Project Paycheque is a nonjudgmental look at how young people in Canada spend their money. If you would like to participate, Email us.
name and age: Courtney, 35
The annual income: $80,000
religion: 0 dollars
savings: $48,000 in a savings account; $81,000 in TFSA; $50,000 in RRSP
What are you doing: Sales representative for a consumer goods company
where you live: Kitchener, Ont.;
Major financial concerns: “I want to buy a house but it has proven very difficult. … I will probably rent for the rest of my life.”
Courtney’s accomplishments – $179,000 in savings, a secure, well-paid job – were hard to come by. A salesperson at a large FMCG company made her way from the warehouse floor, where she started in her twenties.
Trained as a physical therapy assistant, she jumped into retail seven years ago. She says her industry is very competitive, adding that she feels she should earn $20,000 more than her current $80,000 salary. She hopes to land a better paying role over the next year.
She is well aware that she will need additional income if she is to be able to buy a home in Kitchener’s frenetic housing market. Several years ago, she tried to buy a duplex with her friend. “We were bidding for $800,000, and things were going from $875,000 to $1 million,” she says. Although buying an apartment was an option a few years ago, Kourtney was briefly laid off, which made her back off. “Now the apartment is between $550,000 to $600,000 and I don’t qualify for that either.” She still hopes to get an income property.
Currently, she pays $1,500 rent for a two-bedroom unit in her friend’s house. She tries to save as much as possible, even though she loves to socialize after the pandemic, and spends $400 a month on dining out and meeting friends. I also recently traveled to Banff, a $700 short vacation.
Kourtney is also looking at investing more to grow her money. She currently has $6,000 invested in exchange-traded funds and Canadian bank stocks under a tax-free savings account — a move she made recently after watching a video of female investors on TikTok. She is currently investing another $1,000 rather than making a significant contribution to her RRSP, which she did in 2021. Retirement is currently not a focus of her.
Meanwhile, Kourtney is watching several of her friends come forward, many of them with two incomes and a lot of support. Another millennial that you know is in her position, trying to find an affordable place to live.
“I just want a house. There is a lot of societal pressure.”
Her typical monthly expenses:
Investing and saving: $350
$ 200 to RRSP. “Last year in tax time, I put in $4,000.” This year, she tried to put in $200 a month.
$150 to the TFSA, which includes $70,000 in savings and $6,000 in ETFs and Canadian bank stocks. “I only recently learned about stocks.”
Family and Transportation: $1,810
1500 dollars For Rent. “It’s a bedroom in my friend’s house and the amenities include – it’s an old house. I’m trying to get an income property – the market has gone down in Kitchener but it’s not affordable. I’ll probably rent for the rest of my life.”
$17 on tenant insurance.
$33 on auto repair. “I have a 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid that I bought all last year and I don’t have a lot of repairs or maintenance. My old car was actually smoking at the end – I bought it used.”
$ 200 on gas.
$60 on the mobile phone.
0 dollars Online (included in its rental).
Food and drink: $779
350 dollars on the groceries. “I go to Zehrs or Walmart or Costco — I’ll look at the flyers and shop there. I make pastas, sandwiches and tacos — it’s not hard to cook for one.”
400 dollars On eating out. “This I do a lot and it has improved recently. I enjoy going out for an actual dinner one to four times a month. I love Ban Mi, dumplings, pita pita.”
$21 on alcohol. “I like to go out for a pint every now and then and have a beer in my fridge.”
8 dollars at Starbucks. “I make coffee at home mostly.”
Health and fitness: $194
$69 a gym membership. “In the winter I get the most out of it. I love the seasons.”
$58 on hairstyles.
$17 on medical procedures. “Everyone I know gets Botox. I did one round of it for a migraine—it was $200.”
$50 in sport. “I play for recreational soccer teams. It is an investment in my health.”
$125 On clothes. “I’m trying to buy a capsule wardrobe – I don’t like trendy things. I’ll buy a winter jacket and wear it forever. Or solid color clothes. I like Dynamite or The Bay or the consignment shop.”
0 dollars on books. “I go to the library.”
$12 on Netflix. “I am watching meager masksThe The wonderful Mrs. Maisel And the Virgin River. “
$12 on Apple Music.
Total: $3,282 per month
2000 dollars On holidays a year. “I went to Banff a couple of weeks ago and stayed with a friend, I would probably go to British Columbia for 10 days. Before I got coronavirus, I used to travel two to three times a year. I went to Vancouver, Asia and Europe. Then my rent went up from $700 to $1,500. It would be My ideal vacation budget is $6000.”
Some details may be changed to protect the privacy of the person described. We want to thank her for sharing her story. Are you a millennial and want to get involved in the Paycheque project? Email us.
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