The recent slump in real estate sales and prices in Canada has led some to question whether housing remains a good investment. For immigrant families in Canada, the stakes may be particularly high.
That’s because new research from Statistics Canada shows that investment in housing by immigrant families has been a major factor in helping them plug the wealth gap that exists between them and their Canadian-born compatriots.
Whereas the study found wealth growth for Canadian-born families has in recent years been driven both by increases in housing and registered pension plan assets, for immigrant families, housing alone has been the primary driver of wealth growth.
René Morissette, a senior economist with Statistics Canada, in a report released this week used data from several waves of the Survey of Financial Security to compare the wealth growth of immigrant and Canadian-born families. The designation of a family being immigrant or otherwise was based on the immigration status of the major income earner.
The report generated synthetic cohorts in order to compare similarly structured immigrant and Canadian-born families over time. The benchmark cohort comprised recent immigrant families whose primary income earner in 1999 was 25 to 44 years old and had been in Canada for fewer than 10 years. The other cohort comprised established immigrant families whose primary income earner in 2016 was 42 to 61 years old (on average 17 years older relative to 1999) and had been in Canada for 18 to 26 years. The comparable Canadian-born cohorts were of the same relative age groups.
Interestingly, while immigrant families started at lower rates of home ownership in 1999, by 2016 the homeownership rates between comparable immigrant and Canadian-born families converged.
On average, 31 per cent of the benchmark cohort of recent immigrant families in 1999 owned a principal residence compared to 56 per cent of comparable Canadian-born families. By 2016, established immigrant families led by a primary earner of 42 to 61 years of age reported a homeownership rate of 78.7 per cent compared to 74 per cent for their Canadian-born counterparts.
A key finding of the report is how the immigrant families caught up to their Canadian-born counterparts in growing wealth over time. In 1999, the median wealth of Canadian-born families with the major income earner aged 25 to 44 years old was 3.25 times higher than that of comparable recent immigrant families. However, when the two synthetic cohorts were compared 17 years later, the difference in median wealth between the immigrant and Canadian-born families almost disappeared.
Canadian-born and immigrant families relied on different asset classes for wealth growth. The wealth composition of families in 2016 revealed that housing equity explained about one-third of the average wealth of Canadian-born families. By comparison, housing equity was responsible for a much larger share of immigrant families’ wealth, accounting for anywhere between one-half to two-thirds.
The wealth growth observed for immigrant families has a side story of high indebtedness. The report found that in 2016, immigrant families, in general, had “markedly higher debt-to-income ratios than their Canadian-born counterparts.”
Immigrant families often, but not always, are larger in size. This is partly because immigrants are more likely to live in multi-generational households or to have siblings and their respective families occupy the same dwelling.
The unit of analysis in Statistics Canada’s report is economic family, which “consists of a group of two or more people who live in the same dwelling and are related to each other by blood, marriage, common law or adoption.” An economic family may comprise of more than one census family.
The expected differences in family size and structure between immigrants and Canadian-born families could have influenced some findings in the report. For example, the family wealth held in housing by immigrant families might lose its significance when wealth growth is compared at a per capita basis.
Housing is more than just an asset class. Homeownership provides shelter and the opportunity to grow equity over time. Canadian data shows that rising home prices over the past two decades has helped immigrants bridge the wealth gap even when the gap between the average incomes of immigrants and Canadian-born has persisted.
Source; The Financial Post – Murtaza Haider is an associate professor at Ryerson University. Stephen Moranis is a real estate industry veteran. They can be reached at www.hmbulletin.com.
Immigrants are not as enticed by single-detached residences as their Canadian-born counterparts, fresh numbers from Statistics Canada indicated.
From 2016 to 2017, immigrants accounted for 46% of Toronto’s population total, and 41% that of Vancouver.
The cohort accounted for 43% of residential ownership in Toronto, and 37% in Vancouver. However, the proportion of single-detached homes that immigrants possessed showed a marked difference in the two red-hot markets.
Toronto has approximately half of its immigrant-owned properties as detached properties, while the figure was 60% for owners born in Canada, Yahoo! Finance Canada reported.
Meanwhile, Vancouver’s single-detached homes represented 39% of the city’s immigrant-owned properties, compared with 48% for domestic owners.
“These data show that there is ongoing opportunity to reduce taxes on earnings for typical residents, and especially younger folks and renters who are particularly harmed by the current housing market, by taxing high home values more when owned by foreigners, immigrants and locally-born residents.” UBC professor Paul Kershaw said in an interview.
“Just focusing on wealth brought by immigrants will miss an important, and large, piece of the housing unaffordability puzzle.”
An early January analysis by the Altus Group stated that intensified immigration will boost Toronto’s population growth, and in turn feed into greater residential sales activity.
“Markets in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, including the GTA, have the most upside potential for an increase in sales activity in 2019 given the depth of the decline in 2018 and building off of the sales recovery noted in the back half of 2018,” Altus wrote in its market outlook for this year.
