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December 16, 2018 | Extremism

Thinking in extremes gets you into trouble. When markets go down, extremists fear they’ll fall to zero. They sell. When houses go up, extremists think they’ll inflate forever. They buy. History shows both extremes never happen. Yet people are convinced. When the Fed hints rate hikes might end, extremists think free money is back. The […]

December 14, 2018 | Holidazed

Harry has a problem. He dreams about me. “Both me and my wife are avid readers of your blog. Hey, nothing compares on zipping a cup of warm dark coffee and reading your blog! Over the weekend, when either one of us discovers first the moment you have blogged, it is immediately announced in our household: “Garth […]

December 13, 2018 | The Agenda

  Days ago we told you to expect some changes in 2019, as the vote-hungry federal Libs feel intense pressure to throttle back on measures now driving a stake through the cold hearts of real estate bulls. Next year, after all, brings a general election. T2 has spent his mandate cuddling moisters and courting women. […]

December 12, 2018 | The Fake News

Let’s say you buy a $1 million house. Okay, in Vancouver that would be fairly nice garden shed, or perhaps one of those porta potties with a heated seat. Regardless, there mucho tax to pay – in BC and across the country. Without question governments have benefited bigly from the real estate boom of the […]

December 11, 2018 | 45 & Done

45 turned out better than many suspected. They thought Donald Trump would have a hard time lasting a year, let alone two. But in that time US unemployment hit a 50-year low and is considered full employment. The stock market went up 60%. Taxes went down 30%. The economy grew robustly. Corporate profits thundered higher. […]

December 10, 2018 | ‘Stay Far Away’

First the easy stuff. “I’ll make it short,” says Toronto Paul. “33, single, 85k a year with 10-20% bonus potential. 230k saved, 35k in line of credit (carried me when I lost my job). Own a property in YYC that has 206k mortgage and I think I could get 230k for. Rented out for last […]

December 9, 2018 | The clash

It’s probably not what he bargained for, but there he was nonetheless. The Vancouver Crown prosecutor, also a senior lawyer for the federal Justice Department, was this day actually representing Donald Trump and the US government, as he argued the Chinese woman at the back of the room should be locked up. The lady in […]

December 7, 2018 | Spin, Spin, Spin

It’s been a vexing year for investors. People trying to time the market have been spun out. Look at Friday. After plunging, oil surged. One Trump advisor said a China deal was likely. Another said big tariffs would happen. Job numbers were great in Canada but so-so in the States. Days ago the Bank of […]

December 6, 2018 | Walking it back

Stocks have been going down. Bonds shooting up. Yields are falling. Central banks are walking back. Things have been evolving quickly over the last few days. And you can bet some of those 2019 events mentioned here yesterday have a pretty fair chance of taking place. As Canada enters an election year the economy’s starting […]

December 5, 2018 | Careful

Another one bites the dust. Days ago a big GTA-area developer went paws up, filing for bankruptcy protection and leaving a lot of debris in its wake. Forme Development Group, out of Markham, has specialized in building low-rise, high-rise, mixed-use and hospitality developments. But no more. The company says it has $220 million in debt […]

December 4, 2018 | Take it

  And now, let’s deal with some First World Problems. You know, like only getting a 3G connection. Having to pay 5 cents a grocery bag for the salmon and $8 strawberries. Forgetting your Netflix password. A papercut on your texting thumb. No avocado toast. Watching your greedy parents spend your inheritance. Forgetting the cleaning […]

December 3, 2018 | All Ears

Last week we talked about Marianne the Car Princess. The 50-something owner of two dealerships had panicked after her $2 million portfolio had lost 2% in the October Scare. Ignore the noise, I told her. She couldn’t. And in going to cash she turned a paper loss of $40,000 into a real one. Bad move. […]

December 2, 2018 | Zero

Do you save? Monthly? Most don’t. It’s shocking, in fact. The savings rate just hit 0.8%. So the average household spends 99.2% of what comes in. That compares with savings of 1.4% over the last year, which was already the worst in 13 years. How does this compare with history and others? It sucks. In […]

November 30, 2018 | Mill Day

Hide the denture paste, prostate cushions, Depends, penile splints and fecund RRSP accounts, Boomers, because it’s Mill Day here at GreaterFool! You wrinklies have had six decades to figure stuff out, and most of those years were, well, groovy. Now the kids are having a tough one coping with stupid house prices, a lackluster economy, […]

November 29, 2018 | One Down. Two to Go.

