Letters and Tweets — August 2015

CPA Magazine readers respond to the May and June/July issues via mail and Twitter.

GIVE US THE STRAIGHT FIGURES, PLEASE

I am amazed that the accounting profession, clever as it is, doesn’t pay attention to the nonsense put out by credit card companies.

In "The Theory of Everything Debt" (May), in the table "You are what you owe: a snapshot of personal debt in Canada," it asks, "How long will it take to pay off a $3,000 credit card balance if you only pay the monthly minimum of $10?" The answer given is 16 years. Wrong!

How about 25 years?

Add the interest charges (18%) of $2,798.88 (I did not check the arithmetic) of paying only the monthly premium on a $3,000 credit card balance, and it will take 48-plus years to pay off.

How absurd is that?

Credit card companies should be compelled by law to state — accurately on every monthly statement — what monthly payment would be required to clear the outstanding debt within, say, three, five or 10 years. No wonder credit card debt continues to climb when the companies sponsoring them cannot be trusted with even the simplest arithmetic.

I. David Gould, Agassiz, BC

WHEN IS WORK AN ADDICTION?

I read with interest "Addicted to Work" (Workplace, May).

I have "burned out" twice as a CPA. What I learned from my experience is that being addicted to work is just like any other addiction — you keep going back even though it is not good for you.

So, how do you distinguish "working hard" from "addiction?" My answer is simple: if you work hard and decide to take a day off, but you feel guilty when you do take it off, you are addicted to work.

Jack E. Adams, Saskatoon

HARBINGERS OF THINGS TO COME

Good column in the June/July issue ("Adapt or Perish," by David Descôteaux, Canadian Issues).

We have always accepted "creative destruction" in our economies. In every such cycle, there were winners and losers. The big difference today is the rate of destruction and the knowledge needed to service the new technology.

As we have seen with the structural unemployment of the rust belt industries, vast swaths of displaced workers are not suited to the demands of the new technology.

Governments then retrain them for menial jobs. This, I think, is the future of a vast majority. And it will be grim as successive generations have come to expect better lives than their parents.

They will put up street fights before they ride away into irrelevance. The Occupy movements are harbingers of this murky future.

Noordine Teja, North York, Ont.

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