Want to save money fast?  Live with your parents and have no expenses…

And work 40 hours a week at night while going to school during the day…

And get only 4 hours of sleep a night then get up and drive to school…

The Toronto Star thought it wise to publish an article about this 20 year-old guy who lives with his parents and makes $50,000/year while going to school full-time.

His expenses are: car insurance, gas money, phone bills and a gym membership.

He lives rent-free and there is no mention of him paying for groceries, dining out, entertainment, travel, clothing or anything else. It is not mentioned but since his expenses don’t include OSAP or tuition payments, school seems to be paid for – by his parents, or maybe a scholarship(but probably not because his grades are not great).

He says he can save $40,000 of his $50,000 income. That seems a bit high, unless his parents pay his CPP and EI deductions and also his income tax. But let’s go with it.

He keeps his weekends free for his girlfriend and friends, so he does actually have a social life. He keeps healthy by going to the gym so maybe that makes up for the insanity caused by getting 4 hours of sleep during the week.

Sounds like this guy’s on the track to early retirement!

END OF POST

But wait…if this guy’s got it all right, why aren’t we all doing this?

POST RESUMED

Sorry about that. Ok, let’s break this down, shall we?

WORKING WHILE GOING TO SCHOOL FULL-TIME

I find this one a bit strange. He’s living at home, and can save $40,000 a year so he doesn’t need to work, but he’s causing himself extra stress by working an additional 40 hours per week. He wants his grades to be higher than the mid 70s but he’s still keeping this job. Someone taught him that he couldn’t pass up this opportunity to work full time while in school and being 20 years-old.

A lot of people work during school. Because they have to. They need to pay for school, or for living expenses or both. The Business program at Guelph-Humber costs around $10,000 per year. He can’t be paying for this, or he wouldn’t think he has $40,000 to save every year.

LIVING/WORKING/STUDYING ON 4 HOURS OF SLEEP

“I’m completely exhausted by the end of the week, but it all gets done,”

It’s one thing to go to school during the day for 3-4 hours, plus some studying time, then working a couple of shifts a week at Starbucks(maybe 20 hours a week) when you don’t have to get up too early the next morning. But this guy is working 8 hour shifts at Pepsi, driving a forklift, from 4PM-12AM every weekday. Asleep by 2AM, and then sometimes has to get up at 6AM and drive to campus? What?

I went to business school and the earliest class I had was at 9AM, and that was during first year because I didn’t have much of a choice. Some years I was able to schedule everything in the afternoon and have some days without class at all. Business is not bio-chemistry where you have tons of labs. Also, I lived on campus.

I checked the Guelph-Humber Business schedule and many of the courses start at 8AM. In fact, “Anthony took five classes in the winter semester, managing to schedule four of them in the mornings…” So he did this on purpose? Makes sense, because if he didn’t, his options are severely limited if he wants to make it to work on time for 4PM.

I’ll be the first to say that sleeping for 4 hours a night is a bit crazy but that’s me projecting. I know that I need 7-8 hours or I feel like crap. This guy seems fine. Maybe he’s a “short sleeper”. It’s apparently a thing – you don’t need a lot of sleep and you function normally.

LIVING WITH YOUR PARENTS AND HAVING NO EXPENSES

Can’t argue with the deal this guy has. Make money and live for free. But we aren’t all that lucky.

First, the taxes, CPP and EI on $50,000 are around $12,000. So his net income is really $38,000.

Here’s a budget for an average person:

Budget.jpg

Most people have these kinds of costs in their life.

For a net income of $38,000 that would look something like this:

Total100%$38,000
Housing25%$9,500
Utilities5%$1,900
Food10%$3,800
Transport10%$3,800
Clothing5%$1,900
Health5%$1,900
Insurance10%$3,800
Personal5%$1,900
Recreation10%$3,800
Giving5%$1,900
Saving5%$1,900

But here’s Anthony’s budget:

Total100%$38,000
Transport5%$1,900
Personal5%$1,900
Recreation5%$1,900
Saving85%$32,300

Our guy has about 85% of his living costs covered so of course he can save a ton. But his parents are paying the price. Are they having to work longer or harder themselves to pay for their son? This is a decision only a family can make together, but we can all agree that this guy really lucked out and is totally taking advantage of his situation. One day though he will probably get a place of his own and then he might be in for a bit of a rude awakening when he has to buy things for himself and no longer have a housekeeper and a cook.

SO THEN WHY DON’T WE ALL DO THIS?

I grew up in Northern Ontario and I knew early on that I wasn’t going to school there. I would have to move away and live on my own. But I know a lot of people who lived with their parents during school and that’s perfectly fine. What I figured out when I was working full time after graduating from University and tried to study additional accounting courses, was that I am not built for working full time and studying at the same time. I don’t have that kind of energy and I burn out fast. So this guy is unique in that he has the energy to focus on his studies(though getting 70s) after working 40 hours a week.

Society expects us to pay our own way once we start making enough money to do so, but this guy’s parents don’t seem to be in any rush to collect rent from him.

I have two gut reactions to this story:

The first is that this guy is taking advantage of his parents, making them pay for everything, saving all the money he makes for himself, spreading his focus too thin, and not preparing for the inevitable future where he will have to make his own way in the world.

The second reaction I have is that maybe this family has a great plan. Pay for your kid’s tuition and expenses, while in school, so that he has no debt when he’s done, but also allow him to work full time and build up a nest egg so that when he goes out in the world, he has his own safety net. I’ve seen a number of people go out on their own, only to fail and rely on their parents to help them. I’m one of these people. I had a lot of money troubles in my 20s and my parents were always there to help me when I needed it. This guy’s family is just supporting their kid and just because it’s not a standard story, doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with it. I think they just need to stay wise, and make sure Anthony keeps his grades up, gets some sleep, and is not sacrificing too much of his life for money.

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