The tree

Dorothy and I married in the third year of university. It would have been first year, but she refused. I kept at it.

Money was scarce, of course. I parked cars overnight at a downtown hotel for hookers, and studied course materials by flashlight in the booth. The professional women were generous with tips, friendly and polite. Their clients scuttled off like big bugs afraid of the light. Xavier Hollander was working that hotel during my time. I liked her, but may not have shared that with my new wife.

The greens grocer near our flat took pity and saved the not-so-great heads of lettuce for us, at 10 cents each. That helped. Ironically the only time in the 48 years together we were robbed happened that Christmas, when we had nothing. Only a leather sports jacket I really liked, and she had a small pearl ring I was able to afford, thanks to you-know-who. Both gone. A cop came and looked sad, but that was it.

Our tiny apartment backed onto the elevated subway tracks. You could sit on the toilet, wash your hands at the same time and watch the commuters blur past. Ten bucks for a holiday tree was out of the question so I cut one out of folded newspapers and taped it to the wall. No gifts. Dorothy and I still remember and cherish that tree. Now we could afford a whole damn forest. But wealth is not about money. The best lesson.

Merry Christmas.

 

134 comments ↓

#1 K Atkinson on 12.24.19 at 4:44 pm

Merry Christmas Garth!

Cheers to the end of this year, and the one to come. May you and your family be blessed in every way imaginable! Thank you for continuing to share your wisdom and insights, I’m positive you’ve made many of us wealthier than we could have done on our own……both in money, and in the things money could never buy! Merry Christmas everyone!

#2 Mad on 12.24.19 at 4:44 pm

Amen Garth. Those were ‘the good old days’. You hit it bang on…wealth is. Out about the money.
Thanks for your all your insights on this pathetic blog, financial and personal.
Merry Chrismas to you and yours.

#3 Mad on 12.24.19 at 4:46 pm

Amen Garth. Those were ‘the good old days’. You hit it bang on…wealth is not about about the money.
Thanks for your all your insights on this pathetic blog, financial and personal.
Merry Chrismas to you and yours.

#4 mitzerboyakaQueencitykidd on 12.24.19 at 4:49 pm

I believe in Santa Claus

https://youtu.be/a8qE6WQmNus

#5 Marcus Charles on 12.24.19 at 4:56 pm

Merry Christmas !! To you and Mrs!! Thanks again for all you have shared throughout the years!!

#6 yorkville renter on 12.24.19 at 4:56 pm

Gratitude is the greatest gift of all!

Everyone living in Canada is better off than at least 75% of humanity, which is a win no matter what.

#7 Lug Nut on 12.24.19 at 4:57 pm

And a Merry Christmas to us all

#8 Armpit on 12.24.19 at 4:59 pm

Merry Christmas all year and more… to Garth, Dorothy and all the Blog Dogs here and their family.

Keep the Spirit everyone!

#9 espressobob on 12.24.19 at 5:06 pm

Humble beginnings build the best character of many.

Happy festivus.

#10 Cristian on 12.24.19 at 5:06 pm

I should send this post to my 20-something y.o. step-son, who thinks that making debts that he’s not able to pay back in order to buy stuff means “living one’s life” instead of just “surviving”.
He apparently cannot understand how I was able to be happy when I was his age without being able to buy things that I couldn’t afford. But I was. Happy.

Merry Christmas!

#11 Kelowna on 12.24.19 at 5:12 pm

Thanks for sharing the memory Garth and for reminding us what is really important!
All the best for a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new decade ahead!

#12 Bill Grable on 12.24.19 at 5:21 pm

This really hit me hard. Reality. Life. Amazing.

Mr. Turner – sir, you more than deserve your success.

#13 Cici on 12.24.19 at 5:26 pm

Beautiful, relevant and hilarious post, as usual.

Thanks for bringing us all back down to Earth.

May you and Dorothy continue to enjoy many wonderful and joyous Holiday Seasons together and…

Peace, Love and Prosperity to all the other blog dawgs too, and may 2020 make us all a little smarter, wiser, more generous and less a-holish ;-)

#14 Jimmy on 12.24.19 at 5:28 pm

Merry Christmas!!

#15 baloney Sandwitch on 12.24.19 at 5:29 pm

Merry Christmas Garth to you and all your readers.

#16 Sask to AB on 12.24.19 at 5:32 pm

My parents had planted some evergreen trees on the farm. One year at Christmas, I took my little sled out and cut one down and brought it back to the house(I was about 5….) Needless to say, I got in a bit of trouble.

I look at our Christmas tree today, with all the pipecleaner ornaments the kids made when they were small, their tiny handprints, etc. and I feel very blessed to have such a wonderful family. Big expensive things do not make Christmas, your family and the memories you share do. Love and forgiveness are all there is.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

#17 Fluorine on 12.24.19 at 5:37 pm

Merry Christmas, Garth & Dorothy!
And to all the other blog dogs.

Cheers,

~Flu

#18 theoryAndPractice on 12.24.19 at 5:51 pm

Merry Christmas !

