Stop taking it up the… like Ned Beatty in Deliverance

I have been away from the people I care about for the last few weeks.   Over the past four to five years I have clocked a lot of kilometers/miles to earn a buck and provide for the people I care about.  For those who don’t know I spend time in Fort McMurray

, that’s in northern Alberta, the rest of my time is divided between Edmonton Alberta, Peterborough, and Toronto Ontario.

Fort McMurray Alberta, known by the locals as “Fort Mac.”, is the hub of all the Oil Sands projects in Northern Alberta. They say the population is 60 something thousand.  But those who live there know that is just not the case.  There are 60,000+++ people in lineups at Tim Horton’s at any given moment in Ft Mac, never mind people living there.  Why there are only 2 Tim Horton’s locations in that city is beyond me.  In Ft. Mac there has to at least that number living in the basements and spare rooms of the property owners there.  On top of a bloated city, populated with people living their dreams or chasing rainbows, there are camps the size of small cities scattered throughout the area.

I took a little bit of a tangent with the Tim Horton’s thing, but what I am saying is this, Ft Mac is a unique city with a large transient population of people from all over the world.  For a city its size, it only takes 10 minutes (at 2:29 am) to drive from one end of the city to the other, is represented by every country on this planet.

This past two weeks in Ft Mac I was a little uncomfortable though.  I spent time with people who really do not like Canada

, but came here for the opportunity to work.  They had nothing good to say about our political leaders never mind the “idiots” who live here.    I was confused, as would anyone be, as to why someone would want to come to a place you don’t like.  I’m struggling right now to find the right words because I do not want to offend or sound narrow minded. 

When I speak I speak from a position of an immigrant.  I spent some time in the US, and became a naturalized citizen there.  I was naturalized in early 2005, and moved back to Canada in April of 2006.  When I was moving to the US in July of 2000 I recall thinking how grateful I was for this opportunity.  The United States being the free market capital of the world

, possibly the universe, I was excited about possibly getting my piece of the pie.  I recall driving down I-75 on my way to Florida when I could physically feel the opportunities that were ahead of me.  Ironically though, I had these feelings in one of the poorest states in the union, I think it was either Kentucky or Tennessee, not sure which one.  But of all places to have ”delusions” of opportunities you would think they would have happened in another state… I don’t know… maybe in Manhattan, New York, or a million other places.  However I had them in a state that has people who play the Banjo like the people in Deliverance. 

This movie Deliverance was shot in northern Georgia, and has forever changed my generations view on the actor Ned Beatty, and the wonderful sound of a Banjo with the “squeal like a pig” scene.  I am not saying that all people from the states I mention are like those in the movie Deliverance, but I am saying that some of the Hillbillies are, some not all, just some.

Anyway I guess it doesn’t matter where I had these thoughts, I did petition the US government to move there.  They accepted my petition, and I moved to the wonderful city of Crystal River, Florida, the home of Fat Boy’s BBQ and the Manatee.  Cristal River’s claim to fame of Fat Boy’s BBQ, and the Manatee are completely unrelated; it’s illegal to touch Manatee never mind eat them.  I did read a shirt onetime that said, “Manatee taste like chicken” if this is true they would taste better if cooked on the BBQ. 

As a guest in the US I never spoke poorly of it or the people of that country.  I mean, I have views about their foreign policy

and other issues, all of these go beyond this entry.  Like a good guest who was invited to dinner, never mind someone who invited themselves, I was a gracious.  I didn’t complain about the house or the owners of the house.  I did not complain about the food, how it was prepared or the ambiance.  I was grateful for the experience and the fellowship with the people of that house. While I lived in the US I met some of the nicest people I have ever met.  I even met some Hillbillies that have reduced my anxieties towards Banjo music.

I need to focus.  My blog is on tax, income and investment planning.  I began this entry talking about how I thought it was tacky for people to come to this wonderful country for economic opportunities, and complain about the country and its occupants.  I went from that to expressing my gratitude for the opportunities I was granted when I moved to the US, and expressed the love and admiration I have towards the occupants of that country and the country itself. 

The main focus of this entry is on opportunities; sub topic was how grateful one should be when they were given one. I have witnessed many changes in society.  Some of the major changes are technological ones.  Without a moment’s notice news can travel around the world.  This news may be based on fact or a complete lie.

Fact or fiction, news will travel at such a high rate, and the impact of that news is felt sooner than it ever has before.  The problem is people are turning to the web for their news and information gathering rather than from more traditional sources.  Some information on the web can be dressed up to look and feel just like real news, or facts, and it’s nothing more than a guy in his basement typing away his opinions on a certain topic. No different than what I’m doing right now.  That’s not to say that traditional news sources don’t have their hidden agendas, they do.  It’s just hoped that traditional sources use an honest unbiased method when disseminating the news.  I say this last statement with optimism.

How do you appease the paranoid inner voice that says…”The man is out to get you…  There are no opportunities out there for you…  The government controls everything, never mind the government, what about the shadow government, the ones actually pulling the strings on the puppets in power.”    And those voices of extreme optimism, I’m a recovering optimist and can speak of these voices. What happened to my good friend Ned Beatty was done by force.  There was a time with my naiveté and optimism got me in more trouble than Ned ever dreamed of being in.  Anyway, some time has passed, and I question things a little more than I use to.

How do you sift through the mounds of garbage out there, and assimilate it into your thought presses to make decisions that will affect your future.  How do you make plans with the overwhelming amounts, or real information never mind the mounds of misinformation?

 The answer is to use a money manager.  For those of modest means use a good mutual fund, for those with greater means do the same or a combination of that and other methods. 

I use to give seminars when I lived in Florida; I often spoke about a money manager I used who had 275 employees working for him.  All of these people were focused on one thing, looking for investment opportunities for the clients whose assets they manage.  They managed billions of dollars and they were focused on making investment gains for their clients.  They sifted through the mounds of information out there.  They fact checked, verified and re-verified and do the math before they would make an investment choice.  Not all choices are perfect, but their goal is to increase the opportunities for you to succeed.

You can make these gains even better if you work with an adviser who focuses on reducing tax bill as well as working hard on getting you a good rate of return.  For example, if you were to get a 5% rate of return on your investment, making things simple, if you had $100,000.00, you would have made $5,000.00.  If your adviser was focused on your taxes as well as your investments and they were to find an additional $1,000.00 on your income tax return.  In doing so has increased your return on your investment from 5% to 6%, add the $1,000.00 from your tax return to the $5,000.00 you received on your investment, and did so without changing investment risk.

Don’t take it like my good friend Ned did in the movie Deliverance.  Don’t take it from the man, level the playing field as best you can though the use of money managers.  Especially do not take it from your government in the form of high taxation, use whatever legal way you can to reduce your tax bill.  Do not leave any money in the table.

As I end with this entry, Twitter’s IPO is making the news.  A company worth nothing a few years ago is worth billions today.  The news was talking about the new millionaires in Silicon Valley, and the fact that the owners are now billionaires.  Opportunities are out there, in fact they are everywhere.  Do what you can to make opportunities happen.   Size them when they present themselves and be grateful when things are going your way.

Feel free to contact me if you’re looking for opportunities and seeking a plan to navigate your way through this tough market place.

Caveat Emptor

Contact Me (Joe) at:

1.780.628.2122: Edmonton, Alberta
1.780.747.1178: Ft. McMurray, Alberta
1.705.201.1078: Peterborough, Ontario
1.416.619.9084: Toronto, Ontario
1.587.758.0786: Fax (Edmonton, Alberta)

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