This is the Money issue

Is Buying a Home Even in the Cards for Millennials This Year?

The first-time home buying experience is overwhelming, especially in today’s real estate market. The thought of buying your own home is exciting, yet terrifying. As a 25-year-old living north of Toronto, this “crazy housing market” is all I know. The average price for a single family home in the GTA is about half a million dollars. The fact this is “normal,” in my opinion, is crazy. Is owning a home even feasible for millennials today? Being an adult is hard. We all want to be independent, and often this means owning your own place, while still trying to follow your parents’ suggestions not to “bite off more than you can chew.” We’re told not to spend money we don’t have, and scrutinized as the generation who is living on credit. It’s frustrating to hear baby boomers talking like they know what were going through. Of course they don’t get it! My dad loves to remind me interest rates were 18 percent and higher when he bought his first home at age 29. Sorry dad, but …

girl staring at piggy bank

Investing Your Money When You’re Still in Debt

Whether you live on your own or in your parents’ basement, it’s time to think about investing your money. We all want to get ahead. We want to get ahead by throwing tonight’s dinner in the crock pot before departing for work in the much-too-early hours of the morning. We want to accomplish Friday afternoon’s project deadline by Thursday afternoon, so can be spent sipping coffee and perusing our favourite websites all day. We want this month’s mortgage or rent payment collected and saved early in order to avoid scrambling when the first of the month rolls around. We all want to get ahead; in our every day actions, our responsibilities, our commitments and maybe most of all, in our finances. Yes, like most millennials, I have debt. Money, in my world, has been an ongoing struggle. It’s one of the reasons I moved back home with my mom after university. But my story is not all that unique. Many millennials work hard to get out of a financial hole after graduating. Still, even the …

How a Balanced Budget Leads to a Balanced Life

A healthy budget isn’t meant to close doors; it’s meant to open them. We’re living in a culture where spending money you don’t have is not only acceptable; it’s encouraged. And you can do it all without even getting out of bed. Our habits are driven by acquisition and consumption. Closets, basements and attics throughout North American confirm our ability to accumulate possessions. Our garages are so full; we can’t even park in them. It’s a dangerous time to be alive. We know quality of life isn’t defined by the make of the car parked in your driveway, nor is it established by the brand names you wear on your back. And yet we keep wanting more; buying more; spending more. We accumulate stuff we don’t need, using money that isn’t ours. Rather than feeling happier about the lives we’ve built borrowed, we’re left maxed out, stressed out, and completely distracted by the burden of maintaining our status while paying off heaps of credit card debt. Is this really the kind of life you want …

The Allure of Pyramid Schemes

My father-in-law has sold Amway for decades. He attends weekly meetings and a few times a year travels to weekend conferences. However, despite his commitment I have yet to hear about him making a liveable income. But, he is unwavering in his belief that this venture will pay off. His blind tenacity reminds me of when I worked at a pharmacy that sold lottery tickets. Like clockwork, every Friday certain customers would buy their tickets. They also believed that this payout would succeed in the end. The statistical improbability did not phase them.

Once my father-in-law was asked if Amway was a pyramid scheme. He answered loudly and defensively, “If there’s a product it’s not a pyramid scheme!”

Perhaps he’s right. These businesses are fun and profitable for a lot of people. If you are outgoing and social, the parties are enjoyable ways to spend an afternoon or evening. But, often the impression given is the products will sell themselves. What a tantalizing idea! How wonderful it would be to be part of an organization that virtually guarantees profit.