Do you want a Mortgage Life Insurance?

What I Learned This Week


Last week, I made a post about Mortgages and it was pretty popular. I’d thought I would follow the trend and share what I learned this week (I hope you’ll get something out of it). Today’s going to be more focused on Canada because I’m Canadian (vive le Canada~). However, it might be translatable over in the USA (don’t quote me on that).

Today, we talk about Life Insurance. More specifically, Mortgage Life Insurance. I know what you’re thinking, “Donald, f*ck off. That stuff’s a scam, you’re a bloody idiot for considering it.” And you know, I’m totally cool with that, a lot of people think it. Hell, I use to be that same person until I decided to go on a route of “diving deeper into everything I’m curious about.” Because really, I don’t lose anything when I don’t give somebody my money, but I do gain something by researching a little bit more than your typical, biased joe (spoiler alert: MLI is a pretty poor decision).


Mortgage Life Insurance

Basically, it is a financial product whose value depreciates over time as you pay more premium into it. Here’s an example, Joe borrows $600k mortgage for 30 years and buys Mortgage Life Insurance. He dies that same year, that insurance pays off the mortgage (all $600k). However, let’s say he dies 15 years later and half the house is paid off, the insurance will then pay off $300k (when you qualify for $600k). Now, let’s say he dies 27 years from when he first took out the mortgage and has $50k left on the mortgage, how much does the insurance pay off? You guessed it, $50k (when you qualify for $600k). The horrible part is throughout the years, you’ve been paying a monthly premium for the insurance! So you are paying for a depreciating financial product!

There are better options, a traditional or term life insurance product typically keeps face value as you pay the monthly premiums (that means if it pays out $600k, you will get that amount no matter when you die). It’s just that as you get older, you become more risky and you pay a higher premium.

There has been much controversy surrounding mortgage life insurance. It really does benefit the lender only and is a really bad idea for the buyer, but sometimes it might be your only choice to help take care of the family in case you go early (how morbid). Also, if you are not healthy and do not pass the tests from term life insurance, it might be your only option (another reason to stay active and healthy).

At any rate, you guys know what to do if the banks try to sell you this product. As Canadians, we will politely decline and then curse at them under our breath. If you’re an expat, then act according to your culture. It’d be quite the show.

I hope you learned something today and as always, there’s two videos that I’d like to share below to further explain what Mortgage Life Insurance really is.


All About Mortgages

What’s There to Know?

Well, it has certainly been awhile. Certainly, I have failed in keeping up with my posts. However, there was a reason for that. I have found myself a job as a Software Engineer at a startup called in Vancouver, BC. It’s certainly nice to be able to make a living again, but I am starting at a pretty rough place because the startup is so very disorganized.

At this moment, I feel like passing out, but I will do that after I finish this blog post about what I learned over the time I was absent. A friend of mine recently bought a condo and was raving about all these terms related to buying a place that was above and over me. I started researching about the process of buying a place and more specifically, mortgages.

I learned about credit scores, downpayments, assets, income, etc. and I even made a video that you can find here. It explains what a mortgage is and what you need to qualify for it. It’s very basic, so if you already know a lot about home purchases, you may want to skip it.

I’m from Canada and I really focused on Canada in that video. In it, I explained a little bit about CHMC or Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporate – or Mortgage Insurance. Essentially, you pay a premium IF your downpayment is less than 20%.

So, let’s say that Jeff purchases a house with a 10% downpayment. The other 90% is from a mortgage. To protect the lenders, borrowers are forced to buy this mortgage insurance. The premium that they pay is based on their situation and is calculated by lenders. So basically, in a monthly mortgage payment you will pay for the interest of the mortgage + insurance premium + principle. If you had a downpayment of 20%, you only pay mortgage interest + principle. In this post, I really wanted to point out the insurance premium you’d pay if your downpayment is less than 20%. I feel a lot of people don’t know how much they lose to this insurance premium (or even knows about it). So, I wanted to bring it to light.

