Author Topic: Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA  (Read 2218 times)

PoutineLover

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Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA
« on: February 16, 2017, 02:24:36 PM »
Topic Title: Save for sabbatical year without compromising long term goals

Life Situation: 25, single with a cat, living in Quebec, Canada

Gross Salary/Wages: $40,275

Individual amounts of each Pre-tax deductions
Health and Dental = $1,337
Union dues = $288
Government programs (EI, QPP, QPIP) = $2,775
Pension (+match) = $1,352 (x2)

Other Ordinary Income: Some side income earned by coaching at my curling club - pays for membership/food/drinks/events there, but no take home pay

Qualified Dividends & Long Term Capital Gains: None

Rental Income, Actual Expenses, and Depreciation: None

Adjusted Gross Income: $34,523

Taxes: $6,789

Take home pay = $27,734 ($1,066 bi-weekly)

Current expenses:
Rent = $710
Internet = $62
Electricity/heat = $46
Cell phone = $40
Gym Membership = $12
Netflix = $10
Total fixed costs = $880/month, $10,560/year

TFSA contribution = $100/week, $5200/year (would like to change investment for something with lower fees)

Groceries = $160 (Shop at local grocery store weekly)
Household = $35 (toilet paper, hygiene products, dish soap, etc.)
Eating/Drinking out = $110 (One area I should cut down on but hard saying no to going out with friends)
Travel = $410 (Probably too high but I love to travel, includes 1-2 bigger trips per year and a few weekend trips)
Cat = $50 (monthly average of vet, litter and food)
Clothes = $70 (Donít shop much but try to buy quality when I do)
Other = $90 (random expenses like event registration, cab rides, school supplies, varies a lot from month to month)
Total variable costs = $925/month, $11,100/year
Miscellaneous cash = $70/month, $840/year

Expected ER expenses: Long way off, who knows

Assets:
Work defined contribution pension = $5,000
RRSP = $300 (not contributing right now)
TFSA = $5,600 (adding 100/week)
Emergency fund = $1,100 (also have $10,000 line of credit @9% available for emergencies, though I don't want to have to use it)

Liabilities: None

Net worth = $12,000
Savings rate = 19% gross, 27% net

Specific Question(s): I have been working for the past 3 years, paid off all my student loans and am now starting to build up my net worth. I want to save more but I don't know how with my current income/expenses. Not sure if I should be trying to find a new job, optimizing my current spending, starting a side hustleÖ I also want to take a year off and travel but Iíd like to leave my TFSA and pension intact to gain interest and save up separately for my travel. If I donít take any big trips this year, I could save the $5,000 I spent on travel last year and use that for a big slow travel trip with lots of couchsurfing, working in hostels, etc. along the way to make it cheaper. I also want to invest my TFSA elsewhere, currently at RBC with a high MER mutual fund and would like to switch to index funds but not sure how to get started (Canadian mustachians please advise!) I welcome any thoughts or suggestions that might help me work towards my goals! Feel free to face punch me, I can take it!

JohnnyKast

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Re: Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2017, 11:39:20 AM »
Hi,

First off, congratz on paying off all your student loans.

What is your budget for that 1 year off? Depending where you travel and how slow you travel, you could get away with 15k even much less if you work in hostel / volunteer. Giving yourself a fix goal to reach is very important (for budgetting and motivation). 

In how much time would you like to take that one year off?

Here are the areas i could see you saving some money :

Eating/Drinking out = $110 (One area I should cut down on but hard saying no to going out with friends)
Clothes = $70 (Donít shop much but try to buy quality when I do)
Other = $90 (random expenses like event registration, cab rides, school supplies, varies a lot from month to month)
Miscellaneous cash = $70/month, $840/year

That's 340$ per month. if you can cut it but ~30%, that's 100$ per month.

1200$ per year + 5000$ (usually spent on travel / weekends) = 6200$, on two years you get 12 400$, very close to your goal.

and that's in only 2 years.


