Let’s Talk!


Today is Bell’s Let’s Talk day. The purpose of this day is to remove the stigma that surrounds mental health. The ability to reach our full potential depends on how well we can cope with the day to day stresses of life. For some, these stresses consume them and it  affects their ability to function effectively on a day to day basis. Mental illness can result from biological, developmental and social factors.

Financial stress is one of the leading contributors to mental health issues among adults. Being worried about your finances or feeling intimidating about how to manage your finances can make it hard for people to make clear logical decisions that will actually serve them. Fear and panic takes over and as a result one’s mental and physical health are both affected.

There are steps you can take to reduce financial anxiety. First, you have to understand and accept where you are. Take inventory that means figuring out what your strengths and weakness are and then develop a plan of action. This plan of action requires you to set clearly defined financial goals for yourself and have a strategy for reaching these goals. I suggest you start off small, so as to build your confidence. When you start to achieve goal after goal, it will wire you for more and even bigger successes.

The second step is when you fall off the tracks and you will, don’t beat yourself up. Simply stop, reassess and start again. Learning a new behaviour takes time and it is natural to get resistance, but persistence is the key to success here.

Finally, reach out and get some help. There is a lot you can do on your own, but sometimes you may need guidance, advice and moral support, to help you achieve your desired level of financial well-being.

Feel free to drop me a line with any questions you may have: kidonomics@gmail.com


The fastest way to get rich is to wear Purple and be Mindful

The Purple Campaign (1)

June 15th is designated conscious consumer day. On this day we ask you to wear purple as a reminder to be financially mindful. All too often people spend for the wrong reasons. These are so many cultural standards that we try to meet and in the process create debt for ourselves.  Never stopping for a moment to question, why?  Do I really need to prove to my neighbors, colleagues, friends and or family that I am worthy because I only purchase designer brands.  Will spending that extra $80,000 to get the luxury car really make you happy when it puts you further into debt? Is keeping up appearances more important than common sense and logic?

If you can afford to buy whatever you want and not left in crippling debt, by all means go right ahead. However, you really have to think long and hard when you try to portray a lifestyle that you can’t afford.  You may get the temporary pleasure of proving to the world that you are worthy, but in reality not only do you feel like a fraud in the process, but  you are actually hurting yourself mentally and financially.  Sand castles don’t last.

On the surface finance might seem like a simple case of numbers, in reality the numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. It is what lurks below that drives you more than you’re willing to examine or even admit.  Why do you feel you need to have things that will invariably cause a financial strain on you and your family?  Financially debt is not pleasant and it can be avoided, but it will require some exploration between what you think you need and what you really need. This will be the hardest part of the process because when you start down that rabbit hole you’ll soon realize that there are many more twists and turns that you really never could have anticipated.  This is one adventure that when it’s over, you’ll be richer for it!  Let June 15th be the day to start off in this bold adventure.


Share your purple pics on our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/thekidonomicsseries


Dr. M





Are you currently paying bank fees, specifically monthly maintenance fees? If you are it’s akin to paying the supermarket a fee for the chance to buy food from them. When we pay these bank fees we are in effect paying the bank to make them richer. Let me explain. Banks make their money by lending out depositors’ money (your money) at a higher rate than they pay to depositors (you). Notice that your mortgage or line of credit carries a higher interest rate than your savings/checking account. Essentially depositors (you) are giving the banks their product (your money) which they take and use to make themselves a healthy profit. Without your deposit they would have no means of making money.  At the core when we pay bank fees we are really paying them (the banks) to get richer.


Now, banks (both traditional brick and mortar banks and online banks) provide a valuable service in keeping money flowing through the economy. There are some valid fees that are logical and expected. For instance, fees for bounced checks due to insufficient funds, foreign transfer fees, lost debit card fee, paper statement fee (vs. a free online version). These are justifiable, but the monthly maintenance fees that are required by some banks are incomprehensible.  Traditional brick and mortar banks are guilty of this fee. Most online banks don’t have these fees.  They have free access to ATMs, unlimited check requests and they also pay interest on the balance on your checking account not just your savings account. It makes sense to use a bank that does not charge us a fee for simply opening a bank account.

Fees, especially those that go unnoticed or the ones we never question, add up over time. These bank fees are an example where our herd mentality still haunts us. Our primal instincts require us to confirm with the herd for survival, we might be living in a modern world but we are still running on primal software. It is only with conscious effort can we override this primal instinct.  It is important that you understand  how the financial system really works. Then you would be better able to make an informed choice and not just follow along with the masses. Not because everyone is doing it makes it right.

For Canadians this is a good read:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/peter-armstrong-bank-fees-1.3831255

We don’t need to be paying some of these banks fees. They are unfair and unwarranted. This holds true for bank fees and investment fees.  The Oracle of Omaha himself has said it “When trillions of dollars are managed by Wall Street charging high fees, it will usually be the managers who reap outsized profits, not the clients.” Warren Buffet February 2017.

Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit - Day 2

It is common for many of us to think that we are powerless against the big banks and corporations. We seem to keep forgetting that we are the very people who keep them in business. They only exist because of us. Without our money these banks and corporations will not be able to function. When more and more of us start to realize this and act accordingly, only then we will see where the true power lies.