Of course, the video I made explains it in finer details, so make sure you watch it. Also, refer to the CHMC reference page to learn more about it. It is Canadian, but I believe USA also have the same kind of process to protect lenders. Sucks for us buying houses, but now you know what to expect.

(Actually, I made it easy for you to find the video *wink*)

Follow me for more tips and tricks and life hacks about how you can hack your financial life!

Yours truly,


A White-Labeled Bottle

A White-Labeled Bottle

It was every other night – except, tonight I received a parcel – a bottle of wine, my favourite kind of refreshment. “You will be poisoned,” a strange label on the wine bottle. I thought nothing of it, and left it by the door of the washroom as I took a shower. Three friends came in for a chat as I showered, one asked me what our plans were after I get out of the shower. The other was noticeably drunk already in the early night. The third inquired about the strange bottle I received.

Five minutes later, tired of them disturbing my time of self-cleansing, I left the showers to two of the three still lounging around. I gazed upon their bored faces upon noticing my missing parcel and the third friend. Disturbed by the label, I took off after her – frantic. She was always the curious idiot. I left the house and found her collapsed in the parking lot. I rushed over to check on her condition – breathing, alive – and noticed the bottle next to her, emptied.

The other two from the bathroom rushed to the door, uneasy about my capricious behaviour. I looked at them, then looked to the floor next to them. A pair of overalls, they weren’t there a minute ago when I arrived at the door. I carried over my unconscious friend and direct the other two to take her in and close the door behind me.

I inspected the pair of overalls – it’s warm. There were many inner pockets within it and I ran my hand through every limb. As, I was rummaging through the left arm – the last limb – I pulled out a bottle. “You will be poisoned.” The same bottle over by where – it’s gone. It was just by where she had collapsed and it’s gone! The contents of what the bottle held was a red liquid foam. I twisted off the cap and turned over the bottle, emptying the contents onto the lawn. The grass burned and fizzled like acid eating through aluminium.

A sense of unease came over my entire being. I looked over my shoulder to find a man wearing overalls, a clown’s wig, and a red nose. Bewildered, I blinked. He was gone. The pair of overalls I left next to me was gone. I stood alone, confused, with questions:

Why was my friend on the ground, unconscious? Will she be alright?

What happened to the first, emptied, bottle?

Where did the pair of overalls come from and where did it go?

Was the second bottle meant for me?

Who was the man in the overalls?

Fear, confusion, and curiousness plagued my entire being. The night was calm and the stars were bright. I looked towards the sky with the streetlights in sight. They flickered, then dimmed, then blackness. A power outage? I highly doubt it. A deathly, cold breeze swept by me. Strangely unnerved, I look forward to what further events may occur tonight…


This post has nothing to do with my daily life, my business, or my thoughts. It was just a purely fictional dream/nightmare I had. Thought it made for a nice blog post/story. Hope you enjoyed it.

Marketing Rant #1 – What I Didn’t Learn In School

What I didn’t learn in School

I may have mentioned in my previous blogs, or I may have not. I am not a strong supporter of school. Most of what I’ve learned today that are effective in interviews are skills that I picked up from the streets (gee. does that ever sound ghetto) or by reading. Today, I started playing around with Quora and discovered that it is a really awesome site to get your questions answered and to find out little facts about what you may want to know.

Melanie’s Blog and Selling?

On Quora, I came across a blog by Melanie Haselmayr. I have been having a tough time doing sales calls and I’m learning that I might not be the best salesman. Complete respect for salespeople, it’s a tough gig. “20 Sales Calls A Day” by Melanie really did give me some much needed inspiration. I quote:

“Experts say you get 1 lead for every 25 contacts you make. Let’s say you contact 300 potential clients; you’ll have 12 leads.

50% of those leads will be qualified = 6
50% of those qualified will be interested = 3
50% of those interested will actually buy = 1.5
80% of those willing to buy will actually close = 1″

I’ve also heard statistics somewhere that out of 100 women that a guy goes after, there is 1 that will be serious relationship material. I feel like George Costanza saying that, but it puts into perspective that, statistically, getting a sale is more difficult than getting a girlfriend. 

