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Trish Balaberde

Trish Balaberde

Verico Creative Mortgage

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Many Canadian homeowners pay too much for their homes because they are not getting the best mortgage financing available in the market.

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Canadians spending more on home improvement and travel

Canadian consumer spending increased by a small margin following two consecutive quarters of stagnant growth, according to the Quarterly Spending Report released by Moneris Solutions Corporation (Moneris), Canadas largest credit and debit card processor. Moneris Quarterly Spending Report revealed that consumer spending rose 0.40 per cent relative to the same period last year. Spending climbed during the summer months, with a 0.5 per cent increase in July and 0.62 per cent in August before tapering off to 0.01 per cent in September. Canadians spent more on improving their homes and on vacations, and less on restaurants and entertainment, according to Moneris. While this is the first time that Moneris has recorded three consecutive quarters of flat consumer spending, key areas of growth emerged,said Angela Brown, President and CEO of Moneris. Summer 2014 demonstrated Canadians keen interest in home improvement and travel. It will be interesting to see if that trend continues into the remainder of the year or if the holiday season will see spending spikes revert back to entertainment and retail. Spending rose in six out of nine categories highlighted in Moneris Quarterly Spending Report including household (3.75 per cent), airlines (4.32 per cent) and drug stores (1.81 per cent), but fell in the restaurant category, where dine-in restaurants witnessed a decrease (-6.4 per cent) in spending. Accompanying the rise in vacation spending, consumers spent more on luggage and leather goods (3.62 per cent). Spending at home and away Purchases at home improvement stores rose by 8.49 per cent over the same period last year, and spending on plumbing and heating equipment, and on electrical contractors climbed by 5.14 per cent and 5.08 per cent respectively. Home is obviously very important for many Canadians, said Brown. Their spending patterns demonstrate enthusiasm for do-it-yourself projects, but they are willing to call in the professionals to perform specialized work, such as electrical and plumbing. Those who choose to leave the comfort of their houses are choosing to spend more on vacations as opposed to one-off experiences such as dinner and a movie. While spending on apparel decreased modestly (-2.07 per cent) overall, consumers spent 8.05 per cent more on family clothing in September as children headed back to school. In the same vein, spending in bars rose in August (1.34 per cent), but Canadians buttoned down as the kids went back to school, and spending at watering holes decreased slightly (0.62 per cent) in September over the previous year. Growth in contactless payments The number of contactless transactions1 grew by over 200 per cent over the same period in 2013. Some 9.6 per cent of credit transactions were contactless; 3.7 per cent of debit transactions were contactless. The number of contactless purchases exceeding $50 increased nearly fivefold. Contactless transactions continue to represent an area of growth in the Canadian payments market as more consumers become comfortable with the technology, said Brown. We anticipate this trend will continue, particularly with the growth of mobile payments technology. Modest gains, some losses Most Canadian provinces posted gains under 1 per cent (0.46 per cent-0.81 per cent). However, sales in Prince Edward Island and British Columbia increased by 2.31 per cent and 1.15 per cent respectively. Quebec and New Brunswick were the only provinces to post losses (-1.32 per cent, -1.51 per cent). About The Moneris Spending Report The Moneris Spending Report provides a snapshot of consumer spending activity in Canada by analyzing credit and debit card transaction data. As the market leader with the largest merchant base, Moneris presents detailed analysis and insight on a quarterly basis. The percentages cited are derived from actual sales volumesthe dollar values of credit and debit card transactions being processed by Moneris merchants compared to the sales volumes from the prior year.

Boomers: how will you finance your 'grey' divorce?

With the number of grey divorces on the rise in Canada, many Boomers may not realize the cost of maintaining two homes can increase expenses by as much as $20-$30,000 per year. This can have a serious impact on finances during retirement. In fact, according to Statistics Canada 2011 census data, divorce among Baby Boomers is becoming more common and the numbers are expected to steadily increase. Approximately 60,000 Canadian couples divorced in 2013 and 25% of these divorces were grey, occurring among couples aged 55 and older. Boomer couples are divorcing even though its not in their best financial interests to do so, notes Marion Korn, family law lawyer and co-author of the book When Harry Left Sally. The good news, however, is that most couples recognize that they should not be investing in a costly divorce and need to find another way. The age of people who are divorced or separated has been shifting upward, for both men and women, and the share has been especially increasing for individuals aged 50 and over. In 2011, about one in five people in their late fifties were divorced or separated (21.6% of women and 18.9% of men), the highest among the age groups. In comparison, in 1981, 6.9% of women and 6.2% of men in this age group were divorced or separated, according to Statistics Canada Marital Status Overview 2011. A large number are splitting amicably, explains Eva Sachs, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst and also the co-author of When Harry Left Sally. Grey divorce is different. Its a time where divorce and retirement come together. Divorce is a breakup of a family unit but its also the breakup of an economic unit, she adds. So, how can splitting Boomer couples face the big financial hit of maintaining two homes? Some opt for a reverse mortgage, which can allow one person to stay in the family home which is most often desired - while using equity to buy out their spouse. It is one solution we advise couples to consider, explains Ms. Sachs. If the house is fully paid, then a reverse mortgage can help address financial shortfalls. For an Alberta couple aged 73 and 58, the HomEquity Bank reverse mortgage allowed them to have funds for their divorce settlement. In fact, the number of mortgages HomEquity Bank arranges each month for couples going through grey divorce has been steadily increasing. How the CHIP reverse mortgage works: Visit www.chip.ca or call 1.877.503.2447 to determine the amount of money available, which is based on the homeowners age and the location and type of home as well as the homes current appraised value. Access money as a one-time lump sum, as monthly payments or both its tailored to individual needs. Up to 50% of the homes value can be accessed and the money is tax free. Unlike a traditional loan, no payments are necessary until its time to move or sell the home.

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