This week I encourage you to investigate what fees you’re paying. If you haven’t done this before, be prepared to learn something new and save some money in the process.


Dr. M



The Root Of All Evil!


Some of you may be surprised to know that the root of all evil is NOT money. The root of all evil is the belief that there is only ONE way to view the world.  These are some weird times we are going through. The world seems to be regressing before my eyes.  In keeping with the adage “be the change you want to see” I believe that it is necessary for me to take stock of how I really see the world.   In trying to find peace and sanity in day to day existence amidst “fake” news and “alternative facts” I feel that it is crucial to understand my beliefs and see whether they need updating or amending.

A person’s life philosophy or view of the world is a combination of their genetic makeup and environmental conditioning. This just means that the way you see the world depends on your biology and your background. Someone born in the tropics for instance, will have different physical features and temperament than someone who is born in a temperate country. Someone who grows up a religious household sees and experiences the world very differently than someone who grew up with atheistic parents.

Is it any wonder that we have a hard time understanding each other even when we speak the same language?  Even if we hold biology constant and we couldn’t differentiate people by their physical appearance, we would still have to deal with the person’s ideology.  This is true from the micro to the macro level. In households it is common to find people holding different ideologies. They might all share the same genetics but not necessary the same world view.  We find this same dynamic on a larger scale in communities and countries.  There is one world, but there are seven billion different perspectives of this same world. It’s a massive undertaking to get everyone to understand the same point of view. I don’t know that this is even possible, but I believe that if we work towards it, we would be in a better place than we are today.

If I had to suggest steps, the first would be to recognize what the real problem is. We all have to collectively understand that, we see the world as we are, not as it is.  We have all made our beliefs, our truth. Once we understand this then we can start the process of trying to understand the other person or the other point of view.

When we enter into discussions knowing that that when we speak the other person is translating what we say in a way that they can comprehend. This does not guarantee that we will be talking about the same thing. When we recognize this, we can spend more time trying to understand each other rather than arguing with each other.   A rudimentary example to demonstrate this point is given below.  What do you see in the picture?  Is it a duck or a rabbit?  Which is correct? Some people see the duck and others see only the rabbit. Both are correct. The trick is being able to shift from seeing one to another.


My two cents for today, is that instead of demonizing each other maybe we can use the same energy to understand what makes the other person or the other side behave the way they do. We may in the process not only learn more about others, but also more about ourselves.

The issues we are dealing with today didn’t happen overnight.  It has been festering for years and like it or not we have all contributed in one way or another. If head to head combat is not working, try something else. Reach out to the players that can make a change. Connect with them, make peace with them.  We need to go from the ground up. People are people and at the core we all want the same thing- peace of mind. We may all have a different idea of how to go about achieving this and what we must have to get this but it is the starting point for dialogue. We need to find more things to agree on and fewer things to fight about. Otherwise, we will just be spinning a top in mud.

My challenge for you today is to try to see the world from another person’s perspective. Choose someone-a parent, your spouse, a friend or even your children and see if you can see things they way they do, you might be surprised by what you learn.

Dr. M



Want Peace? Take off Your Glasses!


It is hard to tell whether Donald Trump is seeking America’s self-interest or his own.  In a perfect world self-interest is a thing of beauty.  For instance, when buyers and sellers meet each wants to get the best price for themselves. The buyer wants the lowest price and the seller wants the highest price. Buyers and sellers would haggle until they agree on a price that they are both satisfied with, but this is in theory. In reality the seller uses strong arm tactics and “alternative facts” to force the buyer into purchasing the item at a much higher price. The seller is happy and the buyer is left feeling unsure of what happened. In their hearts they know that they paid too much, but they were put in a position where they had no choice. In the real world self-interest is corrupted by bullies and tyrants who don’t deal fairly. It is sullied by those who believe their view of the world is the correct one and force others to conform.

A political system is as good or bad as the people who comprise them. When people are fearful of the future they will look to anyone who can promise them hope. It is believed that something different and new will mean something better. We see day by day that this is not the case. When we have a leader that does not see the beauty in humanity, but only sees the world from his conditioned psychology, we have to expect that making American great again is for a selected few and not for the masses.  Everyone is seeing the world only from their perspective. Those who support Donald Trump see the world through green glasses. Those who are against him and everything he stands for see the world through purple glasses. For someone who sees through green glasses, they will never the see things as purple. The only way that both sides can understand each other is to take off their glasses.  Each one thinks they are right, but the reality, maybe something completely different.

As for me, I know I’m wearing purple glasses. I am trying to take them off and it’s not easy, because I really don’t want to since I am convinced that my view is the right one.   I however, don’t have that luxury. I must take the initiative.  As a parent, I have learned that it is imperative to take off my glasses and put on those of my children. It’s the only way to understand how they see the world. It’s the only way to really understand their point of view.  We can have no peace in families, in communities, in countries and in the world if we believe that our view is the only right view and there is only one way to live.

