“I’ll probably take the first real vacation of my adult life this year”: how a 27-year-old PR rep lives on around $54,000 a year
Who: Danielle Morgan, 27
What she does: A freelance public relations representative who specializes in the arts.
What she makes: Last year she made $42,000 at a boutique PR firm, which she left a few months ago to take better-paying contracts. She now works from home, and will likely make about $54,000 this year.
Some of how she spends it: Rent on her one-bedroom basement apartment near Roncesvalles and Westminster: $1,000 per month. (“When I first moved in there, it was all I could afford. I couldn’t swing the expense of living aboveground. Now that I’m in a position where I probably could, I really enjoy my apartment, and I prefer to stay and save.”) OSAP payments: $420 monthly. Lease payments on her car: $0. (It was a gift from her parents.) Gas, parking and insurance: $250–$300 monthly. (“My car is a big expense, and a dud, so every time I take it in to the shop, there’s something wrong. I’m selling it and switching to public transit this fall.”) IMDBpro subscription: $149.99 annually. (“I need it for work contacts.”) Cellphone: $73.45 monthly. Charitable donations: $78 monthly. (“I sponsor two people through Plan Canada and World Vision.”) Savings for an upcoming trip: $700–$1500 monthly. (“I’ll probably take the first real vacation of my adult life this year. I plan to do the west coast.”)
What she bought in one week: Fresh fruit and vegetables from the Sorauren Farmers’ Market: $23. (“The Swiss Chard was the size of my torso. It was insane. I ate it for three days.”) Face wash on sale at Shoppers: $3.94. (“I’m not a couponer, but I always pay attention to sales.”) Lunch and dinner from Sushi on Roncy: $17. (“They were renovating my kitchen after a leak upstairs, so I couldn’t cook that day.”) Gift from Belle de Provence: $57.56. (“Because I was displaced by the renovations, my neighbour let me live in her apartment while she was away, so I bought her some fancy French soap.”) Brunch at Old School: $39. (“Brunch is my biggest vice, and it was my turn to pay for a friend.”)
54 thoughts on ““I’ll probably take the first real vacation of my adult life this year”: how a 27-year-old PR rep lives on around $54,000 a year”
$54,000 a year is actually pretty decent pay. There are a lot of us out here who make a lot less than that working full-time and still can’t afford to leave home on what we make (unless we want to move to a really unsafe area). There’s the real story on the cost of living these days.
Oh, Boo Hoo you only make 54000 a year.
If you can save $1500 a month for a vacation, you are not living on the edge.
$54,000 plus a gifted car….. the struggle is real!!! lol…. not
Those grocery expenses don’t add up: $23 plus two meals out ? – and it would be tough to do brunch for two for $39
Give the woman a break. She seems to be living pretty sensibly, especially considering her age. Many a 20-something have their credit cards racked to the nines and live waaaay beyond their means. Plus travel at that age is the time to do it, before real life gets in the way (i.e. kids, mortgage, etc.). I commend her.
I don’t think any of us are ragging on her personally (at least I know I wasn’t). I think it’s more the light Toronto Life has used to paint this article with. They seem to be implying that on her salary it’s tough to get by.
i love this story of a woman living an pretty average life with a salary of 3x the poverty line. up next on Toronto Life, watch your clothes get wet upon contact with water.
Hey Toronto, make sure you keep adding snarky comments and opinions on what is “enough” money or an “easy enough” life etc!!! You can do it!!
All in all, I’d say this is not a realistic picture of living self-employed in the city, and I did it for 15 years.
Her stated costs amount to about $42K per year, but there are a few things missing–like food staples (milk, butter, bread and wine…) and taxes. Also, I don’t know how you run a successful business without an internet connection and laptop–I suppose you can do it with a tablet/cell service, but you’ll use a lot of data. And then there are taxes. Being self-employed, she should incorporate her business for the tax advantages, but CRA now requires her to set up a formal payroll schedule even if she is one employee, which is easier done through a service. And she should get a good accountant who understands how to maximize the benefits and returns of this type of business ($1K – 2K /year). She can write off part of her costs to the business, bu she’ll have to put away her EI/CPP payments or pay in installments and be prepared to pay a chunk of change to CRA at the end of the year.
