Name: Olga Gutarts
Annual income: $65,000
Savings: $5,000 in savings account; $45,000 in TFSA; $35,000 in RRSP
What she does: Supply chain planner
Where she lives: Winnipeg
Top financial concern: “When I’m older I don’t want to be a burden to my children.”
Olga Gutarts’ life is on the upswing. She recently landed a job as a supply chain planner in Winnipeg, a position that involves scheduling maintenance on equipment, as well as software updates. A former biologist who immigrated to Canada eight years ago, Ms. Gutarts likes that the role opens up career opportunities. “It’s easier to advance in this career than in science,” she says.
She’s hoping to get a permanent role at the firm where she works. Currently she’s in a temporary contract, without benefits. “I don’t have medical expenses,” she says. “[I]f something goes wrong, I’m screwed.”
When it comes to her finances, Ms. Gutarts is focused on saving. A divorce has left the single mom with $45,000 in her tax-free savings account and $35,000 in a registered retirement savings plan. She rents a townhouse in the city with her two children, ages 10 and 12, but has not ruled out owning. “I would have to save more towards a condo,” she says.
Ms. Gutarts is a fan of her adopted city, Winnipeg, and spends a lot of time participating in the activities the city has to offer. She likes to work out at the gym, take her kids to after-school activities and walk her three-year-old terrier dog.
The family primarily eats at home – “I prefer to make things from scratch” – although she does treat the kids to sushi, Wendy’s drive-through and Dim Sum, on occasion. She’s careful when shopping for clothing, spending about $50 a month. “I’m more into shoes,” she confesses, though buying at Marshalls and Winners keeps costs lower.
For now, retirement is far away but Ms. Gutarts predicts she may well work past the age of retirement, something that doesn’t bother her. “My biggest goal when I’m older is that I don’t want to be a burden to my children,” she says. “I want to be productive.”
Her typical monthly expenses:
$1,450 on rent. “I’m renting a townhome in southwest Winnipeg.”
$125 on kids’ programs. “My son is in the second year of basketball and my daughter is in a gymnastics program. They do summer day camps.”
$50 on Internet. “I’m with Bell.”
$11 on Netflix.
$350 on groceries. “My main store is [Real] Canadian Superstore. They have a rewards program. I buy lots of fruits and vegetables, and seafood sometimes. I almost never buy frozen meals. I prefer to make things from scratch.”
$200 on eating out. “My kids love sushi, they love stir fry, and Dim Sum. And Wendy’s is one of our burger joints.”
$50 on alcohol. “I typically try to buy hard alcohol like vodka in the U.S. I buy beer and wine here for guests.”
$300 on car payments. “I bought a car brand new – a 2016 Nissan Sentra. I got a good deal.”
$185 on car insurance. ‘I’m with Manitoba Public Insurance.”
$50 on car repairs.
$50 on gym membership. “I have a gym membership with GoodLife Fitness.”
$250 on gas.
$100 on cellphone.
$50 on pet. “I have a three-year-old West Highland Terrier. Sometimes things get pricey – like the pills for heartworm. They are $200.”
$500 per year on trips and hobbies. “Last summer I went to Montreal for a few days. I go once a month to Minneapolis.”
$50 on clothes. “I’m trying not to spend on clothes. I shop at Winners, Marshalls, Tommy Hilfiger. I’m not a huge shopper."
$35 on art classes. “Lately I’m spending money on art classes. It’s once a week for 10 weeks. I wanted to do that again.”
$165 on haircuts/esthetician visits. “I get haircuts, nails.”
$300 on miscellaneous costs. “Things just come up. Just last month I had my e-reader die – so I got a new one.”
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