How to Afford to Live in an Unaffordable City

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One of the biggest challenges facing millennials today is enjoying any semblance of a comfortable lifestyle while underemployed (or unemployed) and saddled with student loan debt. For all the crap Boomers give the generation of their adult children, millennials do really have it harder than their parents did. Virtually everything is more expensive, but the two things that have become the most expensive remain the measuring sticks of success: post-secondary education and home ownership. For many, home ownership isn’t even on their radar because they’re trying to afford rent in an unaffordable city. How much should you be spending on housing? A general rule of thumb is to spend no more than 35% of your net income on all your housing costs. This includes rent/mortgage plus utilities, insurance, repairs & maintenance, homeowners dues, and so on. This comes from a suggested (but not mandatory) budget breakdown that looks like this: […]

Your Top 5 Investing Questions Answered

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Most millennials are not investing. In fact, as many as 80% of millennials are staying out of the stock market, citing both lack of funds and lack of understanding about how investing works as their reasons for staying put on the sidelines. However, failing to invest, especially when your young, means missing out on decades of returns. This is why I say not investing is the most expensive mistake you can make: choosing to stash your cash in a savings account instead of the stock market can cost you six- or –seven figures over your lifetime. In other words, you can’t afford not to invest. Nevertheless, you might still be hesitating because you have questions about what exactly investing is and how to get started. Check out my answers below to the 5 most common investing questions I hear all the time! What exactly is investing? Investing means using your […]

Why You Should Invest in Index Funds

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For most investors, a portfolio of index funds is more than enough to meet their long-term financial goals. Index funds are some of the most popular, readily available, and valuable investments on the stock market. They’re also very affordable and easy to access. Still, many people aren’t exactly clear on how they work or how to buy them. I’ve been getting a LOT of questions on index funds lately, so I wanted to explain what they are and how they work, so you can see what an awesome investment these are for millennials! What exactly are index funds? To understand index funds, you only need to understand what the words “index” and “fund” mean. A fund is a collection of related investments, usually stocks, that trade as a single unit. A fund manager selects the securities that are to make up the fund, bundles them together into a single package called […]

How To Use The RRSP First-Time Homebuyer’s Plan

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Home ownership is still a cornerstone of the financial plan of most Canadians but with the average house price in Canada nearly $500,000, it’s not always easy to get a foothold in the real estate market. One of the ways the Government of Canada has made home ownership more accessible is through the RRSP First-Time Homebuyer’s Plan. But how do you actually make use of this great tool to buy your first house? What is an RRSP? The Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is a tax-advantaged saving or investment account for your retirement. Your individual contribution room is proportional to your taxable income and works out to be approximately 18% of your gross income earned. Unlike the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), money in your RRSP is simply tax-deferred, not tax-free. This means you won’t pay taxes on it the years you make your contributions, but your withdrawals from you RRSP in […]

How To Financially Plan For An Unplanned Baby

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I had a positive pregnancy test in hand only 4 days after I had moved into a new one-bedroom apartment. I hadn’t even bought living room furniture for my new place yet, let alone unpacked. I sat in my bathroom trying to wrap my head around those two pink lines, then promptly went to my computer and canceled all the speaking events and conferences I had planned to attend in the summer. The weeks and months that followed that first day that I entered motherhood were marked by some of the most heartbreaking, agonizing, and terrifying moments of my life. I’m still going through it, though the shock has at least worn off. 50% of pregnancies are unplanned If you’re already rolling your eyes at my “accident”, please stop. I, too, used to nod with fake empathy whenever a pregnant woman insisted her chosen method of birth control failed — […]