Author Topic: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike  (Read 6119 times)

nereo

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~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« on: September 15, 2016, 11:25:41 AM »
Two reports have come out that particularly worry me about Canadian household debt.
The first comes from TransUnion and their analysis is that " roughly 718,000 [out of 26MM] wouldn't be able to keep their financial heads above water if their interest rate went up by as little as 0.25 percentage points." and fully 1MM could not handle an increase of 1%.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/transunion-debt-interest-rates-1.3759844

The second is a report from Stats-Canada showing that household debt-to-income has continued to rise and is now 168% (the highest ever recorded).  There might be a silver lining insofar as Net Worth to Income ratios are also at their peak, but much of that ties directly back to home prices, which of course ties into story #1.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/debt-income-ratio-record-1.3763343

TheAnonOne

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2016, 12:27:31 PM »
Two reports have come out that particularly worry me about Canadian household debt.
The first comes from TransUnion and their analysis is that " roughly 718,000 [out of 26MM] wouldn't be able to keep their financial heads above water if their interest rate went up by as little as 0.25 percentage points." and fully 1MM could not handle an increase of 1%.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/transunion-debt-interest-rates-1.3759844

The second is a report from Stats-Canada showing that household debt-to-income has continued to rise and is now 168% (the highest ever recorded).  There might be a silver lining insofar as Net Worth to Income ratios are also at their peak, but much of that ties directly back to home prices, which of course ties into story #1.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/debt-income-ratio-record-1.3763343

Considering interest rate hikes are necessary in the "near" future (be that 1 month -> 5years) this is concerning, no?

Although, just because the prime rate goes up, your fixed interest payments wouldn't increase. So most will be OK. It's the ARM guys that will feel the pain.

Ramparts

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2016, 12:49:48 PM »
Although, just because the prime rate goes up, your fixed interest payments wouldn't increase. So most will be OK. It's the ARM guys that will feel the pain.

OP was talking about Canadian household debt, and as I understand it, Canadians don't have access to 30-year fixed mortages like folks in the US do. It sounds like they get a fixed rate for 5 years, at which point they have to get another 5-year loan at the new rates. Maybe a Canadian 'stache can chime in?

nereo

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2016, 01:15:45 PM »
Although, just because the prime rate goes up, your fixed interest payments wouldn't increase. So most will be OK. It's the ARM guys that will feel the pain.

OP was talking about Canadian household debt, and as I understand it, Canadians don't have access to 30-year fixed mortages like folks in the US do. It sounds like they get a fixed rate for 5 years, at which point they have to get another 5-year loan at the new rates. Maybe a Canadian 'stache can chime in?

Kinda/sorta.  Here in Canada the 30 year fixed mortgage is akin to a unicorn.  Most mortgages have 25 year notes, though you can get 15 or 10 if you like.  When you sign your mortgage you get to choose your term and corresponding interest rate.  5 years is common but you most lenders offer everything from 1-10 year terms.  Your term can be 'fixed' for that time period or variable.

To put it more simply; almost everyone in Canada has some version of what we'd call an ARM in the US.  Generally it's fixed for a few years at a time.  That's part of why this is concerning; the vast majority of mortgages terms will be up in the next 4 years.

meghan88

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2016, 02:59:54 PM »
It is a sad story.  Personally, I'd be thrilled if interest rates go up.

marty998

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2016, 03:25:21 PM »
Although, just because the prime rate goes up, your fixed interest payments wouldn't increase. So most will be OK. It's the ARM guys that will feel the pain.

OP was talking about Canadian household debt, and as I understand it, Canadians don't have access to 30-year fixed mortages like folks in the US do. It sounds like they get a fixed rate for 5 years, at which point they have to get another 5-year loan at the new rates. Maybe a Canadian 'stache can chime in?

Kinda/sorta.  Here in Canada the 30 year fixed mortgage is akin to a unicorn.  Most mortgages have 25 year notes, though you can get 15 or 10 if you like.  When you sign your mortgage you get to choose your term and corresponding interest rate.  5 years is common but you most lenders offer everything from 1-10 year terms.  Your term can be 'fixed' for that time period or variable.

