Out of all the characters in the federal government as the federal Finance minister I spent the most time following what Jim Flaherty did since it was most relevant to this blog. So I was a bit shocked to find out he was dead after just a few short weeks from leaving his job.
On the whole I have to say from my personal point of view his record on the job was a mixed bag. On the one hand he created the 40 year mortgage and created the huge surge in housing prices in this country, which has totally screwed over anyone who didn’t already own a home. Yet later on this was undone and we reverted back towards 25 year mortgages as he did the hardest thing to do in life and admit you were wrong and fix something after the fact. Yet for the average person his biggest legacy is the creation of the Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) which allows all Canadians to save money in an account that doesn’t trigger tax on investments. While it hasn’t been well used by the average person (since the majority of people just keep their money in a savings account, sigh), it was a good step in the right direction to help encourage saving.
Yet Jim’s last lesson is likely the most notable to me. Life is short, so don’t spend all your time working. It doesn’t do you any good to spend you life building a retirement fund if you drop dead shortly after leaving your job. Stress can be a killer and you have to take care of yourself now and in the future. So I will try to recall this lesson and not spend all my time working in life. You have to sit back and enjoy life as well.
So goodbye Jim. Thanks for trying to make life better for people, while I don’t always agree with what you did I do appreciate you tried. My condolences to his family in their time of grief, while I didn’t know him personally I respected his actions.