You Don’t Need Balance Protection

When I was 18, I moved from being a secondary card holder on a credit card shared with my mom to principal holder on my own shiny new credit card. When I called to activate it, the agent asked me if I wanted to add insurance that would cover my balance if I lost my job or had a disability. Being young, naïve, having no other insurance, and thinking that banks were always looking out for my best interest, I agreed. I had it for years before I cancelled it.

Do not make the same mistake I did. You don’t need balance protection insurance.

Continue reading “You Don’t Need Balance Protection”

Sh*t Happens

Guys, I’m in an interesting mood today. I’m in a financial funk. Does that ever happen to you? It’s a beautiful day outside, the sun is shining, I’m fresh off a great long weekend, and yet, I’m feeling kind of down.

The first reason is that I’m looking back at the month of July, which was a month of setbacks for me. I started the month off with a mechanic’s bill that was almost $600 more than I expected. I had to replace a headlight and a taillight in the same week. My trusty flat iron died. (You may be thinking this is not a big deal and I could just wait to buy a new one in a couple of months, but guys – I use this thing every day to avoid looking like a yield sign. I grieved.)

Continue reading “Sh*t Happens”

Can You Afford to Buy a Home? Part Two: The Monthly Costs

If you’ve decided that home ownership fits your lifestyle, and you know how much you need to cover the upfront costs, the next thing you’ll need to know is whether your budget can actually support the ongoing costs of owning a home. I can hear you right now going “when does it all ennnd“.

whendoesitend

I promise though, the pain of calculating all of these costs early on is so much easier to bear than the later realization that you’re house-poor because you didn’t factor in all of the ongoing costs. Let’s do this together, shall we? Continue reading “Can You Afford to Buy a Home? Part Two: The Monthly Costs”

Can You Afford to Buy a Home? Part One: The Upfront Costs

So you’ve considered it and decided that buying a home fits with the lifestyle that you want. But can you afford it?

Before you start seriously looking, make sure you have an accurate budget so you have a realistic idea of what your current monthly expenses look like. Once you have that as a starting point, you are ready to develop a budget for your home purchase.

When preparing that budget, don’t forget that there are also a number of upfront costs involved with purchasing a home that go beyond the down payment.

Typically, the rule of thumb is to estimate between 1.5% to 4% of the purchase price of the home for your closing costs, but be sure to look at each upfront cost and do a bit of digging to figure out just how much you can expect to fork over.

Continue reading “Can You Afford to Buy a Home? Part One: The Upfront Costs”

Hey Millennials, Let’s Talk Retirement

At work, I am the youngest person in my 50-person department. It’s almost a daily occurrence that someone makes a joke about how I don’t know what a ditto copy smells like or how their pop culture references go over my head (hey, I had TV Land. I’ve seen Happy Days.)

I can weather these comments. I’m happy to be young, thankyouverymuch. What does get to me though is the references to how my retirement is so far away and how I don’t have to worry about it yet. When talk of pensions comes up, they expect me to roll my eyes and tune out of the conversation.

I get it, I do. My employer sends me an annual pension report that tells me what my pension balance looks like now and what it might look like at my projected retirement date. That date is in the 2040s. The way I imagine the 2040s is probably similar to how people in the 1960s imagined the 21st century when the Jetsons aired; it seems inconceivably far away.

In reality, it’s not. They project that I will retire at 55 which is a pretty sweet retirement age for the average person. I can handle that. It’s easy though to prioritize other things over retirement if you think of it as an isolated event so far in the future that you’ll always have years to prepare for it. It’s easy, but it’s wrong. Continue reading “Hey Millennials, Let’s Talk Retirement”

Debt Doesn’t Have to be Your Normal

We’ve all seen the Lion King, right? You know that scene where the baboon hits Simba with a stick and tells him to face his past, and then Simba’s just like “whoa” and runs away to achieve his cartoon-liony-destiny?

Rafiki

I had my own Rafiki moment when I realized that I didn’t have to have debt. It sounds strange, right? It should be obvious, no one has to have debt. But if that’s the case, why do we have stats like these?

  • 73% of Canadians are currently in debt
  • 16% of Canadians 35 or younger have “a good deal or a lot of debt”
  • On average, most people with debt believe it will take them at least 8 years be debt-free
  • 23% of Canadians with debt believe they will never be debt free
  • 36% of Canadians believe that “debt is inevitable”

(Source) Continue reading “Debt Doesn’t Have to be Your Normal”

May Debt Update

WHOA. It’s already June. Which in addition to temperatures finally getting up into the 20s, which is about the only temperature in which I’m comfortable (#badCanadian), also means that it’s time for me to update you on my debt.

If you’re new to this blog, you can see where I first posted my confession about my debt here. Since I’m writing about ways to save money and pay down debt, I figured I needed to show how it actually works for me, if I had any hope of getting any personal finance street cred.

Even more than that, it keeps me accountable. If you’ve ever tried to pay off big amounts of debt, you know how hard it can be to keep at it – especially when patio season rolls around and there are other places you’d much rather put your money. Writing about it publicly and being accountable to the internet world means I have to stay committed.

So now that we’re all caught up, here’s what my debt looked like the last time I posted about it, one month ago: Continue reading “May Debt Update”

Is Home Ownership Right for You?

Owning a home is (apparently) considered the “Canadian dream” (at least, since February, when Mike De Jong said it was). Maybe not surprisingly, it’s a goal of many millennials.

In 2015, 51% of people born between 1980 and 2000 owned a home, and despite our reputation for living with our parents until we’re 30 and wasting our money on iPhones, millennials are actually buying houses earlier than our parents did.

Buying a house is likely going to be the biggest purchase you make in your life, and like any big purchase, it’s always a good idea to evaluate why you want to make that purchase. Continue reading “Is Home Ownership Right for You?”

Are You Middle Class?

It seems that people are always talking about the middle class. Politicians target them for votes. Advertisers target them to buy products. We grew up watching them on TV (I’m looking at you, Tanners). And it might make sense, because when you hear people describe their economic situation, most people do tend to say that they are “middle class”. The thing is, in reality, they’re probably wrong.

saywhat

But then… what are they? Are they richer or poorer? Who is the mysterious middle class? Turns out, most of us are basically living one big financial identity crisis.

Complicating things is the fact that we don’t always agree on what “middle class” actually means. This is because there are actually a lot of different ways to measure what the middle class looks like. Our helpful friends at MoneySense pulled the stats, so that you can see some different ways to slice the data to find out where you sit in relation to your fellow Canadians, and whether or not you truly are the middle class Canuck you say you are. Continue reading “Are You Middle Class?”