Weekend Reading – Eurozone crisis resolved edition?

From economic disaster to stability and euphoria in one week, politics made easy.

World stocks and the euro rose to their highest levels in some time today after Euro leaders “struck a deal” to resolve their sovereign debt crisis.  I put those words in quotes because that’s exactly what I feel this exercise was.  With this deal, I guess Europe has been allowed to take a few steps back from the edge of the debt cliff but I can’t help but thinking, like personal debt burdens, it all has to be paid back, eventually, someday, doesn’t it?

Is it possible to go from the sky is falling condition to everything is fine scenario in a couple of weeks?  Maybe it is but I’m probably just getting more cynical about our political world as I age, just like some close friends of mine in Toronto who subscribe to my posts.   To those good friends reading this article, you know who you are! 😉

What about you?  Are you cynical of the deals made to solve the European debt crisis?

In other interesting news, Abbott Laboratories (ABT) recently announced plans to split into two separate companies. The first company will retain the Abbott name and be organized around diversified medical products.  The other yet to be named company will be organized around research-based pharmaceuticals.  Before I joined a national not-for-profit organization, I used to work in the pharmaceutical industry in Toronto and I know first-hand, this is big business.  It can also mean big risk.  Certainly the announcement signals Abbott’s commitment to change and diversification so on that front, I like this news.  On the other hand, it will take some time for the company to re-organize itself and there could be bumps and bruises to be had for the next 12-24 months, especially from competitors.  In the long-run, I think this will become a great news story, and a rewarding one for shareholders who are looking for a broad-based health care company devoted to discovery, development and manufacture of products that serve general healthcare and also critical patient needs for multiple sclerosis, chronic kidney disease and women’s health and oncology.

What do you think about Abbott’s news?

With Hallowe’en just around the corner, we’ll see if anything can top the scary news of the European debt crisis or the spooky uncertainty of Abbott short-term 🙂

In contrast to frightening news and instead more inspiring and tangible things for us, I’ve found a host of articles for you to check out this weekend.  We’ve got book giveaways, some pressure on financial advisors to provide better financial plans and reminders about the magic of investing time on your side.  I hope you enjoy this weekend’s reading material, amongst shopping for Hallowe’en candy, decorating the house for Hallowe’en, or if you’re like us, attending a Fangtasia mixer Hallowe’en party!

Have a happy, healthy and safe weekend.   I’ll be back next week! 


Balance Junkie wondered if low interest rates are the solution or the problem. I definitely agree with her first point: “low interest rates mean meagre returns for retirees and risk averse investors who can’t or won’t or shouldn’t have very much of their money at risk in the markets.” Low interest rates penalize those who actually save.   Also, Balance Junkie is giving away a copy of Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s new book Never Too Late: Take Control of Your Retirement and Your Future.

Dividend Monk discussed building wealth, income versus expenditure.

Andrew Hallam told us he will be teaching a personal finance course to keen 9th to 12th graders at a Singapore Amercian School. Any room for a 30-something from Ottawa? 🙂 Lucky kids.

Media mogul Preet Banerjee informed us about the difference between liquidity versus solvency.

Echo told us why IKEA is killing his finances.  Misery has company Robb!

101 Centavos wrote Community Garden – FAIL! but did learn some valuable lessons and all was not lost.  Remind me readers, to hit up 101 Centavos for some expert tips in the spring of 2012 when my wife and I pursue our raised garden in our backyard. 

Young & Thrifty reminded us the magic of compound interest.

My University Money offered some more tips for note taking.

Canadian Capitalist wondered:  where are the financial plans?

Dividend Growth Investor highlighted ten income stocks confident in their growth prospects.

Michael James offered some commentary about commission-free ETF trading, saying, and I agree:  “Saving money on commissions this way is a good thing, but it can mask problems.”

Dividend Guy wrote about nine stocks that go BOOM with their dividend.  Was that a sonic boom?

Dividend Mantra wrote about perspective.

The Wealthy Canadian said you can be an owner in what you consume.  Certainly makes sense to me; makes my cable, banking, insurance and utility bills more tolerable! 

Dan from Canadian Couch Potato put some ETF risks in perspective.  I think some concerns about synthetic ETFs are legit but I don’t own these guys.  Instead I own plain vanilla products I can easily explain to others, like XIU. 

In other Canadian Couch Potato news, Dan announced the birth of The MoneySense Guide to the Perfect Portfolio.  His new book hit the shelves at Shoppers Drug Mart, Walmart, Chapters/Indigo and Loblaws stores for the, in classic Couch Potato style of course, the low price of $9.95.  You can also buy it online here.    Thanks to Dan for laying out the basics of passive investing to any Canadian who wants to take more control over their retirement dreams!  I look forward to reading Dan’s book and I hope to post a review of it in a few more weeks.

