“I have a friend I literally begged to sell his Yaletown condo a year ago. Instead he poured in 50 K worth of Miele and Granite and teak floors. He lost his job on Tuesday.”

“We rent in a very nice Vancouver Condo Highrise – average for one bedroom is around a million. (gulp).
Three Open Houses in our Building last weekend.
NOT ONE SHOWING. (The concierge and I are pals).

Today – anecdotal evidence of how business is in D/T Vancouver. The ONLY place I saw that was busy is Sears – going out of business – a new tenant is rumoured to be Target. The rest of the stores in the area are DEAD as Stephen Harper’s eyes.

I have a friend I literally begged to sell his condo a year ago. Instead he poured in 50 K worth of Miele and Granite and teak floors. He lost his job on Tuesday.
He called this morning, and he sounded terrible. I dropped in on the way back home (he lives in Yaletown) – and when I got to his shoebox, he looked like he hadn’t slept in a month.
He was nearly in tears. I asked him to tell me what was going on and I just listened.
Maxed credit cards. Leased Land Rover. 60 inch TV – all the toys.
He has one bank account that has $123 bucks in it, and a two week severance check worth $1190.
He was frantic. His Mortgage payment is coming up at the end of the month, $2350.
What could I do for this guy? He can try and list his shoebox – but he owes 412 K on it and it won’t sell.
His student loans total? $45 K – he has an MA in Fine Arts. His animation job was chopped.

I have a sinking feeling that my poor pal is in a crowded boat.
The whole mess makes me sick.
This is just starting.
What is coming is a disaster. I am very concerned that we have a generation of folks that will be destroyed. Maybe two.
DEBT. Easy credit. It’s like Oxycontin. Once you get on it – you are finished.”

Bill Gable at greaterfool.ca 20 July 2012 6:45pm
[hat-tip ‘subterranian’]

117 responses to ““I have a friend I literally begged to sell his Yaletown condo a year ago. Instead he poured in 50 K worth of Miele and Granite and teak floors. He lost his job on Tuesday.”

  1. Another poor, lost soul sacrificed on the altar of RE.
    Pass the popcorn ?

    • Another poor soul? More like another entitled idiot who has lived way beyond his means.

      This is not sad, it’s not a tragedy, not a disaster… just some bad decisions and KARMA.

  2. Sorry, I have a hard time feeling sympathy for this “poor soul”.

    If you assume his severance pay equated to 2 weeks salary (which I think is a reasonable assumption) then his salary basically covered his mortgage, leaving him with nothing (other than debt) to cover car lease, food, student loan etc.

    The numbers stretch the bounds of either credibility or sanity.

    • I agree with you Johnny. Either something is fishy about this story or this fellow was in big trouble well before he lost his job.

      • Why fishy? Low income people with large mortgages are not that uncommon. The most extreme lending (stated income, no income, liar loans) was done through private lenders. Banks have been bending the rules too (and the actual rules were not very strict in the first place)

      • What I find “fishy” about this story, and others like it, is the financial detail. Seriously, it’s just not part of our culture to share details like this in such depth.

      • “Our” culture? In a city where 51% of people are visible minorities and the majority of inhabitants were born somewhere else?

    • Having a mortgage equate to 2 weeks salary is pretty common amongst people I know, sadly. I think it’s part of the reason we’re going to be in such trouble. Having rent equate to 2 weeks salary is also pretty common for folks I know. I’m a stickler for not having rent take our whole paycheque, but and being “cheap” means we have very little out there to choose from. (Our family makes more than the median and slightly above the average.)

      Because of my stance I’ve been accused of being not-aware-of-the-times for my position, and encouraged to reject my miserly housing ways: but I really believe in putting aside RESPs and RRSP contributions.

    • I think all the bankers who qualified such obviously unqualified buyers for huge mortgages at our expense should be charged criminally and civilly. Not that it will happen but this was downright criminal activity! People were duped, conned and suckered and we have laws against that kinda stuff, don’t we?

  3. Carioca Canuck

    Maybe the real estate agent that probably told him…….”RE never goes down”…….”you had better buy today or you will be priced out tomorrow”…….etc, etc….. will buy it back from him since it is such a great investment.

    If not, sue the son of a b_ _ _ _ h, and his RE franchise, in small claims court where the burden of proof is much lower and a judgement is more easily obtained, for the maximum amount (here in Alberta it is $20K IIRC)and let’s start making a public spectacle of the liars, cheats, thieves and criminals that call themselves RE agents………while turning on the pressure towards the elected officials .

    As a car salesman for 22 years we cannot even begin to do the things that RE agents are allowed to get away with or we get fined, sued, have to reverse transactions, cut cheques and lose our licenses to work……RE agents get away scott free witht their bag oflies time and time again…..but the damage is 1,000 times greater than anything a car salesman could have ever done.

    As a caveat the guy was obviously not the brightest bulb in the lamp for beleiving it either…………but that is where the concept of consumer protection laws come into play.

    • This puts the RE profession in a whole different light (or darkness) to hear a car salesman question their ethics! Hey no offense but you know what they say about used car sales people!