Why are people ripping on her? She’s not complaining about struggling. 54K may seem a lot to some of you people but expenses ADD up. If you want any sort of social life, decent food and to save enough for a vacation once in a while – you know an average middle class life style then you really have to budget. Also you people don’t realize how much people who make 54k year get taxed – almost $1000 a month. Toronto is filled with people with the mind set of “let’s hate others because they make more than us and want a good lifestyle” . If you have nothing nice to say, keep it to yourself you bitter fucks.
I’ll echo other commenters by saying that yes, $54,000 is a good salary, but living on your own while trying to save gets tough. It looks like she’s doing a decent job living the lifestyle she would like, while saving for long and/or short term goals. Let’s not the forget the amount of FREE STUFF people get living in the PR world, too. I’m sure that helps some times :)
Roommates. I make $75k a year and I have a roommate because that’s the only way I could afford to live in a nice nabe.
Unsafe as in places with a lot of public housing (or even mixed housing like Regent Park) or unsafe as in has “seedy characters” around but not really unsafe like a Parkdale? I live in one of those areas that has its share of druggies and whatnot but they leave me alone, so I don’t necessarily feel unsafe and my area is relatively affordable.
Love your little hobbit hole! Looks like a vintage caef :). I need to find that kitchen island as well, it’s fab!
It was for a week; perhaps she does a big shop every other week and picks up fresh fruit and veggies once a week at the farmers market.
No one is saying she is “struggling” or that she is not making enough money. Pretty sure this is only meant to be a snapshot of Toronto’s cost of living for a middle-class family of one. Don’t like it? Don’t comment.
Wow. That seems a lot harder to do, considering this is my first year as Freelancer here in Toronto & I still don’t know many things. Grrr
Give me a break. I support two kids on less than that you idiotic elitist magazine. Why don’t you do a spread on me?!
If you don’t like his comment? Don’t reply to it? #UseYourOwnAdviceChief
If you have nothing nice to say, keep it to yourself “you bitter fucks.”
How about taking some of your own advice??? Lol
I thought the point of this section is to see how various Torontonians live given their respective incomes. For some $54K sounds good ‘on paper’. This is a snapshot of what 1 week in this person’s life is like… take it with a grain of salt. Everyone has their own struggles, vices & commodities. But I think we can all agree that Toronto is not a cheap city to live in.
But she’s putting away $700-$1500 per month for a vacation. That’s a big chunk of cash.,so for, her living on her own and saving seems to be pretty easy.
No doubt. That part did seem interesting to me too. $350 every pay cheque is doable, as long as you’re frugal in other areas. I’ll go back to my comment on her career again as a great supporter of her lifestyle. I’m sure she gets to expense many, if not all of her nights out on the town. That’s a big hole in many people’s pockets. Especially millennials. I can tell you from experience!
So your desire is not to better your situation but to gain publicity?
Also, I found this at the bottom of the article, hope to hear about you soon.
We’re finding out how Torontonians at every income level make and spend their money in a city that’s only getting more expensive. Want to take part? Email [email protected].
Mike Myers called and asked me to remind you that the 90’s ended almost twenty years ago.
Then he went on to say you “actually brought up a great point…not” and I laughed my ass off.
See when Wayne Campbell does it, it’s hilarious. You, not so much.