Canadian Mortgage Trends announced there were no changes to key lending rates.  This means our prime rate (which is the basis for variable mortgage rates) should remain at 3.00% largely due to ongoing economic dangers in Europe and a sputtering U.S. economy.

Kevin from Invest It Wisely wrote an excellent article about getting laid off and what he learned from the experience many years ago.

Big Cajun Man told us what happened when he asked:  “Is there any way to get a lower rate on my line of credit?”

Money Smarts Blog wrote a comprehensive post about calling home from another country, comparing a long distance voice plan versus Skype on his cell phone.

Susan Brunner provided a review of Evertz Technologies.

SPF gave some advice for folks who want to start a green business.

Dividend Ninja posted a question from a reader:   why do utilities have sunch high debt and high payout ratios?

Clark who frequently writes for Million Dollar Journey, told us how leveraged ETFs work.  Using leveraged ETFs, that gain their returns through derivatives is not for me.   Now that’s scarrrry!

Thanks for reading!

28 Responses to "Weekend Reading – Eurozone crisis resolved edition?"

    1. I think there are only going to be more headaches down the road. All the more reason to own a diversified war chest of dividend-paying stocks, and lots of broad-market indexed products.

      Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend Mich!

  1. I’m a little cynical about the Eurozone deal, but that doesn’t mean the market won’t have a good time celebrating it. We’ve seen this before. Only time will tell if this rally sticks. My guess is more volatility both ways.

    Thanks for including my articles this week. Enjoy your Halloween party! 🙂

  2. There is a long history of countries defaulting on their loans. Greece has defaulted a number of times on government bonds since the end of the Second World War. This means that they do not have to pay their debt, or not all their debts. As I understand the suggestion it is that Greece only pays half of what is owned on their bonds.

    Basically, it is why bonds have interest; there is a risk of you not getting your money back at the end of the bond term. The higher the interest rate on a bond, the riskier the bond. I do not know why people are shocked at this, this has been going on for a very long time.

    As I understand history, it is only US, Australia New Zealand and a couple of other countries who have never defaulted on government bonds. England last defaulted on government bonds, I think in the 12th century.

    Same thing if a person goes bankrupt, or renegotiates a loan or debt, you do not pay back all you owe.

    Thanks for the mention and the great list of reading.

    1. Thanks for your comment Susan.

      Yes, I certainly see that, why bonds have interest; but I guess that’s why folks have bonds, it’s really a big IOU.

      I predict, although who knows about the future really, that sovereign will become a major issue over the next 20 years. Demographics are driving this. Yes? No?

      You’re most welcome for the weekend reading, and you’re part of it! 🙂

  3. I agree with Susan above. It’s the same thing when people are “shocked” that homes were overvalued a few years ago…or “shocked” when they find themselves in a financial bind after spending 150% of earnings for years on end.

    Thanks for the mention Mark! Have a great weekend and stay warm up there north of the border.

    1. You’re right Mantra. “Wow, I can’t believe I’m in debt, why can’t I spend more than I make?!”. Simple math. Painful sometimes though.

      I can’t wait to pay off my mortgage. I really, really can’t.

      It’s 1 Deg. C in Ottawa tonight, or about 33 Deg. F., just so you know. I’m drinking cold beer to dull the pain! 🙂

  4. I personally have not been following the news too much lately. I have a lot to catch up on… I personally don’t believe that any political solution is possible without consequences, so we’ll see what happens in the end.

    P.S. Thanks for the mention!

    1. Of course Kevin, no sweat for the mention, your blog is great!

      Yeah, I don’t hold out too much faith for a political solution on this thing. The problem is greed, which is far beyond politics.

      Have a good weekend, I look forward to your articles next week!

  5. Thanks as always for the mention!

    As far as Europe goes, I’m getting tired of this ridiculous cycle. First we have the “world is saved” news, then we all realize it’s not nearly as great or as comprehensive as initially reported, then we go back to square one. Ultimately this is going to come down to a couple of realities. The first is can we please just see a real default of Greece loans and have them go off of the Euro? That country needs to take its medicine big time (oh by the way we could be witnessing our future if we don’t get our ducks in a line). Then it ultimately comes down to the German tax payers bailing out Europe’s banks and providing them with the Euros they need for liquidity. I don’t blame the German people at all for being furious with this current situation!

  6. IMO the Euro brought nothing to Germany. It wasn’t long for the prices to double compared to the Deutsche Mark while salary were cut in half. German people still remember this.


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