My Fender Strat has a much cleaner neck than this one. It does, on the other hand, show a similar level of fret wear.
Funny thing about fret wear. I don’t really notice it until I get string buzz or intonation issues.
Two weeks back, I was hearing lots of pitch issues coming from my guitar. I actually stopped midway through a song to check on my tuning. Everything was fine and as soon as I started playing, there it was. At first I thought it might be my technique. Perhaps I was pressing in a way to take a string or two out of pitch.
I got home and I checked the intonation. I changed the strings so that they were fresh. I checked my open tuning and then the harmonics on the 12th fret.
Perfect. No issues.
I then played a few chords.
Off. Really off.
So, I took a closer look. And, sure enough, fret wear. Extensive fret wear. Primarily on the frets where the G and B strings hang out. Pretty much all up the neck.
I do put a lot of hours on my Strat. However, the timing could not be worse. I have a major performance coming up in just two weeks. And the guitar luthier that I use generally has a two-week backlog.
I placed a call pleading for some help but I am not too optimistic.
I suspect that I will need a refret. And that is a pretty big job.
Every morning, as soon as I wake up, I head downstairs to the studio and I practice for an hour or so. And, after supper, I head down and I spend more time practicing.
I love to play and probably the event that I look forward to most each year is the Celebrate Christmas event.
This is our seventh year presenting Celebrate Christmas to the Kingston community. Although it is a lot of work to produce an event like this one, I enjoy every minute of it. From the practicing that usually starts mid-October, to the rehearsals in November and December, to the final days leading up to the event itself.
We are at the Bader Centre this year and the team is really excited to be presenting the event in this amazing hall. If you are in Kingston on the Sunday evening of December 13th, plan to come out. You can buy your tickets here.
Wonderful to find out that the New World project won Instrumental Album of the Year at the Covenant Awards last night. Trevor was out at the event and I am sure that he is thrilled with the award. We put so much effort into this project. Here is a photo of the team from our initial recording sessions at Noble Street.
Curious about retirement income? Curious about whether you are financially prepared for that time in life?
The Canadian government completed a comprehensive review of retirement income in 2011. Not surprisingly, most seniors draw income from OAS and CPP. About half of seniors draw income from investments, over 60 percent draw income from pensions and RRSPs and about 20 percent draw income from employment.
The median income for seniors in Canada:
- OAS: 6,400 for males and 6,400 for females
- CPP: 7,800 for males and 6,200 for females
- Investments: 1,200 for males and 1,300 for females
- Pensions and RRSPs: 16,300 for males and 8,500 for females
- Employment: 2,200 for males and 3,300 for females
A senior couple would be at roughly $60,000 in income at retirement. Median after-tax income in senior families was $52,300 in 2012 so that number is close enough.
Median family income in Canada was $76,000 in 2013, just as many households earned less than $76,000 as earned more. The richest ten percent made more than $80,400 and the top one percent, all 272,600 of them, made more than $191,000. You can read more about the Canadian Income Survey here.
That gives a pretty good range of estimates for retirement income. Middle income senior households would be in the $40,000 to $70,000 range, upper income seniors in the $70,000 to $100,000 range. Above that would be a very small group of seniors.
For the median, a senior couple would expect to have the government provide $26,800 through OAS and CPP. The balance, $33,200, would have to be funded from pensions and investments. A rough estimate would suggest that investable assets of about $800,000 would be required to produce $33,200 reliably over the retirement years. And, of course, adjusting for inflation would make all of these assumptions higher depending on the planning horizon.
Assuming a 15 percent savings rate for the median family income of $76,000, investing $11,400 at age 35 and making annual additions of $11,400 for 30 years would produce about $800,000 in retirement savings assuming a 5 percent rate of return — and that number would likely be short as the income needs at retirement would be higher due to the impact of inflation.
Hence why a pension can be so very important for most families.
Most Canadians expect to require an annual income of $47,000 at retirement — well below the median senior household income of 2011. Four out of ten Canadians have no retirement savings whatsoever. Canadians above 55 years of age have saved a median of $125,000 for retirement enough to produce roughly $5,000 – 6,000 of income and well below what they will need in their retirement years.
And, more telling, half of Canadians believe that investing is on par with gambling and they hold their savings in cash in low interest bearing accounts.
The BlackRock report highlights 5 steps that Canadians can take to raise their financial IQ:
1. Take Ownership
When it comes to financial planning, it’s important to remember that it starts with you. Whether it’s doing it yourself or seeking advice from an expert, you have an important—and active—role in making these decisions, and the most to win or lose based on how you spend, save and invest your money.
2. Get Informed
Before you take action, make sure you know the options available. For example, when it comes to retirement this could include: workplace plans, government options, or individual retirement accounts. Don’t be part of the 50% of Canadians who don’t know how much money they will need to last them through retirement, or the 52% of those with a Defined Contribution or RRSP plan who do not understand what their maximum contribution is to their plan. Seek ways to become better informed.
3. Make a Plan and Stick to It
Sometimes the now gets in the way of planning for the future. Setting goals is the first important step to ensure that you put yourself on track to achieving your objectives, including a comfortable retirement. Most Canadians (64%) agree that they take financial planning seriously. Make sure that you are part of the group that believes in financial planning and also has a plan to make it happen.
