Cartoonists’ Tributes to Paris Attack of November 2015

It’s a sad day for the World.
Cartoonists are uniting again to pay tribute to Paris.
Here are just a few of them I picked out on twitter:

And Quebecois Cartoonist Ygreck:

And from Charlie Hebdo Cartoonist, Joann Sfar. Charlie Hebdo survived a gruesome attack just 10 months ago.

Meanwhile, I read an article about acourageous man who lost his life for stopping a suicide bomber to enter a crowded mosque in Beirut. A day before, A Day Before the Paris Attack, Suicide Bombers Killed 43 in Beirut.

I am praying for all the victims and families in both cities.

Marimekko Buddy Backpack

Marimekko Buddy Backpack

Last weekend I finally bought the Marimekko Buddy Bagpack at the marimekko store in Vancouver. The sales rep told me Japanese tourists come to buy this bagpack because apparently it’s sold out there and it’s cheaper to buy it in Canada.
I’m super happy for this purchase. It’s stylish (look at this Japanese page for how to coordinate with both business & casual outfits) …and best yet it fits my Cintiq Companion! Next to it is the Herschel messenger bag which I also have and fits the Cintiq Companion snugly.

Buddy backpack is perfect for a short overnight trip and it’s a backpack but it’s the perfect size, but still fits a lot. I like how the bottom is wide and you can put your lunchbox or this crockpot lunch warmer in it without spilling it. Yay! The only thing is, it was a bit pricey and I had to think twice. But, I’m super duper happy with my purchase (update: I’ve been using it for over a month now)

Marimekko is famous for its unikko patterns:

Clipstudio Paint is Great for Cartoonists!!

I’ve been finding the best way to draw with my computer, and have been using the combo of Illustrator & Photoshop (draw lines with Illustrator and color with Photoshop), as mentioned in this blog post, but it takes really long and drawing cartoons have been a bit frustrating at times. Also the result hasn’t been the rest. Enter clipstudio paint, which I started using a month ago – and I’m just in love with it! It’s almost like drawing with pen and paper, and there are so many tools that make cartooning really easy and fun! It’s also so much cheaper than Illustrator & Photoshop. After trying out the product which offers 30 days free trial, I was sold! And luckily, they were just having a campaign for the English clipstudio to e 60% off for EX version, so I bought the EX version for approximately $120.  If you were just going for the PRO version, it’s only $15 USD right now!!!!! For me, I only need the PRO version, but since EX was on sale, I bought EX.  I’ve been drawing more and more since I started using Clipstudio because it really makes cartooning effortless and fun. This Poodle cartoon would’ve taken me at least 4-5 hours using Illustrator or Photoshop, but it only took me about an hour or so.  I would still use Illustrator and Photoshop for some additional features, but for now I’m just in love with Clipstudio Paint for my cartooning process.

RSP and TFSA basics

If you are new to Canada or new to personal finance in general, make sure you get the concept RSP & TFSA under the belt! RSP (or often called RRSP) stands for Retirement Savings Plan or Registered Retirement Savings Plan and TFSA stands for Tax Free Savings Account. Both has its benefit, and it would be ideal to use both.  Both are tax savings strategies, but the benefits differ depending on your situation.

You can start reading about RRSPs here: http://www.canadianliving.com/life/money/learn_the_basics_of_rrsps.php

You can start reading about TFSAs here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/investor-education/investor-education-fund/tfsas/tfsa-basics/article16886455/

Once you figure out how much you’d like to contribute, visit your local bank and ask for advice to make sure you have the money in the accounts invested appropriately.  For example, if you are saving inside the RRSP for retirement purpose, and you’re only in your 20s, you may want to put them in something that offers more growth potential, rathter than in a high interest savings account because you have enough time to weather out the market storm.  On the other hand, if you are socking up your emergency fund (recommended 3-6 months of living expenses for rainy day) in a Tax Free Savings account, you may want to consider GICs or high interest savings account.  There are different type of products available for RRSP & TFSA, and that’s where a nice banker can help. Ask your friend for a referral.

Snowball Debt Repayment

Debt Snowball Repayment Cartoon

This Moneysense article caught my eye about a snowball debt repayment. I had always thought the best way to repay debt is to tackle the debts with the highest interest rate and total payment (eg credit card with 21% interest paid down faster than student loan with 7%). Gail Vaz-Oxlade makes it a bit more precise, she promotes paying the debt with the highest interest rate down as fast as you can, while maintaining the minimum on your remaining debt. Once your most expensive debt is gone, snowball the old payment into the payment on your next most-expensive debt. Carry on until you’re debt free, and ultimately stay that way!
I had always thought Gail’s way is the only best way, but financial Dave Ramsey, proposes a slightly different version.
With his way, you start by listing your debts smallest to largest by amount owed. You don’t worry about interest rates, it doesn’t matter if one debt has a 2% rate and another one has a 22% rate.  Then you pay minimum payments on all of the debts except the smallest one then attack the smallest debt with a vengeance. Once it’s gone, take the money you were putting toward that debt, plus any extra money you find, and attack the next debt on the list. Once it’s gone, take that combined payment and go to the next debt. You knock them out one by one.

Mathematically, you pay less interest with Gail’s method because you are tackling the debts with higher interest, but Dave’s method may be extra motivational for those who need to tackle debt psychologically.  Dave’s method is geared towards behavior modification. If you start paying on the largest debt, you won’t see it leave for a while. You’ll see numbers going down on a page, but that’s it. Pretty soon, you’ll lose steam and stop paying extra, but you’ll still have all your debts hanging around.  For extra motivation, he suggests to ditch the small debt first, so you see progress and makes you feel accomplished faster – that one debt is out of your life forever. Soon the second debt will follow, then the next. It builds momentum, which may be very useful technique to those who need the extra nudge to get rid of debt. Sometimes, life is like that, it’s not HOW but whatever that works!

Whichever way you choose, the goal is to be financially independent – which being debt-free is necessary.  Right now, my biggest debt is my mortgage, in pricey Vancouver, is astronomical. I am visualizing more income so I can pay more back to the mortgage :) !

The above cartoon above is great for personal finance websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Powerpoint presentations, newsletters, e-books, PDFs, and more! Click on the cartoon to purchase royalty-free.

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