Personal Finance

Who is actually better off than their parents financially?

  • Last Updated:
  • May 21st, 2020 6:58 pm
[OP]
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Nov 1, 2001
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Toronto

Who is actually better off than their parents financially?

I'm the child of an immigrant and they moved to canada with the hopes their children would have a better life. We have a better life than if they never left but most of my cousins are not financially better off than their parents. We don't have as much saved, more debt and few of us own single family homes. Most of my older relatives got factory jobs with minimal education and ended up making 6 figures (with over time) with pension. Whereas my generation has school debt and working average jobs (50k?) .
I've noticed a similar case with my Canadian friends where their parents are well off with high paying jobs (even paying large down payments on their housing) and they would never catch up.
Anyone else relate or do I just have an unlucky circle of friends?
75 replies
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Mar 10, 2010
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I'm a 3rd gen Canadian. I'm better off than both of my parents, as are all of my siblings. None of us live in the GTA/Vancouver regions though. Maybe it's regional, or maybe me and my siblings are outliers.
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Jan 7, 2019
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Its hard to compare apples to apples. My parents generation got a single detached home for 250k now its over 1million.

But as a comparison (for argument sake). My father and mother at my age (30) owned their own home worth about $250k. My dad was making around 70k (estimate) and finished all his school (masters and phd). My father was also a new immigrant.

I currently own two properties, both rental, combined market value of over 1.6mill but choosing to mooch off my parent’s home and make over 100k but im still doing my MBA.

So am I better or worse?
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Sr. Member
Jan 13, 2016
524 posts
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Vancouver, BC
I'm definitely not. My Dad was a lawyer and definitely made more. When they sold their home it was worth 1.6 million while my condo is only worth 300,000 . That is when i really saw the gap in wealth.
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Jan 27, 2004
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T.O. Lotto Captain
You can’t compare. In the 80’s/90’s... people were able to buy houses in Toronto working menial jobs.
My parents bought a house in the friggin beaches, and never earned more then minimum wage.
But this was in the late 80’s/early 90’s... now the semi’s in this area are $1 million... detached $2-$3 milly
Deal Guru
Dec 11, 2008
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My parents immigrated here in the 60's when they were teens. They did not have professional careers and did not have post high-school education so we are all more successful than them. Of my other cousins where their parents (my aunts/uncles) were professionals, they are not as well off. But I also am not as successful at their parents either.

So it's hit or miss.
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Jun 12, 2008
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Ripley
Depends how you measure it. My dad's pension is more than my spouse and I make combined working. They have more income, more debt and less savings. We both bought houses in our mid20s but we are mortgage free. They continue to borrow against their house.

My siblings all have more income and less debt then my parents.

I am 7th generation Canadian.

My in laws are first generation immigrants. They are worse with money than my parents! All of their kids are better off than the parents.
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zeddy wrote: I am 7th generation Canadian.
Interested in how you define a generation. Conventional definitions would suggest that Canada wasn't even a country 7 generations ago.
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Jun 12, 2008
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Ripley
Conquistador wrote: Interested in how you define a generation. Conventional definitions would suggest that Canada wasn't even a country 7 generations ago.
I have a newspaper article about my relatives coming from Germany in 1829 to clear land in southwestern Ontario. I counted ancestry.ca blocks. Ancestry.ca confirms his name, DOB and date of death. Born in Germany 1786, died in Canada 1845. On another family branch I have Indigenous ancestors.
[OP]
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Latebuyer wrote: I'm definitely not. My Dad was a lawyer and definitely made more. When they sold their home it was worth 1.6 million while my condo is only worth 300,000 . That is when i really saw the gap in wealth.
Reminds me of one of my friends parents who has a we'll paying senior aerospace engineer job.
[OP]
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UrbanPoet wrote: You can’t compare. In the 80’s/90’s... people were able to buy houses in Toronto working menial jobs.
My parents bought a house in the friggin beaches, and never earned more then minimum wage.
But this was in the late 80’s/early 90’s... now the semi’s in this area are $1 million... detached $2-$3 milly
It's insane how houses have increased. All those folks basically won the lottery
Deal Expert
May 30, 2005
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Richmond Hill
How do you define "better off"? Is it ability to earn or hard assets?

