Friday, June 10, 2011

Short Takes: User Fees, Misleading Stock-Picking Performance, and more

The Canadian Conservative government is considering user fees as a way to cut the deficit. The claim that this is not a tax hike is annoying because it is a tax hike. There may be important differences between user fees and higher general tax revenues, but both are still tax increases. If I used to get a service paid for by part of my tax payment and later I have to pay a user fee in addition to paying that part of my taxes, then I have experienced a tax increase.

Jason Zweig explores the epidemic of stock pickers who compare their performance with dividends to the index without dividends. My softball team would be doing better if half of our opponent’s runs didn’t count.

Money Smarts explains how to get a guaranteed 20% return with new RESP contributions after your child has started school.

Retire Happy rounds up various opinions on Vanguard’s launch into Canada. Hopefully Vanguard’s investor-friendly practices in the U.S. will carry over to their Canadian operations.

The Blunt Bean Counter explains the interesting conflict between Sino Forrest Corporation and Muddy Waters Research who accuse Sino Forrest of fraud. It’s not clear whether this is a case of fraud or one of deliberate stock manipulation. Blessed by the Potato has also been following this story with a series of posts.

Big Cajun Man is suspicious of a golf pro’s advice to buy golf lessons and new clubs.

Million Dollar Journey asks the question of whether one can save too much at the expense of the present. I think the answer is yes, but this applies to extremely few people. Further, my guess is that many people will use the saving-too-much argument to justify their reckless spending.


  1. Thanks for the inclusion, have a dry weekend.

  2. Thanks for mention Michael. It is a very intriguing story on so many levels.

  3. Thanks Michael.

    The Sino-Forest saga is quite interesting.

  4. Oops - I think you meant "2011 federal budget"

  5. @Jude: Thanks for the correction. I guess an analysis of a 10-year old budget wouldn't be too interesting :-)

  6. Thanks for the mention, but it looks like the link didn't make it into HTML.

  7. @Potato: Sorry about that. Apparently I was having a bad day yesterday.

  8. Thanks for the link Michael. Why is Cajun wishing you an alcohol-free weekend? Is he drunk?


  9. @Preet: I'm not sure why the BCM was wishing me an alcohol-free weekend, but that ship sailed Friday night :-)