Friday, 1 August 2014

If I've Got No Say, I Won't Pay

The Foreplay:

Hey everyone, I'd like to write a quick (and likely inflammatory) post about something we can ALL relate to in some fashion...

Baby mamas and daddies...

Yup, the age old issue of unexpected pregnancies and one of the most common disputes to arise from the surprise situation.

Core Play:

Okay I don't want any 'short foreplay' jokes here folks, this one's a quick so let's just accept that fact and move on to the good stuff.

You have undoubtedly heard of a situation where two people have bumped uglies and, unintentionally found themselves holding a little stick with a "+" sign showing on it. There are a number of reactions to the glorious miracle of impending new life and many of them are full of joy and laughter... Yeah I'm not here to talk about those, sorry.

I'm here to talk about the argument that comes up when one side of the fraternizing folks doesn't want to keep the child and the other does. This doesn't matter to me if it is given up for adoption or aborted, the core issue is the disagreement over the ultimate fate of the child and by extension, the fates of the two parents-to-be-or-not-to-be.

What typically happens is the old "it's a woman's body, therefore she gets the ultimate decision". I have no problem with this (in theory) however in practice his has been used by some women to try and trap men into either 1. Staying with them romantically when the man may otherwise wish to leave a relationship OR 2. To force a man to pay child support which then may, or may not be mis-used by the ne'er do well baby mama to buy shoes and clothes for herself rather than taking care of well... You know... That child mentioned in the whole "child support" term.

Here's my view, and yes, be prepared for inside-your-head notings of "shots fired" because this is probably going to ruffle a feather or two out on the interwebs:

If two people engage in sexual activity where it is stated (honestly or otherwise) that they do NOT wish to have a child via the sexual action, and any form of contraception is used (take the pill, pull it out, wrap-it-before-you-tap-it, I really don't care just pick your poison) however pregnancy occurs then:

  1. The woman gets the ultimate say in whether or not to attempt to carry the child to term.

  2. If the man does not wish for the child to be carried to term, no child support need be paid by the father.

I know what you're probably thinking... "But Josh, it takes two to tango, he's responsible for that child!" Here's where you're wrong. If you take reasonable precautions, state that you do NOT want a child from the get-go, but you're still not given a choice in whether or not the child is brought into the world, you should not be made financially responsible for a situation that you have no control over.

I'm telling you, if this were the case you'd see a LOT more women carrying condoms (seriously, you ladies get to decide whether or not we get to use it... You should be at least willing to shoulder the same responsibility of making sure it's wrapped... Equality and whatnot), likely fewer unexpected pregnancies, and the incident rates of women trapping men by intentionally getting pregnant after deceiving a man would sink to zero since well... Getting yourself knocked up would no longer be a viable source of income.

The Afterglow:

Was that as good for you as it was for me? Yeah? No? Either way, stop off at the comments section at the bottom of this page and leave your opinions, I DO actually want to hear them.

As always, enjoy your swim folks!

Joshua J. Taylor

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Financial Fuss - Minimum Wage and Living Withing Your Means

Hey folks,

I'm here to give you my perspective on the current minimum wage debates and the societally-accepted bullshit that I'd like to call "the age of entitlement".

Age of Entitlement:

Entitle: To furnish with grounds for laying claim... To put that a little more simply, since it's a bit of a 'frilly' definition... Being entitled is the act of believing that you are owed, or deserving of something for one reason or other. Based on that definition I suppose I should call our current time period the Western age of universal entitlement but I think the Age of Entitlement will do.

What I mean to say by this is that people seem to feel that they, purely by their existence, are entitled, or deserving of everything that life has to offer, regardless of their financial position. People say that they 'need' the best, newest, shiniest things in life when really, the world doesn't own you anything at all. It is these same people, and this general mindset that gave the banks their ridiculous power, which ultimately led to the economic collapse.

You see, when people feel entitled, they tend to act upon that feeling. This leads them to buying things they can't afford which then causes them to demand higher wages, more benefits so on and so forth. These people will also then claim, that these better wages and benefits are a "necessity" and stir up a rather considerable fuss in order to get what they want. This is where the modern day worker's union came into being, but that's likely a discussion best left for another article.

The main point that should be understood before moving forward is this... People need to get their heads out of their asses and accept that they can't get everything they want... Should be simple but God-knows it's not how enough people think.

Minimum Wage Increase:

Personally, I support what I'd like to call a "Practical Minimum Wage", one that actually makes sense. You may be asking "what makes sense" and I would reply with this...

