6 Things Alberta’s Recession Taught Me About Money

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In the summer I wrote about Surviving an Economic Downturn. I talked about the waning morale and falling house prices in the Calgary’s eroding economy. At the time, I apologized for the doom & gloom. Now I wish things were as good as they were then. Until late 2013, Calgary was Canada’s economic powerhouse. High-paying work was everywhere, and very easy to get. The city was defined by high wages and exorbitant wealth. So high the top-fifth of Calgarian households earned more than $363,000 per year — a figure that would propel you to the upper 1% or 0.1% virtually anywhere else. The bottom quintile still has a net worth of six-figures. Everyone had money, and everyone liked to spend it. Oil started to fall in late 2014. The first wave of lay-offs happened in March 2015, and now as many as 25,000 Albertans are without jobs. With the layoffs came empty offices, […]

It Isn’t Cheaper To Live In The Suburbs

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When it comes to first-time homebuyers, many millennials cite Canada’s overheated urban housing markets as the reason they’ve been forced to the suburbs. With the average house prices in virtually every capital city now over $500,000, many young people simply can’t afford to live near their work and opt for suburban communities with lower-priced homes instead. But are they really saving money? The short answer is no. Not by a long shot. In fact, moving to the suburbs is a net-zero gain financially in most cases, and a huge loss if you count the physical and mental stress of commuting. Of course, most people don’t count those things, only I do because I’m a personal finance weirdo that’s addicted to early retirement and financial independence blogs where everyone is always calculating the costs of everything. But the costs can be calculated, and they will surprise you if you run the […]

How To Create a Wealth-Building Budget

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Over the years (so many years) that I’ve been writing on Money After Graduation, I’ve left many posts about money basics back in the archives. Which is too bad, because I feel like over time, not only has my knowledge of more complex financial topics increased, but my philosophies and perspectives of the fundamentals has also expanded. When it comes to budgeting, most people think of it in the context of managing their spending, and that is the purpose it will initially serve. But what if you changed your perspective to develop a budget where the goal was to make you rich? Below is an outline of the very basic budget, and how it should transform over time as you take control of your savings and debt. Remember, building lifetime wealth is a lifetime journey, so be patient with your progress! What should my budget look like? I get this question […]

20 Things You Need To Know About Money in Your 20’s

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Yours truly is turning 30 on Saturday, and I’m feeling reflective about my youth. I’ve been thinking lately what I would tell my 20-year-old self about money if I could go back in time. Even better, I thought about the advice I would give 20 year olds today about finance. I had a lot to say. When I wrote the list below, I was surprised how much of the points were merely philosophies and perspectives, rather than hard, concrete suggestions like “save 10% of your income”. Though maybe not that surprised, since this is consistent with my belief that financial strategies are better than financial plans. Numbers still matter. They matter a lot. But I think the motivation behind them matters more. In any case, I hope the advice is valuable and resonates with 20-somethings and 30-somethings alike. Enjoy! 1. A little matters a lot. If you can put another $10 towards […]