** Aside: I do not know how to feel about these statistics.


Content Marketing for Groove?

Today, I also found a blog by Alex Turnbull. Well, not today, I actually subscribed to them a few days back, but I didn’t pay much attention to the originator until today to notice it’s the same guy. So, Alex’s writing was so effective, that it managed to get me to subscribe the first time I read it and grab my attention the second time to share it. You can find it here:

From 0 to $100k/month in 2 years is out of this world. Here’s a summary of the lessons I’ve learned for my reference and yours:

  1. NOTHING more important than knowing your customers
    • Talk to customers to avoid making mistakes (like spending $50k building a site/app they don’t want)
  2. “You’re In” Email
    • Sending an email to ask them why they signed up
      • Personally, this makes sense. I never thought of it until now. People like attention and here you’re giving it, what better way to create brand advocates than showing that you genuinely care?
  3. Customer Service
    • Alex spends half of his time doing customer support
      • Support is good and it will show your employees that you are actually getting data and doing enough analysis to lead the team.
      • I’ve been part of teams that was not like this. Part of teams where the leader is out-of-the-office a lot of the time with no factual feedback from clients. That’s a red flag.
  4. Power of Messaging, Positioning, and Copy
    • Designing a site that comes from the customers’ mouths.
  5. Content Marketing is Ridiculously Effective (If you do it right)
    • Quality content, blogs, guest blogs, customer service blogs
      • I’m trying and testing this now, this would be my 4th post, but I do foresee value in creating a genuine connection with my audience. There’s no subterfuge.
  6. Take Time to Create Good Content
    • I am spending my day scouring for good reads that I’d like to share and writing blog posts about them, so I am spending hours creating one post. But it is actually very therapeutic and maybe it’ll pay off one day ;)?
  7. Promote the Absolute Hell Out Of It
    • “First, if your content is truly valuable, then you owe it to people to get it in front of as many eyeballs as possible. And second, influencers are influencers because they add value to their audience. If your content adds value to their audience, they’re happy to share it.”

I am still learning about how to promote blogs, websites, Twitter and Facebook accounts and pages. I will definitely document what I learn here, so definitely follow me if you want to learn with me.


Don’t hesitate to share your own thoughts and opinions with readers and myself. In today’s world, we definitely have to keep on learning to stay relevant and not be out of a job.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading today’s post as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. Look forward to the next one!

Best wishes,


A Phoenix Never Dies, it is only reborn and in waking, will rise from the ashes

Hey there,

Last post I gave a list of articles for a read, I’m going to reiterate them here:

Last post I mentioned that I will be talking about KickStarter and Customer Validation. So, let’s get to it.

As I mentioned, I live in Vancouver, Canada. Great place to live, mountains, oceans, cafés, and hipsters. Only problem I find: It is small. However, when you look at Canada, it’s entire population is 35 million. In the USA, it’s 319 million. So, I always thought that when doing Customer Validation, wouldn’t it be better to do it where there’s more people?

My time at Spring – great mentors, great advice – was wonderful, but I was given advice to go down to Seattle (right below Vancouver) to do Customer Validation. Different places have different cultures, makes sense. For MealShelf, that only provides value when we have interaction between customer and business, it does make logical sense to drive down. You have local customers and local grocers that will typically stay in the same place for a long time.

My new idea will operate as a mobile application that allows the public to find the location of people running temporary popup stands. It’s a play on restaurant day, a popular event in Helsinki, Finland where students, families, moms open one-day stores in their homes, neighbourhood sidewalk, apartment terraces, etc. I lived in Helsinki, Finland for 5 months as an exchange student. Wicked, eh?


