Categories
General

The Financial crap keeps coming + new home purchase

Never thought I would be fighting so much for these financial things in Canada.
 
-CRA mailed tax refund to wrong address
-Called CRA to get it changed to correct address. They said I need to fill out some form to invalidate the other check they sent and prove I never deposited it in my account. I filled it out and mailed it to them.
-CRA decided that they were going to re-assess my TFSA contributions for the past 10 years, and for some reason, decided I was a non resident in 2010 and 2011 (even tho I was) and compounded penalties on my account for the last 10 years, then put a $17,000 bill on my tax account.
-I filed a dispute claiming that the CRA did not calculate my contributions correctly. They said it will take up to 18 months to look at the dispute and resolve it. CRA took my tax refunds and $2,000 that I paid them earlier and withholds it from me because they think I still ‘owe’ them money while it’s in dispute. So for the next 18 months, I cannot get anything back from the CRA.
 
If you think that wasn’t enough…
-I returned $2000 worth of Amazon packages that I purchased to review on Youtube, and sent them all back with tracking.
-My credit card gets cancelled by TD because they thought some fraudulent transactions were on it and issues me a new card.
-Because my condo unit was broken into, all mail is re-routed to some faraway postal location and I have to take Uber there and back to receive my new card.
-Seller confirms they received the returns, Amazon says they refunded me for all of them.
-The refunded transactions got stuck on the old card. I have to call TD and ask them to manually push the refunded transactions onto my new card.
-One of the transactions refunded by Amazon ($1200 worth) never shows up on either my old card or new card and it’s been well over 7 business days. Amazon says they definitely refunded me and TD says they definitely don’t see anything on my old card and on my new card.
-I have to dispute this transaction to force Amazon to push me a correct refund that will actually show up on my card.
-A few days later I checked my credit card and saw what appeared to be a refund (TD customer rep confirmed this for me) and I asked TD to close the dispute
-but instead of closing the dispute they (for some reason) added ANOTHER dispute onto the card for the entire amount of my purchase again, without crediting me. So now I got the seller hounding me again about why im disputing another charge when I actually didn’t, and I got a massive charge on my credit card that just randomly appeared out of nowhere. Why did TD do this??
-I called them again, and TD said they made a mistake and adjusted the purchase back but then they made ANOTHER purchase adjustment debited on my card
-I called them again and the customer service rep said oh that was TD’s credit for the dispute not the seller’s refund. I said how is this possible, you guys told me it was the seller’s refund initially that’s why I closed the dispute. They said the person must have told me wrong, and they can’t re-open a closed dispute on the same transaction so they recommended me to talk to the seller again. So TD lied to me, and I can’t even re-open the dispute? I was furious about this.
-so I went to Amazon and asked about this and they gave me proof with the refund IDs and transaction IDs
-I then went to TD branch physically and booked an appointment so me and the service rep can call the credit card line together, and I explained to the custom service rep about the issue and how it was not a TD credit they gave to me but actually a result of them pushing the amazon refund credit back from my old credit card to my new one. I also confirmed with them that the dispute is closed and there should be no chargebacks against the merchant.
-Days later, I still find the charge on my credit card so I called them again, and this time the customer service rep reverses again and says no it was the TD credit again and not the amazon credit. I am at a loss for how to explain this – but since TD is the only one that has access to my old credit card, I cannot prove that the original credit on there was from the seller. But I really doubt that it’s a TD credit given the proof that Amazon and the seller both sent me screenshots of the refund. I told them to double check on their backend and make sure that is the case, because it’s impossible that the refund money just disappeared into thin air. It must have gone somewhere, either on my old card or new card.
-In any case, this whole thing has been a nightmare. It’s been over one month and I’m still dealing with it. Something as simple as a refund. Terrible. I don’t think I’ve dealt with anything quite as incompetent as the customer service reps TD has had for my credit card issues. How did a refund disappear into thin air??
 
