Friday, June 22

Changes for everyone!

It appears to have become an annual Canadian trend now: changing the mortgage lending rules. Last year they reduced the amount you could refinance down to 85% and the amortization down to 30 years. Year before that they rolled the refinance to 90 from 95%.... or something. Every year there is something taken away. As of July 9, it happens again- amortization periods are now maxed at 25 yrs and the refinance goes to only 80%, AND your debt ratio needs to be lower . I get the they are trying to keep runaway markets under control (see article here) but to apply this like a blanket to all of Canada seems unfair (?) And sure every Canadian views their home as their main asset. I'd say a lot of us use that equity when we can, or when we have to, but increasingly we have less and less access to that equity *UNLESS* we sell and move. Even then, you'd have to calculate whether after paying realtor fees and other sales related costs (plus the hassle) it would be worth selling and moving.
I had planned, when we purchased this place, to refinance next year at renewal time and swallow some of our debts into the mortgage knowing that we would only be able to access 85% of the value. With these new rules, unless our place appraises at about $250k or better (yerrrr, extremely unlikely??) it's not going to be enough to make it a worthwhile fight. I'm going to have to wade through financial muck for the next 5 yrs after this. Not going to be easy but it's just the road that lies ahead.
So. I've been thinking lately: now that we have a little family and we have these piling debts that threaten to literally consume us (or require a consumer proposal), it's obvious that we need to really REALLY get into a better headspace to reduce our costs, like making more of our own food... canning things... pickling things... learning how to make bread and other foods from scratch... planning our trips "into town" to save gas... things like that. And -because we have so many little PROJECTS around here- just taking a daily stab at doing just ONE thing per day to fix something. Maybe tomorrow it's fixing the bathroom sink drain that doesn't work. Maybe the day after that it's painting one door frame. Or landscaping. Silly, cheap little fixes that if we just pick away one at a time, within a year (and certainly the next 3-5 yrs while we erase this debt) this will be an unrecognizable space.
A few months ago someone introduced me to the 100 things in 100 days idea. It's just a great way to bite off chewable amounts every day in any area of your life, whether its weight loss or decluttering or learning something new. I feel like now is a good time to *try* this while I am able to focus on my family and establishing some family (especially health?) habits. I'm going to try to (re)start my journalling and see if I can regain this focus. It's the best thing I can do for me and for my daughter and family.

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