Name and Age: Alan, 40 years old
annual income: $58,000
debt: $1,100 bank loan
Savings: $1,000 in a savings account. $4,500 in TFSA
What he does: arts manager
where he lives: Toronto
Biggest financial concerns: “I don’t know what to do in the future. I would like to have a small house in Toronto, but I need to find a stable job with a pension to live here.”
Alan, 40, is facing a career crisis. Having spent most of his life in the arts administration, he found that his current income of $58,000 a year was not enough to fund his retirement. But he’s at a loss as to what new career to jump into. “I’ve been working on a contract for years, so I’ve been able to get a stable office job that doesn’t involve working in public,” he said.
Alan is happy to finally pay off $30,000 in credit card debt after 15 years of making minimal monthly payments. “I have ADHD and have accumulated credit card debt over the years,” he said, adding that he uses credit cards for everyday expenses such as international travel, qualifications and groceries. . “I left him alone and one day it turned him into $30,000.”
He got a consolidation loan from the bank with an interest rate of 8% and monthly payments. And he decided to pay it back aggressively during the pandemic—you can’t eat out or travel, after all—so you’re left with just $1,100.
“The great news is that my credit is now amazing,” he said.
The downside of paying off the debt is that Alan’s savings are almost gone. He recently joined a group at work, RRSP, but he has yet to contribute and his Tangerine TFSA balance is $4,500. He also works as a bartender at private parties and events. He earns about $8,000 a year.
Alan also makes sure that the rent doesn’t eat into his savings. He shares an apartment with a roommate in downtown Toronto and pays $850 a month. He doesn’t drive a car, he uses public transport and bikes to get around. However, he likes to splurge on dining out and traveling. Last year he visited Spain and plans to travel again in the fall. He lost his close friend many years ago and he wants to enjoy his life as much as possible. “I love eating out and trying new foods and having new experiences,” he said.
Alan dreams of buying a small condo but realizes that it will be very difficult to do so unless he saves much of his income or upgrades to a higher paying job. “I would love to have a small place in Toronto or a suburb of Toronto,” he said.
“But I’m not sure what the future holds,” he says. “To live here, I have to find a stable job with a pension.”
Here are his typical monthly expenses:
Investments and savings: $150
$150 for savings. “I have $400 in my savings account right now.”
$0 to TFSA. “I have $4,500 in TFSA.”
$0 to RRSP. “I know I need to contribute to RRSP. A month he’s aiming to save $100.”
Household and Transportation: $1,056
$850 for rent. “2 bedroom basement apartment in much of the city, lots of bars and restaurants. I have a roommate. 25 minute commute.”
$29 For renter’s insurance.
$60 for hydro. “It’s crazy how it vibrates. But I’m not home much.”
$0 for the internet. “My roommate pays for internet – it’s fast.”
$100 in transit. “This includes extended GO trips to visit family.”
$17 About bike maintenance. “It’s a hitter no one can steal. A bike repair shop sold it to me for $250.”
Food and drink: $500
$200 About groceries. “I shop in the Metro. I live on eggs, simple salads, canned fish, coffee, and almond milk. I make a lot of stir-fries, omelets, and soups.”
$200 About eating out. “I like good pho, Chinese noodles, and French tacos. It’s a Parisian craze with chicken, gruyere cheese, mushrooms, and crispy onions.”
$80 at uber eats. “My favorite place to order is a noodle restaurant.”
$20 for coffee. “I have a French press at home, but I like to have weird coffee at Starbucks.”
$105 on your cell phone. “I’m going to buy a mobile phone. It’s a Samsung S23.”
$33 About clothes. “I have to buy clothes for work: dark shirts and warm clothes for winter cycling.”
$15 about haircuts. “I’m going to Chinatown to get my hair cut.”
$30 About books. “I have a library card, but I don’t buy as many books as I used to.”
$30 about hobbies. “I love going to the movies. I’m going on Tuesdays. I’m looking forward to seeing the next Indiana Jones movie.”
$5,000 annual leave. “These are my highlights for this year. I like to visit different places. Maybe Ireland is next.”
Some details may be changed to protect the privacy of the person mentioned in the profile. We would like to thank him for sharing his story. Are you a Millennial or Gen Z wanting to join the Paycheque project? email us.