Canadian Seniors Increasingly in Debt

Most young Canadians start to plan for their retirement not long after joining the workforce, and this is an excellent idea. However, there is no way of knowing what obstacles life will place before us that can derail our carefully crafted plans.

A distressing number of Canadians are going through life in debt and while seniors don’t make up the highest proportion, their debt load tends to increase more year over year because of their fixed income. We all know how interest compounds and just makes the hole that much deeper.

That can mean some tough decisions. A few hardy individuals try to eek out a living on only their government pensions. Of course, these are inadequate for just about anyone who has no debt, let alone somehow who has to make monthly interest payments.

Debt (and debt collectors) can introduce a great of stress into a person’s life. We all know that prolonged stress is not good for the physical or mental well-being or an otherwise perfectly fit person. Now imagine being over 60 and battling issues like mobility, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Here stress can go from an unfortunate occurrence to a potentially deadly one.

Bankruptcy is always an option, but one that is far from problem-free. Many seniors don’t even want to admit they have money problems because it seems like a major failure to go through that much of your life and not be able to enjoy a worry-free retirement. In some cases, their children don’t even know until the situation has reached a critical state. Sadly, seniors are making up 30% of the bankruptcies in this country.

Not all hope is lost, however. Seeking help from family and friends, as well as the professional assistance of a financial planner can reveal some light at the end of the tunnel.

Welcome to Canada! Don’t Forget to Bundle Up!

Disclaimer: I am not a meteorologist. However, as someone who has lived in Canada their entire life and made it through more than 50 winters, I feel well-qualified to write on the subject of how to survive the cold months here. Winter has been on everyone’s mind lately as the eastern seaboard is going through one of the bitterest cold snaps on record.

So, without further ado, here is some advice for those just about to experience their first Canadian winter:

Bundle Up

Seems like a no-brainer, right? However, if you are new to this climate, you may not realize just how many layers you need to be comfortable (and functional) when the mercury dips this low. Bulky winter coats are not exactly fashionable, but concerns over appearance tend to quickly fall by the wayside when you can’t feel your fingers or toes.

Gloves and Boots

Speaking of extremities, proper winter boots are a must. These not only keep you warm but also provide the necessary traction so that you don’t end up slipping and falling.

Gloves with the proper insulation are also a must-have. Depending on what you are doing outside, the bulkier the better. However, you may have to compromise some of the warmth if you need a pair that allows you to use your hands with any level of dexterity.

Scarf

Bigger is better here. Choose one that will fully cover your mouth and nose (don’t worry – you can still breathe!) because inhaling freezing air is not the least bit pleasant. Winter is also hard on the skin, so a good-sized scarf will also keep you from looking all weathered and dried out.

Ear Muffs

Once again, you won’t find these in any fashion Must Have lists, but they are definitely a must-have in Canada. You will be amazed by just how cold and painful your unprotected ears will feel once subjected to even a few minutes of winter wind. Toques help, but earmuffs seal the deal.

Happy Winter! (Don’t worry – it should be over in only about 3 ½ months)

How Room Color Can Influence Mood

When choosing a paint color for a home’s interior, many people use such criteria as how appealing they find the color and whether it will clash significantly with their furnishings. However, one other important thing to think about is how color can influence us, specifically our moods. Have you ever visited a home or retail space where you found the color of the walls off-putting? Did staying in this space for extended periods make you feel downright uncomfortable and ready to leave? Imagine if you had to live in such an area and never felt relaxed or truly at home?

When choosing colors for your home, consider how colors affect your mood. A wrong choice can not only affect how you feel, it can also negatively impact such important things as productivity.

Blue

This is a very productive color, which makes it a good choice for areas such as a home office. Conversely, it also reduces blood pressure and slows respiration, perfect for rooms where the main function is relaxation, like living rooms and family rooms. Dark blues can invoke sadness, however.

Green

This is a pleasing and restful color that some people choose as the main hue for their home. It can be quite effective in a number of different locations.

Yellow

Really want to make a room bright and cheerful? Go for yellow. However, it tends not to be a good choice for the overall color scheme as it can be overwhelming to the senses. This is especially true for babies, creating the potential for them to cry excessively.

Orange

This is an exciting and energetic color, thus perfect for rooms that host a lot of physical activity, such as a workout space.

