Wealthing Like Rabbits: A PF Cheerleader

June 29th, 2015 by Potato

I have to admit, I was really afraid to read Wealthing Like Rabbits based on the previews and excerpts I had seen. I was also afraid because the title was explained with this blurb: “Let’s take the word wealth, which is a noun, and start using it as a verb. The new word wealthing will replace saving when discussing any saving that increases your net wealth,” and I was scared that it was going to be wall-to-wall neologisms. I was pleasantly surprised: It’s actually a really good cheerleader for personal finance.

The book kicks off with an alternate reality comparison: what life looks life if you stretch to the max for a house and lifestyle, and what it can look like if you pare it back to something that’s still well within the comfortable range. It’s one of the best uses of this technique I’ve seen, and strongly makes the case that living within your means is not all about sacrifice, but can provide the stability and security you need to actually be happy. “Comfortable is about more than money. Much more. It’s about sleeping comfortably at night and not being afraid to check your mailbox or your inbox in the morning. It is about being comfortable driving to work in a Corolla rather than a Lexus when you are thirty-three so that you won’t have to drive to work at all when you are sixty-three.”

It’s full of highly relatable anecdotes advising readers to set up good savings habits, control their spending, and build their lives on a solid financial foundation. The irreverent examples using zombies and hockey are not taken too far (with the exception of the debt = smoking one), and each chapter has its own unique pop culture reference to help prevent them from being over-stretched.

WLR has the subtitle of An Original Introduction to Personal Finance and the key word there is introduction. It is not a guide or user’s manual, and Robert Brown is no Michael James on Money — the book has a few technical mistakes and misunderstandings… But it’s not a book on details anyway. The sins are of detail and not of message, and the message is just fantastic. It’s not detail-oriented, but like a good cheerleader it’s just to get you riled up and rooting for the home team, not to deliver a detailed game plan for the next play. And WLR is great in that role: it is so easy to read and does such a great job at those alternate life comparisons that I think it’s well worth reading for a newbie, and would make a good first introduction to personal finance — the details (that geeks like me love to nitpick) can be ironed out in their second or third PF book.

I was also relieved to find the bit on the wealthing neologism at the end of the book, and not a new phrase the author tried to wedge into the entire thing.

It is full of quotable bits, which I will end on: “It’s startling to see how a series of seemingly reasonable decisions can result in such an unreasonable amount of money going out the door.”



I’ve noted some points as I was reading it (and Michael James on Money already covered many in his review), so here is a breakdown of some things to watch for.

RRSPs: The most noticeable errors (in terms of affecting the message) come from discussions of RRSPs. TL;DR: just accept the take-home message that you should save and invest for your future in some combination of an RRSP and TFSA, and pick up the details elsewhere.

Early on in the book, WLR calls the refund from an RRSP contribution a windfall, and suggests that younger readers use RRSPs over TFSAs because they would rather get this windfall when young than when old. Yet later, when discussing the home buyer’s plan, he suggests the opposite: that using the tax savings for a downpayment is “…stealing from a future version of yourself.” [emphasis in the original] Describing the home buyer’s plan is a touch challenging, but to break it down simply I’ll put it this way: it’s a way to use “the government’s portion” of your RRSP as a downpayment now, or to use pre-tax money for your downpayment. For example, if you’re in the 30% tax bracket and were able to save $17.5k in your TFSA as a downpayment for a house, you could instead have put the $25k you made (and were taxed on before putting the funds in your TFSA) in an RRSP pre-tax, and then used the full $25k for your downpayment. In many cases, this difference (~$7.5k depending on your tax bracket — double for a couple) is not enough to worry about getting into a commitment to repay and the psychology of tapping into sacred retirement funds and all that. However, if that amount can make the difference between having 19% down and getting stuck paying CMHC fees or having 20% and avoiding them, it can be well worth it (though you could just save a up for a few more months too). The HBP is often described as a loan to yourself from your RRSP, which is right because you have to pay it back, but doesn’t really get to the main benefit. Of course, the main drawback is that you do have to pay it back and a shocking number of people don’t, which is why WLR comes in against it.

However, it’s also a good safety valve on the RRSP — as a young person you can start saving for “the future” with your RRSP if you want without needing a detailed plan on saving for a house versus saving for retirement, the HBP (and the flexibility of the TFSA) will let you focus on saving and sorting the details out later. WLR makes takes the opposite point of view on this opinion: “It’s important to understand that long-term (retirement) savings and saving for a house are two entirely different things and they need to be treated as such.”

