Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Could you date someone who makes significantly less than you?

428981_10150511290730248_507680247_9376684_690475059_nRecently I read a blog post by a woman who refuses to date men who make less than six figures. “I am all about living life, and not about working to pay for it,” she wrote. At first, I was outraged because shouldn’t we all be striving for our own personal financial independence? It’s the main goal of this blog! But now that it’s been a couple of weeks since I first read that post, I have to admit that I kind of get where she’s coming from.

I’ve never specifically laid out financial requirements for a potential partner, but I’ve always gravitated towards men who were ambitious and financially capable of supporting a certain lifestyle. I’m not talking about flying first class or living in penthouse apartments – I just mean being able to enjoy similar interests, vacation styles, comfortable apartments, and early retirement goals.

And in my previous relationships where there was a financial disparity? It sometimes caused friction. So seeking a partner who made a good income just seemed like an easy solution, and I felt like it would be less complicated. Because the number one thing couples fight about is money, right?

Related: Would you ever date someone who had debt?

Yet, if I had made that a hard rule – if I refused to ever consider anyone who didn’t make at least an equivalent salary to mine – I would have missed out on so many amazing adventures and happy memories in my life. And as for some of the relationships I’ve had with men who made good incomes? They ended up being incredibly messy. Because while it’s true that our finances and lifestyle compatibility were less complicated, I wasn’t completely focused on the bigger picture. Did I love them – or did I just love the idea of them?

As my last relationship was winding down, I learned a lot about myself and what I was looking for. I learned to look outside the box of what I would normally want in a partner – because the path of unsuccessful relationships I was on was not very fun. I needed to stop checking boxes, and I needed to trust my instincts instead. As for financial compatibility, I decided that all I needed was someone who was good with the money that they earned. It didn’t matter what they did for a living. And whether their salary was $40,000 or $400,000 – as long as they were happy and living within their means, what more could I ask for?

Related: Why I can’t afford to start dating

I consider myself extremely lucky to have met my boyfriend. While he cares (a lot) less than me about his finances, he has a stable job, zero debt, savings in the bank, and is really good at pretending to be interested in the latest evolution of my budgeting spreadsheet. :) He is ambitious, yet realistic in the fact that he took a significant pay cut to take a job that would make him happier in the long run – and I think that says a lot about someone to know exactly what they want.

Even though I understand where that woman in the original article may have been coming for, I don’t support her reliance on someone else to create the life she wants for herself. Because you certainly don’t need a 6-figure salary to live a good life. I’ve spent the last 10 years trying to earn my financial independence. I’m not super smart or well educated or even a very good writer.  But I’ve worked hard for the life that I have.

When I was 28, I bought my first home. I saved for the down payment for years, and in the 5 years I owned that home, I paid my mortgage payments on time, traveled to over 20 different countries, and stayed on track with my retirement savings. Maybe this is a super cliche way of thinking, but my financial accomplishments felt like even bigger accomplishments because I was doing everything as a single female.

I don’t really understand why anyone would look for a relationship that includes being financially supported. Sure I understand if you fall for someone who just happens to be wealthy (and also provides you with all of the other things you need in a healthy relationship), but to specifically seek it out seems wrong. I guess I just don’t get why you wouldn’t to experience that amazing feeling of making it on your own. :)

Would you date someone who made significantly less than you?
Would you ever refuse to date someone because they didn’t make enough money?

How has market volatility affected your investing strategy?

I’ll admit that I’m checking my investment portfolio more often these days, and despite knowing that the market will eventually rebound, it’s still painful to see my investments headed in the wrong direction.

A recent report released by BMO Bank of Montreal confirmed that other Canadians feel the same way as I do. It found that about half of Canadians (53%) feel that market volatility will continue at the same rate or worsen in 2016, but about the same percentage still expect the value of their portfolio to increase.

I know that even though my investments are down right now, it just means that they’re cheaper to buy at the moment. :) And I know that over the long run, the value of my portfolio will continue to climb. It’s just hard to see my net worth sliding.

The BMO report also indicated that mutual funds are the most popular investment being used by more than half of Canadians (52%), followed by stocks (39%), and then GICs (37%). The majority of my retirement portfolio is in indexed mutual funds. I also have money in ETFs and individual stocks, but nothing in secure investments like GICs.

What I found interesting about the report was that over half of Canadians (56%) are turning to professionals to seek financial advice. I didn’t realize the number was so high! A few years ago I had the opportunity to speak with an advisor, who helped me create a plan based on my financial situation at the time. But now that so much has changed in my life, I’ve been thinking about meeting with an advisor again.

