John’s Regular Insights

2015 Test drives

November 8, 2014 - 6:18 pm - Posted by YS

A friend brought his loaner courtesy car 2104 Infiniti Q50
for me to test drive this morning as I have shown interest in getting one.

What a great door to door service.

Basically a good engine but is a few steps  behind its many fierce competitors.
I would expect a deep discount sooner than later.

It is a very nice piece of engine and powerful once let go but lacks
the impression of luxury like C300, Lexus Es and GS  and even TLX.
Response is slightly but noticeably behind C300.
Lexus GS has somewhat a smoother ride.
In the case of  Mercedes C300 and the Lexus duo as soon as I stepped into the cabin I felt  well respected and classy. The Q does not conjure that.

Q50 needs a major redesign instead of just a new badge riding on the coat tail of the  well liked G series. They missed a golden opportunity in late 2013 to make a bold and meaningful  statement with the Q.

Recalls and Consumer Reports surely do not help either.
Looking back in late 2013, I am glad the saleslady was plain
with no personality at all when i visited the Infiniti Dealership.
Otherwise, I might have to rid of the purchase now.

My friend sure did well with the G37  he got in late 2013.

The 2015 C300 is still my very first choice without the Run Flat Tyres
as CAR OF THE YEAR.

Overall the 2015 Subaru Legacy 3.6R  with Eyesight is my best car for value with excellent proven reliability and    reasonable maintenance costs.

I have also test driven Audi A4, BMW 328i and viewed other similar vehicles.

Posted in Cars | 78 Comments »

I may learn a thing or 2

October 28, 2014 - 7:07 pm - Posted by YS

We were in a Big Box Store this morning and I noticed an elderly gent. (A) seemed kind of lost.
It turned out that he was trying to restock some LED light bulbs but could
not find where the existing stocks were although he was in the right aisle.

I looked around and found the the spot and we got talking.
As we were talking a lady asked A if he knew where the Filtrate Furnace Air filters were.
A was not sure.
I pointed out to the lady as I just bought some last week when they were on sale.

A is 67, lost his wife in the 90′s and never re-married.
He said he was “not rich enough” to travel but “too rich” to get any financial assistance from the ‘govt.
He has a house and no debts.
He was getting bored and needed some spending money also.
So few months ago he started working for Costco.

When I asked if he had any girl friends, he said,  “Oh, yes, but they all want to get serious and marry..!”.

I promised him that i would look him up when I next visit the store.
I may learn a thing or 2 from him.
Besides, he is my age.

Posted in Laughter, Life | 43 Comments »

Buy a car, preparation and the actual dealing

October 26, 2014 - 7:03 pm - Posted by YS

Here are some of my suggestions:

- research research and research on cars you are interested in
and, if applicable, your own trade in value;
- have a list of prepared questions;
-make a list of security and other features you want;
-be nice to the greeter/receptionist;
- don’t be humble to talk technical about the car from your research
;you will get respect;
- always show appreciation even if you do not like the car or the salesperson;
- test drive, ask   questions
- make it known you have also test driven other brands, if it is the case;
- do not be over sold (with packages you do not need or can not afford)
nor should you be undersold i.e. do not let the person sell you what they have on the lot  rather than what you want;
- negotiate the sales price and your trade in separately;..then do your own maths.

- keep good record of your car service;
- if the dealer low-balls you, do not negotiate; just politely terminate and walk out;
trying to up the deal from a low point is not to your advantage since the dealer    is not dealing in good faith; you should also deal in good faith as well
- after you are close to a figure,get the dealer to throw in some reasonable
goodies that would cost them little real costs e/g rain guards, wheel nuts; a few free regular services;
- treat the salesperson with respect; if he is rude he will pay the price for not getting sales;
if you are rude and emotional the salesperson will not work for you although he really is working for himself;
but he/she too has feelings.
- it is not just the monthly payments, it is how much you pay if you have to pay in cash…i.e. what is the bottom line
as i said do your own maths.

Make it enjoyable  not stressful, and definitely not confrontational.

Posted in Cars | 30 Comments »

Dividend – Does it matter?

October 26, 2014 - 3:12 pm - Posted by YS

Some investment gurus/writers argue that dividend paying stocks do not necessarily outperform those that do not pay dividends.

The classic arguments for dividends are:
1 – shows earnings power;

2 – investors want clear reliable return

——————————

Those who do not think dividends are that vital:

1 – company can finance growth with more retained earnings;

2 – dividends will come when the time is right.

————-

My purpose here is NOT argue for or against as this would  become too academic.  From my personal experience and being a ” small investors ” ( define which every way you want ) I prefer to have my portfolio   filled with companies that have good and consistent records of dividend  which   tend to  favour  Financials, Preferred shares and Utilities.

Dividends from Blue Chips companies do matter in the long run.

