I found a few years back that the time I spend commuting and running errands is time lost. I wasn’t doing anything, so I decided to listen to books on cassette. Over the years, I have listened to many novels (many abridged) and enjoyed this time that much more.
When I started writing here, I noticed that many financial advice books were beginning to get published on cassette and on CD, so now I tend to listen to them in my car as well. Is this the best way to absorb research and ideas? I have no real idea, but I find that it does pass the time nicely, and if an idea is a good idea, it does tend to stick in my head.
Naturally, I cannot afford to buy all of this material, I borrow it from the Ottawa Public Library which has a fantastic online system for putting items on reserve and an easy method to pick them up. They also can download materials onto your PC and listen to them there (for a fixed period). Typically if a book is quite useful, I may go out and purchase it (that rarely happens), but the library allows me access to a wealth of information that I would not usually have access to.
I have a friend who also does this, but he tends to store the books on his iPOD for later listening pleasure, which is also a great idea.
National Debt Update
Stats Can put out yesterday a statement about the Canadian Federal National Debt:
At March 31, 2007, the federal government’s net financial debt (defined as the excess of liabilities over financial assets) decreased to $508.1 billion, a 1.2% or $6.0 billion decline from March 31, 2006. An increase of $5.1 billion in financial assets and a decrease of $0.9 billion in liabilities explain this drop. The federal government net financial debt has decreased for the 10th consecutive year, a decline of $80.3 billion from 1997 to 2007.
So the debt has dropped $80 Billion over 10 years, which is not bad, about a 14% drop, and if they can keep this payback velocity, it will only be another 65 years until the debt is finally paid off. I guess it’s better than going farther into debt?
U.S. Interest Rates Down Again?
Another 0.5% drop by the U.S. Federal Reserve yesterday to help prop up a faltering U.S. economy, which caused the Canadian dollar so sore above it’s American cousin for the first time in a while. I guess the Bank of Canada may follow suit sometime in the future, but don’t hold your breath either. Canadian banks are raising their long-term Mortgage rates (announced in the past week or so). This suggests that this drop in interest rates may be a very short-term thing. TD Canada Trust updated its interest rates (available through an RSS feed) on Tuesday.