March 1st. The day every year where Canadians rush to the bank to contribute to their Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs).
The benefit is real: contributions made before the deadline can be deducted from a Canadian’s taxable income in the 2017 tax year, which either reduces a tax hit or can generate a refund. Meanwhile, RRSP money grows on a “tax-free” basis (more on that later…), with the withdrawals getting tax deferred treatment in retirement at a lower rate (ideally, if you plan it right).
Salary is just one factor. Not the be-all and end-all.
I had a relative a few years ago who was the pride of many in the family. Why? She was absolutely killing it on paper. A business degree from one of the top schools in Canada. A job at a reputable employer with a six-figure salary. A beautiful bachelor apartment in downtown Toronto all to her self. She had it all by age 30 – except her happiness.
This past spring, I crossed off a travel site on my bucket list: Japan. That place where cherry blossoms bloom in April (now March – thanks climate change). Where almost all toilets can clean your butt (seriously). And where it seems that if you love something, guaranteed there is a store dedicated to that thing: Kit Kats? Not a problem, here’s a store. Pokemon? Here’s a store. Capsule toys? Here’s a store.
Ah! January! The month of renewed optimism until the cold really sets into your bones and the sun disappears behind those dreary, snowy clouds (in Canada, anyway).
This is the first month-specific financial update post since November since I took the first Monday of January to post about my 2017 year as a whole. Since that time, I’ve made it through the first two months of my new job, got offered to be a national speaker for an after-school program (yay side hustles!), and learned the cost of commuting.
In all, my savings rate for January was 61.42% over a spend of $2,199.05.
I watched a flawed, but nonetheless captivating movie last night called The Company Men. It had Ben Affleck (meh), Kevin Coster (meh), Tommy Lee Jones (yay) and Chris Cooper (yay) star as men navigating the crippling recession of 2008, experiencing everything from job loss to family pressures to renewed optimism, Hollywood style.
10 years ago, I entered theatre school, all doe-eyed. I was planning to be Gregory Peck. I was the drama class rock star in high school, so success was guaranteed, right?
Wrong. While I certainly had some talent, I realized that being a professional thespian wasn’t quite for me. Instead, I shifted my academic focus from onstage to backstage, finishing my four year degree as the top production student in my graduating year. Again, I was a “rock star”. Professors and peers alike would reinforce an unhealthy cocky attitude: “You’ll be fine!”, “You’re going to do great things in theatre!” I believed them.
I naturally once again thought success was guaranteed. But the world doesn’t work that way.
2013. Life was good. I was two years out of my Bachelor’s degree in theatre, employed in a university job and saving money. The savings were pouring in because I was living at home. I had passed the GMAT and had gotten accepted to my school of choice for my MBA. Things were trending up.
The biggest gap in my life? My inability to move around freely. Furthermore, now it was MBA time, so I was going to need to move every 4 months to accommodate my co-op terms. The pieces were falling into place for my first big purchase: it really felt like car time.