(26M) I can't grow here, I want to start a new life. Questions about Loan / Debts / Credit / Mortgage / Investing. Asking a lot here but it's worth a shot! : PersonalFinanceCanada

(26M) I can’t grow here, I want to start a new life. Questions about Loan / Debts / Credit / Mortgage / Investing. Asking a lot here but it’s worth a shot! : PersonalFinanceCanada

TLDR: I want a loan right now, and I also want to save money and live somewhere else! I pay a lot in rent and would like to instead pay for something I might own one day.

WARNING, LONG POST. Scroll to the bottom for summary!


I’m using an Alt account because of the sensitive information involved, but I’ll still be active here.

Disclaimer: I’ve just started being financially aware. I have a long way to go, but my resolve is strong. I know I’m asking a lot here, and my ideas may be stupid. But I don’t have many real adults in my life so any advice would be a blessing.



(26 M / Toronto )

Dear PFC,

I’ve been living pretty irresponsibly since I was 18. My father is never around and my mother is in a new marriage, I have no siblings or extended family either. Both are just are broke. So I went out on my own and tried to survive, no home.. no money. Six years later later I got my own place, got a fulfilling job in the trades as a Union Carpenter, and eventually got a car from my savings.

Sounds great right? Well the caveat of all that is that I live in Toronto. I was too immature to have any real aim in my life, and for a long while I never bothered to plan my finances accordingly. I’ve always lived paycheck to paycheck; And when I finally earned a big enough pay raise to break the cycle I had to buy a car in order to maintain and further my career, thus throwing me back into growthless perpetuity.

In Toronto, my rent and car insurance is so expensive that I have nothing left over to save or grow with. And what ever money I do have left over is spent on frivolous little meals and alcohol to distract myself from my perpetual depression which has grown worse for a decade. I feel trapped! As a result of my stress, I’ve been negatively affected in virtually every aspect of my life; I can’t focus on maintaining friendships or other close relationships anymore, I cant focus on my hobbies, I cant focus on doing any worthwhile improvement to my life besides work. And yet I have no one to blame for those things but myself. I’ve suffered under a constant lingering fear that I’m going to lose everything in one fell swoop, fear that might end up in the streets again with no means to get back… Heck if something happened to my car and I couldn’t afford to fix it I wouldn’t be able to go to work anymore! Most job sites are far, start well before the subways open, and require me to lug a heavy set of personal tools. I drive an 11 year old entry level sedan, NOT A SPORTS CAR!

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This ends here!

I’ve decided I don’t want to live my life like this anymore. I started asking myself; Why do I live in Toronto? I’ve lived here my entire life, is that a good enough reason? I’m all alone and I have no attachments, I can’t afford to do anything in this city. I’m sick and tired of sinking so much money on a 1 bedroom slum in a depressing as heck neighborhood that Isn’t even mine, I don’t even get a balcony to breathe. I don’t want to buy a house 2 hours away in the future just to spend 4 hours driving for 8 hours of work. I should find a new city to build my life upon, I have nothing here and nothing to gain.

I want to mortgage, I want a house one day, I want to be able to save for things I want in my life, and I want to be able to travel, go to concerts, make friends, have adventures, create stories, and do other cool hobbies and things like other fortunate people in their 20’s / 30’s!


With this realization I’ve created some new goals.

– Invest all my free time on contracting side jobs and get a $2000 loan to buy the heavier tools that I’m missing.

– Improve credit

– Save up $6000 in a year

– Use said money to move my furniture and belongings to storage and drive out to which ever city is both affordable and good for my occupation on the Labour Market Information map, and has carpenter union presence to maintain my benefits and pension.

– Live in the cheapest short term accommodation I could find

– Solicit work as a carpenter: (Relatively easy in my trade, I’ve never been out of work for more than two weeks because when a job site finishes I walk into another one from residential to high rise.)

– Find a reasonable low cost 1 bedroom and freight my stuff over from Toronto.

– Eventually save for a down payment on a mortgage for an apartment and stop sinking money on a rental.

– Sell apartment and get a house.

– Invest invest invest!

Getting a house isn’t a hollow obsession for me. I don’t care how big or small it is, and if it’s run down I’m perfectly qualified fix it up. I’ve been held back as a carpenter because I cant afford a pickup truck to move tools and materials, I have no where to park said pickup truck (apartments typically don’t allow), don’t have much space to store anything let alone heavier tools like a table saw, and don’t have anyplace (like a garage or basement) to set up shop for woodworking and other passion projects.

