On The Money

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A few posts ago on this weird little blog of ours, we made the claim that home ownership, even when it goes up, does not make the homeowner money. On the contrary, it makes everyone else money: the real estate agent, the bank, the government. Just not you. We then crunched the numbers and proved our point with cold, hard math.

I know, right? Math from…gasp…a GIRL!

Ever since then our inbox has been clogged with haters. How dare we attack such a sacred taboo topic like home ownership, they clattered from their keyboards. Of course people make money with real estate! I mean, it’s not like an entire GENERATION could be wrong, right? The Mainstream Media then chimed in, demanding that we explain ourselves!

So we did. On National TV.

When we we were first interviewed on CBC, we honestly thought no one, other than our parents and close friends, would watch it.

Boy, were we wrong. That video has since garnered over 4.47 MILLION views!!!


That’s as many views as our PM got on his Canada Day address, and he’s a certified dream-boat!

Oh PM Dreamboat, you can address my loins any day.

Since then even the media has been following our journey and reading this blog. It’s as if we actually have something important to say. Ha! Jokes on them!

So somehow we’ve turned from a dinky little place for us to vent about unaffordable housing and share investment knowledge into an actual Big Blog ™. Huh. Does this mean I have to actually start watching what I say?


So to our new readers coming in because of that TV spot, the offending posts we’re referring to are here:

Update: To our subscribers, the issue that was stopping email delivery (which was apparently caused by TOO MANY SUBSCRIBERS) has now been resolved. You should be now be getting updates delivered as normal now. If you don’t, please shoot us an email and I will whip my IT guy (i.e. Wanderer) until it gets fixed. kthxbye!

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33 thoughts on “On The Money”

  1. I still think that buying a house can be a good option if certain conditions are met (low mortgage rates, inflation, staying there for at least 5-10 years etc.). Nevertheless it’s not always the case. Like I see that property prices in Toronto have doubled in about 10 years? With 1-2% inflation per year that’s just crazy. On a long term property prices should be more or less in line with inflation. I wouldn’t be surprised if there will be a big correction in the near future…

    I think the real message of your story is that everyone should do the math whether it really worth to buy an own property (and not that nobody should ever buy). This is the biggest “investment” that most people will ever have and it’s all in one asset. You might make the best or the worst purchase of your life with it…

    1. “I wouldn’t be surprised if there will be a big correction in the near future…”

      Me either. Though, it really doesn’t matter, because no matter which way the market goes, I no longer have to care 🙂

  2. Amazing you are speaking the truth. I don’t understand why people don’t think like us. I find it amusing reading “overhead at work” on the MMM blog. Anyways I’m in my mid twenties I get paid to live (because I rent out my home and live in a garage suite) my car is fully paid off (12 year old Toyota which I rarely use because I walk to work) so my monthly expenses including food is 550/ month. I work as a nurse at the hospital and work as much overtime as possible…I’m on track to retire in 3 years… Before I’m 28. It really pays to pay attention to finances at a young age because then I can follow any passion and not have to worry about money. Keep it up I love this blog!!

    1. Absolutely! When you figure out finances while you’re young, you have SO much time to make investing work for you.


  3. Now that you’ve really hit the big time….. ?Run down the financials on how much $$$ you are making from blogging. ? And YES you are worth every penny of it. ?

    1. Ha ha, I could make a lot of $$$ blogging but that would mean being a total hypocrite and promoting products designed to steal people’s money.

      I’d rather make no money (I don’t need it) than be a sell-out, so I’ve ready said no to be bunch of crappy advertising deals and it feels AMAZING! Not being anyone’s bitch rocks!

  4. You now have a platform and can do some good. What will you do with this? It’s time to rethink the role of home ownership in our lives. Your dreams of travel and mobility make owning a home a potentially poor choice. Fair enough. Too many simply follow the path into a home purchase as the default setting. There really are options out there. That said, they don’t all need to exclude property ownership either. You have gained a lot of attention by casting this argument in extremes. You must buy a house vs. you shouldn’t buy a house. Go a little deeper. Who does it make sense for? When in someone’s life is it a wise choice? How much should you spend? How would it impact your life good and bad?

    Challenging the status quo is the responsibility of each generation. I would encourage you to take this opportunity to make a difference.