A "practical" minimum wage is one that is tied to the cost of living which is tied to inflation. Such a wage would be the minimum wage upon which an individual can sustain themselves while working a 40 hour work week. 

There are many who disagree with my view, and I understand that, it's the way of the world. What I don't understand is HOW these people can disagree. If you work a 'typical' work week, which isn't exactly typical at all anymore, why should you still come in below the poverty line? Why should the simple basics of food and shelter be beyond your reach? Some people have said that "students don't need to make $14/hr"... And that bugs me considering if they're doing the same work, they deserve the same hourly pay regardless of their age or that fact that they're in highschool. Some highschool students HAVE to work so that their family doesn't starve, or get kicked out onto the street.

To me it's quite simple, as are most things in theory and I understand that. People argue that it would chase away business, despite the proven fact that a fairly-paid worker produces better results which more than compensate for the wages they are paid. I'd like to say that there are more arguments but that is by a LARGE margin the most popular one going, and it happens to be wrong or at the very least ill-informed.

The Wrap-Up:

Despite my strong feelings I would like to hear your opinions, regardless of what they may be. Whether you agree or disagree with me on my claims that people are far too entitled, or that the minimum wage should be tied to cost of living, I would like to hear your opinion and why it is that you believe as you do.

Until the comments come in, or I feel inclined to write another article however...

Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Problematic Politics - What About Wages

Hey everyone,

Been a while but I'm back with a definite purpose this time (I know, you're all just SO excited). Being entirely serious though, this topic is something that every country needs to consider and the topic of the night (and of many posts yet to come) is the wage discrepancy between Canada's politicians and the average worker's salary.

Just The Facts:

I'm not here to start a flame war over opinions, I'm here to put it to your straight-up, as honest as can be, with the best information that I can gather. Fortunately the information is readily available and it's extremely cut and dry.

I'd like to start you off with something simple, just to get the juices flowing in all of our brains... The average Canadian's annual income at the start of 2014 (information gathered from Workopolis) was documented as being ~$48,250.00. That translates out to being around $928.00 per week, or $23.20 per hour for a full, forty-hour work week. Personally I've never seen a figure like $23.20/hr in my life even with almost six years of experience in my field (sure that'd retail but still, I've never seen even an assistant manager nomination with my experience... But I digress) however I understand that there are some -not many, but some- very high-earning individuals in Canada to bump that average up a smidge or two.

The point where this annual income really becomes shocking to me is when you look at the base salary of a member of Canadian parliament (MPs). Your run-of-the-mill MP makes a guaranteed $160,200.00 yearly income. I'm not sure how much of that is taxable, but it wouldn't make a lot of sense to tax a politician's income considering it's tax dollars being spent but then again, with political logic, you never know. Different members of the House of Commons received increased pay depending on their 'workloads' which range from a 'simple' extra $5,700.00 for each caucus chair of parties other than the leading party and the official opposition up to the Prime Minister who makes a tidy sum of $320,400.00 a year from a 'workload bonus' of an extra $160,200.00 per year... Yup, the Prime Minister gets double the already inflated salary of an MP.

The difference here, if you're without a calculator or a mathematically gifted mind, comes to $111,950.00... Let's put that in a list shall we?

  • Average Canadian Income: ~$48,250.00/year
  • Baseline MP Salary: $160,200.00/year
  • Prime Minister Annual Salary: $320,400.00
  • Average MP - Average Canadian: $111,950.00/year
  • Avg. Canadian / MP x 100: 30.11% (average Canadian income is 30% of an MP's yearly salary)
  • Avg. Canadian / Prime Minister x 100: 15% (Average Canadian makes 15% of the Prime Minister's annual income)

So, those are the facts, the cold hard truth, and nothing but the truth. If this seems a little unfair to you, then you're of the same mind as myself... So long as you think that the gap should be smaller, rather than larger. If you DON'T think this is unfair, my guess is that you've never had to worry about where your next dollar would be coming from.

My Angle:

I always have one, as you know, and although I try to be a moderate, I can't help but be completely opposed to this level of wage disparity. There is no reason that, with a national debt of $683,315,279,727.00 and rising (as of 10:17pm, February 5th, 2014), which comes out to an individual average (your 'personal' share of our national debt) $19,360.00 per man, woman and child in Canada, that politicians should be making this kind of money.