Vancouver might not fare as well, however, given that higher borrowing costs and growing construction costs are expected to discourage would-be buyers, Canadian-born or otherwise.
“A key challenge that has become more apparent as of late in Vancouver has been the price sensitivity of consumers, with higher priced projects, or those priced above the competition, experiencing below average sales rates.”
You don’t have to empty your savings account to afford city living in America—at least not in these locations.
Urban areas offer a gateway to culture or a medley of activities, but they typically come with a high price tag. That’s why MONEY crunched the numbers to find big cities—those with a population of 300,000 or more—with the best of all worlds: attractions, iconic neighborhoods, a relatively low cost of living, and promising job growth.
Here are our top 10 picks for best big cities to live in. (See MONEY’s full 2018 ranking of the Best Places to Live in America.)
1. Austin, Texas
Average Family Income: $87,389
Median Home Price: $326,562
Projected Job Growth (2017-2022): 10.9%
Texas’s delightfully bohemian capital nabs the list’s top spot because of the thriving job scene, coupled with memorable food, music, and a startup culture.
Not only is Austin projected to see a whopping 10.9% increase in jobs over the next four years, but the current unemployment rate of 3% also sits below the national average. The city’s median family income is $87,389, and the median home sale price is $326,562, according to realtor.com. Much of its job growth comes from small businesses and the tech sector—Dell, IBM, and Amazon are some of the biggest employers. Entrepreneurs, take note: CNBC ranked Austin as the No. 1 place to start a business, while Forbes named it one of the top 10 rising cities for startups.
Once you do land a job, you won’t have to worry about how to entertain yourself. Dubbed the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin is bursting with talent and more live music venues per capita than anywhere else in the nation. Visitors flock to the annual South by Southwest festivals, featuring concerts, speeches, and comedy showcases.
And then there’s the food. Restaurant-rating powerhouse Zagat named Austin the second-most-exciting food city in the U.S. last year, thanks to mainstays like Franklin Barbecue and new favorites such as ramen restaurant Kemuri Tatsu-ya, which combines Texan flavors and Japanese techniques for a meal as distinctive as the city itself.
2. Raleigh, North Carolina
Average Family Income: $82,021
Median Home Price: $263,000
Projected Job Growth (2017-2022): 9.6%
Part of North Carolina’s tri-city university hub, called the Triangle, along with Durham and Chapel Hill, Raleigh is home to a relatively young, diverse, and educated population.
Like Austin, Raleigh is a hotspot for employment seekers: Moody’s Analytics projects the area’s jobs will grow 9.6% by 2022. Forbes this year ranked Raleigh among the top 10 cities for jobs, owing in part to its 17.25% job growth over the past five years. And people are listening: There’s been a 13% increase in population since 2010, according to MONEY’s Best Places to Live database.
Your wallet will feel the benefits too: With an average sales tax of about 7.25% and average property taxes at $2,632, the city’s cost of living is relatively low compared with our other big cities.
As the historically significant birthplace of Andrew Johnson, Raleigh is host to dozens of museums, earning it the nickname Smithsonian of the South. The North Carolina Museum of History reaches back 14,000 years into the state’s past, and at the massive North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, general admission is free.
There’s a strong sense of community as well. Every fall, the North Carolina State Fair draws 1 million visitors to Raleigh for a 10-day festival featuring rides, music, games, and crafts from local artists. Tickets cost about $10 for adults and $5 for children.
3. Virginia Beach, Virginia
Average Family Income: $82,927
Median Home Price: $255,000
Projected Job Growth (2017-2022): 2.6%
The living is easy in Virginia Beach, also named one of MONEY’s best beach destinations last year. The area’s unemployment rate is about 3.1%, below the national average, and crime, relatively low among the big cities here, is also well below the national average. Despite an only 4% increase in population since 2010, the area is booming for retirees: The number of people age 50 and over grew 22% over the past eight years. But perhaps best of all, there are 213 clear days a year, giving residents plenty of time to enjoy six major beaches over 35 miles of coastline.
There’s a sandy stretch for nearly everyone, starting with the family-friendly First Landing State Park at Chesapeake Bay Beach. For surfing, head to Virginia Beach Oceanfront, or for a quieter, picturesque view, go to Sandbridge Beach.
The Sandbridge area is also home to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, where you can learn about the region’s snakes, frogs, and turtles during a guided nature hike on Bay Trail. Nearby is First Landing State Park, the most visited state park in Virginia, named after the arrival of English colonists in 1607. First Landing offers outdoor activities as well as cabins, a boat launch, and swimmable waters.
Culture vultures won’t feel left out: Renowned symphony orchestras play the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, and comedians headline at the Funny Bone Comedy Club.
4. Mesa, Arizona
Average Family Income: $64,455
Median Home Price: $246,000
Projected Job Growth (2017-2022): 8.1%
Seeking a sunny city with easy opportunities to escape to the outdoors? It pays to head west.