So in addition to an ongoing lawsuit I’m still in (QuadrigaCX from last year, will not get resolved anytime soon), I have 2 disputes I’m currently waiting on resolution from that’s tying up at least $12,000 of my money, and that’s not even mentioning the fact that my previous Vancouver landlord scammed me earlier this year of my security deposit and I could have easily sued him for that but that would have put me into yet another lawsuit which I didn’t want to be in.
I never thought my financial situation in Canada would be so complicated all the time. Why did I leave the US again..?

 
Another story with Fedex:
-Fedex supposed to deliver to me last week. I called them and asked them where my package was. They said they were waiting for my payment, and because of COVID19 they can only take payment by phone not by person (which is extremely weird because I paid a Fedex guy just last month in person).
-So I paid them, and the following week they never delivered. I called and asked where’s my package. They said they were waiting for payment. I said I already paid them, and they said ok we’ll deliver it to you the next day.
-Next day comes and goes, they never delivered. I called them again, they said they take some time for someone to pick up my package or something and it will be delivered soon.
-I’m still waiting for my package
WHY are people so incompetent in this country???? Like I have to call them multiple times just to get them to do their freaking job
 
..in other news, I have decided to finally buy a new apartment, after selling my SF apartment in 2018 (effectively at a $200,000 loss since QuadrigaCX took all my proceeds of that sale), and it’s a pretty decent condo unit in Downtown Vancouver near BC place. This area is basically the ‘new’ Yaletown, and is probably going to be further developed in the future. The area has many of the same amenities and views as Yaletown, except the prices of the condos are roughly $50k cheaper for the same units on average, so I thought it was relatively ok. The place I ended up getting for $660,000 CAD ($500k USD) which was a decent discount from the list price of $689,000 CAD. It also comes tenanted which is nice, since I’m mostly looking for a place as an investment right now.
Plus, the interest rates right now in Canada are extremely low, and I managed to get approved for an interest rate of 1.6% variable, which is extremely low. 
I only have $120,000 CAD out of the $150,000 CAD I would need to cover the deposit on the condo (20% deposit) + closing costs, so I would need to borrow an additional $30k from my parents as well. I’m actually surprised that my parents can lend me that much given that I already lost them the money that they gave me for my SF apartment because of the QuadrigaCX mistake I made.

Remaining things to do:
-get a lawyer to write up the transfer of the deposit/rent/etc
-purchase insurance for the unit
-electricity isnt covered by the strata, so have to open a BC Hydro account for the condo and pay that as well
-borrow $30k from my parents to cover the deposit + closing costs
-Get $2000 bonus from CIBC for getting the mortgage with them. Lock in the 1.6% variable rate (I can switch to fixed at any time but the guy said that the rates should remain low for the next little while so I got nothing to worry about) for a $528,000 mortgage.
-Wait for CRA updates on dispute
-Wait for TD/Amazon updates on dispute 
-Wait for updates on QCX lawsuit from EY/MT
 
Items I purchased still waiting on:
-Astro Slide phone, coming out next year
-Nixie Tubes, shipped from Ukraine should be coming in next few days
-Cinera Edge, HMD backed in Kickstarter should be coming next year
-Refund for Atari VCS which I initially pre-ordered but decided against it
-Jelly Phone 2, should be getting end of year
-Jerry West jersey, shipped from China
-Klipsch R-41PM speakers + Pokemon game, shipped from US
-iPhone 12 Mini, pre-ordered with my Apple friend’s discount, shipped from US
 
 
Categories
Politics

Why do millennials consider it unpopular to be conservative?

I was born in 1988 thus making me a millenial. However I would actually identify myself as more conservative than a lot of my peers.

I like lower taxes (for the middle class), I don’t like illegal immigrants and think they should be deported, I’m in favor of reducing the deficit as much as possible, I really dislike SJWs and all that nonsense 20+ gender stuff, I don’t like political correctness, I think private businesses and the free market are better than the government at doing *most* things, and I’m fairly apathetic to gay marriage rights and stuff like that. I actually agree with Trump about “America first” (but not his actions so far).

But I also grew up with Asian parents and in Canada, which kind of gives me a mixed view that puts me at odds with most Republicans.

