Sunday, February 5, 2017

It's a Rich Man's World


The title of this post comes from an Abba tune entitled Money, Money, Money.   I've been thinking about a recent on-line  post I read in The Vancouver Sun,  a local newspaper.  A sad tale of an older gentleman of sixty-nine years who can't afford to rent in Vancouver's expensive housing market.   With a pension of $1600 a month and apparently no assets, savings or investments, Vancouver (and Toronto and London, England) are too expensive by a considerable margin.   He spent a few nights sleeping in a parking garage with days passed at the local library before he found his way to a helpful social welfare agency.     Somewhat ironically, it seems his  last career was spent teaching business classes.

I recall being in a similar situation many years ago.  (minus the parking lot accommodation)   A much cheaper housing market existed  in Vancouver then but was still too expensive for my young family.   We moved out to the suburbs where we knew no one.  Somehow we made it work.   But the young are more adaptable.   By the time old age has crept up on you, change is more difficult.   Seniors want to stay close to the doctor they know, the local coffee shop, their buddies at the nearby park and at the community centre.   Starting over again in a different location seems exhausting.  And yet, throughout history, people of all ages have done it.

I found the comments interesting.   Some blamed offshore investors for inflating housing prices.  Another stated that he didn't wish to be taxed because of this man's failure to plan.  Some commenters blamed greedy landlords.   They should be prepared to take a loss on their investment every month to making housing affordable.  

Because of Canada's climate, those seeking above freezing winter temperatures and pleasant summers congregate in the corner of British Columbia encompassing Greater Vancouver and southern Vancouver Island.   This story describes one of the basic financial tenets - supply and demand set the price.

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