Location: Vancouver, BC
Net Worth: $328,941 ($36,108 in an RRSP, $21,190 in tax-free savings accounts, $39,240 in investments, including company stocks. I also recently purchased a one-bedroom apartment for $566,000. I haven’t moved in yet, but I made a $235,500 down payment with a combination of my own investments and a generous gift from my parents.)
Debt: $333,597 (mortgage)
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $2,285 (after retirement and stock option deductions)
Rent: $1,000 (I currently live in a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with a roommate. We’ve lived in the same place for over four years and realize how lucky we got when the pandemic hit: Our rent is relatively cheap for Vancouver, and we feel like we each have our own space. Our building is also new, which is rare in our neighborhood. I’ll move into my new place on June 1 and start paying $1,500 a month for my mortgage then.)
Renters Insurance: $16
Phone: ~$20 (My company will pay up to $60 a month for my phone, but I always go over the data limit on my plan.)
Internet: $0 (With WFH, my company covers internet.)
Car Lease: $325
Car Insurance: $145.82
Health & Dental Benefits: ~$50 (I’m Canadian, so I’m lucky to have great coverage from the government, but I also pay for extra benefits through my work plan. This comes off my paycheck, so I don’t notice it.)
Peloton: $57 (I own the bike, and my roommate pays the membership fee in exchange for using it.)
Company Stocks: $537.38 (9% of my paycheck and my company matches to some degree)
Retirement Plan: $353.14 (6% of my paycheck and my company matches, same as above)
Amazon Prime: $65.23
Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Yes, there was an expectation that I’d attend higher education, but I also loved school and expected it of myself. I went to a fancy business school, which meant tuition that was three times the amount my siblings paid for their education. I was incredibly lucky that both my grandparents and parents started saving for my school when I was young. Given that my tuition was so high, I contributed between $4,000 and $8,000 a year, whereas my siblings were able to cover theirs with the RESPs (Registered Education Savings Plans) our parents and grandparents contributed to. My parents also covered my housing for the four years I was at university.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
Beyond the usual “money doesn’t grow on trees,” I didn’t have any serious conversations with my parents about money or budgeting until I was getting ready to go to university. Since then, my mom is one of my most trusted advisors when it comes to my personal finances.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I worked as a hostess at a restaurant until I was old enough to be a lifeguard. There was an expectation that I get a job as soon as possible, and I think the main reason was to teach me about discipline and responsibility. I remember paying for the extra activities, like going out for lunch or to the mall with friends, but my parents still covered most of my expenses until I was in university, including extra-curricular activities, clothes, and vacations.
Did you worry about money growing up?
Truthfully, no. My parents both worked extremely hard and never expressed any real concerns about expenses, even with four kids.
Do you worry about money now?
Absolutely. I’m single, and it has quickly dawned on me that the world (or at least Vancouver) isn’t made for single-income households. I am constantly trying to find a balance between being conservative with my money and allowing myself to get the most out of living in BC, which basically means lots of outdoor hobbies with expensive equipment.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
When I went to university, I became responsible for all of my spending aside from rent. After that, I moved home for a year, where I was able to save what I would normally spend on housing and groceries. However, that meant I had a three-hour commute to work each day. My parents would step in to help if I lost my income, but I would likely need to move home, which is across the country.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
Yes. Last year, my grandmother passed away, and my mom received an inheritance. My parents decided to give their kids a very generous portion of this, with specific instructions that it was to be used for a down payment for real estate (which I did). Without this gift, there is no way I would have been able to purchase a home in Vancouver.