Germany’s home-ownership rate of 45 per cent compares to 68 per cent in Canada, so it’s natural to expect that Germans are more comfortable with renting than Canadians. Still, one German’s experience as a renter in Canada is kind of depressing.
Juliane Lorenz is eyeing a move to Hamburg with her family after renting a Toronto bungalow and getting all kinds of guff. As reported by Erica Alini, money/consumer expert for Global News, Ms. Lorenz had to put up with judgmental comments ("Oh, are you just renting?”), issues with maintenance and upkeep of her home and, finally, a 60-day eviction notice following seven years of renting. “I hate being a renter in Canada,” Ms. Lorenz said.
I totally get that. Countries with strong real estate markets usually accept renting as a natural choice for people who either can’t afford to own or prefer the flexibility and independence of renting. In Canada, renters get no respect. The home-owning masses disparage long-term renters as losers, even while home ownership quietly bleeds them dry financially. Politicians talk about the right mix of policies to make more rental properties available, but improvements are hard to find.
Here in Ottawa, there are several rental high rise buildings coming on-stream these days. But they’re not rentals for everyday people like the older apartment buildings you find in any city’s urban core. No, these new buildings are luxury rentals designed to appeal to high-earning young adults or boomers who cashed out of homes they bought decades ago and are willing to indefinitely spend at least $2,500 to $3,000 or more per month.
Spend less than that and you have to contend with rentals like the ones I described in a recent column. The headline? 100-square-foot apartments and 5-foot-10 ceilings: Harrowing tales of millennials renting in Toronto.
I’ll be writing more about the plight of renters. Send me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Rob’s personal finance reading list…
Is buying coffee really why your finances are in bad shape?
A deep dive into the debate over whether it’s helpful to tell people to stop spending money on lattes and other coffee drinks so they can put more in saving. I’ll be writing more on this in a column this week.
What really goes on in House Hunters
A participant in this really popular TV show about people searching for homes tells all about what goes on in production. According to this account, things are not, um, 100 per cent authentic.
GICs vs. bond ETFs
You want something in your portfolio to take the edge off sharp moves by the stock market, right? Here’s a highly detailed comparison of bond exchange-traded funds and guaranteed investment certificates. GICs come out looking quite competitive.
Climate change and your finances
Some useful thoughts on how to prepare your investments and savings for disruptions caused by climate change. The author of this blog post suggested having a chunk of cash on hand in case of an emergency evacuation.
Today’s financial tool
Can’t save today, but hope to start putting money away some time in the future? This calculator will show you the cost of waiting to invest.
U.S. personal finance guy Rami Sethi talks here about spending extravagantly on things he values, while cutting costs “mercilessly” on the things he doesn’t.
Q: If I have a well-funded contingency fund, do I need rental insurance?
A: For sure. Renter’s insurance covers your possessions against theft and other risks, while also providing liability coverage in case of damage to your unit or injuries sustained by someone who is visiting you. The cost of rental insurance isn’t particularly onerous.
Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.
In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance-related stories
- Divorce is more than financially devastating, it can also ruin your mental health
- Can this couple successfully navigate an unexpected early retirement?
- Ten undervalued Canadian stocks with lower volatility (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)
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