What’s weird is that the book then recommends paying CMHC fees over using the HBP. The HBP has the risk of not getting repaid and costing you some RRSP room and a premature tax bill, but paying for mortgage insurance is guaranteed money out the door.

As for the windfall issue, I tackled that in an earlier post. In short, it’s not — the refund is a total red herring that confuses a lot of people with the RRSP.

When describing the benefits of enrolling in an automatic RRSP payroll deposit plan, the book says that “If you contribute $50 a week to your RRSP, you can reduce your taxes by $50 a week.” Not quite: a $50 automatic contribution will reduce your taxable income by $50; your reduced tax withheld will be more like $15, depending on your tax bracket. Again, it’s still a good idea, but the details are off.

Paying off debt vs investing: There is one bit of flawed reasoning that crops up in a few places. When discussing whether to pay of debt first or to start investing, the book says “Yes, the debt’s interest is likely higher, however, I really, truly hope that the interest on your savings will be compounding for a much longer period of time than the interest on your debt will be, which makes the math favour the savings plan.” No. There is a big benefit to starting to save early, but that applies equally to reducing debt early — investing does not get special treatment in this regard, and your savings from the future will not hitch a ride on the TARDIS to come back and thank you for birthing them earlier. If the interest on your debt is higher than your expected returns from investing, then paying the debt off aggressively is the right move. Your retirement savings may have 40 years ahead of them to compound when you’re in debt, but for the first year of building them up your debt and retirement savings both compound for a year; the year after that adds exactly one year to each: your debt (negative wealth) growing every bit as fast (or faster if the interest rate is higher) as your investments. Where it makes sense to invest before paying off your debt is when your expected return is higher than the interest on your debt — or to pay the penalty for behavioural reasons.

He does have a side point that starting to save and invest early will get you into the good habit of building up your RRSP and avoid procrastinating, and I think this has merit. I’ve seen some people get caught unsure of where to go after finally paying off their debt — starting to invest a bit before the big zero day can make the transition smoother, even if it’s not mathematically optimal. But these behavioural factors are not what the math says you should do. In the margin I starred this paragraph: “…all habits are forming. The sooner you embrace and establish the habit of saving, the easier it will be for you to maintain that habit throughout your life. If instead you develop a habit of postponing saving until a better, more perfect time, you will (with the best of intentions) establish a habit of procrastination. And you know what? There is no perfect time!” That was great and could have stood on its own.

This issue of compounding times rears its bizarre head again when discussing saving for a house. “So, while I’m saying that you need to be saving for your retirement even if you are carrying some debt, in the same sentence I’ll say that you shouldn’t be saving for a house until you are debt-free. That sounds hypocritical but it’s not. Any money you save for a house down payment will not be compounding for nearly as long as your retirement savings will be. Without the advantage of the longer time frame, the cost of servicing the debt is bound to exceed the return on your savings.”

Mortgage math: A big part of the alternate reality possibilities centre around buying a larger house or a smaller one. The most math-heavy part of the book is comparing the housing choices of two brothers, one of whom stretches to the max while the other starts with a more realistic budget. There are many tables of figures there, and even I was starting to tune out at the number over-load.

There is an exceptionally common error about mortgage payment frequency out there that also appears in WLR, “The more frequent your mortgage payments, the less total interest you will pay over the length of your mortgage.” So far so good — this is true. However, the effect of paying more frequently is quite small and often over-stated by confusing more frequent payments with accelerated payment schemes. I highly recommend aligning your mortgage payment frequency with your paycheque frequency: if you get paid biweekly, make your mortgage biweekly. But if you get paid monthly, there is no point in making your mortgage payment weekly — the savings on interest are minimal, and anyway you end up having to push a payment back just so you can keep a balance in your chequing account to spread a monthly paycheque over several weekly periods. WLR falls into the common mistake of confounding accelerated payments with more frequent payments: “The difference is substantial. A $350,000 mortgage at 5% paid monthly would …[numbers]… The same mortgage would cost only …[numbers]… a savings of $30,187 just for paying more often.” [emphasis mine] No, the savings are from paying more, not more often.

Accelerated weekly/biweekly plans are a good behavioural way to arrange paying more on your mortgage, but they are not magic. If your budget is constraining you from paying your mortgage down aggressively, signing up for an accelerated weekly or biweekly mortgage can lead to nasty surprise when you hit your first month with an extra billing period in it.