Answer me this reader... Should a politician's salary not reflect the people they were elected to represent? Are politicians not, by definition in Canada, elected individuals intended to carry out the majority's will while protecting the minority's rights? In that event, it is my opinion (strongly held opinion) that politicians should be restricted to making no more than the average Canadian's salary... That includes people who are designated as unemployed ("seeking but unable to find employment").

Is this not a fair proposal? I elect an official to represent me and my interests, values, and opinions. We all elect these people to conduct themselves as our representatives to the rest of the nation but how can they be expected to identify with, and represent us if they make so much more than we do? You cannot be "of the people" when you've put yourself up on a pedestal now can you?

My Proposal:

If you feel like I feel then I urge you to take action and take back control of YOUR tax dollars. You elect your MPs and other political representatives to stand in your stead on the national stage, and it is money taken from YOUR income paying for theirs. Why should they make three times the average Canadian's salary when they're meant to represent that average?

I don't mean taking action as in rioting, bombings, violence of any sort... I'm honestly a peaceful-enough fellow. What I DO mean is to pick up a pen, lay down some paper and write (yes, WRITE) a letter to your MP and MPP (Member of Provincial Parliament... For which statistics should follow in my next post re: their salaries) and tell them what you think of this situation. You, dear reader, if you are a Canadian citizen, 'owe' $19,360.00 because that's 'your' share of our nation's debt. IF you have children, they each 'owe' that same amount... Why? For a lot of reasons including poor personal finance management but to a much larger degree, poor financial planning at the highest levels of government.

Personally, since I wasn't alive, much less able to vote when most of the policies that would eventually cause our current national financial predicament were put into place, I can't help but feel a little slighted by all of this. It's like walking into a restaurant and having your server tell you that you're responsible for the check of the group of businessmen that just left and if someone tried to pull that on me, it wouldn't go over so well so why should we take this lying down? Get on the phone, get to your keyboards, writing desks, typewriters... I really don't give a damn how but contact your elected representatives! Just because you may not have voted for your MPP/MP doesn't mean you're not still paying their salaries and as such, they are (believe it or not) accountable to YOU, the taxpayer.

I was once told by my politics teacher in grade twelve that a career-minded politician equates different types of communication from their constituents with a number of votes. If you make a quick email? That's around 10 votes worth in their minds while a phone call represents about 100 voters, and a hand-written letter speaks for about 1000 individuals. You may think that's ridiculous but the logic is pretty sound. If one person is willing to sacrifice the time it takes to hand write a letter, if they are that passionate about the issue, then the odds are that more people are bothered by the problem, but simply haven't yet taken that level of initiative. When you make a gesture, even one so simple as writing an email, dialing a phone number, or penning correspondence to your political representative, you'd better believe that they take it seriously. If enough people get up off their asses and do the same? Then you can bet change will be just around the corner. 

Politicians like having a salary, they like having a job, and they're the type of person who enjoy being in the spotlight and in a position of power, that's just a simple truth based on the type of occupation and the mindset required for campaigning. These people want to keep their positions which is only done through keeping the voting public happy... Emphasis on the VOTING public, as too many people stay home from the polls and refuse to stand up and be counted. If you don't vote, you can't complain about the government. Even if you go to the polls and select "abstain", it's still counted and says "I don't believe in any of the options, they're all equally unsuitable for office" and that can go a LONG way to indicating that we want change.

The Wrap-Up:

There's really not much more for me to say folks, we're getting fleeced. People are making decisions that negatively affect our lives every day and they're getting paid quite generously to do it. 

The figures I quoted earlier don't even bring into account expenses for cars, or the international trips that these dignitaries (and I use that term loosely as little dignity seems to be involves) conduct each year so you could just imagine the amounts being spent for which information ISN'T provided to you, and please feel free to let your minds wander on that idea.

I'm asking you no, begging you to do something about this. We CANNOT advance as an equality-minded nation with this kind of elitism in our political system. These men and women are in the House of Commons to represent Canada's provinces, and regions within those provinces and yet they out-earn the VAST majority of their constituents.

If you think that this abuse of power has gone too far then join me, and let's make a change. Let's you and I get in contact with those we've allowed to represent us, and tell them exactly what we think of their ludicrous incomes, expense accounts and more. You may think they won't change regardless of how many people we get behind such a movement but I guarantee you, if they won't make a change, we can put in someone who will.

Join me? Regardless of if you do, or do not...

Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Life-Saving Student Angers Administration

Now I've heard it all...