  4. I read this and felt…. no sympathy whatsoever.

    I’ts been a *really* difficult year for me. Now that I’ve been acquitted I can say about a year ago I lost my job on the same day my drunken lout of an ex dumped me… over facebook. His behaviour got worse and worse till the day he busted up my kitchen and threatened me. I gave him a black eye that took a month to heal. You do *not* want to start shit with a chef in his own kitchen.

    Unfortunately I got arrested for assault and had a very expensive legal bill. Incredibly, my lawyer got arrested for sexual assault, delivering a noxious substance and violating a peace bond. I’m not making this up, you can google “Lyle Howe” and see for yourself. I had to start at square one and fund myself a new lawyer.

    In the meantime, I worked for three small consulting gigs. Once was a short term contract but the other 2 were supposed to be permanent gigs in Toronto. The first guywasn’t honest about the amount of work coming in and laid me off in December. The second guys were shady. My mom slipped into a coma and I had to go home immediately. They decided they didn’t want to pay for time off, so they fired me without comment or severance, leaving me with 2K in unpaid expenses they were contractually obligated to pay. My friends encouraged me to sue, but I declined. I work in a small community of consultants and everyone knows everyone else. I might have won the case but I’d never have worked in that community again.

    In the meantime, my mom passed away after a long illness. Because of my employer’s shiftiness I didn’t get home in time. The experience was beyond devastating. I couldn’t get off the couch for a month. Three months later I’m still struggling to move ahead.

    And finally, EI were beyond awful. I got wrong information time and time again. It took three MONTHS before I got the claim settled, and I had to babysit the claim daily. One woman closed my claim without doing any work, then left of vacation for a MONTH.

    Fortunately things have begun to turn around. I got the claim settled, my trial lasted 15 seconds since I hired the grandfather of all lawyers. The Crown took one look, decided not to move forward and the case was dropped. That was $5,000 for a 15 second trial, but at least I’ll pass any and all security checks now.

    I found a much better job in Richmond Hill doing exactly the same kind of consulting but for 6 figures. Its early days but it seems like a good place to work.

    At more then one point in all of this (actually as recently as July 17) I was down to one subway token and 4 bucks…. enough to get me to work but not enough to get me back.

    The only thing that saved me during my own tough times was not having a mortgage or other financial obligations like a honking big car lease. It’s going to take me a couple of years to recover from this disaster but I have the tools and more importantly the flexibility I need to succeed, and I now how to shed obligations without a tear if that’s what it takes to survive. I’ll probably never own my own home again, ever…. not because I can’t afford one but because renting gives me the flexibility I need to make a living. If this job doesn’t work out, I’ll just return to a modest life in Halifax. In fact I have an upcoming pair of offers from there. I can evaluate those against my current job and make decisions based on what’s good for *me*, and not because I’m trapped in a mortgage.

    So quite honestly hearing stories like this….. I have trouble feeling any sympathy. Dude didn’t lease an affordable car, he got the most expensive and unnecessary one he could find. He didn’t do a modest reno, he borrowed money he didn’t have and went the full pretentious, bullshit Vancouver route. Call me when you’re down to 2 bucks and a bus token.

    We have a generation of people who *deserve* to be destroyed. This is the only way to grind it though their thick skulls: You’re not special. You’re not blessed. The things you have today are weighing you down and they may not be around tomorrow.

    • SincereCondolences, SculleryBoy… Kudos re: new gig.

      As for, “You do *not* want to start sh*t with a chef in his own kitchen.”… Indubitably… Clearly, they’re barely controllable when they’re in other peoples kitchens:

      • That cook has a serious mental problem, Nem. Boy am I glad I don’t watch TV. I would have chucked the damn thing in the dumpster after just one single episode of listening to that abusive piece of crap. Who treats people like that without getting a black eye?

    • Sorry to hear about your mom. Glad to hear you made it though all that.

    • scullboy – I am sorry to hear about you mom and the other stuff, but believe me – it is not the worst stuff that can happen in life, and you are doing very well IMHO now!
      I really like you set of mind and would have not said better myself about this dumb situation we have in Vancouver now:
      “he borrowed money he didn’t have and went the full pretentious, bullshit Vancouver route…We have a generation of people who *deserve* to be destroyed. This is the only way to grind it though their thick skulls: You’re not special. You’re not blessed. The things you have today are weighing you down and they may not be around tomorrow.” Great.

  5. Whoops …. busted. For some reason my real name got posted rather then my nickname. Ah well. 🙂

    [Replaced with ‘scullboy’ and link removed. – ed.]

    • I started reading your story. Did a double take at the honesty, scrolled up and saw what looked like a real name. I, for one, said “Wow, this guy owns his shit and has serious balls.”

      You’ve had a horrible year, and that sucks. And your earlier decision / luck in renting and living within your means has given you the wiggle room you need to move forward.

      Thanks for reminder of how quickly things can turn. That borrowing today hoping it will work out tomorrow isn’t a financial plan.

      Scullboy, best of luck going forward! I believe in luck. I also believe the harder you work and the smarter you plan, the more luck tends to find you. You should be set.

    • LOL I hate Facebook for this crap. Had a couple of close calls myself.

    • Take it from a good friend, anonymity is overrated. If you’re really concerned the editor will modify before the crazies awake, but perhaps this will set you free. I’m half way there 😉

    • Keep your chin up. Always enjoyed your posts; glad things are starting to look up. Thank god you were wise enough not to overload yourself with debt.

