A marketing manager in Calgary

Occupation: Marketing Manager
Industry: Real Estate
Age: 36
Location: Calgary, AB
My Salary: $103,200 ($93,400 plus a $9,800 bonus)
My Partner, P.’s, Salary: $85,000
Net Worth: $197,800 (personal RRSP invested with Wealthsimple: $34,000; TFSA with WealthSimple: $17,000; work RRSP/DPSP: $18,500; other savings: $2,300; two cars: $50,000; home equity: $410,000)
Debt: $334,000 ($294,000 left on our mortgage and $40,000 owing on our cars)
My Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $2,580
P.’s Paycheque Amount: (2x/month): $2,200
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Mortgage, Property Taxes & Life Insurance: $2,591 (We’ve lived in our home for six years. We only put 5% down, which of course was a terrible idea. However, we’ve been happy with the security our home has given us.)
Car & House Insurance: $398.86
My Car Payment: $541.66
P.’s Car Payment: $409.50
Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, The New York Times & The Globe & Mail: $53.52
Gas & Electricity: $275
Both Our Phones: $105
Internet: $100
Donations: $95 (The Calgary Distress Centre, Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society, and Kids Cancer Care)
RRSP: $1,114 (deducted from my paycheque and matched by employer)
TFSA: $200
Savings: $1,025
Vacation Fund: $200
P.’s Savings: $1,000

Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Yes. My parents, and especially my mother, were adamant that my sister and I get university degrees. I didn’t think university was important when I was younger, so my grades weren’t great (also, I was rebelling against my mom). She died when I was almost 18, and it threw me for a loop. I graduated from high school late and had to take upgrading classes in college before doing a communications degree at university. I struggled in school not because it was difficult, but because I found it impractical. There were so many classes that you had to take as filler, and I felt like I didn’t learn much that would help me in the real world. Looking back, my education did teach me to write well and think critically — both skills I use every day. I also got my first real job more than 10 years ago because I had a B.A., so you were right, Mom! My dad paid for school, other than $2,000 I had to contribute every year. I also had to maintain a 75% average or I had to contribute more. I’m incredibly thankful that my dad was so generous. Graduating debt-free is the most generous gift.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
We didn’t talk about finances when we were young. I knew both my parents worked for everything they had and didn’t want us to struggle like they did. My mother talked a lot about making her own clothes and moving out on her own at 17. She even encouraged me to marry rich through my teenage years! However, my parents always liked nice things for themselves and were pretty upper-middle-class. My dad was quietly quite successful and was able to retire in his late 40s after my mother passed away. I had to figure out money in my mid-20s.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
I steadily babysat from ages 12 to 18 but didn’t get my first proper job until I was almost 20. Again, in retrospect, I realize how lucky I was! I was a hostess at a restaurant and quickly became a server. I loved it and served tables constantly until I started my current career.

Did you worry about money growing up?
No. My parents always seemed savvy with money. We didn’t go on expensive trips but did do a couple of road trips every year as a family.

Do you worry about money now?
Yes. It feels like I started saving relatively late, and I worry we won’t have enough to retire. However, with my mom dying so young, I know she didn’t get to experience as much as she wanted, and it’s important to me to have good experiences while I’m young enough to enjoy them, so I don’t have the same regrets as her.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I was fully financially responsible for myself at 25. I moved across the country and haven’t asked for a dime since. I know I could ask my dad, but he did so much for me when I was younger, especially after my mom died. I could never bring myself to ask him unless it was extremely necessary. He worked hard for his money, and I don’t want to impact his retirement with my needs.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
I inherited jewelry from both my grandmothers and my mother.


Candice Cearley

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