4. Seek Advice
Major life events, like preparing for retirement, starting a business or dealing with an inheritance, can have long-term implications for people’s financial wellbeing. Seeking advice can help you get on the right path. Advice can come in many forms and is made easier by technology. Whether through work, a friend, family, online or a nancial advisor, don’t be afraid to seek advice.
5. Start Early
One of the most important steps you can take to have a successful retirement is to start early. We know from this study that most Canadians who invest begin doing so by the time they reach age 35 (68%). The younger you are, the more time you will have to grow your investments. Consider the most often-mentioned piece of advice that Canadians (56%) would give their “younger self” about saving and investing: start saving for retirement from a younger age.
I’m not sure how I even found them. The Internet can be funny that way. You search for something, land on a page somewhere and, for whatever reason, you make a connection.
I have never met Jason or Nikki and I have never communicated with them. I follow their blog and I subscribe to their newsletters and their YouTube channel. I find them to be a wonderful and talented couple with the courage to strike out and take their own path in life. They are certainly living what appears to be an amazing life.
Our life is mad…it’s quite crazy indeed. It’s not perfect or without its sacrifices but it is one we actively choose to live…and there isn’t even a single grain of regret from either of us.
So, if you are one of those people who are already there…living a life you choose and you’re loving it…rejoice! If you are not one of those people, what are you waiting for? If you can dream it, you can do it. Even more, if we can do it, you can do it.
We’re not extraordinary people. We are ordinary people living an extraordinary life and so can you. Make a plan and go for it!
Wise words from a young couple.
I took my Leica camera with me to Walt Disney World. First time I have shot Walt Disney World with a Red Dot. Here are a few frames:
Canadians elected a majority Liberal government yesterday. And the first order of business for the new government?
We will give middle class Canadians a tax break, by making taxes more fair.
We will cut the middle income tax bracket to 20.5 percent from 22 percent – a seven percent reduction. Canadians with taxable annual income between $44,700 and $89,401 will see their income tax rate fall. This tax relief is worth up to $670 per person, per year – or $1,340 for a two-income household.
To pay for this tax cut, we will ask the wealthiest one percent of Canadians to give a little more. We will introduce a new tax bracket of 33 percent for individuals earning more than $200,000 each year.
Fairness is a bit of a stretch in terms of taxation policy. The top 1% of income earners paid over 21% of total federal and provincial taxes in 2010 — and their taxes went up since then — and the top 10% paid almost 55% of all taxes in the same year. The bottom 50% of Canadian income earners contributed only 4%.
Just who are Canada’s one percent?
Yes, there are the bank presidents and corporate CEOs. But they are a small minority — they are the 0.01 percent, the “plutocrats” of Chrystia Freeland’s Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else. So who are the others? There are many 1 percenters in the sectors providing services to business, such as accounting and consulting. There are many from the professions — law and medicine. The lawyers will most likely be mid to late career, in large firms. Most judges are in the 1 percent. The doctors will be specialists rather than family practitioners. The 1 percenters are the senior administrators of our hospitals and our universities. They are also the senior civil service and the top people in many quasi-public agencies. And there will be the star anchors and commentators from the major television networks and newspapers. The leaders of big-city museums, opera and ballet companies and symphonies are also 1 percenters. In other words, the 1 percent are the leaders in each of their sectors: the elites of the business, professional, educational, health, government, media and cultural sectors.
Probably the most insightful commentary that I have read about Canada’s one percent was published by George Fallis for the Literary Review of Canada. As George points out in his article, the problem with the one percent is not a tax problem.
Now I am the voice.
I will lead, not follow.
I will believe, not doubt.
I will create, not destroy.
I am a force for good.
I am a leader.
I had never seen him in action before. I had heard about him of course. And I read one of his books before. Unlimited Power. Back in the late 80s.
And firewalking. I do remember Tony Robbins and firewalking. I guess he still does that sort of thing at his seminars.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from him. He was giving a keynote at one of the sessions that I attended last week.
Just Tony and lots of energy.
He started off by describing himself not as Mr. Positive rather as Mr. Why.
Why are some people successful and others not?
He has spent his life looking at patterns. Understanding patterns. All human beings are patterns. Whatever people do, they do for a reason and if you know the pattern, you can understand the reason.
The ultimate resource is human emotion and you cannot lead others if you cannot lead yourself.
There was a lot of kinetic energy on display. He had people jumping, clapping, yelling. I was definitely the odd person out as I watched all of this drama unfold. The actions of the crowd were not all that different than from what I have seen at hockey games or at rock concerts. More primal than rational. Emotion produced by motion.
After twenty minutes or so of this activity, he calmed the crowd down by asking a key question:
What is a magnificent life?
Tony believes that a magnificent life is a life lived on your own terms. And that happens when you master the science of achievement and the art of fulfillment.
Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure in life.
Many outwardly successful people learn how to achieve. It is almost a mechanical exercise. If you follow a certain protocol you will achieve a certain outcome. Not always the case mind you. Success often relies on a few other factors.
Fulfillment or contentment is much harder to achieve.
Tony used Robin Williams as an example. Outwardly successful and inwardly tormented. Williams could not see a way to be fulfilled.
Tony thinks that we should spend every minute of every day guarding against those stories that limit our lives. Be mindful of our emotional and mental states. Those are the most important things in life.
Most people have a highway to stress and a dirt road to happiness.
That pattern can and should be changed.