It will be rarer for someone to have more hard assets than their parents based solely on the real estate boom, but I think a lot more millennials, relatively speaking, have (much) better ability to make money than their parents.
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ranjeet2000 wrote: I'm the child of an immigrant and they moved to canada with the hopes their children would have a better life. We have a better life than if they never left but most of my cousins are not financially better off than their parents. We don't have as much saved, more debt and few of us own single family homes. Most of my older relatives got factory jobs with minimal education and ended up making 6 figures (with over time) with pension. Whereas my generation has school debt and working average jobs (50k?) .
I've noticed a similar case with my Canadian friends where their parents are well off with high paying jobs (even paying large down payments on their housing) and they would never catch up.
Anyone else relate or do I just have an unlucky circle of friends?
How old are you?

But you are better off than people in your country of origin, India and Pakistan, right? I think that's success.

It is really about the decline of North America... Canada and USA, and not about immigrants.
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zeddy wrote: I have a newspaper article about my relatives coming from Germany in 1829 to clear land in southwestern Ontario. I counted ancestry.ca blocks. Ancestry.ca confirms his name, DOB and date of death. Born in Germany 1786, died in Canada 1845. On another family branch I have Indigenous ancestors.
Thanks for the explanation.
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Feb 9, 2009
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Toronto was vastly undervalued for decades.

What spurred TOronto growth was the combo of Toronto's growth on the world stage and immigrants who had more money than the poorer ones who came before the 90s.

Countries like China and India were poor for a long time. Then in the 90s those countries took off, as did RE prices in those countries and now with those immigrants coming here, they came with more wealth. Same with people from the Middle East.

Yes people before the 90s could work in crappy factory jobs and buy homes... there is a reason many manufacturing jobs got outsourced when globalization took off in the 90s into the 2000s... cause labour was too expensive here and hence moved offshore to China and India...with that came more wealthy people there and because of their distrust for govt, especially Chinese, they also piled into real estate here.

The way it was will never happen. This is why I tell people to buy real estate. If we ban immigrants my tune may change but thats not likely to happen cause we need them to maintain our taxbase.

Yes for those who talk about factory workers my Uncle worked at Chrysler and made a shit ton of overtime with a pension now and lives in a beautiful 4000 sq ft home he bought brand new for $300k in 2002. That same home is nearly 2 mil-- WITH NO RENOVATIONS. Chrysler workers today make about half of what my uncle generation did before the early 2000s and no pension. Factory workers were vastly overpaid.

So this is why I tell people stop thinking this is 1990...ITS NOT.. it will never be like that era... its not coming back... some never move forward and keep getting priced out cause they dont get in.
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Jun 20, 2015
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ranjeet2000 wrote: I'm the child of an immigrant and they moved to canada with the hopes their children would have a better life. We have a better life than if they never left but most of my cousins are not financially better off than their parents. We don't have as much saved, more debt and few of us own single family homes. Most of my older relatives got factory jobs with minimal education and ended up making 6 figures (with over time) with pension. Whereas my generation has school debt and working average jobs (50k?) .
I've noticed a similar case with my Canadian friends where their parents are well off with high paying jobs (even paying large down payments on their housing) and they would never catch up.
Anyone else relate or do I just have an unlucky circle of friends?
The reasons why you and most of your cousins are not financially better off than your parents may be as follows, as a generalization:
a) Parents immigrated to Canada and worked in factories. Comparing to “educated” parent with professional jobs, these “uneducated” parents might not provide academic and career help/guidance to their children when young, and send their children to universities later. Studies show that university grads earn more than high school grads. These “educated” parents expect their kids to go to university (yes parents’ expectation mean a lot to a kid's success), and some may afford to pay their kids’ university education and/or put the down payment of their kids’ housing. These kids generally have higher paying jobs, less education debts and own condos or houses.

b) First generation immigrant parents generally save more, because they need to save and budget to provide for themselves and for their families (wife and kids). On the other hand, their kids are provided for growing up, likely spend more later, save less and live for the moment. Without frugality, few would be rich.

c) U dont have an unlucky group of friends. U are your own destiny: success or failure. You are just the average of 5 of your closest friends you spend most time with. If u work hard and spend more time with more smart, rich and successful friends, your finances may improve.
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Mar 25, 2012
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BrokeMillennial wrote: Its hard to compare apples to apples. My parents generation got a single detached home for 250k now its over 1million.