This article just filtered through to me which is surprising as it was published back in May. The Globe and Mail reported about a student who was reprimanded for, get this, intervening when a bully pulled a knife on another student. That's right folks, this boy was chastised by school officials because he stood up to a bully, an action that may very well have saved another student's life.

Here's the altercation in a nutshell:

  • Bullies beggin harassing a student across the classroom from Briar.
  • One bully gets the victim in a headlock, a "flick" is heard and another student verbally indicates the presence of a knife.
  • Briar gets up from his seat, crosses the classroom and pushes the blade-brandishing bully off of, and away from the intended victim.
At what point in that series of events did Briar earn himself anything less than a commendation? The principal had him brought down to her office where Briar's mother was called and told that the school does not "condone heroics". In case you missed it, Briar very likely SAVED A LIFE through his intervention. Do you know how fast someone can be mortally wounded with a knife? I'm not talking by some professional, special-operations soldier no, I'm talking about some punk kid with a pocket knife... Faster than you can even process it having happened.

There was an incident a number of years ago where a student from a neighbouring school to mine was killed by some coward with a knife in a fistfight. A crowd formed around the two quarrelling students, the punches started landing and then one of them pulled out a knife. Reports said that someone tried to give the other student a skateboard to defend himself but before anyone could step in the boy had already been fatally stabbed.

A former friend of mine was rather close to the victim and so I accompanied him to the funeral. Between multiple viewing rooms for the service and the grounds outside it seemed that the entire student body had shown up to pay their respects. We lost a sixteen year old boy that day because no one stepped in to break up the fight... How many more children will it take before the administrators realize that their approach is doing far more harm than good.

My Bullying Background:

I had to deal with my fair share of shit and abuse from my classmates over the years. As you can probably tell from my attitude, I wasn't the easiest kid to get along with and so I made for a great target. I had students try to steal things from me, push me around and eventually earned a few death threats in high school but after I got out of elementary school I only got into one fight.

I'd been harassed for about four months by the same kid every single day. Didn't matter if it was in the hallways, in the geography class we shared or even in other classes where his friends would start in on me, I never went a full day without some sort of insult or threat from him or his 'associates'. Finally, after he shouldered me in the hallway and knocked my pizza out of my hands, I snapped. I picked up the pizza, lobbed it down the hallway and hit him across the back of the head with it (why not right? Wasn't like I was about to eat floor pizza) and everything went rapidly downhill from there. I spent the next week and a half getting shoved around in the hallways and threatened by both him and his friends who told me "so-and-so's gonna kick your ass after school today". At a certain point you get really sick of having to worry about your walk home, trust me, so I decided to confront him about it. Talking hadn't worked since I'd asked many times before the pizza incident for him to leave me alone. The administration hadn't done anything as the teachers I'd complained to sent me to guidance which saw no change in the issue, so I went out to the bus stop on my way home, made it very clear that I was looking to 'drop the gloves' with him and get it all over with. Sure enough, 15 minutes later he finally decided to show up... Right before one of his friends shoved me from behind and he sucker punched me in the face. From there the whole thing went into a grapple, I sent a few shots into his kidneys and he tried to throw me to the ground before a teacher broke it up. I received a suspension as I'd instigated a fight, as did he but only for being involved in a fight and nothing was done about the months of "bullying".

Some of you won't see my actions as being justified and that's fine but to me? I did what I had to do. I wasn't going to keep shuffling up my route home, walking a kilometre out of my way just to avoid a fight so I decided where and when I'd face my tormentor. If that's wrong, I've got no problems being the bad guy but I'd like to say this. No one should EVER be ridiculed for standing up to a bully, EVER. As Briar's mother said in the article, without heroes we'd have no police officers, no firemen, no emergency services what-so-ever and definitely no military servicemen or women. 

If you'd like to let the school know about your views on the incident and their 'no heroes' policy, you can send them a quick email at or even better yet you can email the school board's chief superintendent and REALLY rattle the cages by sending your thoughts to I did, and this is what I sent to the Superintendent:

"Madam Superintendent,

I am writing this email to make my opinions known to you as per the 'no heroes' policy enforced in your schools. Having just read an article regarding an incident this past month at Sit John A MacDonald school where a bully pulled a knife on his victim. It is this type of "no tolerance" idiocy that will see a generation of wimps, cowards and 'innocent bystanders' raised by schools more concerned with covering their asses than with providing valuable life lessons to their students.

A boy at a neighbouring school to mine was KILLED when another student pulled a knife on him and no one intervened. Despite knowing that this sort of outcome was VERY possible during the altercation at Sir John A, the principal said that the fact that the victim's throat could have been slit in the time it would've taken for the young good Samaritan to notify a teacher was "besides the point".

