A Money Coach in Canada

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Argh! It’s nearly 3am, and despite a huge day yesterday, and a huge day ahead, I can’t sleep! Grrrrr. Might as well post my Tuesday post, which is another Grrrrr:

According to the Vancouver Foundation, my city, Vancouver, gets a big, black as a successful city.

Our vital signs were taken, our pulse so to speak and we’re in bad shape. Key findings are the following:

Minimum Wage Doesn’t Cover Basic Living Costs

The minimum wage in BC is currently $8.00 an hour. At this rate, a single person must work 38 hours per week to cover basic needs. A couple with two children needs to work more than 37 hours a week each to afford basic living expenses. While the minimum wage has not changed since 2001, the cost of living has increased 14% since then, making it more difficult to afford basic necessities.

Overall Poverty Rate

In 2005, the overall pre-tax poverty rate (the proportion of individuals falling below the Low Income Cut-Off) for people living in Metro Vancouver was 20%. Metro Vancouver, along with Montréal and Victoria, had the highest proportion of residents living in poverty among major Canadian CMAs. The overall regional poverty rate has climbed since 1980 but declined 8% from 2000 to 2005.

   Good News!:   Declining Poverty Rate Among Elderly

In 2005, the number of Metro Vancouver residents 65 years or older living in poverty (below the pre-tax Low Income Cut-Off) decreased by 18% between 1980 and 2005. Now that the mandatory retirement age of 65 years is being eliminated by the provincial government, many seniors can opt to work longer in order to increase their income. Many seniors continue to live on a fixed income, however, which can make them vulnerable to poverty and rising costs.

Appalling news:  Child Poverty Remains a Concern

In 2005, 26% of children and youth under 18 years of age in Metro Vancouver lived in families with household incomes below the poverty line (below the pre-tax Low Income Cut-Off). Although the proportion of children living in poverty in our region dropped slightly between 2004 and 2005, child poverty rates have more than doubled since 1980 when the rate was only 12.5%. The incidence of child poverty across our region is high when compared to the overall rate for Canada — 17% in 2005.

Income Gap Is Widening

The gap between the rich and the poor increased by 8% between 2001 and 2005. In 2005, the average income for the richest 10% of the income spectrum in Metro Vancouver was $145,800, while the average income for the poorest 10% of Metro Vancouver’s population was only $14,100. This means the richest 10% had average incomes 10.3 times more than the poorest 10%. In 2001, the richest 10% had average incomes 9.5 times higher than the poorest 10%


And my personal piss-off:

And is it just me, or does something seem fundamentally WRONG when the majority of middle-income Vancouver residents simply cannot afford to buy a home, while areas like Coal Harbour get developed and sold to international investors … who then leave 30% of the units sitting empty, according to a fairly reliable source who works for the City?

About the Author

Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com


  1. Hear, hear, on the middle-income Vancouverites comment related to home buying. I just can’t believe it — I make a good living, and as a single girl in Vancouver, I’d have to buy a 500 sf condo to own, downtown.

    Thanks, I’d rather pad my landlord’s pocket.

    *color me frustrated with the state of housing in Vancouver*


    Jan 09, 2008
  2. It is indeed wrong to have such a large portion of rich international investors snapping up (and driving up the prices of) housing in Vancouver.

    I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’ll never own in Vancouver as I’m not interested in cramming my girlfriend and I into a 2 bedroom condo with a $400,000 mortgage. Call me crazy but I want a house… with a garage… and a lawn.

    I don’t want to be the first generation to have to live in a condo their whole lives. It just ain’t right.


    Jan 09, 2008
  3. @Tanya and @Roger – thanks for stopping by! I wonder: would city council in a thousand years consider making some kind of bylaws where if you owned here, you at LEAST had to have the place occupied 6 months of the year? That the places are just sitting empty is the salt in the wound (and the wound is bad enough as it is). @ Roger – pretty weird to think of that – the next generation of Vancouver kids growing up without a yard … grim ….


    Jan 09, 2008

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