#19 Cbo on 12.24.19 at 5:52 pm

I only started grasping the ETF, diversification strategies, registered vs non-registered benefits etc that have been explained on this blog 16 months ago. Right after my first daughter was born.
Oct 2018 wasn’t the best starting point to begin stuffing RRSP’s, TFSA’s, RESP’s but I consider those early losses tuition fees.
This blog has been a corner stone to playbook.

2019 was a great year to work on some moves.

Forever in debt to your priceless advice.

Merry Christmas!

#20 gillian angove on 12.24.19 at 5:53 pm

Thank you to Garth, and your company, for all you do. Merry Christmas to you, Dorothy and Bandit!

#21 Cowtown Cowboy on 12.24.19 at 5:55 pm

The Happy Hooker!…. Garth you just get more interesting by the day!

Merry Christmas ya’ll!

#22 tccontrarian on 12.24.19 at 5:55 pm

So, we can now safely infer that you’re able to see the forest from … ‘the tree’!

Wealth is not money – but money makes life easier. In 2019 alone, I’ve spent over $1,500 in massage treatments (due to lower back pain); something I wouldn’t have been able to do if I didn’t have ‘enough’.

A nice memory, nevertheless.

tcc

#23 Cbo on 12.24.19 at 5:58 pm

* cornerstone to ‘my’ playbook.

Also ripped avg returns of 10.7% since I cut some losses in April and rebalanced.

Thank-you.

#24 Yukon Elvis on 12.24.19 at 6:02 pm

Back in the day I could not afford a Christmas tree but I had a plastic plant in a pot. I put in on a wooden stand that my father made when he was in rehab and I put a sting of mini lights and tinsel on it which I pilfered from somewhere. People ridiculed me so I explained that it was an ancient family tradition dating back to the middle ages when the English conquered Wales and cut down all the trees leaving us only with plants and bushes and I was bound to carry on the tradition. Some people actually believed me. Merry Christmas/ Joyeux Noel a tous.

#25 Joshuah on 12.24.19 at 6:07 pm

Great things come from small beginnings. It’s important to remember that.

Merry Christmas fellow blog readers!

Looking forward to learning more from each and everyone of you in 2020!

#26 Similar experience on 12.24.19 at 6:15 pm

Reminds me the time I came to Canada as a graduate student. My wife and I were poor but happy with what we had and what lies ahead of us. The only time we were robbed was when we were poor as well. The police was not empathetic in our case in fact he started interogating me for insurance fraud, probably because I have an accent. The whole experience made me understand the vicious cycle of have nots.

We have since secured well paying jobs but we still cherish all those days.

#27 Bob from Hamilton on 12.24.19 at 6:15 pm

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Thanks for the blog and all the advice in 2019.

Cheers.

#28 aerozone on 12.24.19 at 6:22 pm

…and a Happy Next Decade to you!!!

#29 Nonplused on 12.24.19 at 6:22 pm

Wealth is best appreciate when one starts with nothing and earns it them self.

I am worried for my kids because this did not apply to them, but what can you do? They end up with your lifestyle.

Anyway Merry Christmas!

#30 Canadian Moose on 12.24.19 at 6:31 pm

Merry Christmas Garth, Dorothy, Bandit, the staff at Turner Investments and the blog dogs, good and bad!

I always reflect at Christmas where I came from, how I got here and where I am going! I still have my parents who are in their mid 80’s now. Each Christmas is a blessing.

You are right Garth, it’s not about the money. A good lesson indeed!

Cheers from the Hinterland and God Bless!

#31 Lee on 12.24.19 at 6:31 pm

As I get older all I want is good health.

#32 Party on Garth on 12.24.19 at 6:39 pm

Great post Garth.

Merry Christmas to you, Dorothy, Bandit, and blog dogs.

I sure hope things turned out well for that dog in the photo.

#33 TurnerNation on 12.24.19 at 6:42 pm

Investment thesis – the next demographic ‘b0mb’ to hit.
Why homes and condos will continue Uppa-upwards. The Libs under UN mandate are changing the climate – the investing climate. Each new body here allows for that much more borrowing of national debt. We are collateral – tax slaves.

Cannot afford a 1.5 mill house? No problem for two families or generations happy co-habiting. That house is now only 750,0000 EACH – price cut in effect.

It is not unusual for student or international students to be packed 3-6 deep in small condos. Affordable division. Of note the 400,000+ international student in Canada, count on many of them staying here imo.
Therefore immigation along with refugee/border walking programs, along with the elderly Family Reunification project, likely is closer to 5-600,000 people each year by my guess, with a majority setting in the GTA.
It is expected GTA will swell by 1 million people within 10 years. Demand > Supply.

– Businesses needs this. The $30-35 burger + beer soon to hit $40 with carbon taxes upon taxes.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/restaurant-industry-worker-shortage-1.5382346

“Restaurant owners and industry associations say they won’t be able to rectify the problem without substantially increasing immigration to Canada, loosening the rules about who can move here to work in hospitality.
“At Canada’s biggest chef’s school, the Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts at Toronto’s George Brown College, enrolment by Canadians has plateaued, while international students have increased by six-fold between 2009 and 2019, said director Tony Garcia.”
“Hemant Bhagwani concurs. “I cannot open a restaurant without hiring a foreign worker inside my kitchen, period.””

