Mortgage Free by 58

August 28th, 2014 Posted in Real Estate & Mortgage | No Comments »

Canadian Mortgages Stretching Further

Canadian Mortgages Stretching Further

A recent CIBC survey that was conducted by Angus Reid finds out that Canadians are stretching their mortgages one year further than previously thought a year ago. 58 is the new mortgage-free freedom age on an average. However, based on where you look at, the picture can be very different.

Here are some of the highlights from this survey:

- 55 percent of Canadians making extra efforts are paying their mortgage faster. It was 68 percent last year.

- Homeowners in British Columbia have the highest expected age to pay off mortgages at 66.

- In Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec the expected age to pay off mortgages is 55, 57, and 56.

- Alberta and Ontario have the highest percentage of homeowners taking extra steps to pay off their mortgages faster at 65 and 61 percent.

- British Columbia (47 percent), Quebec (48), and Atlantic Canada (48) have the lowest percentage of homeowners taking extra steps to pay off their mortgage faster.

- Small efforts can go a long way to save big time.

- For example, someone with a $250,000 mortgage (25 year at 4.99 percent interest) can save about $35,000 if they add $147 to their monthly payments.

- Nearly $30,000 on interest can be saved if the above owner makes $726 payments every two weeks, instead of one monthly payment.

- If the average Canadian tax refund ($1,600) is applied towards a mortgage every year, it would save 4 years amortization and save about $33,103 in interest.

Source: CIBC

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Green Car Technology

Hybrid, Electric, and Green Car

August 23rd, 2014 Posted in Internet & Technology | No Comments »

GREEN CAR TECHNOLOGY THE CURRENT WAVES

GREEN CAR TECHNOLOGY: THE CURRENT WAVES

Green car technology is a method that is adapted in an attempt to save our precious environment by avoiding the usage of fossil fuels that makes the environment polluted. Over the years researchers have been experimenting with the technology that facilitates the use of electrically maintained cars and are also trying to find a substitute to the existing vehicles that use fossil fuels. Earlier this century, it was quite shocking to know that our planet was on its threshold with respect to greenhouse effect.  The main reason behind this was known to be the usage of fossil fuels which in turn contributed to the depletion of ozone layer thereby increasing greenhouse effect. With an attempt to reduce this menace, car manufacturers across the globe began manufacturing greener ecologically aware cars.

Presently in this century, the vehicles have been manufactured with a hybrid engine which is nothing but a conservative motor engine, which is combined with the usual electric engine. These are capable of toggling between power of an electric motor and the ignition engine.  With normal speeds, the car is powered by electric motor and at high speeds; the ignition engine powers the vehicle. Here are a few green technology cars presently available:

Electrically powered vehicles have gained a lot of popularity in the recent past as they possess an electric motor, which is powered with battery packs and these packs are a combination of Nickel metal-hydride or Lithium-ion, which are charged with a connection to main power supply typically charged for an entire night.  Also, these electric cars have iterative braking system due to which the batteries are charged when brakes are applied

Currently, hybrid cars use both the electric motors and petrol engines.  The electric motor is powered by the batteries, which are charged and useful at lower speeds, while the petrol engine possesses a small unit which powers it during high speeds thereby allowing this engine to function only at optimum speed.  Also, the renewable energy sources like rapeseed; sunflower or soybean oil is used to produce biodiesel, wherein the carbon dioxide gas emitted is neutralized as it is absorbed by the fuel crop, which facilitates its growth.

Ethanol, which is a sugarcane product, contains high octane content, which increases engine performance and is broadly used in Europe wherein flexi-fuel vehicles are developed on Ford, Saab etc. Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) contains propane and butane, which produces less CO2 than petrol and diesel. The internal engine can be modified because of which the vehicle can use petrol or LPG.

Fuel cells are conversion devices which provide energy from electrochemical reaction and electricity can be continually produced with the flow of reactance.  However, this technology is proven to be expensive.  Another fossil fuel is the compressed natural gas found underneath the earth surface, which also produces less CO2 gas and this gas is compressed in the cylinder and mixes well with the air before combustion, thereby making it an efficient fuel.

However with the advent of the green technology, environment awareness is being fast spread to various industries and manufacturers thereby creating efficient business opportunities to the investors. This awareness has led to the creation of vital engines with most advantageous performance and is also eco friendly. Green car technology has revolutionized the vehicle manufacturing process thereby saving our planet Earth to a certain extent.

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The World’s Top Strongest Banks

August 12th, 2014 Posted in Canada & Beyond | No Comments »

4 out of 5 North American Strongest Banks are Canadian

4 out of 5 North American Strongest Banks are Canadian

Business and financial news website Bloomberg recently published a report featuring the world’s strongest bank. In order to find the strongest banks, Bloomberg looked at banks with at least $100 billion in assets and five categories such as Tier 1 capital compared with risk-weighted assets, efficiency, nonperforming assets against total assets, and more.