You see, I graduated from the top university in Canada and actually majored in economics, as well as traveled a lot including most of East Asia and Europe, so I kind of know what policies will work or not.

Most Republicans and Trump supporters are not conservative, have no idea what they are talking about. They resort to name-calling (libtards, brainwashed by the liberal media etc) when they disagree with you, they don’t back up their statements with anything factual and/or cherry pick extreme examples (Chicago for the failure of gun control, or Venezuela for the failure of socialism) or are just plain misguided (wait lines in Canada for healthcare kill millions etc). They are massive hypocrites (they criticized Obama when playing golf, now Trump plays the most golf out of any President, silence. During Obama’s term they said he was destroying the economy, now Trump took over and all of a sudden he’s created the biggest economic miracle of all time, I mean WTF). Oh yeah and also the abortion thing, I find it massively hypocritical that the Republicans care so much about a fetus but once they are an actual human, they don’t give 2 cents about them.

As a well educated person, I just cannot take Republicans seriously. Here’s a number of things that they are just misguided or wrong about:

Myth #1: Trickle down economics work.

No it does not. Cutting taxes for the rich will only make the rich richer. There has been ZERO evidence that trickle down works. Paul Krugman + other Nobel winning economists have all said that (Paul actually said it on Quora a few months ago), and I majored in economics and I know that the reason why the 1980s recession ended was because of Paul Volcker’s Fed Reserve increasing interest rates to combat stagflation (high unemployment + inflation), and since the 1980s we have seen the debt quadruple or double during every administration since (except for Bill Clinton’s), while the income inequality gap is many magnitudes higher than before, that is clearly the result of supply side economic policy. And as a counterexample: in the 1950s, the US had a high marginal tax rate of 90%; I don’t remember the 1950s being a bad decade for the USA do you?

Myth #2: The President affects the economy.

No he doesn’t. Monetary policy is enacted by the Federal Reserve and Fiscal policy is passed by Congress. The President merely signs the bills (i.e tax cuts, or higher spending all have to go through Congress before the President signs them). Alan Greenspan and the 1990s Congress was the architect of the Great Recession. And the economic recovery we are in now is the result of the 2010 economic stimulus that was passed through Congress along with Ben Bernanke’s near-zero interest rates back then along with tighter controls on lending and derivatives trading. I don’t give Obama any more credit than I give Trump, I give credit to Ben Bernanke + the 2010 Congress.

Myth #3: Universal healthcare is too expensive or doesn’t work.

I lived in Canada. It works. In Europe, it works. I lived in Korea before. It works. Why wouldn’t it work in the US? Americans already pay the most for their healthcare out of anyone, how could it be more expensive? Oh is it because they are spending $650b on their military budget (which is more than the next 27 countries combined)?

But you will have massive waiting lines and people will die while waiting

People see the doctor based on priority, not first come first serve.

But if Canadian healthcare is so good why do they come to the US for medical care”?

Because Canada is a small country and not every medical procedure can be done in Canada – Canadians that go to the US go there out of necessity not because they want to. 
I walked into a clinic in Toronto, saw the doctor, got an X-ray appointment and did it all in the same day within 2 hours, didn’t pay a dime. When I was living in California, this would have taken at least several days + $200 in fees (with insurance!). How can Americans possibly think their system is better is beyond me.

Myth #4: Gun control doesn’t work.

Except it does. It works in Canada. It works in Asia. It works in Europe. How come the USA is the only country where it doesn’t work? I wonder if it has something to do with their 300 million+ guns? And here go the arguments.

-Criminals will always find a way to kill they don’t care about laws

The thing is, very few of the mass shootings that we have seen were done by career criminals. They were done by ordinary law abiding citizens – until they snapped. So it’s a mental health issue problem. But wait – how the heck do you screen 325 million people for mental health issues? You can’t! That’s why a total gun ban is necessary – because no one would have access to guns. Plus – just because criminals don’t obey the laws doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have laws. This isn’t the Wild West and there’s a consequence for breaking the law – it’s called going to jail.