    1. What I’m trying to do with this platform is provide an alternative to the idea that “owning a home is a great investment” and “renting is for losers”. I’ve seen far too many friends and co-workers get sucked into that false belief and work themselves to death to pay for a massive mortgage. That is no way to live.

      The whole concept that you have to work until you’re 65, pay off a mortgage, retire with a pension makes NO sense given the job instability and unaffordable housing challenges Millennials face today.

      I was only able to get to where I am today by NOT following that antiquated advice. And my generation needs to know that there is an alternative. They don’t have to be corporate prisoners and house prisoners just because other people are doing it. It’s time for us to carve our own path and find real solutions to fix our problems rather than blindly doing what society tells us to do.

    2. I absolutely agree with you Bill. I think they have done a great job at “challenging the status quo”. I am absolutely pro real estate as a means to become financially independent, which my husband and I have been since age 27, 32. But not in a traditional way. Bought it underpriced houses renovated rented out part of it….didn’t buy our “dream” home til we were FI. The authors of this blog seem “extreme” in their writing because it has been their personal experience it’s passion. Many readers of this blog own real estate and has served them well, but I haven’t found the authors derogatory toward their or my success at all. They are offering their perspective of how they personally dealt with soaring real estate.

  5. Congrats on the growth! Love the simplicity, honesty and humor you guys bring to a complicated topic. BTW, I use “KThxBye” too!

  6. I am totally good with your strategy and actually get your Math (never an easy subject for me) so live long travel continue to save and invest and Prosper. I own a couple of houses with alot of equity right now and will definitely sell both once the nest is empty in 7-9 years! I’m quite certain there will be a few people who will want to buy both homes; however at that point will have no issues with renting a nice place…I look forward to reading about your future adventures!

  7. love, love, love reading your blogs. so insightful and accurate. I always look forward to your newest posts. keep up the wonderful work of spreading the word. Have a blast in Vietnam!! hopefully i’ll be there next year. cheers

      1. We loved Vietnam…I recommend checking out Kay ba island. Beautiful beach s and great hiking as well. You can grab a ferry from Haiphong. We had a hotel room there overlooking the water for 7$ per night. And I agree food is awesome.

        1. Great minds think alike! Cat Ba island is definitely on our list and we’re thinking of taking a Kayaking tour around Long Bay from there. Excited for it!

          I was also shocked at how ridiculously cheap the hotels are! And with balcony and sea-view no less. This country rocks!

          1. Yes the kayaking is unbelievable. Have a spring roll for me and a couple of very cheap though yeasty smelling beer☺️

  8. Hi! Thank you for your blog; I’ve found it very interesting. My husband and I also decided not to buy a house, rent and save instead, but unlike you we regret not buying in 2010–prices were crazy in Vancouver then, but now they are beyond the beyond, and rentals are also insane.

    We now also have two children and if our landlord decides to sell, we won’t be able to find anything near habitable in our neighbourhood and price range. These things wouldn’t have mattered before, but once you have kids in school and daycare, moving does not sound so easy. So even though I still think 2010 prices were too much, I wish we had bought then when it would have been financially possible.

    But I digress! I actually have questions about your calculations in the “would we be richer if we had bought a house” post. You compare the cost of buying a house to the money spent renting a 1-bedroom apartment. Isn’t that comparing apples to oranges? Wouldn’t it be more meaningful to compare the cost of buying a house to the cost of renting a similar house? Or the cost of buying a 1-bedroom apartment in your area to the cost of renting one?

    Sorry if you have already answered these questions elsewhere, but I have really been wondering about this. I do appreciate your message and think you offer an important viewpoint.

    1. Okay, first of all, we already had a rental, so why would we go and waste money renting an entire house? And if I was that spendy and clueless, I would be spending WAY more than what I listed as home ownership costs.

      And secondly, when I crunched the math again using the rental costs of a 3 bedroom house I found on kijiji that rents for $1995/month (utilities included) in my area, renting STILL won over home ownership:

      $126,129 – 36*$1995/month = $54,309 which STILL beats the $36,624.54 from the house.

      As for Vancouver, why would you regret not buying a house? Sales are already down 26% due to the 15% foreign buyers tax and prices are coming down.