To put it more simply; almost everyone in Canada has some version of what we'd call an ARM in the US.  Generally it's fixed for a few years at a time.  That's part of why this is concerning; the vast majority of mortgages terms will be up in the next 4 years.

Yes, we call them variable rate loans here. Mortgage rates tend to move in line with the Reserve Bank OCR (Overnight Cash Rate), however the correlation is not as 100% strong as it once was these days.

Fixed rate loans are generally used by property investors - there are various strategies to use for paying down the right sort of debt and maximising the appropriate tax benefits.

Headlines of stress and doom and gloom are always overblown. When rates fall, most borrowers keep their repayments the same, so most end up "in front" of the required minimum payment. When rates start to rise again, the payments down't need to be adjusted until rates go higher than the previous peak as the borrowers' repayments are still sufficient to pay off the loan in line with the schedule.

I would say the real problem would be the chance of economic recession. Nothing like losing your job to guarantee you won't be able to sustain your mortgage repayments. Rate rises will bite, but they won't sink people when they are still at historical lows.

Seppia

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2016, 04:13:22 PM »
Every sane person knows there's a gigantic bubble in housing in Vancouver and Toronto.
I was surprised how supposedly very smart people living there seem to not understand it.

Goldielocks

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2016, 12:43:44 AM »
Although, just because the prime rate goes up, your fixed interest payments wouldn't increase. So most will be OK. It's the ARM guys that will feel the pain.

OP was talking about Canadian household debt, and as I understand it, Canadians don't have access to 30-year fixed mortages like folks in the US do. It sounds like they get a fixed rate for 5 years, at which point they have to get another 5-year loan at the new rates. Maybe a Canadian 'stache can chime in?

Yep,  some fixed rates with longer terms are available, (7 and 10 year are not uncommon) but 5 year rates, (renew every 5 years) with both fixed and variable rates being equally popular is normal.

Canadian mortgages are held (mostly) by the bank paper -- issued GIC's and the like, which the banks also sell on 5 year terms, which is partly why the 5 year mortage rates are a "sweet spot" for both sides.   (Banks make profit on the spread between mortgage rates and GICs, and often hold the mortgages themselves without selling them on).


Anyway, the 5 year mortgage renewals make life quite exciting, if you no longer have the same income as orginally.  Usually you started with at least 10% down, and after paying the mortgage for 5 years, you enough equity to renew.... but you need to requality for the debt service ratios of 32% (home) and 38-40% (total).

It also is quite scary as interest is very low right now, so each 1% increase in bank rate (from 2% to 3%) means that your monthly payments jump by 12%.... or by $250/mo on a 500k mortgage....

Goldielocks

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2016, 12:53:01 AM »
Here is a convenient list of the lowest commercially available mortgage rates.

It shows that Variable (5 year locked in), and  6mos through 5 year fixed terms, then 7 year fixed, then 10 year fixed are available.

5 year fixed is at 2.29%...  10 year fixed is at 3.84%.   Variable (5 year locked in) is now 2.1% (but changes with the bank rate each month).

Amortization periods -- traditionally are 25 years, and at each renewal of the mortgage, one would knock it down by 5 years (keeping the same end date, and approximately same payment unless intrest rates or your credit rate ability changed).

Then came "debt consolidation loans", where you extend the amortization period for lower payments.
Then came 30 year amortization (to make it more affordable)
Then came mortgage insurance for 10%, 5% and no money down...
Then came 40 year amortization (nearly interest only for 6-7 years)  BUT - the government cancelled those after only 2 years, and they should be out of the system by now.. no longer available unless someone took a 10 year version.


jinga nation

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2016, 01:28:22 PM »
Every sane person knows there's a gigantic bubble in housing in Vancouver and Toronto.
I was surprised how supposedly very smart people living there seem to not understand it.
Herd Mentality. If everyone around is you is still making payments and saying everything is awesome, then the entire herd will say everything is awesome.
Those who disagree are called statistical out-liars and will be excommunicated. Or banished. Or both. Or blamed when the collapse occurs for not providing sufficient warning. Red Flags Be Not Enough.