Private banks are also included for consideration. The results? Canadian banks scored well and 3 banks are included in the list, such as Desjardins Group (3rd), CIBC (15th), and RBC (18th).

Let’s look at the top 10 banks from the report:

  1. Hang Seng Bank (Hong Kong)
  2. Desjardins Group (Canada)
  3. Norinchukin Bank (Japan)
  4. Oversea-Chinese Banking (Singapore)
  5. Qatar National Bank (Qatar)
  6. Bayerische Landesbank (Germany)
  7. DBS Group Holdings (Singapore)
  8. Pohjola Bank (Finland)
  9. Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (Sweden)
  10. Boc Hong kong Holdings (Hong Kong)

Source: Bloomberg

An important twist is that only one American bank (U.S. Bancorp) made it to the list, at the 19th position. If you look at the tops North American banks, 4 out of 5 are Canadian banks. To view the full report, visit here.

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Green Cleaning Tips

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August 5th, 2014 Posted in Life & Money Smart Tips | No Comments »

Green Home Cleaning Tips

Green Home Cleaning Tips

Did you know that homes today have more chemicals in them than chemical labs did 100 years ago? Did you know that homes have 70 times the chemical levels inside than are found outside? These are alarming statistics. Another alarming statistic is that housewives/husbands have a 55 percent greater risk of contracting cancer than others, and this is most likely due to the high levels of chemicals in our home. Another scary statistic is that our homes usually contain 150 chemicals that are known to cause cancer. Where do these chemicals come from? They come from the cleaning products we use to keep our homes clean. Well, you do not need to have any harmful cleaning products in your home because of the big three of green cleaning; vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice.

Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the best cleaning products you can have. Some of the things that you can use vinegar for include:

  • Vinegar can be used as paint thinner.
  • Vinegar can be used to clean your oven without using harmful oven cleaners.
  • Vinegar can be used to clean off counters.
  • If you take half vinegar and half water and put it into a spray bottle, you create a great all purpose spray.
  • You can boil vinegar and then pour it down a drain to remove any clogs. Make sure you don’t breathe in the fumes, they are not harmful but they will smell pretty bad.

Baking Soda

One of the best cleaning products available for you is baking soda. Baking soda can clean nearly anything. Some ideas include:

  • Baking soda can be used to clean soap scum and mildew.
  • You can clean most stains off the counters and bathtubs with just a bit of baking soda.
  • If you combine baking soda and vinegar in a drain, the combination will clear out your drain without harmful chemicals.
  • You can use baking soda to deodorize your entire home.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is very popular because it smells good and it’s acidic, which is very important in cleaning.

  • Put some lemon juice in a bowl and leave it in a room. This will deodorize the room completely.
  • Mix lemon juice and water together to create a good all-purpose spray that also smells good.
  • You can put lemon juice on your counters and other places to help sanitize the areas to remove germs.

Cleaning your home is important but many people have gone way overboard with cleaning. We need germs in our home to help keep our immune systems strong, but we surround ourselves with products that remove all germs. Then, these products cause us to become sick because of the harsh chemicals in them. This is why it is important to remove these harsh chemicals from your home. You can easily clean your home in an excellent way by using just vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice. These are the big three of green cleaning.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Thegreenlivingblog.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on Feb 21, 2010.

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Tim Hortons’ Double Double Visa Credit Card Has Double Buttons

July 29th, 2014 Posted in Credit Cards & Debt Management, Reviews & Interviews | 1 Comment »

e CIBC Tim Hortons Double Double Visa Card
Photo Credit: Timhortons.com

The CIBC Tim Hortons Double Double Visa Card

Canadian Coffee chain Tim Hortons launched a new credit card in partnership with CIBC to lure customers into buying more coffee through accumulating loyalty points for everyday purchases. This card comes with two physical buttons or switches on it to press to pay using credit card or loyalty points.

This is the first of this type of credit card in Canada. Upon pressing, the buttons will illuminate to let customers know that it’s working.

With this no-fee Visa card, each purchase earns a cent on every dollar through reward points that can be used as cash at Tim Hortons. A $20 welcome bonus is also offered when you use the card to spend $200 for the first time.

The CIBC Tim Hortons Double Double Visa Card comes with Purchase Security & Extended Protection Insurance, but you will have to pay extra if you want to add travel insurance.

