Personal Finance

Impossible to own a house, start a family, and save for retirement in Vancouver. What should we do? 30 yo, 100K combined

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 18th, 2017 9:54 pm
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Mar 23, 2016
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FirstGear wrote:
Nov 14th, 2017 8:33 am
average household income is >40% higher, and for $500,000, you can find a very nice 2000 sq ft.+ home in a newer neighbourhood.
What is the average hh income there, FirstGear?
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springdays wrote:
Nov 14th, 2017 1:49 pm
What is the average hh income there, FirstGear?
It’s a bit north of $100K. Statistics Canada has a lot published information in this area if you’re curious. Vancouver region is about $71,000, Toronto about 78,000
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Oct 23, 2003
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100k on 2 incomes? and you rent in Kits?

why would you rent in kits when you're pulling only 50k per person?

Not to mention, why are you working in Vancouver for only 50k?

Thats Montreal money.

You can literally move to a small town and still make that.

The only reason to work in Vancouver is to pull over 6 figures as a single income, and in turn sacrifice 33% of that income for rent.

If you have no job prospects paying that, you're literally working to afford rent and food to afford to work.

At 50k, I'd recommend you leave the city. Even Toronto's better than Vancouver with living costs, although that's kinda gone bad lately as well.

With a 50k income, I'd look to rent past Burnaby. Even Burnaby is a ripoff with 1 bedroooms going for $1600+
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FrancisBacon wrote:
Nov 13th, 2017 5:51 am
Vote for parties which have pro growth economic policies.

Move to a jurisdiction which has such policies, or where you're paid more, or taxed less, or where it's more affordable to live. (You'll have to do a lot of work to really weight the factors against each other for your specific circumstances).

Reassess needs vs wants: eg you don't need a separate bedroom for each kid, you can certainly put 3 kids in a single room. Give them them the master bedroom, you take the other. You don't need to own, you can rent. No need for 2 cars, or vacations, etc.

Finally, aim to start the family FIRST. Real estate can be purchased later. Retirement can be deferred. But having children "easily" has a pretty strict biological time limit on it (IVF, adoption, etc are not easy). Also it's easier to deal with sleeping less and carrying kids around when you're younger.

Good luck! Come back in 9 months and update us.
:-)
Always loathed responses like this, yes you don’t ‘need’ a lot of these things but what kind of life is that. You make a 100k combined income just to survive?

However in Vancouver those are the sacrifices of you want to own. I would just continue renting and enjoy life. That 100k savings if yielding just 4% will pay for 2 months worth of rent.
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May 12, 2014
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abc123yyz wrote:
Nov 14th, 2017 6:12 pm
Always loathed responses like this, yes you don’t ‘need’ a lot of these things but what kind of life is that. You make a 100k combined income just to survive?
My kids share the master bedroom. It works out great, creates great bonds between siblings. My dad had 4 kids in a room.

For years we only had one car. I've kept my cars 5, or even 10 years.

I've never renovated my house.

I enjoy life, and I'm able to save for retirement. None of us feel like we're just surviving.
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Buggy166 wrote:
Nov 14th, 2017 6:01 pm
100k on 2 incomes? and you rent in Kits?

why would you rent in kits when you're pulling only 50k per person?

Not to mention, why are you working in Vancouver for only 50k?

That's pretty normal, the average household income there is about $71,000. The going rate for an university graduate is about $30,000 - 40,000 (higher end for more prestigious and difficult studies, like engineering, accounting, finance), and one's generally happy to drift towards $50-60K in a few years. $100K at the end of one's career is considered the bragging rights mark, and what something like an experienced lawyer in a large firm would get. Supply and demand issue; too many people willing to stay there at any cost and will take anything (OP being a prime example).

There's also an extreme tree-hugger, hippie, and hustler-hating, left-wing mentality there. Lots of people well into their 30s who bike or transit, yet will gladly pay $2,000+ for a 1br in rent. They hate people who are money driven and look at you like a demon if you are not "grateful" with what you have. If you compare jobs in regards to wages people will give you a dirty look. Without the vehicle expense and the anti-money mentality they obviously would gladly accept lower salaries.