Seppia

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2016, 12:30:46 AM »
Here is a convenient list of the lowest commercially available mortgage rates.

It shows that Variable (5 year locked in), and  6mos through 5 year fixed terms, then 7 year fixed, then 10 year fixed are available.

5 year fixed is at 2.29%...  10 year fixed is at 3.84%.   Variable (5 year locked in) is now 2.1% (but changes with the bank rate each month).

Amortization periods -- traditionally are 25 years, and at each renewal of the mortgage, one would knock it down by 5 years (keeping the same end date, and approximately same payment unless intrest rates or your credit rate ability changed).

Then came "debt consolidation loans", where you extend the amortization period for lower payments.
Then came 30 year amortization (to make it more affordable)
Then came mortgage insurance for 10%, 5% and no money down...
Then came 40 year amortization (nearly interest only for 6-7 years)  BUT - the government cancelled those after only 2 years, and they should be out of the system by now.. no longer available unless someone took a 10 year version.

What could possibly go wrong?
I mean everybody knows housing always go up

Chaplin

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2016, 08:34:59 AM »
As someone pointed out, unless you're exposed to the increase you wouldn't notice it until you had to refinance. If the study is right, a lot of people have variable rate mortgages or have big lines of credit. We just refinanced with 5 years fixed at 2.44%. We could have had 2.17% for a variable rate, but it wouldn't be worth it. Most people who have refinanced in the last few years, I would hope, moved to a fixed rate. We also have an LOC at prime plus 0.5%, so 3.2% right now. if we were to put a big amount on the LOC and prime went up by 3 points then yes, our payments would nearly double.

As usual the study methodology really has to be questioned. Many people would have some time to adjust for all the reasons people have already listed. Plus, rental availability and rates would probably improve as the housing market worsened.

I'm not thrilled about having half of my net worth in my house, but I bought ten years ago and plan to be here another nine years.

nobodyspecial

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2016, 02:04:10 PM »
Most people who have refinanced in the last few years, I would hope, moved to a fixed rate.
Never understood this.
A fixed rate means you are betting against the bank on future interest rate changes.
They have lots of economists on staff and (at least in Canada) have the ear of the government.
Plus they will add an insurance margin in case they are wrong and some profit.

A fixed rate mortgage is like buying a GIC rather than putting your money into an ETF

Sid Hoffman

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2016, 02:18:52 PM »
Every sane person knows there's a gigantic bubble in housing in Vancouver and Toronto.
I was surprised how supposedly very smart people living there seem to not understand it.

Is there really though?  You could argue that NYC and San Francisco in America look like a housing bubble (housing costs 3-10x as much as suburban prices) and yet they have held up as extremely robust housing markets, even right through the financial crash.  It was cheap places like Phoenix, Vegas, Atlanta and other cities which got hit the hardest in the last housing crash.  My impression was that Toronto and Vancouver were like SF & NYC in the US: very expensive, but with little reason to believe they will ever crash & get cheap.

nobodyspecial

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2016, 02:30:28 PM »
Is there really though?  You could argue that NYC and San Francisco in America look like a housing bubble (housing costs 3-10x as much as suburban prices) and yet they have held up as extremely robust housing markets, even right through the financial crash.  It was cheap places like Phoenix, Vegas, Atlanta and other cities which got hit the hardest in the last housing crash.  My impression was that Toronto and Vancouver were like SF & NYC in the US: very expensive, but with little reason to believe they will ever crash & get cheap.
Unlikely to be an over-supply crash like Phoenix or Vegas Or Ireland. There is very restricted area to build on, the only way to build a SFH is to knock one down. There is a diverse economy and an expanding population. So in some ways a crash is less likely than in a single industry boom/bust town.