As for your investment, the TD e-series fund seems to be a good choice for convenience and low MER. They are also easy to set up for a continous savings plan. Smartfolio is also an interesting option from BMO with fees at less than 1%. Easy to set up and use, you can set up an automatic contribution or contribute by yourself.

The best option in my opinion is opening a brokerage account and investing yourself. But I would only recommend this on larger balance of investment because the 9.95$ flat fee per trade will eat you alive if you contribute 100$ everytime (though Questrade has a lower flat fee, i still think it's mostly better for bigger balances).

There's possibly other options that i'm not familiar with, if anybody want to join in, i'd be happy to hear what's out there.


Fast forward two years, you could have 12.5k for your trip AND 16k in your TFSA (before returns) + your pension program from work.

Freedomin5

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Re: Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2017, 05:46:55 AM »
I'm curious why you're choosing to contribute to your TFSA and not your RRSP, given that most people first max out their RRSP before their TFSA?

PoutineLover

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Re: Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2017, 01:46:55 PM »
I'm curious why you're choosing to contribute to your TFSA and not your RRSP, given that most people first max out their RRSP before their TFSA?

That was the advice I was given by my financial advisor. I think because I'm in the lowest tax bracket, he said there wasn't much advantage to using the RRSP yet. I'm also pretty sure that my pension contributions count towards my RRSP limit, but they get deducted pre tax anyway. Should I reevaluate this strategy?

Canadian Ben

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Re: Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2017, 10:40:53 PM »
I'm curious why you're choosing to contribute to your TFSA and not your RRSP, given that most people first max out their RRSP before their TFSA?

That was the advice I was given by my financial advisor. I think because I'm in the lowest tax bracket, he said there wasn't much advantage to using the RRSP yet. I'm also pretty sure that my pension contributions count towards my RRSP limit, but they get deducted pre tax anyway. Should I reevaluate this strategy?

Your employer pension does affect the amount you can put in the RRSP. The use of the TFSA is quite reasonable for the salary level you are at, IF you expect to make more money in the future (going up multiple brackets). However, if you expect to remain at the same level, or simply slowly go up, RRSP will also be useful.

How much space do you have left in your TFSA?

For Questrade, it's free to buy ETFs, but you will have to pay a small fee when you sell. I second the TD E-Series if you are not willing to do your own brokerage, but since you are already planning to switch from RBC, I'd go directly to Questrade, as you will probably realize that you prefer Questrade after about 6 months of E series if you continue searching for info on investing.

canadiancouchpotato.com will give you examples of model portfolios that you can follow; and the tipping point between E Series and Questrade is when you have a portfolio of 50,000$ (then Questrade is more effective)

You have good control of your budget, you just have to increase your income and continue living the same lifestyle!

PJ

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Re: Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2017, 11:14:28 PM »
Topic Title: Save for sabbatical year without compromising long term goals

Life Situation: 25, single with a cat, living in Quebec, Canada

Gross Salary/Wages: $40,275

Individual amounts of each Pre-tax deductions
Health and Dental = $1,337
Union dues = $288
Government programs (EI, QPP, QPIP) = $2,775
Pension (+match) = $1,352 (x2)

Other Ordinary Income: Some side income earned by coaching at my curling club - pays for membership/food/drinks/events there, but no take home pay

Qualified Dividends & Long Term Capital Gains: None

Rental Income, Actual Expenses, and Depreciation: None

Adjusted Gross Income: $34,523

Taxes: $6,789

Take home pay = $27,734 ($1,066 bi-weekly)

Current expenses:
Rent = $710
Internet = $62
Electricity/heat = $46
Cell phone = $40
Gym Membership = $12
Netflix = $10
Total fixed costs = $880/month, $10,560/year

TFSA contribution = $100/week, $5200/year (would like to change investment for something with lower fees)