Mesa, just 20 miles outside Phoenix, has experienced a 12% growth in population over the past eight years and is projected to see jobs increase 8% in the next four years. The majority of new job offerings here, unlike in Austin, are in the investment and manufacturing sectors rather than tech.
Local government leaders say businesses are moving to Mesa, as well as the surrounding East Valley area, for its low tax rate and relative affordability. Average property taxes are around $1,444, the second lowest among MONEY’s big cities, and the median home sale price is $246,000 as of March.
Once you’ve settled in, you won’t have to look far for an outdoor retreat. Mesa gets an impressive 296 clear days a year, and a whopping 115 campsites surround the area. Camping reservations for county parks can be made online as early as six months in advance. You’ll pay $32, including a reservation fee of $8, for a developed camping site with electricity and restrooms or, if you’re a bit more daring, $15 for a site with no amenities.
To learn about the area’s history, visit the Mesa Grande Cultural Park, which preserves ruins believed to be the religious center of the ancient Hohokam civilization, dating back to 1100 A.D. Admission to the ruins costs $5 for adults and $2 for children. For more insight into the Hohokam ancient people, you can check out the Park of the Canals, which features 4,500 feet of an extensive canal system used to farm corn, beans, squash, and cotton.
5. Seattle, Washington
Average Family Income: $112,211
Median Home Price: $676,889
Projected Job Growth (2017-2022): 7.5%
The Emerald City enjoys a growing job market and vibrant cultural attractions but at a cost—the median home sale price, $676,889 as of March, is the most expensive among the cities on this list. But the high price tag might be offset if you could score a lofty job at Amazon, which employs more than 40,000 Seattle residents across its 8.1 million square feet of office space. The company’s dominance has spurred other major tech giants to build their own offices—and poach local employees.
Despite the relatively high cost of living, the area provides plenty of affordable attractions. Nearly 200 wineries cover the region and are ideal for visits. Check out the Charles Smith Wines Jet City tasting room for offerings from one of the state’s largest wine producers. Be sure to also try the famous cream cheese–covered Seattle-style hot dog at Monster Dogs.
To live like a tourist, get a two-in-one ticket to Seattle’s iconic sites: the towering Space Needle and the glass-sculpture garden at Chihuly Garden and Glass. They happen to double as ideal date spots. If you’re young and looking for love, Seattle is the perfect match. MONEY named it one of the best places for millennials and singles.
6. San Diego, California
Average Family Income: $91,199
Median Home Price: $555,000
Projected Job Growth (2017-2022): 4.4%
With 1.4 million residents, San Diego is the most populous city to make the list. It’s also one of the more racially diverse cities in the country, with 40% nonwhite residents.
Head to the east side, and you’ll find mountains and canyons perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and fishing. The area also boasts Las Vegas–style casinos and resorts, including Viejas Casino, home to 2,200 slot machines and an outdoor concert venue. California beaches outline the city’s west side, from mile-long La Jolla Shores, perfect for children and seal lovers, to bonfire-friendly Pacific Beach, often referred to as “the Strand.” And don’t forget to visit the rare giant pandas at the world-renowned San Diego Zoo.
7. Colorado Springs, Colorado
Average Family Income: $75,795
Median Home Price: $285,000
Projected Job Growth (2017-2022): 7.1%
About 70 miles south of Denver, Colorado Springs was recently ranked one of the country’s best tech hubs by the Computing Technology Industry Association. The city will see projected job growth of 7% by 2022, and the cost of living is relatively low among big U.S. cities, according to PayScale.
Skiers enjoy the region’s proximity to major ski getaways like Aspen and Vail, as well as the area’s surrounding resorts, including Eldora Mountain Resort, which offers 680 acres of terrain and 300 inches of snowfall a year.
Here’s a summit for the courageous: the 2,000-foot-high, one-mile hike up the Manitou Incline. Climb all 2,744 steps, and you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous views of the city below. Nonathletic types are welcomed too. The annual Labor Day Lift Off features hot-air balloons and a festival with live music, skydiving demonstrations, and a doughnut-eating contest.
8. Lexington, Kentucky
Average Family Income: $74,531
Median Home Price: $131,000
Projected Job Growth (2017–2022): 4.3%
Good news for potential residents: Lexington has some of the lowest taxes among the cities on this list, with a sales tax of 6% and average property taxes nearing $1,921.
Moving to Lexington means embracing equestrian culture. Nicknamed the Horse Capital of the World, Lexington was the first U.S. city to host an FEI World Equestrian Games, in 2010, drawing half-a-million attendees. Residents and visitors alike can ride horses and ponies at the Kentucky Horse Park.
For a crash course in bourbon distilling, the Town Branch Distillery offers tours and tastings, and one of the South’s best bourbon bars, The Bluegrass Tavern, is home to Kentucky’s largest bourbon collection.
If you’re looking to root for the Wildcats, the University of Kentucky’s basketball team where NBA All-Stars Anthony Davis and John Wall got their start, head to Winchell’s Restaurant for 25 TVs and passionate fans.