    • Love the honesty skullboy. That was a good read.

    • Yellow Helicopter

      I’m almost at a loss for words, because I really feeling there isn’t a anything that is adequate to convey all I felt when reading your story, and all that you have gone through in the last year.
      I’m sorry about the loss of your mom. I really commend you for moving forward, getting back up again and landing on your feet. You are a testament to not giving up, and you obviously have the skills and attitude which means that you will not just recover from this gawd-awful past year, but thrive.

      Your story reminded me of ‘The Pursuit of Happiness.’. I really hope you are on your way to happy. I’m sure that’s what your mom would have wanted to. And I’m sure she felt you with her. I’m a parent and I feel my daughter’s spirit all the time- I don’t know how else to explain it. And if anything were ever to happen to me, I wouldn’t want her to grieve- I want her to Live, laugh, love. Her having her best life is the best way she could ever honour my life.
      Anyway, not sure if I’m making sense, but I just wanted to say well done for keeping your chin up and above the tide. Good luck for the future.

  6. Not on the boat.

    You reap what you sow.

    • The quote is:
      “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

      Galatians 6:7-8

      So it sounds like the poor fellow had all but the best intentions.

  7. I get the feeling this anecdote is timeless — a real estate bubble seems more coincidental than exemplifying anything unusual for this person — except… now the “get out of jail free card” of rising prices is no longer available.

  8. “His Mortgage payment is coming up at the end of the month, $2350.
    What could I do for this guy? He can try and list his shoebox – but he owes 412 K on it and it won’t sell.
    His student loans total? $45 K – he has an MA in Fine Arts. His animation job was chopped.”

    oh well…. easy come easy go! life’s a bitch. move on……

  9. So this guy lives on $30 a month? I don’t question that there are many irresponsible situations out there, but would a bank give out a mortgage that takes up nearly 100% of a persons after tax income? 2 weeks severance @ 1190 = 2380/ month. Mortgage = 2350? + Rover Lease & loan payments? Is it even possible to be this far gone? I don’t know that this can be right…

    • “He has one bank account that has $123 bucks in it, and a two week severance check worth $1190.
      He was frantic. His Mortgage payment is coming up at the end of the month, $2350.
      What could I do for this guy?”

      You should probably tell him to get a good credit counsellor. They can usually do something about the massive credit card debt. I don’t know about the mortgage and student loans though, I think he’s boned on those. Best advice would be to get another job ASAP, two jobs if necessary. Though with the way the job market is going in van he might be working at Starbucks.

      Or if he’s the lazy, entitlement type (which I’m betting he is), you should probably just tell him to stop paying all his bills, and stay in his apartment until the bank forecloses on him. Then if he ever manages to find a job again the banks will garnish his wages for whatever they lost in the foreclosure sale, and for the full amount of his student loans, probably with full interest and penalties applied.

      • These pretzels are making me thirsty

        Not to worry…the simplest solution of all
        Join the group and become a REALTOR.

      • There is nothing a credit counselor can do to fix this loser except refer him to a bankruptcy trustee where he can set about having all his debts wiped from the slate (except the student loans of course).

      • Your calc is off. 1190*26=30,942 (there are 26 bi-weekly pays a year)
        30,942/12=2578.33 a month
        Left over after mortgage is $228.33
        Maybe enough to eat but what about property taxes? lease? car insurance? utilities? condo fee? internet? TV? phone? gas? …

    • I am having trouble with the math too. This guy has a 31,000 annual income? How the hell did he ever save 50k to buy appliances never mind acquire 460 thousand in debts not including credit cards. I suppose he might have had the bank of Mom and Pops or received an inheritance. He sure did not plan ahead if he is down to one bank account and 123 bucks. No wonder he is not sleeping. Seems like a real dork to me.

      I have no sympathy either.

    • I and others have mentioned it before – private lenders. You can get $800k low doc mortgage for up to two properties and “renovations” in Vancouver. This has been going on for years!

      Banks have very loose rules too, under certain conditions (for ex, if you have just 10% down, you are considered a super safe and super responsible borrower and deserve special treatment)

  10. 2 weeks severance only $1190? How does he afford a condo, a Range, $50k reno, all the toys, etc. So this fool makes under $2400 a month and he’s now broke? Mmmmmmm

  11. He should cry on his realtors shoulder then go move back home and live in his mothers basement, til he’s 40! Wow, I thought Canadians were supposed to be different than Americans? We are! We’re “Dumb and Dumber”!!

  12. Thanks to everyone for the kind words, particularly my personal idol, VHB. When I lived in Vancouver, it was your blog that reassured me I wasn’t taking crazy pills. While anonymity is over rated, I need to be sure random Google searches don’t indicated that I was arrested. BTW there’s nothing quite like sitting in the back of a cop car to make you question the direction your life’s taken. 🙂

    I was lucky for a few reasons…. although I’m carrying about 50K in debt, mostly from school, there’s a big difference between that and a gigantic mortgage. I have excellent friends and family, who loaned me money during short term emergencies and when I was working. If you’re going to experience hard times, be east of Montreal. People are very understanding and helpful.

