A Money Coach in Canada

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Easily $2000 those malevolent moths have stolen.

Cashmere robe, $300, multiple holes.

Persian carpet, $3000+, devalued by at least $1K (actually discovered this last winter and fixed, but I guess they migrated! grrrrr)

Favourite and only truly vintage sweater acquired on The Drive, $50 (but value much higher), a chunk taken right out of it.

Cashmere scarf, $150 on 50% off sale, riddled with holes.

Pashmina, a gift, likely $250, pretty much destroyed.

You get the idea!  Yes, there’s more.

NASTY, VICIOUS, WOOL-EATING BUGS! They’re not even the pretty moths.  They’re ugly.

It’s my own fault:  I noticed them in the summer and was too preoccupied to deal with it.   But the 0C weather has arrived and suddenly the full scope of the damage is painfully apparent.

I’ve read the options online for natural moth extinction (lavender, cedar etc.) but if anyone has real-world success stories, I’m listening.

Bummed out in Yellowknife,


Photo Credit: Cyanocorax

Work with me here.

Here’s the situation. Based on a true story.

You run a well established bank – let’s say, a Canadian bank called CanadaBank.

You borrow $Millions from Canadians by issuing Citizens Savings Bonds and offer them decent interest.

You take that money you’ve raised and lend it out at higher rate to another country, ’cause that’s what bankers do, and you’re a banker.  Let’s call it the country of Perezo.

Perezo.  Oh, Perezo.  Perezo is run by a Military General (MG) who keeps law and order, true, but at dear cost to the citizens.

Western Democracy it’s not.

You hear rumours that MG, who promised he’d use the money to build infrastructure for water and transportation, instead siphons off most of it to his relatives and friends and also uses a lot of it to bribe judges. But it’s not really any of your business and  you are getting the loan payments back on time, with interest, which you then give back to your Cdn. citizen Bond holders, keeping the profit.

But then the citizens of Perezo revolt successfully.

Overnight, MG is gone. In his place is a revolutionary, beloved by the people, named Juan. He pledges to end corruption, fire the bribed judges, and free the people MG had imprisoned. He is also contemplating kicking out all foreign businesses.

Your phone rings.  It’s Juan. He wants a meeting with you.  In Perezo. You fly down to meet him, keenly aware that Juan could give a rats ass about you or your bank.

The meeting goes worse than you anticipated. Juan notes how your bank’s money had enabled MG to purchase the guns that had mowed down citizens in the streets. How it paid off judges who imprisoned some of the country’s best thinkers who had dared speak out against MG and his henchmen. And he shrugs off your rebuttals that you had lent it to be used to build infrastructure, asking you, “where is it? Do you see water towers? Do you see good streets?”.

You develop a cold sweat because you realize you may well not see a penny of that money back. And your bank owes it to the people of Canada.

Readers – over to you. Dig deep into that inner armchair economist in you. What would you say to Juan to convince him to honour MG’s commitment to repay the loan?

ps – This is a real situation faced by a top banker. I have a book he recently wrote about his banking adventures, called “Banker to the World“. Chapter One describes how he handled it.  You get the book (maybe) if you take a shot at responding in the comments!  (one book to give away.  if more than one brave soul answers, it will be by random draw)

Photo Credit: UberZombie

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
I’m not sure the best things in life are free, but a lot sure is. These are the trees in my yard (make that garden for my English friends).

Autumn Tree
A Vagabond Song – Bliss Carman
THERE is something in the autumn that is native to my blood—
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.


The following vid made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Granted, there is likely a measure of posturing going on to convince countries they’d better seriously step up … but neither do I think for a moment these people are being frivolous. Kinda made me want to learn how to hunt and grow my own food. DISCLAIMER: I’m not an economist! Just took a couple courses waaaaay back in the day. So this is just my armchair take.

A super important thing to understand: Bank Capitalization

When you give your $1 to the Bank, they then can invest that $1 to make profit (of which a teensy portion goes to you as interest).

Usually, banks invest that $1 by loaning to Joe the Pizza Man down the street so he can buy a second pizza stand, or to Cindy so she can buy a bungalow.

But here’s the super-important bit: The Gov’t allows the bank not to simply lend out that $1, but perhaps $8 or more. Why? Because of faith.

Faith that Joe probably will succeed in his biz and pay back not just that $1, but the full $8.

Faith that Cindy will pay her mortgage as agreed upon every month.

Faith that those effing bastards on Wall Street would similarly use the money with integrity as they select investments. They didn’t.

Bank Capitalization refers to how many $1s they in fact have. In short, how much that have that is real, not faith-based. That faith is well and truly shaken.
And all our intricate webs between banks and businesses and countries are seriously frayed.

Photo Credit: komodoro

1. Steve Jobs is dead. A light went out folks.  A light went out.

2. #OccupyWallStreet If you’re not keeping informed about what’s going down in the heart of the financial district, you probably should be. You won’t find much about it in mainstream media (any guesses why) but I’m pretty sure this is history in the making. While there is no one “key message” (which would be a contradiction in terms for the protesters), they do coalesce around these common themes:

  • citizens should be at the heart of public policy, not money
  • corporate money should not have nearly the influence it has
  • a call for society to re-order itself to close the gap between the rich and poor

This protester spoke eloquently to Fox News (and the interview was never aired):

3. And the IMF had some things to say about Canada’s real estate market as had Mark Carney (Governor, Bank of Canada) housing market back in June. Worth the read.

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