Groceries = $160 (Shop at local grocery store weekly)
Household = $35 (toilet paper, hygiene products, dish soap, etc.)
Eating/Drinking out = $110 (One area I should cut down on but hard saying no to going out with friends)
Travel = $410 (Probably too high but I love to travel, includes 1-2 bigger trips per year and a few weekend trips)
Cat = $50 (monthly average of vet, litter and food)
Clothes = $70 (Donít shop much but try to buy quality when I do)
Other = $90 (random expenses like event registration, cab rides, school supplies, varies a lot from month to month)
Total variable costs = $925/month, $11,100/year
Miscellaneous cash = $70/month, $840/year

Expected ER expenses: Long way off, who knows

Assets:
Work defined contribution pension = $5,000
RRSP = $300 (not contributing right now)
TFSA = $5,600 (adding 100/week)
Emergency fund = $1,100 (also have $10,000 line of credit @9% available for emergencies, though I don't want to have to use it)

Liabilities: None

Net worth = $12,000
Savings rate = 19% gross, 27% net

Specific Question(s): I have been working for the past 3 years, paid off all my student loans and am now starting to build up my net worth. I want to save more but I don't know how with my current income/expenses. Not sure if I should be trying to find a new job, optimizing my current spending, starting a side hustleÖ I also want to take a year off and travel but Iíd like to leave my TFSA and pension intact to gain interest and save up separately for my travel. If I donít take any big trips this year, I could save the $5,000 I spent on travel last year and use that for a big slow travel trip with lots of couchsurfing, working in hostels, etc. along the way to make it cheaper. I also want to invest my TFSA elsewhere, currently at RBC with a high MER mutual fund and would like to switch to index funds but not sure how to get started (Canadian mustachians please advise!) I welcome any thoughts or suggestions that might help me work towards my goals! Feel free to face punch me, I can take it!

This is the 2nd time today I've posted about this - I'm going to get a reputation as a stinky dirty slob! 

But I probably spend about the same as you do with my groceries, and that includes those HABA (health and beauty aids) and household items that you've listed separately at an addition $35 per month.  I shop sales, use coupons for things like dish and laundry soap and shampoo.  I'm not at all brand loyal, but I don't always buy the lowest grade product, just the best price on the medium grade stuff.  I use only a little laundry detergent - definitely less than the recommended amount, and am very minimal in my use of other cleaning products.  Most cleaning done with an all purpose cleaner like Mr. Clean, heavily diluted, which I keep in a couple of spray bottles in the kitchen and bathroom.  If I get gifted fancy foaming hand soap, I water it down, then refill the bottles with some very dilute and inexpensive body wash (a large bottle, bought on sale, of course!).  A small bit of shampoo does the trick (and I have pretty long hair), and same with the body wash. 

If I was you, I would definitely challenge myself to make changes to how you buy and use these products, aiming to fit them inside your existing grocery budget.  This will also require trimming your grocery budget a little bit.  Techniques include meal planning, price matching, stretching meals, substituting cheaper ingredients, shopping sales, etc.  You'd be welcome to join us in one of the grocery related challenge threads over in the Throw Down the Gauntlet section of the forums!
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PoutineLover

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Re: Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2017, 08:51:58 AM »

Your employer pension does affect the amount you can put in the RRSP. The use of the TFSA is quite reasonable for the salary level you are at, IF you expect to make more money in the future (going up multiple brackets). However, if you expect to remain at the same level, or simply slowly go up, RRSP will also be useful.

How much space do you have left in your TFSA?

For Questrade, it's free to buy ETFs, but you will have to pay a small fee when you sell. I second the TD E-Series if you are not willing to do your own brokerage, but since you are already planning to switch from RBC, I'd go directly to Questrade, as you will probably realize that you prefer Questrade after about 6 months of E series if you continue searching for info on investing.

canadiancouchpotato.com will give you examples of model portfolios that you can follow; and the tipping point between E Series and Questrade is when you have a portfolio of 50,000$ (then Questrade is more effective)

You have good control of your budget, you just have to increase your income and continue living the same lifestyle!