I also need the $2000 because I’m missing heavier set tools to do what ever independent side jobs I can with a sedan; Through solicitation, tasker app, or dedicated clientele. SDS Rotary Hammer, Mitre saw, Table saw, etc. I’m pretty much all set to start but I’m missing some of these essential tools, and I don’t need the most expensive stuff to do a quality job. I’m in desperate need of side income.

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I’m a Union Carpenter Apprentice (3rd year) that specializes in Formwork and High Rise construction. I make $30 an hour, 40+ hours a week. Wage is expected to grow every year.

But work can be variable, so after deductions I could net anywhere between 2200 to 3000 each month but sometimes more. And sometimes.. I’m making substantially less than my expenses listed bellow, throwing me into overdraft or using up all my of my savings. As a result, I’m never able to save enough for the next level of training at the carpenters college either.. again holding me back from career progression.


$1400 = Rent & Parking

$450 = Car insurance. No accidents or claims, Liability only.

$200 = Internet, Hydro, Phone, and internet services (Netflix, spotify, etc)

$100-$200 = Gas

$200 = groceries

$100+ = tackling whichever debt

Total = $2550

If you’ve made it this far, you could probably tell that I don’t have a lot left over in terms of savings or fun money. But despite all this, I also recognize that I still have more than most people in the world and even this city. For that I’m grateful!

Interesting thing about my car insurance, I got a call and asked if I was married to which I said no. Turns out the broker mistakenly wrote me down as married lowering my rate substantially, so it’s supposed to be higher. They never followed up on that though which is terrifying because I could never afford a higher rate.


Credit and Accounts

My credit score is currently at 711

I use Scotiabank with a checking, Savings, credit card, and hollow TFSA. You can see the details here.

  • Scotiabank Scene Visa card – Fully paid off this month but I used to keep a high balance because I’ve only just learned about how much damage utilization could cause to my credit. If I lurked this sub a long time ago I would probably have a more useful card since I don’t even go to the movies.

  • Desjardins Financing (out of date report) – Fully paid off this month, one missed payment last year due to my own error. I made an incredibly stupid decision to finance a $3000 TV two years ago, never again. I’m much more responsible now.

  • Desjardins Credit Card (out of date report -) Came with the financing above, Never used. I payed into this account which is automatically transferred to my financing at the end of the month.

  • Apprenticeship Loan – Government loan. No interest, no repayment until end of apprenticeship. Does this impact my credit and effect utilization? I used the loan to pay for my bills and tools when I went to trades college.

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I have just one hard Credit Inquiry this year. It was a Cash Money payday loan that I borrowed and paid when specified two weeks later. Things were desperate.

I have no Public Records, Collections, or Negative bank reports.

I’m really happy you made it this far, that was quite a lot!



Summary and Main Questions

In short I’m a 26M loner with a 1 bedroom apartment in Toronto. I’m a Carpenter by trade and have a wide variety of skills. I have a full time job but I need $2000 for my short term career goals. And I want to move to a more affordable city or province (maybe Ottawa), build credit and finances to buy a home and lay roots one day. I sink too much money into a rental when I’d rather be paying into a mortgage somewhere. I’m living paycheck to paycheck, My Rent and Car insurance are so high that if I had one bad month I could lose it all. I don’t have money to save or to take my next level of trade schooling either. I want to start investing too!

  1. What’s the best way to secure $2000 for at low interest loan without destroying my credit? – Should I try and get a Line of Credit? A personal loan? Financing the tools I need through the store which wont guarantee the best deals?

  2. What’s the best Credit Card to apply for that could help me accomplish my goals?

  3. What’s the best way to save up money in my situation?

  4. Is it a bad idea to buy an apartment in the near future to avoid sinking money in rent, only to eventually sell it and use that money on a house down payment?

  5. Is the prospect of mortgage even feasible for me in the mid-future?

  6. What are some great ways to improve and diversify my money and credit?

  7. What’s the best resource (book/website/etc) to learn about investing for an absolute beginner?

  8. What’s the best platform/website/software for a beginner to start investing on?

  9. How much money could I / should I be investing in regards to my income?

And lastly, am I totally stupid? Am I being delusional?

I recognize that this is an extremely loaded post, and I’m asking a lot of big questions here. I don’t expect many answers but I don’t have anyone to talk or turn to for such advice in my life. I fear that which ever financial institution I ask might give me a totally biased answer. But no matter what I’m truly grateful to who ever reads this, and for which ever reply I get. Feel free to PM me an answer too!

Best regards, and stay safe out there.