Aug 272015

Comparing Household Incomes from 2006 to 2011

I recently watched a CBC video report that looked at how incomes have changed for different types of households. According to Statistics Canada, during the years between 2006 and 2011, family households saw their incomes increase by 7% on average. 🙂 However, single people have been left behind as their incomes only rose 0.6%. It appears having a stable family with two parents has great financial benefits for everyone involved. These stats measure after-tax income, and is properly adjusted for inflation.

Let’s break down these households even more.


So basically single senior men and two-parent families are doing much better now than nine years ago. 😀 Single senior women and single moms didn’t fair too badly either, with 7% and 5% income gains respectively. On the other hand, single women who don’t have children have seen almost no growth to their net incomes. And single men have actually experienced deteriorating incomes from 2006 to 2011, especially if they also happen to be a single dad. Since financial independence is one of my long term goals I think the lesson for me here is try not to become a single dad, lol.

Of course all these numbers are averages and there is always a range of possibilities for personal finance. It’s interesting how this study demonstrates the closing income gap between single women and men. It also suggests that seniors, for the most part, are doing great on their own. When a new baby comes into a family, many changes are necessary. ? But it’s worth it because the family will likely be making more money. I wonder what these numbers look like for other countries.

Random Useless Fact:

“Be more concerned about your character than your reputation. Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think of you.”

Mar 282015

According to a Financial Post report the average price of detached homes in Toronto passed the $1 million mark for the first time last month. 🙂 The GTA has experienced a housing bull market for almost 2 decades and there is no sign of it stopping.

I want to congratulate Torontonians for reaching the $1 million milestone. Welcome to the club. 🙂 Meanwhile the average detached home in Vancouver now stands at about $1.4 million. But hey, it’s not a competition. 😉 And extreme cases like the Point Grey mansion that was sold a few months ago for nearly $52 million will skew the average results. Can you imagine the commission real estate agents make around here?

We often hear complaints about how unaffordable housing is in Canada. But there are two sides to each coin. My friend’s parents bought a home for $70,000 over 40 years ago. They have since paid off their mortgage, and their home is now worth over $1 million. 😀 They plan to sell their house soon in order to downsize and will become liquid millionaires. That sounds great to me. The majority of Americans and Canadians are home owners. So financially speaking rising home prices should benefit most of us. 🙂

Recently a Vancouver house sold for $567,000 over the asking price. It was listed for $1,600,000, but sold at $2,167,000. People are even making jokes about how insane the housing market is. Below is a short video I found of a Vancouver real estate agent talking about his inexperienced clients. It captures the ridiculous nature of the current market around here. 😆

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Mar 222015

I really like new cars. I kept on trading and trading…and I was buying a lot of gifts for people and getting more and more into debt,” says D’Arcy George who lives in Lethbridge, Alberta. Eventually his spending habits caught up to him and D’Arcy was up to $70,000 in debt and struggled with a bank account constantly in overdraft. But D’Arcy’s experience is not unique.

In a province where the average wage is over $28/hour, a sustained period of low interest rates has caused consumers to become overconfident in the economy which has led to rising consumer debt. But now that oil and gas prices have slumped some people are forced to re-examine their financial situations. 😕

D’Arcy has realized this reality and has taken dramatic steps to get his debt under control. He started a second job at Costco to make more money. He now works every day of the week, often more than 12 hours a day, and he drives a used car. “I feel more confident that I can save money and know how to handle it,” he says. “I always have a balance of $8,000 in the bank and I get worried if I have less.

Canadians are getting the message when it comes to our consumer debt. A recent report from TransUnion shows the average Canadian individual owed $21,428 non-mortgage debt by the end of 2014. This number includes credit cards, lines of credit, student loans, and other types of credit products but does not include mortgages, home equity lines of credits, or margin loans.


$21,428 is up 2.3% compared to the previous year. However digging deeper into the number we see that Lines of Credits, which make up 40% of consumer debt, has increased by 4.4%, while credit card debt has actually fallen by 2%. In other words consumers are getting smarter about where they’re borrowing money from. People are familiarizing themselves with how credit works and are making better decisions about their spending habits overall. 🙂

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Dec 112014

Grumpy Cat is a Wealthy Cat

The internet is the best thing to have happened to cats since the ancient Egyptians. The most popular cat in the world right meow is none other than Tardar Sauce. Her first picture was uploaded to the social news site Reddit in 2012. Denizens of the web quickly fell in love with her distinctive expression. She was given the label Grumpy Cat and variations of her pictures, often with sarcastic captions, spread all across the web and turned her into a popular internet meme.

Two years since her internet debut, Tardar Sauce has now made over $114,000,000, according to the CBC. That is more money than most “A” list Hollywood actors including Brad Pitt, and top athletes including Christiano Ronaldo. There is even a Grumpy Cat Christmas themed movie, Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, in which she’s voiced by Aubrey Plaza, who is best known for playing April from NBC’s comedy, Parks and Recreation.


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Nov 272013

I was watching the Buckner and Griffiths Exchange yesterday. It’s a business show on the CBC that only airs once in awhile. Anyway, they were talking about the booming ag sector in Canada. Apparently farmers are making a killing this year because of the bumper crop.13-11-lolx-crop-receipts

Rudyard Griffiths, a savvy social entrepreneur renowned for wearing his dashing red tie, raises a relevant concern about food affordability. The high growth rate of farmland prices may result in much higher food prices at the grocery store for consumers later down the road.


I believe the cause for the steep price appreciation is due to excessive credit and low borrowing costs, which has also manipulated other asset classes. The S&P 500 stock market index, for example, is up 26% year to date 😯 Investors are desperately trying to find real returns and real yields, and farmland is an area where real yields are still relatively attractive. Farmland rent, at least where my farms are located, was roughly $30/acre just 5 years ago. But today they are going for $50/acre. There is no way you can raise your tenant’s rent by 11% every year in the city 😛 But you can on rural property, because there are no city bylaws to thwart free market forces 😉

But what can we do to protect ourselves against the likely trend of growing food prices? As Ms. Buckner mentions in the show, the average age of farmers is 60 years old. And 75% of them don’t have a successor since their children don’t necessarily want to take over after they retire. So I think the answer is obvious. If you want to preserve your purchasing power, go become a farmer! 😀 Farmer’s incomes in 2013 totaled $7.3 billion in Canada, which is 31.7% higher than last year.

Did you get a 30%+ salary increase this year?
No? Neither did I 😕 But the farmers sure did 😉 I think farmers have become the new investment bankers, haha 😀


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