On the money: news and financial advice — September 2017

Rapper 50 Cent has successfully emerged from bankruptcy, while Canadian household debt continues to rise.

FROM THE ASHES

50 Cent wraps up his bankruptcy dilemma

Curtis Jackson III was down to his last half buck only two years ago, but now the rapper — known by his stage name 50 Cent — has emerged from bankruptcy, paying off debts of more than US$22 million. Jackson, who rocketed to stardom 14 years ago, filed for Chapter 11 in 2015, owing more than US$36 million but having less than US$20 million in assets. The courts came up with a plan for him to repay US$20 million over five years but the performer paid it off early, with US$8.7 million of his own money and US$13.7 million that he won in a recent settlement of a legal malpractice lawsuit against other attorneys.

PIGGY-BANK SMARTS

Canadian teens among world’s most fiscally fit

Teenager holding up a jar full of college-fund money

It’s back to school time and you’ll be glad to know that when it comes to financial smarts, the kids are all right. Especially Canadian high school students, who score high on financial literacy tests, when compared with kids from other countries. Every three years, the OECD tests about 500,000 students in 72 countries, including the US, Russia and Australia. Students are assessed in science, mathematics, reading, collaborative problem-solving and financial literacy. Canada came in third, behind China and Belgium. The study found 87% of Canadian teens reached level two — the minimum level of financial literacy needed to function in society.

DEBT APNEA

Spot the “I’m in too deep” warning signs”

Canadian household debt continues to shatter records. Recent statistics show the average Canadian owes about $1.67 for every dollar of disposable income. And as with many other personal problems, people in hock don’t want to talk about it. Therefore it falls to family members and friends to spot telltale signs. Fortunately, UK-sponsored Money Advice Service has issued a list of debt “tells,” a.k.a. signs, that someone might be in over his or her head. The first? Secretive behaviour coupled with a tendency to chase down the latest “must-have” item. Other signals: a history of indebtedness; a major life event, such as a new baby, being fired or divorced; evidence that a person is living beyond his or her means; less socializing with friends; a reluctance to discuss issues or money; significant weight change or, finally, trouble sleeping.

MEET MARKET

Banker seeks pros to help millennials

“Creating careers through the miracle of quid pro quo.” That’s how retired investment banker Alex McKee describes his new not-for-profit enterprise, millennialxchange.com. McKee was hanging around the fitness centre at Ontario’s Brock University when he realized that almost 30% of millennials were living in their parents’ basements. So, with two partners, he launched the mentoring website, which he says is vaguely modelled on dating sites. It is a place for young people to meet industry veterans — who can help them develop careers. “I could see a CPA who might want to slow down a bit but not retire completely. Through MX.com [you] can join forces with a young person and find something new and exciting to do, like I did.” And both sides win.