But prices have been going up by 25%/year. Possibly fueled by overseas investors at the very top end which has led to a "buy now or never" mentality and a lot of people who (like SF) have a multi-million $ home with a mortgage equal to their entire salary and a desperate plan that it will double in the next 5 years like it did in the past. These are the people that are going to be screwed by a small rate rise or a drop in the market value when they come to renew in 5years.
 


Goldielocks

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2016, 08:18:48 PM »
Most people who have refinanced in the last few years, I would hope, moved to a fixed rate.
Never understood this.
A fixed rate means you are betting against the bank on future interest rate changes.
They have lots of economists on staff and (at least in Canada) have the ear of the government.
Plus they will add an insurance margin in case they are wrong and some profit.

A fixed rate mortgage is like buying a GIC rather than putting your money into an ETF


That seems like a great example to me.:
   A fixed rate is for people that would be VERY upset at their payments increasing by $300 per month.

   A GIC is for people that would be VERY upset if their investment fell by 10%.

For both, the risk  is not worth the (likely) additional money in the pocket.

Sid Hoffman

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2016, 12:17:43 AM »
For both, the risk  is not worth the (likely) additional money in the pocket.

Is there a meaningful spread between fixed rate mortgages & variable rate mortgages in Canada?  Like in the US I usually only see a half-point difference.  Like my first mortgage was 8.5% and the 7/1 adjustable was 8%, so I did the fixed.  Now rates are so low that even though the difference between 3.25% and 3.75% seems bigger, even a 3.75% is so much cheaper than rates have ever been in history that it seems wise to still go with the fixed rate for most people that plan to be there long term.

nobodyspecial

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2016, 06:50:23 AM »
Mine: 5 year variable 2.7% or 5 year fixed 3.7 % Canadians generally don't get more than 5year renewable mortgages.

With a difference of 1%pt it seems that the bank is saying rates will be flat. The 1% premium is just insurance + profit + knowing that people who take a fixed rate don't have as much negotiating power.

Making Cookies

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2016, 07:13:38 AM »
Do Canadians worry about Trump getting elected here, doing all sorts of absolute changes to the markets here and causing a recession that could leak across the border?

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2016, 07:14:48 AM »
Do Canadians worry about Trump getting elected here, doing all sorts of absolute changes to the markets here and causing a recession that could leak across the border?

If Trump got his trade war, Canada might suffer even more than us. Fortunately I don't think he'd be able to do that even if he were elected.

nereo

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2016, 07:35:19 AM »
Do Canadians worry about Trump getting elected here, doing all sorts of absolute changes to the markets here and causing a recession that could leak across the border?
Canada is the US's largest trading partner, and there's been a lot of attention focused on the US election because of this.  In general Canada overwhelmingly supports Clinton over Trump, but of course they won't be governed by either.  There seems to be more support for Trump in oil-rich regions like Alberta because Trump has been vocal about building more pipelines (including the northern segment of the Keystone XL), and he's a climate change skeptic that's seen to be much more friendly to the oil producing regions.

Goldielocks

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2016, 09:16:05 AM »
Rate difference is 0.5 to 1%.

But, because home prices spiked with lower rates, the dollar difference is quite a gap compared to before. ( you have twice the mortgage or more).

Making Cookies

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #22 on: September 19, 2016, 10:58:52 AM »
I'm hoping that if Trump gets elected he'll be even more locked down than Obama has been by the GOP. Barack Obama doesn't worry me a fraction as much as Trump does. And for the record Hillary worries me more than Obama too.

nobodyspecial

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #23 on: September 19, 2016, 07:56:17 PM »
Do Canadians worry about Trump getting elected here, doing all sorts of absolute changes to the markets here and causing a recession that could leak across the border?
We were planning on building a Wall.

There is a feeling in Vancouver tech that there will be a boost from US companies hiring more overseas workers into Vancouver if US visas  becomes more difficult. I suppose it could even benefit from a mass exodus of foreigners from the US

Shinplaster

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2016, 09:26:26 AM »
Do Canadians worry about Trump getting elected here, doing all sorts of absolute changes to the markets here and causing a recession that could leak across the border?

