B2 RED DEER ADVOCATE Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Majority of retirees have debt: poll BY THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO — More than half of retired Canadians hold some form of debt which may cut into their retirement plans and cash flow, a new poll suggests. According to the survey conducted by Harris Decima, 59 per cent of retired Canadians are currently in debt, compared to 76 per cent of non-retirees. The CIBC, which funded the survey, says the results highlight the need for Canadians to have a good debt repayment strategy, especially as they approach retirement. That’s because fixed incomes make it more difficult for retirees to pay down their debt. “While retired Canadians carry less debt than the national average, their debt could be stagnant and may end up costing them more in interest costs over a longer period of time,” said Christina Kramer, executive vice president of retail distribution and channel strategy at the CIBC.
“You really have to think about the debt you are retiring with because the regular repayments you make will directly affect the discretionary income you have.” That’s because for retirees, who have fixed incomes, all monthly payments must come from retirement savings or pension earnings. This can affect how much money they have left to cover their day-today expenses. Only 27 per cent of the retired Canadians surveyed say they have made an extra payment towards their debt in the last 12 months, compared to 42 per cent of non-retired Canadians. On average, retired Canadians carry 1.65 debt products with a balance, such as mortgages, lines of credit, loans and credit cards. In contrast, non-retired Canadians carry 2.64 products with a balance. The percentage of retired Canadians with debt was highest in Atlantic Canada, at 76 per cent. All
other regions hovered just below 60 per cent. The telephone poll of more than 2,000 Canadians is considered accurate to within 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. A survey released in the spring suggests that being debt-free is key to the idea of a successful retirement for nearly nine in 10 Canadian homeowners. The dream of being debt-free was more important to the roughly 2,000 respondents than living near family, keeping busy with a hobby or volunteer work or having a broad group of friends. Only having good health was listed by more people, according to the survey conducted for Manulife Bank. Kramer recommends working with a financial advisor to plan out how to best repay your debt. She also suggests setting your debt payment slightly higher than the required payment to reduce overall interest costs.
Telus denies it’s breaking foreign ownership rules
ARCTIC DRILLING PROTEST
BY THE CANADIAN PRESS
Bulk Barn seeking franchisees in area BY ADVOCATE STAFF Canada’s largest bulk food retailer appears eager to weigh in on the Central Alberta market. Bulk Barn Foods Ltd. has been running ads in the Advocate stating that franchise opportunities exist in Red Deer. The company, which is based in Richmond Hill, Ont., has been operating since 1982 and has about 190 stores across Canada. These include outlets in Calgary, Edmonton, Leduc, Okotoks, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. Jordan Fisher, Bulk Barn’s marketing director,
STORIES FROM PAGE B1
EUROPE: Greece still struggling Yet it is far more than Spain’s struggle that has unnerved markets. Greece is still struggling with a mountain of debt and international creditors will visit the country Tuesday to check on the country’s attempts reform its economy. There is concern that officials from the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund will find that that Greece is not living up to the terms of its bailouts and could withhold future funds. Italy has also been caught up in fears that it may be pushed into asking for aid. Italy’s economy is stagnating and markets are worried that it may soon not be able to maintain its debt burden of C1.9 trillion ($2.32 trillion) — the biggest in the eurozone after Greece. Interest rates on Italy’s government bonds rose steeply Monday while its stock market dropped 2.76 per cent. The collapse in stock prices in Italy and Spain prompted regulators to introduce temporary bans on short-selling — a practice where traders sell stocks they don’t already own in the hope they can make a profit if the stock falls in price. Pascal Lamy, director of the World Trade Organization, said after a meeting with French President Francois Holland that the situation in Europe is “difficult, very difficult, very difficult, very difficult.” Ireland, Greece and Portugal have already taken bailout loans after they could no longer afford to borrow on bond markets. Yet those countries are tiny compared to Italy and Spain, the third- and fourthlargest economies in the eurozone. Analysts say a full bailout for both could strain the other eurozone countries’ financial resources. Spain has already received a commitment of up to C100 billion from other eurozone countries to bail out its banks, which suffered heavy losses from bad real estate loans. Eurozone finance ministers signed off on the aid Friday and said C30 billion would be made available right away. But that incremental step cuts little ice with investors. If Spain’s borrowing rates continue to rise, the government may end up being locked out of international markets and be forced to seek a financial rescue. “Events since Friday have been a clear wake-up call to anyone who thought that the Spanish bank rescue package had bought a calm summer for the euro crisis,” analyst Carsten Brzeski said. The eurozone’s bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, has only C500 billion in lending power, with C100 billion potentially committed to Greece. Italy and Spain together have debt burdens of around C2.5 trillion. And the ESM hasn’t yet been ratified by member states plus eurozone governments have made it clear they won’t put more money
said the company doesn’t like to disclose information about its expansion plans. But he said it’s considering new areas to move into, including Red Deer. “At this point we’re certainly looking, but nothing has been solidified.” Bulk Barn stores carry a broad range of bulk food products and related packaged items. The more than 4,000 products offered include candy, baking supplies, cereals, spices, dried fruits, vitamins and supplements, health products and pet food. The ad said that the typical size of a Bulk Barn store is 5,000 square feet. It added that a Red Deer franchise would be a turnkey operation, requiring a minimum investment of $600,000. into the pot. That once again pushes the European Central Bank into the frontline against the crisis. On Saturday, Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel GarcDia Margallo pleaded for help, saying that only the European Central Bank could halt the panic. But the ECB has shown little willingness to restart its program to purchase the government bonds of financially troubled countries. The central bank has already bought more than C200 billion in bonds since May 2010, with little lasting impact on the crisis. The central bank has also cut its benchmark interest rates to a record low of 0.75 per cent in the hope of kick-starting lending. Yet many economists question how much stimulus this provides as the rates are already very low
OIL: TSX down 15% from last year’s hight While the Toronto Stock Exchange is now 53 per cent above its March 2009 low, it’s down 15 per cent from last year’s high. Drotar urges investors to be patient, and noted how fear and a lack of confidence is impacting global equity markets. The world could experience a modest economic recovery, said Drotar. Key issues that threaten this is the lack of credible plans and political leadership to address long-term government debt. Austerity measures in Europe are necessary, he said, including a hard look at existing social programs there. Continued support from emerging countries will be important, said Drotar, who suggested that a growth rate of six to eight per cent in China should be sustainable in the medium term. In the United States, he noted that the banking system seems to be stabilizing and there has been some recent positive news related to the housing sector — although meaningful price increases are probably three years away. Ongoing concerns include the soft labour market and massive American debt.
