How to Start a Family in the Reality of Millennial Job Security

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Millennials have been given quite a few unfavorable labels by Baby Boomers. Lazy, entitled slackers who would rather live in Mom’s basement than get a job – and a life. How could one possibly start a family living underground with a growing double chin from looking at a screen all day?

First of all, let’s get rid of those labels founded in the norms of the 80’s. There’s a notion we have all grown up with – that hard work and a good education guarantees a bright future. Just like those disco pants, some things just aren’t relevant anymore.

When it comes to education, there is a Great Lake sized gap between Millennials and where Baby Boomers stood, in fact in 2015, there were more than two million students enrolled at Canadian universities and colleges, compared to almost 800,000 in 1980.”

Another gap that’s just as large?

Student debt.

While half of these students manage to graduate their first degree debt-free due to a mix of hustle, scholarships and their parents’ wallet, according to the Ottawa Citizen the remainder face an average pit of $27 000. On top of that struggle, a university degree no longer equates to a career. The Ottawa Citizen quotes Statistics Canada saying that “in 2011, about 18 per cent of university grads between 25 and 34 were working in occupations requiring a high school education.” This phenomenon is so common that it’s even garnered a new term: the millennial side hustle.

It doesn’t take much to grasp what exactly that means: numerous side jobs in lieu of a career, or, in many cases, to support a career. Doesn’t exactly equate to the term “lazy slackers,” does it?

It’s no secret that most entry level jobs require years of experience, which – let’s be honest here – is in itself an oxymoron. For those that do manage to garner experience through internships and co-ops and land a job, they will still face risks due to “fundamental changes in the nature of work and pay, and the decline of traditional sources of security such as employer-sponsored pension plans.”

However, it’s not just the job market that’s keeping the Millennials from settling down.

72.1% of millennials believe “their ability to start or expand their family is impacted by real estate prices in their region,” which in Toronto means a detached home averaging $1 million – out of reach seems like an understatement. So much so that 46.4 percent of millennials say their existing debt makes it impossible.

When it comes to the traditional dream ladder of education, job, marriage, house, children – it seems more than out of the Millennial reach.

“But, says David Foot, a retired economics professor at the University of Toronto, who specialized in demographics, it’s not that you can’t have these things, it’s just that the timeline is being pushed back and can sometimes look out of reach.”

Holding off on starting a family now comes with a bundle of catch phrases:

When our student debt is paid off.

Once we buy a house.

When one of us gets a promotion.

Sound familiar?

While we’re always told there’s never a “right time” to start a family, maybe for you that time is now – and pushing it off just isn’t an option. Luckily, The Globe and Mail has provided four steps to help get the baby carriage rolling.

Start off by planning around maternity and parental benefits. In the lovely great white north, it takes one year of paying employment insurance to qualify. Research what is available to you in terms of benefits and time off, and then, once you qualify for the maximum benefit from both the government and your employer – if timing isn’t too much of an issue –, start planning for those nine months of plus one.

Live as if you’re already a parent. You can hold off on volunteering to chaperone the middle school dance, but definitely accommodate your budget to match the numbers on your future parental leave. If you aren’t expecting a cut to your salary, think about the other expenses you’ll incur – such as diapers, daycare, a never-ending supply of pacifiers since they seem to keep disappearing, formula, and then bank the difference.

Say goodbye to any high-interest debt. Your student debt and car payment might still be lingering when your mini-me comes to town, but you can definitely eliminate credit card debt.

Don’t forget: Canada Child Benefit is a thing! The Liberals’ new CCB plan provides monthly income-based payments to help with the cost of raising a child – maxing out at $6400 a year for families with children aged five and under.

While it may not be the white picket fence dream hard work and education promised, with adjusted expectations and solid budgeting skills, Millennials don’t necessarily have to wait to start a family.


Have any tips to help prospective families go from the person in Mom’s basement to Mom? Comment with #citysavvymom below!


Check these amazing books for new parents!

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Post Author: Amelia Pley

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