Link: Tim Hortons

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How to Cut Down On Your Gas

July 24th, 2014 Posted in Life & Money Smart Tips | No Comments »

How-to-Go-Green-With-Your-Vehicle-Gas.jpgHow to Go Green With Your Vehicle Gas 

Everyone knows that gas emissions are carbon dioxide emissions and the more emissions we have in the atmosphere, the worse global warming will be. While buying a hybrid is a great option, it is not an option for everyone. Some people have to juggle their own finances and are looking for ways to cut down on the gas that their conventional vehicle uses. Not only does cutting down on gas help the environment, it also helps all of us save money. Try these tips to make your wallet breathe a sigh of relief, and to help the environment  as well.

  1. Most vehicles these days can handle ethanol-gas mixtures, usually at a rate of about 20/80, where the gas is made up of 20 percent ethanol and 80 percent gas. Using an ethanol mixture cuts back on your CO2 emissions, but it does not help your wallet.
  2. Instead of doing errands on several days of the week, try and consolidate your errands into just one day, if possible. By doing this, you save yourself trips into town, which keeps you from spending too much money. Many drivers will make short trips into town each day to run their errands when a weekly trip will do just as fine.
  3. When you are in town running errands, park in a central area and walk to all your errands. That way you are not starting and stopping your vehicle over and over, nor are you driving it everywhere. You also get some great exercise when you walk where you need to go, rather than drive there.
  4. Idling your vehicle is bad news for the environment and it is just wasted money. When it is cold, you can let your vehicle run for a minute or so when you start it up, but that is all it needs. As well, you do not need to leave your vehicle running while you are in the store. Instead of going through the drive-thru, you can easily just go inside and get your food. It is usually less busy in there anyways.
  5. Instead of driving, just walk to the store. If it is a beautiful day out, why not walk to the store and get some great exercise and fresh air? You can get most places pretty quick depending on where you live and you do not have to waste any gas.
  6. Public transit is a great alternative because it allows you to catch a ride on a bus or subway for a fraction of what you would pay for fuel. In addition, you no longer have to worry about a commute or driving; you can just sit back and read.
  7. Car pooling is another popular option that many people choose. When you car pool, you share a vehicle with others and you drive only ¼th of the time to work. This is a good option that saves you money and lets you get to know your co-workers.

It is easy to save money, gas and the environment when you use these tips to going green with your vehicle’s gas

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Canadian Real Estate Market Will Continue to Rise

July 21st, 2014 Posted in Canadian & Global Economy | No Comments »

Housing Market Stays Hot

Housing Market Stays Hot

A recent report published by TD Economics mentions that the Canadian housing market will continue rising for the rest of 2014. In an upgraded forecast, the banks predicts that by the end of 2014 home prices will rise an average of 5 to 6 percent.

Low interest rates and increased demand are causing the upward trend in the real estate sector. However, in February, the bank mentioned the market was 10 percent overvalued and expected home sales to flatten out. Neither of these happened.

However, beyond short-term gain, over the next year and a half once interest rates start rising, softer demand and rising listings will likely turn the real estate sector into a buyer’s market – with more choice, there will be more burgening power and lower price pressure – the report mentions.

According to the report, condo prices are expected to fall 2 percent next year. As there will be more units available, vacancy rates will be lower, making investors reluctant to buy condos for investment purposes.

Expensive cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria will soon start showing weakness in the real estate market. However, cities like Edmonton and Calgary are expected to show growth due to population and employment gains.

To view the full report, visit TD Economics Quarterly Regional Housing Report.

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What Is A Green Car?

July 17th, 2014 Posted in Life & Money Smart Tips | No Comments »

The Green Car

The Green Car

What is a green car and why it is gaining so much popularity is a question that lot of users are asking and reading about in different blogs or articles. People have become more conscious of the hazards that are presently polluting our environment and there is a lot of awareness that has been given to us by the media and the technology to become environment friendly. The green car is exactly serving the same purpose by introducing the alternate fuel and battery technology. The car manufacturers are now experimenting and investigating hydrogen powered vehicles and also that are powered by ethanol. Another technology that is being introduced by the green car manufactures is the new battery technology. The battery technology has more efficiency and there is no pollution as well.

A promising and a popular technology that has come into the lime light of future of car industry is hybrid technology. This is unique when fuel efficiency is boosted by an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. There are a variety of greener alternatives that have made their room in the markets of United States and Europe as well. In the year 2020, more than a billion green cars will be a part of the traffic as estimated by the experts. It is more like a dream coming true to save our environment and our planet from pollution and this dream had been watched over by millions of people over the years. The car manufacturers are also being pressurized by the governments to increase the manufacture of green cars because they are friendlier to the O zone layer as well. Another reason for it’s popularity is that the green car fuel technology will also finish the global agony of rising fuel prices and now brought forward is this latest concept of more efficient and clean cars so petrol powered vehicles will no longer be marketed or manufactured. Many big names in the field of car manufacturing have introduced their green series like Toyota “Prius,” Honda “Insight,” Nissan “Altima Hybrid” and also Hyundai’s “i10″ which was launched by a famous Indian celebrity.

