Feb 28, 2013
Budgeting and Taxes Part 2
There is a little more to budgeting than good financial advice. You need to have the money. The recent Conference Board of Canada report suggests that Canada’s social fabric is being torn by rising income inequality and stagnant child poverty rates. It appears that our child poverty rate is up 20% since the mid 1990s.
Of course our consumer debt levels have risen from $100 billion in 1990 to over $500 billion today. Not only has poverty been increasing, it holds hands with an increasing dependency upon credit.
Feb 14, 2013
Happy Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s day is another one of those occasions during the year that lack detailed planning. I have never seen Valentine’s Day identified as a separate expenditure on a family budget. It’s a bit like birthdays. We wait until the event arrives and make a quick decision.
Sometimes this shrug of the shoulders at the last minute ends in the deep end of the red ink well. Roses tend to top the list as the mainstay gift or love token as retailers propel the price for this one day frenzy up to the highest regions of the stratosphere. How many times do you see people scramble frantically into the grocery stores or florist shops from 4:30pm to 6pm ready to pay any price for the roses?
Feb 12, 2013
Today, the TD bank cast a dark shadowy prediction for the future. Jobless youth will cost the Canadian economy $23 billion over the next two decades.
Martin Schwerdtfeger, an economist, reported in the Vancouver Sun that the loss of tens of thousands of youth jobs after the 2008-09 financial crisis will impact the Canadian economy for up to two decades.
This obstacle for the young stands on top of the shoulders of a mountain of student loan debt necessary for many to finance post secondary education, which may not help secure a well-paying job. The crunch – they need the education to get a job interview.
Feb 4, 2013
Budgeting and Tax Time
Lots and lots of stuff happening last week. The high point was my community workshop on budgeting. Wow. What a great group!!!
When I arrived Thursday night, January 31, there were only two women there. The one lady said, “Are we the only two broke women in Maple Ridge?” We all laughed.
Soon the room filled up with a wide range of ages and interests. What stood out more than anything else was their uniform interest in budgeting. They were all there for the same reason.
Budgeting is popular at this time of year. For some, it forms part of their New Year’s resolution to do better with the family finances in the New Year. For others, their circumstances are tight. They need to find options.
Feb 1, 2013
Financial Independence for Women
Financial independence is a hot topic these days, especially for women, but what does it really mean? This is something that could have a different meaning for each of us, but how should we define it, in order to gauge whether or not we have actually reached this vague status?
Jan 28, 2013
Are You Paying Off Your Debts Faster?
Equifax has just reported that Canadians are paying off their debts faster.
We see a very different picture at our licensed credit counselling agency, Solutions Credit Counselling Service Inc. Our client intake is up 20% over last year.
The income to debt ratio reached an all time high in October 2012 as reported by Stats Canada at 163.4 percent. This finding suggested a greater dependency on credit rather than a lesser one.
Dec 28, 2012
Margaret's Top 10 List 2012
What were the most outstanding events of 2012 for Canadians? Not an easy question.
Sadly, near the top of my list is the tragic story of Amanda Todd and her suicide resulting from bullying. More and more public attention has been focused on the problem of teenagers being bullied and the how this has been amplified by online harassment. We must do a better job.
I asked an 8 year old for her opinion on the most important events in 2012. Her answer is quite profound:
Dec 19, 2012
No Partridge in My Pear Tree
A Letter from "Mr. X"
Can you believe it? It’s December 13th and I’m out of money already. I haven’t bought any Christmas presents yet!!!
You should know that I am not a spendthrift. I’m 64 years old and don’t have any consumer debt.
Dec 18, 2012
Balance Protection Insurance on Credit Cards
“Peace of Mind” or “Waste of Money”?
Are you aware whether you have balance protection on your credit card or not? Often when applying for a credit card, the applicant is not asked whether he or she wants the protection, it is added automatically and assumed as wanted unless the applicant asks to terminate it. You may think the protection is mandatory, or even part of the interest charge, but that’s not so.
Balance protection insurance is like other insurance in that it’s benefit coverage comes with eligibility requirements, exclusions and conditions. However, unlike other insurance, you are not applying for it to see if you qualify or approve its coverage, you are offered it automatically and then it is up to you to find out if you qualify or if you require the coverage. Therefore if you do not take any action, you will be paying for it even if you don’t qualify, and even if you don’t really need it or want it.
Dec 5, 2012
How about a Budget for Christmas?
If Santa has been watching the news around the world, then he might be thinking more about falling off a fiscal cliff than splurging blindly on everyone this holiday season. And this has nothing to do with Scrooge. There is a big difference between sensible shopping and Grinch-like cheapness.