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CategoryConsumer Debt

Death, Taxes, and Interest Payments: Part 2

There are some things in life you can’t avoid, but only two things you can’t avoid paying for: taxes and interest payments. In Part 1 of this series, we looked at owning a rental property as a great way to build your net worth while reducing your taxes. Now, in Part 2, we’ll be turning to interest payments. 

Interest payments are a pain to deal with but a necessary evil nonetheless. Here are a few ways to make them a little less painful. 

Continue reading “Death, Taxes, and Interest Payments: Part 2”

Death, Taxes, and Interest Payments: Part 1

“Nothing in this world is certain except death and taxes.”

Benjamin Franklin said this in 1789, and it’s just as true now as it was then. There’s just one thing I’d add given that the world has changed quite a bit since the 18th century: interest payments. Maybe not as certain, but just as stressful. If I could revise the quote now, I’d make it: 

“Paying interest and taxes will be the death of us.”

Continue reading “Death, Taxes, and Interest Payments: Part 1”

Beware of “Friendly” Calls From Your Bank

For better or worse, Canadians have a lot of trust. In each other, in their government, in the places they eat, in the places they shop – and apparently in the places they bank. A 2020 survey found that seven out of 10 Canadians believe their banks have their best interest in mind when offering advice. Well, if you’re one of those seven out of 10 people, I hate to burst your bubble… but I have reason to believe otherwise.

Continue reading “Beware of “Friendly” Calls From Your Bank”

Despite Uncertainty, Canadians Are Keeping Up With Mortgage Payments

You might have heard some sensationalist news stories over the past year about Canadian homeowners over-borrowing. With the employment rate so low, and mortgage debt so high, how could Canadians possibly keep up with their payments? Headlines spewed dire warnings that once payment deferrals expired, borrowers would default in droves. 

Except that isn’t what happened at all. 

Continue reading “Despite Uncertainty, Canadians Are Keeping Up With Mortgage Payments”

Canadians Are Paying Down Their Non-Mortgage Debt

In so many ways, the pandemic has been devastating for Canadians. Between layoffs, supply-chain shortages, and healthcare challenges, the last year and a half has tested us in ways we never could have imagined a decade ago. And yet, in the midst of adversity, some silver lining has come to light: Canadians have actually been very smart with their money. 

We know that Canadians have never had more disposable income. Lockdowns physically limited our ability to shop and dine out while CERB payments padded our pockets for months. But people weren’t running out and buying Teslas. In fact, they were using their excess cash to pay down expensive debt

This happened almost immediately. Less than two months into the first lockdown, May 2020 saw the first decline in non-mortgage debt in decades. By January 2021, non-mortgage debt had plummeted by more than $20 billion, including a whopping decline of $16.6 billion in credit card debt. Now able to pay down their Visa bills, Canadians were able to incur more practical debt: mortgage debt.

Mortgage Debt in the Pandemic Era

As non-mortgage debt evaporated, mortgage debt ballooned. Almost $99.6 billion between the start of COVID and January 2021, to be exact. Why? Mortgage rates fell. The stock market soared. Extra disposable income made it a little easier to save for a down payment. But more than anything, the stay-at-home orders forced Canadians to really value their living spaces. 

The Bottom Line

Canadians are trading in their bad debt for good debt. What’s the difference? Bad debt is spent on inessential items that don’t retain or accrue value, while good debt can enhance your net worth over time. In my opinion, mortgage debt is good debt.

Real estate values in Canada have only increased over the last 25 years. So when you take out a loan on a home, you’ll almost certainly see a return. Having debt tied to a tangible asset that appreciates in value is prudent, whereas having debt tied to an overcharged Amex card is not. The trend towards good debt is an indication that Canadians are getting more savvy at managing their money. 

But it’s also a huge indication that Canadians value homeownership. You can even see it in how much they’re spending on home decor and renovations. With home values on the rise and rates remaining stable, it’s very likely that we’ll see mortgage debt climb even more than we already have.

Your best interest is my only interest. I reply to all questions and I welcome your comments. Like this article? Share with a friend.

Steve Garganis: 416-224-0114; steve@canadamortgagenews.ca