This article is complete nonsense. “Lives on $54,000 a year?”. You make it seem like this is some great struggle. There are families, yes, families who live off much less. Do they have everything, no, but they tighten their belts and make do. Food expenses are out of whack, not to mention there is NO mention of cable or internet. 54k a year…and mommy and daddy gift wrapped a car for you? please. $700 a month for a vacation? Please! Who ever wrote this trash should really consider going into parts of the city and having REAL conversations with adults who face the REALITIES of living in a city which is becoming increasingly unaffordable. I’m sorry that this individual is struggling. Let’s read some more examples of people who are struggling…http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/toronto-tops-canada-in-child-poverty-rates-report-1.2835604
54k in toronto aint much, but to live in this great city is worth the price. I would not move anywhere else
cause you seem to have an awful attitude for starters. also, regardless of your situation, 54k isnt much in Toronto. u might have it worse, great. dont give a F#ck
Why would you want to be featured in a magazine you consider idiotic?
I was merely making a point. I earn about as much as this woman does, but I’m not single living in Roncy. I’m supporting a family. I didn’t say I was struggling, but I’m working a lot harder than she is to make ends meet. Yet, they choose to feature a 20 something single white female rather than represent those who are really having a hard time earning a living, supporting families against a growing cost of living. I have to live here based on work. My husband and I will never be able to afford a house here but we do our best and our family is well taken care of. I’m not interested in this chick saving $1500 a month to travel. Yawn.
You know what nobody gives a fuck about?
how a 27-year-old PR rep lives on around $54,000 a year
Living on $54K a year is actually a struggle if you want to live decently, its important to profile this since $50K is the approximate average salary a university grad with good grades who graduates from a good university in an in demand major will make as a baseline in his or her first job. This is the type of lifestyle they can expect – a decent, unextravagant, but comfortable life where they can afford luxuries if they have the sense to save.
The article isn’t saying OMG HOW DOES SHE DO IT? They compare people at all sorts of average salary levels. Jeez, peeps.
who the fuck saves $700–$1500 MONTHLY for vacations?! if she cuts back on that a little bit, she’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to get by.
Is it really 54,000 gross or net?
Gross Salary $54 000,00 CAD
CPP- 2 479,95 CAD
EI- 930,60 CAD
Federal Tax- 6 368,52 CAD
Provincial Tax- 3 192,72 CAD
Total Tax- 12 971,79 CAD
Net Pay* 41 028,21 CAD*
Deductions are calculated based on the 2015 tables of Ontario, Canada
I be you haven’t even sent in your name. Why, it takes guts to lay your finances out in the open and expose yourself the hordes of anonymous critics.
I think you missed the point that at no point in the story did they mention that this woman was struggling. I know guys who make millions a year who are worried about how a pay cut will affect their lifestyle, it’s all relative.
But one thing about your post; it’s not a race to the bottom. You may have it hard but someone else has it harder, maybe not this woman but someone does. You’re not going to get a medal because you can’t afford to buy a house. Spend less time ranting about others and focus on improving your own life, it will serve you better in the end.
As for not caring about the story of this “chick” you obviously do since you read the story and posted several comments.
Not sure how you ended up at this article, but I think you misinterpreted its tone and purpose. It’s a profile on an individual and how she spends her money at a particular salary range. A profile that is, and not a how-to on surviving at a certain income level. If you click on the series link, you’ll see profiles on people living below this level and above (from under $15k a year, up to $70k). It’s about telling a few stories, not judging people.
Nobody is diminishing the struggles of others. Also, as far as I can observe, Toronto Life is generally not aimed at the masses – it seems clear their target demographic leans primarily towards professionals and above in terms of income, and their related lifestyles and interests. As for your comments on how much people can and do live on, affordability is largely based on location and lifestyle, as you point out. FYI, in our now major city, with average home prices being what they are, any household making under $100k is required to make careful decisions about how they budget (albeit in different ways at $20k than at $85k).
Back in the day when people had to actually write physical letters to the editor, the conversation below/above would never have existed… The deterioration to “no one gives a fuck about” the very thing they have been arguing about back-and-forth over several comment posts is just silly.
My takeaway is that this is one of a series of articles about people in the lower-middle to lower end of the income spectrum in one of the worlds most expensive cities, in a magazine that targets a tony audience; it has a positive, upbeat slant, while being lightweight and yielding an attractive photograph. It’s not hard hitting news; it’s not about inequity, inequality, the hard struggles of poverty; nor does it offer a legitimate forum for the many chip on shoulder comments about the PR industry, the gifted car, or the fact that there are many, many people having a real hard time in this city and elsewhere.