– Uppa up. Traders are banking on it:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-12-20/forget-rate-decisions-loonie-traders-bank-on-canada-immigration

Loonie Traders Buoyed by Fastest Population Growth Since 1971
By Shelly Hagan
December 20, 2019, 6:30 AM EST Updated on December 20, 2019, 10:58 AM EST
Immigration boom has been a main driver of Canada’s economy

The flood of immigrants and non-permanent residents to levels not seen in a century has been one of the main drivers supporting Canada’s economic expansion over the past several years. That has kept the Bank of Canada as an outlier in the global easing trend as it held its policy rate unchanged, bolstering the allure of the loonie.

#34 colin knudsen on 12.24.19 at 6:42 pm

Merry Christmas Garth! Wishing the best to you and your family!

#35 Oakville Rocks! on 12.24.19 at 6:43 pm

WOW! The lives you have lived Garth.

Merry Christmas to all and to Garth, sincere thanks for the gift of this blog’s free advice & wisdom and your time as MP for Oakville North Burlington.

Party On Garth!

#36 Leebow on 12.24.19 at 6:45 pm

Merry Christmas everyone. Can’t believe I am saying that, but may be it is a good time for all of us to recall what this whole thing is about.

#37 yvrmc on 12.24.19 at 6:46 pm

Thank you Garth for all your advice given with a dose of humour during the year ! Thanks to all the rest of you for your insights . I continue to learn from all of you….. Merry Christmas everyone !

#38 yvrmc on 12.24.19 at 6:48 pm

Oh and Merry Xmas Flop ,have a great one !

#39 n1tro on 12.24.19 at 6:50 pm

Garth,

You must have really sucked as a youngling because I keep hearing boomers had it so easy!

Merry Xmas to you both.

#40 DM in C on 12.24.19 at 7:00 pm

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to you and Dorothy and Bandit, Garth.

And to all the blog dogs. Be well.

d

#41 Shawn Allen on 12.24.19 at 7:06 pm

Wealth is not money…

#30 Lee on 12.24.19 at 6:31 pm
As I get older all I want is good health.

****************
A retired divorced friend of mine said that in retirement you need your health, something to do, and some money and the priority was in that order.

Warren Buffett never ever wanted much money to spend. He just enjoyed accumulating it. He said real success was that the people that you would want to love you, do love you. (Some if his very rich friends were estranged from their own kids, and that was no success.)

I know some older people who I can definitely say gave more in life than they ever took from life. I respect that.

Generosity in all its forms is to be respected. Generosity in what we say about others is arguably just as important as generosity of time and money. I hope I am not being mean-spirited by suggesting that some of the frequent commenters here might want to reflect on that. (I like to think I have improved in that area myself over the years.)

#42 Ray on 12.24.19 at 7:07 pm

Pat & I met in our third year, on a blind date on a Friday 13th. We never looked back. Our theme song is still Blue Rodeo’s “Lost Together”. We celebrated our 46th last Aug. Being poor starting out engrained us with a sense of frugality that served us well. Thank You Garth for your generous blog. I think you will be overwhelmed with happiness during your life review.

#43 AACI Home-Dog on 12.24.19 at 7:11 pm

Tears in my eyes. Merry Christmas all (you people)…indeed.

#44 crowdedelevatorfartz on 12.24.19 at 7:20 pm

Xavier Hollander.
Now THAT’s a book and “author” I haven’t thought about in decades…..

Another great Christmas reminiscence Garth.

Enjoy some time away from the blog…
We’ll survive the withdrawal symptoms

#45 Just snootin' on 12.24.19 at 7:23 pm

Best wishes to yer pack! And in the spirit of the twilight bark…
Arrrooooo!

#46 ASho on 12.24.19 at 7:25 pm

Merry Christmas to you and family Garth. Thank you for openly sharing your memories, thoughts, opinions, humour, wisdom, and advice. You’ve made a big impact on my life for which I’m grateful.

#47 Spock on 12.24.19 at 7:40 pm

Merry Christmas to Garth, Dorothy and rest of the GC family.

May you have a healthy year ahead and use the time to reflect upon the past year and the changes to make for the year ahead.

Thank you Garth for all the hard work you put in and also the wonderful life lessons that you share with us.

God bless you, Dorothy and the rest of the folks on the Greater Fool community.

Live Long and Prosper

~ Spock

#48 Blair on 12.24.19 at 7:41 pm

Merry Christmas to you and Mrs. Turner, Garth. And thank you for all that you do during the year. Sincerely, Blair

#49 Shawn Allen on 12.24.19 at 8:00 pm

Turner nation

Therefore immigation along with refugee/border walking programs, along with the elderly Family Reunification project, likely is closer to 5-600,000 people each year by my guess, with a majority setting in the GTA.
It is expected GTA will swell by 1 million people within 10 years. Demand > Supply.

