Unless you spent the last month lounging about on a desert island in the South Pacific without Internet or TV, you've probably had your fill of hearing about America's fiscal cliff. News coverage north of the 49th parallel has been just about as plentiful as south of it, we imagine -probably because we know all too well that what our neighbour does has a great impact on us.
So it's understandable we'd be keeping a close eye on unfolding events.
On the other hand, there's something perversely comforting about knowing it's not happening in Ottawa-it's bad news, but at least it's someone else's bad news.
Ironically, Canadians have their own financial troubles, but we seem to be largely ignoring them altogether.
Time and again over this last year, the federal government has issued warnings to Canadians about our personal debt levels. Last month, Statistics Canada announced that debt levels were at their all-time high: for each after-tax dollar we're bringing home, we're borrowing more than $1.60.
Racking up debt is easy to do, especially in this neck of the woods where mortgages make up a huge portion of debt levels for many people.
But it's not just housing. When it comes right down to it, we all-quite simply- spend too much.
Perhaps it's because it's so easy to do, with online shopping, credit cards, store cards and personal financing available almost 24 hours a day. Why wait for that home renovation or new couch or family vacation-just charge it now.
Perhaps we've lost sight, as a nation, of what we want versus what we need-or the ease of getting more credit has blinded us to its pitfalls.
Whatever the cause, our own, individual, fiscal cliffs are rapidly looming and, if interest rates go up, too many Canadians will fall off the edge.
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