      1. Thanks for replying! I asked because that is the comparison you made: buying a house vs. renting an apartment. I wasn’t suggesting you needed a house or that you should or shouldn’t have bought one.

        I agree that renting makes more sense in most places by the numbers. For example, I pay $2300/month to rent a house that would sell for about $2 million. That’s completely off-the-charts bananas and Exhibit A in favour renting vs. buying. I have no plans to buy and it is really too soon to say what is happening to prices in Vancouver; they would have to come down by about 60% before buying made any kind of sense again. We are a long way from that!

        However, six years ago our same house would have been about $900,000 (not something we ever could have afforded), but a house in a less expensive neighbourhood could be bought for $650,000. Our payments for that, including property taxes (but not maintenance and other costs) would probably be around $3,000/month now, which is what it also now costs to rent a 3-bedroom house or townhouse in Vancouver (assuming you can even find one). So the numbers are getting closer to evening out. (And yes, I also realize we would have missed out on gains we made with our money, which is instead invested in a 60/40, low-fee portfolio and ticking along very nicely, thank you.)

        If I could be guaranteed that I wouldn’t lose my current rental situation, I would be 100% happy with our decision to rent. But unfortunately, our laws do not provide this security and our landlord could decide to sell at any time. Then we would likely be paying $3,000/month anyway, or facing a 2-hour commute each day to live somewhere cheaper and hardly seeing our kids.

        As well, the possibility we may have to move is a low-grade but constant stress that I would absolutely pay a premium not to have. Rearranging childcare is a real hassle–it took 2 years just to get a spot in our local daycare–and we cannot afford to have one parent stay home while we wait for a new childcare spot. This is just one example of something we did not factor in to our decision six years ago (before we had kids) when, like you, we said, “What? No way! It would be crazy to pay that much for a house!”

        I don’t have any grand conclusions to make. I’m just sharing my experience and pointing out that for many people, factors other than pure math apply to these decisions and our feelings about them.

        Actually, I do have one grand conclusion! (if you are still reading!)

        I am appalled at the lack of decent, reasonably priced, long-term stable rental housing that is suitable for people at all life stages (students, families, the elderly), as well as the lack of legal protection for renters. I think this is a key contributor to our current housing situation and one that has been missing from the conversation for too long. Would you consider using your new found fame to shed light on this issue?

        Best regards,

        1. I’m not as familiar with the rental situation as you since I don’t live in Vancouver. But what I can say is this: “the less flexible you are, the less options you have”. It’s understandable that Vancouver is getting more and more unaffordable, but what’s stopping you from building a portfolio and later moving to a less expensive city? If you absolutely HAVE to live in an expensive city, you WILL need to keep working and paying high rent or high mortgage. There’s no way out if you choose to lock yourself to that location.

          In my case, Toronto became unaffordable, so I became FI and left. And I have no plans to move back there…especially considering how there are lots of other cities in Canada with affordable housing. The more flexible you are, the more freedom you will enjoy. It’s as simple as that.

          And sure, kids make it harder, but again, if you say “I absolutely refuse to move because the kids HAVE to go to school here” then there really is no solution. Lack of flexibility = lack of solutions. It’s your choice.

  9. I’m from Toronto and I have a handful of friends (a little younger than Kristy’s age) who bought a house or condo. unfortunately, I feel most of their money is spent towards a lifestyle upgrade. All of a sudden they are going from renting a $1000 place or living at home to paying $3000-$5000 a month for their property (mortgage, taxes, maintenance etc).

    A few of them are aware of this as well yet they still buy. Some told me, they just want to own something and others said they want to buy before the price goes up further. Most of these friends also had some assistance from their parents. I think that’s what fueling these crazy prices too…. you now have 2-3 generations assistance in the purchase of a house.

    1. ” others said they want to buy before the price goes up further.”

      Yup, FOMO is what’s fuelling the cult. Hey, if they act like everyone else, they will BE just like everyone else. Average in = average out. That’s why everyone we know who bought houses in Toronto is constantly strapped for cash and stressed out. That’s fine. If they choose to shoot themselves in the foot, they shouldn’t be complaining about not having money or freedom and then hating on others who do.

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