- Delta, British Columbia, Canada
- I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Keeping Up With The Joneses
Pete McMartin, a regular columnist of the Vancouver Sun, has a thought-provoking commentary today. What with the recent economic disaster in the United States, we Canadians have also been touched by fear that our own economy might collapse. So far, so good.
How many Canadians have huge mortgages, lines of credit, and credit-card debt due to home renovations, new cars, flat-screen TVs and all the up-to-the-minute toys and gadgets for themselves and their children?
Apparently, 25% of Canadians save no money at all and 20% of RRSP holders are cashing them in to pay for daily living expenses. (for my USA friends, RRSPs are registered retirement savings plans)
In an Ipsos-Reid poll done in May, it shows that 78% of those polled don't have enough money to cover emergency expenses for three months. What happens to these people if they suddenly lose their job or are faced with a serious illness or injury? It appears that 65% of these people consider their line of credit to be their emergency backup.
So as Pete McMartin puts it, "we've become a society of spendthrifts..."
One theory is that we have let our greed get the better of us. Financial institutions and marketing companies use that greed to get us to borrow more, spend more, and live the high life on money we don't have.
A personal example: I wanted to do a few renovations on my house. I need about $35,000 so went to my bank to see what they could do for me. Not only did they approve the $35,000 but also gave me a credit line up to $100,000. How many of you would be able to resist that?
We Canadians are a lot like our neighbours to the south. We, also, are willing to allow ourselves to be caught up in the throes of greed and a desire to keep up with the Joneses.
So when we hear about the greed on Wall Street (or in Toronto), are they "really" and totally to blame for the ruination of the economy?
I like how Pete states it at the end of his column: "Wall Street and all its permutations may have financed our glass houses - with their granite kitchen countertops and flat-screen TVs and new cars in the garage - but we willingly lived in them." Your thoughts?