Remember our business school (UBC Sauder) posting yearly employment statistics a few years ago stating that starting salaries were on average $8,000 lower for those who stayed in Vancouver area versus leaving elsewhere in the country.

Even trades incomes are lower there; the same job east somewhere can pay a few to $10/hr more.
e.g. $65K vs $80K+.
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May 10, 2008
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I also think you should move away. The real estate ship sailed long ago and you missed it. Rent will not get cheaper. Yes, Vancouver is great, but you are basically paying for your Vancouver lifestyle by giving up better opportunities, taking a pay cut, and sacrificing other aspects of your life.

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FirstGear wrote:
Nov 14th, 2017 10:43 pm
That's pretty normal, the average household income there is about $71,000. The going rate for an university graduate is about $30,000 - 40,000 (higher end for more prestigious and difficult studies, like engineering, accounting, finance), and one's generally happy to drift towards $50-60K in a few years. $100K at the end of one's career is considered the bragging rights mark, and what something like an experienced lawyer in a large firm would get. Supply and demand issue; too many people willing to stay there at any cost and will take anything (OP being a prime example).

There's also an extreme tree-hugger, hippie, and hustler-hating, left-wing mentality there. Lots of people well into their 30s who bike or transit, yet will gladly pay $2,000+ for a 1br in rent. They hate people who are money driven and look at you like a demon if you are not "grateful" with what you have. If you compare jobs in regards to wages people will give you a dirty look. Without the vehicle expense and the anti-money mentality they obviously would gladly accept lower salaries.

Remember our business school (UBC Sauder) posting yearly employment statistics a few years ago stating that starting salaries were on average $8,000 lower for those who stayed in Vancouver area versus leaving elsewhere in the country.

Even trades incomes are lower there; the same job east somewhere can pay a few to $10/hr more.
e.g. $65K vs $80K+.
True, I really never understand GVA job market, at least in STEM filed. While you quite easily find 80-100k positions in my sector in GTA, quite a lot even not in Toronto itself (so you can save on commute, like I used to drive 10-20 minutes to work, some was even transit accessible).
From time to time I got recruiters asking if I'd relocate for ~same position (located in Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby) but pay 60-70k ...WHAT? With 50% higher COL go to 50% less compensation???

I could understand going to HCOL city with increase in pay (like Seattle, NY or Bay area in US), but what the benefits going (or staying :) ) in GVA with half of your net income going to shelter?
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Apr 6, 2013
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asa1973 wrote:
Nov 15th, 2017 10:17 am
True, I really never understand GVA job market, at least in STEM filed. While you quite easily find 80-100k positions in my sector in GTA, quite a lot even not in Toronto itself (so you can save on commute, like I used to drive 10-20 minutes to work, some was even transit accessible).
From time to time I got recruiters asking if I'd relocate for ~same position (located in Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby) but pay 60-70k ...WHAT? With 50% higher COL go to 50% less compensation???

I could understand going to HCOL city with increase in pay (like Seattle, NY or Bay area in US), but what the benefits going (or staying :) ) in GVA with half of your net income going to shelter?

I have never understood this 'Vancouver at any cost' mentality. I think it is great too but it isn't worlds better than other Canadian cities, even the weather is not that great.

I much prefer living in a colder 'boring' place which allows zero financial stess and the only limits to vacation is the amount of time I can get off work each year.
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borntohula wrote:
Nov 15th, 2017 11:36 am
I have never understood this 'Vancouver at any cost' mentality. I think it is great too but it isn't worlds better than other Canadian cities, even the weather is not that great.

I much prefer living in a colder 'boring' place which allows zero financial stess and the only limits to vacation is the amount of time I can get off work each year.
Your totally right the weather sucks(ok we don't get tons of snow, but instead we get most the year rain, sprinkled with a bit on sunshine here and there). Every time I go pretty much anywhere(starbucks , grocery stores) and see someone over the age of like 25, I wonder "why the heck as you still living in this city?". Who cares how beautiful the mountains and ocean and whatever is when you have to work 2+ jobs just to pay the basics(food, rent, heating etc), you will never get to enjoy any of that stuff anyways.

