The debt problems of the global financial system are your problems. So pay down your credit card, credit line and mortgage. Making your household balance sheet tidier has the fortunate spillover effect of saving our economy.
From what? Just look at what’s happening in the US: The housing market is a disaster, weak consumer spending has crippled the economy, and politicians are grappling with how to fix things through a mix of government spending cuts and tax increases.
The Bank of Canada gave you another reason to get your debts in line last week, when it signalled, in its typically obscure way, that interest rates will rise in the foreseeable future. The bank did this by deleting the world “eventually” from a discussion of rate increases.
Rising rates will hit you in two stages. The first is instant – when the central bank raises its overnight rate, the major banks increase their prime lending rates by an identical amount. That, in turn, means higher interest charges for people with variable-rate mortgages, lines of credit and floating rate loans.
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