was the penny and how much was it worth back then? According to the Bank of Canada, the value of $0.01 in 1867 had the purchasing power of $0.27 in today’s dollars. So back then, they were getting by with the lowest denomination of coin being worth $0.27. This kind of makes sense, I mean what can you buy nowadays for less than a quarter? The only thing I can think of is 1 small piece of candy. Or a shopping card at some grocery stores. The cheapest pop from a vending machine that have seen is $0.35 at Safeway for the Safeway brand pop, but last time I checked that was gone and they were selling Pepsi products.

A more interesting article came out in July, which I first heard about on CBC radio. It says that according to an economic model called “D-Metric”, Canada should have gotten rid of the penny in 2005, around the time that an average day’s net pay in Canada exceeded $100/day. Apparently, “today’s purchasing power of the five-cent coin is equivalent to the purchasing power of the penny in 1972.” According to the article “A decision to ditch the penny would be up to the Finance Minister. The Finance Department says it examines coinage issues on a regular basis in conjunction with the Royal Canadian Mint.” So ditch it already!

It’s not that I really care that much about the penny. I almost never lay eyes on them or touch them, using debit for almost all my purchases and tossing all my lose change (if I have any) in an automatic change sorter at home. It’s just a bit embarrassing that we are so far behind on these simple things like pennies and electoral systems, and makes me annoyed that our politicians don’t do anything about it.

Most of the comments on this CBC article Save the Penny or Leave the Penny are for getting rid of the penny. Some made me laugh:

I say SAVE THE PENNY or else the next thing you know there will no more NICKEL, DIME, or QUARTER.
Prices WILL RISE because we here in Canada never get savings passed on to us. Instead of prices being rounded down, they will be rounded up!

I’m pretty sure that was a joke because it was signed “William Hung.” If you want to know how it really works, check out Swedish rounding.

Tough Times

Looks like the market has had a bit of a rough week, with Canadian and US indexes losing almost 3% in the last 5 days of trading. I have a feeling it will probably get worse before it gets better. Just try to block it out. If your time horizon is 10 years or more then the recent drops are completely insignificant. You can do more harm than good by selling.