****************
Minimum 2.5 million population growth in GTA in ten years just from new arrivals by the math you present. Unless deaths exceed births, that is.

Alberta gained 16,522 net migration people in Q3 largely from outside of Canada. Net migration into Alberta has been surging since it bottomed out a few years ago. Startling given the recession.

https://economicdashboard.alberta.ca/NetMigration

Don’t right Alberta off just yet. I understand Calgary is hurting. Edmonton seems to be doing fine based on how busy the stores are. And new stuff still being built.

In part, Alberta sends money to the Maritimes (not really but sort of) and they send their young people that they paid to educate. Not that great a deal for the Maritimes in the end.

#50 Shawn Allen on 12.24.19 at 8:02 pm

write-off not right off. I knew that looked wrong…

But Garth’s comments are right-on.

#51 islander on 12.24.19 at 8:05 pm

Garth, Merry Christmas to you and yours.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUmskF2_Wek
Nana Mouskouri: Minuit chrétiens (version 1999)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_L2jRwlOMo
Nana Mouskouri: Christmas Carols ~ Κάλαντα Χριστουγέννων.

Merry Christmas and a very happy new year to all!

Songs from Nana….always my favorite Christmas singer!

#52 Katherine on 12.24.19 at 8:15 pm

Merry Christmas Garth, Dorothy, Bandit and all the blog dogs. Love this story Garth. So true about what’s important in life. Not sure where I heard this saying but it resonated with me….Happiness is having someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to. I am so blessed this Christmas to have all three as well a very healthy 90-year-old mom and a first grandchild. Best wishes and good health to all :)))

#53 Lawless on 12.24.19 at 8:19 pm

Merry Christmas, Garth. Thanks for the personal finance education.

#54 Alessio on 12.24.19 at 8:27 pm

Yes health is wealth. Unfortunately without wealth we aren’t able to maintain our health in this expensive country/world.

Buon Natale Garthucho!

#55 Danee on 12.24.19 at 8:41 pm

Thank you for your time, words and insights.

Wishing you, Dorothy and Bandit a happy holiday season and and new year in good health!

#56 Swanson on 12.24.19 at 8:44 pm

Merry Christmas to Garth, Dorothy, and all blog dogs!

#57 TurnerNation on 12.24.19 at 8:46 pm

Here’s your dose of holiday “Western Asymmetrical Statist Projection” guilt (aka ‘WASP’ Guilt).
We’re always the target. Look at the photos, hardly representative of Canada. When it suits the narrative.
Not a single fact or scientist or data is mentioned.
Remember, science means Reproducable and Observable, not just a computer simulation.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/climate-change-consumer-holiday-waste-gift-wrap-glitter-tree-psychology-1.5403646

#58 John Brydle on 12.24.19 at 8:50 pm

Merry Christmas Garth, Dorothy, and Bandit. It has been an interesting year. All the Best!

#59 45north on 12.24.19 at 9:05 pm

Money was scarce, of course. I parked cars overnight at a downtown hotel for hookers, and studied course materials by flashlight in the booth.

Money was scarce. My wife was pregnant. I was looking for a job as a computer programmer. IBM Mainframe. To pick up some cash, I got a gig as a taxi driver, in Toronto. Diamond Taxi. I picked up the cab at 4:00 PM from a warehouse on Queen Street East. Paid $40.00 for the cab and checked that it was full of gas. First night, I broke even at 11:00 PM. Next night, I broke even at 10:00 PM. Next week I got a job as a computer programmer.

Merry Christmas everyone!

#60 Lost...but not leased on 12.24.19 at 9:07 pm

Given Garth’s early life resume posted above……can’t figure out why he wasn’t Prime Minister

Anyway…Merry Christmas to all…even Smoking Turd and Phartzy

#61 Bytor the Snow Dog on 12.24.19 at 9:12 pm

Hi Garth- Sorry but your story above is an outright lie, a fabrication, a falsehood. Because you Sir are a Boomer, and as all Millennials know, you started at the TOP.

Merry Christmas to all.

#62 Yuus bin Haad on 12.24.19 at 9:13 pm

God bless us, every one

#63 North Van Landlord no more on 12.24.19 at 9:22 pm

A paper tree!
My grandaughter, attending UBC, showed me a picture of her personally drawn whiteboard tree, as her honours bio-physics calculations get a break for Christmas!
Blessings to all you Garth, your family and all blogdawgs!

#64 Kai on 12.24.19 at 9:25 pm

Merry Christmas Garth! I couldn’t thank you enough for all your advice.

#65 LP on 12.24.19 at 9:28 pm

Beautiful!

Merry Christmas to you, your lovely wife and to Bandit.

#66 paulo on 12.24.19 at 9:29 pm

Merry Christmas Garth, Dorothy , Bandit and all the blog dogs including the steerage section.

Lets not forget the ones that rely on us to speak for them. The Dogs and god forbid cats,along with all manor of critters cared for by a amazing group of volunteers and dedicated people with big hearts working at your local animal shelter …… these shelters depend on donations for much of there work.

