Katty, 30, feels ‘hopeless’ watching home prices rise faster than her savings

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Name, age: Katty, 30

Annual income: $77,250

Debt: $250 on credit card, $5,000 on line of credit

Savings: $33,000 in savings account, $6,500 in tax-free savings account

What she does: Senior project co-ordinator in construction

Where she lives: London, Ont.

Top financial concern: “The system that the country has allowed for the past years that pushes even those with decent income out of the housing market.”

Katty lives in a one-bedroom apartment in a part of London, Ont., that she describes as “not the cleanest.”

“The streets are mostly messy,” says the 30-year-old immigrant from Jamaica, who trained as a chemical engineer but now works in the construction industry. “You don’t have a lot of thriving businesses.”

Her 500-square-foot unit, which has been treated for cockroaches five times in two years, costs $1,281, with the rent set to go up past $1,300 soon in its annual increase.

“It’s not worth it,” she says, but finding anything else that’s affordable is hard. She’s staying there so she can keep putting as much away as possible in the hopes of buying her own house. Unfortunately, house prices are rising at a faster rate than she can save for a down payment, leaving her feeling “hopeless” and stuck in what seems for now like an untenable rental situation without an end in sight.

“The more you save, the more time it takes, in a sense, because the prices of homes are going up. A $250,000 or $300,000 house doesn’t exist.”

Katty feels that the decision-makers in the government have let her and younger generations down by allowing housing costs to spiral out of control. She says she’s one of many who has done all the “right” things – get an education, work hard and save money – but still can’t afford a comfortable life.

“You go to school with this idea that, yes, your life could be better and you could be fully independent, but when you look at the current conditions, if I don’t get married, my future looks like renting indefinitely and I think that’s a hopeless way to live,” says Katty, whose current work project includes building rental apartments that she cannot afford. “Society is not meeting me halfway, or like 10 per cent of the way.”

In addition to the basics, Katty helps out her mom, who had a stroke last year while she was visiting Canada and did not have travel insurance. The resulting medical care ended up costing Katty $11,000. She also travelled back home to spend Christmas with her mom, a trip that cost about $2,500.

Katty also gives $500 per month as a tithe, split between her current and past churches, following a biblical teaching that people should give back a portion of their income. She feels that a professional with a job like hers should be able to afford to support their church and community.

“It’s not tithing that’s the issue,” Katty says. “We shouldn’t have to compromise our principles to live.”

Her typical monthly expenses:

Investment and savings: $1,450

$1,400 to savings account.

$50 to TFSA. “Invested in stocks.”

Servicing debt: $630

$100 to credit card

$150 to line of credit. “I invested in a hair business.”

$380 on car payment. “A brand new car.”

Household and transportation: $1,851

$1,281 to rent. “My one goal since I’ve been here is to buy a house.”

$25 to renter’s insurance

$45 to utilities

$200 on gas

$190 on car insurance

$10 on car repairs. “The first service was free, the second was $120.”

$45 to cell phone

$55 to internet

Food and drink: $500

$350 on groceries.

$150 on restaurants

Miscellaneous: $1,133

$75 on clothing

$100 to parent care. “My mom had a stroke last year and I’ve been helping out as much as I can.”

$70 on hair stylist. “I usually do my own hair but right now I am wearing braids. They serve me two months.”

$60 on cosmetics. “Foundation, face cream, stuff like that.”

$120 on pharmacy items. “Things like iron meds and painkillers.”

$208 on vacations. “My last trip to Jamaica was $2,500.”

$500 on church tithes. “A principle from the Bible that guides us to return a portion of what we are blessed with.”

Some details may be changed to protect the privacy of the person profiled. We want to thank them for sharing their story. Are you a millennial or Gen Z who would like to participate in a paycheque profile? Send us an e-mail.


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