Debt Driven Spending – She’s not sure what her family will do with that extra money. “I don’t know. It will probably all be going on our line of credit.”

“Meredith Stevenson, a North Vancouver resident, wanted a voice in the National Hockey League lockout and to get it the lifelong fan made what she described as a gut-wrenching decision.
She and her husband Dean cancelled the pair of Vancouver Canucks season-tickets they had held for 14 years. …
Stevenson said the tickets were costing her family nearly $11,000 a year, plus as much as $8,000 for playoff tickets. They had put down roughly $3,700 towards this season’s tickets, which will now be refunded.
“Our season-tickets are a big investment for us,” Stevenson said. “It always hurt a little bit when those payments came due. I think that’s also why it feels a little bit liberating to be honest.”
She’s not sure what her family will do with that extra money.
“I don’t know,” she said. “It will probably all be going on our line of credit.”

– from ‘A frustrated fan makes a tough decision and says so long to the Canucks’, Vancouver Sun, 23 Nov 2012

In other words, these guys were buying hockey tickets with debt.
The money isn’t “extra” at all!
We’d make a small bet that the LOC was a HELOC. Can’t be sure of that, of course, just a hunch, thus the ‘small’ bet.
– vreaa

37 responses to “Debt Driven Spending – She’s not sure what her family will do with that extra money. “I don’t know. It will probably all be going on our line of credit.”

  1. I’m astonished at their idiocy! How could you spend $19,000 a year on hockey tickets when you’re not balancing the household budget?

    What are the odds they are into that line of credit by at least $40,000?

    *“Our season-tickets are a big investment for us,”*

    RRSPs should be your big investment!

    • Actually, you’ll recall that the average BC consumer is $38K in the hole.
      So, if this is an ‘average’ family, they have $76K of debt… and I’m not even sure if a HELOC is counted as consumer debt or as a ‘mortgage’ (mortgages were not included in the $38K figure).

      • you all realize that they are for all intents and purposes SELLING half of these tickets and recouping a large amount of their (ahem) investment.

        i know people who specifically sell the good games (rivals/star power teams) and very nearly watch the remaining games for much less than they would otherwise – it’s a lot of effort to secure buyers sometimes but its also seen as a business investment/networking tool – they make a lot of friends this way, etc. etc.

        personally i think it’s absurd, but i know this is what some do.

        it’s vancouver, being fiscally challenged isn’t just normal, it’s EXPECTED OF YOU.

  2. http://www.vcn.bc.ca/citizens-handbook/rules.html

    strange anecdote, but why not, I suppose? In a perverted way, it may be that the dis-possessed angry poster that finds their way to vreaa is simply fodder for data aggregaters driven by an agenda that we can only guess?

    Check out the link above ‘According to Alinsky, the main job of the organizer is to bait an opponent into reacting. “The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength.”’

    • “… it may be that the dis-possessed angry poster that finds their way to vreaa is simply fodder for data aggregaters driven by an agenda that we can only guess?”
      Please explain what you mean by this.
      If you followed our conversations here, you’ll find your characterization of participants is incorrect.
      And I can assure readers that no sinister “data aggregation” occurs here. But such an assurance would probably mean little to you.

    • Aaah, now I get it.
      ‘Saul’s soul’ = ‘Paul S’
      Apologies, all.
      Paul, please stick with one handle (or very obvious variations on a theme), else this gets confusing.

      • i know i’m a pain in the ass but at least i am not an end-of-the-world-masons-will-harvest-our-organs-and-board-their-ufos-for-andromeda type

        ron paul! (lol)

  3. Village Whisperer

    I’m not so sure “the payments” in this case are debt funded. Withe seasons tickets you have certain dates when “payments” (like the $3,700) must be made. $3,700 during the summer, $7,300 at the start of the year. 1st two rounds of playoff tickets in March (with unused portions refunded as need be), and final two rounds of playoffs in April (if making past 2nd round).

    It’s these ‘payments’ many fans already have cash set aside for.

    Don’t get me wrong, some carry them on credit cards (with some becoming revolvers) but I don’t think that’s the case with this fan.

  4. Tough decisions:
    – giving a child away
    – deciding on a course of critical disease treatment
    – sending a squadron to their deaths

    Seasons tickets to the Giants are still available.

  5. Village Whisperer

    In this case, I don’t think they have an LOC for this expense.

    I know 3 couple with seasons tickets and one with a suite. In all four cases the money put to hockey tickets in all from cash on hand.

    I don’t know why, but it’s only the casual game goers I know who put hockey expenses on credit.

  6. Go giants, woop

    Also, this is freaking Great for the CFL

  7. I had season tix too. Damn Cloutier days and west coast express days. I couldnt afford to keep em either.

  8. How is it a “tough decision” when the woman stated: “As a consumer there’s nothing we can do other than not consume the product.” It’s as if she’s threatening herself to pay down her non-entertaining debt because she can’t consume her “investment” of being a spectator. This is how backwards today’s thinking is and why i) average personal debt has ballooned to record levels in Q3 and ii) BC’s savings annual personal savings rate has been negative for the last five years.

    What other way can this end other then a complete disaster?

  9. I dont know how much season ticket prices have gone up in 14 years but lets assume its 10k a year that is freaking 140k. For hockey.

    • If there’s any close correlation between movie and sports tickets, it would be around +60-70% in 14 years. Chart

    • Much like a house, the tickets also have a carrying/maintenance cost.

