This Globe and Mail article starts like this:
A new poll suggests that most Canadians are quite comfortable with using debt as a financial strategy – at a time when debt loads have risen to alarming new highs.
Shouldn’t that be the other way around? Canadians are quite comfortable using debt as a financial strategy and that has driven debt loads to alarming new highs.
The survey shows 9 out of 10 respondents would consider borrowing money to pay for an unexpected $2,000 cost. Yeah, that’s right: $2k. These people appear to have little or no financial buffer.
While 55 per cent said they were extremely or very confident they could raise the cash, 92 per cent said they’d consider borrowing to come up with some of the cash.
Less than half – 45 per cent – said they’d never faced a debt problem.
The poll results come as Canadian debt-to-income ratios sit at a record 152 per cent and top officials issue warnings to start paying down debt before interest rates rise.
The findings suggest consumers have been unmoved by warnings that rates will inevitably rise and that the resulting financial burden could sink some households.
“It’s frightening to see that Canadians have become totally blasé about debt – it’s becoming their new ‘normal’ and they’re numb to this dangerous trend,” says Douglas Hoyes, a bankruptcy trustee with Hoyes, Michalos & Associates Inc.
“For many, the use of debt to not only pay for big ticket items like cars, but also to cover day-to-day living expenses, has become commonplace.”
Now compare this to the USA in 2006 where household debt grew at a record level, but a housing boom had also boosted networth. Some were concerned about unsustainably high house prices, but Ben Bernanke said that he would not prick asset bubbles.
And he didn’t.
In fact the US government did everything in its power to prevent house prices from collapsing. They pumped money into the system, drove down interest rates and came up with all sorts of programs to prevent people from losing their homes.
You may be surprised to find out what happened to house prices in the US since then, especially the ‘hot’ markets like Florida, Arizona, California and Nevada.