    In my experience people look out for each other more then they do in Ontario and points West. My best friend took an extra day off for my mom’s funeral (we had to delay for a day). I was concerned about her choice, but she said “in 10 years the report I’m supposed to be writing will not matter, but I wouldn’t forgive myself for not being there for you now.” Sure enough, her employer fired her the next day. She’s found a better job, but we all looked out for her, babysat during job interviews , kept our eyes open for leads etc.

    I actually joked with my friend she’s done 2 of the 3 things that prove you’re a friend for life. She bailed me out of jail, and we buried a body together.

    I will probably have to move to Toronto for this job, which I really don’t want to do but believe me…. you have to go where there’s work. I suspect when Van implodes that whole “everyone wants to live here” thing will be thrown right out the window.

    The trick to surviving the kind of year I had is to take a deep breath, stay calm and try to change the things you can change. If you lose your job, don’t take three months to “find yourself”. Take a day to get over the shock and HIT THE GROUND RUNNING. Work your networks, LinkedIn is the best tool you have. Apply for everything that’s applicable to your skills… the ore you throw in the hopper the better your chances. Don’t be shy, tell all your friends and everyone you meet that you’re looking for a new opportunity. Someone knows someone who needs you. You’ll only find them if you’re aggressive and vocal about looking.

    And for God’s sake… don’t set down roots in the next 5 years. If you are mobile you have a giant advantage over people who are rooted in a city with a collapsing economy. People who say houses are investments are, quite frankly, idiots. They are not investments, they are anchors.

    • Yes, they are anchors, skullboy. Too few seem to realize you do need some depth of financial resources in order to own a home. It is more than just making the payments and getting by. Even an old friend of mine commented about this the other day. His home, built in 1962 for the gigantic sum of 15,000 dollars including land is costing him upwards of 800 per month to maintain. More than half of his pension. Adding all the costs of heat, light, gas, taxes, repairs, lawn etcetera together puts him in a terrible position. He admits he is better off renting but can’t seem to shake off the habit of 50 years of ownership and seems resigned to losing wealth when the market declines. In his case it is a mental rut. The house is worth a fortune next to what he paid when he first got married but it is actually keeping him in the poor house in his early eighties. You just don’t get true freedom until the day you choose to say “screw it all’ and just walk away. I sure you will make out fine.

    • scullboy. You have some great friends. And a great support network. I can’t say the same about most people I know. So cherish what you’ve got. =)

      Disclaimer: I live in Vancouver… ;b

  13. This guy made his bed. Now go lie in it!

  14. The problem lays in the system, think of the amount of honest hardworking people down south who got and continue to get screwed by the crooked banksters antics. This person is another victim of the system, no basic education given about finances = feeding the banksters loaning out of money and leveraging the loans. RE agents all working the same mandate, commi$$ion. Advertising pumping,brainwashing to buy cars,homes, trips, gadgets, or your a loser. Ignorance is not bliss, unless you are on the receiving end. Just another individual doing what they were taught, learning the hard way,never had a chance.

    • I agree the blame lies primarily with the banksters, but we all get a decent, basic education in Canada and practically everyone has internet access. One can seek education about finances if they so choose.

      • Yes, Zedsded. Like all the individuals who come to this site and others like it to gain some perspective. If they only showed up one time in the year they would have learned a serious problem was developing. The bells have been ringing off the hook since prior to 2008 and the worriers have finally been vindicated. They were right to worry all along. Even in the face of a wall of realtors, bankers, developers, speckers, flippers and an agenda driven media that was mocking them they did not relent or vary from the central theme. This is a mania. It is a craze and it is certain to end in tears. I cannot believe any intelligent Canadian did not get the message. Most just chose not to hear it.

    • No gun was held to his head while signing a mortgage. He may have been told crap like prices only go up but I get emails asking for money from Africa to help someone receive $1M inheritance that they will share with me…do I send cash? If it sounds too good to be true it isn’t.

      Wanna buy some magic beans BTW?

    • Victim of the system? I think not! People in gulags or concentration camps were victims of a system. This guy is just an idiot.

    • Consumers and Taxpayers not Freemen is what society tells us we are. Actually it is not society but a few social engineers at the top of the societal pyramid that have classified the majority as their slaves by making them consumers of goods they do not need which in turn extorts taxes out of them they would otherwise not have to pay. Stop consuming so much and you will not be a slave taxpayer but a FREEMAN! It is actually quite simple, why are you killing yourself trying to accumulate things, none of which can bring you happiness and contentment but only misery and dissatisfaction? Killing yourself, accumulating things, none of which you can take with you? Calling yourselves OWNERS of God’s creation, not an atom of which will accompany you once you complete your all too brief journey here?

      Psalm 49:6 They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; 7 None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: 8 (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) 9 That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption. 10 For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.

      11 Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.12 Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish. 13 This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah.

      One generation of fools begets another, and so the wheel keeps on turning till it will turn no more, and then none of the mostly crap temporal concerns of this life will mean anything. Look at the bigger picture – every time you look up you stare at infinity and all you can think of is a 400 SF prison cell in the sky that will enslave you for the rest of your life! Man, does man have his priorities mixed up or what?

      • Please, take your preaching elsewhere.