Purple

This hue is associated with creativity and restfulness. It can also bring to mind a feeling of culture and extravagance.

Red

Perhaps the least restful color, red is not a good choice as the primary color of any room. It can actually make people irritable, if they spend long periods in areas dominated by this shade.

Neutral Colors

Neutral colors, such as black, grey, brown, and white, can serve as the main focus of a space, or as something to help ground more dynamic hues.

How Often Should You Paint Your Home’s Interior?

Everyone likes their home to look fresh and inviting. A nice, new coat of paint will provide those qualities to most any space. However, painting can be quite expensive and time consuming, so most homeowners only do it when things reach the point where it is deemed absolutely necessary. Here are three factors that can contribute significantly to how often you choose to paint your home’s interiors.

Previous Work

As with anything, the amount of care and preparation performed previously are major indicators in how long a paint job will hold up. Many people about to put their house on the market will give the interior a quickie painting that looks fine for a few months. After that, the problems start to become apparent, but by then, it is likely the problem of the new owner.

This is a very good reason why you need to take your time, do thorough prep, and use high quality materials when painting your home. If not, be prepared to do it all over again after only a couple of years (or even less).

Traffic

If you live alone, chances are your walls won’t need a fresh coat for a number of years. If you have children and/or pets, the possibility of wear and damage increases considerably. While damage can occur to any room, some are more likely to be in need of painting, such as bedrooms, dining rooms, living rooms and hallways, because people spend more time there. Generally, these spaces should be painted every 3-4 years. If you have children who like to color on the walls, however…

Changes in Your Taste

Sometimes the deciding factor may have nothing to do with previous work or wear and tear. Some people reach a point with their home where they just need a change. This may involve adopting a brighter color scheme or a more subdued one. Also, the arrival of a baby may prompt parents to give the entire space a fresh look that compliments the addition of its new resident.

More On Collaborations

Since I talked about how much I wanted to do more collaborations, I thought I would expand and explain what a collaboration for me is.  A collaboration work or commission would be one that I along with a team or others work on something together based on the client’s vision.  For example, one collaboration I did was with a home painting company.  They were hired on as a service and their client wanted something specific on one of their interior walls.  The painting company then collaborated with me to design this work.  After designing and making sure the client was happy, we got to work on the wall mural that I had drawn down on paper.  That, to me, was my first collaboration.

wall

I would love to work with more painting companies like that one.  I feel that a wall mural is a much more extensive piece of work than painting or sketching on a canvas.  There are some Toronto painters – The City Painters, specifically, that I would love to collaborate with.  I believe in that they always present the best quality work, and I would love to be a part of that.

Other collaborations I’ve done are with graphic design artists.  They will usually get me to design something they want, and then they will base their computer graphics off my work.  All collaborations requires extensive planning because it’s not just me inside my head.  Typically when I’m working on something, I will have a vision, but it will change as I continue to work.  With collabs, I’m usually required to design something and it can’t be changed.  That’s also something I need to work on because my mind is always evolving, whereas if I’m working with someone, I need to be consistent.

My favourite type of collaborations would definitely be wall murals or even house paintings.  You get to chat with someone and look inside their heads for what inspires them.  That being said, I haven’t collaborated with many Toronto exterior house painters.  I think that is a different type of work and would love to get into that as well.  I hope in the future my collaborations with others will expand, and I’ll be doing a lot more than I am now.  I would even love to get into graffiti art and working outside my environment.

Illustrating My Life Through Colour

Hello everyone!  My name is Kevin and I’m a graphic and sketch artist who also dabbles in painting and other collaborations from time to time.  I’ve lived my life entirely through colour.  At the age of 5, I painted my first portrait of my father.  After that, painting and sketching just became a way of life for me.  Both my parents are artists, so I guess it would make sense that I become one too.  If you’d like to see some of my work, I will upload some of my work in the Photos category.  Feel free to go take a peek!

portrait

Although I’m a full time commission painter, I also do a lot of collaborations.  It peaks my interest to change things up from time to time.  I love the challenge of providing a original piece of artwork to someone, and it’s even harder when you’re not working on it alone.  However, the team environment really encourages me to get out more and spend time with others.  So far, I’ve always been illustrating my life through colour alone, but I’d like to venture out and do more collabs.  Please get in touch with me through the Contact page if you’d like to do a collaboration!