I do expect to make more in the future, I'm just finishing up some more school and will start looking for a more lucrative position when I'm done.
I have lots of room in my TFSA, the CRA says $47,000 as of Jan. 1.
I'll take a look at those model portfolios. I've just been a bit confused about that trade fee, but are you saying that when I purchase I don't pay it, but when I sell I do? I'm still a long way off from that 50K but hopefully it won't take me too long to get there!

If I was you, I would definitely challenge myself to make changes to how you buy and use these products, aiming to fit them inside your existing grocery budget.  This will also require trimming your grocery budget a little bit.  Techniques include meal planning, price matching, stretching meals, substituting cheaper ingredients, shopping sales, etc.  You'd be welcome to join us in one of the grocery related challenge threads over in the Throw Down the Gauntlet section of the forums!
I have a lot of cleaning products lying around that a previous tenant left, so I haven't actually bought that many. It's stuff like deodorant, toothpaste, etc. that I end up running out of and buying full price but I should be planning for and looking up sales before I need it. I try to shop sales when possible, but I get around by public transit or bike so it's hard to carry lots of stuff when I see a good deal. I do bring a lunch to work every day and try to make meals that make leftovers, but my main challenge is that I'm busy most weeknights and all my cleaning/shopping/advance meal prep is limited to weekends. I could definitely do better though, I think I'll try to save receipts for a month and see where I could cut back or even which stores have better prices on things I buy all the time. Thanks for the tips!

Canadian Ben

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Re: Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2017, 10:56:39 AM »
For Questrade, ETFs are free to buy (and have a fee when sold); other types of investments will have different fees.

There is however different fees when you are under 50,000 at Questrade, so you'll have to look at the fees/services between Questrade and TD E-Series for the best/simplest / most cost-effective for you.

After looking again at your scenario, I think E series would be worth it for you in order to get confortable with investments, and you will not hit 50,000 right away, so you can use it until you are ready to switch over to Questrade.

For RRSP, it's a question of how much you are lowering your marginal tax rates, so your return is not very high yet since you are in the first and second bracket. For fancy footed tax movement; if you are expecting 0 income during your vacation year, it might be worth using both the RRSP and TFSA (placing the pre-tax in RRSP and the tax return in TFSA) and then using the vacation year to remove money from the RRSP at 0% tax rate (since you will have no income that year). That would increase the effectiveness of the RRSP, since the money you took from your marginal rate get taxed at 0%.

PoutineLover

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Re: Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2017, 11:57:02 AM »
For RRSP, it's a question of how much you are lowering your marginal tax rates, so your return is not very high yet since you are in the first and second bracket. For fancy footed tax movement; if you are expecting 0 income during your vacation year, it might be worth using both the RRSP and TFSA (placing the pre-tax in RRSP and the tax return in TFSA) and then using the vacation year to remove money from the RRSP at 0% tax rate (since you will have no income that year). That would increase the effectiveness of the RRSP, since the money you took from your marginal rate get taxed at 0%.
Interesting idea, but I thought there was a penalty for taking money out of an RRSP early?

going2ER

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Re: Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2017, 12:42:35 PM »
I really struggled with where to put investments and currently do not have a lot, just started on this mission, which can limit using some services, not a high enough balance. The easiest I found was to use mutual funds in an RRSP and TFSA at Tangerine. Amounts automatically come out of my chequing account and go into my investments. Maybe once I have more money to invest I will look at other services, but for starting out this feels comfortable for me.

PJ

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Re: Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2017, 01:34:48 PM »
If I was you, I would definitely challenge myself to make changes to how you buy and use these products, aiming to fit them inside your existing grocery budget.  This will also require trimming your grocery budget a little bit.  Techniques include meal planning, price matching, stretching meals, substituting cheaper ingredients, shopping sales, etc.  You'd be welcome to join us in one of the grocery related challenge threads over in the Throw Down the Gauntlet section of the forums!
I have a lot of cleaning products lying around that a previous tenant left, so I haven't actually bought that many. It's stuff like deodorant, toothpaste, etc. that I end up running out of and buying full price but I should be planning for and looking up sales before I need it. I try to shop sales when possible, but I get around by public transit or bike so it's hard to carry lots of stuff when I see a good deal. I do bring a lunch to work every day and try to make meals that make leftovers, but my main challenge is that I'm busy most weeknights and all my cleaning/shopping/advance meal prep is limited to weekends. I could definitely do better though, I think I'll try to save receipts for a month and see where I could cut back or even which stores have better prices on things I buy all the time. Thanks for the tips! 