Again, these are nitpicks for geeks like me. The book is good for its anecdotal value, the relatable stories that will help people learn and remember the basics.

Random Thoughts on Freelancing

June 24th, 2015 by Potato

This has been a pretty good year for me for freelancing: I’ve had a fair number of clients on the investor education business side, as well as some editing jobs, including editing a novel-length fiction for another author — my first work of fiction (I normally work in non-fiction/science/health care/personal finance). I’ve had on my to-do list for a while to revamp my various websites because I’m doing just an absolutely atrocious job of advertising myself1, when I realized that I’m busy enough and there is no need for that — I have almost as much work as I can handle just coming in from my terrible advertising and excellent word-of-mouth. This is my second-best year ever for freelancing, and though the year is only half over I’m on track to quadruple the average of the last three years. The only better year involved a single intensive project versus a bunch of smaller jobs.

But despite doing fairly well on a few different freelance projects, I am nowhere near the point where I would feel comfortable quitting my job and going full-time freelance. And I don’t think I will ever get to that point: I like having a steady job with benefits (and I like working in the not-for-profit sector even if I could make more freelancing or in for-profit). And with that realization in mind, I think it’s maybe time to slow down — another big reason I keep trying to not get myself worked up to creating a course for beginners to investing/planning/etc.

I’ve also had freelancing on my mind because I’ve been stuck trying to complete an interview for a really great person who does not deserve to have me sitting on her deadline for the past few months. The question that’s been holding up the works is fairly simple: “What advice would you give PhD students today [about preparing for non-academic jobs]?” And I wrote a pretty decent few paragraphs on expanding and honing your transferable skills by freelancing on stuff. And then I second-guessed that: how realistic is that advice, how good is it? Will risking burnout in grad school (or complications if they go over the typical 10-hour-per-week cap on external work) actually help grad students as advice? How repeatable would my freelancing experiences be? I mean, I think I’m pretty good at what I do, and I’m well-rounded so there are lots of things under that umbrella, which leads to a number of things I can do on a part-time basis. But would most grad students be able to devote so little time to rounding up business that it made part-time freelancing worthwhile?

This was kind of driven home for me by a few recent posts by Robb over at B&E, including this one on multiple income streams where he ends with this bit: “You’d be surprised how quickly you can accomplish your goals when you can earn an extra $1,000 or more per month.” Well yes, a ~20% raise for the average person would accomplish goals faster. But how realistic is $1k/mo in freelance income? IMHO, not at all. Look, my best year ever didn’t even hit half of that on average. Yes, I made a fair bit more than that in my busiest two months — but I could not have kept up that pace for a full year, I would have burned out — let alone being able to keep scaring up that kind of work.

He’s partly helped by not having the soul-destroying commute that I do: saving 10 hours a week could free up a lot of consulting time. He’s partly helped by his wife: add a working spouse (as is the case for many) and he’d have to do more housework and have less free time to work side projects. He also has a really steady 9-5 job, whereas I have trouble scheduling work far in advance because I don’t know when the shit will hit the fan (but then I get lieu days to freelance after it does). But he’s so far up in the stratosphere of freelance writing (where people come to him for jobs, and where he pulls in an average family’s full salary in blog income) that I’m afraid he may be losing perspective — most people are not in the position to make that level of side income2, and that’s assuming that they have marketable skills that are amenable to part-time side income in the first place.

A thousand dollars a month doesn’t sound too hard, on the surface: if you bill at $60/hr (but actually earn closer to $30/hr after under-bidding on projects and doing development work and fiddling with your website and Linkedin profile), then you only need to work about 17 billable hours each month. That’s like four hours a week; even after it ends up doubling with all the unpaid work that surrounds freelancing, you’re still only out one of your weekend days each week. Of course, $60/hr is for pretty specialized work, which is kind of hard to find and may require like graduate degrees or something. Freelance writing pays more like $0.50/word if you’re lucky, maybe $0.10/word if you’re not. No problem, you’re thinking, you might be able to hammer out 1,000 words in about two hours if you’re a fast writer. Two of those a month and you’d hit that $1k target with two weeks off to yourself. Of course, only people who are already famous can hammer out a 2-hour blog post and get paid $500 for it — most3 freelance writers and most assignments will require that you do research, and interview experts, and go back and forth with your editor to polish it, which can bring your hourly rate way down. Plus you’ll have to draft and send like 20 proposals to editors for each assignment you actually land, which is hours out of your life you don’t get paid for at all. A few sites peg basic copyediting at about $30/hr — but go to the self-publishing sites and you’ll see authors claim they don’t pay over $20/hr (along with ads from hungry part-time editors willing to low-ball).