At present there are a limited number of green cars available on the market for purchase. But this new technology is ever expanding and it can be easily speculated that the green technology will hit the markets of the world like a storm. There are also trial runs conducted to examine the road worthiness for the concept cars. These concepts cars have exciting sleek designs and features that may never be introduced to the most of the other ordinary car models. One of the hydrogen powered vehicle that is a talk of the town is going to have features beyond the space age. There’s another revelation about one of the future concept car which at first glance would look like it can fly. This will also run on ethanol and its material will be very light which will contribute to its fuel efficiency. The production dates are not yet revealed but there is a possibility that the green car will be introduced and manufactured for the mass market as well. The preview of the concept car is only a way to imagine what the expectations will be for the future and these green cars will be a real help to our environment and it will go green again.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Thegreenlivingblog.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on Feb 13, 2010.

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Can You Build Your Own ETF?

July 14th, 2014 Posted in ETFs & Mutual Funds | No Comments »

Motif Investing - A New Way to Built ETF
Photo Credit: MotifInvesting.com

Motif Investing – A New Way to Built ETF

Building your own ETFs based on your own ideas and needs may sound bizarre for individual investors, in the USA investors just can do that – thanks to Motif Investing, an online broker launched by Hardeep Walia in 2012.

With a minimum $250 investment, you can create your own ETFs, each holding a basket of up to 30 stocks from various sectors. The commission to create or own a motif created by someone else is $9.95. However, if you buy or add more stocks to a motif you already own, the commission is only $4.95 per stock.

The reason you can buy or start a basket of 20/30 stock in a motif is that investors are to buy fractional shares to build their motif. Would it have been to buy full shares to create a motif, definitely the minimum $250 investment would be unimaginable.

There are already more than 50,000 motifs available created by individual investors that can be bought by other motif investors. If other investors invest in what you created, you can earn $1 royalty – this is unthinkable in any other types of ETF of mutual fund investments.

The reason a motif can work for both novice and pro investors is because novice investors can buy motifs already created by motif investing and knowledgeable investors can build their own motifs. Better yet, you can pick someone else’s motifs and add your own stocks to it.

Will motifs be the future of investing? If motif type investing gains huge popularity in the US and investment brokers in other countries follow suit, there is definitely a good chance that one day it will skyrocket.

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How To Save Water At Home

July 5th, 2014 Posted in Life & Money Smart Tips | No Comments »

Conserving Water in the Home

Conserving Water in the Home

Water is one of the most precious resources on our planet. While our planet is 70 percent water, only three percent of that water is fresh water. Of that three percent, only one percent of the fresh water is available to us, the rest is locked in ice. Around the world, water supplies are beginning to dry up and that means water conservation is extremely important. In our homes, we can work to make our homes water-smart by following some very simple green tips:

  1. When your shower is warming up, you are wasting a lot of water. You can fix this by putting a shower water container under the tap while your shower warms up. Once your shower is warmed up, take the container out. Then you can use that container to water plants and for your pets because it is plain water from the tap, with no soap in it.
  2. Only water your lawn once per week. Your lawn only needs one inch of water per week and many people over-water. Keep an eye on the weather because if you are expecting rain that week, you will not need to water. Also, only water in the evening and mornings, otherwise the sun will just evaporate the water away.
  3. Collect water with rain barrels outside. You can collect a lot of water when it rains and you can use that water inside on your plants, for your pets and even to water your garden later.
  4. The more adventurous of water conservers will try a navy shower. A navy shower, which comes from people on submarines, consists of:
    1. Get into shower and turn it on.
    2. Once you have been soaked, turn the shower off.
    3. Soap yourself up.
    4. Turn shower on and rinse off.
    5. Turn shower off and get out.
  5. You can practice the rule in your home of “If it is brown, flush it down. If it is yellow, let it mellow”. You waste a lot of water with each flush, roughly 1.6 gallons per flush with lo-flow toilets. That is more water than people in Africa get all day. Saving water this way is easy and it saves you money as well.
  6. When you are brushing your teeth, turn off the water. If you brush your teeth twice a day and leave the water running while you do so, you waste seven gallons of water per day. Turn the water off while you brush, and only turn it on when you rinse. This way, you save a lot of water every single day.

It is very easy to save water in your home. Each day, people waste gallons of water through their activities. In North America, a typical person uses twice the amount of water that people do in Europe. Even better, you can save money by conserving water because you will not be letting money essentially go down the drain anymore. There is a finite amount of fresh water available to us, a lot of that is wasted and polluted, so we need to conserve as much as we can.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Thegreenlivingblog.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on Feb 7, 2010.

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