Edited to change for a smaller picture!

« Last Edit: February 28, 2017, 01:36:43 PM by PJ »
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Canadian Ben

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Re: Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2017, 09:20:29 PM »
For RRSP, it's a question of how much you are lowering your marginal tax rates, so your return is not very high yet since you are in the first and second bracket. For fancy footed tax movement; if you are expecting 0 income during your vacation year, it might be worth using both the RRSP and TFSA (placing the pre-tax in RRSP and the tax return in TFSA) and then using the vacation year to remove money from the RRSP at 0% tax rate (since you will have no income that year). That would increase the effectiveness of the RRSP, since the money you took from your marginal rate get taxed at 0%.
Interesting idea, but I thought there was a penalty for taking money out of an RRSP early?

5% withholding under 5k in Quebec.
10k outside quebec

For a whole 5$ savings per month, you can share Netflix with someone.
Or share with 3 people for 4$ each! you'll save so much money!!
#one more coffee
« Last Edit: February 28, 2017, 09:29:02 PM by Canadian Ben »

Prairie Stash

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Re: Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2017, 03:39:44 PM »
Questrade is great for regular contribution. Failing that RBC Direct allows you to buy ETF, there's no reason to have high MER Mutual funds with RBC. I like RBC Direct for larger amounts as each trade cost $9.95, don't buy $100 of ETF at a time...

Also look at setting up a non-registered account when you set up your TFSA and RRSP accounts. Everyone should have all 3 investment accounts. The third is what you use when the TFSA is maxed and the RRSP doesn't make sense.

erp

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Re: Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2017, 04:35:20 PM »
re: the penalty for taking money out of an RRSP -

Anything you take out of an RRSP is taxed as income, but my understanding is that there's not a penalty on the money, per se. The withholding tax is applied to your income taxes (e.i. it is not a penalty paid in addition to the income taxes, rather, it's held by the bank/investment company and sent to the government to be applied to the taxes which your incurred by taking out the money), and if you happen to have overpaid then you'll get a tax refund. The withheld amount does increase as you withdraw larger amounts however. Most brokerages will also charge you a fee to take money out of an RRSP - usually between $25 and $150.

Otherwise I agree with the general consensus, you look like you're doing fine on costs, Questrade is great, and investing in a TFSA first seems to make sense at your income level.

Le Barbu

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Re: Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2017, 12:18:09 PM »
With less than 50k$ to invest, give me a brake with the MERs!

Keep your TFSA account with RBC and buy rbf556, rbf557 and rbf559 with no transaction fees. Put 1/3 in each and rebalance once a year with new money.

Open a RRSP account and contribute to keep your taxable income below 40k$ (not now) actualy, your TFSA is better and easier to acces, especially with your short term projects!
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Goldielocks

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Re: Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2017, 12:10:15 AM »
Okay,  IMO you are a bit delusional about saving for a sabbatical at age 25 -- assuming that your intent is a sabbatical in the next 2-3 years...  not when you are 35, etc.

1)  You freely admit that the  current goal is to make more income, once schooling is finally wrapped up, etc -- you won't make more money by taking a year off,  it will push your career income sideways  or "on hold" until you take the time to invest time and talents into it.   Do you want to be in career stall until you are 30 and have to work until you are 50?   Remember that those pension workplaces value stable, long term employees, to get the most benefit, that includes rewarding with promotions the stable long term employees, if you are thinking about staying..

2)  You spent $5000 last year on travel?  That, my dear friend, is already sabbatical - level travel spending...  why do you need more?  Quite a lot of money, really, for a fairly new graduating student. 

