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I wish I could rewind time

I wish I knew 5 years ago that I’d want a condo eventually. I really wish I had thought things through. Planned ahead. I wish I had saved up a ridiculous amount of money, so that when I did get to the stage where I could actually afford mortgage payments, I’d be okay with the 25% down payment to avoid that nasty default insurance.

But, I didn’t.

So here I sit, 24 years old, twiddling my thumbs and frantically trying to save up money as fast as I can. I wish I were like my sister. For some reason she has the “spend less, save more” gene I apparently don’t have. I wonder what made her the way she is, and made me the complete opposite. While I try to play catch-up with my finances, by the time she’s my age, I betcha she’ll be all set to go, without a financial care in the world.

The thing is, with our combined income, I know my boyfriend and I could easily buy a brand new condo right now in the downtown area, and be living quite comfortably – even in the hot real estate market we live in (the average house here costs over $500,000!) … but it’s tricky. Buying property with someone is a huge investment not only financially, but also in the relationship. I always thought that I’d buy my first condo by myself, and then buy my first house when I got married. Now that I’m in a relationship, and we’re looking down that long-term road, I don’t know if I like what I see.

Investments give me headaches

I’ve been wondering if I’m making sound choices with my investments. I want the most “bang for my buck,” but with limited investment knowledge, it’s hard for me to grasp exactly what I should be doing.

My emergency fund is currently in a PC Financial Interest First account that’s earning 3% interest. Once I have over $1000, I will transfer the balance into the Interest Plus account, which will earn me 4%, plus an anniversary bonus each year I keep a minimum of $1000 in the account. The reason why I chose this account is because it’s highly liquid. I’ll have access to my funds in 24 hours, and as high interest savings accounts go, PC Financial beats practically everyone.

My mortgage down payment fund is being held in a non-registered mutual fund with TD Canada Trust. This is where I don’t think I’m making the right move. The MER on this MF is quite high (I believe it was at 2.39%). I want to earn more than a 4% return, but since I plan on spending the money within 2 years, I don’t really know where to park it. I’m getting a 7.5% return right now, which is practically nothing. I’d like to be earning at least 10% … but how?

My RRSP is being held in a registered Balance Growth mutual fund with TD Canada Trust. It’s the same fund that my mortgage down payment fund is in, with the difference being this one is tax sheltered. This is earning 7.5%, and I’m okay with that for now. Once I’ve gotten more investment knowledge, I’d like to try TD’s eFunds, and manage my own financial portfolio (goodbye, ridiculously high MER!).

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