How can you stand by when policies like this exist in your schools? How can you knowingly allow children to be taught that it's better NOT to stop bullying, better NOT to save lives and to simply keep their heads down and let the worst happen around them? I hope that this has brought a very serious problem to light for you and the entire Calgary Board of Education and that you'll be taking immediate actions to begin instilling proper values in the students whose minds you shape each passing year.

Just remember, these are the students who'll grow up to be the bystander that might have to make the choice between walking by or stepping in and helping if you or your family are being mugged, or in a car crash, or any number of other dangerous situations. Instead of chastising heroism, I think it's about time someone encouraged it don't you?

"Some work of noble note may yet be done"

Joshua J. Taylor - Concerned Canadian"

Yup, that was my letter word-for-word  and I encourage you to write you own. You don't need to write a novel, but you should definitely consider sending SOMETHING and if not to the Calgary superintendent (though her school most-obviously need a revamp in policy) perhaps to YOUR school board asking if they support this type of ridiculous bureaucratic bullshit.

That's all for tonight everyone, hope you enjoyed the read and I hope even moreso that you're inspired to demand change.

Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Boston Bombings - Best Guesses

Get Ready to Hate Me:

Yup, I'm about to tell you something that you're not going to want to hear. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, nor am I some whackjob coming in from WAY out in left field on this, I'm just a guy who understands how things usually function and who's noticed the patterns of human behaviour.

Befuddling Blasts:

Some of you might understand this, but a lot of you have probably put a lot of effort into NOT thinking about the subject matter but I assure you, with a little bit of research, that all of the pieces fall into place.

I've seen a pattern in terrorist activities, as have major federal agencies and that is their almost textbook execution. It would seem that there is some sort of script, or terrorist handbook out there for creating the most damage and destruction possible with the resources at hand. This is how it typically works.

Phase One:

This is usually some graphic, atrocious display of aggression causing severe injuries and occasionally death. The point of this phase isn't to kill, it's meant to maim, injure and in doing do, draw first-responders to the scene. 

The example I've chosen is the attack on a housing community and a softball game pictured in the movie The Kingdom. The people at the softball game flee from the shooting, a man dressed in a security officer's uniform calls for them to follow him and when they do, he pulls out a live grenade and detonates it.

The result of these attacks again, are not nearly as devastating as the second phase strikes but they create panic and bring all sorts of people to the initial scene. These first responders become the secondary targets of phase two.

Phase Two:

Right here is the piece of the terrorist puzzle that you REALLY need to be worried about. This isn't about distraction, it's not about  any ulterior motives, it's about total and complete devastation. This applies to both physical and emotional destruction as the people targeted in these situations are those who've come to help, and it's more likely to be widely observed and televised because of the attention drawn by the previous attack(s).

This phase normally takes place a considerable time after the initial incident, allowing for first responders to congregate on-scene but not leaving enough time for explosive ordinance teams to detect any secondary explosives (if that's the method being used for the Phase Two attack). Keeping with the references to The Kingdom, the secondary phase could be something like a larger explosive charge brought to the scene by a vehicle that would not appear as out of place. In The Kingdom it was an ambulance and that theme continued with an ambulance being used in the Criminal Minds episode based in New York as well.

This should start making sense to everyone reading this. You cause trouble, people come to check it out. News crews, paramedics, fire and police responders, construction engineers if necessary... All of these people create a massive influx of targets and if you asked homeland security, they'd tell you the same.


I want to say it plain and clear before I go any further. I am not some psychopath determined to destroy the world. This information is not something I've gathered together in order to CAUSE destruction, but instead to explain it and root out the issues and maybe understand how to be better prepared in the case of a catastrophic incident.

My previous blog was put on a police watch list as I'd made a large number of insulting and very critical remarks about my old high-school's administration so I know that there's a chance it could happen again. This is my little disclaimer to let any such police force, law enforcement agency or government agency know that I'm not a hostile person, just a guy trying to make sense of a mostly senseless world.

Square Peg in a Round Hole:

So maybe you're starting to see where I'm going with all of this as far as the Boston bombings are concerned. If you can't see it yet, don't worry. I'm about to explain it all very clearly and hopefully in a way that will make even the most die-hard believer in the popular press' stories question what they've heard.