9. Jacksonville, Florida
Average Family Income: $63,735
Median Home Price: $196,000
Projected Job Growth (2017-2022): 7.7%
As the largest metro area by landmass in the continental U.S., Jacksonville, like many other cities on our list, claims a growing job market and population. In the past eight years, the city’s population increased by nearly 9%, with a projected job growth of 7.7% by 2022. Those seeking employment, specifically in the tech industry, should head to the area’s growing job market, say ZipRecruiter and Indeed.
Visitors can support the home team by attending a Jacksonville Jaguars game at TIAA Bank Field. The coastal city also features 22 miles of mostly public and dog-friendly beaches. Learn to surf at Atlantic Beach, or brave souls might try a taste of alligator at nearby Mayport’s historic fish camps.
For a combined farmers’ market and artists’ hub, head to the Riverside Arts Market, which attracts thousands of people every Saturday. You’ll listen to live musicians, eat local bites alongside the St. Johns River, and support local artists, all in one day.
10. Columbus, Ohio
Average Family Income: $61,513
Median Home Price: $185,000
Projected Job Growth (2017-2022): 5.7%
Columbus is one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S.—and in the Midwest—with a population increase of nearly 11% in the past eight years and job growth of 14% in roughly the same period.
Big 10 Ohio State University is the city’s biggest employer, and you can take advantage of the college town’s vibrant culture by attending a football game at Ohio Stadium, which seats over 100,000 people. Following the game, head to the Thurman Cafe and indulge in its massive, double-patty Thurmanator burger for $21.99.
If college athletics aren’t your thing, check out one of the area’s 96 museums, such as the hands-on Center of Science and Industry, or the Columbus Museum of Art, featuring modern and contemporary works.
To create MONEY’s Best Big Cities ranking, we looked only at places with populations of 300,000 or greater. We eliminated any city that had more than double the national crime risk, less than 85% of its state’s median household income, or a lack of ethnic diversity. We further narrowed the list using more than 8,000 different data points, considering data on each place’s economic health, cost of living, public education, income, crime, ease of living, and amenities, all provided by research partner Witlytic. MONEY teamed up with realtor.com to leverage its knowledge of housing markets throughout the country. We put the greatest weight on economic health, public school performance, and local amenities; housing, cost of living, and diversity were also critical components.
Finally, reporters researched each spot, searching for the kinds of intangible factors that aren’t revealed by statistics. To ensure a geographically diverse set, we limited the Best Big Cities list to no more than one place per state.
The median household income in America is $53,657. Politicians draw $250,000 as the line between the middle and upper classes. And the true starting point of real wealth remains a cool $1,000,000. We asked four more or less typical men, each of whom earns one of these incomes, to tell us about the lives they can afford.
$1,000,000 Per Year – Tim Nguyen, 35
Location: Huntington Beach, California
Occupation: Business owner, CEO/cofounder of BeSmartee, a DIY mortgage marketplace
Family status: Married with a 9-month-old son
Homeowner? Renter? “I’m a homeowner. No mortgage.” (Price of home: $1 million.)
Do you keep a budget? We track every single penny that comes in and out of our bank account. And we give 6 percent of our money away to charity. We have a big heart for animals, children, the elderly, the underprivileged.
What’s a weekly grocery bill for you? I break it down monthly. We eat mainly at home. We spend around $1,200 a month.
One thing your family needs but can’t afford: There’s nothing that we need that we can’t afford. Anything reasonable I can afford.
One thing you want but can’t afford: The thing that keeps me up at night is wanting to retire my parents. There’s a certain dollar figure that would allow me to pay off all their debts. That’s my first goal: to retire my parents so they can be independent and just live their lives.
The last thing you bought that required serious planning: We budget our money all the time, so we’ve already been planning for everything—I could tell you exactly where all my money is going over the next five years.
Do you have credit cards? I have one credit card. It’s cash for points, so we charge everything on the card and pay it off at the end of the month.
How much debt are you carrying now? Less than 10 grand.
I’VE BEEN BROKE BEFORE. I’VE REFINANCED MY HOUSE TO PAY MY EMPLOYEES. I’VE BEEN THROUGH ALL THAT—THAT WAS ME WORRIED.
Saving for retirement? Yes. [I’ve put away] north of $5 million.
At what age would you like to retire? I’ll always be working. As far as working on a start-up, I want to be done with that in five or 10 years. But as far as working, investing in real estate, things of that nature, you can do that until you’re 90.
College plans for your kids? We set up a trust with our attorney where our kids will have money for college. But they’ll only get more than that if they achieve their milestones, such as getting a certain GPA or volunteering in the community. We want our kids to be good citizens. They can’t be spoiled brats. We want them to understand what it means to work and to earn your way to the top. We put the rules in place to help reinforce that.
Looking at your current career prospects, how much money do you think you’ll be earning in ten years’ time? My goal is to have a net worth of $150 to $200 million.
