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paycheque project

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Name, age: Anderson, 26

Annual income: $73,000

Debt: $0

Savings: $2,045.88 in savings account; $1,227.06 in chequing account; $57,514.88 in TFSA

What he does: Film distribution assistant

Where he lives: Toronto

Top financial concern: “The question of security is a big part of my profession. … In the next 10 years I want to have a starter home in Toronto. … I’m looking at my peers and I hope the pieces will fall into place.”

Paycheque Project is a non-judgmental look at how young adults in Canada are spending their money.

Twenty-six-year old Anderson is anxious about his financial future. Having grown up in an affluent part of Toronto with a physician father, his childhood was filled with extracurricular activities, trips to Europe and summers spent away at camps.

At university, he studied film and history and opted for a fast-paced career in the film industry. And although he’s got a side gig and moving up the ranks at work, he worries about making enough money to buy a home in the city. “I just got promoted the other day,” he says. “And on the side, I’m working as a videographer. But I have these moments: Where is this going to lead me in 30, 40 years?”

Anderson pulls in $73,000 from his film job and his videographer side gig, the latter which he hopes to expand this year. He’s been diligent about putting away money and his tax-free savings account, which contains bonds and equities, has grown to $57,514.

But he’s jumpy about investing more aggressively, despite wanting to own property in the future. “I want to make sure I have one place where I’m saving safely,” he says, adding he uses his parents’ financial adviser to manage his TFSA. “In the next 10 years I’d like to have a starter home – and long-term, I’d like to have a cabin up north.”

In the meantime, he is enjoying living a car-free downtown lifestyle, renting an apartment in Toronto’s Little Italy neighbourhood with two friends, planning a trip to New York in February and catching the odd indie band performance or a movie with his girlfriend. He eats out at lower-cost Middle Eastern takeout places or sushi restaurants where he can dine with friends.

He shops at Urban Outfitters, Zara or Frank and Oak. He says he steers clear of big purchases, except for a pricey camera that he recently used to shoot a music video. He’d like to travel to Japan and Latin America in the coming years.

Given his career has been going well – he brought in $3-million in revenue for his company last year – Anderson is cautiously optimistic about the future. But when he compares himself with friends and colleagues that chose more lucrative careers, he worries.

“I’m looking at my peers and I hope the pieces will fall into place.”

His typical monthly expenses:

Investment and savings: $2,116.62

$1,000 to TFSA. “I’m in a low-risk TFSA managed by a CIBC adviser – he manages my parents’ accounts. I’m in a mix of equities and bonds. I might take more risks in a Wealthsimple account going forward. But I’ve been taught to be more conservative.” He pays his adviser 1.1 per cent in fees to manage his TFSA.

$0 to a registered retirement savings plan. “I don’t have an RRSP set up. "

$1,116.62 to credit card.

Household and transportation: $1,300

$1,250 to rent. “I rent a room in a nice old Toronto home with two friends from Queen’s University. We don’t pay for utilities.”

$0 on cellphone. “It’s typically $90 to $150 but my work compensates me.”

$50 on transit. “I am taking transit quite a bit. I have no plans to get a car. Communauto, a car-sharing service, makes more sense.”

$0 on Netflix. “I access my parents’ account.”

Food and drink: $590

$225 on groceries. “I usually only go once or twice a month. I have a great market in the neighbourhood – or I go to Metro. My parents give me leftovers and my girlfriend cooks for me.”

$250 on eating out. “It’s a 2023 goal to cut down and limit myself to eating out just once a week. I like to go to Ghazale, a Middle Eastern restaurant for $13 shawarmas, sushi places, small plates – nothing too expensive.”

$75 on alcohol. “I drink on the weekend. I’ll buy four-six cans of beer – Modelo – twice a month. I’ll buy a bottle of gin every two to three months.”

$40 on coffee, tea. “On Saturdays my girlfriend and I will get a cappuccino somewhere. There’s a coffee place called Sam James – I just got a big bag of coffee there and I’m making it at home.”

Miscellaneous: $650.50

$25 on clothing. “I just got three new pairs of pants from Urban Outfitters. I’m a Zara shopper or sometimes I go to Frank and Oak. I like stylish but moderately priced places.”

$35 on haircuts.

$30 to fitness. “I don’t play competitive sports. I am going to renew my membership at Hone Fitness. I go three times a week.”

$41.67 on cannabis.

$12.50 on website. “I make a decent income off family shots and videography.”

$100 on gifts/dates.

$40 on concert tickets. “I like up-and-coming local artists. I also like Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver. I drove to Portland last summer to see the Fruit Bats.”

$8 on movies. “I try to go on Tuesdays but sometimes I go on Saturdays when it’s $20.”

$250 on hobbies. “This year I bought a new camera and lenses for $3,000. It’s the type of thing that will pay for itself.”

$108.33 on vacations. “I’m going to Israel in a few weeks for an organized trip through Birthright – it’s free. I’m also going to New York in February. I will hopefully be spending CIBC Aventura points. I’ll stay with my cousin free.”

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 or Gen Z who would like to participate in a Paycheque Project? Send us an e-mail.