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December 16, 2016 | The Reject

A best-selling Canadian author of 14 books on economic trends, real estate, the financial crisis, personal finance strategies, taxation and politics. Nationally-known speaker and lecturer on macroeconomics, the housing market and investment techniques. He is a licensed Investment Advisor with a fee-based, no-commission Toronto-based practice serving clients across Canada.

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Just imagine if I were not male, pale and stale. Maybe then Jane Rooney would want me. Perhaps being a non-white, transgender personage with a serious limp would qualify me to join her steering committee on financial literacy. Then again, enabling crazies, doomers, moisters, tinfoilers, anarchists, cowboys and mouldy basement dwellers every day through a questionable blog auto-disqualifies me from everything that’s socially redeeming.

But I digress. It’s just that I’m morose. Today I received the following letter rejecting me for a role in the National Financial Literacy Strategy, for which I hadn’t even applied. But apparently some rascals who read this site did. Shame on you. Now I’m a discard. Crushed.

Dear applicant,

Thank you for your application for membership on the National Steering Committee (NSC) on Financial Literacy and also for your patience during the selection process. Over 120 applications were received from individuals representing a broad range of public, private and non-profit organizations from across Canada. We carefully considered all applicants.

I want to acknowledge your commitment to strengthen the financial literacy of Canadians and thank you for your interest in working with me as member of the Steering Committee. However, I regret to inform you that you were not selected to be a member. I greatly value collaborating with all organizations who have an interest in this important issue and would like to continue to work together as we implement the National Strategy for Financial Literacy.

The new committee will be publicly announced in the near future by the Commissioner of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC).

Thank you again for your dedication to help strengthen the financial knowledge, skills and confidence of Canadians.  Your commitment is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Jane Rooney
Financial Literacy Leader

Touching, right? So personalized and deep. Maybe you’ve never heard of Jane, but she’s been busy spending your money for the last three years as Leader of this financial literacy initiative that’s presided over the biggest debt run-up in Canadian history. As you read here, we owe $2 trillion now. Over half the people taking out new insured mortgages in Toronto have debts exceeding 450% of income. A quarter of us would fold if we faced an unexpected $2,000 bill. About 65% of all loans are mortgages – which moisters universally see as “good debt.” Now BC is giving kids almost forty grand in starter debt with training wheels attached, so they can buy houses with 97.5% financing.

Our collective personal debt exceeds the entire Canadian economy. Forty percent of people say they’re “overwhelmed” by debt and another 11% believe they’ll never pay it off. Over the last decade a massive amount of personal net worth has been concentrated in a single asset, which in most of the country is under siege. And with this week’s pivotal US rate increase – plus more to come – the lowest debt servicing costs in history will start to rise. Our savings rate is one-fifth what it was a generation ago. Eighty per cent of TFSA money is in brain-dead, interest-bearing assets. Thirty per cent of Canadians and 60% of all GenXers have put aside zero for retirement.

Good job, Jane. But you don’t need my help. I get it.

This week the Bank of Canada published its Financial System Review raising the alarm over the rampant debt and mindless concentration people have engaged in. I wonder if Jane has read this, or absorbed the “heat maps” showing how many people in, say, Toronto have put themselves in extreme hock.

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Canada’s ‘National Strategy for Financial Literacy – Count me in’ is set up to empower people to achieve two major goals: manage money and debt wisely; and to plan and save for the future. Despite the millions Ottawa’s shoveling into Jane Rooney’s department, by every discernible measure it’s a fail.

Boomers are retiring with obscene mortgages on ludicrous houses. Seven in ten of us have no corporate pensions, but inadequate savings. Millennials think nothing of plunging into debt to get something they could rent for a fraction of the cost. A majority of people believe the lowest interest rates in 300 years are normal. And nobody understands the greatest risk extant is not losing money, but running out of it.

Well, Jane, I know old white dudes are out of fashion (except for Trump’s cabinet) but you have to admit your plan to educate and empower the deplorables ain’t working.

Hey, maybe you should start a blog. This one costs nothing. People came here 6.7 million times in the past year.  And it’s pathetic. So at least we share something.

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December 16th, 2016

Posted In: The Greater Fool

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