I’m 33, I Make $118K & Living In Nunavut Is

Occupation: Public Health Specialist & Bartender
Industries: Health & Hospitality
Age: 33
Location: Nunavut
Public Health Salary: $86,000
Bartending Salary: $32,000 (I haven’t been working this job for very long, but this is about how much I’ll make including tips.)
Net Worth: -$8,000 ($10,000 in a TFSA, a car worth $8,000, $3,000 in liquid savings, $3,000 in an emergency fund, and $6,000 in a pension)
Debt: $38,000 (student loans)
Public Health Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $2,400
Bartending Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,320 (including tips)
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,300 (I share an older, two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with my partner. The total rent is $3,200, but we split it, and I also get a small rent subsidy through work.)
Student Loan Payment: $426
Car Payment: $315
Electricity: $30–$40
Phone: $100
Internet: $150–$200 (Internet prices are outrageous in the north.)
Health & Dental Benefits: $160 (taken off my paycheque)
Spotify Duo: $15
Netflix & Crave: $0 (I use family accounts.)
Amazon Prime: $8
Savings: $500
TFSA: $500
Pension: $330 (taken directly off my paycheque and matched by my employer)

Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Yes. I come from a high-achieving family with two older siblings who are extremely intelligent and academically driven. My parents expected us all to attend university, and I definitely felt pressure to keep up with my brothers. I paid for my education with student loans and money from summer jobs. After my first degree, I ended up going back to get another bachelor’s and then a master’s. I spent most of my 20s in school, which is why I still have so much student debt.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
One of my parents was in the banking industry when I was younger, but I don’t remember having conversations about money. My parents had a laissez-faire approach to parenting for the most part, which includes money management. They encouraged us to get jobs as teenagers and to use the money as we saw fit.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
I worked at a bakery when I was 16. I got it so that I would have money for things like travel and concerts. I probably should’ve saved for university, but it wasn’t until well into my 20s that I became money-conscious.

Did you worry about money growing up?
When I was young, my parents gave up their high-paying careers to start a new business and move our family to the West Coast, which meant sunshine tax. I knew that this change had an impact on our finances because we moved into a smaller house, but we remained middle class, and I never had to worry about having food, clothes, or shelter.

Do you worry about money now?
Looking back, I wish I had been better at managing money during my 20s because I had a real live-in-the-moment lifestyle. Most of my previous jobs have been in the non-profit sector, so there were times when I was living paycheque-to-paycheque. I also prioritized travel and often saved for trips instead of building my savings. I have a higher-paying job now, but I get stressed about my debt and lack of savings. I try to stay grounded in the fact that I’m now becoming more financially responsible and thinking about the future. Better late than never, right?

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
LOL 30? Just kidding, but I do feel like I’m only now becoming more financially responsible. I moved away from home for university at 18, which is when I started paying my own way for the most part, although my parents did provide some support. I became fully financially responsible for myself at 23. I’m working on building up my emergency fund so that I feel confident in my financial safety net. I also know that my family would try to help in an emergency.

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