The blasts at the finish line of the Boston marathon occurred within seconds of one-another, in a crowded area and only managed to kill 3, and maim just shy of 200 individuals. You might think I'm being cold by saying "only managed to kill 3" but considering more civilians than that are killed each day by US military operations, I'm not going to get too teary-eyed.

Anyway, the bombs go off in rapid succession, and compared to the damage that COULD have been caused, they were extremely ineffective. If they had half a mind to do some REAL destruction, the whole thing would've been staged much differently which could've and likely would've caused MUCH more damage and isn't that the goal of ANY terrorist? Cause as much harm and create as much chaos as possible? Yup, it sure is.

Psychological Profile:

I'd like to point out a second aspect of the whole mess that doesn't fit the mould of your typical terrorist-type... The younger brother's psychological and social profiles.

This boy, only nineteen years old, had just received a $2500.00 scholarship to pursue a career in medicine, he was fairly welcomed by his highschool class which is about all that any student can ask for, and his life aspirations were to have an enjoyable career and make money. Someone in his position simply doesn't establish an 'endgame' and decide to bomb a major event. 

No, a kid like that thanks his lucky stars that his education was going to be $2,500.00 cheaper and starts planning their entire life. Maybe the brother fit the profile of a hostile psychopath somewhat, being a loner and expressing some serious anti-American sentiments on their web profiles etc, but I have a lot of anti-American policy feelings and a very select group of friends... I'M not an extremist so what's the difference?

Well they're originally from the area around Chechnya which is just to the north of Georgia... If anything they should have anti-Russian sentiments in abundance but I suppose that slipped most peoples' minds as well right? Of course it did. Regardless, since they're not American-born they must be terrorists right? Anyone from outside the country could be one of these evil extremists who're jealous of American freedom and prosperity right? Suuuuuuure, let the media blame the immigrants and foreigners. That's worked well before (It really has folks. Just look up the issues surrounding the start of the Spanish-American war).

Seriously folks, I hope you're seeing how little sense any of this makes. I know we live in a screwed-up world where everything seems so out of control and senseless but there are some human truths that just can't be avoided. In this day and age, unless you're already rich, you don't walk away from $2,500.00... Even if you ARE rich you sure as hell aren't going to sneeze at such a scholarship so why would this young man do such a thing?

The Clean-Up:

So, the bombing doesn't fit any sort of 'terrorist logic', and at least one of the apparent perpetrators doesn't come close to fitting the profile of the type of person who commits these acts. By all accounts the younger brother was a smart kid, and I mentioned the $2,500.00 scholarship... Don't you think that someone going to school for medicine would know how to cause the most damage to the human body? If you've got the know-how to make a pressure cooker into a shrapnel bomb, you could sure as hell figure out how to make the most of it.

I'd like to say I'm sorry for not believing the popular news, but I'm not. Would it save me some hassle? Sure, but then I'd be just another sheep and that's not cool to me. 

Oh well, until next time folks... Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Student Savings - Car Cash Conundrums Pt. 2

Routine Maintenance:

As with all good proposals, mine's run into some roadblocks but it's nothing that can't be worked around. One of the most important traits to a successful individual is perseverance in the face of adversity and I intend to show just that with this addition to the "Car Cash Conundrum" article.

I feel as though my initial article was well-written (of course I'm biased but you CAN disagree if you'd like) but I still faced some challenges when I actually brought my proposal to my mother. This started me thinking that if I was getting challenged on my proposal, it's likely that anyone else who tries to implement my system would get some push-back from their prospective partners as well. As such I've written this article to address the main concerns that I've had raised by both family and friends.

Dream Car Doubts:

The first obstacle that I encountered when I pitched this concept was my mother worrying over money, as everyone does in life. She argued that she wasn't going to have the amount of disposable income available after retirement that she has now, and that she couldn't afford to be purchasing a car now that she wasn't going to keep.