So what are we to do? We have to take off our glasses.  My first step in doing so is to keep an open mind about what’s happening.  I am (desperately) looking for the silver lining.   I want to shift the way I currently think about and process what’s happening around me. I’m committed to trying to understand rather than criticize because I feel that it is important to my sanity and perhaps I can finally get some peace.

Hands on a globe --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

How willing are you to take off your glasses?




Money is human happiness in the abstract


Can you tell the difference between the abstract and the concrete forms of happiness?   In the abstract form it means that money can be used to buy material things to make one happy. The concrete form comes in many forms and is different for everyone.  It can be a warm sunny day, a pleasant smile from a stranger, a kind word to or from a loved one, the smell of coffee or the sound of rain.  Our economic, social and political system is structured to function and work around money and the focus is thus on the abstract.

Last week I met with some fellow finance colleagues and we were talking about the usual finance stuff our clients, their portfolio the composition of the portfolio, etc.  Then I asked “Why are you guys in this business?  What’s your ultimate goal?” At first I got a blank stare as if to say isn’t it obvious we want to be successful and make our clients successful.  What are you asking us!

It took some probing to get them to drill down to the main reason why they were working so hard.  Most of the reasons were to provide financial security for themselves and their family.  This was obvious and practical. Then I asked does financial security bring happiness?  Now I started getting some weird stares and after they checked my coffee to make sure it was not spiked, we headed down the proverbial rabbit hole!

Some of my colleagues realized that they never took the time to ask this question. It is the default assumption that if we have financial security, we will be happy. Most of us default to this notion. In the pursuit of making the money only a few know how to really balance being financially stable and really being happy.  The trick is to be practical and strive for financial success while maintaining your health, peace of mind and a strong relationship with family and friends.

Where do you find happiness in your bank account, in drink, in chocolate with others? If you do what’s wrong with that? Well, they can all possibly disappear.  There could be a financial crisis and you lose all your money, you may have drunk too much and have to go to rehab,  eating too much forces  you to go to  weight watchers and , divorce and separation can tear people away from your life. There is an end to all these things, when this happens where do you turn to find your happiness?

Making money and being happy are not conflicting goals. If anything they are correlative.  They feed off each other to produce a virtuous cycle. But before this can happen, we have to know what we want from life and ensure that we are not swayed more to one side that the other.  It is not a science, but rather an art in balancing both.

I want to leave you with a question “Is happiness important to you and if it is, does it matter to you where it comes from? Do you want your happiness to be dependent on outside material things and people or would you rather it be generated from inside where it is independent of external forces?

Let’s open up the discussion.
Dr. M






Use your dollar to change the world


Why are we constantly trying to acquire more and more things? Who told us that we need to do this? Many of us are consumed by the need to have more of everything money, real estate, status and power. We spend the prime years of our lives pursuing these goals. Some do it because they need to prove themselves to the world. Some do it because they feel they need to fit into an image that has been fed to them.  Sometimes we believe that we had the idea when in fact it was so stealthily planted that we believed it originated with us.  On a national level every country is striving for economic growth and the improvement of the quality of life for its people. Technology is growing leaps and bounds and we are heralding a new era in every facet of life. From communication to medicine, progress has been at warp speed.

The question remains, though how much of this progress is actually reaching the people who really need it. We live in a world where the wealthy spend US$2 million on a golden bath tub (Mike Tyson’s gift) while others live on less than  US$1.90 per  day (10.7% of the world’s population live on less than US$1.90 a day (World Bank 2016)).

How can we make an impact on this inequality and inequity? The answer lies in asking the question what is the purpose of all this? The obvious answer is of course financial security as a practical matter of life. But we all know that in the developed world the drive is not for mere survival. It goes beyond meeting basic needs and wants. When we can give an authentic answer to why it is we keep striving for more and more then we will begin to solve the problem. It will set off a spark. A spark that will mark the beginning of the end of this massive disparity, a little spark if fed can incinerate inequality and inequity that have plagued us for so long.

We can only have a more balanced system and a just distribution of all resources if we STOP dancing to someone else’s music. What do I mean?  I mean stop making the 1% richer by purchasing their products and supporting their franchises.  The majority of what we consume is owned by the 1% and they don’t want that to change. Our food is genetically modified, the news is propaganda and we are fed ideas and notions that serve the interest of only a few.  Not to be corny, but really, we have to unplug from the matrix. When need to take the red pill and start making different choices –our own choices.


The directive to do this will NOT come from the top. Political candidates regardless of who they are (buffoon or polished politician) will always have a bias. Real change can only come from the people. Those we elect are there to steer the ship. We are the ones who need to instruct them on how to do it and we can.  They will listen to us when we speak to them in a language they understand-MONEY. We have to do it with our everyday choices. Each dollar you spend, make it count. Make sure that you support companies and products that help in alleviating the problem and don’t support the ones that just perpetuate the status quo.  All our combined purchasing power can cause change.  It can result in both faster and more drastic change than copious amounts of discussion or protest can ever bring about.  Being conscious of how and why you spend will not only benefit you and your bank account, it will also benefit society at large. We have the power to cause change and we walk around every day with it in our back pocket, purse and on our phone. How we choose to spend our dollars determines the kind of world we live in.


Join the discussion, take up the challenge.


Dr. M