Jeffrey Schwartz
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Jeffrey Schwartz is the Executive Director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada and President of the Credit Association of Greater Toronto (CAGT). Consolidated Credit is a national non-profit credit counselling organization that teaches consumers about personal finance through web-based budget and debt analysis tools, financial literacy community outreach programs and in-person or telephone counselling. CAGT is a non-profit association with a mission to provide a dynamic forum in which members can share information and expertise.

Entries by Jeffrey Schwartz

5 Ways to Ensure a High Credit Score

(1) Comments | Posted August 20, 2015 | 8:34 AM

It's a three-digit number that can make you or break you -- it can affect your ability to buy a home, rent an apartment, buy a car, and in some cases prevent you from getting a job. But despite its value, many of us are blissfully unaware of our

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Newlyweds Need to Talk About Finances Beyond the Wedding

(2) Comments | Posted July 24, 2015 | 5:52 PM

Struggling to come up with a wedding gift idea? Forget the toasters -- Mr. and Mrs. Newlywed would probably get more use out of a bit of financial advice.

Canadians are into the height of wedding season, and while brides and grooms may have carefully budgeted for the wedding ceremony,...

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Let's Become the True North Strong and Debt-Free

(7) Comments | Posted July 1, 2015 | 8:53 AM

Canadians have many reasons to celebrate as their nation turns 148 years old tomorrow. They can even feel a bit of pride in an area that normally provides a healthy dose of shame in the headlines: personal finance.

Yes, household debt levels are as high as the CN Tower and...

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How to Resist the Summer Splurge

(1) Comments | Posted June 19, 2015 | 5:18 PM

The first official day of summer is Sunday, but mentally, we've been there for a long time. It was a tough winter and as soon as water began dripping from the icicles, Canadians rejoiced.

We donned sweaters and got a jump start on patio season. We flocked to waterfronts for...

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Be Good to Debt and Debt May Be Good to You

(1) Comments | Posted May 27, 2015 | 12:33 PM

Debt has been in the news a lot lately. The major news outlets in Canada are paying attention to our record-high household debt levels and are doing some fantastic reporting about the effects of oil prices, housing, health, divorce, and all the other factors that can damage a family's bottom...

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How to Manage Divorce, Distress and Debt

(0) Comments | Posted April 22, 2015 | 6:10 PM

Kevin had a good thing going. In Edmonton, he and his wife were earning a combined six-figure income. They had recently sold their house and had taken a few trips with their kids. They began renting a home, while they figured out where to go next as they closed one...

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The Good, Bad and the Ugly of Plastic

(0) Comments | Posted April 21, 2015 | 1:25 PM

I'm not so sure that cash is king anymore.

With debit and credit machines now ubiquitous in shops and stores across Canada, I see fewer and fewer people reaching into their pockets to fish out a good old-fashioned handful of change. Waiters regularly come to tables armed with wireless payment...

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Can't Afford a House? There's a Bright Side to Renting

(12) Comments | Posted March 31, 2015 | 12:43 PM

Brace yourself -- home buying season is kicking off.

Get ready for the real estate lawn signs, the open houses, and the gossip over how much your neighbour's house sold for.

There's a prevailing sense of home-buying mania in Canada, especially in Canada's real-estate crown-jewels of Vancouver and...

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Why Canada Shouldn't Start Feeling Financially Bulletproof

(3) Comments | Posted March 25, 2015 | 5:50 PM

Amid the usual torrent of news stories about record-high household debt, recently I read that the $1.85 trillion dollars that we collectively owe pales in comparison to our rising collective net wealth of $10.2 trillion. Interest rates are low, the stock market is bullish, and strong real estate...

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The Financial Truth Shall Set You Free

(1) Comments | Posted March 9, 2015 | 5:53 PM

In 2015, personal finance is still a taboo topic. We might live in a liberal country, but Canadians are not very open-minded when it comes to talking about our pocketbook. In fact, many of us downright lie.

A recent poll by Ipsos Reid shows only about half (49...

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What Canadians Really Think About Valentine's Day

(3) Comments | Posted February 12, 2015 | 4:53 PM

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Valentine's Day can be a divisive holiday. While many consumers look forward to spending on their Christmas gifts and events, by comparison Valentine's can have the ring of a cash grab - much like Boss Appreciation Day, which is, apparently, also...

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Disability and Debt: When One Happens to Canadians, the Other Follows

(29) Comments | Posted January 31, 2015 | 11:39 AM

Phil Stewart-Burgoyne was earning great money in a highly specialized job: Driving a stand-up order-picker. He had a nice house and a strong credit rating -- life was good.

But he couldn't sleep. He heard loud music in his head, even though none was playing. In 2007, he asked his...

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Are You Suffering From Post-Holiday Bill Avoidance Disorder?

(1) Comments | Posted January 14, 2015 | 11:53 AM

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When you've caught the last scraps of tinsel floating around the house, and your New Year's resolutions have fallen by the wayside, there's still a final holiday tradition left to enjoy: dreading the arrival of holiday bills. Yes, this time every year, thousands...

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The Biggest Personal Finance Fails of 2014 (And How to Avoid Them in 2015)

(3) Comments | Posted December 30, 2014 | 10:36 AM

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December is a time for reflection, especially when it comes to your finances. The expensive holiday season -- think gifts, party outfits, and festive drinks -- means you're probably thinking about how to stick to a budget and keep costs down in 2014...

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'Tis the Season...for Identity Theft

(0) Comments | Posted November 27, 2014 | 7:15 AM

It's the most wonderful time of the year -- especially for online scammers.

Canadians are taking their gift buying to their keyboards this holiday season, with one-million households already shopping online in the past eight months. As Black Friday and Cyber Monday quickly approach, shoppers are starting to...

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Gen Y: Learn to Embrace Saving so Debt Doesn't Delay Your Plans

(2) Comments | Posted November 7, 2014 | 11:46 AM

Generation Y Canadians, born between 1980 and 1995, are constantly portrayed in the media as a generation burdened with financial issues, involving needing to pay back student debt and difficulties finding employment prospects after graduation. The effects of the Great Recession and a poor entry-level Canadian job market is making...

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How to Build an Emergency Fund

(2) Comments | Posted October 21, 2014 | 5:47 PM

I never cared for the phrase: "saving for a rainy day." What exactly is a "rainy day?" It's some kind of far-off, hazy problem that is perpetually on the horizon but never in front of us. Sure, you might put some cash away, here and there, but it's easy to...

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Four Bits of Personal Finance News Canadians Can Be Thankful For

(1) Comments | Posted October 7, 2014 | 12:40 PM

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you might notice that I often write about ways Canadians can avoid debt. I do this because there are some serious concerns about household debt in Canada -- Statistics Canada says that the average Canadian owes about $1.63 for every dollar they...

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Get Your Finances In Order Before You Retire

(2) Comments | Posted September 23, 2014 | 12:39 PM

Statistics Canada recently came out with some numbers confirming what we already know: Canadians are getting older. Projections show that the Canadian population could hit heights of 63.5 million by 2063. By then, there could be as many as 5 million Canucks over the age of 80, compared to 1.4...

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How Immigrants Can Lay Down Canadian Credit Roots

(1) Comments | Posted September 2, 2014 | 5:17 PM

Canada is a country that is proud of its multiculturalism. It was built on the backs of immigrants -- some who arrived a century ago, and some who arrived last year. People come to Canada with hopes and dreams of a better life full of financial prosperity -- but sometimes...

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