Cars mean money...
It's fairly likely that this is the leading argument that you'll run into as most people worry that after retiring, their financial situation will be in a never-ending state of serious jeopardy. The argument is rather simply beaten though if you take THIS approach:
  1. Remind your prospective 'business partner' that to purchase a NEW car, they'd likely require a lease to pay it off.
  2. Figure out the vehicle that they're in the market for, determine the lowest possible price for that make and model, and factor in their current vehicle's trade-in value* along with the down payment that they'd be making on a new car. It will help to link your proposal to this argument if you use the down payment you'd require from them to purchase a suitable used vehicle.
    * has a trade-in value tool. They're a reputable group so I'd recommend working your research through them as much as possible when it comes to vehicles.
  3. With as much relevant lease rate data on their preferred car gathered as you can find, work out the amount of money they could SAVE by totalling up the monthly lease payments by the number of months, and restructure your proposal to fit their available lease period.
  4. Factor in the amount of money you'll be paying them over time for the used car that you're proposing and you can tell them what their NEW down payment on their dream car would be after completing YOUR proposed payment plan.
Almost every parent understands the fact that a larger down payment means less money spent on financing a purchase. In my case, I was looking at comparing my proposal to financing a 2013 Cadillac CTS. Factoring in our vehicle's trade-in value along with my requested down payment on a used vehicle the lease payments would have been $311 over 36 months. This equates to $11196.00 spent financing the NEW vehicle where it COULD be added together over the same time period to become a $23000.00+ down payment towards a new vehicle. Compared to putting only about half of that down on a purchase? Yeah, you can bet that there's a huge difference and anyone looking at buying a new car will see it.


This might be your worst enemy through all of this. Money can be summed up and put into cold hard facts, but how someone reads or interprets your words. If they're not taken the right way it is very likely that your words might lead someone into getting their back against the wall or completely discounting your proposal simply because of an instance of inaccurate wording.

A little misinterpretation anyone?
My recommendation here is for you to write out your proposal, have it proofread by someone who has a business-oriented career or background, even someone taking business or law in school as they may have a better grasp on the issues and they have a better chance of getting you to a point where your proposal is beyond misinterpretation. 

Just work by the mantra that "anything than CAN be misunderstood WILL be misunderstood". Go with this in mind and you should fly pretty true.

Criss-Crossed Car Concepts:

I didn't run into this myself, but I thought that some of you, in an overzealous state, might overshoot your mark. 

What I mean here is if you KNOW your 'target' is looking for a 4-door family car, don't try to bargain them into getting a convertible or a sports coupe. Make sure you stay inside the type of vehicle that will fit THEIR needs, as they're going to have a larger list of 'must haves' and you simply need four wheels and a motor. I'm not saying you need to give up, roll over and play dead, but you DO need to be more mindful of your target's needs than your own. This is a time for patience folks, your time will come and with a lifetime of savings you might just get your hands on YOUR dream car but now is not the time.

These have been just a couple of pitfalls you might encounter. If you can think of any more challenges, please feel free to post in the comments section and I'll do whatever I can to help you work around them.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Student Savings - Car Cash Conundrums

Start Your Engines:

Hey there fellow starving students! Have I got a post for you or what!

No seriously, that wasn't a question and this post is entirely about a situation that most of us will face at some point in our young lives... Buying our first car.

BMW M3 CSL... I can only dream...
Buying your first car can be an experience that brings up a number of emotions... Pride and shame are usually the first two that come into our heads. We're typically either ecstatic and disproportionately proud of our new vehicle (like the people who flip out over a rust-eaten, beat-up and SUPER high mileage jalopy) or somewhat ashamed (those of us driving our mom's old minivan because it seemed like great graduation gift at the time). Then there are the group of young drivers who venture to a used car lot intent on picking out a 'winner', finding a great deal only to realize that their dream car was nothing more than a cash cow in disguise... Andrew, I'm talking to you on that one bud ;)

Seriously though, the biggest issue is usually financing your wheels and that's understandable considering the price of gas, insurance, and the few pennies we manage to scrounge from out part-time, foot-in-the-door-level jobs after tuition takes its bite out of our savings. To this end I've come up with a suggestion that you can take to your parents in a time where everyone has changing needs, and one solution might just fit all of them adequately enough to get you behind the wheel, and give your family a new sense of pride in their fiscally responsible and reasonable youngster.

Weighing The Wallets and Wants:

As you're coming into your own as a young adult, your parents will likely be transitioning into a new lifestyle as well. With you looking to get out on your own, they'll be looking at a greater level of disposable income, odds are that they're looking into retirement, and as such their transportation needs will be changing as well.

Using my household as an example we've had a minivan since moving into this house almost a decade ago. This has always come off as odd to me seeing as I have had a sports practice in about the same amount of time, and I've not been to soccer practice since I was around 7 years old... Seriously, why my mother's got a 'soccer mom' vehicle at this point is beyond me but onto the real substance here. My mum wants to get herself behind the wheel of a Cadillac, but it's a big jump to go over the the luxury sedan side after driving a minivan for so long, not to mention a pretty hefty financial burden.

