Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2020

Revisiting a Classic Book: George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London

For decades, high schools have required students to read George Orwell’s last novel, 1984 . Many of 1984’s expressions (big brother, thought police, newspeak) have become part of the language. Before writing 1984, Orwell (his actual name was Eric Blair - the story of his pen name is fascinating) had recently become famous for his novel Animal Farm , published just a few years earlier in 1945. Orwell wrote ‘Down and out in Paris and London’ in 1933, years before those more famous novels. Orwell based this novel on time he spent with people who were unemployed, impoverished, hungry, and working in low-paid jobs in hotels and restaurants. Down and Out shows Orwell beginning to work political ideas into his writing while telling an entertaining story with colourful characters and anecdotes. The novel evokes the vitality of another English writer, Charles Dickens , and his memorable collections of impoverished characters, but Orwell’s story also has the grim humour of Fyodor Dostoevsky .

Are You Ready for Home Ownership?

Answers to the question, ‘Are you ready for home ownership? veer all over the map. You may be super-confident and ambitious. You are sure that you can buy your first home and are already thinking about buying your second home. You may have the financial backing of your family in purchasing a house or condo. Or you may be a cautious person, prepared to let the years pass until you are certain that this is the right time for you. You may feel that home ownership is an unrealistic goal for you. Whatever your personal feelings are about purchasing a home, here are some practical tips for deciding for or against home ownership. If you do not need these tips at this stage in your life, forward them to someone who might need them. The first thing to do is put aside FOMO (fear of missing out). This is your life, not anyone else’s. You are not obligated to purchase a home right now or ever. Given your current career choice or nomadic lifestyle, home ownership may not be for you. Are you thin

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