#67 paracho on 12.24.19 at 9:29 pm

Merry Christmas!

#68 Brian on 12.24.19 at 9:30 pm

Merry Christmas Garth and Dorothy!

Thanks for all you do throughout the year!

Brian.

#69 Diversified in Oakville on 12.24.19 at 9:42 pm

Bravo.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

#70 Funky on 12.24.19 at 9:46 pm

Lovely, thank you.

Merry Christmas.

“War is over if you want it”

#71 the Jaguar on 12.24.19 at 9:48 pm

The Jag had a break-in/robbery on a cold January day which happened to coincide with my birthday, but it was foiled by a police dog as the perp tried to exit with personal items such as my camera, etc. Bless police dogs, policemen and firemen everywhere and always……….It cannot be repeated enough.
The ‘lean years’ are indeed the ‘learning years’. I also have fond memories of enjoying so much with few resources.
But before I dive back into the smoked oysters and Wild Turkey again, here is an interesting interview with a top economist if blog dogs need a distraction from tinsel, turkey, and Mariah Carey tunes at some point over the next few days……… This guy is a bit of an egghead and invokes a lot of historical references, but he gained my trust with his concurrence on the end of cheap energy ( peak oil) and how it will impact our everyday lives.
I guess Garth honed his skills as an expert in human behaviour during those days as a car park attendant so many years ago. The early humble life experiences often teach us the most. Ho ho ho. No pun intended.

http://traffic.libsyn.com/kunstlercast/KunstlerCast_323.mp3

#72 Pelican on 12.24.19 at 9:56 pm

Garth, thanks so much for the boomer memories of being poor and hoping/struggling for better. And look how far you’ve come!

For us it was starting a business with one child in a small 2 bedroom apt up north with twins on the way. The office was the living room. Six months later we had the twins placed in one crib in the master bedroom with us, and the older child still in her small room. We didn’t even think we were disadvantaged. Neither did our doting parents. They believed in us and we believed in ourselves too. We just knew we had to work harder. That’s how it was done then. Way better than believing that you’re a victim. They had to do the same in their lives also, from far more disadvantaged circumstances than ours.

Believe in yourselves!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

P.S. Thanks to Ponzius for reminding us about the struggles in life!

#73 Sail Away on 12.24.19 at 10:02 pm

I was plowing roads with the loader and grooming ski trails over the holidays, but there was a girl in Minneapolis. Came back four days later and got fired. Don’t know what Linda’s up to today.

Totally worth it.

#74 Silent the people on 12.24.19 at 10:07 pm

K Atkinson said it first and best!
Merry Christmas to all!

#75 will on 12.24.19 at 10:12 pm

merry christmas everybody

#76 Duffy on 12.24.19 at 10:19 pm

A sunset + sitting with a dog on a hill + complete silence = Priceless Perfection.

Merry Christmas.

#77 Classical Liberal Millennial on 12.24.19 at 10:29 pm

Garth, you’re a national treasure.
Merry Christmas

#78 Ricker on 12.24.19 at 10:40 pm

Merry Christmas to Garth and Dorothy! Thank you for your blog!

#79 TheSpangler on 12.24.19 at 10:47 pm

Merry Christmas Garth to you and your family. Thanks for everything you have given through this website, it has helped me significantly over the years.

#80 storage stewarded on 12.24.19 at 10:59 pm

Thank you Garth

Merry Christmases

http://somafm.com/player/#/now-playing/xmasinfrisko

#81 Interstellar Old Yeller on 12.24.19 at 11:05 pm

Merry Christmas, Garth!

#82 Ed on 12.24.19 at 11:05 pm

God bless us all. (if its OK to still say that)

#83 Scruffy on 12.24.19 at 11:08 pm

I love hearing the rich stories of people’s history, and how they succeeded in spite of the challenges in front of them. Very inspiring Gartho! Thanks for sharing a very personal story.

Merry Christmas to you, Dorothy, Bandit and all the blog dogs. Keep up the excellent work.

Thankful tonight for all you do for us here in Canada and around the world. You are the real Santa.

#84 Bob on 12.24.19 at 11:40 pm

Merry Xmas Garth,
My wife and I love reading your blog, thank you so much for the lessons and laughs you provide.

I really enjoyed your post tonight, puts some perspective that I hope (the stereotypical) millennial will appreciate — save up and don’t go into debt to buy things you can’t afford!

#85 steerage steward on 12.24.19 at 11:44 pm

Another year whereby Garth has directed us proper

Please continue to provide us with the best free advice

We continue to make money, and continue to know why we won’t

Thank you Garth. Merry Christmas

#86 Santa Singh on 12.25.19 at 12:06 am

Touching story. Many thanks for sharing.
Wishing you Merry Xmas and blissful year ahead!!

#87 Rexx Rock on 12.25.19 at 12:11 am

I laughed when I read about the ex taxi driver breaking even at 10 pm.I drove taxi in North Van in the early 90’s.One night I think I made just over $12 in 9 hours.I wouldn’t wish my worst enemies to be a taxi driver.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all !

#88 John on 12.25.19 at 12:28 am

Your story is inspiring. But what about those pesky, entitled millennials that didn’t have to park cars for hookers? Are they failures?

Are you better than them? Money doesn’t mean anything to you. Wealth does not equate to a big bank account. Yet almost every action you and the rest of your generation take is in complete contrast to that opinion.

Actions speak louder than words, Garth.

You boomers.. all you talk about is how hard you had it. How about the social cohesion of your time? The national pride? The camaraderie?

All of that is gone now.

We live in a disconnected, isolated, lonely world. You gave us iPhones, big screen TVs, and everything Adam Smith could have ever hoped for.

But what good are those things without connection with my fellow man?

What good are those things without a functioning family unit? Without a shared common history?

We have lost our way.

#89 Caledondave on 12.25.19 at 12:49 am

Merry Christmas everyone. Please have a safe holiday and please don’t get depressed by the season. This is the time of year when we can all get overwhelmed and depressed but please don’t do anything silly…okay?

Everyone is important. Merry Christmas.

#90 Al on 12.25.19 at 12:49 am

You had plumbing!? And access to lettuce? I recall the police would be sad because they didn’t get to the jacket first. J/K. Great post, merry xmas!

#91 dosouth on 12.25.19 at 2:02 am

Great story…we appreciate the hard work and effort…but then again we are boomers….Merry Christmas

#92 SoggyShorts on 12.25.19 at 2:08 am

#56 TurnerNation on 12.24.19 at 8:46 pm
Here’s your dose of holiday “Western Asymmetrical Statist Projection” guilt (aka ‘WASP’ Guilt).
We’re always the target. Look at the photos, hardly representative of Canada. When it suits the narrative.
Not a single fact or scientist or data is mentioned.
Remember, science means Reproducable and Observable, not just a computer simulation.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/climate-change-consumer-holiday-waste-gift-wrap-glitter-tree-psychology-1.5403646

****************************
Umm that link you gave goes to an article with links to scientific studies, reports and papers… what exactly do you want?

https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2014EF000285

https://www.bchydro.com/content/dam/BCHydro/customer-portal/documents/news-and-features/report-grinch-to-griswold-trend-toward-bigger-holiday-displays-increasing-electricity-use.pdf

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S027249441530030X?via%3Dihub

https://academic.oup.com/jcr/article-abstract/40/2/350/2911026?redirectedFrom=fulltext

Perhaps you don’t know that you can click on the blue words in an article and it takes you to the source?

#93 Stan Brooks on 12.25.19 at 3:25 am

Time flies… Can’t turn it back.

$ 0.10 for a lettuce… 5 bucks (at Walmart!) today. What a deflation we have had. (8 % compound yearly inflation).

Hookers had more integrity apparently than today’s politicians and people of ‘authority’… Not surprising.

Marry Christmas, Happy New Year and watch you behind, no one else will.

Cheers,

#94 Midnights on 12.25.19 at 4:00 am

God Bless to you and the family.

#95 suburban coyote and pup on 12.25.19 at 6:19 am

Merry Christmas and blessings to you Garth, Dorothy and Bandit!

#96 Madcat on 12.25.19 at 7:03 am

Beautiful story! Merry Christmas Garth!

#97 Jen McHoule on 12.25.19 at 7:33 am

Merry Christmas Blog Doggers. Enjoy the fruits of your Labor and the dividends from your preferred shares!

#98 Love this Blog on 12.25.19 at 7:35 am

Merry Christmas to Garth and Family……and to everyone!

#99 Hathor on 12.25.19 at 8:17 am

Nice post Garth. My husband and I had a similar start to our life together. Thank you for reminding us how much we have to be thankful for! Merry Christmas!

#100 Steve on 12.25.19 at 8:22 am

Merry Christmas Garth and a happy and healthy 2020.

#101 David Hawke on 12.25.19 at 8:25 am

Feliz navidad a todos!

#102 Robbed on 12.25.19 at 8:39 am

It was unashamedly called a Christmas Tree back then.

#103 Keith in Rio on 12.25.19 at 8:53 am

People who say money doesn’t buy happiness, never had any.

Feliz Natal

#104 Christopher Stubbs on 12.25.19 at 9:04 am

Thank you for sharing Garth.
We appreciate all you do.
Merry Christmas to Dorothy Bandit and yourself

#105 ALFRED E. NEUMAN on 12.25.19 at 9:05 am

Wishing all, a Happy and a Merry Christmas ..!!

And may the New Year, bring you no worries.

#106 ALFRED E. NEUMAN on 12.25.19 at 9:29 am

Every year on this day, we listen to Dylan Thomas reading ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’:

https://youtu.be/jfFrxnlvLB4

#107 Soggy Bottom Boomer on 12.25.19 at 9:41 am

Merry Christmas Garth, Dorothy, Bandit and all the blog dogs. May we never lose sight of our humble beginnings.