As for my needs? Well it's about high time that I started driving SOMETHING. I was never given the opportunity to practice with the Grey Goose (my affectionate nickname for the minivan) and my life never really saw me needing a vehicle as my school, work, and friends were all local to me and well within walking or biking distance. Now I see my life changing, longer commutes to see friends, family and a larger world of opportunity beyond my effective walking or biking range. This means, like many other people my age, that I'm in need of a motorized method of transportation. With that said, I don't have a lot of money to sink into that need, so my options remain limited.

This is where the needs of myself and my mother collide, and where you can likely find the common ground between you and YOUR household's needs as well. This works best if you're not in need of a vehicle on a daily basis, and especially well if you're just working on getting your full G License. My recommendation to you? Propose a "Scheduled Transfer of Ownership" to your parents and see what their feelings are on the matter. 

Scheduled Ownership Transfer:

Essentially you're looking at a 'rent to own' arrangement. You and your parents/guardian make an initial investment into a vehicle that adequately meets the needs of all the parties involved. In my case it's rather simple however you might need to do some bargaining as per your household's specific demands. After the initial investment (purchase) is made, under the agreement you, as the young driver of the house, would begin making scheduled payments over an established period of time until you take ownership of the vehicle.

My suggestion in arranging the payment plan is this... Your payments should include the cost incurred by your parents involved with insuring the vehicle so that you can drive it, as well as a percentage of the car's projected value at the point where you would be taking full ownership of it. This system works much better when dealing with buying a used, earlier model vehicle as the initial cost and insurance payments will be lower. Here's my situation...

My mother's target vehicle: Cadillac Sedan, New.
My proposed vehicle: Earlier-Model BMW 3-Series Sedan, Used.
Proposed Vehicle Cost: ~$5,400-$10,000 CDN.
Payment Term: 3-4 Years.

So, I've matched the needs of the parties involved, picked an older model car, a 4-door sedan as well (trust me, a young driver in a sports coupe? Insurance companies see nothing but dollar signs when you apply). the payment term reflects an average college or university education timeline and the cost (look it up people, you really can get BMWs in this price bracket) is very reasonable. Now comes the tricky part... Calculating the depreciation in value and establishing what value of use the other parties in the agreement will take from the vehicle.

For my example, here's a little spreadsheet I drew up for the calculations:

Simple enough.
I used a website to determine the projected decrease in my car model's value, applied that to any investment into a used vehicle and since the 'off the showroom floor' factor can be ignored when buying a used vehicle (the amount that a new vehicle depreciates simply by you taking it off the car lot), the calculation becomes a piece of cake. You need to use the formula for "exponential decay" to determine the value but honestly, with the online tools available to you, that's easy enough to do.

So, recapping everything:

Proposed Vehicle: BMW 3-Series, 320i 4-Door Sedan, Used.
Avg. Cost: $7,600.00CDN
Depreciated Value After:
-3 Years: $4595.37 CDN
-4 Years: $3824.84 CDN

Now, here's the more complicated part... Establishing what you're going to pay over time until the car is transferred over to you. I would argue that you could only owe, at most, the percentage of the final value, that your parents put into the initial investment minus an amount from them having benefited from the vehicle's use. As an example, if your parents were to pay for 75% of the car initially, then you would owe them 75% of the car's final value. Now there will be a lot of squabble about this, there always seems to be when I post my opinion but that's what I'm going with.

To sum things up, using my example of the BMW 3-Series 320i 4-Door Sedan purchased for $7,600.00 and a payment term of 4 years where the initial investment was split 60:40 between your parents/guardians and you respectively:

Initial Investments:
-You: $3040.00
-Parents/Guardians: $4560.00
Car's value after 4 years: $3824.84
Amount to be paid over payment term: ~$2294.90
Monthly Payments: $47.81 + Insurance Share

Driving Into the Sunset:

So, with the numbers broken down, there's really not that much to it. Everything in this system boils down to the five lines of data seen above. Just establish every value you can before making your proposal and you'll have given yourself the best chance of success.

Readers, from what I can gather, the majority of today's parents just want to see their children taking on more responsibility and proving that they can handle it. If you go to them whining "mommy, daddy I want a car!" odds are, unless you're some over-entitled brat, that you'll be getting nothing and you DEFINITELY won't earn any respect. However, go to them with a fully planned financial proposition and not only will you improve your chances of success, but at the very LEAST they ought to respect your level-headed approach.

That's really all I have to say about the issue... I hope that this solves some problems and puts you behind the wheel of a half-decent ride sometime soon!

Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor