Author Topic: I know it's a super wide question. What to do with my life? 26 yo, 100k [Canada]  (Read 2300 times)

Quebec

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Hello all,

I like MMMís blog, but I think I even prefer this Forum! Would be glad to have some feedback, advices, comments on my situation and discuss some more. This is my first post so not sure how to construct the whole thing, but will first present a breakdown of expenses/revenues/savings and then just talk a bit about myself.


Male, 26 yo, living with girlfriend in Montreal, Canada. I guess itís a MCOL area. Maybe considered LCOL (especially if you compare to major US tech cities per example or Vancouver/Toronto).

My Individual Expenses (monthly):
  • Rent: 400$
    Nights out, alcohol, activities: 200$
    Health insurance (mandatory): 150$
    Groceries: 150$
    Restaurants: 120$
    Travel: 100$ (meaning 1 nice trip per year or so)
    Sports (ice hockey and tennis): 100$
    Car (gas, insurance, maintenance): 100$
    Internet & cable TV: 50$ Ė I donít really need cable, but my girlfriend likes it and costs a fraction of the total bill: approx. 15$/month for cable that I could save
    Subway/metro pass: 45$
    Clothing (including footwear): 50$
    Electricity: 30$
    Miscellaneous (gifts, wtv, Ö): 30$

Total: 1525$/month, so 18 300$/year. Maybe some other expenses here and there but maximum 20k$/year.

My expenses are fairly well tracked, but will be using an app to track everything that comes out of my pocket in 2018. I still expect to spend 20k$ max.


My Revenues (yearly):
  • Gross salary: 57k$ (+ cellphone paid and some travel expenses). I guess itís close to 60k.
  • Net salary: 42k$ approx. (We do pay a lot of taxes in Canada and other bunch of stuff for what we call our social safety net here. However, I am maxing my RRSP (401k equivalent) so saving quite a bit of taxes with that)


My Savings:
  • Current bank account: 17k
  • Brokerage account: 60k (sum of RRSP and TFSA accounts). I started my brokerage account 1 year ago. Mostly in SP500 Vanguard and Canadian stocks. Also took a position representing 7k in small capitalization companies (high risk, high reward).
  • No debt

I also have a car worth about 14k$ as of today. I inherited that from family (paid 5k$ for it). I typically put 6000 miles/yr on it only. I donít use it to go to work so I could live without it I guess, but like the luxury of doing my groceries with a car, go to the arena to play hockey, visit family, etc... I also use it for work periodically (mileage reimbursed at a good rate by my job).

Net worth is therefore: 91k$ CAD


Finally, a more descriptive outlook of me.

Finished university degree in engineering in December 2015. Been working at the same job since (2 years). Got a pay upgrade of 8% last year and expect to have a similar one this year. I donít like my job that much. It is kind of boring, but Iíve been working through it for different reasons. I would say that the no. 1 reason is being afraid to end up with worse. I believe that the job itself is not the problem, but rather that Iím not passionate enough about anything. I have a great boss, great colleagues, flexibility and decent salary, but Iím still only waiting for the next weekend to be around so I can hangout with friends, practice sports, read, watch movies with girlfriend, etcÖ I am and always been lazy when it comes to work and routine.

I donít consider myself as an engineer per se. I studied in this field but I now have a more classic office-type job, though technologically oriented. Some of my colleagues are from business schools and other from engineering backgrounds. I canít say that I am passionate about engineering. My biggest passion would probably be sports. I play hockey and tennis at a fairly good level and also a bunch of other (cycling, running, basketball, baseball, etcÖ). Iím also a sports enthusiastic with regards to NHL, NFL, ATP, etc.. Not a maniac, but Iím quite knowledgeable.

I also like some business stuff (real estate, investing, Ö) and look forward to being a landlord sometime. My life is not stable at this point which prevents me from buying something. Iím unsure about the location and prices in Montreal for multiplex are pretty high. No where close to 1% rule or wtv. Still, I might have to make a move sooner than later on that real estate front.


I think I am already pretty frugal with my spending and love the idea of early-retirement. I would still see myself working part time (10-20h/wk) at something I like once retired, plus taking care of 1 or 2 rental properties. I also would like to have 1 or 2 kids around the age of 30 (thatís in only 4 years, wow! :O)


So I guess this is a pretty broad outlook of my situation. Any advices? I feel like my objective for 2018 should be to take a decision towards my work situation. Can I find something more enjoyable? Knowing that one way or the other, I still have 10-15 years of working time minimumÖ The "problem" with me is that I'm curious and good at many different things, but not passionate about 1 thing enough to devote my life to it. Anybody relates to this? I don't think there is a job out there that I would be okay doing 40hrs/week. It does not leave enough time for leizure, socializing with friends, etc. #firstworldproblems


Thanks and look forward to discuss any topic (including this yearís Montreal Canadiens under-performance)!
« Last Edit: January 16, 2018, 08:03:18 AM by Quebec »

Canadian Ben

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The only point I see is the mandatory health insurance. 260$ is pretty significant.

For the rest, the only way to do better is to increase your salary (which will be ever higher when you take your investments into account); Side-hustles would be another option.

PoutineLover

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Wow, we have so much in common I just had to say hi. Same age, location, education, similar mindset and goals.
I guess I don't have much advice to give since I have almost the same issues in my life, so I'm curious to see what others say.
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Cubert

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You've got a good head on your shoulders, I'll say that much! I'd so wished there was a community like this when I was in my twenties and thirties. Alas...

I would suggest you consider using that 17K towards a downpayment on your first rental property - a single family house. As a single person, your "emergency fund" especially at your age, could be met with a couple of decent credit cards.

Consider holding off on kids until 35. Give yourself another five years of self discovery, kid-free travel, etc.

With the job thing - just relax and enjoy the ride. You'll meet some good people along the way and maybe even find some projects and bosses tolerable. Time will fly - so you have to remember to live life today, even if you're not retired yet as you'd prefer to be.

Best!
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Quebec

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The only point I see is the mandatory health insurance. 260$ is pretty significant.

For the rest, the only way to do better is to increase your salary (which will be ever higher when you take your investments into account); Side-hustles would be another option.
Yeah I know.. Honestly, I had the same reaction when I saw this on my pay stub. I asked at my job and apparently it is the minimum and mandatory.. I will dig deeper into that though and compare with family and friends.

Wow, we have so much in common I just had to say hi. Same age, location, education, similar mindset and goals.
I guess I don't have much advice to give since I have almost the same issues in my life, so I'm curious to see what others say.
That's funny. Glad you said hi. Don't hesitate to refer me to your thread if you start one. Are you working in industry? How do you like it? (And what about your "mandatory insurance" costs? ;) )

You've got a good head on your shoulders, I'll say that much! I'd so wished there was a community like this when I was in my twenties and thirties. Alas...

I would suggest you consider using that 17K towards a downpayment on your first rental property - a single family house. As a single person, your "emergency fund" especially at your age, could be met with a couple of decent credit cards.

Consider holding off on kids until 35. Give yourself another five years of self discovery, kid-free travel, etc.

With the job thing - just relax and enjoy the ride. You'll meet some good people along the way and maybe even find some projects and bosses tolerable. Time will fly - so you have to remember to live life today, even if you're not retired yet as you'd prefer to be.

Best!

Thanks for the reply. It seems that a single family house for renting is not super popular around here. Would still be open to that if the maths are good. Like I said a bit previously, I know quite well the area in Montreal regarding real estate, and the game is rough. Multiple offers, houses or 3-4plex selling over the asked price, etc... However, if I stay forever on the sidelines, this is not better. "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take". I'll need to figure this one out.

You seem to have a nice blog btw. I'll check it out.

Edit: Just to precise on the real estate game. The typical price for a 3plex in a pretty central location would be 600-800k$ for revenues of only 30k-40k/yr. 20x the asked price. Nowhere near cashflow positive. Need to move to approx 50-100km from Montreal to see some decent deals.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2018, 08:55:30 AM by Quebec »

Canadian Ben

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You don`t need to invest in Mtl. I'm in Ottawa, but the numbers are much better if you leave the city. Since Mtl has a large portion owners banking on capital gains (increased home value) it would be safer to choose an area that does fit the 1% criteria. Even paying for a property manager in an area that has better returns could be more more profitable than buying below the 1% rule.

kaypinkHH

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A few years a head of you, but at 26 was a very similar position! (Toronto not Montreal).

Some thoughts:
- Would buying a house and then doing a live in/airbnb/roommate/renter situation make more sense than a stand alone rental property? Maybe it isn't feasible to do so right now, but you can start working towards that goal..all the while saving money, nothing wrong with that! Around 26 Mr.HH and I bought a house, and then rented out the basement to a roommate for a few months, and then did airbnb. 3 years later we sold the house and moved to a LCOL city.  Worked really well for us :D, but YMMV.

- Look for ways to make your job more exciting- different role, new projects etc. You only been there for 2 years, there may be ways to make it more interesting. Also start considering the next step whether it is within the company or with a new company. Look at free training/development that makes you a better candidate for future roles. I totally went through the same thing an spent a solid year going "what am I doing with my career", was considering a major change (MBA), but ended up working on an interesting project, and then used that experience to change jobs and locations and now I'm really happy I didn't go back to school.

- Find a side hustle with sports that gives you cash and a way to develop your passion! Two birds one stone. Yes it sucks to spend 40+ hrs a week sitting around being bored, but at least you would have something else to look forward to!

- Separate the ideology that you have 10-15 years "stuck" in employment vs the current unhappiness with your job. You may be bored now, but who knows what the next job/position/role will be. Some years go by faster than others. Also, your income will mostly go up quite a bit in the next 3 years in this industry. If you continue living the frugal life with increased income by 36 you could be COMPLETELY OUT, that is amazing!! Even a few years past where you are at, I'm finding unbelievable the snowball effect of having savings/investments/real estate. Money gets more money if you use it correctly (which you are!)

PoutineLover

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Wow, we have so much in common I just had to say hi. Same age, location, education, similar mindset and goals.
I guess I don't have much advice to give since I have almost the same issues in my life, so I'm curious to see what others say.
That's funny. Glad you said hi. Don't hesitate to refer me to your thread if you start one. Are you working in industry? How do you like it? (And what about your "mandatory insurance" costs? ;) )
I work at a university, it's alright but not what I envision for myself long term, and it's not full time which is good (long weekend every week) and bad (not full time pay) but I'm currently looking for better opportunities. I just have an aversion to working 40 hours a week, so it's hard to be motivated when I'm not sure what I'd really like to do.
My insurance costs $117 a month, that includes health, dental and long term disability.
Hopefully you have really good benefits if you pay that much more!
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Laura33

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People feel differently about their jobs.  Some people find something that they are passionate about and throw themselves into it.  Some people find a job that is pretty interesting or helps them develop other skills or find other things that make the job decent, even if they aren't passionate about what they do.  Some people are bored but figure the job is a relatively painless way to fund the things they really are passionate about, or make enough that it's worth dealing with boredom to get to FIRE faster.  And some people detest the job and can't wait to ditch it for anything else.

I get the sense that you are in one of those middle categories -- the job is ok, even has some things you like, but it isn't a passion and never will be.  And that's ok.  There's nothing wrong with you, and there's nothing wrong with the job.

But I also get the sense that you are a little adrift.  Because, of course, the current ethos is that you're supposed to "follow your passion" and find "meaning" in your work.  So when the job is just meh, and you can't figure out how to make a living from your real passions, what's the point?  Which way do you go? 

FWIW, this is also perfectly normal.  I won't waste your time ranting about how I think "follow your passion" is a crock that has set millions of successful people up to feel like failures because they were doing perfectly well but couldn't achieve some completely unrealistic level of personal fulfillment from this one thing.  To my mind, happiness = the delta between experience and expectations, so you are much better off with low expectations for your job, which you are then pleasantly surprised to surpass, than you are with high expectations that you can never meet.*

My advice would be to start defining yourself and your life more broadly than "work" and "hobbies."  Specifically:  your 20s should be the time where you are throwing yourself into developing your skills and talents and knowledge.  And I mean that broadly -- not just becoming better at Excel, but understanding how businesses work, or becoming a better communicator, or understanding what makes people tick, or [insert a gazillion other things here].  The benefit to this approach is that it isn't limited to whatever series of tasks you are assigned at work -- you can focus on the things you are actually interested in and driven by.

For example, you seem actually excited about real estate.  OK, cool -- there are a number of people who have done extremely well with real estate.  So learn as much as you can about investing in RE!  Read everything you can get your hands on, talk to/develop relationships with successful RE investors, join local RE investing groups, go visit properties and start to learn the good/bad features and real numbers involved, investigate RE in other areas that are possibilities, learn about taxes and whether you'd want to incorporate and the logistical aspects of running a business, etc.  Seriously:  if you are that good at stats and trivia and such, think of how much power you'd have if you applied that talent to figuring out the numbers on RE deals! 

And in the meantime, keep socking as much away as possible so that when the right opportunity comes along -- and you have the background knowledge you need to identify that opportunity -- you also have the assets to jump.  You know the old saying that success = luck + preparation?  Spend your time doing the preparation part, so that when the luck strikes (and it will -- it always does), you are prepared to take advantage of it.

Note that this approach also requires patience.  What you don't want to do is get so excited about RE that you jump into a bad deal (which you don't yet have the knowledge to identify as such).  One of the inspirational sayings painted on the floor of my gym is that success is the result of limiting failure, so be smart and patient, and know your own weaknesses.  It's totally, completely ok if it takes you years to find your first deal:  because in the interim, you have this perfectly tolerable, decently-paid day job that meets your needs and allows you to save, right?  And maybe that job will become even more tolerable once you don't need it to be the be-all and end-all that provides you meaning and purpose.

Note also that this doesn't have to be RE.  You could also throw yourself into business, or into looking for some way to turn your love or sports into a career**.  The point is to focus right now on the process, not the goal; you are growing yourself right now, even though you don't know what the exact end result is going to be, because those skills you gain are going to make you much stronger down the road when some opportunity comes your way.***


*Oops, sorry, guess I ranted after all.

**Note: the sports option will be significantly lower-paid -- because, generally, the more fun the job, the higher the number of people who want to do it, and so the less companies have to pay to attract talent.  But that doesn't mean that you can't do what kaypinkHH said and find a way to monetize it in your spare time, right?  Maybe you can ref hockey matches part-time to offset some of your league costs and get a partial fix (and some exercise) that way.  Or get a part-time job at the rink, or whatever -- you get the idea.  Or, heck, coach a kids' team and get some additional fulfillment that way.

***Trust me on this.  My current position literally didn't exist when I started school.  Yet looking back on it, it is the only job I can think of that manages to combine the specific talents and abilities I have, while not boring the shit out of me.
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Quebec

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A few years a head of you, but at 26 was a very similar position! (Toronto not Montreal).

Some thoughts:
- Would buying a house and then doing a live in/airbnb/roommate/renter situation make more sense than a stand alone rental property? Maybe it isn't feasible to do so right now, but you can start working towards that goal..all the while saving money, nothing wrong with that! Around 26 Mr.HH and I bought a house, and then rented out the basement to a roommate for a few months, and then did airbnb. 3 years later we sold the house and moved to a LCOL city.  Worked really well for us :D, but YMMV.

- Look for ways to make your job more exciting- different role, new projects etc. You only been there for 2 years, there may be ways to make it more interesting. Also start considering the next step whether it is within the company or with a new company. Look at free training/development that makes you a better candidate for future roles. I totally went through the same thing an spent a solid year going "what am I doing with my career", was considering a major change (MBA), but ended up working on an interesting project, and then used that experience to change jobs and locations and now I'm really happy I didn't go back to school.

- Find a side hustle with sports that gives you cash and a way to develop your passion! Two birds one stone. Yes it sucks to spend 40+ hrs a week sitting around being bored, but at least you would have something else to look forward to!

