Blog & News

December 25, 2013

By Margaret H. Johnson

It’s Christmastime in the city when we start seeing and hearing much more than little green elves and jolly jingling bellies dressed in red suits. This is a time for both reflection and prediction. We look back and say to ourselves, “Was it a good or a bad year?”


The most forgiving or unforgiving yardstick of measurement is not our height or weight, but rather, our bank account. Did we make more money last year? Did we buy a house? Did we get that new car?

Part 2

December 5, 2013

By Margaret H. Johnson

We began Part 1 with the above question, how much debt can we handle? $25,000? $50,000? $100,000?


Before we could answer this question, we needed to know some details about the person’s financial situation, such as net monthly income and monthly expenses.

Part 1

November 26, 2013

By Margaret H. Johnson

Trans Union, one of the largest Credit Reporting Agencies in Canada, released a report this week informing the public that debt levels are rising, but we are managing okay. Sounds good, but, what does it mean?

The short answer: I don’t know.


How much debt people can handle, manage or afford is really quite complex. Is it $25,000? $50,000? $100,000?

November 6, 2013

By Margaret H. Johnson

Lots and lots of press coverage about debt these days. Recently the United States avoided default on their debt load. What is of particular interest is the predicted devastation to the global economy if that should have happened. What isn’t mentioned is how individuals and families face a very similar crisis if their debt loads reach a ceiling and how their world would collapse if they should default on their debt loads.

You see, we live in a world of debt ceilings. At any given moment, a nation of debtors – individuals and families - could reach their debt ceilings and fall into a nasty place where you are ostracized, criticized, disenfranchised and stripped of your dignity.

October 30, 2013

Lots of media attention to a Royal Bank poll that discovered that a quarter of Canadians appear to be debt free.

They reported that for those who do have personal debt the average debt load has jumped up to $15,920, a $2779 increase from a year ago.

September 30, 2013

By Margaret H. Johnson

Lots of news these days about debt. Not too long ago, we were told we finally started to reduce our debt levels. Next, we’ve been told that seniors are in trouble financially – and going deeper in debt.

Recently we were scolded once again for slipping back into the debt spiral.

The discussion on CBC included mortgage debt and that consumers were rushing into the market to beat predictable interest rate increases in the future. And, in a rare moment of full disclosure, they revealed that mortgage debt was backed by an asset – homes - and that the debt picture with the home equity included wasn’t all that bad.

August 12, 2013

By Margaret H. Johnson

Today’s headlines – “CMHC cap on mortgage-backed securities to raise home costs cool market.”

Here we go again. More government intervention. I don’t get it. Aren’t conservatives supposed to believe in a free market economy? So, why do they continually intervene into the marketplace and regulate, regulate, regulate. Whatever happened to the priority of market forces like supply and demand?

Historically, liberal governments have been the regulators and would receive the full intensity of vicious rebuttals from conservatives that hated all government interference. Now, we see a conservative government rushing into the marketplace to interfere, interrupt, and protect – Why? Who are they protecting?

July 24, 2013

By Margaret H. Johnson

In an article published in the Globe and Mail, according to Trans Union the average Canadian’s non-mortgage debt – which includes credit cards, car loans, instalment loans and lines of credit – reached $26,935 in the first quarter - down 2% since the third quarter in 2011.

Sounds good right? Well, I’m not sure. You can see it’s a bit of a stretch to reach into the statistical tables and find some event in the third quarter of 2011 to justify something.

The Bank of Canada’s seasonally adjusted figures for consumer debt have consistently gone up since September 2011 from $496 billion to $514 billion in March 2013.

Jul 17, 2013

By Margaret H. Johnson

I got a call from a friend today about his daughter who lives in Port Coquitlam. She got up at her usual time to drive her 5 year old son to school. They went out the front door as per normal and walked across the street to their truck. She rounded the front grill and headlights before being shocked by a totally unbelievable sight. The tire and wheel were missing and the frame of the vehicle was being suspended on top of a block of wood.

“What the heck?” She cried out into the early morning mist. She was stunned motionless. Who would do such a thing? How could this be happening?