      You must account for: wear and tear on vehicles getting to and from games, fuel, babysitters, parking, food and beverages at or before the game (not insubstantial); plus any extras like related apparel.

      NOT having an NHL season will have very peculiar economic impacts on the economy. And, this does include the workers at the arena’s and bar/restaurant staff that depend on the work/tips, which will be lost due to cancelled games or a lost season (likely).

      • At the same time, money usually spent on hockey may now be spent on other things… so hard to calculate effects. Of course, if all of that money is spent in Bellingham or Phoenix, we’re in even more trouble.

      • Agreed. It will be hard to track where the money actually gets spent. It will likely be spent things other than paying down debt, which would be the most prudent use of the “savings” gained by not going to NHL events.

        On the flipside, some hockey players might have trouble making payments on their multi-million dollar homes soon…

  10. I’m absolutely shocked… How can you be so stupid to spend that kind of money on hockey tickets. My god human stupidity never fail to surprise me. Don’t these people have a life, a family to care for?
    In a city where the average house still costs above $1 million, I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised…

  11. These people really don’t know what they’re doing. All my friends with ice packs or seasons tickets make money on their tickets.

    Sell half, go to the other half for free.

    • Yeah, maybe, but somebody is still paying right?
      In this case, $18K for half the product!
      A bit like a pyramid scheme, the last guy ends up holding the proverbial can.. a bit like… a speculative mania in housing! Buy two condos, flip one, live for free!!

      • I wouldn’t call it a pyramid scheme. That requires exponentially more participants (hence the unsustainability) as opposed to a hard limit on the tickets available (arena capacity).

        Stuck holding the can? Not sure about that. I respect and appreciate your commentary, but, IMHO this is a stretch.

      • In Vancouver, selling hockey tickets is a sport.

      • weenerman -> note I said ‘a bit like’.. you’re right it’s not an actual pyramid scheme. But you do see how the secondary market is paying twice what they should to see the game. The point is that people can’t say “it’s actually cheap for people to see hockey; they flip their extra tickets..”.. in the end, somebody is paying.

      • “I wouldn’t call it a pyramid scheme. That requires exponentially more participants (hence the unsustainability)”

        How about this version.

        The first person buys T season tickets for D dollars each, sells T/2 of them for 2D dollars each. (So the first person keeps T/2 tickets for free.) The second person buys those T/2 tickets for 2D dollars each, sells T/4 of them for 4D dollars each. (The second person keeps T/4 tickets for free.) The poor sucker at the end has to buy 1 ticket for T*D dollars.

        That’s not strictly speaking a Ponzi scheme, but maybe we could called it an “inverse Ponzi scheme”. (Or a “Zeno scheme”?)
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeno%27s_paradox

  12. Hey people, read the relevant article in the Sun. This woman is passionate hockey fan. She plays hockey twice a week, she was a producer at EA for NHL, and she has had Canucks season tickets for fourteen years.
    She goes to all the games- so no selling single games to offset the cost.
    We all spend money on non essentials. Whether you spend it on a Snickers bar or on a Mercedes, it’s really a matter of degree.

    Agreed, if I had a line of credit, I wouldn’t be spending that kind of money on entertainment. Hopefully the cost is a tax deduction for her business.

    My beef is with the use of the word “investment” as she uses it to describe her ticket purchase. How often have you read that a Rolex or a pair of shoes or a new Audi is an “investment”? Marketers have so thoroughly twisted, folded and mutilated this word, that we now use it as justification for a want, unchallenged.
    Well I’m off to the grocery to “invest” in chocolate drizzled croissants, Earl Grey tea and bananas.

  13. Vancouver puts way too much into the Canucks. It’s kind of embarrassing actually.

  14. “My beef is with the use of the word “investment” as she uses it to describe her ticket purchase” ….totally agree, absolutely delusional that Canucks tickets can be thought of an investment, ( if you are selling most of them for a profit, then ok fine) However I worked with one individual who did this, bought seasons tickets and proceeded to sell them to pay for or subsidize the games he went to. I asked him if he was always able to get rid of them and he assured me he always sold them…he used craigslist and he never had a problem. About two weeks later I was going to a game ( i had gotten free tickets through a friend who couldn’t get rid of them) We came upon all the scalpers standing on the corner trying to sell their tickets and we see his girlfriend standing on the corner sheepishly holding Canucks tickets above her head trying to sell them. I started laughing and my wife asked what was so funny. I told her the story and she started to laugh as well, and proceeded to tell me it would be a cold day in hell before she ever stood outside in the pouring rain to sell some canucks tickets that her boyfriend bought and couldn’t sell on craigslist. They eventually got married….must have been love…What a hassle, I would take a 5% dividend yield any day, and use the money to go to the odd game when I feel like it…

  15. Click Here, its different

    Typical example of people living on monthly payments with nothing left after the bills are paid.

    Something is left ? Well, thats “extra money”.

    At least, they have a few places to cut. Some (most ?) must cut on food. Not hockey tickets.

    Strange days …

  16. We had tickets at the Coliseum back in the early 90’s – ticket prices were 30 bucks in lower bowl, then they moved to GM place (Rogers arena) and those tickets are now about 230 bucks each!! – sounds similar to Vancouver housing…due for a crash!

  17. I actually know Meredith and as mentioned by some above, you can cover the cost of the games that you want by selling other tickets. And from what I remember her facebook post said $12000 not $18000 but I haven’t read the article linked to above.

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