How happy are you on any given day, on a scale of one to ten? I’d say eight or nine. Lately, with the start-up, I’ve been putting in two to three hours more per day than I’d like, and that’s taking away from family time. So if I could get those two or three hours back, I’d be a happy man.
How often do you worry about money? Maybe once a week. I’ve been broke before. I’ve refinanced my house to pay my employees. I’ve been through all that—that was me worried. Now, because I’m able to forecast and plan my money better, there’s not as much worry.
How much money do you think you’d need to have the life you want? I need about 25 [million]. That includes retiring my parents, an upgraded home, and enough money to make sure my kids have funds available when they want to start their own businesses. There’s a certain amount of money you need to live the life you want. Beyond that, it’s really a game, and money is the scoreboard.
Do you think your taxes are too high? I’m happy with taxes. I had a really good year when I was 22 or 23—I made about 250 grand—and I came home and complained to my dad about it. I said, “I can’t believe I’m paying all those taxes! Half the money is gone!” And my dad said, “You should feel lucky that you live in a country where you can pay taxes”: He came from a communist-run country. Ever since that day, I never complain about my taxes.
4 Women with 4 Very Different Incomes Open Up About the Lives They Can Afford
$250,000 Per Year – Yakov Villasmil, 41
Occupation: Real Estate Agent
Family Status: In a relationship; one son, 10 years old
Monthly rent: $2,000
Do you keep a budget? Yes, I’m very organized with it. Overall, my fixed expenses are about $7,000 a month. They include rent and about $1,000 a month for transportation, $180 a month to the cleaning lady, $200 for gas for the vehicle, and a handful of little things—$300 a month for Netflix, Pandora, Skype, subscriptions like that.
What’s a weekly grocery bill for you? I would say about $200 a week.
AT THIS POINT IN MY LIFE, IF I HAD $600,000 YEARLY INCOME, I WOULD HAVE THE LIFE THAT I WANT TO BE LIVING. BUT THEN AGAIN, WHEN I GET THERE, I’LL WANT TO BUY THE JET.
One thing your family needs but can’t afford: Nothing.
One thing you want but can’t afford: I’m a fan of watches, and there’s a Cartier that just came out that’s about $10,000. It’s not that I can’t afford it; it’s just not a priority right now.
The last thing you bought that required serious planning: I spend money traveling every year, and that’s something I put some thought into. Last December, I went to Austria, Slovenia, and Italy.
Do you have credit cards? Fifteen.
How much debt are you carrying now? $7,700 on one card, and it should be paid off by the end of the month.
Saving for retirement? I am saving, but not for retirement. I’m saving up to buy an apartment building, which will give me another stream of income. My money is all in play right now to make more money. The kind of life that I want to live when I retire is not one I have to manage by having, you know, a million dollars and 3 or 4 percent [interest]. It’s not going to happen.
At what age would you like to retire? I don’t think that I want to retire.
But say you did: At what age would you be able to retire? I want to be financially free by age 50.
College plans for your kid? No, but it’s all part of making sound investments.
Looking at your current career prospects, how much money do you think you’ll be earning per year in 10 years’ time? In 10 years’ time, I want to have $50,000 a month from apartment buildings, and another $50,000 a month from the real estate business. A million-five per year is the goal.
How often do you worry about money? Every single day. Every single minute. I always want more, and every single day I’m thinking, “What’s the next move?”
How much money do you think you’d need to have the life you want? At this point in my life, if I had $600,000 yearly income, I would have the life that I want to be living. But then again, when I get there, I’ll want to buy the jet.
How happy are you, on a scale of one to 10? I’m a good nine every day.
Do you think your taxes are too high? You know what? No, I don’t think they’re too high. I remember I had a boss about 10 years ago who said, “You guys complain about the taxes being taken out—if you don’t want them to take that much, just make less.”
$53,000 Per Year – Michael Greene, 48
Occupation: Concierge for a property-management group
Family status: Married with 3 children (a 21-year-old stepson and 8-year-old twin girls)
Monthly rent: $1,000
Do you keep a budget?
We do. Because of the size of our family, we have to budget at least $150 per month for BJ’s [Wholesale Club]. BJ’s is our friend; we have to buy in bulk.
What’s a weekly grocery bill for you? Probably in the range of $100 to $125.
I’D LOVE TO STAY IN BROOKLYN, BUT RIGHT NOW THE ASKING PRICE IS BETWEEN $500,000 AND $600,000.
One thing your family needs but can’t afford: A ranch-style home, four to five bedrooms, two to three bathrooms. I’d love to stay in Brooklyn, but right now the asking price is between $500,000 and $600,000.
One thing you want but can’t afford: I’ve always liked Volvos. If I could get a big, six-seater Volvo, that would be nice. In my color: navy blue. With a little TV in the back for the kids.
The last thing you bought that required serious planning? We bought bedroom sets for ourselves and our girls four years ago. Our set was between $5,000 and $6,000, with the dressers and everything. Our girls’ little beds—which they’re about to outgrow now—we got a better deal for them: around $2,000 or $2,500. I had to go into my savings a bit to get it, but we got it. We got it done.
