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Crushing Debt: Why Canadians Should Drop Everything and Pay Off Debt



Crushing Debt: Why Canadians Should Drop Everything and Pay Off Debt

David Trahair

ISBN: 978-1-118-09220-0 November 2011 160 Pages


As the majority of Canadians are now spending much more than they make, their debt levels are reaching crisis proportions. Excluding mortgage debt, the average Canadian owes over $25,000 in consumer debt, which poses massive risks not only for the individuals carrying that financial load, but for our entire financial system. In Crushing Debt, bestselling author David Trahair (Enough Bull) warns Canadians that consumer debt is becoming an urgent problem but one that can be solved.

Trahair clearly outlines the evils of debt and how easy it is for debt to spiral out of control with examples of real-life stories of debt disasters. If you are a Canadian who is already struggling with debt, Crushing Debt will motivate you to face your financial problems and will show you step-by-step the most appropriate solution to getting out of your personal debt hell. Filled with proven advice, Crushing Debt is a call to action on an urgent and debilitating problem for far too many Canadians.

Acknowledgements ix

Introduction 1

Where I am Coming From 2

A Word about Books 3

The World is on the Edge of a Cliff 4

It Ain't Gonna be Easy, But There is Hope 5

Why I Wrote This Book 6

What You Will Learn 7

Chapter 1—Debt: The Snake in the Closet 10

My Own Story 10

Marie's Story 12

Chapter 2—Why is the Consumer Debt Crisis So Bad? 16

Human Nature 16

The Environment 20

A Financially Illiterate Consumer is a Bank's Best Customer 24

Consumer Financial Education: Why is It Missing? 24

Look at What Happened in the United States 25

Chapter 3—The U.S. Subprime Mortgage Disaster 26

The Perfect Debt Storm 27

My Trip to Slavic Village, Cleveland, Ohio 28

Why the Crisis Spread 30

Houses "Under Water" 31

The Current U.S. Consumer Debt Situation 32

Could the U.S. Subprime Mortgage Crisis Come to Canada? 34

Chapter 4—Canada's Government Debt 37

Canada's Debt 38

Accumulated Versus Annual Defi cits 40

You Say "Deficit," I Say "Loss" 40

How Big is Canada's Debt? 41

Canada's Annual Defi cit History 41

Federal Debt or Accumulated Deficits 42

Future Federal Debt Projections 42

Ratio of Federal Debt to Gross Domestic Product 45

A Word about Provincial and Territorial Accumulated Deficits 46

Canada's Debt versus the Rest of the World 47

Debt to GDP May be a Misleading Measure 48

MGI's Five-Part Framework to Assess the Sustainability of Leverage 49

A Personal Health Check 50

A Health Check of Canada 50

One More Measure: Canada’s Debt Per Capita 54

What’s It Like to be Bailed Out 55

Perpetual Government Defi cits 56

Is a Foreign Government Default Inevitable? 56

What We Need to Do Now 58

Chapter 5—Canada’s Big Six Chartered Banks 59

Why are They So Worried about Household Debt? 61

An Analysis of the Big Six Canadian Chartered Banks 62

How Much Debt Do the Banks Themselves Have? 66

For A Bank, A Billion Dollar Profi t is Peanuts 66

Return On Equity—A Good Measure? 68

What about the Debt-To-Equity Ratio? 69

Why Debt is more Popular Than Equity 70

Did Canadian Banks Get a Bailout? 71

CMHC Financial Situation 73

Conclusion 74

Chapter 6—Canadian Household Debt Levels 76

Canadian Average Debt Levels 77

The Line of Credit Trap 79

Been There, Done That 79

Chapter 7—How to Get Out of Personal Debt 81

It's the Principal of the Matter 82

Canadians' Love Affair With Debt 83

The Options to Crush Your Debt 86

Paying Off Your Debts Yourself 86

Are You a Spender or a Saver? 91

Would You Like to Earn $100 by Staying at Home and Watching TV? 91

Credit Counselling: Debt Management Program (DMP) 92

Shirley's DMP Success Story 94

Consumer Proposal 97

Bankruptcy 98

Choosing Which Route to Take 102

Chapter 8—Your Credit Score 109

What is a Credit Score? 109

How to Find Out Your Credit Score 109

The Credit Reporting System is not Perfect 111

Your FICO Credit Score 111

What Determines Your FICO Credit Score 112

What Your FICO Score Ignores 115

Individual Credit Ratings 115

Warning: The Following Information Could be Dangerous 116

Credit Score Secrets You Need to Know 117

A Good Credit Score Can Save You Big Money 121

Wrap-Up 121

Chapter 9—Gaining Control Over Your Money 123

How to Track Your Spending and Find the Fat 123

Analyzing Your Spending Results 132

How Much Do You Make? 134

How Big a Mortgage Could You Get? 135

The Gross Debt Service Ratio (GDS) 135

The Total Debt Service Ratio (TDS) 136

How Much Mortgage Can You Get? 136

The Government Tightens the Insured Mortgage Rules 137

What about Regular Uninsured Mortgages and Other Debt? 139

Conclusion 140

Resources 142

Index 145