The financial world welcomes you to adulthood, Gen Z and millennials. Enjoy inflation, high interest rates and a slowing economy. For help in managing today’s financial challenges, consider some thoughts from Aravind Sithamparapillai, associate with Ironwood Wealth Management Group. Mr. Sithamparapillai knows what you’re up against – he’s 33, married and the father of three young children. Here’s an exchange we had via e-mail:
Q: Might some of the young people you come across need financial help from their parents to get through the months ahead?
A: For many it’s not ‘if,’ but ‘when.’ This help has already come, or will come, in various forms. Living at home, help with a wedding or home down payment, or simply keeping adult kids on a family phone plan or sending them home after a family dinner with groceries and leftovers. What is important is clear communication and guidance through that process on both sides. If you are helping your child out financially as a parent, are you also providing them with the financial education/discipline to move them forward? As the child, do you financially plan for the fact that this support is meant to be temporary in nature?
Q: What are your thoughts on retirement saving in your 30s – is it feasible with high rates and inflation?
A: A couple of hundred dollars as a starting point goes a long way – especially when you have a lot of time until retirement. By starting early and emotionally getting used to riding the ups and downs of the market, young clients can be in a good position.
Q: At what age do your clients see themselves retiring, and what lifespan do you use in their financial plans?
A: The most common request is to plan for leaving their job at 60. We will plan out retirement to age 95 and 100. This seems excessive, but the chances of someone in a couple living to 95 or 100 are a lot higher than you would think. One important note about this – I say a more enjoyable job where you can work longer makes a big difference versus early retirement. The extra year of working from 60 to 61 is an additional year of your total wealth compounding and one less year to draw down your money.
Q: What are your clients telling you about starting families?
A: For my clients, there is bigger need of stability prior to having kids. With student loans, achieving that stability has inevitably delayed having children. For a lot of my clients, a first child in their thirties is often the common plan.
Q: What can young adult couples do to ready themselves for the costs of parenthood?
A: My main suggestion is to practice for the upcoming expenses. If you are trying for a baby, estimate the difference between what your reduced parental income will be and your current income. Then, use the extra money you have now to pay down the mortgage or bulk up savings. Practicing for the financial commitment of parenthood mean less of a shock when you have kids, and you can feel good about solidifying your financial foundation beforehand. With children, one expense will swap for another over the years.
Q: How do you suggest spending a windfall like a bonus or tax refund?
A: We suggest one-third to debt, one-third to investments and one-third to treating yourself as a starting point. The weighting for each bucket can change with rising rates, but the framework stays the same.
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Rob’s personal finance reading list
When to book your next flight
Travel hacks from Expedia that help you get the lowest possible price on flights. To start with, book on Sunday. Now for a look at how some Aeroplan accounts are being frozen. A blogger says the reason is travel hacking, which means signing up for a new card to get the welcome bonus, then cancel or switch the card.
A bank teller saves the day
A woman in Rockland, Ont., was about to withdraw money for a scammer who claimed to be a friend in need. Then a quick-thinking bank teller stepped in.
Credit card habits to help your home buying
Tips on managing your credit cards in ways that build your credit score and thus help you get the lowest possible mortgage rate.
You may need to buy more toothbrushes …
… after reading this article about germy spots in your home you should be cleaning, including in your bathroom. The three words of doom: aerosolized fecal matter.
Today’s financial tool
An Ontario Securities Commission survey on crypto assets and crypto funds finds that 13 per cent of Canadians own these assets, and that 6 per cent own crypto only. The survey was done in midspring. I wonder how much lower the numbers are now.
The Money-Free Zone
Pick your Top Three favourite Canadian chocolate bars and candy. I’ll go with 14, 19 and 20. And what’s with Thrills, the soap-flavoured gum?
Weird recession indicators. I’ll add one to the list – declining prices at parking lots. I remember seeing that back in 2008-09.
- Say goodbye to early retirement? How the average age of retirement has shifted in the past 45 years
- The dream of home ownership slips further away for young Canadians
- And just like that, I’m joining the great millennial migration to cheaper real estate
More Rob Carrick and money coverage
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Even more coverage from Rob Carrick:
- 🎧 Catch up on Stress Test: Is the middle class dead for millennials and Gen Z? • Gas prices are soaring. Are electric vehicles an affordable solution? • Crypto is booming, but should you invest? • How are young Canadians dealing with soaring rents? • Inflation is squeezing our finances. What can we do about it? • Is a hot housing market squeezing Canadians out of their small towns?
- ✔️ The housing file: How bad is housing affordability? Even a crash won't help • Sell the family home to lock in profit and then rent? Better not • Why young adults can't afford houses: Hard work got you more in the past than it does now • Five reasons you should not buy a house till you're at least 30 • Now more than ever, owning a house is not a retirement plan
- 📈 Investing: The 2022 ETF buyer's guide: Best Canadian equity funds • The 2022 Globe and Mail digital broker ranking: Does the zero-commission revolution flip the script on who's best? • With bonds sinking, conservative investors are waking up to risks they never saw coming • A five-step plan for dealing with the sad fact that almost every investment is falling lately • The best financial advice in advance of retirement? Work on your marriage • One-year GICs are the best deal in town for safety seekers • What to do if the financial plan you paid thousands for disappoints
- 💰 Your money: Are you prepared for the pandemic wealth boom to blow up in our faces? • This hard-working 24-year-old is nailing it financially. But where’s the happiness? • Who should and shouldn’t worry about the wave of rate increases this year, and what every stressed-out borrower should do right now • Don’t make this potentially costly assumption about the CPP Survivor’s pension