EVALUATION: Short, frequent discussions Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, is a great place to start. This billion dollar Internet company credits its incredible success to the values outlined in the company’s culture. Take some time to browse YouTube for videos that feature companies that value positive culture in the workplace. Zappos, FISH! and Ken Blanchard are excellent examples. If performance reviews are undertaken only once a year, discussions should focus on key elements. There should be no surprise attacks. The process should always be a two-way conversation.
Personal successes should be highlighted and specific goals planned for the upcoming year. A good owner/manager recognizes that their team know their roles better than they do. Ask them what works well and what solutions they would recommend to improve deficiencies. If the suggested changes can be implemented, be prepared to support their efforts. Many larger companies sometimes use the 360 degree feedback approach to review individual performance. This format allows individuals to assess themselves, and also requests that managers, peers and even clients offer feedback. These formats can be customized to evaluate performance within specific areas or environments. There are several web-based assessments that are simple to use and reasonably priced. These tools survey key team members and provide easy and quick performance feedback. The technology used in these methods can be trusted. No matter which review method is used, preparation is crucial to ensure the process is productive. Share the meeting agenda or a copy of the review in advance of the meeting. Each team member should have the opportunity to self-evaluate their accomplishments and identify any shortcomings. Always be prepared to support suggestions in areas that need improvement. Be objective and evaluate performance based on the evidence. Establish clear objectives so that both the manager and employee can monitor future performance against those objectives. And always celebrate the successes. I recommend shorter, more frequent discussions rather than tackling marathon meetings at year end. Set the expectation that productive two-way conversations are the norm. ActionCoach is written by John MacKenzie of ActionCoach, which helps small- to medium-sized businesses and other organizations. Contact him at email@example.com or by phone at 403-340-0880.
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Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Ten-year-old Isabelle Wassillie, wearing a polar bear head and holding a frozen salmon, takes part in a rally urging the Environmental Protection Agency to reject an air permit waiver request by Shell Oil for vessels operating in the Arctic Ocean on Monday outside the federal building in Anchorage, Alaska.
Telus (TSX:T) said Monday that it is under the federal foreign ownership limit of 33.3 per cent for telecom companies, responding to accusations that it was breaking the restriction. The Vancouver company said it’s 32.59 per cent foreign-owned, as of June 29, and wants the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to dismiss a complaint filed by smaller competitor Globalive. The release of its foreign ownership level should also satisfy hedge fund investor Mason Capital Management, which had questioned Telus’ foreign ownership level, said Ted Woodhead, vice-president of telecom and regulatory affairs. “Our system controls where we sit in terms of nonCanadian ownership and it’s definitive,” Woodhead said from Vancouver. Woodhead said Telus’ foreign ownership levels are measured daily. “It’s a manual count of all shareholders.” Both Toronto-based Globalive and New York’s Mason Capital used reports from Broadridge Financial Solutions, which use postal or zip codes from where account statements are mailed, rather than the actual citizenship of the owner, he said. “To the extent that they both use the same argument, this answer puts to rest any allegations or claims that they have,” Woodhead said of both of the claims. But Globalive CEO Tony Lacavera said the company stands by its application to the CRTC. Globalive, backed by Amsterdam-headquartered VimpelCom, has also faced questions in the past about its level of foreign ownership with the CRTC before it launched as a new wireless provider to cellphone customers. Globalive fought a two-year legal battle, which started in 2009, and focused on whether its Wind Mobile met the test for Canadian ownership and control when it entered the market. Woodhead also says Telus is still committed to a single class of common shares, a move that was scuttled in May by the hedge fund, but was mum on the timing. Telus is also fighting an attempt by Mason Capital Management to get copies of proxy votes that the telecom company received ahead of the cancelled shareholder vote on a single class of shares. “There was never a vote and the proposal was withdrawn. So we view their application as without merit as well,” Woodhead said of Mason’s request.
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July 24, 2012 edition of the Red Deer Advocate