3)  Maybe you should look at changing your career / employer, now that school is just about finished -- what about changing to an employer hiring for work in another country?  (travel for work instead of a sabbatical, and get paid a LOT of money to do so, because most people with families refuse that sort of assignment?)

4) For the other posters,  TFSA is the place to max out first, until you are making well over 60k per year.  No penalties to withdraw from RRSP, unless you take out so much in a single year, it bumps you into a higher tax bracket than when you put that money in.  The other "penalty" is a loss of total contribution room.

4)  I would definitely save up money towards a modest post-age 65 retirement.   Assume your pension would pay you $2000 per month if you FIRE -- aim to have $75k to $90k saved up by age 30.  This will take a lot of stress off of your future earning years after age 30, and allow you to save more quickly for that sabbatical.

 

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Re: Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2017, 04:55:16 AM »
TFSA in your case makes sense, especially if you plan on using said money in the next few years.

If you also look at the CCC portfolios, a simplified version are the tangerine funds.  slightly higher costs than the vanguard, but much cheaper than many out there.  Also great for anyone putting in small amounts regularly.  no fees associated with any of it
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https://ynab.com/referral/?ref=eQ5g_yJi5NxO5hoo&utm_source=customer_referral

https://www.tangerine.ca referral code get $50 for signing up!!!  34500900S1

PoutineLover

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Re: Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2017, 01:36:55 PM »
Okay,  IMO you are a bit delusional about saving for a sabbatical at age 25 -- assuming that your intent is a sabbatical in the next 2-3 years...  not when you are 35, etc.

1)  You freely admit that the  current goal is to make more income, once schooling is finally wrapped up, etc -- you won't make more money by taking a year off,  it will push your career income sideways  or "on hold" until you take the time to invest time and talents into it.   Do you want to be in career stall until you are 30 and have to work until you are 50?   Remember that those pension workplaces value stable, long term employees, to get the most benefit, that includes rewarding with promotions the stable long term employees, if you are thinking about staying..

2)  You spent $5000 last year on travel?  That, my dear friend, is already sabbatical - level travel spending...  why do you need more?  Quite a lot of money, really, for a fairly new graduating student. 

3)  Maybe you should look at changing your career / employer, now that school is just about finished -- what about changing to an employer hiring for work in another country?  (travel for work instead of a sabbatical, and get paid a LOT of money to do so, because most people with families refuse that sort of assignment?)

4) For the other posters,  TFSA is the place to max out first, until you are making well over 60k per year.  No penalties to withdraw from RRSP, unless you take out so much in a single year, it bumps you into a higher tax bracket than when you put that money in.  The other "penalty" is a loss of total contribution room.

4)  I would definitely save up money towards a modest post-age 65 retirement.   Assume your pension would pay you $2000 per month if you FIRE -- aim to have $75k to $90k saved up by age 30.  This will take a lot of stress off of your future earning years after age 30, and allow you to save more quickly for that sabbatical.

 
Re: 2) - I know, I know, that was a lot on a trip (actually 2) and it's not my typical annual spending on travel. You have a lot of good points, I do need to consider what my long term plans are going to be. I'm not very happy in my current job because it's not very challenging and I don't think there's much room for advancement in my current area so when my schooling is done I should find something else. If I could find a job that included travel, I think I wouldn't feel as much of a need to take a sabbatical (and I know I'm a little young for that, but I want to do it before I have kids if I end up deciding to). I'll keep an eye out for international job opportunities, that might satisfy my wanderlust and still give me a chance to save for retirement. I don't want to be trapped in the thinking of "one day I'll have enough to travel like I've always wanted to" but I also don't want to spend everything I earn now and never have enough to retire later.  Gotta find the right balance, but earning more would help either way.

Goldielocks

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Re: Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2017, 02:38:43 PM »
If you want to travel for work, (not just stay in one place, in another country), look into technical sales - for domestic firms that have international sales.   e.g., A friend sells water treatment technology to municipal plants.  Another I know writes software for GIS systems used in oil and gas (and goes international sales trips and conferences 3x per year overseas).  DH's company has 3 international sales people selling sensors to industrial plants around the world.