      • We would second bubbly’s request.
        It is not necessary to evoke religious belief to understand what is happening in Canada’s or Vancouver’s RE market.

      • You may wish to consider that Economic matters, such as the price of Real Estate are a product of the greater question of our existence and its purpose. So it is not a question of religious beliefs, it is a quest to acquire knowledge and share it, all knowledge no matter what the source, such as the Bible. Have you considered the possibility that you have been inadvertently programmed by constant indoctrination through the mainstream media that presents caricatures such as George Bush and the American right as ‘Christians’ and denigrate the Bible every chance they get, that your views on the subject have been carefully cultivated without your consent? Nonetheless this is your blog and I respect your parameters; I will refrain from presenting my ‘Religious beliefs’ here in the future.

        In closing, please do consider the possibility of the indoctrination of your own beliefs, are they truly your own? If there is such a concerted effort in the media and academia to discredit the Bible, without any evidence, might it be because it truly is the Word of God? It truly is the TRUTH, as in Absolute truth? If Global can lie about Real Estate, would the media not lie about things of greater import, such as the question of our existence, who we are and where we come from? Just because they say there are no answers, should we take their word at face value like their claims that there are helicopters full of HAM that are ever ready to buy Vancouver RE? Thanks for allowing me the the opportunity to express myself, and yes I agree with you that the price of RE everywhere in Canada but particularly in BC and Toronto will sink to depths none of us can fathom at the present time.

      • Signs -> Thanks for agreeing to refrain from continuing to present your religious beliefs here.

  15. I never understood people who max their credit cards. If you pay for your credit card, dont get one. simple.

  16. 4SlicesofCheese

    No joke I think I know this guy, but under 2k severance that is pretty pathetic. Unless he was a contractor, in which case I would have even less sympathy for him.

  17. When i was in school in West Van, a “good school”, we were not taught the basics of economics, never broached home ownership. I understand that you can seek education but most young adults are not even aware that this is an issue, its not pumped. Polls in the States indicate that less then 10% of home buyers were adequately equipped and followed the financial advice of family and friends. The system is more about turning out Indians as apposed to Chiefs. Keep them dumb ,keep them down, and keep them in debt.

    • That’s an interesting point. Seth Godin makes the same argument (can’t remember which book or blog entry), but he makes the claim that schools were invented and supported because it helped the industrialist (more so than the people). And so it’s structure is built around the concept of being right or wrong. It indoctrines you to stand in line and follow orders.

      When I went to school in Vancouver, the only “financial” prep I got was this course called “Consumer Ed”. I also took Economics 12. Neither of which was of pretty much any use. In “Consumer Ed” we learned the word “Lien” but not much about it’s mechanics. We were also taught to look for “cheap but good” restaurants (e.g. saving money). We filled in a tax return and signed a cheque. In Economics 12, we played a weekly game on a computer (of setting widget prices) and seeing who came on top — no one could explain it. The supply and demand curve was briefed over — but that much I knew before hand. We learned of a case of monkeys out-picking stock pickers at stocks — but also not much more about that. I think I learned (and retained) more in Typing/Keyboarding 10.

      So in all, we’re more literate in pretty much everything else but finances. It’s designed this way. If it were different, we’d see a string of finance courses from Gr. 8 onwards (like French — although I wouldn’t say I’m literate in French either, but at least in that area it’s completely my own damn fault).

  18. Why can’t student loans be wiped out in a bankruptcy? Is there special legislation behind this and why?

    • It’s my understanding that 7 years after the students end of school(EOS) date they can be discharged (claim bankruptcy) Laws were brought in July 2008.

    • That is correct, Managlass. Student loans cannot be wiped out in bankruptcy. I know a young person who tried and he advised you have to wait 10 years before you can apply to bankrupt that debt. Basically he was up to his eyeballs and could not handle any more after he finished school. In his case he also wanted to bankrupt on child support payments to his wife and all his fines.

      No go. He got none of it and the poor bugger is trapped for life. You can’t walk away from obligations like child support no matter how deep in debt you are. Those are still your kids and that seems fair to me. The government is not giving away education dollars for free either. You are on the hook.

      So I just went for an internet walk…..and guess what?

      There is actually a blog specifically devoted to student loans and bankruptcy! Have alook for yourself. As I just learned the rule creates an exemption of 7 years not 10 but the rest of the story he told me holds up.

      Canadian Student Loan Bankruptcy Blog

    • Don’t forgot it’s not the government that would forgive these loans! It’s us, you and me, we would be paying for somebody else’s education through higher taxes imposed upon us. I paid for my own education so they’ll have to suck it up as far as I’m concerned.

  19. Any more comments about being victims of the system and I think I’m going to puke! Everyone’s an adult, everyone makes choices and if it’s a bad one you have to take responsibility and live with it. If you’re not smart enough to read a mortgage contract you shouldn’t be assuming 30 years of debt. Don’t blame anyone but yourself and don’t go running to the government for a bailout which is unfortunately what I suspect will happen once this house of cards comes tumbling down. The guy in this post wanted to look cool and have it all now rather than work for it. Now he’s whimpering like a beaten puppy! No sympathy whatsoever!!

    • I provide no sympathy either, but not out of wrath, rather I don’t want to devalue the rest of the sympathy that’s out there that deserves my attention.

