30s Grind #1 – Sorry to freak everyone out, but I am not sure who can live and own in Vancouver unless you make at least 500 G’s+ a year.”

A post from Melissa Carr’s local blog, ‘The Thirties Grind‘, was recently headlined here: (“Are we all lying to each other? How the f*%#k are people affording to live in Vancouver?”, VREAA 4 Jun 2012). Various archive-worthy anecdotes appeared in the comment section at ‘the grind’, and we’ll headline and save them as a series here.
– vreaa

“My guy & I are both almost 48 and living in Vancouver. We make great $$ and still find it hard to get by. Everything we make goes into our lifestyle which means a 1300 sq. foot home we RENT in Kits, 2 great vehicles (Lexus SUV and BMW 328i) that are not excessively “fancy” schmancy, 2 vintage cars that are sentimental, a vacation home in Palm Springs, which is fully paid for, and 2 sweet senior Bichon Frise dogs who have their own set of expenditures…I do not think for a minute our lifestyle is over the top and we have RRSP’s but not nearly enough to retire on…I have not really ever saved and for the life of me I worry all the time about money!!!! Sorry to freak everyone out, but I am not sure who can live and own in Vancouver unless you make at least 500 G’s+ a year.”
TP at thethirtiesgrind.com 29 May 2012 3:15pm

39 responses to “30s Grind #1 – Sorry to freak everyone out, but I am not sure who can live and own in Vancouver unless you make at least 500 G’s+ a year.”

  1. Renters Revenge

    $500,000/yr required to get by, yet the average household only brings in $70,000/yr. No wonder our DTI ratios are astronomically high.
    This won’t end well.

  2. These people live high on the hog and deserve nothing but their toys. You’re looking for sympathy and it’s falling on deaf ears. When you own multiple “vintage cars” and you think things are unfair you need to get a life.

    • They rent. Everything else is paid for. What’s the problem?

      • Where does it say they have fully paid for all their toys?

      • The problem is that she also complains about never saving, and worrying about money. One good way to save is to not drive a Lexus and Beemer and take frequent flights to a vacation home in California. No sympathy here until she lives by a responsible budget.

    • if the cars are leased/financed this couple is choosing to rent their vehicles and home rather than actually own them. Little wonder I see no mention of kids in the picture.

  3. Nothing excessive mmmkay

    Perhaps we have another candidate for why people leave Vancouver to raise kids.

  4. Pardon me, what? If this is supposed to be a story of restrained spending, it’s falling short of the mark. Of course you don’t have to make $500,000 to live in Vancouver and own. We don’t and we do – but it does mean that we drive one car (second hand, bought outright for cash), take vacations that don’t involve flying anywhere, don’t own a vacation property, have chosen to live in a lower-cost neighbourhood (for the lifestyle more than anything else), and I take on extra freelance work as well as have a tenant to make ends meet. Now I’m not going to say it’s easy or glamorous…. or that everyone should buy…. I don’t believe that (there is *nothing* wrong with renting) – but really, people who own four cars and a vacation home wondering how some of us on regular incomes manage to buy or contribute to RRSPs for that matter? By not owning four cars and a vacation home for starters.

    • This extravagant lifestyle pales in comparison to the couple that buys a Vancouver house with 5 % down.

      • Royce McCutcheon

        ^Exactly. Exactly exactly exactly. The quoted original post would be taken as gauche by many in Vancouver, no question. And that’s even if these people were not in debt at all to finance their lifestyle (assuming of course that the tale is legit).

        “If you’re worried about retirement, etc. put less money towards your luxuries and more towards retirement. Duh.”

        Bang on.

        But far fewer people here would have that same reaction to a couple putting themselves into a debt hole that is many, many multiples of their annual pay for a mediocre house around these parts. It boggles the mind.

    • Different perspectives are funny – while I don’t have a particularly large amount of pity with respect to being unable to save when one owns 4 cars and a vacation, it seems odd to me that someone who can afford to do these things wouldn’t be able to own a home here as well…

    • Renters Revenge

      Right. We could all just live like monks, just so we can own a moss covered shack in the BPOE.

    • Bingo! Boomers can be so darn amusing.

  5. Ralph Cramdown

    Seems so outrageous to me that it sounds like a spoof or a troll, but I bet it’s true. I’m gonna guess an MG and a Mercedes diesel.

  6. 48? nuf said. The Beatles have takin’ the stage, and screamin’ freakin’ has commenced.

