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paycheque project

A software developer with $100,000 in student debt hopes to have income coming in from investment dividends

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Name, age: Armeet, 24

Annual income: $73,200

Debt: $100,000 in student debt

Savings: $500 in savings account; $2,000 in TFSA; $1,000 in RRSP; $7,000 in dividend stocks

What he does: software developer

Where he lives: Toronto

Top financial concern: “I’d primarily like to have sufficient investments that I can have income from my dividends. I have a lot of student debt back in India.”

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

Armeet, 24, completed a five-year chemical engineering co-op program at the University of Waterloo in May. He came to Canada as an international student from India in 2017, and borrowed money from banks in India to pay for his Canadian education. His student debt is significant, at the equivalent of $100,000.

Since graduating, Armeet has secured a Toronto-based position that pays him just shy of $70,000. He has extra income coming in from a side hustle – coding tutoring.

His major focus since graduating is on investing, and he’s devoting all of his spare time to learning about financial strategies by reading financial blogs, The Globe and Mail, and taking online trading and accounting courses. He has invested about $7,000 in dividend stocks in the energy sector using Wealthsimple and other online brokers.

Armeet’s long-term investing goal is to have income coming in from dividends.

In the meantime, he is keeping his living costs in check by moving in with his girlfriend’s parents. He and his partner are weighing moving out by year’s end, but it depends on the rental market. “If rent prices are high we will stay here longer.”

Home ownership is a long way off. “For now, I don’t have enough funds to invest in a house,” says Armeet. “I’m leery of getting a mortgage as interest rates are very high. But my girlfriend wants to own a house.”

To that end, Armeet is building up his savings, and working hard to secure a promotion at work. “I’m constantly working on my skills and reading,” he says. He’s currently putting away $100 a month to his savings account, $100 to his TFSA balanced fund and investing $1,300. He plans to join his workplace’s group RRSP, which matches 3 per cent of an employee’s salary.

What’s eroding his savings are restaurant meals, which cost $400 a month, a bubble tea addiction, car insurance payments of $500 a month and monthly gas payments of $500. “We love Korean BBQ,” he says, “and we eat out a lot. As for bubble tea, “we’ve tried them all. We are trying to curb that.”

Armeet is currently saving for future vacations to India or Vietnam. “This year we didn’t travel,” he says. “But we’d like to in the future.”

At the same time, back in India, his parents are paying instalments on the $100,000 student loan that covered his international student fees in Canada. Although he plans to start sending money home to help his parents pay his student loan, he wants to focus on investing and building up his savings first. “I do have a lot of student debt – and I’d like to help them pay it back,” he says.

His typical monthly expenses:

Investment and savings: $1,500

$1,300 to investments. “I actively send money to my trading accounts where I research and buy ETFs and stocks via self-directed investing.”

$100 to savings account.

$0 to RRSP.My workplace offers an RRSP plan where they match 3 per cent of the salary.”

$100 to TFSA. “I know I should probably save more.”

Household and transportation: $1,167

$0 to rent. “I used to pay $1,700 a month on rent in Waterloo. I just moved three and a half months ago to live with my girlfriend’s parents.”

$0 on car payment. “I’m driving a 2018 Toyota RAV 4. I had to finance the car. When I started my full-time job, I had $2,000 remaining in debt. I paid it all off.”

$500 on car insurance. “I had an accident a year ago so my insurance jumped quite high.”

$500 on gas.

$45 on cellphone. “I had to fight with Rogers for three days to reduce my phone plan. I was paying $85 monthly.”

$12 on Netflix. “We watch Young Sheldon.”

$50 on transit pass. “My office is in downtown Toronto. I take the GO bus twice a week.”

$60 on dental. “I got braces a few years ago and I need cleanings.”

Food and drink: $830

$400 on groceries. “We try to cook better but we cheat. We shop at Nations Fresh Foods or Indian grocery stores.”

$400 on eating out. “We eat out a lot but we are trying to cut back. We love Korean BBQ and Japanese.”

$30 on coffee/tea

Miscellaneous: $648.50

$210 to charity. “I go to and choose charities in the education or food bank sectors.”

$160 on storage. “Sometimes I have to go to Waterloo because I have a storage locker there.”

$150 on clothing. “My girlfriend likes to shop on Shein. I like pants from Zara and shirts from Uniqlo.”

$57 on gym. “We have a membership with LA Fitness.”

$37.50 on subscriptions– to Zoom, The Globe, YouTube Premium and Squarespace.

$34 on courses. “I like learning languages. I have been learning Mandarin for three years now on Domino Education.”

$0 on vacations per year. “This year we didn’t travel. We want to go to India and Vietnam in the future.”

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.

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