My middle class privilege.

My parents gave me life, Canadian citizenship, and economic advantage.

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I was born lucky. Even before I exited my mother’s womb, it was predetermined for me that I would be a middle class Canadian growing up. Going to school was never going to be an issue, neither was having food on the table, a roof over my head, or a loving family.

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Don’t buy a $1 million home in the city. Buy a good bed instead.

Why home ownership is costly and overrated.

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Being prospective home buyer in the city is disheartening. Despite numerous efforts by the Ontario government to try and cool prices, the average home in the Toronto region still sits at just under $750,000. So sure, while home prices dropped 19% from April to August, prices still rose a total of over 33% in the first quarter alone. Real estate is still a rip-off in this town, even the condo market.

Yet every day, a common discussion amongst some of my millennial friends is the lingering sadness that they’ll “never be able to afford a house.” My question to them is “why the desperation?”

Continue reading “Don’t buy a $1 million home in the city. Buy a good bed instead.”

My Life Below Minimum Wage.

An origin story on the year that changed my life.

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It was September 2011 and I was greeted by an elderly cowgirl.

“Welcome to Calgary!” she said with a big smile. I smiled back nervously.

I had just gotten off a plane from Toronto, leaving behind my admission to law school, my family, and my friends. Instead, I was heading off to work at an arts and culture centre in a small mountain town in one of the most beautiful regions in all of Canada.

My parents communicated to me before I left what I was leaving behind: the promise of a stable job, predictable income, and social prestige (I know – parents, right?). They told me my life was my life, but if I ever regretted my decision, I was not to call them. I guess that’s one way of making sure your kid leaves the nest.

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Staying Entertained in Toronto on the Cheap.

How I keep my entertainment expenses in check.

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Last month, my company had a staff event: dinner followed by a Jays game – all expenses on the attendee of course, since we’re in the public sector.

As the ambitious worker bee who understands the value of networking (it’s how I’ve literally gotten every job I’ve worked), I woefully signed up. By the end of the night, I had spent close to $60 combined on the ticket, one concession item, and dinner and a drink at the fancy Rec Room. $60! My girlfriend then reminded me that really isn’t that much relative to other people.

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Got plans for retirement? Don’t wait till 65.

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My girlfriend’s parents are lovely people. They did everything right. They worked hard, raised a wonderful family, and saved and invested diligently. They met all of their financial goals, having saved enough to retire, send their kids off to their own lives, and travel the world.

Then the worst news imaginable happened.

Continue reading “Got plans for retirement? Don’t wait till 65.”

How do the rich actually get richer?

(And why I want to retire early).

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When I started my new job, I got a pension letter that read:

“Congratulations, you are eligible to retire in 2054.”

I looked that number.

“2054?” I’d have to wait 37 years to drop the mic and walk away from work? (More like amble, because I’d be old.)

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