#108 Good for the goose, good for the gander on 12.25.19 at 9:44 am

Thank you Garth for the knowledge that you share and to the blog dogs for support and info through most comments! It is not easy being a contrarian!

Merry Christmas / Happy Festivus / Happy Holidays to Garth & Family and all the helpful readers!

#109 Dharma Bum on 12.25.19 at 10:00 am

Brings back memories.

I too met my wife in school, and married immediately after graduating (we were on a honeymoon even before going to the commencement ceremony).

We rented an apartment in Toronto, and thought it was heaven. Who ever thought living hand-to-mouth could be so much fun?

Anyhow, those certainly were different times. 37 years ago.

When people today ask “how we met”, and they hear that it wasn’t “online”, they think it’s weird.

Merry Christmas to all.

#110 NoName on 12.25.19 at 10:05 am

Sretan i blagoslovljen Bozic.

#111 VicPaul on 12.25.19 at 10:32 am

Thank you for all you do to help we Canadians to get our financial, and sometimes moral, compass back on track. Personal thanks for helping Dad with his portfolio. The cowboy in me is fading – you’ll have my little pile of beans soon.

Merry Christmas Garth, Dorothy and cuddle-muffin Bandit!

#112 Keen Reader on 12.25.19 at 11:06 am

Hi Garth,

Your books and posts often wrote about how successful your dad Archie was. Hard to understand then how you were this poor thru university, when education seemed so important in your family. Anyhow, you massively overcame adversity and became remarkably generous with your contributions to the public, as well as with the superb knowledge and advice you offers us on a daily basis. Merci beaucoup!

Archie’s best gift was benign neglect. It built me. – Garth

#113 James on 12.25.19 at 11:48 am

Merry Christmas Garth!

The best Christmas tree I bought was the one at Walmart in Texas the day after Christmas at 80% off. I dragged it all the way back to Canada which I think cost more than the tree itself. But it’s nostalgic, the times when you are a poor graduate students with a young family.

#114 Unhinged Trader on 12.25.19 at 11:52 am

Merry Christmas.

#115 joblo on 12.25.19 at 11:59 am

Not to get too sappy but,
Greaterfool blog is an INVALUABLE gift.
Thank you and please keep giving?
Merry Christmas

#116 akashic record on 12.25.19 at 12:00 pm

The amazing gift of existence, conscious spirit and soul.
Then to meet all the others and find some to share with the joy of the miracles. Every day is Christmas. Our duty is to become part of the creation. Some days we can grow a whole Christmas tree that lasts forever, out of paper, with our heart.

Wishing you all the best.

#117 Chris P on 12.25.19 at 12:35 pm

Hi Garth,

This is my second post in more than ten years since I read your blog and you definitely deserve a warm Merry Christmas for you, Dorothy and Bandit!

This blog definitely is helping peoples as they can learn from your wisdom and experience. Hopefully some even learn that you have to work hard, struggle and learn from failures in order to move forward.

Merry Christmas!

#118 PastThePeak on 12.25.19 at 1:17 pm

Merry Christmas to Garth, Dorothy, Ryan, and Doug!

#119 Not So New guy on 12.25.19 at 1:42 pm

Thanks for all you do Garth.

Yesterday’s topic got me thinking. I couldn’t help thinking of some of the things I heard this week and I also recalled Dicken’s story:

We aren’t as generous as we would like to think. My apologies for all the toes crushed:

Canadians are giving less to charity than they have in nearly 20 years: study

A new study by Vancouver’s Fraser Institute suggests Canadians aren’t donating to charities like they used to.

The study released Thursday found Canadians donated 0.54 per cent of their income in 2017, the most recent year of available tax data.

https://globalnews.ca/news/6320620/canada-charitable-giving-study/

===================================

In Stave One of A Christmas Carol (December 1843) charity collectors approach Scrooge:

“At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up a pen, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.”

“Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.

“Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

“And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”

“They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “I wish I could say they were not.”

“The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?” said Scrooge. [Stave 1: 50-51]

Later, the Spirit of Christmas Present mocks Scrooge’s former insensitivity by hurling his own words back at him as he regards the appalling children of humanity, Ignorance and Want:

They were a boy and girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.

Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.

“Spirit! are they yours?” Scrooge could say no more.

“They are Man’s,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree; but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!” cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. “Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse! And bide the end!”

“Have they no refuge or resource?” cried Scrooge.

“Are there no prisons?” said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. “Are there no workhouses?”

The bell struck twelve.

=============================================

Fortunately, in the land of kings, queens, princesses and princes aka Canada (arguably one of the richest per capita nations ever), we don’t have very many children like this any more. The third world though, not so much

#120 SoggyShorts on 12.25.19 at 1:50 pm

#87 John on 12.25.19 at 12:28 am
You boomers.. all you talk about is how hard you had it. How about the social cohesion of your time? The national pride? The camaraderie?
All of that is gone now.
We live in a disconnected, isolated, lonely world. You gave us iPhones, big screen TVs, and everything Adam Smith could have ever hoped for.
But what good are those things without connection with my fellow man?