Greatest Inventions: Fatboy BeanBag chairs & Restaurant day

The application would be C2C. However, the customer validation game changes in my mind right here. These type of people that would open popup stands are not obvious. I can’t go knocking on every door to find them (that would be creepy, I will probably get arrested). I can go to the harbour to talk to local fishermen (it happens in Vancouver, where some fishermen sells salmon out of their trucks. Legal? I have no idea, but great source of cheap fish) or I can go talk to some local hunters (I don’t know whether it’s legal to sell game either. It’s illegal in the States apparently). The application’s uses go above hunters and fishers. It can also be used to help your little girl’s lemonade stand. The neighbours all find out about Lucy’s lemonade stand and buys lemonade from her for $3/cup. You are doing 2 things here:

  1. Lucy will be ecstatic playing shop owner.
  2. You are teaching your daughter the essences of entrepreneurship.

That cup is more valuable than a tall coffee at Starbucks. Will cuteness sell? This’ll tell you how cute your neighbours think your daughter(s) is(are).

So, what does KickStarter have anything to do with it? Well, I’ve been thinking of Kickstarter for Customer Validation:

Here’s my hypothesis:

People do run temporary businesses, but they have primitive ways to let people on-the-go know about it. They want others to know what they’re doing other than a Facebook post or a Tweet, which doesn’t stay on your feed for long.

All the articles above have one thing in common: Pre-selling before building. From another standpoint, it is logical to agree with them that pitching your idea and trying to get funded on Kickstarter is the biggest validation out there for a C2C business. Second article by FightForSmall had a great quote: “I like this idea, so I’m going to vote with my wallet.” These guys are not only your investors, they are your customers. The concept of pop-up shops is validated. I saw it work in Helsinki, Finland. Apparently, it’s a thing in Montréal too. I’m just validating “if people will use an application to find popup shops.” I can see it working on restaurant day, for sure, or at night/farmers markets.

I am going to try to plan out a viral marketing scheme to get some leads and follows, then hit up Kickstarter to try and get some pre-sells (funding), if it goes well and fundraising was successful I’ll develop the application and push it out in 2 months? I’ll document the whole process for a case-study along the way.

Wish me luck,


Blog title from:

By the way, here is a product you should buy that originated from Finland: Fatboy Bean Bag Chairs

Kickstarter for Customer Validation – My 2.0

Welcome back,

Today has been quite a day of reads for me. Here is a list of reads regarding Kickstarter and Customer Validation (the last one is creating a million dollar business):

Right now, I have two major projects going on and this blog. I cannot say that everything is going super well. Actually, there has been a lot of thinking because MealShelf is not gaining traction the way I want. In the first article from segment, a lot of lean methodologies are mentioned. Specifically, I want to point out stretch goals. MealShelf is a B2C business with us being the middleman of aggregating information from businesses for consumers. Now, I did validation for it as a platform for grocers to just list their products. They were interested in that. I also did some validation for a pre-order system that I prototyped, they were interested in that too.

That’s great, then “What’s the problem Donald?” you may ask. My problem right now is that I did not ask them to buy it during my customer validation, or simply put, I didn’t put a dollar value on the pre-order system. Now, looking into it, I don’t know the statistics for how many people actually preorder niche, exotic food from their local butchers on a frequent basis enough for that idea to be profitable (i’m expecting it to be small). So, i’m on the verge of pivoting and not positioning MealShelf as a preorder system.

I still see some value in it being an aggregation of available products for the consumers (wouldn’t you like it if you found out that your local butcher sold ostrich?). I called some local stores, there was interest. Though, they don’t see value in paying for it. The revenue plan right now is shaky, as my only revenue model is through ads (Google Adsense, anyone?). However, for that to pay off well, I have to generate a lot of page visits, which means Mealshelf must have a presence beyond where I live in Vancouver, Canada, which is a pretty small city. The Adsense idea came from PlentyOfFish, I had forgotten that a website with large page visits can generate a lot of revenue. However, it’s still very unsettling to know that is likely your main source of revenue. In essence, this would work if revenues from ads > cost of hosting and servers. I’m betting that it would with large interest. At the same time, it took Yelp 5 years for it to actually get started and go global. At this point, a fog has cropped up and I don’t know where to go. I still see potential in its grassroots as an aggregation of available products, if it starts gaining speed, I would see money rolling in. However, I know that it would take a lot of effort to which I can’t foresee whether the result I aim for will ever materialize.