Living abroad in one country, for an employer can be done through many types of work, like teaching english, or engineering or even procurement.  Industries that ramp up suddenly with very large projects are great -- look at international firms in oil and gas, bridge building, etc.  Note, you do tend to get bored of this after a year, unless you are based in a location where 3 day mini vacations give you a lot of travel options.

Good luck.  There are so many choices out there, you don't need to stick to your current employer to get what you want in life.

snowball

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Re: Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2017, 09:03:28 AM »
I'll keep an eye out for international job opportunities, that might satisfy my wanderlust and still give me a chance to save for retirement.

I vote for this option.  :)  Get paid to satisfy your wanderlust!  Might take a while to find something, but it would take a while to save up for the sabbatical idea, too.

I'm a bit biased because this is exactly what I've done - I moved to the Middle East in January for a job here.  I think it'll be an interesting place to live for a while, plus it's much cheaper/easier to travel to a lot of parts of the world with this as a home base instead of Canada.  And I got a significant salary bump for coming out here, plus free (nice) accommodation...Certain types of jobs pay a premium to attract Western-educated expats to come out here*, and not just in the oil industry.  The English-language colleges and universities out here hire in a lot of different fields, for example.

*as Goldielocks mentioned, these kinds of jobs can be hard to recruit for because people with spouses and/or kids tend not to be willing to uproot and move to the other side of the world, especially for a contract job of uncertain long-term future, however well paid.  But if you're adventurous...

Feel free to PM me if you want to chat about it.  :)  I should maybe also mention that I'm a woman, and that's the perspective I'm coming from about living here.  I don't regret this move at all;  I'm having fun, doing interesting work, and making great progress towards FI.  (That said, I'm a decade older than you and I've made major long distance moves before;  homesickness isn't something I'm prone to these days, but in my early twenties this was harder.  It probably helps that video chat is now a thing.  YMMV on that stuff.)

I admit I'm also probably still in the honeymoon period for this move, but I'm generally a glass-half-full sort of person, and I fully expect to be pretty positive about it throughout.  There are a lot of good things about it;  you just need to focus on that rather than the negatives (nothing's perfect in this world anyway).

This is the lucrative way to do living abroad, but doesn't work as a strategy if you want to live/work in a Western country, if you're not something super in-demand like a doctor.  You're probably limited to options like working holiday visas if you want to live/work in a country like that, which is still a cool option - I did that for a while shortly after graduating from school too - but is tough to make career-job-type wages with.

PoutineLover

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Re: Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA
« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2017, 12:53:18 PM »
I'll keep an eye out for international job opportunities, that might satisfy my wanderlust and still give me a chance to save for retirement.

I vote for this option.  :)  Get paid to satisfy your wanderlust!  Might take a while to find something, but it would take a while to save up for the sabbatical idea, too.

I'm a bit biased because this is exactly what I've done - I moved to the Middle East in January for a job here.  I think it'll be an interesting place to live for a while, plus it's much cheaper/easier to travel to a lot of parts of the world with this as a home base instead of Canada.  And I got a significant salary bump for coming out here, plus free (nice) accommodation...Certain types of jobs pay a premium to attract Western-educated expats to come out here*, and not just in the oil industry.  The English-language colleges and universities out here hire in a lot of different fields, for example.

*as Goldielocks mentioned, these kinds of jobs can be hard to recruit for because people with spouses and/or kids tend not to be willing to uproot and move to the other side of the world, especially for a contract job of uncertain long-term future, however well paid.  But if you're adventurous...

Feel free to PM me if you want to chat about it.  :)  I should maybe also mention that I'm a woman, and that's the perspective I'm coming from about living here.  I don't regret this move at all;  I'm having fun, doing interesting work, and making great progress towards FI.  (That said, I'm a decade older than you and I've made major long distance moves before;  homesickness isn't something I'm prone to these days, but in my early twenties this was harder.  It probably helps that video chat is now a thing.  YMMV on that stuff.)