For the past 4-5 years my portfolio with a little re-alignments from time to time has consistently outperformed the bench mark index.  Dividends are a key ingredient in my case.

I need my dividends and it works.

 

 

Posted in Finance-Economy | Comments Off

My 38C hip – i got rhythm

February 20, 2011 - 7:32 pm - Posted by YS

My wife and I are enrolled in Zumba/Zoomba dancicise.

Being the only other male out of a class of 25+ often makes me feel  “different”.

It is times like these i can clearly  see and experience why and how women move more elegantly than men.

Perhaps to make me feel at home, one day the female instructor commented that my hips moved with rhythm.

I proudly responded by saying, “… this is a 38C backside….”.

Take my word, I strongly advise all able seniors to join some sort of physical activity – it is good for your soul, your health and your self confidence.

Posted in Health, Laughter | Comments Off

Yield and Pull to the side

February 6, 2011 - 4:51 pm - Posted by YS

I recently read an article in the Vancouver Sun detailing about the writer’s experience with drivers who would continue driving despite clear and loud siren alarm/sound from Ambulance or Police Cruiser.

Yesterday ( Feb 5th ) while driving south on King George/96th, Surrey, we experienced similar behaviours from quite a few cars.  The drivers either proceeded as if nothing had happened or blocking traffic on the middle or the fast lane making no effort to pull to the side.

On a related issue about drivers still using hand held cell phone or equipment, this happened just too often.  I see it just about once a week or more whenever I asked my passenger to spot these irresponsible drivers.

Time to set up special traffic squad to issue tickets to offenders. This will save lives and take a lot of pressure from regular police who have more urgent and demanding issues to deal with.

Posted in Cars, Public Issues | Comments Off

RRSp-LRIF- convertion

January 31, 2011 - 7:54 pm - Posted by YS

I recently tried to find info. on converting Lock-In RRSP into Lock-In RIF, min, / Max withdrawals. After visiting numerous financial sites, Banks and Insuance companies and even phoning a Bank’s 1-800## I was told to check out CRA (Canadian Revenue Agency), to no avail.
I finanally stumbled into a very good and user friendly site http://www.taxtips.ca/pensions/rpp/minmaxwithdrawals.htm
It provides a very comprehensive ROAD Map- min amount withdrawal and MAX amount withdrawal for Lock-In RIF…
You can even do a dummy/trial tax analysis. Highly recommended.

Posted in Laughter | Comments Off

Since early 2010 it became illegal for drivers to use hand held phones while driving. 1 year later I often see violators, young and old, male and female defying the law. If as a driver I can casaully notice these irresponsible drivers, it will not be difficult for the police to actively seek out these culprits. I strongly urge the BC govt. to pursue these dangerous drivers. It will only save lives if the police go after these selfsih people.

January 31, 2011 - 7:31 pm - Posted by YS

Posted in Public Issues | Comments Off

I am back

January 30, 2011 - 10:58 pm - Posted by YS

I am back. I officially retired in September 2008 at the age of 60. To-date I have managed to keep myself busy at a moderate pace doing meaningful things I like and those that I didn’t have the time or the money to do in my younger days.
I will have more to say in the coming days/weeks on how things and my life have evolved since then.

Posted in Laughter | Comments Off

Sept 19/ 2008

June 10, 2009 - 9:38 pm - Posted by YS

September 19, 2008 – Friday

Was my last day at work after giving a 13 week verbal notice followed by  a 7 week  written confirmation to my employer.  The decision was not difficult as this had been well thought of and discussed with my spouse for over 1 year.  I  informed my supervisor in early 2008 that I would not stay pass Jan/2009 and would leave earlier if they had a candidate to replace me.

I had also wanted and considered  taking a 6-8 weeks leave but regretfully that could not be worked out.

I am a true believer of stepping down before my time is due or simply put – quit while you are ahead. My job was not overly demanding or stressful and the pay is adequate. This had prompted many to ask ” why!”.

Over the years it was clear to me that there were too many who have overstayed -  they showed clear signs of ill health, physically and mentally and noticeably performing their job in a ” wobbly manner “.

People who are concerned about  not having enough to do after retirement need to look no further than their own communities – volunteering work is abundantly available. Give back to the society, i urge them, or simply spend more time on things you have always wanted to do  unless you are one of those who would prefer to pass out/away on your desk.

To start my retirement i will take a small and humble step of weeding one at a time!

Not to burn  my bridges – I may indeed return to a paid job -  will keep the rest of thoughts to myself

=======

June 2009 – update

I have been busy working around the house so I truly enjoy my retirement.

Posted in Memoirs - a mini version | Comments Off

About

    I retired in late 2008; worked for about 30 years mainly in the Canadian banking sector I will continue to give back what i have taken and benefited from the society... sharing my experience and thoughts is one of many ways to do so..... John YS.

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