An obvious blog entry

Here’s an important formula to know regarding your personal finances:

Total household debt (mortgage, credit cards, student loans, etc.)
divided by:
Annual disposable income (your yearly gross income minus taxes)
equals:
The ratio of household debt to disposable income

Canada’s average ratio of household debt to disposable income has now reached 148%, a staggering new record, higher than the U.S rate of 147%.

It means that, on average, Canadians owe about one and half times what they make after taxes. For example, someone who earns $50,000 would owe a whopping $74,000.

As many financial commentators have noted, the solution to this problem is rather simple:
Don’t spend more than you make.
-or-
Don’t spend money you don’t have.

These principles seem obvious, but they are obviously not that obvious, as millions of people continue to ignore them to their peril.

Other obvious principles you know are:

  • If you eat alot, you will get fat.
  • Exercise is good for your body.
  • Drinking and driving is dangerous.
  • Dropping out of high school is dumb.

We know these things, but often act as though we don’t.

In technical communication, there are also obvious principles we often forget:

  • Technical communication requires good communication and technical skills.
  • Resumes and cover letters are documents; it’s therefore a good idea to make them good documents.
  • Typos are really bad.
  • The best way to learn a new tool is to use it.
  • You can learn about technical communication by talking with people who are actually technical communicators.
  • It’s a good idea to write with the end user in mind. They are the people who will be reading what you’ve written.

Make a new year’s resolution to think of more obvious things, then practise those things. Principles are nice, but useless if not acted upon – obviously.

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