As part of our #genYmoney package, we asked Canada’s Millennials to tell us how they are doing - financially - and how much they count on the bank of Mom and Dad to help pay the bills. Here, in their own words, are their answers.
Ashiq Jamal, 24, Toronto
I managed to land a position as an analyst with a market research firm upon graduating from University in 2011. While there, I lived with my parents and was able to pay off my $26,000 student loan in about 1.5 years. I then moved onto a higher paying position at a different company in 2013. The location of this company required me to get my own car and rent a condo. Although I’m now debt free and earning enough to live considerably well, I’m not saving as much as I’d like to and I’m considering moving back in with my parents. I’ll deal with the 2-3 hour a day commute if that’s what it takes to save some cash.
Hayley Shaughnessy, 23, Toronto
I became fully financially independent when my parents took me off our Family Phone Plan just last week. And understandably so, as I’m making enough money to get by and still treat myself to things I enjoy like hardcover books and fancy ice cream. Without the help of mom and dad, I wouldn’t be debt-free. They started saving for my education as soon as I was born, and it’s exactly what I’m going to do when I start a family of my own. Thanks to them I know and practice the rule of paying myself first.
Bailey Parnell, 20, Toronto
I have been financially independent since I moved to Toronto straight out of high school at 17. Between scholarships, summer savings and two part-time jobs during the school year, I still have to get OSAP to afford my third, unpaid writing job. Paying my own tuition, rent and lifestyle needs is tough, especially when I’m trying to maintain a high GPA to keep getting those scholarships. My parents help where they can and I am grateful for that, but they came from tough beginnings themselves and it unfortunately is not enough. This summer before my final year, I have a full-time job, a part-time job and summer school. I have enough to get by, but I also owe more than $10,000 in student loans.
Kevin Lemkay, 24, Chatham, Ont.
I consider myself pretty lucky - I work full-time in my chosen field and am halfway to financial independence. My parents are a huge factor in my financial health. They supported me throughout university and allowed me to graduate debt-free. I haven’t needed to go into debt since. I lived rent-free at home and worked in Toronto until three months ago when my job gave me the opportunity to move to Chatham. Rent now accounts for roughly one-third of my monthly income. I can comfortably pay for gas, groceries, cell phone, utilities and other expenses with the remainder and have enough left to invest in a TFSA. I am still not fully independent as my parents have loaned me one of their cars while I’m in Chatham and continue to cover insurance and maintenance, two major expenses.
Rachel Andrew, 25, Thornhill, Ont.
I am 100 per cent financially independent from my parents, but if I were not in a relationship I would likely still be living at home. I rent an apartment with my boyfriend and although we both contribute to household expenses such as rent, groceries, utilities, etc., we do not contribute 50/50 but rather make our contributions relative to our salaries. When I still lived with my parents I was (rightfully so) paying monthly rent, but it was only 50 per cent of what I pay now. I currently earn just enough to cover my living expenses but I live from paycheque to paycheque and I do wish that I had more of a safety net. Though my parents do not currently support me financially in any way they paid for almost 100 per cent of my university tuition allowing me to graduate debt-free. Due to my own poor financial habits I still managed to accrue close to $2,000 in consumer debt during my university years which I have since fully paid off. I am now committed to remaining debt-free and am making monthly deposits into both an RRSP and a TFSA. I credit Gail Vaz-Oxlade and her television shows with everything I now know about money management.
Daniel Teo, 29, Toronto
I’ve been financially independent since university. I graduated with $30,000 in student loans and paid it off in two years with the help of my wife. In those two years, we also paid for our wedding and put a down payment on a condo. Together, we earn more than enough to cover our expenses, including travel. We save approximately 35 per cent of our net income with the help of our company defined contribution plans; our savings are allocated towards our toddler’s RESP, our TFSAs and RRSPs. My parents taught me to avoid unnecessary spending. Other than the mortgage, I don’t carry any debt. I use a credit card to accumulate travel points and pay the full balance monthly.
Stacey He, 28, Toronto
I work as a personal financial planner in Toronto and I own a house in the Lawrence Park area. I am financially independent and able to put away my earnings towards my short and long term financial goals. I worked through my university days, but still had student debt when I graduated. The key to managing my finances is finding a good balance between savings and debt repayment. My student debt is paid off and my only debt now is the mortgage. My parents’ saving and spending patterns had a significant impact on the way I view money and I would say they were my earliest teachers in smart money management habits.
John Juhasz, 25, Toronto, Ont.
I am completely financially independent and handle all my financial affairs on my own. I earn my own income, pay my own bills, and make my own decisions regarding investments, budgeting, and financial planning. I am earning enough to get by. Toronto is a very expensive city, but with very careful budgeting and modest employment income, I live a decent and independent life, with the means to save for the future. My parents play a very important role in providing great insight into planning financially for the future and giving me examples from their personal experience to properly plan financially, and to live within my means. My parents also contributed to paying for my college education, while I worked part-time to ensure I was debt-free at the end. Other than the use of a credit card, which is paid in full every month, I do not have any outstanding debts.