Marianne runs two car dealerships (not GM) and seems good at it. Ten years from retirement, she has business equity and an investment portfolio of just over two million. Sweet. But M suffers an affliction. She’s a Type A person who makes quick, gut decisions and takes her own advice above all others. After doing […]

November 28, 2018 | The Capitulation

Is it over? Well, almost? That’s what Mr. Market is asking about that long string of future rate hikes everybody expected a month or two ago. The return on US ten-year bonds has dropped like Tony Clement’s shorts and now sits closer to 3%. The yield on Government of Canada five-year bonds (which influences fixed-rate […]

November 27, 2018 | The Escape

Over the course of eight years as a hired financial gun I spoke an average of 100 times every twelve months, before deciding running a blog was a helluva lot simpler (and so much more glamorous). From crystal hotel ballrooms to grimy church basements with a borrowed bedsheet as my projection screen, I saw the […]

November 26, 2018 | Transitions

As GM shares surged at the opening bell on Monday, pissed-off autoworkers were walking off the job in Oshawa. The contrast was ironically perfect. Shareholders scored while workers were gored. Gong hybrid and electric may be the immediate reason General Motors is mothballing its sprawling Canadian complex, but this also speaks to us all about […]

November 25, 2018 | Compromise

When not roiling with trolls, battling deplorables or throttling the intolerants on this pathetic blog, I actually have a day job. Simple one, too. Helping people with their finances. It’s solid work. Rewarding. And I like it. Most who call me are married, common law, shacking up or thinking about it. Thus, I spend a […]

November 23, 2018 | Under Control

If governments don’t control the price of houses, why should they control rents? The question leaves cons nodding and lefties horrified. It seems to separate the wrinklies form the moisters. And it’s at the heart of a brewing, giant, never-ending political slugfest that just got a tad more vicious. For example, Vancouverites have elected a […]

November 22, 2018 | The S-Word

For months Trump’s been raggin’ on the Fed. Jacking interest rates relentlessly, he says, is ‘insane’. And last week Feb boss Powell fudged a little, suggesting if The Data looks weaker in ’19, central bankers might tap the brakes. Hmm. How about Canada? Only a few weeks ago our guy was sounding all hawkish when […]

November 21, 2018 | Naked

As of Wednesday afternoon over 350,000 people had clicked on this vid and watched a morose 10-minute summary of the end of James Cordier’s career. RIP, naked call options trader. The post was the teary farewell of JC to the 290 high-net-worth investors who’d shoveled money into his high-risk, high-stakes, usually-high-return fund called Optionsellers.com. The guy was […]

November 20, 2018 | Busts

If you flog houses for a living, you pray potential buyers will think only about two things. One a little: sales. One a lot – prices. This is how the fiction of a rising or stable market can be maintained, even in the face of facts. You know, just like Baghdad Bob during the Gulf […]

November 19, 2018 | Tax Cops Cometh

It’s estimated six in ten homeowners in Vancouver have a suite in the basement occupied by a blinking, mole-like creature called a ‘tenant’ who probably has a bike and votes NDP. Some of these apartments are legal, with the owners deducting expenses and declaring the rent as taxable income. A motherlode are not. And the […]

November 18, 2018 | Goldilocks

Eighteen months ago house lust peaked. You recall those days, surely. Prices shot ahead 30% year/year in the spring of ’17. FOMO swept across the landscape as young buyers were convinced they’d never own if they didn’t plunge immediately. Royal LePage, Re/Max. Sotheby’s and their ilk milked it relentlessly with ‘reports’ proving real estate was […]

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