Do you have credit cards? Just one. A Chase Visa. I’m definitely on top of my monthly payments, and I try not to go anywhere past $300 to $400 a month. That would be stretching it. And I have to thank my wife for that. She helps me stay focused.
How much debt are you carrying now? No credit-card debt, but I definitely still have a student loan from the mid-nineties that I’m trying to bang out. I think I still have seven G’s left.
Saving for retirement? Yes, I am. Our company offers a 401(k) plan, and our union offers one, so I have two separate running retirement plans. Gotta do it. I don’t know how much is in there at the moment.
At what age would you like to retire? I’m 48 now. Realistically, I’d say I wouldn’t want to go past 60. But I think I’m looking at 60 before I’ll be able to retire.
College plans for your kids? We have a college plan in place for the girls. I put away money biweekly—$75 to $100.
How much money do you think you’ll be earning per year in 10 years’ time? I’d love to say I’ll be making double if not more than double what I’m making now.
How often do you worry about money? Money is not something that I stress over.
How much money do you think you’d need to have the life you want? I’m not a greedy guy. Because of my upbringing, where we learned how to do more with less, and with the times and the economy we live in now, my family and I could be very comfortable at $200 to $250K a year. I could be very comfortable with that.
How happy are you, on a scale of one to ten? Eight.
Do you think your taxes are too high? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
The Poverty Line (Or: $7 An Hour Plus Tips) – Demetrius Campbell, 25
Occupation: Bar-back at the Signature Lounge in the John Hancock building
Family status: Single with two daughters, 7 and 4
Monthly rent: 30 percent of income through antipoverty nonprofit Heartland Alliance
Do you keep a budget? No, but I have been working on trying to recently. I know I have to pay bills for food, for clothes, gas. It’s a lot of things that go into budgeting. It’s hard to plan for, because you never really know what you’re going to need to spend money on. And the amount of money I make varies, because I work different hours. The biggest two-week check I’ve had so far is $250.
I’M IN A LOT OF DEBT. I HAVE TRAFFIC TICKETS, HOSPITAL BILLS, OLD PHONE BILLS. I’M PRETTY SURE THAT MY DEBT FROM THE TICKETS ALONE IS ROUGHLY $3,000.
What’s a weekly grocery bill for you? In a week, about $130 to $140—that’s when I have the money to spend. I’m on food stamps, and I get $400 a month through EBT.
One thing your family needs but can’t afford: I don’t really think about stuff like that. I just try to make do with what I have. I feel like I’m just working to pay for the bills. I don’t even have time to spend with my family—to take them out to certain places.
One thing you want but can’t afford: I’d buy a newer-model car. And every time those commercials come on TV—the Pillow Pets—my kids always ask for those. It’s discouraging, having to tell them all the time that we can’t afford things.
The last thing you bought that required serious planning: I bought a TV—a Black Friday deal. It’s a Vizio 39-inch. I paid like $250. I had to work for it. I saved up.
“Do you have credit cards? No.
How much debt are you carrying now? I’m in a lot of debt. I have traffic tickets, hospital bills, old phone bills. I’m pretty sure that my debt from the tickets alone is roughly $3,000. By the time you get the money to pay the ticket, the fine has doubled. Then you get another one and can’t pay that one. Like, I’m on a boot [booted vehicles] list, and I got the money to get off the list, but my car got towed that morning, so I had to pay half that money to get it out of the impound. It just keeps going like that.”
Saving for retirement? No. Retirement is a long ways from now.
At what age would you like to retire? As young as I can and still have money. Probably late 60s.
College plans for your kids? I’ve thought about it. Once I get all my debts paid off and I’m in a better place, I’ll start putting as much money as I can toward it. I’ll take steps to put myself in better standing.
How much money do you think you’ll be earning peryear in 10 years’ time? My goal is to triple what I’m making now.
How often do you worry about money? Always. Living like this is hard to do.
Does money ever keep you up at night? I can say that it has. It’s a lot of things building up—having the money when the bills are due, having a ticket, and not being able to pay it before it doubles.
How much money do you think you’d need to have the life you want? 50 to 60 thousand a year.
How happy are you, on a scale of one to 10? I’d say a seven or eight. But you might get lucky and catch me on 10 now and then.
Starting a new life in Canada? Buying your first home is one of the best ways to put down roots and establish yourself in your new country. According to Genworth Canada’s 2017 First-Time Homeownership Study, a full 19% of first-time homebuyers were born outside of Canada, 10% of whom arrived in the past decade. Wondering how to start your journey to homeownership? Read on for our New Canadians’ Mortgage Guide.
Genworth Canada’s New to Canada program can help you buy your first home with a down payment of as little as 5%. See how it works in this short video.
Share the knowledge with your family, too. Our New to Canada microsite offers content in Chinese, Punjabi, Korean, Spanish and French.