I am making good money(for Vancouver standards) and if I had not just gotten into the housing market when I did, I probably would be packing my bags and getting ready to move. Heck I still don't see myself living here forever as eventually(maybe in about 5-10 years) I will need to get a bigger place and I am scared to think of what the prices will be, my place probably will be a Million at the rate it's been going up right now, but the next place I will have to buy will be like $2 million and I am not going to be one of those people who take 500K plus mortgage and then have to live in fear that if I miss one paycheck I will lose everything.

Metro Vancovuer is just becoming a place for the rich to vacation, launder their money and send their spoiled kids to go "study". I see in the future there will be no middle class anymore here anymore, it will be just the really rich people and then the stupid poor people who just want to live in Vancouver at any cost and will be living with 5 other people in a 1 bedroom place to afford the rent.
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FirstGear wrote:
Nov 14th, 2017 10:43 pm
That's pretty normal, the average household income there is about $71,000. The going rate for an university graduate is about $30,000 - 40,000 (higher end for more prestigious and difficult studies, like engineering, accounting, finance), and one's generally happy to drift towards $50-60K in a few years. $100K at the end of one's career is considered the bragging rights mark, and what something like an experienced lawyer in a large firm would get. Supply and demand issue; too many people willing to stay there at any cost and will take anything (OP being a prime example).

There's also an extreme tree-hugger, hippie, and hustler-hating, left-wing mentality there. Lots of people well into their 30s who bike or transit, yet will gladly pay $2,000+ for a 1br in rent. They hate people who are money driven and look at you like a demon if you are not "grateful" with what you have. If you compare jobs in regards to wages people will give you a dirty look. Without the vehicle expense and the anti-money mentality they obviously would gladly accept lower salaries.

Remember our business school (UBC Sauder) posting yearly employment statistics a few years ago stating that starting salaries were on average $8,000 lower for those who stayed in Vancouver area versus leaving elsewhere in the country.

Even trades incomes are lower there; the same job east somewhere can pay a few to $10/hr more.
e.g. $65K vs $80K+.
ah yea you're right. I have a younger uncle who's doing the same thing in London, UK. He lives in a house with 10 people, specifically in a room with 2-3 others, and keeps living there even though he could have a fairly posh life outside of London (or even UK in general, as he's not a Brit).

To each his own in that regard.

I wouldn't be in Vancouver if my salary wasnt $10/hr higher than Toronto on average. Even with that, It is really fast approaching the point of no return because the costs of living have gone batshit crazy where the salaries have stayed the same for the most part. If things keep getting worse, I'll have to look at relocating to greener pastures (pardon the pun).

I'd miss the scenery, but not the city, not by a long shot. Yesterday I wanted to head to Oakridge and quickly pick something specific up from one of the stores. The entire mall closed at 7pm. They must really hate people shopping after work, God forbid you do early Christmas shopping lol. I miss the malls in Toronto that run holiday hours and stay open until 11pm. :(
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i see a lot of wants, kids, house are all optional, plenty of people do fine without, people want expensive stuff and complain they can't afford it. get your priority straight and you will do fine.
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I think some of us are living in the past. Vancouver is not the place it used to be. Not even close. The local government(s) here have no intention of keeping our communities happy and healthy. Instead, they want to erect condo towers on every square inch of the land. They are shaming anyone that lives in a detached home and are cranking our property taxes like there is no tomorrow. Single family neighbourhoods on the west side are full of empty houses with security cameras and shutters. Condo towers are more dark than lit at night. Locals can barely afford to live in the city and they rarely smile. The level of tension is rising and it is amazing that there is still semblance of a civilized community. There was so much public outcry at the recent AirBnB hearings but once again, the CoV gave favour to outside interests over locals. Anyone looking to set up roots in Vancouver should really ask themselves if that is what they really want.

Here are some questions to ask oneself:
1. What are the top 3 things that I like about living in Vancouver?
2. How many happy people did I meet this week?
3. How much money am I able to save for the future after I have paid all my basic living expenses?
4. What do I realistically want for myself in the future and do I see myself getting that in Vancouver?
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my cousin lives in vancouver and couldn't be happier (late 20s). she only makes mid 50s.
having said that, she owns a 2 bedroom downtown through the bank of mom and dad. Not sure how much down they paid but I know there is still a mortgage.

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