Welcome CPFC13 Readers

September 22nd, 2013 by Potato

I met a few new people this weekend, and some may now be coming around to check out this site for the very first time. I thought a quick introductory post might help orient you.

About the blog: it’s a personal blog where I write about whatever happens to come to mind, though that’s mostly personal finance stuff the last few years. When the blog first launched well over a decade ago it was focused on video games and school. In-between there are a lot of posts about hybrid cars, fuel efficiency, science, and the internet. But yeah, mostly personal finance lately. I don’t pretend to have any fixed posting schedule, but try to get at least one up a week. I tend towards wordiness and spreadsheets. About me: I trained as a scientist, recently completing my PhD in Medical Biophysics. I have an eclectic skill-set and wide-ranging interests.

Some common topics include:

Housing, in particular the rent-vs-buy debate: whether the market is going to crash or not, you have to live somewhere, and if it’s the biggest expense in your life you should put an appropriate amount of thought and care into the decision. Some posts you may want to check out include:

For retirement, I’ve created a spreadsheet tool to help with the thought process of how it will work. It can be used as a calculator too, but be sure to flip to the other tab to see the calculations, and how the money is riffling through from equities to fixed income to the chequing account, to finally being spent. Be sure to check out the rest of the series on the details of the parameters, and looking at different scenarios.

Oh, and while there are many great sources of information on why you should avoid high-priced mutual funds, salescritters, and become a passive index investor, there’s little out there on how to actually do that. So I wrote a book that is — unlike many of my posts — very short and to the point, even including screenshots for how to put in trades with TD’s e-series through their brokerage arm. I’m currently mulling over whether it’s worth putting in the effort to create a second edition, and looking for feedback on what might be missing.

Into more general personal finance, some posts to see are:

Freelancing: I don’t push it because I have a full-time day job, but I do take on freelancing projects from time to time. They’re almost all different, and depend on what people need. I’m a writer/editor, a scientist, and also have some skills and interest in personal finance and investing, so just about anything goes. There isn’t much I can display in my portfolio except for these two brochures for GBGHF: local residents edition, seasonal edition (be sure to open them in a PDF viewer like Acrobat rather than Firefox’s built-in one). For those, I did some of the photography*, all the writing/editing, and the layout. Please note that while I consult on several scientific topics (e.g. manuscripts, experimental design) I don’t do grant writing due to potential conflicts of interest with my employer. In select cases where people have sought my expertise, they’ve hired me through my host institution.

* – I’m sorry to say, photography is really not my strong suit as a freelancer.

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