So with business development, you’re probably talking 8-10 hours per week to hit that expectation if you have some marketable skills but aren’t a super-specialized professional. If you don’t have a portfolio or a lot of skills and are just grinding away at things like fiverr jobs or brainmass, you’re talking more like 20 hours per week, which I don’t think is something to advise most people to expect.

What, then, is a reasonable expectation of what working freelance can do for you? I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m way under my potential4,5. I believe that I’m well above the median in terms of freelancers who work full-time day jobs, at least in specialized skills if not in billable hours, which means most should not expect to break even the $500/mo point. But maybe my self-image is all wrong and the only reason I took issue with the B&E estimate is because I’m actually just unsuccessful. How much is a reasonable amount of work for the average person before burnout threatens? Again, I’ve personally prided myself on my stamina, but I lose a lot of time to other parts of my life — a young, single person with no commute could rock side income (but then is that typical/average?). Is ~10 hours/week sustainable if your commute is more reasonable? I don’t know what to suggest, which leads me back to part of why I’m stuck on that interview.

However, the main point may still apply: freelancing may be a good way to build transferable skills and improve your finances. Most Canadians struggle to save even a few thousand dollars per year, so making even $250/mo in a more realistic freelancing expectation could really beef up those retirement savings.

As for me? I think I’ll move updating my websites and profiles back down to the bottom of the to-do list.

1. I mean, I earned my American Medical Writers’ Association certificate two years ago and still haven’t gotten around to putting that fact up anywhere — in fact no where do I actually advertise that I do editing work, it’s all been thanks to word-of-mouth. And my CV/bio is just a disgrace.
2. And of course, Michael James was ahead of me again to that idea, as you can see in the comments section at B&E.
3. Look at me, talking like I’ve had any kind of success in this field at all (I haven’t), or talked to more than two people who have (I haven’t).
4. Well, I know that I am: I charge almost half of what many money coaches charge, which I justify by focusing on education and making my clients work for themselves — I do less for them, at the end of the day, so it ends up being what I consider exceptionally fair, which makes me feel good as a service provider.
5. Also, I know that I am: I spent a lot of time writing the book last year, and this year on pro bono work for the library as well as promoting the book and doing interviews — all time that I could have instead dedicated to making money by freelancing.

The Bad Idea That Wouldn’t Die

June 14th, 2015 by Potato

I keep thinking that there are a lot of people who really want or need a course on personal finance and investing, and there aren’t many resources for it. There are books of course, but some people just aren’t book learners, or prefer a course for one reason or another. There are some good continuing education courses offered through UofT and a few other universities across the country, but for most people who don’t live close to campus they’re out of luck. So I’ve thought about putting together a full online course on the matter, and while few people think it’s needed, when I actually asked who would sign up for such a beast the response was under-whelming.

A full course would be something like 12-16 hours of lectures and discussions, which would take hundreds of hours to prepare, practice, and coordinate. It’s madness to put in that kind of work before knowing for sure that there’s actually an audience at the other end. So it’s a bad idea. No one wants it, at least not online.

And yet it’s an idea that won’t die. I’ve kept thinking about how to put it together, how to change and add to the content of the book for a course, and moreover talking myself into thinking that it is needed and maybe the reason for the previous response is that people just don’t want to raise their hands over vague hypothetical options (also, the people who would want a course are likely not on r/PFC or here, excusing the underwhelming response earlier). So I’ve doodled a bit and come up with a preliminary syllabus for such a course.

But it’s still a terrible idea that’s going to take way too much time that I don’t have. Fortunately I’ve heard that Ellen Roseman plans to take one of her UofT courses online next year, and Bridget of Money After Graduation is putting together an online course on investing too. So maybe I can bow out and let them solve the problem.

Here is the preliminary course outline/syllabus, make of it what you will. Maybe it will get you excited and you’ll want to enroll or back a kickstarter-type thing to make it happen. Maybe Ellen and/or Bridgette will liberally borrow for their courses (and the outline is not the hard part of creating a new course so I don’t really mind). Maybe you will tell me that my outline is bad and that I should feel bad.

