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  Juggling travel and a savings plan
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, September 05, 2009

In British Columbia, a couple we'll call Sam, who is 40, and Margie, who is 37, have recently landed steady salaried jobs. For the past decade, one or the other was in school. Recently, both obtained full-time, permanent jobs in professions related to the environment. Now they want to make use of their combined annual after-tax income of $76,452 a year for more travel. They don't plan to have children. They want to live for today, but in so doing, they will sacrifice some of the money they ought to save for their futures.
FULL STORY


Couple drowning in real estate debt
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, August 29, 2009

In British Columbia, a couple we'll call Sam, 33, a corporate manager, and Georgia, 32, on maternity leave from an administrative job, have a six-month-old daughter, a house and a small apartment building. The value of their real estate assets is $1,430,000. That's a good deal for a young couple, but Sam and Georgia have incurred total debt of $1,138,632, which is 8.3 times their gross annual income of $136,654. Debt service charges add up to 59 per cent of their after-tax income. With property taxes, the bill rises to 77 per cent.
FULL STORY


Frugal manager can dare to dream
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, August 22, 2009

In British Columbia, a man we'll call Larry, 37, has built a career in management.He has a gross income of $80,000 a year plus annual bonuses that range from $10,000 to $20,000, financial assets of $193,000 and a $40,000 interest in his company's pension plan. With no liabilities, he has net worth of $233,000.
FULL STORY


Doctor needs estate-planning prescription
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A physician we'll call Bob, 59, has a flourishing practice in Alberta. Together with his wife, who we'll call Marilyn, 54 - who works for his medical corporation - they bring home $22,500 a month. Through a combination of investments in real estate, a residence and financial assets, they have built $3-million in net worth. Their three children are adults, though one remains at home.
FULL STORY


A growing family in need of discipline
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, August 08, 2009

In Toronto, a couple we'll call Henry, a businessman who is 32, and Jessica, who works for a not-for-profit organization and is 33, have been married for three years. They recently bought a $348,000 semi-detached home for their 15-month-old daughter and another child soon to arrive. They are in a transition from living for themselves to living for their children and need to rebalance their spending and saving. When Jessica goes on maternity leave, their incomes will plummet.
FULL STORY


Couple need debt reduction plan
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, August 01, 2009

In British Columbia, a businessman we'll call Jack, who is 42, and Rita, a health care professional who is 35, live with two cats. Jack wants to retire when he is 60. Rita would like to work part time when she is 45 and then to retire fully when she is 50.
FULL STORY


Frugality now, security later
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A 34-year-old woman we'll call Joanne has worked for a municipal government in Ontario for a year. She has bright prospects but, currently, a modest income of $2,966 per month after taxes, union dues and contributions to her defined benefit pension plan. She saves diligently for a retirement that is three decades in the future.
FULL STORY


No place like (affordable) home
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, July 18, 2009

In Vancouver, a couple we'll call George, 47, and Suzanne, 44, ought to be enjoying the benefits of their careers. They have a combined pretax income of $144,000 a year from George's job in software development and Suzanne's in corporate management, but the costs of raising their two children, ages 4 and 2, and the high price of houses have left them in a mid-price condo.
FULL STORY


Alberta family's balancing act
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, July 11, 2009

In Alberta, a couple we'll call Morris and Frances are each 41. They have two children, ages 11 and 9, and net worth of $510,300, including their $400,000 house.
FULL STORY


Renting a good plan for globetrotters
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, July 04, 2009

A couple we'll call Brenda, who is 36, and Phil, who is 37, live with their 17-month-old daughter in a B.C. resort town. Brenda is a management consultant; her monthly income after tax is about $6,000. Phil, a part-time civil servant, brings home $3,000 a month after tax. Their lifestyle is nomadic, with frequent trips to the U.S., Latin America and Eastern Canada. They want to retire at 60 and are considering buying a home.
FULL STORY


Comfy nest egg needs more feathering
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, June 27, 2009

In London, Ont., a successful corporate manager we'll call Vern, 45, grosses $215,000 a year plus bonuses averaging $30,000 a year. His salary supports his wife, whom we'll call Tess, 46, a homemaker, and their 9-year-old child. In spite of their substantial family income, $10,000 a month after taxes and deductions for life insurance premiums and pension contributions, Vern and Tess have only $92,000 in their retirement, education and chequing accounts, and a company pension plan with a value of $66,000. They have lived for the moment in the belief they will die relatively young, as members of their families did.
FULL STORY


Renting will provide nurse a ticket to travel
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, June 20, 2009

In Toronto, a registered nurse we'll call Penelope, 51, worries about retirement.''I am feeling too old and burned out to work as an RN for much longer,'' she laments.
FULL STORY


Luxurious retirement possible but will have to wait
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, June 13, 2009