      • Ha Ha. Good one Jesse. We need to ration our feelings of sympathy and limit it to those who are actually deserving. Not that it will help when they are on the couch in the physchanalysts office…..

      • Something grabbed him. Something big.

    • You are not considered an adult when you are in school, you are a dependant, a child or young adult at the mercy of the system and it’s educational agenda, plasticine. No body in their right mind would of commited to the financial risk that is playing out. Then include the banking manipulation, derivatives, Libor thievery,combined with the eventual event of rising interest rates. Many people who were never taught how to think are paying the price.The odds are not in the favor of the house,owner.

      • Majority of university students are 18 years of age or over. They are adults to a contract, not children. Agree more courses in high school should be devoted to business, finance and accounting. We had them at Kits and Lord Byng in the day and I took them from grade 10 onward. Don’t they still offer them?

      • Public Education is an INDOCTRINATION system; the more educated one becomes, the more a slave of the SYSTEM one becomes! I know Phd.s and professors who would defend the System to death even though the System is killing them! Critical thinking is discouraged in the System from early on and frowned upon in High school and downright criminalized in University. You want to get a piece of paper that entitles you to earn some bucks more than the average Joe, then college education is the best avenue. You want to get educated then come to blogs such as these and browse the net, the alternative media sites not Facebook! And read books – history books, conspiracy books, finance books; if you want to go the source of knowledge then study the Bible, don’t just read it. God is not just the programmer of our intelligence, He is INTELLIGENCE (all of it), He is Reason, He is Logic, He is Science, He is Math, He is the Past, He is the future…I’ sure you get the point (unless you have a Phd.)

      • Please see our earlier comment regarding religious belief and Vancouver RE.

      • Through wisdom a house is built,
        And by understanding it is established;
        By knowledge the rooms are filled
        With all precious and pleasant riches.

        Proverbs 24:3-4

  20. I do not get his part: “He can try and list his shoebox – but he owes 412 K on it and it won’t sell.” But any condo in Yaletown worth at least twice as that and the sale depends on the price – if he lists it at the reduced price instead it will sell regardless the slow down on the market. So really I have no pity for the guy, he’s got enough equity in his condo for a starter to get him moving. He just have to be quick and run for the exit from the RE trap before it gets blocked by the others like him.

  21. http://thethirtiesgrind.com/2012/07/20/why-we-prefer-to-rent-for-now/
    “Jessica Gares is a producer of the popular CKNW Radio program, The Bill Good Show. Recently, Jessica spoke with Bill about why she and her husband have deferred homeownership for the immediate future in favour of renting. I know many of you who visit The Thirties Grind, share Jessica’s view, so I asked her to share her rationale with us as to why she prefers to rent…for now.”

    You had me until “for now”. It’s science, can’t fight it.

  22. @ Farmer

    I know of no courses in mainstream High School that address the home ownership subject. Many home owners never went past high school. My point is that being pissed at this guy is like being mad at a dishwasher for a burned steak. The root of this problem resides much further up the food chain. The implosion of the US market was calculated, many bankers and speculators got very wealthy. These people would not of loaned much of this money if it was coming out of their pockets. Banks were lending money to high risk clients they knew would statistically forfeit. I would also like to see the market correct but some people fail to see where the problem originates.
    Many of the people under water are here because they did what they were trained to do.

    • Can’t really argue with you there. The dynamics of real estate bubbles and excessive credit are well understood and taught in economics classes at the better schools. There is really no mystery to those in the business of banking and finance. This is just treated as part of the business cycle. You make money by understanding the basic mechanics and knowing when to buy and when to sell, when to lend and when to pull back. That is not really news though. I suppose my mistake is in thinking more people should be aware of the basics as a minimum starting point. The function of interest rates and inflation for example.

      • @Farmer

        I agree, but even a basic understanding of economics is assuming that the principles are based on honesty and ethics with firewalls, not banks inside trading, libor rigging, metals manipulating and shorting of the housing market. The average American has lost 40% equity due to this behaviour…and falling. The new basic economic understanding need be that the system is being run by criminals.

      • Another conspiracy theorist. Guess what? People have themselves to blame.

    • When I went through school there was a “consumer education” class — not much, mind, but I paid attention and did provide some very basic background in commerce. The basic tenets of the course, IIRC, was that you have to figure out consumerism for yourself, your pool of capital is limited, and that not everyone is going to give you a good deal. Pretty simple and obvious, so I thought at the time, and I would have thought those teachings would directly apply and provide whispers of caution to some guy dropping large on a condo he ultimately can’t afford.

      The first line of defense and blame should be at the lowest levels. I know too many people who made it through the schooling system and their youth, and managed to figure out how to manage their money, even with limited, if any, post-secondary education. Further it is a mistake to think your government is capable of providing you what you need; quite the opposite in many cases. That is not a failing of our government, rather it is a failing of government in general, so blaming government for being government seems like blaming a bear for eating garbage.

      It’s a messy situation. Existentialists, Austrians, and the folly of Man.

      • Comparing a bear eating garbage to the practices of government rules out accountability and responsibility, a bear has instinct not a conscience or the ability to choose between right and wrong. The folly of man is man saying he has a folly, the folly of man is deferral.