Planning, Investing, and Other Grown-up Money Concerns
Proposed Course Outline (each unit approx. 45 minutes + time for questions)

  • 1. Introduction and Money 101 Review
    a. What you should already know and have mastered.
    b. Budgeting and living within your means.
    c. Saving saving saving
    d. Emergency funds (insurance?)
    e. Credit cards, lattes, etc., etc.
    f. Clever parables, Diderot’s housecoat, Chilton’s four most dangerous words.
    g. Reading list to kick-start the course.
  • 2. Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow
    a. The importance of attitude, behaviour, and long-term thinking.
    b. Neat grey matter tricks, including why free makes us stupid.
    c. Social animals and keeping up with the Joneses.
    d. Heuristics and rules-of-thumb (or should this be a whole other class?).
    e. Points-of-view.
    f. On uncertainty, and why a scientist is talking right now.
  • 3. Canoeing Down the Spanish River: Goals, Direction, and Having Fun [w/ Sandi Martin]
    a. Sandi’s talk from TPL, expanded a bit.
  • 4. Needs, Wants, and Other Sundry Topics
    a. Some concepts, because I had to stick them somewhere (inflation, compound returns, how to read graphs, use a spreadsheet, probably some other stuff).
    b. Needs and wants, and creating your minimum plan and ideal plan.
    c. Other goals and things that will affect your planning.
    d. An aside on the industry, some ranting, why I push the do-it-yourself way.
    e. Sketching out a plan and how to get there.
  • 5. Finally, the One in Which He Talks About Investing
    a. Investments help us make our plans a reality.
    b. Types of investments.
    c. Investing in businesses.
    d. Lessons from active investing: intrinsic vs market value, and what it means for long-term investing in a world that survives the coming zombie apocalypse.
    e. Investing in bonds, real estate, commodities, and other stuff.
    f. History and setting reasonable expectations.
  • 6. The Quick and Dirty Yet Completely Convincing Explanation of Index Investing
    a. The importance of fees.
    b. For repetition sake, a discussion of how fees matter.
    c. What can be controlled and what cannot be.
    d. Active vs passive – theory and past results.
    e. The added benefit of simplicity.
    f. Other ways of investing, and what they entail.
    g. The importance of “I don’t know”.
  • 7. Risk, the Gom Jabbar, and the Unfortunate Gambling Analogy
    a. Risk in everything.
    b. Many definitions of risk, and blending of volatility and uncertainty with risk of lifestyle impairment.
    c. Risk on different timescales.
    d. Risk tolerance.
    e. Enduring a market-crash in real time and Dune’s Gom Jabbar.
  • 8. Let’s Do It: Asset Allocation and Your Plan
    a. The canonical portfolio.
    b. How to decide on an allocation that will work for you.
    i. The age-based rule-of-thumb, and the completely arbitrary equity split.
    ii. The classic 60/40 one-size-fits-all portfolio.
    c. Apocrypha.
  • 9. How You Actually Do This: Three and a Half Investing Options
    a. Robo-advisors.
    b. Tangerine.
    c. TD e-series.
    d. ETFs.
  • 10. How You Actually Do This: Taxes and Tax-Shelters
    a. TFSA.
    b. RRSP.
    c. RESP.
    d. RDSP.
    e. Non-registered: taxes, dividend tax credit, capital gains, ACB.
  • 11. How You Actually Do This: Writing Stuff Down and Making Spreadsheets (Or Whatever)
    a. Condensing your goals and direction down into a written plan.
    b. Writing down your asset allocation and a rebalancing plan.
    c. Tracking stuff with spreadsheets (or pieces of paper in a binder, or whatever works for you).
    d. Tools that already exist and can help.
  • 12. Where I Talk About Processes and Take a Break to Riff
    a. Processes, lessons from engineering and health care.
    b. Good enough solutions.
    c. Execution risk, and some more talk about the behaviour gap.
    d. Some slack time to review any material from the previous classes that needs further discussion.
  • 13. Au Secours, Au Secours!
    a. When to get help.
    b. How to find help.
    c. Getting value-for-money.
    d. What an advisor/coach can do, and what they can’t do.
  • 14. The One Where I Reveal My Thoughts on Real Estate and You All Hate Me for It.
    a. The biggest purchase – and biggest expense – in your life, and why it deserves more thought than it gets.
    b. Rent vs buy analysis, and busting myths about renting. The ball pit analogy.
    c. Income suites are not magical.
    d. The housing bubble, and the pernicious myth of the property ladder.
    e. A look back at US housing bubble and why it’s not really different here.
    f. Real estate as an investment, direct and REITs.
  • 15. The Hardest Problem in Personal Finance [hopefully w/ secret guest(s)]
    a. The options that open up as you near retirement (annuities).
    b. Government benefits in retirement, CPP.
    c. Sequence-of-returns risk, longevity risk.
    d. Sustainable withdrawal rate, and the various schemes to convert a pile of investments into lifetime income.
    e. Decumulation plans.
  • 16. An Hour for Questions, or Lacking Those, Delicious Discussions of Dirty Dealing
    a. Q&A.
    b. Why I hate market-linked GICs and their dirty advertising.
    c. TANSTAAFL in general, being skeptical.