****************************
Speak for yourself. Im more connected to my fellow man than ever. Thanks to those awful capitalist boomers who ruined the world I can communicate daily with friends I’ve made all over the globe and even visit them in person when I wish to- just like my local firends.
I remember my mother calling her family back in Europe for xmas and having to keep it under 3 minutes so that the phone bill would be less than rent. Now she video chats with her sister weekly.

#121 Flop... on 12.25.19 at 2:13 pm

Seasons Greetings from Texas.

Previously admitted on here, not the biggest Xmas person.

That won’t stop me from wishing everyone a Merry Xmas and a Non-Sober New Year.

My wife and I don’t buy each other Xmas presents most years.

Had our wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago and didn’t do much.

We take the money we would have spent on the two occasions and put the money towards a trip to a warmer, sunnier place at this time of year.

Maybe 23/24 degrees today, and I watched Dolphins swim around the marina this morning.

Took a picture of a dog statue that I will send the boss of this blog later on for maybe future use.

This trip was the present I needed…

M45TX

P.S, North Shore, thanks for the shout out, I hope you’re well, Merry Xmas buddy.

#122 YouKnowWho on 12.25.19 at 2:24 pm

What is the meaning of life?

#123 Former Fool on 12.25.19 at 2:44 pm

Merry Christmas Garth! Wish you and yours a great 2020.

#124 Crazed and a little confused on 12.25.19 at 2:54 pm

Beautiful story garth. Thank you for sharing.
Just last week. Someone broke into my car, stole my basketball shoes , sports bag and head lamp. Just how desperate are u to steal used basketball shoes. It was still in good condition. And it goes to show you people have serious problems here.

Very sad. But i hope everyone have a merry xmas. Hug your loved one

#125 ShawnG in TO on 12.25.19 at 3:02 pm

Merry Christmas Garth, Dorothy, and Bandit,
and all the blog dogs …

except those with only GIC and ‘high’ interest savings in their TFSAs.

#126 Beagleface on 12.25.19 at 3:09 pm

Garth,
Thanks for making the world a better place.
You are loved, admired and respected far more than you’ll ever know.
Merry Christmas to you, Dorothy, Bandit and all the blog dogs.

#127 yvr_lurker on 12.25.19 at 4:20 pm

That was a great story. When I was a teenager raised by a single mom (who received zero child support after my father disappeared), my job when we went shopping at the grocery store was to add up in my head the cost of everything that we were buying. One Xmas when I was 15 she bought a “treat”; this cheese spread that you squeeze out of a tube onto crackers. Unfortunately, I was off in my calculation by about 70 cents when we came to the register and she has to put it back as she didn’t have enough $$. Had to try to cheer her up after that one as that little treat was beyond the budget. Perhaps to this day I have rather little time for the people who have not had to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, and who simply wait for stuff to inherit…. i.e. like our dear prime minister…..who without the family name would have remained as a drama teacher… no time for this lot….

#128 devore on 12.25.19 at 4:26 pm

#87 John

None of those things are stopping you from “connecting with your fellow man”, in fact they open up millions of additional opportunities for doing so. They also serve as excuses for those so inclined to use them as such. Maybe use this festive time of year to use these technological miracles you deride so to rekindle an old connection you’ve lost.

#129 WIN not lose on 12.25.19 at 4:57 pm

Have a blessed Christmas Garth, Dorothy, Ryan, and Doug and most importantly Bandit.
May the Atlantic salt air give you strength and health.
Ryan and Doug will have to make do with the Toronto air.

I remember our first Christmas on the banks of the snowy Red River.
A bare Charlie Brown tree with a string of lights shivering in the windy Winnipeg winter.
Love and mutual devotion as we thought about our future together.
So blessed.
Blessings to you.

#130 Chris on 12.25.19 at 4:58 pm

Great post, Garth. Thank you. I agree completely with your attitude. Been married 35 years, and the first 20 at least we had no money. I remember buying a (very) used car with four different credit cards, just to name one example of how tight it was. My wife never complained. Now we can afford nicer things, but I get the most enjoyment from her love, and the love of our two wonderful kids. Merry Christmas!

#131 Yanniel on 12.25.19 at 5:04 pm

Feliz Navidad a todos!

#132 David Pylyp on 12.25.19 at 6:12 pm

Perfect wisdom

But wealth is not about money. The best lesson.

Merry Christmas

David Pylyp
Toronto

#133 Holly on 12.25.19 at 8:25 pm

Your story reminds me of my parents’ musings of their first couple of married years. It was 1956, they were 22 years old, new to Canada, and sharing a studio flat in Toronto with another couple – my uncle and his wife. The two couples took turns sleeping on the kitchen floor. They were terribly underweight, poor, and in love. The world was full of new adventures. Glad you found your partner in this life. Merry Christmas.

#134 Barb on 12.26.19 at 10:25 pm

Magnificent, Mr. T.
It’s even more accurate without the comma.
Thank you.

Aww….that cold snow-covered pooch.