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paycheque project

He’s also managed to save $11,000 in a tax-free savings account and $9,000 in a registered retirement savings plan. And he’s optimistic about his future

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Paycheque project is a non-judgmental look at how young adults in Canada are spending their money. If you would like to participate, send us an e-mail.

Name, age: Emmanuel, 27

Annual income: $55,000

Debt: $25,000 in Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loans

Savings/investments: $50,000

What he does: software developer

Where he lives: Brampton, Ont.

Top financial concern: “I pay $2,000 per month towards my parents’ mortgage. It’s something that’s doable for me right now. I want to give my parents a chance to retire.”


Despite a good job in information technology, Emmanuel is struggling to get ahead. Rents in his area are soaring, and he’s got $25,000 in student debt. “I don’t think I could get a one-bedroom apartment for less than $1,700 a month anywhere really, which is scary,” he says. “I won’t be able to afford my own place any time soon, rent or own.”

Plus, he’s busy helping pay the mortgage on his parent’s three-bedroom home in Brampton, which he shares with his parents and sibling. “It’s something that’s doable for me right now,” he says of his monthly mortgage payment of $2,000.

“My parents have done very well for themselves. They are working,” he says. “But they’re in their early 60s. You can’t expect them to work the next 10 years.”

Emmanuel saves money by living at home and choosing not to have a car. While his first job has allowed him to work from home during the pandemic, he’s worried that he’ll soon have a lengthy commute to Scarborough, where his employer is based.

He doesn’t want to spend money on a new vehicle and is worried about high gas prices. Plus, he hates the idea of sitting in traffic. “I’ve experienced massive commutes and I don’t want to experience that again,” he says. If going into the office becomes mandatory he’ll likely start looking for a new job.

In addition to his parents’ mortgage contributions and chipping away at his debt through $300 monthly OSAP payments, Emmanuel has also managed to save $11,000 in a tax-free savings account and $9,000 in a registered retirement savings plan. The rest of his money is in a regular savings account.

He’s dabbled in investing in his TFSA and has roughly $1,000 in ETFs through his digital broker, RBC Direct Investing. “I’ve been using their banking services since I was in Grade 10,” he says.

He hopes that as his earnings grow, he’ll be able to invest more. “If I have more money, what I would want to do is invest directly in businesses I believe in. Investing in index funds is also pretty cheap.”

Once he pays off his debt, he hopes to purchase property. “If things stay as they are I may have some money in the next five years for a condo,” he says, adding that a car and possibly starting a family are also in his longer-term plans.

This summer, Emmanuel’s travel plans are modest. He’s currently enrolled in swimming lessons. He also hopes to check out a go-kart track in North York or visit Oshawa’s lakefront.

Emmanuel is optimistic about his future. “I’m one of the lucky ones,” he says. “I might just be able to save a substantial amount of money in the next five years.”


His typical monthly expenses:

Investment/savings/loan: $1,600

$800 to RRSP

$500 to TFSA. “I invested $1,000 in RBC Direct Investing’s ETFs.”

$300 to OSAP loan

Household & transportation: $2,114

$2,000 on mortgage. “It’s a detached three-bedroom. We could sell the house to try to get [my parents] into a smaller apartment. But it would be safer to pay off the mortgage we have left. At least we have a place they can live in.”

$0 on car. “I could buy a car on my own but I don’t know how I’d help out with the mortgage.”

$0 on cellphone. “My parents take care of it.”

$114 on internet.

Food & drink: $100

$0 on groceries. “I live with my parents.”

$100 on eating out. “I would probably go out for a nice dinner for $50 once or twice a month – but nowhere really fancy.”

Health & fitness: $58.75

$28.75 on sports. " I am paying for swimming lessons right now – It’s a Brampton adult swimming two-month program. I also did a one-time payment of $200 for a soccer league.”

$30 on haircuts. “Every month I get a haircut. There’s a place here in Brampton really close to the house.”

Miscellaneous: $43

$3 on Netflix. “We all share it. I like a popular documentary called This is Pop.”

$40 on digital newspaper subscriptions.

Total: $3,915.75

Some details may be changed to protect the privacy of the person profiled. We want to thank him for sharing his story. Are you a millennial who would like to participate in a paycheque project? Send us an e-mail.


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