Get your MBA for Free.

How I completed a 20-month MBA without a significant change in my net worth.

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Back in 2012, I made a decision that accelerated my career and income potential. I did an MBA. Three letters that mean: smart, employable, qualified.

The source of this big leap back into academia originated during my job as a project coordinator. I would sit in meetings with project managers and it was very obvious that they all made way more than me. After some LinkedIn stalking, I found that they all had business degrees.

Continue reading “Get your MBA for Free.”

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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.

Continue reading “My Life Below Minimum Wage.”

July 2017: Financial Update

Four birthdays, a wedding, and a funeral.

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For the second year in a row, July comes in at my worst performing month spending-wise. The birthday celebrations and weddings always seem to hit this month hard, not to add the very sad passing of my girlfriend’s father.

My savings rate, excluding investment income, for July was  41.9% 47.8%. This number has been revised to be inclusive of my pension deductions, based on reader feedback.

For the month, I spent $2459.87, which is quite high by my standards. Ouch! Granted, if I excluded the outlier items such as gifts and charitable contributions, I’d be in the typical range of my spending of below $2000.

Continue reading “July 2017: Financial Update”

Iceland: 9 days for $2,152.

A place where you can pretend you’re Matthew McConaughey.

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Chilling at the top of a volcano in Vestmannaeyjar.

Last summer, I was looking desperately for something to do for vacation. Up to that point, I was an under-traveled 27 year old who had never left North America in his life.

Things in life were also trending up: I had a full-time job finally, a travel partner in my girlfriend, and some savings dedicated towards travel. Iceland also made sense as a first “big” trip. It was an English-speaking nation, had a good safety record of travelers, and offered cheap flights. Plus I had two colleagues who went and came back alive with rave reviews.

Continue reading “Iceland: 9 days for $2,152.”

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.

Continue reading “Staying Entertained in Toronto on the Cheap.”

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.”