But as a comparison (for argument sake). My father and mother at my age (30) owned their own home worth about $250k. My dad was making around 70k (estimate) and finished all his school (masters and phd). My father was also a new immigrant.

I currently own two properties, both rental, combined market value of over 1.6mill but choosing to mooch off my parent’s home and make over 100k but im still doing my MBA.

So am I better or worse?
@BrokeMillennial I don't disagree with you that it's "hard to compare apples to apples," but even your analysis on single detached home prices doesn't factor in the effect of inflation. We're making more than our parents' generation, too.

I support living with one's parents while going to school, but why in the heck are you owning rental properties while you "make over 100k"? If you're making over $100,000, you should be paying your parents at least $12,000 in rent, if they're not reporting it as income, and $15-18,000, if they are. Come on, dude!

Me personally...I desire to never make more than $50,000 per year. Less income earned = lower marginal tax rate maintained. I just don't need it.

Cheers,
Doug
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Dec 28, 2019
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Sanyo wrote: Toronto was vastly undervalued for decades.

What spurred TOronto growth was the combo of Toronto's growth on the world stage and immigrants who had more money than the poorer ones who came before the 90s.

Countries like China and India were poor for a long time. Then in the 90s those countries took off, as did RE prices in those countries and now with those immigrants coming here, they came with more wealth. Same with people from the Middle East.

Yes people before the 90s could work in crappy factory jobs and buy homes... there is a reason many manufacturing jobs got outsourced when globalization took off in the 90s into the 2000s... cause labour was too expensive here and hence moved offshore to China and India...with that came more wealthy people there and because of their distrust for govt, especially Chinese, they also piled into real estate here.

The way it was will never happen. This is why I tell people to buy real estate. If we ban immigrants my tune may change but thats not likely to happen cause we need them to maintain our taxbase.

Yes for those who talk about factory workers my Uncle worked at Chrysler and made a shit ton of overtime with a pension now and lives in a beautiful 4000 sq ft home he bought brand new for $300k in 2002. That same home is nearly 2 mil-- WITH NO RENOVATIONS. Chrysler workers today make about half of what my uncle generation did before the early 2000s and no pension. Factory workers were vastly overpaid.

So this is why I tell people stop thinking this is 1990...ITS NOT.. it will never be like that era... its not coming back... some never move forward and keep getting priced out cause they dont get in.
I don't see any evidence of Toronto being on the world stage; not now and not 30 years ago...
It is 100% immigrants money.
Member
Jun 20, 2015
207 posts
101 upvotes
BrokeMillennial wrote: Its hard to compare apples to apples. My parents generation got a single detached home for 250k now its over 1million.

But as a comparison (for argument sake). My father and mother at my age (30) owned their own home worth about $250k. My dad was making around 70k (estimate) and finished all his school (masters and phd). My father was also a new immigrant.

I currently own two properties, both rental, combined market value of over 1.6mill but choosing to mooch off my parent’s home and make over 100k but im still doing my MBA.

So am I better or worse?
You are financially better off than your parents IF you get free room and board from them.

On the other hand, u are financially worse off than them IF (a) your 1.6M properties are highly leveraged (and now may have negative equity with the market downturn), and (b) your parents' house is fully paid for, have pension income in excess of their expenses, and have lots of investment income. Regardless, their networth is likely higher than yours.
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Feb 8, 2015
460 posts
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Kanata
My parents at age 30 had maybe $300 US to their name from their home countries and earned maybe $300 per month. Alot of parents who came during the 1990s, 2000s came from third world countries who were dirt poor.

They had to come here, RETRAIN and GO BACK TO SCHOOL, then get a job, save for a home, and on top of that, raise kids.

Anyone who is a 2nd or 3rd gen immigrant should be financially better than their parents (adjusted for age) otherwise, they are a complete failure at life.

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