  7. “I’m looking to get married to a guy who makes at least half a million a year. I know how that sounds, but keep in mind that a million a year is middle class in New York City, so I don’t think I’m overreaching at all.

    http://www.freakonomics.com/2007/10/09/the-economics-of-gold-digging/

    Search for her subsequent reply if you’re interested…

  8. probably 160K in vehicles, another several 100K in Palm Springs vacation home, trips, likely huge rental costs…
    This couple thinks they need to make 500K/year to afford Vancouver?
    Anyone else see the humour in this comment?

    • Absurdity is more like it.

    • The whole thing is absurd. Only Vancouverites would not consider that “excessive”. At the end of the day it all depends on what they actually earn as to whether or not its excessive or not, but from first glance I see 48 + lots of toys + no savings = financial fail.

    • Only humourous because of who they are comparing themselves to.

  9. I’m in agreement with most commenters: news of this kind of conspicuous consumption makes one uncomfortable.
    But, ironically, as armourb puts it “this extravagant lifestyle pales in comparison to the couple that buys a Vancouver house with 5% down.”
    It’s remarkable that people who are nauseated by the behaviour of ‘TP’ may see a couple borrowing and blowing $750K on an extremely overpriced Vancouver property as responsible upstanding citizens.

    • Who said that idiots who blow 750K are responsible citizens? Are they even citizens? 😀

      • “Who said..”

        Okay, got me, nobody did, here.. but, you know, people say that…. elsewhere.
        And no intention to defend any obnoxious pigging out.

  10. I’m assuming that these vehicles are either new/newer or leased, if a large chunk of their cash flow is going to them. New cars are nearly as much of a scam as a house in Vancouver. And if you think a Lexus SUV and BMW 328i are not excessively “fancy” schmancy, you’re dreaming. And this is from somebody who owns a BMW540i (bought used and paid off).

    This article doesn’t mean that house prices in Vancouver aren’t ridiculous. They are completely insane. However, the couple in this article typifies what I see all over this city…the narcissistic “need” to have all the toys that marketers have convinced them that they need at the expense of actually living within their means. This couple, with their ridiculous discretionary spending, isn’t in the same ocean (let alone the same boat) as a couple with an average family income who are scraping to feed and clothe their family and who truly can’t afford to live in Vancouver.

  11. And the couple who is living beyond their means by blowing $750K on an overpriced crack shack is just as deluded as the OP.

    Same root problem, just different impending financial disasters.

  12. I didn’t understand most of that post, but it sounds like they eat dogs for desert, that’s just creepy.

  13. 48 and you clowns didn’t buy years ago. This couple is pathetic. Stop complaining and save your money losers! I just puked!

  14. If they own four cars, and they rent “a great home in Kits”, where are they parking the four cars? A 1300 square foot home wouldn’t have a four car garage would it? Would either the two vintage cars or the Lexus & BMW be left outside? I doubt it. That means indoor parking. And not just rented spots at the local multi-level parking garage either. Who would leave a vintage car there? Nope. That story just doesn’t pass the smell test. Most likely a troll trying to make renters look like reckless spendthrifts who blow all their money on toys and vacations instead of doing the responsible thing and buying an overpriced house.

  15. This person is obviously a troll.

  16. at 48 and no savings!?! hahahaha !!! sucks to be you.

  17. Granted to those who have suspected this, this could be a troll, yes.
    More unsettling though, is if this isn’t a troll.

    • PS – I actually don’t think this is a troll.

      • supposing not … no debt, retirement savings awareness, vacation ppty no mortgage, understanding lifestyle/spending choices, set and kept budget … wayyyy ahead of most … the $500k is a loose hypothetical, to keep this lifestyle, this degree of debt/risk AND own house in neighborhood … that’s not too far off to properly afford $1.5M – $2M van ppty … sounds a-ok, imo … the idea they’re concerned in their position while debt-lords in denial claim not to be is interesting … people with understanding of their own weaknesses likely to do just fine

      • Why does the story teller sound like she’s a “gang mom”? I guess they can also read and write…

      • what’s a gang mom? had no idea that’s how to spell schmancy … dogs instead of kids = fiscal restraint supreme … dogs are dead by the time they’re 20 😮

  18. reality check

    This story is just sad.

  19. The point of this story is that elsewhere people at 48 (working professionals) that have a combined income more than let say 150k a year are usually able to own a home (paid for, no mortgage) plus to have some expensive hobbies plus to take a vacation somewhere exotic plus to save some money for the retirement…In Vancouver it is one versus another – the quality of life suffers when the housing takes all the money.

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