But criminals will always find a way to get guns

I’m not convinced that the 20 year old or 24 year old mass shooters have access to an illegal black market or want to kill that badly that they would go to such lengths. Maybe some will, but it will definitely require more effort than just purchasing something from your local Wal-mart or at a gun show or taking it from their parent’s bedroom (who presumably bought it legally).

They will find other ways to kill. They will use knives or home made bombs.

Sure. Knives will definitely kill at a slower rate than guns will. You have time to actually create distance between you and the killer. Home made bombs are possible but again they need to put a bit of effort into assembling them.

If we ban guns, why don’t we ban cars and alcohol too? Those kill a lot more people a year!

Guns primary purpose is to kill. Cars are for driving. Alcohol is for social interaction. This is false equivalence.

But gun laws don’t work! Just look at Chicago or California! They have high gun murder rates! Gun free zones don’t work!

Of course it doesn’t work in the US. Because all states have to have the same laws. If some states have more flexible laws than others, then banning them in one city or state does absolutely nothing. You have to ban them totally in every state in order to work. A person could otherwise just exploit a loophole where they can go to neighboring Indiana to buy a gun to shoot up a school in Illinois.

But guns actually prevent more deaths than kill! Self defense laws and discouragement

Maybe. But you could also use knives and tasers for self defense and it would work just as well, with much less chance of accidental discharge and accidental deaths.

But we need guns for hunting animals, too

Do you? I think we invented supermarkets like 60 years ago didn’t we?

-But 99% of citizens are law abiding. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

Sure, but everyone is law abiding until the time they are not. Then they become criminals. Tanks don’t kill people. Nukes don’t kill people. Rocket launchers don’t kill people. And 99% of people use them responsibly. Why aren’t those legal? Oh right, because the 1% that does misuse them means very very bad news for the 99%.

But the 2nd amendment is an American right! Liberals just want to take our rights and freedoms away!

The 2nd amendment also called for a well-regulated militia. Well regulated being the key word here, and this being a 1700s era rule well at the time it meant the average person, but in the 21st century more than likely it means the military. I’m all for the military and police force having weapons. Ordinary citizens? Not so much. Also – you know amendments can be repealed right? The 2nd amendment was an amendment – it was part of the Bill of Rights and not the original Constitution.

Why not? Ordinary citizens can help prevent crime too!

Because I don’t trust Joe the Plumber not to kill me when we have a shooting like the Aurora Colorado movie theater shooting or Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting. Or even the Las Vegas shooting. Very very bad conditions, many people around you, low light environment, even a trained professional would have a hard time distinguishing who the shooter is amongst the chaos, let alone average Joe who I don’t even trust to drive his car safely.

But guns protect us from possibly tyranny from the government? Didn’t you know what happened with Nazi Germany or Russia or China?

Yeah, the majority of people actually supported Hitler, Stalin and Mao. That’s the thing. It wouldn’t matter if they had guns or not because they were brainwashed by the propaganda. Also – highly unlikely if you had a pistol or semi-auto you would be able to beat the government’s tanks or copters or bazookas – and this is the US Military we are talking about. Stealth fighters, Nukes, Airplane carriers. And all of them are trained. Joe the Plumber + his buddies don’t really stand a chance

Myth #5: Socialism/Communism is evil and Democrats are America-hating socialists.

Well this is another reason I would identify as a Democrat (despite disagreeing with some of their policies) over being a Republican. I really hate this “we are more patriotic than you” nonsense. Democrats are every bit as patriotic as Republicans are. Quiz time! Who was President when WWII happened and the Greatest Generation stood up to the Germans and Japanese? Oh that’s right FDR! a Democrat. Who was the guy who made the decision to drop the atom bombs to end WWII and ensure America’s emerging victorious? Harry Truman.. a Democrat. So how are Democrats less patriotic again?

