My baby brother started his first full-time job about two years ago and, being the wonderful big sister that I am, I got him a ton of money books from the library to read and told him that I was all-ears if he ever wanted to talk about money.
My brother, however, is stubborn and “hates numbers and math and money things”. He didn’t read any of the books that I lent him and has never discussed finances with me. To him, money is taboo and personal and private and I’m his big, nosy sister.
Well, nosy is right. One day he left bank documents on the table and I looked through them. To my surprise, they were TFSA documents! My baby brother has a TFSA! I ran to his room and started babbling on and on about what a TFSA is exactly (it’s a house that you put your investments in, not an investment itself) but he wanted nothing to do with me.
The last time that I visited my parents I found out his income and what he actually contributes to his TFSA. Let’s just say that a) my mother is way too proud of the income that he earns, b) he is saving exactly 2.6% of his monthly income and c) he claims that he can’t save any more.
This is ridiculous. He lives at home and has only his transit pass and cell phone as expenses. He’s going to end up like a Princess.
So. Long story short, what does this boil down to? He’s not trying hard enough.
I get it. Life is hard. He wants a new punching bag, he needs more protein powder, he has to get the dog groomed.
I’ve been living on poverty-line budgets for seven years. SEVEN years. I’ve paid over $10 000 for my teeth, over $25 000 for my college and university, over $12 000 on various vacations and yet I still manage to save. How? By sacrificing. Every sacrifice that I make now (not having a car, not having manicures, new boots, new clothes etc), means that I am able to save a little bit more come payday.
Am I destitute? Am I sobbing on the street corner because someone had to see me in the same outfit two times in a row (do people even notice this stuff)? Every once and awhile someone will comment on an element of my wardrobe or my lunch or non-Macbook and I just smile and nod and tell them that I have better things to spend my money on.
Like being debt-free. Like not living with my parents. This bullshit that he needs over $1 000 in disposable income a month is garbage. My entire monthly budget hovers around $1 200 a month and has done so for a consistent SEVEN years regardless of my income or job.
There are two schools of thought in the PF world — you should focus your efforts on making more money or you should focus on cutting expenses. I agree that it is often more efficient to focus on making more money but, at the same time, if you don’t have basic savings habits, a higher income will be met with higher expenses.
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