In Toronto, two men we'll call Kevin and Steve have been in a committed relationship for more than a decade. Kevin, 50, is a vice-president at a major company. Steve, 39, was laid off from his management job in transportation nearly a year ago. Together, they take home $9,700 a month; consisting of Kevin's pay plus Steve's employment insurance benefits.
FULL STORY


After the renos, time to save
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, June 06, 2009

In Toronto, Gerry, 55, and Roberta, 54, have put nearly all of their savings into improving their house, reserving just enough money for contributions to their RRSPs and RESPs for their children, ages 20 and 17. They have a few thousand dollars in the bank for emergencies. Each is self-employed, Gerry in management consulting and Roberta in publishing, and neither has a company pension. They have been walking a tightrope between spending for their current lives and saving for their future.
FULL STORY


Rebuilding finances in remarriage
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, May 30, 2009

In Toronto, a couple we'll call Mary, a 52-year-old flight attendant, and Jack, 42, a school teacher, are reconstructing their lives from former marriages.Mary took a financial loss in ending her marriage, but as a long-term employee of her airline, she has job security. Jack's divorce was costly and a subsequent investment in a family business ended in a personal bankruptcy that took all his assets. In the effort to reshape their financial lives, the couple face an uphill battle in a difficult time for the economy.
FULL STORY


Divorcée has time to fix her finances
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, May 23, 2009

At the age of 54, a Halifax resident we'll call Lydia is recently divorced after a marriage of 30 years during which she stayed at home to raise their five children, four of whom are now financially independent.
FULL STORY


Time is right for home ownership
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, May 16, 2009

In Calgary, a couple we'll call Karl, a 40-year-old airline pilot, and his wife, Heidi, 42, a civil servant, live modestly and save furiously. Though they have a $7,600 monthly income after tax, they choose to live with their two children, ages 8 and 11, in a housing co-operative for rent of $800 a month. Renters own shares in the co-op but, on leaving, can only take out the capital, equal to a rent deposit, that they made when buying in.
FULL STORY


Green living doesn't have to mean red ink
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, May 09, 2009

In Vancouver, Watson, a 46-year-old lawyer, and Rachel, an animal rights activist, who is 41, are attempting to live according to their green sensibilities. They bike to work rather than use either of their two aging small cars and have given up higher-paying jobs in order to work for agencies that are concerned with environmental issues.
FULL STORY


Sacrificing a home for income's sake
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, May 02, 2009

In Toronto, a mid-level manager in the construction industry that we'll call Horace is 62. Divorced, he has accumulated wealth in the form of a $400,000 house, an $800,000 cottage and $460,000 of financial assets. His concern is whether he can maintain a pleasant way of life in retirement. He also wants to eliminate his $175,000 line of credit before he retires.
FULL STORY


Big-house dream comes with big debt
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, April 25, 2009

In British Columbia, a physician we'll call Donald, 33, and his wife, a corporate manager we'll call Ellen, 28, are moving into the affluence of professional life and planning a family of three kids. They will need a larger home than their current 1,100-square-foot apartment in a house they own, for which they lay out $5,500 a month in mortgage payments.
FULL STORY


'Clever' choices ease late saving start
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, April 18, 2009

In Toronto, a couple we'll call Robert, who is 39, and Julia, who is 38, arrived in Canada as immigrants in 2001 with virtually no assets. Since then, they have done well. They have a house with an estimated value of $400,000. Their only debt is a mortgage that will be paid off in 91/2 years. Having started late in building their capital, they worry they won't be able to save enough for the postsecondary education of their daughter, now two years old, and for life after they end their careers.
FULL STORY


Rebalancing for the beneficiaries
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, April 11, 2009

In Toronto, a retired professional we'll call Willy, 73, needs to revise his estate plan for his wife, Alexis, 42, two sons from a previous marriage now in their forties and two grandchildren, ages 11 and 9. The sons have substantial incomes of their own.
FULL STORY


A savings plan to heal market loss
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, April 04, 2009

In Northern Ontario, a couple we'll call Richard and Lily, 54 and 49 respectively, have provincial government jobs paying a combined after-tax income of $8,200 a month, a sum that buys a good life in their town. For now, they are doing well.
FULL STORY


Patience is key to dream house
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, March 28, 2009

In Vancouver, a couple we'll call Morris, a businessman, and Jennifer, who works for the federal government, are 35 and 33, respectively. They take home $9,000 a month, and pay 28 per cent of it for mortgage costs and property taxes. They worry that they will have to sacrifice their retirement saving to buy a bigger house for their children, a three-year-old and a six-month-old baby.
FULL STORY


Laying a foundation for first house
ANDREW ALLENTUCK  

Saturday, March 21, 2009

In Toronto, an engineer we'll call Robert, 36, and his wife Vicky, 31, an administrator, work in large organizations. They want to buy a home in or near Toronto. But with monthly combined after-tax income of $6,600, net worth of $4,500, and a plan to have Vicky take a year's maternity from her job, their resources are limited.
FULL STORY

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