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August 15, 2018 | The Illusionists

Is this news believable? OTTAWA — The Canadian housing market is finding its footing after a prolonged stumble in the first half of the year, shaking off the impact of stricter mortgage rules and rising interest rates. Home sales increased 1.9% compared with June, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. The Greater Toronto Area led […]

August 14, 2018 | The Standout Guy

Brian. He wrote this pathetic blog a month ago, pondering whether or not to sell his condo in Guelph, a stoney place where the swans go to croak. “I’m in my early 30’s and own a condo in the nice-ish city of Guelph. I paid 250k for it 4 years ago (when the building was […]

August 13, 2018 | Wanting

“Great job with your blog,” writes Jay. “I think of you as the Meredith Whitney of the North.” Really? Her best-before date was 2007, when Meredith forecast the coming crash. Then she blew herself up, and took a hedge fund with her. Guts everywhere. So I’m not sure that’s a sufficient suck-up, Jay. But do […]

August 12, 2018 | The Mill Chill

For decades Boomers dominated housing. They still do. The home ownership rate among the wrinklies exceeds 70%. Compare that with 50% for the moisters (those aged 30 or more) and just 35% for American millennials. If there’s a lock on real estate, the old people have it. The asset’s performed well for them in, thanks […]

August 10, 2018 | The corp

A few offhand comments here yesterday upset a bunch of people. This is a good thing. Sometimes conventional wisdom is unwise. And so (I have found in my time) are a slew of accountants. This post is about being self-employed, having a corporation, taxation, the Trudeau government’s hate-on for you, and how you should pay […]

August 9, 2018 | The Doc

The Doctor is IN! Ashley’s an MD living the swell life in BC. Got it all. Nice house, new truck, new kid, good hubs, big income. But Ash is vexed. Is all this peachiness floating on a sea of debt? First the suck-up: “I have enjoyed reading your blog for years and really value your […]

August 8, 2018 | The Bus

She’s confused. Wealthy, happily. But still confused. “But I thought you once wrote don’t HOARD your money,” she wrote me after reading yesterday’s pathetic blog entry, “…have some fun with it!” The problem was what I said about boats. Don’t go HELOCing your house to buy one, my post warned. The reasons are simple: (a) […]

August 7, 2018 | Lines

Do you have a line of credit? Makes total sense. You should. Keeping enough cash in a savings account for six months of living expenses is so 1990s. So-called ‘emergency’ funds can be a big drag on family finances since this money is actually losing money after taxes and the rising cost of living. The […]

August 6, 2018 | Don’t

In under a month the cost of money will rise again. Yeah, just weeks after that last increase. It will be the 5th time in a single year, and come at a miserable moment for realtors. B20 wrecked the spring market. Now the BoC will nail the autumn. The call’s being made by the economists […]

August 5, 2018 | Reality Bites

Herewith, the tale of a maiden cast aside. And the lessons flowing from it. Hi Garth. Long-time reader for 7 years. I’ve commented a bit before and have written you once or twice as well. Keep doing what you’re doing, it is my sanity on a daily basis. Feel free to use anything I say […]

August 3, 2018 | Massaged

There are more than 50,000 realtors in the GTA. It looks 80% of them made nothing last month. Of course, you’d never know it from the swill the real estate cartel dished out on the Friday before a summer long weekend. Toronto Real Estate Board President Garry Bhaura announced strong growth in the number of […]

August 2, 2018 | Beaten

People are so predictable. A new survey asked the confused citizens of YVR if real estate is in crisis mode and who’s responsible. No surprises. As reported yesterday, 60% said housing is a mess. And 84% blamed foreign guys. The pollsters shook their heads. “As the housing situation reaches crisis proportions, there is no shortage […]

August 1, 2018 | The Disconnect

Market odds are 80% that US rates will rise again next month. And 60% for yet another hike before Christmas. On Wednesday American 10-year Treasuries (government bonds) hit that 3% yield, while Government of Canada 5-year bonds (the ones that dictate mortgage rates) also surged higher. Hmm. This came amid news Trump is ready to […]