We're more worried about what else might leak across the border.  Every time I hear an American say they will move to Canada if Trump gets elected, I think "maybe we don't want you".   : D

PtboEliz

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #25 on: September 20, 2016, 07:14:15 PM »
Do Canadians worry about Trump getting elected here, doing all sorts of absolute changes to the markets here and causing a recession that could leak across the border?

We're more worried about what else might leak across the border.  Every time I hear an American say they will move to Canada if Trump gets elected, I think "maybe we don't want you".   : D

Except we of course DO want mustachian Americans :)

Shalamar

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #26 on: September 20, 2016, 07:17:33 PM »
It is a sad story.  Personally, I'd be thrilled if interest rates go up.

Me too!  This 1% bullshit is pissing me off.

Chaplin

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #27 on: September 24, 2016, 05:21:47 PM »
Most people who have refinanced in the last few years, I would hope, moved to a fixed rate.
Never understood this.
A fixed rate means you are betting against the bank on future interest rate changes.
They have lots of economists on staff and (at least in Canada) have the ear of the government.
Plus they will add an insurance margin in case they are wrong and some profit.

A fixed rate mortgage is like buying a GIC rather than putting your money into an ETF

I wouldn't say you're betting against the bank on any rate change, you're just betting against further decreases. The choice I had was 2.44% fixed for five years, or 2.17% variable. If the difference was 1% or even maybe 0.5%, I would have gone variable, but the difference was so small that if nothing else changed it would only speed up my mortgage payoff by one month out of nine years and save $3000 over those nine years. $3000 dollars isn't chump change, but there's a reasonable chance that rate could increase by 0.27% and wipe out that potential savings. I'm surprised by some of the spreads that people are quoting here - in many of those examples the variable is definitely more attractive.

When rates are this low, there's a lot more room for them to go up rather than down (not including negative interest rates which showed up somewhere recently - Japan?). It's a bit like how on a stock short sale, the most you can make is a 100% return (the stock goes to 0) whereas on a long position a stock can more than double. Of course, since 2008 people have been saying that rates can't go lower and they're bound to go up soon and fast, and they've been wrong so far.

Greenway52

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #28 on: September 24, 2016, 08:22:42 PM »
Do Canadians worry about Trump getting elected here, doing all sorts of absolute changes to the markets here and causing a recession that could leak across the border?

I think to me the biggest worry is the protectionism/anti-free trade message he's been sending out. Even though Canada's trade is getting more diverse, specially with the TPP, the US has and likely will be for the foreseeable future, our largest trading partner. I think any pro Keystone positions that Trump hold are far outweighed by the anti NAFTA positions. Although personally, I don't think Trump will be able to do much of what he says, so I don't worry too much.

Outside the impacts on Canada though, I think a Trump presidency will be very .... entertaining (as an outside observer of course).

Greenway52

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #29 on: September 24, 2016, 08:25:42 PM »
It is a sad story.  Personally, I'd be thrilled if interest rates go up.

Me too!  This 1% bullshit is pissing me off.
+1. Couldn't have said it any better!

Making Cookies

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #30 on: September 25, 2016, 10:42:58 AM »
Outside the impacts on Canada though, I think a Trump presidency will be very .... entertaining (as an outside observer of course).

I agree but I live in the US so I worry about Trump.

nobodyspecial

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #31 on: September 25, 2016, 11:20:12 AM »
Outside the impacts on Canada though, I think a Trump presidency will be very .... entertaining (as an outside observer of course).
I think I preferred America when it was scripted with proper actors. I think this new reality TV format has jumped the shark 

Goldielocks

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Re: ~1MM Canadians couldn't handle a 0.25% rate hike
« Reply #32 on: September 25, 2016, 03:20:36 PM »
Outside the impacts on Canada though, I think a Trump presidency will be very .... entertaining (as an outside observer of course).
I think I preferred America when it was scripted with proper actors. I think this new reality TV format has jumped the shark

Hah!  thanks for the memory -- I got to watch Fonzie again too.  :-)