Ask Jonah (with the neck tattoos): Insert cash register noises here

Where can you turn when life throws a wrench into your plans? Who will lend an ear, reserve all judgement, and simply listen when you’re in need of answers to life’s toughest questions? Your mom, dad, or dearest childhood friend? No. You ask Jonah (with the neck tattoos). Have questions? Send them to opinion@gateway.ualberta.ca. 

What’s better: getting paid in cash, or direct deposit?

Let’s be real. Most of us are irresponsible with money. We spend a lot on coffee drinks, yoga clothes, and avocados. Personally, I spend my cash like a kid in grade four who just got their allowance. Every time I pull a $20 out of my wallet to pay for coffee, I think, sweet, I can buy a bag of Skittles with the change. I prefer direct deposits as they force me to sit down and access my account online to see if I got paid. Then I read my credit card, student line of credit, and savings account balances. And as if magic occurs, I remember to pay my bills down and try to save for future tuition fees.

 

What should I invest my Tax Free Savings in?

I once had a guy tell me he invested in hard currencies. For him that meant he bought physical things like guns and gold so that he had something to trade if there ever was an apocalypse. He was also the kind of guy that probably had money in a tobacco can buried in the backyard. Tobacco cans, however, don’t pay interest. So if you’ve got a little somethin’ somethin’ stashed away in a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA), you can pretty much hold any investment that you could hold in a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). I’ve always liked the “G” in GIC. A Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) means you won’t lose your original investment. I had four figures in savings when the 2008 Global Financial Crisis fucked everything up. Thankfully my four figures were invested in various GICs. I used my unscathed savings for a down payment on a house in 2009.

 

Should I rent or buy?

I once had a different guy tell me to buy land because they make new cars everyday but they can’t make new land. I think what he meant was late stage capitalism and housing market inflation may make it so not everyone can afford a place to call their own, and some of us might actually have to resort to living in a van down by the river. But if you were disciplined, have saved the money, and have already been to Coachella a few times (like I have), then buy a house. If not, stick to renting and waiting for next Saturday night when you’ll Uber from the suburbs to the Cactus Club and make filtered Instagram posts about your overpriced night out.

 

Fixed or variable rate mortgage?

I just had to think about this stuff all over again when I renewed my own mortgage back in May. With fixed rates the interest stays the same for the term of the mortgage, and variable rates fluctuate with the banking institution’s mortgage prime rates. I save gambling for the casino and stick to fixed interest rates. There are plenty of ways to structure your mortgage; however, I prefer a safe bet. I like to know exactly what my costs will be and I don’t like surprises when it comes to debt as large as a mortgage.

 

Being an adult costs a lot of money. But it’s good to have your own space where you call the shots and can listen to Motörhead at full volume while thrashing around your kitchen.