July 31, 2018 | Mayday

Oops. Odds of another rate hike this sizzling summer jumped Tuesday with the latest economic data. Seems millions of indebted, rabid beavers can’t stop borrowing and spending money, buying stuff and goosing economic activity. Plus oil’s been on our side. The result: in May the economy grew a half a point (that’s big) and year/year […]

July 30, 2018 | Going, going…

Mr. Market giveth. He taketh away. And so we have the story of star-cross’d lovers from the GTA’s exotic exburbs who bought a house from plans in a faraway land (Barrie), then got pooched. File it with the sobs-and-shudders tale of young buyers of Mattamy Homes in the east end of the Big Smoke who […]

July 29, 2018 | The Guardian

Should somebody be allowed to commit financial suicide? If it’s your mother? Or your aging husband? This is a difficult topic for some people. Especially those who just don’t understand it, and think nobody ever, under any circumstance, should be allowed to act on their behalf. Jacob was one of those guys. He died three […]

July 27, 2018 | Unthinkable

If the economy’s so great, why did stocks go down? That simple question’s a good one. On Friday Washington announced a 4% spurt in US economic growth in the latest quarter. Twice that of the previous period. So yuge, said the president, that it was “unthinkable.” Yeah, it was good. Not as sexy as the […]

July 26, 2018 | In Praise of Many

The sad, empty people who have no life and are addicted to this pathetic blog know the rules. Be balanced. Be diversified. That doesn’t mean owning two condos instead of one. Or having a spouse and a GF. And it sure doesn’t mean putting your faith in one stock, one asset or one house on […]

July 25, 2018 | The Stressor

The plot thickens. On Wednesday the boss of the European Union called Trump’s trade tariffs stupid, which just stiffened the old man’s spine. Speaking of stiff things, fresh evidence emerged of the president buying sex. Or at least paying to hush it up, according to his former lawyer-turned-stooge. Meanwhile senior economic advisors to the Donald […]

July 24, 2018 | Lofted

“I’m a long time reader of the blog and finally in a financial situation to follow some advice,” says Timothy, which is good, because he needs it. “I have zero debt after aggressively paying it down over the years.  Bought a condo/loft a few years back right in downtown Toronto, worth $725-750k, remaining mortgage 300k.  […]

July 23, 2018 | It’s Coming

Remember Sears? You should. There are lessons here. Killed by bad management, competition and online retailers, the Canadian operation went down and took 18,000 jobs with it. Those people had spent years contributing to their  pension plan, which the company was also supposed to fund. It didn’t. So when the end came the plan was […]

July 22, 2018 | Crossroads

Sixty years ago my father was a high school principal. Salary, $10,000. With my mother he bought a house – two stories, four bedrooms, two baths, garage, big lot, stucco-on-brick in a small town just outside Toronto (now Mississauga). Price, $19,000. I’ve no idea what the down payment was, but mortgages cost 8%. Within a […]

July 20, 2018 | The Fly

Poor savers. Interest rates have jumped four times in Canada, yet the needle hasn’t budged much for high-interest accounts or those brain-dead GICs. Mortgages cost more. Lines of credit are higher. Credit cards, business loans and consumer borrowings are all dearer, and yet people sitting on cash have seen their wealth wither. That continues. The […]

July 19, 2018 | Chill

The doctor is IN. Who’s first for the tough love? (By the way, I do not make these letters up. Nobody could.) “Hi Garth! Your blog has been a daily part of my life for the last five years and I remember you fondly from CTV.  My 11 year old daughter used you for her […]

July 18, 2018 | The Big Suck

Karen’s discovering GreaterFool Rule 4. Just in time. Widowed, 63, retiring in 14 months, single, two adult children (far away) and a pension, “that won’t attract flies, it’s so bad.” But she won the birth lottery and lives in the same home she and Dan bought a few decades ago. These days it’s worth about […]

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