Sep 242012
 

A recent study about individual debt has made me reflect on the question of whether people are too smug about their debt situations. The poll seem to suggest that even though our debt levels are at an all time high, most Canadians are quite comfortable with using debt as a financial strategy. 9 out of 10 respondents would consider borrowing money to cover an unexpected cost. In an awkward way, I am really glad to read that because my personal strategy has always been to use my line of credit for emergencies and unexpected expenses. It appears now that other Canadians are also replacing saving for a rainy day with accessing debt to deal with financial problems. Glad to see I’m not the only one.

The average person in Canada has about $1.50 of debt for every $1 of income they make per year. Despite this, 62% of those surveyed said they are comfortable with their financial situation. Are you comfortable with your financial situation? I sure am! But this kind of debt to income ratio is around where the US economy was right before the housing crisis and then the rest of the recession. So there is certainly the possibility that we are underestimating how much risk we’re really putting ourselves into.

It’s frightening to see that Canadians have become totally blasé about debt – it’s becoming their new ‘normal’ and they’re numb to this dangerous trend,
~Hoyes, Michalos & Associates Inc.

I wonder if people will be as “blasé” about debt if interest rates were 3-5% higher like normal economic times? 😀

The survey interviewed 1,010 Canadians between Aug. 15 and 23. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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Random Useless Fact:  Over 86,000 Americans each year have to visit the emergency room because they trip over their own pet. (source: nytimes.com)

Dec 282011
 

Hope everyone had a good Christmas. I went to the local consumer electronics store (Futureshop) on boxing day and it was packed. I feel bad for the minority who are facing financial difficulties now, but one look at our shopping malls, restaurants, road congestion and it’s hard to find any signs that our economy is slowing down…

There are so many cars on the streets this holiday season. We have a law in this part of Canada that issues a $167 ticket to anyone talking or texting on their phones while driving. But hands free blue tooth is okay because you’re not looking at your phone.  According to the police, 48% of fatal car accidents last year involved distracted drivers. So this is really a moral issue, which will save hundreds of lives each year.
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I think this law is a great idea for any State/Province or municipality looking to make some extra money. Imagine how much more in taxes we would all have to pay if the government didn’t have other ways of raising money like using these traffic ticket fines. On a per person bases, BC already issues more than twice at many of these tickets as Ontario. Other provinces should follow us. I’m all for issuing fines if it means saving lives and money.  I’m surprised at how many drivers I see today still holding phones to their ears. If people must use phones while driving, they can buy a cheap head set for talking, or use Siri, if they have her, to send text messages. Driving at 60 km/hr (37 miles/hr) a driver who takes their eyes off the road for just 3 seconds drives the width of a football field, “so even a brief glance at a text message or dialing a cell phone can cause serious injury or death.” ~Solicitor General R. Coleman.

75% of drivers polled in this province, believe that talking or texting on a mobile phone behind the wheel is as dangerous as drunk driving. And most of them support this cellphone/driving law. Some even want the fine to be higher. What’s interesting is 53% said they witnessed others breaking this law “several times a day.” But only 16% admitted to breaking the law themselves in the last year. Hmm, I wonder…