I admit I'm also probably still in the honeymoon period for this move, but I'm generally a glass-half-full sort of person, and I fully expect to be pretty positive about it throughout.  There are a lot of good things about it;  you just need to focus on that rather than the negatives (nothing's perfect in this world anyway).

This is the lucrative way to do living abroad, but doesn't work as a strategy if you want to live/work in a Western country, if you're not something super in-demand like a doctor.  You're probably limited to options like working holiday visas if you want to live/work in a country like that, which is still a cool option - I did that for a while shortly after graduating from school too - but is tough to make career-job-type wages with.

Cool, that's super inspiring actually. I studied engineering and management, so I do have valuable skills that are applicable in other countries, but I guess it depends on the language as well. I'd like to live somewhere that I can easily travel to other places from, that's one thing I don't like about Canada, everything is so far away + expensive to get to. I'd rather not have a job that required long hours in a place with little vacation and low pay, like an aupair, because I think my current situation of 4 weeks off and 3 day weekends is still better than that, but I'm not sure exactly what job I would like to do. Digital nomad seems like a big trend now, but I'm not sure how to get into it or if most of those jobs are MLM type scams. I have heard of sites like workaway where you can find lodging in exchange for work situations, but that would still require me to use my savings for everything else. Guess I'm still in the research phase,  I'm not in a huge rush but would like to go within the next couple years.
I'm not too worried about homesickness, I left my hometown 8 years ago and I know my parents really miss me (and I miss them too) but I still see them every year and I'd probably visit or have them come see me wherever I went, but maybe not as often. Another thing I'm not sure how to deal with is my cat, I know it's crazy expensive and complicated to move pets abroad so I'd probably have to leave her with a willing family member or friend, I definitely don't want to give her up to a shelter. Getting rid of all or most of my stuff seems liberating, but I don't really want to abandon my kitty.

snowball

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Re: Help with finding more savings + investing my TFSA
« Reply #21 on: March 30, 2017, 11:01:06 PM »
It's feasible to take pets with you, and possibly less expensive/complicated than you're thinking (depending on the destination country) - there isn't necessarily a quarantine;  sometimes you just need up to date documentation of vaccinations.  I wouldn't rule it out as a possibility.  It's something to research when you're looking at specific job postings.

I don't get 3 day weekends here, but I do get seven weeks of vacation and an annual paid-for flight back to Canada.  I love expat benefits.  :)  Conversely, of course, I don't have the kind of job security some people really care about - I moved out here on an eight-month contract with the expectation (not guarantee) that it would be renewed, and now it is getting renewed, but only for another two years.  Two-three years is the max contract length my employer does.  But if you don't fritter all your money away like some expats do, the instability is not a problem;  Westerners here should have a big nest egg to tide them over if their job ends.  They make enough.  I don't have much sympathy for the ones who have no significant savings after being here for years.

Digital nomad-compatible work that pays decently...I think is difficult to get into early in your career if you're not in IT and not doing some kind of self-employed work.  Later on when you've built more of a track record and valuable skill set, I think it becomes more of an option on the table - depending on the kind of work an employer needs done.  I think I would have been able to parlay my last job into something like that, at the end, if I'd tried to negotiate a remote work kind of position;  they'd have gone for that rather than lose me.  But not only was there a lot of work that could be done remotely, they knew me well and valued my work.  Someone couldn't come in off the street and talk them into that.  I think that is often how these types of jobs develop - you're a known quantity and they trust your competence and work ethic, and so you negotiate from a strong position.  Especially if they want to keep you and the alternative is losing you.

I don't know if this is true of your variety of engineering, but in my industry there is an international professional association, and they post a lot of job openings on their website for employers who want to advertise internationally.  Useful because the fact that the employer is posting there tells you that they are definitely open to hiring someone from another country.  Perhaps you could find something similar.

I don't speak more than five words of Arabic, and I really don't need to in either my work or my daily life, here (though I'd like to learn some just as a personal-development goal).  There are a lot of opportunities out there for English-language speakers.  We are very lucky.