July 29, 2014

By Margaret H. Johnson

Does anyone remember the 5 year plans from the old socialist USSR? The west used to mock these 5 year plans with great glee for lacking the most important principle to a thriving economy – namely - competition. Supply and demand was the ultimate standard for comparison between communist countries and western democracies. Supply and demand only functioned well in a free market that allowed prices (and profits) to be subjected to the power of choice (by the public.) If you produced a good product and the public liked it, then this would create demand. Prices would partly be determined by how many people liked the product (demand) and how much of the product was available (supply).

July 22, 2014

By Margaret H. Johnson

What if you were nervous to open up your mailbox because you would be reminded of your deceased child? 

Personally, I can’t even imagine this scenario; however, a parent featured in a recent news story was going through this every day when Bell Canada was attempting to collect a debt owed by her deceased daughter. Christine West of Ontario lost her daughter, Katie, to suicide in December of 2011. Katie’s cell phone with Bell Canada had an outstanding balance of approximately $215, and for three years the company attempted to collect it, even though she had passed away and Christine had provided proof Katie’s death certificate to Bell (numerous times).

July 15, 2014

By Margaret H. Johnson

When people are struggling with credit card debt, lines of credit and other unsecured debt, they have a few options available to help them. One popular choice is to refinance your home (if you own it with enough equity) which means to increase your mortgage and use that extra money to pay off your credit cards and unsecured debt. That way the unsecured debt you had will now be part of your mortgage, a secured debt. The benefit to doing this is saving money on interest, thus making it more affordable to repay. Mortgages these days have very low interest rates, thanks in part to being a less risky loan for the banks because they are secured by the home. If you cannot make your payments, the bank simply repossesses your home to recover its money. In contrast, credit cards can have much higher interest rates and make repayment of the debt very difficult.

July 2, 2014

By Margaret H. Johnson

Last week, Vancity (one of the top credit unions in BC) introduced a new product called the Vancity Fair and Fast Loan.

Here’s the good news: it’s a lot cheaper than payday loans. As reported by Kevin Griffin in the Vancouver Sun, “If a credit union member borrows $300 for minimum term of two months and pays it off in two weeks, it would cost $2.20, a 19 per cent annual percentage rate.” Whereas a payday loan from the Cash Store for $300 (with a 14 day term) would cost $69, which is 23% interest on the principal and equates to an annual interest rate of 599.64%.

And here’s the bad news:

June 23, 2014

By Margaret H. Johnson

Have you ever considered building your own home?  How about a ‘tiny’ home?

Recently I watched a documentary called TINY: A Story About Living Small (http://tiny-themovie.com/).  The film chronicles Christopher Smith and his partner Merete Mueller as Christopher fulfills his dream of designing and building his own home without professional help – a 124 square foot tiny home on wheels!  Government regulations don’t allow homes to be under a certain square footage, hence the home being on wheels. Christopher purchases a plot of land where he and the home can live after its completion. Tiny homes are an interesting concept and they are gaining popularity and media coverage.

Remember, if you are experiencing financial difficulties do not wait. Call Solutions Credit Counselling at 1(877)588-9491 or fill out our Debt Consolidation Questionnaire and get your Free Credit Counselling Advice today.

For more information visit Debt Canada - your Canadian credit education centre.

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