      • I don’t see how we should rely upon a government to discern right from wrong, at least in practice it’s hard to see how we should universally expect it. A noble goal to demand it perhaps, but should it fall short it’s unfair to blame the government for mass personal distress when it was completely avoidable upfront, at least in countries where governments who don’t point guns at their people’s heads.

        My old neighbour is originally from Iran; some conversations with him, and others, have given me the view that I should not feel sorry for a fellow who inflicts upon himself sorrow with his own hand; more tragic is to see sorrow inflicted with no real choice.

  23. Once the public finally realizes we are being poisoned and radiated, the exodus will be incredible. Prices will collapse. READ THIS:

    • Hmmm. Maybe I will cut back on Sushi and Tuna after all.

    • The price of fish will collapse, or will the price of medicated chicken skyrocket.

      • You mean the chickens that get hemp in their daily feed?

      • I think that’s certainly possible… now.

      • Actually, they go nuts for hemp seed.

        And it could be good for people too. Mmmm, hemp. Yum. 50% fat, high Omega3, all ten essential amino acids, 30% fat content (more than meat they claim) and it is good for the heart. No wonder it makes chickens crazy.

        Now I have to somehow weave this chicken and hemp thing into a real estate thread without being noticed by the editorial board……I bet you have never heard of Hempcrete. It is a construction material that is lighter and stronger than regular cement. I doubt it would get past customs if you tried to import it from California though.

      • You’ve heard about UncleMahmoud’s clandestine uranium enrichment facilities… you’ve seen him gloating over his captured American Sentinel RQ-170 UAV… but what you probably didn’t know is how rapidly he’s closing the BroilerGap. A special session of the UNSC has been scheduled for Monday – although both Russian and Chinese diplomats have vowed to Veto any post-meeting buffet that dares to serve BourgeoisChicken…

        [Reuters] – Iran’s “chicken crisis” is simmering political issue

        …”…Police Chief Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam felt it his duty to intervene. He urged television stations to avoid broadcasting images of people eating chicken, saying such pictures could fire up social tensions, with perhaps unforeseen consequences. “Certain people witnessing this class gap between the rich and the poor might grab a knife and think they will get their share from the wealthy,” Mehr news agency quoted him as saying.”…


      • That was a really interesting article, Nem. Thanks for posting it. It shows just how much Iran is being squeezed by the West and primarily the US which is the major global exporter of both Soy and Corn.

        These key inputs to the feed chain for raising birds while keeping production costs low cannot always easily be acquired closer to home. China, which is the largest producer of grains in the neighborhood does not export as all grain production is used domestically.

        And yet chicken is one of the most efficient meats to raise pound for pound versus beef, pork or sheep. Not having chicken readily available in markets generally means your country has fallen on very hard times. So that was an eye opener. Things must be much worse in Iran than I might have guessed. Food shortages are no joking matter.

        For a chart of the day have a look at the following link showing meat consumption in China versus the US. The parallels to China’s own property bubble are mirrored in the level of meat consumption. Note that in the US during the same period that meat is flat or in decline.

        Earth Policy Institute -Plan B updates.

        What is most notable though is just how dramatic the change has been since 1990.The chart trajectory leaves little to the imagination. No wonder economists and politicians worry over how to feed so many billions of people. Just appreciating that putting meat on the plate in one country will deprive the poor of grains in another as feed is redirected to the production of animals creates a set of tensions unto itself.

        The question now is this….will meat consumption decline or flatten in China as the property bubble bursts or will the government manage a smooth transition to a consumption based economy putting even greater stresses on global food stocks?

        The idea of moving China from being the worlds factory (export driven) to depending more on internally driven GDP growth models means that incomes there will be on the rise and diets will improve by a factor over todays numbers.

        It is going to be a very hungry world in the future. Everyone should think about getting into farming. Residential R/E is a wasted investment.

      • Well.. This is the ChickenSubThread… I swear, you just can’t make s**t like this up…

        [UK Guardian] – KFC Hons: fast food chain offers business management degree
        …”The fast food chain KFC is to offer a BA honours degree in business management, in conjunction with De Montfort University Leicester.”…


        [NoteToEd: Finally… a degree program other Arts graduates can make fun of..]

    • The radiation doses are pretty insignificant, but the levels are elevated. Reason to the be concerned- Carefully Yes, where the fuck are those higher levels of radioactive isotopes coming from?

      Reason to panic and use the term poisoned to describe the radiation dose? Absolutely not. If anything, the bioamplified fat soluble toxins in the fish, especially stuff like tuna, are much more of a hazard to your health than the somewhat elevated, but trace levels, of radioisotopes.

      /Yes, I am a trained scientist who used to work with radioactive isotopes thank-you very much.

  24. Target was never rumored to be taking over the Sears (who aren’t going out of business – they were paid to vacate) premises. Nordstrom have been confirmed as the new tenants.

    • AFIAK, it’s Nordstrom as well and Sears is not going out of business, just strategically removing expensive stores (compared to their performance — so basically all their downtown locations).

  25. Not much sympathy if the guy still has student debt and is leasing a Land Rover! That is probably one of many examples – people trying to ‘one up’ each other. Absolutely no common sense.

    • Ralph Cramdown

      For a long time now, the deal with Land Rovers has been you can’t afford one unless you can afford two — the spare is to drive while the other one is in the shop.

