I am currently 23. I live in Quebec, Canada and I work full time at $17.31 per hour. My salary will increase 1% to 6% every December.

For the time being, my cost of living is relatively low. I have a small amount of debt:

  • $1'500 in credit cards;
  • $1'200 for a laptop which I pay $40 per month, no interest rate
  • $550 in random loans, 19.50% interest rate;
  • $65 per month for a mobile phone
  • $50 per month for insurance, subscriptions, and miscellaneous items
  • I owe the government about $350 in taxes, 4% interest rate

My expenses are relatively low:

  • $180 per month for rent
  • $50 per month for utilities
  • $150 to $300 per month for food
  • $950 for upcoming driving classes

I have extra discretionary cash and I put a bit of it toward my debt. each month. It was 8'000$ about 3 years ago. I assume that I will be out of any debt somewhere in 2020. However, I mostly drink all of it since I have nothing better to do and no real plan.

I am planning to begin investing in order to make more for myself. I plan to buy for a house, perhaps in 5 years for something around $220'000. I would also like to get a decent car in the next 10 years, something around $20'000.

I would like to know where to start. I have little to no experience in banking or investments and I would like to know where someone of my profile should begin in order to save money and invest it correctly, in order to make the maximum profit. A bit of risk is acceptable, I can be patient.

I believe that the best move would be to pay off my current debts entirely and that would occur sooner if I cut back on my drinking.

Do you think owning my first house within 5 years is reasonable? Possible? And having my first "new-ish" car in 10 years? Would this be possible with my current income?

How do I start investing? Who do I call or meet to start investing? Are stocks even a thing if you're not already relatively wealthy? I have an empty 1.050% Interest saving account, but that percentage seems way too low for me, what better options to I have?

  • 2
    This is an easy one. Your first extra 3600 should go to paying your loans. Of that the first 350 should be go to paying off your tax bill. Then save an emergency fund, no need to think about investing right now as your finances are a wreck!
    – Pete B.
    Jul 23, 2019 at 14:36
  • 3
    19% interest loans mean that your hair is on fire. Rule #1 of financial success is to put out the fire on your skull.
    – RonJohn
    Jul 23, 2019 at 21:50

1 Answer 1


You're correct that paying your interest-bearing debts is the frst move before you put anything in an investment. Makes no sense to maybe get 7% return on an investment while you're accruing interest at a higher rate than that.

The next step would be to establish a liquid savings. Having a buffer to be able to pay unexpected expenses or to support yourself in an unexpected job loss is important to keep yourself out of potential debt and to keep you from pulling from investments at an inopportune time.

Save enough to be able to pay cash for your car. Avoid non-mortgage loans at all costs. Additionally, saving enough for a good downpayment on the house will help you minimize that interest rate. 20% is usually the recommended amount for a good rate.

After you have that planned out, then you can think about putting money in investments. I'm pretty much in the same boat as a young person with a new job, only I'm a couple years in already. I started with an Aspiration Mutual Fund, which has been pretty good with providing a good return. A little later I started with the Ally Invest Managed Portfolio which is easy enough to where I put money in an account and they automatically invest it in a blend of stocks and bonds in accordance with my risk tolerance and I don't have to put much thought into it. Unsure about the availability of either of these outside the US, but you can assuredly find similar mutual fund and managed portfolio programs available to you.

One of the accounts is a Roth IRA so the growth is tax-free. Canada has a Tax-Free Savings Account which looks like it's the exact same thing. It would be a good idea to take advantage of that if you plan to keep it invested in the long-term. I wish I had known about that sooner.

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