“Get Ahead In The Job and Housing Markets” – Guest Judge Sean Cooper

How to get ahead in the job and housing markets

Introducing Get Out Of My House guest blogger judge Sean Cooper! In addition to writing regularly for RateSupermarket.ca’s Money Wise blog, Sean works in the finance industry and has been featured by the media for his impressive financial accomplishments – like owning and paying off a home in Toronto, one of Canada’s most expensive housing markets!

Pssst – have you voted yet today for your favourite finalist? They need your help to move out of their parents’ home – and there are great prizes in it for you voters! Vote now!

Unemployment and a Tough Housing Market: The Plight of Today’s 20-Somethings

The 20-somethings of today have it tougher than ever. With the youth unemployment rate hovering at 15 per cent – double the rate for the rest of Canadians – a university degree no longer guarantees a full-time job. While your parents were most likely married, owned their first house and had a well-paying job at 25, the youth of today are graduating with an average $27,000 of student debt. With a lack of well-paying jobs, youths are being forced to stay with their parents into their late 20’s and early 30’s, not because of a lack of desire to leave home, but because they simply cannot afford to.

 A Challenging Job Market

When I graduated from university it took me nearly a year to land a well-paying job in my field of study. It was discouraging applying for hundreds of jobs and only going to five interviews. Landing my first job wasn’t easy either; it took four interviews and a written test to receive a job offer. When I thought I finally landed a decent job, the offer was put on hold due to a hiring freeze from a company merger. I was one of the lucky few to eventually find employment; a lot of 20-something’s mired in debt simply give up and end up working in the retail sector adding to the under-employment epidemic.

 An Even Tougher Housing Market

Not only has the hiring process become incredibly competitive – breaking into the world of home ownership is a staggering challenge, especially in big cities like Toronto and Calgary. It took me nearly three years of house hunting to find my dream house. It wasn’t because I was looking for the perfect house; any house I showed any interest ended up selling in a bidding war. This past summer I was at the point of giving up buying on a house. I was being priced out of the market; house prices were going up faster than I could save. When I started looking for a house I could easily afford a three-bedroom bungalow in a nice neighbourhood; three years later I could barely afford a two-bedroom fixer-upper in an up –and-coming neighbourhood. Luckily I was able to find a house just when the new mortgage rules took effect, otherwise I’m sure I would still be renting and living at home.

 Words of Wisdom

I can’t overemphasize the importance of networking while you’re in university. If you’re able to make connections through internships and job fairs, it could eventually lead to a full-time job. It’s better than being one of hundreds applying to a full-time job posting online.

When it comes to finding your dream house, it’s important to be flexible. While you shouldn’t settle for a house you totally hate, you can’t expect to buy your dream home straight out of university. Saving a down payment is challenging; instead of spending your money on fast food, smartphones and socializing, watch your spending and you’ll be well on your way to home ownership.

My Favourite Finalist

While the story of each finalist is touching, my favourite finalist would have to be Katie Kish. Growing up in a home with only my mother’s income to support us, I too can relate. It’s admirable at only 22 she already wants to fly the coop and move away from home. It’s nice that Katie is so appreciative of the sacrifices her mother has made. That’s why she’s my pick to win the contest. Good luck, Katie!

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