Step 2: Establish credit history in Canada
Banks and other lenders look at your credit score to determine your level of financial responsibility. Your credit score is determined by your financial behaviour: Do you pay your monthly bills (including cell phone) on time, or have you skipped payments? Do you have credit cards or lines of credit, and if so, how much do you have left to access?
TIPS: Never skip a payment (always pay at least the minimum), and keep your credit utilization– the amount of your credit limit that you actually use–low. Don’t carry a balance over 30% of your credit limit; the lower the better.
The better your credit score, the more likely you are to be approved for a mortgage – and at a more favourable interest rate.
Because your Canadian credit history starts in Canada (foreign credit history isn’t taken into consideration by lenders), it’s important to establish positive patterns as soon as possible:
Open a savings or chequing account at a Canadian bank or credit union, and use it for your payroll deposits, as well as withdrawals and transfers.
Apply for a small loan or credit card. Make some purchases each month, and pay off the balance or make regular payments each month, to prove you are responsible with credit.
Step 3: Build your savings
Use a separate high-interest savings account, investment account or set aside funds in a TFSA (tax-free savings account) to build toward your home down payment. You can purchase a home with as little as 5% down, but in high-demand cities like Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, a competitive real estate market means it can take longer to save for an adequate down payment.
TIP: First-time homebuyers can borrow RRSP funds to help towards a down payment under the federal government’s Home Buyers’ Plan.
While you’re saving and working on building your credit history in Canada, take some time to daydream! Checking out neighbourhoods and communities where you might like to live is a great way to stay motivated. It can also help ensure that you have a smooth transition to your new home.
Think about where you’d most like to live. Would you prefer the excitement of a big city, the quiet family vibe of the suburbs, or the natural splendour of the rural countryside?
Research the amenities you’ll need, whether that’s public transportation, walkable communities, schools, places of religious worship, shops and other priorities.
Consider making weekend excursions to potential communities to explore the local amenities. Since Sunday afternoons are a traditional time for open houses, think about scheduling your visits so you can squeeze in a couple of house or condo tours, too.
Step 5: Start assembling your real estate team
Finally, as you get closer to house-hunting time, start building your real estate team. Ask friends, colleagues and neighbours for recommendations on professional REALTORS®, real estate agents, mortgage specialists, real estate lawyers and home inspectors.
It’s important to hire professionals who are familiar with the real estate market in your preferred neighbourhood or community. Interview a few candidates and research customer reviews online, so you can find the right pros to help you embark on your journey to homeownership in Canada.
Economic class will make up about 60% of newcomers
Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said that by 2036 100 per cent of Canada’s population growth will be as a result of immigration, it stands at about 75 per cent today. (CBC)
Canada will welcome nearly one million immigrants over the next three years, according to the multi-year strategy tabled by the Liberal government today in what it calls “the most ambitious immigration levels in recent history.”
The number of economic migrants, family reunifications and refugees will climb to 310,000 in 2018, up from 300,000 this year. That number will rise to 330,000 in 2019 then 340,000 in 2020.
The targets for economic migrants, refugees and family members was tabled in the House of Commons Wednesday afternoon.
Hussen said the new targets will bring Canada’s immigration to nearly one per cent of the population by 2020, which will help offset an aging demographic. He called it a historic and responsible plan and “the most ambitious” in recent history.
“Our government believes that newcomers play a vital role in our society,” Hussen said. “Five million Canadians are set to retire by 2035 and we have fewer people working to support seniors and retirees.”
In 1971 there were 6.6 people of working age for each senior, Hussen said, but by 2012 that ratio had gone to 4.2 to 1 and projections show it will be at 2 to 1 by 2036, when almost 100 per cent of population growth will be a result of immigration; it stands at about 75 per cent today.
Immigration Minister on the government’s new multi-year plan
Immigration Minister on the government’s new multi-year plan6:58
Hussen said immigration drives innovation and strengthens the economy, rejecting some claims that newcomers drain Canada’s resources and become a burden on society.
He said the government is also working to reduce backlogs and speed up the processing of applications in order to reunite families and speed up citizenship applications.
The federal government’s own Advisory Council on Economic Growth had recommended upping levels to reach 450,000 newcomers annually by 2021. Hussen said the government is taking a more gradual approach to ensure successful integration.
“At arriving at these numbers we listened very carefully to all stakeholders who told us they want to see an increase but they also want to make sure that each and every newcomer that we bring to Canada — bringing a newcomer to Canada is half of the job. We have to make sure that people are able to be given the tools that they need to succeed once they get here,” he said.
Focus on integration: Rempel
Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel was critical of the plan, suggesting the government needs to do a better job of integrating newcomers.
“It is not enough for this government to table the number of people that they are bringing to this country. Frankly the Liberals need to stop using numbers of refugees, amount of money spent, feel-good tweets and photo ops for metrics of success in Canada’s immigration system.”
Luiz Capitulino, 11, of Brazil joins others take the oath as they become official Canadians during a citizenship ceremony at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on Sept. 25, 2017. The federal government will welcome 310,000 newcomers to Canada in 2018. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)
She said the Liberals need to bring Canada’s immigration system “back to order” by closing the loophole in the Safe Third Country Agreement that has seen migrants cross into Canada at unofficial border crossings only to claim refugee status.
