A Money Coach in Canada

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Photo Credit: Madaboutasia

Maclean’s Magazine recently published an issue with the headline:

LIFE AT $200 A BARREL.
You won’t be able to eat, travel or live as you do now.
Say goodbye to the age of plenty.

And it occurred to me: I don’t really believe it.

It hasn’t

sunk

in.

I have the luxury of walking to work, and I gave up my car a number of years ago, so I’m not as in touch with rising oil/gas prices as those of you who commute.

But this goes a lot further than simply convincing us to use public transit instead of our cars.

Shipping costs have increased by 72%.  What are the ramifications?

Consider your bananas. Your sugar. Your coffee.

I don’t know the micro-economics, but I’m guessing a big part of that cost is the transportation. Are you prepared to pay nearly double, soon, for these goods?

Consider your getaways and vacation/christmas travel to friends and family. Westjet now charges an additional $20 – $45 each way to cover their rising costs. AirCanada charges between $40 – $120. What will it be by next December?

The council of a suburb in Melbourne, Australia, is already planning how they will handle the lifestyle changes –

  • kids moving out of the ‘burbs back into mom and dad’s downtown home, to avoid the commute
  • increased demand for bike and pedestrian paths
  • increased mental health issues caused by isolation

Yikes.

Readers, what’s your opinion: Do you believe oil prices will continue to skyrocket? Do you foresee that it will cause dramatic lifestyle/consumption changes for all of us? Have you personally experienced any impact yet?

About the Author


Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com

6 Comments

  1. I think $200 is a bit optimistic. Soon, Canadian gas will be more expensive that UK gas was when we left almost 3 years ago – something not even contemplated back then. There is no sign it is ever going to go down. I think we are talking more about the frog in the saucepan of water. The heat is being turned up and yes, the rate of increase is faster than it was. Like the frog I suspect the impacts of this are going to be quiet. At some point there will be a tipping point, the question is whether we have the ability too act before that comes, or face the reduced options that comes with doing nothing.

    [Reply]

    Jun 11, 2008
  2. Maybe oil prices will come down, maybe it won’t. But I don’t think we can go on living the way we live. Oil is a non-renewable resource and many believe that we have passed peak production sometime last year (or next year for some others). Then there are increasing demands on oil as more people own cars and have improved standards of living in places like China/India.

    All this mean we will have less oil available shared between more people than before. Something has got to give.

    As for personal experience. My commute cost more now, I’m paying through the nose for my vacation flights this summer, grocery bills have increased, and people at the cafe keep asking about the increase in our prices. I guess it’s about the same as everyone else 🙂

    [Reply]

    Jun 11, 2008
  3. Hi Nancy, I think you bring up some interesting points. Perhaps I’m a little naive, but I don’t think this is a bad thing. Yes, I agree that we have to re-think our North American lifestyle, but are increase demands for bike and pedestrian paths really a bad thing? I don’t think so. I think it’s about time.

    I also think the move to eat local foods is a positive one. It’s not likely we’ll all be consuming only foods within a 100 mile radius, but Canadians will benefit from closely examining the environmental, financial and health costs of food from elsewhere.

    As for Melborne’s assumption that there will be increased mental health issues caused by isolation, I have to think that’s contradictory to the increase demand for bike and pedestrian lanes. Is there any way to travel that’s more private and isolating than driving in a car alone? I can’t think of one.

    [Reply]

    Jun 11, 2008
  4. @stewart I think that’s a great analogy although for people like my folks who live in yellowknife, I think the impact may be more dramatic. Still, we are a bit like the poor frog and I hope we don’t end up like the frog did. Some days I think we might. And sometimes I wonder: what would earth do, without humans? I think it may ultimately be just fine. Alas, we wouldn’t know one way or the other. (I’m not as gloomy as I sound right now!)
    @esme I’m curious – do your customers ever make the connection of the increased sandwich/coffee cost to the oil increase? It could be an amazing place for education (like you really want to add THAT to your job duties …)
    @unspending thanks for dropping by! And yes, see my comments to stewart above. The upside may well be a more appropriate conduct toward the earth motivated by necessity, which is better than nothing. Fingers crossed.

    [Reply]

    Jun 11, 2008
  5. This is one of the topics that interests me the most these days, I try to read up on it as much as I can. And I think this is just the beginning. Yes, I believe we’ll get closer to what Europeans are paying, so we’ll start seeing the types of vehicles (and bicycles and scooters) that we see lots of other there. Heating oil is also skyrocketing, and so many people in my area use that as a source of heat in the winter… times are going to be hard for some.

    I am lucky that I have some loose in my budget, but if it gets too bad, I may give up a few treats (more imported stuff) and buy more locally. Better for the environment too.

    [Reply]

    Jun 12, 2008
  6. Heh, we’ll get closer to “current” European prices, while European prices will continue to chase even higher no doubt – unless they cut THEIR taxes, which would be a bad idea for anyone who believes higher prices = more conservation.

    I’m not sure if European taxes are a “fixed” amount or a percentage like the GST. If the latter, they may have a decent reason to lower taxes – higher prices will mean the government will continue to gain on the revenue side.

    There’s definitely going to be some pain as we adjust to the new price schemes, but higher oil prices definitely DO mean that alternative power is going to enjoy a huge boost – you don’t need to lower the cost of alternative power when “mainstream” power becomes more expensive.

    [Reply]

    Jun 15, 2008

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