And the fact that people confuse socialism with communism is a sign of ignorance. When Bernie Sanders and AOC and co. talk about socialism in 2018 they are talking about democratic European style socialism. Why is that evil? Because you have to pay more taxes? Well first of all, none of the European countries or Canada or Australia have anything higher than a 50% effective tax rate (and thats only for the very rich). For the majority of the middle class, I don’t think it would be any different than California’s effective tax rate. In Canada the highest marginal tax bracket is 47%, a far cry from the 70% that some people throw out there (need I remind that again, the USA had a 90% marginal tax rate in the 1950s!). 

Oh yeah, and btw the US is a democratic socialist country already, since Income Tax Act was passed in 1913, then Social Security and unemployment insurance in 1935 then Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, so Republicans who like to believe that the US is a pure capitalist country, umm too bad because we know pure capitalism sucks; I wouldn’t want to go back to Victorian England or Gilded Age USA would you? 40% of the population had ZERO income or social safety net. That’s pure capitalism. yeah no thanks.

“But California tax rates suck that’s why people are leaving there by the millions to red states, its a liberal hellhole” you say. Well the thing is immigrants (both legal and illegal) overwhelmingly move to California – which drives up the prices of the land and everything else. It’s not that its a ‘liberal hellhole’ as much as people like to move there because of the weather and less discrimination than other states.

Now the reason why Canadians are so much more comfortable paying a higher tax rate than Americans is because we actually get something from it. We get that universal healthcare, we get subsidized education. I paid about $40k CAD for my 4 years of schooling at my university (which is #1 ranked in Canada). That’s how much it would cost to go to a top university in the USA right now *per year*.

In California, you don’t get very much for paying high taxes right now because your higher tax rates are paying for the Trump voters in the red states who have lower tax rates. The federal government uses your tax dollars to help fund Medicare, Medicaid, education etc and Californians effectively are subsidizing the people in the poorer red states, yup the same guys who want California to leave the US and call them a liberal hellhole are ironically the ones who are receiving the most benefit from Californians!

Now if I said, hey everybody pay the same effective tax rate as California, and in exchange everyone gets free healthcare, cheaper education, and reduce the national debt, I think a lot of people would go for that wouldn’t you? The problem is right now the government wastes tax dollars, which I think is an inherent problem with how the US government is set up right now. Every senator or Rep is influenced by pork barrel spending and corporate (NRA, Wall Street) or military interests are way too powerful, and as a result most Americans really do not get a lot for their tax money. Which is a shame, because democratic Socialism really isn’t that bad guys, as long as the government is effective.

Well I think I ranted long enough here, but these 5 myths are widely believed amongst today’s Republicans and thus I cannot say as a well educated millenial that I would align with them in any way.

Categories
Politics

What are some American practices that Canadians find odd?

  1. Using dollar bills all made of the same color and using old material (cotton). Why not upgrade the bills to make it more fraud proof like Canada did?
  2. Not using the Metric system. God do I hate Fahrenheit especially. Impossible to tell how cold or warm it is.
  3. Love of guns.. why Americans love their guns… its part of their culture. But as a Canadian i still dont get why having a gun is necessary in everyday life
  4. Using a Jury system. We dont have jury duty in Canada. We appoint judges. Having a jury makes it much more likely for the defendant to get away with a lot cases out of sympathy.
  5. Similar to point above Americans sue alot!! Theres like a lawsuit going on all the time it seems. And it can be for the smallest of reasons.
  6. Universal healthcare is considered a “socialist” policy in the US which means its “bad”. Americans have been trained to equate anything “socialist” with venezuela/communism it seems.
  7. Americans HATE taxes. Tax cuts tax cuts all the time. How many Americans would drop dead if they knew our top tax rate kicked in at only $130k and we had a national sales tax?
  8. Pronouncing “Z” “zee” while we pronounce it “zed”. I guess zee is easier to ryhme with in the alphabet song?
  9. Calling my name out at restaurants. Uhh in Canada they just call your number and you get your food. Why do Americans insist on asking my name? Not only could my name be something complicated but what if two people had the same name and same order? What now brown cow??
  10. Age limit of 21 for drinking. Especially odd considering by that age you can already own a gun and drive.