All posts by Helen Chevreau

Toronto Rentals vs. Hong Kong: A matter of perspective

There’s been plenty of discussion recently surrounding Toronto’s hot housing market. First-time buyers are being priced out and young prospective home buyers are being pushed further and further away from the city’s desirable centre. With all this talk, it’s easy to get caught up and lose perspective, but lucky for you, I’m here to remind you to count those blessings (however meagre they may be).

Sure, the housing situation in cities like Vancouver and Toronto may be less than ideal, and yes, something should be done to improve the way things are going. However, there are far more dire housing situations in other top-tier cities, which, when compared to Toronto, really make everything here seem — dare I say –breezy?

Related Read: INFOGRAPHIC – July GTA Sales Plunge 40%

Taking A Global Rental Perspective

Take, for instance, Hong Kong. As those who’ve read my posts on Findependence Hub may know, I lived in Hong Kong teaching English. It is one of the most bustling, vibrant cities I’ve ever experienced, but I can only defend it so much once the subject of housing prices comes up. Year after year, Hong Kong tops all the lists of ‘most expensive housing,’ and having rented there for a year, I have to concede defeat on that point. For what you get in Hong Kong, there is much to be desired.

 

Chevreau’s Hong Kong apartment was tight on square footage.

Chevreau’s Hong Kong apartment was tight on square footage

If you’re like most millennials and looking to break into the housing market for the first time –- perhaps in a Toronto condo –- you’ve most likely experienced the disillusionment that inevitably comes when you realize the prices you’re looking at paying, even after this summer’s price correction. In the city of Toronto, the average price per square foot, or PPSF, is around $649 with an average home cost of around $550,000. This number spikes to $800 PSF if you’re looking to put down roots in ‘downtown Toronto’ (anywhere south of Bloor, west of Yonge, east of Bathurst).

Related Read: 5 Ways to Get Ahead in the Toronto Rental Market

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Millennial Money: How Daydreaming can help you Budget

If you can dream it, you can achieve it” is a saying more often seen on an inspirational Instagram account than in a financial blog. While I am loath to agree with the sentiment of a mere bumper sticker, dreaming really can be an excellent tool for those struggling to get their financial futures in order.

I began to think about the value of dreams in achieving financial freedom a few months ago. From there I decided to do some research on the subject. What is it about having defined dreams that can help solidify steps needed to achieve goals? When, if ever, is dreaming going to hurt instead of help?

I came across this blog post from ‘The Lady in the Black’ site, which includes a variety of guest bloggers all chiming in with that they consider the true value of using our daydreams to achieve our financial goals.

It’s safe to say we all love a good daydream once in a while. It can be an excellent way to escape the day-to-day uncertainty in our lives. More importantly, however, daydreaming can be an opportunity to really discover what is most important to your future financial wellbeing, and can even help you plan a concrete goal for that future.

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Millennial Money: How I deal with my Financial Anxiety

How do I deal with my Financial Anxiety? Other than “I don’t.”

As a ‘mature student’ and a Millennial I find myself really struggling to maintain any sort of enviable lifestyle on a basically non-existent budget. At 25, it feels beyond embarrassing to still be relying on my parents, especially after having had a 1-year contract (in Hong Kong) which kept me self-sufficient. Though it has felt at times like a back-track, I know that in the long run this step back into financial dependence will be worth it.

In discussions with some of my friends, it became clear that I was in no way alone in feeling a little lost and hopeless in the finances department. It has been said time and time again that as millennials, we are meant to be discovering our passions and taking risks with our careers, but clearly all of this does little to dissuade those of us in the midst of these struggles from feeling as if we’re doing something terribly wrong.

Stop comparing yourself to your peers

How am I meant to reconcile these feelings with the facts I know to be true ( it’s just temporary! As soon as you’re finished school you’ll feel so much better about your finances)? One of my closest friends had some helpful words when I came to her with how I was feeling: You have to stop comparing yourself to people around you.

I’m sure that response has elicited at least one “duh!” from this audience, and even I myself am well aware of this simple truth. It is, however, a different thing to actually put into practice.

We’re at the age now where half of us are well into our careers, purchasing first homes, getting married, and even starting to have children. Meanwhile the other half (the camp I fall into) are running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to find one stable thing in our lives to grab hold of to keep us steady. Continue Reading…

Millennial Money: An experiment in money-saving hacks

As both a student and a millennial, my eyes are always peeled for helpful tips and advice on how to manage my finances. I recently came across this article from refinery 29 about “10 Bizarre Money Habits Making Millennials Richer.”

While I usually try and avoid this ‘listicle’ format, I was intrigued enough to look into it. The list surprised me in that it actually did include some new tips I hadn’t heard about before, like literally freezing your credit card (See image to the left).

I decided to run a little experiment based on this article, and I’m sharing the results with you now. I didn’t think it would be feasible to try and implement all ten of the habits. Besides, some of them don’t apply to me (I no longer have a car or any recurring payments coming out of my bank account), so I decided to focus on just a few of the tips to see how easy they really were to put into action.

Tip 1: Pick a denomination and save it

The first tip I implemented was to pick a denomination and save it, always. Unlike the article, I don’t get paid in cash (or at all really, apart from payment for blogs like this), so the only time I come into contact with physical cash is when I take it out of an ATM or get cash back at the grocery store.

I thought I’d start small: I would save all my £2 coins [the UK pound is the currency where I currently live, in Scotland] in a jar on my desk. This actually turned out to work quite well for me, as my current wallet is a card carrier without any space for coins. Every time I received change I separated out the £2 coins,  then made sure to move them into the jar every couple of days. After three weeks of this method, though, I had only saved around £12. Turns out, £2 coins aren’t given out that frequently as change.

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Review — The Defining Decade: Why your Twenties matter

41UYuubxN8L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_It was a few years ago now that my mom came to me and told me about this book I just absolutely had to read.

As with most things my mother tells me, I nodded, then continued on as if nothing was said. She gave me a copy of the book but I just put it on my shelf, along with many other parental recommendations that I never quite had the time to pick up and get to.

This past January, though, I was sitting around with my friends and they were all panicking about this book they were reading, and how their lives weren’t where they should be for our age, and how their entire perspective had shifted after reading it. Naturally, I was intrigued. What is this book and why is it so powerful as to elicit such a panic from my friends?

As luck would have it, the book they were discussing was the same book my mother had tried to get me to read years before, and I knew exactly where it was sitting on my shelf. I picked up The Defining Decade as soon as I got home that evening, and didn’t put it down ’til it was done.

‘The Defining Decade’ by Meg Jay, PhD is, as cliché as it may sound, a call to action. Continue Reading…