  26. He bought into the address. Witness the ego at work.

  27. I’ve been thinking about this poor bastard all day. For an artist, he has an extreme problem with conformity. How did he a get Masters in Fine Arts and become such a follower? I’m not an academic, so maybe I misunderstand what such a degree is supposed to do for you.
    If he hasn’t already, your friend will have a breakdown at some point. Hopefully, he has enough love from friends and family to carry him through.
    He should watch Easy Rider and listen closely to the lyrics of “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”. Maybe it will get him thinking about his way of thinking.

  28. I’m sorry but the guy in the story needs to MAN UP. You know what would fix his problems, at least temporarily, ANOTHER JOB. Stop crying, get out of bed early in the morning and DO SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR PROBLEMS. Start “feeding the hopper” as I call it. Look for work. Hell look for work in another place like Montreal where theres an animation community. Hit Facebook. Hit LinkedIn.
    If I could bounce back and find another job 3 months after losing mine burying my mom and standing trial, there’s no excuse for this guy. I’m not saying it’ll be that quick for him, but the sooner you start looking the sooner you find a new job. It’s as simple as that.
    There’s gonna be a lot of this in Vancouver….. “OH NO, I lost my job, how will I make payments on the Jag?” Keep calm, carry on and get to it.

  29. This is non issue. For a start, this guy wasnt making that much money to beigin with. Therefore, his income stream is very easy to replace. He can get a labour or call centre job that can pay him the same $2400 he has just lost. Only difference is that he will not be doing something he really enjoys (animation).

    He could even get a second job as a dishwasher and start making some savings. Again, what might sound like common sense might elude this guy given his questionable reasoning that pushed him into this position.

  30. Peter Mississauga

    Owes $45K of student loan, spend $50K upgrade, maxed credit cards, leased Land Rover. 60 inch TV – all the toys.

    Where are common senses these days??? Why not live within the mean? Pay off student loan, no credit cards debt, driving used low end car like Honda Civic, Corolla, or Nissan Sentra.

    • 15 years ago I made $3K/month like this guy does before tax. I moved out of my parents house and rented a small apartment downtown for $600/month, bought all the furnishings 2nd and 3rd hand but splurged for a 30″ TV and had a 10 year old Pontiac. My credit card had a $1000 limit but had no debt.

      Wasn’t that considered normal at some point in time?

      Some people deserve to fall hard. Unfortunately most will not learn anything from the experience

      • Peter Mississauga

        Wow, you earn good money back then. Yes, most of them deserve to fall hard. They live way way beyond their mean.

        The problem is not the credit card itself, but the irresponsible users. Credit card is a good thing if you are a responsible user that carry a zero balance. You earn a lot of point reward. I have like 3 credit cards with combine limit of like $20K. The balance is zero for all 3. I earn lot of Esso Points that is more than enough for drive through card wash all year long. Furniture and TV are cheap now a day if you don’t go for expensive brand. Car can be cheap to if you go for low end car like the ones I mention from the above.

        To bad lot of people just go for the best they can get without thinking about the consequences. I have no sympathy for them whatsoever.

  31. @ El Ninja

    RE another conspiracy theory.
    -USA average citizen has lost over 40% wealth -FACT
    -Tim Geither( Secretary of the US Treasury) admitted manipulation of Libor (FACT) illegal.
    -90% OF Americans found to be unprepared or knowledgable re the financing of a mortgage.( FACT)

    Look up the meaning of conspiracy theory and then look up the meaning of fact and then look up the word denial.

    • It does not follow from any of your “facts” that coordinated, hidden forces are at work. They show only that people sometimes do dumb things.

      “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

      – Christopher Hitchens

      • Good quote Ninja. Never heard that one before.

      • Dumb things…is that the new excuse for stealing, gotta let Madoff know that or the Bankers that Iceland has dispatched a bounty hunter to round up.
        “You can’t put us in jail cuz we were being a bunch of dumb asses”
        Might work, just add grease.
        They were coordinated and hidden untill they weren’t as you would know if you were following the story.
        I’d like to see you quote it to someone you found in your house stealing, same thing, the Libor scandal has skimmed money off of an estimated 50 Trillion dollars affecting the entire global currency, another fact.

        Its a sure sign the sun is setting when small men cast long shadows.

  32. @ Jessie

    My neighbour believes in martains not sure its relevant.

    • My neighbors believe [or used to], “House prices ALWAYS go up”. One of them ‘got out of Dodge’ last year one step ahead of the bailiffs and more than a million underwater. I’m not sure if he went to Mars. Although, given his penchant for recreational property speculation…

  33. @Farmer

    That Proverb is speaking of a house built on a solid foundation, not damaged.
    I agree that there are principles that must be sound and am saying that systemically the mandate is corrupt, broken. This situation is the fruit of a broken system with an unsound foundation.

    • The Proverb I quoted was intended as a gentle nudge for “Signs of the End” to be respectful of Vreaa’s wishes. The house in this case is symbolic of the website we all write into and the gifts and knowledge are the comments that so many people leave, I am sure he caught my meaning.

  34. @Farmer-Jessie

    I missed the connection but agree with the wisdom and the intent to share it.

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