TTC Chaos, I Just Don’t Get It

June 9th, 2015 by Potato

The subway was yet again disrupted this week, with all three subway lines out of commission for an extended period Monday morning (and for a while the SRT too) — and not even shuttle buses to try to take up some of the load. I personally think it was a terrorist threat and they’re just not telling us, because the official explanation does not make sense to me at all, and just makes me angry.

Officially, it was a communications failure, and they can’t run any trains in any fashion without communications. TTC spokesperson likened it to “trying to land a plane without having communications with the tower.”

No, come on, pull the other one. I’m going to try to track down a few drivers and see if the media contacts at the TTC will talk to me, but there is just no fucking way it is like that at all. They’re trains, running on tracks, with human drivers. The equivalent scenario is closer to drivers having to cope with a power outage knocking out traffic lights — things slow down, you approach every intersection with caution, but you don’t just throw your hands in the air and say that it’s too unsafe to leave the garage today.

Trains are not cars, but in many ways the differences make the situation easier: they’re on tracks, on isolated rights-of-way, with no worries of kids running across to chase balls or geese1 sauntering across the road. The main thing to worry about are the switches, and it should be super-simple to interlock them to lock in straight-ahead mode for safety when comms go out.

So I can’t see any damned reason why a train can’t creep along under the direction of the human driver, and get some kind of service going. Yes, they may have to go slower — a train can’t exactly stop on a dime, but usnig publicly available information TTC subway trains can come to a full stop from 30 km/h in about 50 m without bowling anyone over, and in as little as 25 m in an emergency braking situation (for scale, the trains are 23.2 m long). Now I know that distances are hard to judge accurately by eye, especially underground in the absence of familiar landmarks for scale, but from all the time I’ve spent on the subway gazing out the front of the lead car, I’m pretty sure the visibility down the well-lit tunnel is at least 50 m in all parts of the line, and multiples of that in most places. And even if it’s not in some curves, from a relative 15 km/h crawl — that still moves something — a train could stop in 12 m.

That leaves the 6 switches at the terminal stations as the main sticking point to operating without communications. And seriously, if those can’t be manually operated by a half-dozen people sent into the tunnels to direct traffic, then they should be redesigned to do so ASAP.

Yes, it would still have been a sucktacular delay, and without communications its likely we’d get trains bunching and gaping through the system pretty quickly. But I just can’t believe that professional, unionized drivers are completely unable to operate their trains without being directed by central communications in constant contact, that there isn’t a 15 km/h failsafe mode. I mean, many cities had subway and trolley systems before radio communications and signalling systems were even invented, and the trains ran.

1. Who can fly, but choose not to. Seriously, fuck geese. Now that I think about it, the TTC’s mascot should be a Canada Goose.

Update: As soon as I hit publish I think I got it: they think it’s a safety issue not because the trains will crash but possibly because the emergency response strips won’t send a signal to TTC central so that they can call an ambulance and hold the line up for the false alarm of the hour. Again, I don’t see how waiting until the train hits the station for a runner to hit the surface and call 911 is such a major safety issue that it warrants a complete shutdown. But then again, if that’s the reason then the plane landing analogy above is totally off base and even more idiotic.

PanAm Games

June 9th, 2015 by Potato

“Officials will also be hoping and praying many Torontonians will voluntarily opt to work from home, carpool or work irregular hours to cut down on congestion. The transportation plan hinges on a 20-per-cent decrease in transportation demand during peak hours.”

I believe strongly in the success of any transit plan that involves hoping and praying that one in five people who somehow have not yet found a way to avoid commuting in this city will find a way to not commute especially for the games.