- Separate the ideology that you have 10-15 years "stuck" in employment vs the current unhappiness with your job. You may be bored now, but who knows what the next job/position/role will be. Some years go by faster than others. Also, your income will mostly go up quite a bit in the next 3 years in this industry. If you continue living the frugal life with increased income by 36 you could be COMPLETELY OUT, that is amazing!! Even a few years past where you are at, I'm finding unbelievable the snowball effect of having savings/investments/real estate. Money gets more money if you use it correctly (which you are!)
On your 1st comment: Yes this could be possible. I do pay a great rent actually as I am renting the condo of a family member. 800$/month in a central location is quite hard to beat, especially living with my girlfriend so splitting that cost. However, mid-term, the bachelor-type appartment rent/airBNB is definitely a winning combination.

Thanks for the rest of the comments. I like your approach. For me to FIRE sooner than later, the increase in income is indeed necessary. Like you said it should come in the next 3-5 years.


I work at a university, it's alright but not what I envision for myself long term, and it's not full time which is good (long weekend every week) and bad (not full time pay) but I'm currently looking for better opportunities. I just have an aversion to working 40 hours a week, so it's hard to be motivated when I'm not sure what I'd really like to do.
My insurance costs $117 a month, that includes health, dental and long term disability.
Hopefully you have really good benefits if you pay that much more!
I feel you. The first 3 months of my job career after university I was at 4 days/week. Loved the schedule but 20% less pay is also significative.



@Laura33
Thanks for this post that I find encouraging. I like your vision of jobs and focus on "process" rather than the goal.

My natural profile is a ďjack of all trades, master of noneĒ type. I see this as positive and negative at the same time. For me, to become master at something, you must be passionate about it and/or highly motivated. I am curious and like to read stuff, browse the web, discuss with people to get a general understanding on many many topics, but have a harder time when it comes to having the motivation to dig deep on a specific subject and master it. I know this is one of my flaws.

One way to solve this would be register myself in some training/events/courses on topics of interest. By having something formal in my schedule and that I paid for (in some cases), I will be putting the required time.

TravelJunkyQC

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Several things have been covered in the other responses here, so I won't repeat them.

The only thing I would say would be again about the mandatory health insurance. I've been there as well with my previous job, and the one thing that I could do to reduce and/or eliminate it, was if I could prove that I already had another insurance through my partner.

Are you and your GF considered common-law at this point? Does she have health insurance that could cover you, or vice-versa? Are you both paying for private health insurance individually, because if so, it's probably profitable for you to combine that expenditure in one pay-check instead of two (the premium will go up, but will still be less than the combination of the two, most likely).

Other than that, you're doing great!

Quebec

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Had some clarifications regarding my insurance costs. I was reading my pay stub wrong.

It is 260$/month, but my employer is paying half of that. The only other downside is that I pay taxes on that amount (it is a taxable advantage). So I guess it's closer to 1800$/year instead of 3000$.


Finances_With_Purpose

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So first, I'll add a HUGE second to everything @Laura33 said.  There's tons of wisdom there.  Life sets people up to think that you have to have this all-fulfilling job, follow your passions, etc., but reality is much more mundane, and a lot of that stuff just causes people to set their expectations high enough that they often feel unfulfilled.

So I'll second what she said: you're feeling normal things.  It may well just be that this is how life is: neither a problem with you nor a problem with your job. 

With that said, you sound as though you're genuinely searching for alternatives.  I'll recommend this book for thinking through what you may want to do. 

You may also want to consider aptitude testing.  Johnson O'Connor Foundation does it, as do other places.  It may give you insights into the types of tasks and things you would enjoy doing most for 40+ hours per week.  Both the book and this culminate in you researching and exploring options - not necessarily trying a new career, but seeing what else may be out there.  Sometimes that takes off into something new. 

With all of that said, work is often hard and is supposed to be.  That's just how it is, even in the best jobs.  So you may find more fulfillment by simply lowering your expectations of your job and sticking with the current job. 

Quebec

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Thanks for your post and book suggestion. Reading right now Running & Being from George Sheehan, will put Now What in my list.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Sure.  Hope it's as good for you as it was for me.  Would love to hear what you learn.