I’m getting a smattering of emails like the following from friends in Tofino. (Details altered to protect the … accomplices?)
A friend of mine has an apartment, it’s a new one near [location in Tofino]. Its not a bad deal, $1,200 plus utilities that run $100-150. It’s set up nicely for two people — two bedrooms & a bathroom upstairs, bedroom & bathroom downstairs. Faces south, catches a lot of sun. It feels warm. Not furnished. Its cheap with a roommate, and it’s long term!
Now for …the math
Let’s go way, way out on a limb here and assume i actually want to work full-time, 40 hours a week. An optimistic local year-round wage would be, say, $11 an hour — a bit low for the summer, perhaps, but a reasonable average year-round. This yields a gross income of:
$11 x 40 hrs/wk x 52 wks/yr = $22,880 per year.
I haven’t been in that stratospheric wage bracket for years, but at a guess it’d come with, what, a 25% tax rate, leaving a net of $17,100 a year or $1,425 per month.
The accepted cost of affordable shelter (i.e. paying other people’s outrageous mortgages) is widely cited to be about 1/3 of your annual gross. The government’s BC Housing site provides the following info:
Financial support for subsidized housing is generally administered based on “rent-geared-to-income.” Rent-geared-to-income is for low- to moderate-income households. Tenants pay rent based on the gross income of the household rather than paying the market rate. Affordable rent is defined as costing no more than 30% of a household’s total gross monthly income….
So in my hypothetical case, an affordable rent would be $ 22,880 gross x 30% = $6,864/year or $572 per month.
The cost of shelter in the aforementioned apartment, assuming i could find a reliable year-round roommate, would run to at least $675 a month with utilities (not including phone, Internet, cable), or $8,100 a year — 18% above the “affordable” rate.
It also means that 47% of my take-home pay would go to shelter, leaving another $725 a month with which to feed, cloth and entertain myself — not to mention save toward a house purchase (hah!) and my retirement (double hah!).
Factor in that i have zero interest in working a full-time, low-wage tourism job and you can see why i’m camping here on a friend’s floor in Vancouver, trying to figure out how to make the move to Tofino possible.
Thanks, amigos, and keep your eyes peeled for me!
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