Even though I’m good at saving, and automatically contribute to a variety of different investment vehicles, I’m not a professional and having someone look into my investments and current plan to make sure that I’m on the right track to meet all of my long-term financial goals is something I’m definitely open to. Plus, an advisor can help provide clarity and insight to some secure investment vehicles I may not already use – like GICs, which offer predictable returns and can weather the changing market.

I also have a large sum of money sitting in high interest savings accounts (from the sale of my house), and given the current market conditions, I’m not interested in investing in anything too risky in case I want to use that money for a down payment later on.

Having a conversation with an advisor can help you maintain confidence in what you are doing, and also make sure that you have realistic expectations about your portfolio. Even if you don’t go on a regular basis, I do think it’s important to talk to someone whenever you encounter a big life change that alters your financial situation – like when you buy a home, change careers, or come into a windfall.

Even though my investments aren’t doing as well as they could be, I’m not changing my approach to investing. My portfolio allocations remain the same, and I’m confident that if I keep saving at my current rate, I’ll achieve all of my financial goals. I just might need an advisor to confirm that I’m on the right path. :)

Has your investment strategy changed at all given the current market volatility?

Note: this post was sponsored by BMO Bank of Montreal, however the views and opinions expressed are my own.

January 2016 Budget: Recap

This was a good start to the year for me. I didn’t hit my budget (as you can see below), but that was mostly due to an unplanned charitable donation, as well as getting a piece of artwork framed.

January was our first full month living together in our little house, and I couldn’t be happier. The place is cozy, and we are in love with this neighbourhood. It’s also nice getting into a morning routine, establishing chores, and figuring out how we can best live together.

I’ve also almost been at my job for 3 months, and it’s been really good so far. It’s a big step up in terms of responsibility, and since I’m naturally introverted, it’s really challenging me to reach outside of my comfort zone. I think that’s why I like marketing in this particular industry – I’m doing a lot less designing and writing, and focusing more on the skills I think I can improve on, as well as the ones that I’m strongest in.

Anyway here is my budget recap for January:

01-January2016-Recap

Over Budget

  • Food – We have been going to the local farmer’s market, where produce is quite a bit more expensive than our local grocery store. But the budget buster this month was my love of kombucha. I just need to get a grip, or perhaps start brewing my own.
  • Household – Some of you might have seen on Instagram that I finally got a piece of art that I bought in Morocco professionally framed. Yep I could have done it myself, but because the canvas needed to be stretched and it wasn’t put under glass, I figured I’d better leave it to a professional.
  • ClothingI have a $500 budget for clothing and shoes this year, and I’ve already spent $110 of it. :) But to be fair, I bought a pair of colder weather shoes that I’ve been wanting for walking around the city. Before those shoes, I either had hiking boots or rain boots.
  • Miscellaneous – A dear friend in Australia will be shaving her head in order to raise money for cancer research in March, so I wanted to support her. I don’t donate money to specific charities each year – but do make sure to donate to causes my friends are supporting whenever I can. If you’d like to help her out, check out her donation page!

Income & Savings

This month I grossed over $9,400 from a combination of my full-time job and freelance work, and was able to save 54.8% of that amount.

I’ve also signed contracts for about $11,000 in additional freelance income that I’ll be invoicing out by April, which is abnormal for sure. But I’ll take it, since I’m sure the summer months will be a lot quieter. :)

January Goals

  • Run once per weekFAIL. Although, we run for about 30 min. before each field hockey practice, so that’s gotta count for something, right? :) I’ll try this running thing again once the season is over.
  • Transfer all my banking over to Tangerine. CHECK! I have moved all my daily banking over to Tangerine, and it feels really good.
  • Pack my lunch 4x/week & no take-out coffee (unless social). CHECK! I think I did really well packing my lunch, and I didn’t get take-out coffee at all this month. I need to be better at keeping snack food at my desk though, because I did notice I was going to the grocery store a couple times per week to pick up an afternoon snack.
  • Be a good roommate. CHECK! This month I learned that RD keeps a much cleaner house than me. Each week, he mopped the floors, scrubbed the counters, cleaned the bathroom – and I contributed by not getting in his way. He said he doesn’t mind cleaning, and since I really dislike it, we jointly decided that he’ll be the one to keep the house clean. :) My chores include day-to-day tidiness, like making the bed, taking out the trash/recycling, keeping the refrigerator and pantry organized, and doing the laundry.
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