Though, the work and experience in this project did bring about other ideas, to which I will discuss in my next post.

On a side note, back to the story in my first post about the girl who told me to go away after I walked up to her because I thought she was stunning. I told her that I interrupted her because I thought she was beautiful. She was. Suddenly, she became the friendliest and most talkative girl that day. Sadly enough, I had 6 hours until my flight, so I couldn’t ask her out on a date later. Fortunately, I might have dodged a bullet if her attitude flipped in 2 seconds.

At any rate, the lesson learned there is compliments does wonders. Honesty and transparency forges the path for some very spontaneous and organic connections.

Next post, I’ll talk more about Kickstarter and Customer Validation. I kind of went off on a tangent here, but it was a good organization of thoughts.

Entrepreneurship, School, Creativity, and Passion

About 4 years back, I was just finishing up my third year of university. I came back from an internship with fresh web programming skills. Going back to school was tough because I always felt drained and always questioned whether there was any value to me spending time here. I was a little less poorer than before (thanks to the internship), but still a poor student, both financially and knowledgeably.

Few months back from today, I took a Education course. One memorable class, we watched a TED talk by Ken Robinson titled “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”  There were some interesting thoughts in that talk. What stroke me was that Ken mentioned “we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out of it.” Let’s step back to the past to a 6 year old me, still picking his nose and wetting his bed from time to time, I had some embarrassing moments, but I was creative. I love to draw, and everyday I would pick up a pencil and a paper and draw whatever came from my imagination.

Fast forward us 2 years, I would stop picking up the pencil and start writing and learning the multiplication tables. All valuable skills, but the common structure of mathematics, sciences, and languages were hammered into me until I graduated high school.

Cameron Herold gave a Ted Talk focused on raising kids to be entrepreneurs. He told stories of how he had his kids tell him stories for bedtime instead of the other way around and how he use to collect golf balls in the bottom of ponds because there was value in that. Now, that is creativity.

In both talks, important points were highlighted, but the note of passion isn’t quite given its own spotlight. Albeit, it was hinted at through Robinson’s recollection of Gillian Lynne and Cameron’s memory of collecting hangers. My own definition of passion is the natural force that motivates and propels an individual to start and/or continue a series of actions.

Stepping back to my third year of university, I created a youtube channel and worked on it for about half a year creating a series of lectures on subjects that I personally found difficult in university. It’s was called CourseHack. We stopped working on it because our passion for it fell through. Surprisingly enough, it now has about 4,400 subscribers compared to 1,300 when we stopped. Right now, I’m working on a platform called MealShelf that allows grocers to list their products. Customers can find out what their local grocers have for them and the price. That is where my current passion lies.

It is the passion that makes life quite fulfilling and fun. It brings people to you because instead of sitting on the couch, you are working on what you strongly believe in – whatever that may be. Truly, I think it does breed happiness. As I rethink about my experiences so far, we do need to learn to be strong and know when to let go of something when we are losing the passion. For example, take CourseHack. We stopped because we didn’t want to do it anymore. There were no regrets because we tried it and we left with both positive and memorable experiences.

To tie this all together, a lot of people are fine with going to school, take a 9-5, work till your 65 and retire. However, life is pretty boring if things are all planned like that. School, as it is now, kills passion. Without passion, there is no creativity (I would never have given entrepreneurship another shot if I didn’t try it with CourseHack). Without creativity, there’s no entrepreneurs.

As we step back and take a look at the goliath struggle of job searching for new graduates due to supply and demand, we can pinpoint what may be the root of the problem – the structure of the education system. Recently, I completed a curriculum with an accelerator called Spring. In terms of valuable skills, I definitely got more from Spring in 2 months for $500 than I did with university for four years and $40,000.

To conclude, if you’re thinking of switching careers or which career path to take, then know where your passion lies. It might make for a better choice and a better world.