Demystifying the 5 year fixed rate mortgage

If this title alone does not get you I don’t know what will. Most people opt for the 5 year fixed rate mortgage because of the security of knowing what your payment will be from month to month over the next 5 years. However how do you know if you got the best 5 year product. In case you did not know there is more than one out there.

Lender’s price their fixed rate products based on how long that they have to guarantee the rate. These rate guarantee’s range from 30 days all the way up to 120 days. So as a result the quicker you can close the more likely you will get the best rate in town.

Here are a few examples.… Read more

5 Ways to Avoid a Personal Financial Crisis

Here are some tips on what you should do to avoid a personal financial crisis:

1) Have an emergency slush fund

You should have at least 3 months of living expenses put away in case the worst happens. I am not talking about putting it in your mattress or in a coffee can. These funds should be liquid and fairly easy to access quickly but not so that you can dip into them & buy something if the whim strikes you. My wife and I have used an ING investment savings account, you could do something similar or open a Tax Free Savings account, that way your emergency fund is tax protected.

2) Know your income and expenses

Most people might know how much they make but have no idea how much they are spending. When I got out … Read more

Make a difference

Earlier this week I received a story in my e-mail that I want to share with you.

I made a difference to that one…

A man was walking on the beach and ran into a little boy throwing starfish into the ocean.  When the man asked the little boy what he was doing, the little boy explained that the tide had gone out and left the starfish on the shore.  They wouldn’t survive the day in the sun and if they didn’t get back in the water, they would dry out and die.

Amused, the man looked down the beach and noticed that there were thousands of starfish washed up on the shore and they went out as far as the eye could see.

“Little boy, while I appreciate what you are trying to do, there are thousands and thousands … Read more

Economic stats for March 2011

Bank of Canada Interest Rate
January 18, 2011 1.00 %
March 1, 2011 1.00 %
April 12, 2011 Next meeting date

Bank Prime Lending Rate

January 19, 2011 3.00 %
March 2, 2011 3.00 %
April 13, 2011 Next meeting date

Conventional Mortgage – 5 Year Rate*

January 19, 2011 5.19 %
February 9, 2011 5.44 %
February 23, 2011 5.44 %

*Determinant for high ratio mortgage variable qualifying rate

US Federal Reserve Board Discount Rate

December 14, 2010 0.00 % – 0.25 %
January 26, 2011 0.00 % – 0.25 %
March 15, 2011 Next Meeting date

Exchange Rate $CDN($US)

January 31, 2011 0.9985 $CDN ($US)
February 11, 2011 1.0134 $CDN ($US)
March 1, 2011 1.0257 $CDN ($US)

Government of Canada Bonds

Bond Type January 26, 2011 February 9, 2011 February 23, 2011
1 year Treasury Bill 1.33% 1.36%
Read more

To break or not to break?

Well that is the question. Wondering whether to break your current mortgage to take advantage of the lower rates that are currently offered. Well here is an example that you can apply to your situation to see if now is a good time to take advantage of the lower rates.

Interest Rate Differentials (IRD)

Often a client needs an “idea” of how much their existing mortgage penalty might be before he decides to refinance or do an “early switch” with pre-payment penalty.

If the penalty is based on a rate differential, here is a BASIC calculation to figure out a close amount…..

Based on a:

$200,000 with 3 years remaining on a 5 year term of 5.70%….

…because there are 3 years remaining, the current 3 year rate is used to calculate the differential.

If the lenders current 3 year Read more

Rate decision

Bank of Canada leaves key rate unchanged

Malcolm Morrison, The Canadian Press

The Canadian dollar gave up early gains and moved lower after the Bank of Canada’s announced it was leaving interest rates unchanged and warned of the negative effects of a rising currency.

The loonie was 0.12 of a cent lower to 102.82 cents US after the central bank announced its decision to keep the key interest rate at one per cent.

The bank observed that the economic recovery in Canada is proceeding slightly faster than expected and that “while consumption growth remains strong, there are signs that household spending is moving more in line with the growth in household incomes.”

But the bank also warned that “the export sector continues to face considerable challenges from the cumulative effects of the persistent strength in the Canadian dollar and Canada’s Read more

Service Please

For those who don’t know, we took advantage of the kids two week break to take a little vacation. The reason that I am telling you this is to tell you a story about good service. Something that we far too often take for granted until we experience the complete opposite. 

P1000634We took a Disney Cruise out of LA down to the Mexican Rivera and it was awesome, and the service was fantastic. Food was great, ship was nice and clean and the staff were wonderful. On the way back home we flew with United airlines from LA to Chicago, during this flight one of my girls became ill and was getting sick. My wife rushed her to the bath room while holding on to an air sickness bag. The bath room closest to us was occupied so my wife Read more


Are you or should you be? To your goals that is. This hit me when one of my friends from the gym saw me today and commented that I must not be committed as I did not make it in for my regular workout time of 05h30 yesterday. My excuse was that one of our kids was up a few times over night. However excuses be gone, come hell or high water I will certainly be there for tomorrow.

When you think about it, are you committed to the successful attainment of your goals? If you are not, or worse if you don’t have your goals written down ( shame on you if that is the  case) then you are just breathing and not really living.

If getting out of debt is your goal. Then you should write your goal

Read more

I owe, I owe

So as the dwarves in Snow White say “It’s off to work I go”. Below is a great article from The Vancouver Sun, talking about our ever increasing debt load. In fact, that is the number one reason that the finance department reacted with changes to mortgage financing yesterday. As always feel free to contact me if you have any questions.



Our debt-to-income ratio hits an all-time high

Although the recession may technically be over in Canada, many households sank even further into debt in 2009, creating the highest debt-to-income ratio ever in Canada, according to the Vanier Institute’s annual assessment report, released Tuesday.

Read more

Rules, Rules, Rules

Here is the information regarding the new mortgage rules that will come into effect on April 19th of this year. The changes are not as bad as some were predicting. This is the summary, and the text is below.
Starting April 19th
1. Borrowers need to qualify using the 5 year fixed rate
2. Refinances maxed out at 90% LTV
3. 20% downpayment for mortgages tied to non-owner occupied properties bought for speculation.
Canada will bring in new mortgage rules to cool the country’s red-hot housing sector, but does not think the market has entered into bubble territory, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Tuesday.Concerned that new homebuyers may overextend themselves, the government said it is implementing three changes to mortgage rules that will help prevent the problems seen in other countries that helped trigger the global financial crisis.

“Today’s … Read more