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Freedom Fifty-Never?  Bankrupt seniors on the rise

Bankrupt seniorsEarlier this month bankruptcy trustee firm Hoyes, Michalos & Associates Inc. crunched the numbers on approximately 6,000 personal insolvencies filed between 2013 and 2014. A staggering 30% of the filings were by debtors who were 50 and older. According to the report that was up from the firm’s previous report in 2013 that listed the number at 27%.

How small is a 3% increase? Not small at all. According to StatsCan[1], the Canadian population in 2014 was 35,540,400, with 13,085,000 or nearly 40% of Canada’s population, over the age of 50. A 3% increase in that number is something that should concern us all.

Amazingly, those 60 plus, who should have the least financial stress are the most financially stressed of all age groups, with an average total unsecured debt of $69,031, nearly half in those high interest rate death traps called credit cards.

“It’s the seniors who have the highest of everything – the highest average debt, credit card debt, tax debt, the highest debt-to-income ratio, and the highest payday loan debt. It’s kind of stunning,” trustee Douglas Hoyes is reported by the Toronto Star to have said in an interview[2].

In a country as rich as Canada it is our moral responsibility to ensure that all Canadians have access to sound financial planning information at a young age. That means, in my opinion, beginning in high school. That also means a significant investment by all levels of government in financial literacy.

In fact, those who retire wealthy often have access to better financial advice and investment vehicles that return significantly more than those that most Canadians have access to. Consider that there registered funds, such as RRSPs, TFSAs, etc. can be invested in high return mortgage investments. That’s just one example of how those in the know will be able to retire earlier, with more than the majority of Canadians.

If you think it’s time to change the outlook on retirement from fifty-never to something better, we should do something about it. Stay tuned.


Mortgage brokering in Ontario is regulated by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) and requires a license.  To obtain a license you must first pass an accredited course.  The Real Estate and Mortgage Institute of Canada Inc. (REMIC) is accredited by FSCO to provide the course.  For more information please visit us at or call us at 877-447-3642


[1],. ‘Population By Sex And Age Group’. N.p., 2014. Web. 1 June 2015.

[2] Acharya-Tom Yew, Madhavi. “More seniors filing for bankruptcy in Ontario.” Toronto Star 5 May 2015: B2. Print.

Joe White
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Joe White

President at REMIC
Joseph J. White has been involved in the mortgage industry since 1988. He began his career as a mortgage agent, and in the mortgage lending sector of the industry he has held positions as National Sales Manager and VP of Sales with two national mortgage lenders.

In the industry’s mortgage brokering sector he is a licensed mortgage broker and has been a partner at a successful mortgage brokerage, manager at two national brokerages, principal broker at a commercial brokerage, founder of a mortgage investment corporation, and is owner and principal broker of his own boutique brokerage.

As an educator, Mr. White has been educating the mortgage industry since 1996.During his 14 years at Seneca College he was a professor and program coordinator and is currently President of the Real Estate and Mortgage Institute of Canada Inc. (REMIC).Mr. White has developed several courses for Seneca College, including the first mortgage broker education program in Ontario,as well as the mortgage agent course.He has written two textbooks used in the mortgage industry and by over 20 Ontario colleges with over twenty thousand copies in print, in addition to several business focused books and e-books. He has instructed over fifteen thousand students and in 2003 won the Excellence Award for teaching and leadership excellence at Seneca College.He can be contacted at
Joe White
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