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Four Ways to Improve Your Credit Rating

As the Pandemic took hold of our economy in March and April, there was media, corporate and political talk about protecting the credit of those affected. This talk has passed from the public discussion. It should remain a priority for us.Credit reporting refers to a system that provides information about the ability of individuals and businesses to borrow and repay borrowed funds. In Canada, there are three independent, privately owned credit reporting agencies: Equifax, TransUnion, and Dun and Bradstreet. Dun and Bradstreet reports for commercial accounts, while the two other agencies are best known for consumer reports. When you have financial dealings with Canadian businesses, they typically share the results with the credit reporting agencies. What story does your credit report tell? Are you invisible? You may have minimal or no credit. Your credit report says very little about your ability to borrow or repay. The story of your credit report may be a long, tragic tale. It is pages…
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Thoughts on Malcolm Gladwell's Talking to Strangers

Malcolm Gladwell Talking to Strangers (Hachette: Little, Brown, and Co, 2019)
When we interact with strangers, we tend to apply preset scripts to our interactions. Each of us seems to have a large personal collection of scripts ready to play whenever we encounter an unfamiliar person or group of people. 
Upon meeting someone such as a small child, we speak and act a certain way and have a pre-packaged set of beliefs about that little person. Likewise, when we meet a senior citizen, a person of a different race, a person who appears to be similar to ourselves, or a very different person, we are prepared for that interaction with our preconceptions of who they are, what they will do, and how we should behave with them. Such preconceptions are often maligned but they can be helpful. Our preconceptions are shortcuts that smooth social interactions that might otherwise be unpredictable. We consider the person who is unable to do this as lacking in social skills. Someone who is perpetually su…

What advice do you give when the bank turns them down?

So your clients tell you that they want to buy a new home or rental property. They went into their bank branch and were turned down for new mortgage financing. Now what should they do?You could casually tell them to go down the street to another bank branch. Or you could say nothing at all, hoping that they drop this embarrassing subject. After all, if they were turned down by their bank there must be something wrong. You could console them and tell them to wait and try again next time. Or worst of all, you could tell them that maybe it simply was not meant to be. You can do better and so can they. Before they give up or run around to other financial institutions, suggest they do some homework.The first step is to reconstruct the crime scene. Why were they turned down? It is unlikely that the bank loan officer who took their application will tell them the whole tragic story of mortgage financing gone awry. That overworked, underpaid person may not even know the whole story.Why not hel…

“How to advise Clients with a Covid-19 Cash Crisis”

According to an Ipsos poll commissioned by MNP and published on June 22, 46% of Canadian’s work situation has been affected by the pandemic. Personal incomes and businesses have been dramatically affected.
On the other hand, the dominant narrative from Canadian governments and media is that we are progressing well through stages toward opening and normalization of the economy. 
Many of us seem to be talking as if the Covid-19 crisis is over. We are thinking about summer off-time and then ramping up for the Fall.  We will need to do some planning. Q4 will be critical in what has been an unusual year. 
I participate in a number of online forums and zoom groups like this one, and attendance has gradually fallen off this summer. People seem relaxed, withdrawn, and want to enjoy the rest of the summer. I am grateful that organizers are really working hard at keeping people coming out to online work-related events.
With some of my clients, I am discussing mortgage financing and emerging real es…

Review of George Soros, In Defense of Open Society

Review of George Soros, In Defence of Open Society, Public Affairs, Hachette Book Group Inc, 2019.

The name of George Soros is once again in the news. Mr. Soros has stirred up a lot of trouble over the years, but he probably doesn’t even know about half the accusations that are being thrown at him. Even President Trump has helped to spread the rumours. Although Mr. Soros has been a relentless self-promoter for more years than most of the population has been alive, the current conspiracies are unlikely to have any connection with him.
What is the real George Soros all about? His books give us some clues.
Soros has written many books and in 2019, published In Defense of Open Society. I find Soros and his books to be inspiring and intelligent, wiley and naive, irritating and fascinating.
George Soros is one of those last remaining larger-than-life characters from the 20th century. He has had an astounding career spanning continents, a World War, and the falling of the Iron Curtain in Europe.…

Moving On Up to a Luxury Home? Some Mortgage Tips

Moving On Up to a Luxury Home? Some Mortgage Tips
This is great news! Things have been going well for you. You want more room for your family. You can already hear the laughter and joy that will come with entertaining friends and visitors in style. You dream of a beautiful kitchen, bright, airy rooms, high ceilings,  and spacious, private green space.   
Be aware that this needs to be a prudent financial decision, just as much as any other in your business and life. All over the Greater Toronto Area, there are quiet tragedies taking place in which luxury home buyers made a mistake. They bought the wrong house, at the wrong time, for the wrong amount, and for the wrong reasons. And now they are calling around for a mortgage broker to rescue them from the wreckage.
The time to call your mortgage broker is now as you begin to make steps toward your dream home. Call the mortgage broker first, before you send a realtor house-hunting and before you go over to your bank branch for a standard ho…