With the advent of the Internet, stock investing was suddenly democratized. In a very few short years, it became possible for “regular folk” to invest directly in the stock market. Individual investors were no longer obliged to trade through a stock broker. Mutual funds didn’t need to be bought through a bank. Fees and returns could be compared easily. Information about companies financial situations was available for anyone who took the time to visit a company’s website and spend the time reading the vast quantities of information posted there. All of this is great; more information is always better, right?
Well, no. Especially when you’re getting started. Too much information quickly becomes confusing, and very shortly thereafter, overwhelming.
Like anything else, too much information is a bad thing. (Caveat: This is true unless you’re a professional investor, or investing is your chosen hobby.)
At our house, the light has finally gone on. The LED light, that is.
A practical, affordable LED light (light emitting diode) is one of those things has been just around the corner for a long, long time. The chief factors holding the technology back were the a) the fact that LED’s are naturally directional, and b) the manufacturing cost is significantly higher than for other types of bulbs.
The fact that LED’s are directional is actually an advantage in some applications. Spot lights and accent lighting are much more effective when the light is directional. For general use, however, a bulb must be able to throw light in every direction. This problem seems to have been solved completely. My new LED light shines brightly in every direction, and in this respect, is indistinguishable from any other type of bulb.
In terms of cost, as is often the case, as manufacturers gain experience with a technology, they get better and more efficient at producing that technology. LED’s are no exception. Prices have come down from upwards of $50 for a single bulb a few years ago to around $10 for a 60 watt equivalent today, which is what I recently paid for my bulb at Costco.
As anybody North of the 49th will tell you, there are certain aspects of being Canadian that we all revel in.
Paying tax is not one of them.
With tax season just passed, it seems like a good time to take a look at the various ways the government pries your investment return dollars out of your wallet.
When I was first getting into investing, I invested a lot of money into a Mortgage Investment Corporation. It provided quite good monthly returns, and I can still remember being pretty pleased with myself that the investment was throwing off almost $500 a month. Tax time brought a cold shower, a slap in the face, and a wakeup call all rolled into one. Unlike taxes paid on working income, investment taxes are all paid once annually, at tax time. At this point, I don’t remember exactly what the tax hit was, but for a person of my modest income, it was substantial. Coincidentally, it was about that time that I became aware of a fact that has had a major impact on my investing practices since then.