An interesting comment was left on my post yesterday about Instant Income Tax Refund systems, which made the bold statement, “…the average Canadian is stupid about money…”, and I don’t think I like or agree with that statement, but I do wonder are Canadians financially stupid ?
While I have berated folks for using Pay Day Loans, Carrying Credit Card Debt, and various other “financial running with scissors”-type issues, I hope I haven’t made my readers feel “stupid”.
Are Canadians financially stupid ? I think we have many different issues with our money, and I might describe them as:
- Naive, would be a good adjective, since a lot of folks I have met, really don’t know much about the “science of money”. What worries me is that they don’t want to know or learn about what they don’t know. You wouldn’t do this if you had a major disease, would you?
- Mad Cap, or Whimsical, given that this generation (or at least the one behind me) really can’t remember the bad days of the 70’s and 80’s when interest rates for loans were over 20%. There is a naive belief that interest rates of 4-5% is actually high, and I can assure you, this is very much not the case (from a man who’s first mortgage interest rate was 12% for 5 years and it was a good rate (for a while)).
- Indiscreet, I have been told a lot of really personal financial information by a lot of folks, and more than once I have told them that divulging this information to an acquaintance might not be a very good idea.
- Uneducated, that really sums it up nicely. Many Canadians just have not taken the time to read, or learn about the “science of money”. I think high schools really should teach more about money, because the financial parasites try to catch folks very early.
I hope that if I have used the word “stupid”, folks have not taken it to heart. Think of it more of an aggravated utterance by a friendly teacher (yes, I am not friendly and I am a crappy teacher, but you can see where I might be coming from). I don’t think my readers are “stupid”, but if you are doing those things that I constantly rant about, you really need to get Educated!
Are Canadians financially stupid?
The “hold Cdns by the hand and whisper in their ear that everything will be OK” method has failed.
The Wealthy Barber was a great book. Not perfect, but still great. If the two+ million Canadians who read it had followed its advice, we wouldn’t see the proliferation of financial stupidity we’ve had in Canada. But proliferation of stupidity is exactly what we’ve gotten. Housing bubble, 150%+ debt:income, payday loans, consumer spending moving from 65% to 75% of GDP, parents not maximizing their RRSPs so they can contribute to an RESP. A large portion of people are living paycheque to paycheque. Unless you’ve got a gold-plated DB pension, statistical probability is that you are completely ill-prepared for retirement. When the housing market stops snorting coke, we’re in for a world of hurt. Most baby boomers have a massive part of their portfolio in their house. Who are they going to sell it to? The destitute, jobless Gen Y? Don’t worry, there’s a reverse mortgage scam with your name on it!
The Chinese savings rate is 35%, Canada’s is negative. The American housing market has normalized and the economy is deleveraging. If other countries are stupid with money, Canada is a special brand of stupid. And let’s not compare ourselves to the Eurozone; they’re socialist basket cases – but if you want a crystal ball on what we’d look like if we didn’t have oil…
Time for Gail Vaz-Oxlade style lectures with stern warnings and sailor-speak. If you’re in debt, it’s your own fault. It’s what people need to hear. The Baby Boomers have had everything catered to their needs throughout their entire lives so I can understand why they might need some no-tear shampoo when they hear the truth. It’s time to get real about money.
I don’t think Gail uses “sailor speak”, but yes, I agree it might be time for a good stern talking to.
Yes, they are, but you’re right that it does no good to point this out in such an insulting way.
Why limit it to Canadians? Many people do not take the time to learn about something (money) they have to use all the time. I think many people are stupid about food too. So it is not limited to just Canadians or money.