Wacky North Korean dictator (and star of Team America: World Police) Kim Jong Il died of a massive heart attack Sunday. His death has plunged the isolated state of North Korea into a period of major uncertainty and U.S. president Barack Obama agreed by phone with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to closely monitor developments.
Should we be worried that a country know for its secrecy and desire for nuclear weapons is now being run by twenty something Kim Jong Un, Kim’s third son?
In related news, Portland police had to taser a 33-year-old man who was attacking people with a toy Star Wars lightsaber in the parking lot of a Toys R Us Wednesday night.
Vancouver just released today that the final cost to tax payers for the Occupy Vancouver movement totalled $1 million dollars. Is it just me, or did 1% waste a million dollars that 99% of us would have rather seen spent on other things?
It’s interesting to note that in a Gallup poll, conducted Nov. 28th through Dec. 1st, they asked people who of the groups – “haves” or “have-nots” – they’re in. And 58 per cent counted themselves in the “haves,” a breakdown Gallup says “has held remarkably steady” over the past two decades.
I saw two interesting charts on Garth Turner’s site this week. One that shows how much money we are saving relative to disposable income and another that shows how much we owe. Click here to see charts (and a picture of a really fat man).
The savings rate in Canada is -5% (we spend on average 105% of what we bring home) and the debt rate is 153% (a historic high, which means we owe one and a half times what we earn).
Garth also makes a strong case for a drop in housing markets going forward as interest rates rise and people have tapped out their ability to borrow more money.
In todays blog he quoted the Canadian economists for the Bank of America Merrill Lynch saying our market shows “classic signs of over-valuation, speculation and over-supply. We estimate the housing market nationwide is about 10% over valued. Even so, the only way these valuations can be explained is by the record low mortgage rates. Under more normalized interest rates, home prices would actually look 25% overvalued based on current prices.”
Hopefully Canadians will realize that now is the time to pay off debt, increase savings and not have all your net worth tied up in a condo that could wipe you out financially if/when rates rise and the value of real estate drops. There is no shame in renting an apartment, driving a used car and living below your means.
In fact I read an article on the site The Daily Beast with the headline “Renting Gets Glamorous”. In the article they write:
“With an uncertain economy, the rise of social networks that redefine “community,” and more people moving to take jobs where they can find them, renting rules the Millenial generation. The new dream? A no-frills apartment in one of the new “destination living” communities, lush with multiple swimming pools, chain restaurants, and volleyball courts.”
Sounds good to me!