A semi-colon and the word “however” allow even the most mediocre writer to begin grinding a personal axe. Your discernment identifying the context that precedes your editorial will determine whether you are perceived to offer refreshing perspective or are merely a nagging bore in search of a soapbox.
I could live like a queen on that amount
Hope you get to take that trip to the west coast. Enjoy!
Where did you get that? I did not see any mention of her struggling, from the author or the subject. Too many people read the article with their bias already in place.
Ditch the car you tubby land-whale.
Yeah once you calculate tax contributions 50000 doesn’t go very far.
I’m not even going to bother criticizing the premise of this article. Really, it’s downright ridiculous, but that’s not what I want to say here. What I do want to say is this…
– Paying $78 per month in charity donations is $936 per year… that’s more than two months’ worth of OSAP payments. While I’m not criticizing her for being charitable, I’m saying that this looks like a mismanaged priority.
– Driving around a “dud” of a car that constantly needs repairs is actually pretty darn expensive. She’s made the right move to switch to public transit, but why did it take her this long to realize it?
– As an independent contractor (which appears to be the case, given her new working arrangement), her IMDBpro subscription is a business expense that can be written off. Nevertheless, it comes in at $12.50 per month – which, in fact, is the least of all her expenses (ahead of the $3.94 face wash, of course).
– Oh, also, specifically because she’s working from home as an independent contractor now, part of her $1,000 per month rent can be written off as a business expense – which actually puts her in a better position than those who work from an outside office.
– Likewise for the $881.40-per year cell phone subscription she has. The cell phone alone chews up over 1.6% of her gross income; so this is worth taking into account.
– Also, I don’t know what vacation she’s planning to go on that requires saving up to $1,500 per month for. Suppose she saved up that much for six months… that’s a $9,000 trip! That lump sum alone would pay off more than TWENTY ONE MONTHS of her OSAP. In any case, what “real” vacation that isn’t a 14-day luxury European cruise costs that kind of money?
When did $54k become elite? There are 22 year olds on Bay Street making $150k right out of school.
Thank you. I am an united states citizen, and an impulsive and imperfect one at that. The idea that a lifestyle “puff” piece should cause such an uproar in either of our North Americas is disturbing. I am 55, on disability, and know a bit about struggle, spending and saving. I would definitely save my energy before getting so worked up about what is clearly a bit of harmless copy. I do wonder what it is about this medium that gets people in such a state of readiness to try out their tired insult comic routines. What on earth is everyone so upset about? And Torontonians (sorry if that’s a misnomer) are rumored to be reasonable!
Ditch any hope of a life outside your mom’s basement, you sad little man.
“I am 55, on disability, and enjoy replying to two-month-old comments on lifestyle articles for rich, white people.”
As someone who works in PR and marketing in a downtown Toronto agency, I can safely say you are misinformed about how much “FREE STUFF” we get. Maybe a reporter or journalist gets free stuff so that they will report on it.
No one is sending product samples to PR people, it would serve no purpose. And swag from events/etc. are usually reserved for actual guests, not for people working the events or promoting it.
I like these profiles, they show the diversity of people, lifestyles and incomes in the city. We’re obsessed about how much people pay for their homes and mortgages. These people appear to be frank about a taboo subject and it gives me some context about what goes on in this city. Articles about the rich and fabulous just make me feel sad.
Like my son, the OCAD grad bike mechanic and courier, dodging taxis and beemers on Bay Street, he’s pulling down a solid…O, waitaminit, I think I miscounted the zeroes….
I have three degrees, (Queens/NYU/UofT), including a Masters degree, and make 20k less than her. It’s a struggle but I must say I hate it when people say comments such as “50k is a baseline out of College” Really? Maybe out of law school but not from an undergraduate degree these days.
Not to mention pay down student loans
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