She also said the immigration system should focus on helping immigrants integrate through language efficiency and through mental health support plans for people who are victims of trauma.
Dory Jade, the CEO of the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants, welcomed the news although he suggested the numbers should be higher.
“Canada will greatly prosper and grow once the 350,000 threshold has been crossed,” he said. “Nevertheless, we are witnessing a very positive trend.”
The Canadian Council of Refugees also welcomed the news, but wanted more, saying the share for refugees was only increased slightly from 13 per cent this year to 14 per cent in each of the next three years.
Calls for longer-range forecast
In past, there has been a one-year figure for how many immigrants will be permitted into the country, but provinces and stakeholders have called for longer-range forecasts.
Hussen on immigrant integration funding
Hussen on immigrant integration funding0:17
A statement from Ontario’s Immigration Minister Laura Albanese, before the announcement, said the province supports the introduction of multi-year levels plans “to provide more predictability to the immigration system and inform program planning.”
“Significant variation in year-to-year immigration levels can dramatically impact the requirement for provincial year-to-year resources. A longer term outlook would help in planning for appropriate service levels and use of resources.”
The statement said Ontario supports growth in immigration levels, particularly in economic immigration categories to support the growing economy.
Diversity drives innovation
During the government’s consultation period, the Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance presented “Vision 2020,” what it called a “bold” three-year plan to address growing demographic shifts underway in the country, calling for increased numbers in the economic, family and refugee categories.
It recommended a target of 350,000 people in 2018, which climbs to 400,000 in 2019 and 450,000 by 2020.
Chris Friesen, the organization’s director of settlement services, said it’s time for a white paper or royal commission on immigration to develop a comprehensive approach to future immigration.
“Nothing is going to impact this country [more] besides increased automation and technology than immigration will and this impact will grow in response to [the] declining birth rate, aging population and accelerated retirements,” he told CBC News.
Source; CBC.ca – Kathleen Harris, Chris Hall, Peter Zimonjic, CBC News
Moving to a new country can be overwhelming but starting your finances off right can make all the difference as you build your new life.
As you begin your new life in Canada, here are three tips can get you headed in the right direction.
Connect with resources that can help your family get settled.
There can be so much to do when you arrive in Canada—find a home, a job, schools, a bank—it can be hard to know where to start.
Scotiabank’s Newcomer Handbook gives you quick and easy access to things you need to know as you build a new life here. It’s available for free online and includes advice on:
10 Things You Need to Know About Banking in Canada
Top 10 Tips for Settling in More Easily
Government Information and Assistance
Jobs and Careers
Health, Safety and Your Rights
Education and Training
Embassies in Canada
After friends and family, a good place to begin when looking for a job is the Service Canada website as well as online job boards. If you need Canadian work experience, consider volunteering in your community.
The federal government also offers other newcomer support, to help get a language assessment and finding a language class, finding a place to live, signing up kids for school and learning about community services.
Your province is responsible for providing services like health care. All Canadian citizens and permanent residents are eligible for public health insurance, which provides most services free of charge (health care in Canada is paid for through taxes). Information about your province’s health care program is available through the government of Canada website.
Learn how to manage your money.
Building a relationship with a financial advisor at a bank in Canada is an important step in creating your new life. Start by visiting your local branch to open chequing and savings accounts and consider applying for a credit card. Your advisor can help you understand your needs and suggest the products that are right for you and your family. Check out the popular credit cards that the Scotiabank StartRightprogram has to offer. With more rewards than any other bank, you’ll be sure to find a card that meets your needs and rewards you in the process.
A credit card not only lets you charge purchases rather than pay cash, it also helps you establish a credit history in Canada. This will be crucial when you need to get a loan to start a business or buy a home. Banks learn a lot about your financial health by accessing your credit history and use it to decide whether they should lend you money.
More important information about credit history:
It’s your responsibility to review your credit report and ensure it doesn’t contain any errors
Try to pay your bills on time and in full to avoid a negative rating
Make sure you understand the terms and conditions
Never go over your credit limit
Make sure to contact local credit agencies if you need help managing debt
Plan for your future.
Before long, you’ll find that you and your family have settled into your new life in Canada and will start thinking about buying a home or car, putting money aside for your children’s education and investing for your retirement. Having a financial plan is an important element to help you take control of your finances.
One of the first things you can do is evaluate your day-to-day cash flow and think about spending only on things you really need or value. Cutting a few dollars here and there from your daily expenses, even if it’s just $5 a day, can add up to big savings year over year. Where can you start? Cut out your daily luxury coffee, bottles of water, or lunch out once a week. If you saved and invested that daily $5, in 20 years you would have more than $50,000!1
A “Mapping Tomorrow” session with a Scotiabank advisor will go a long way in helping you achieve your unique goals in Canada. Want to learn more? Our expert advisors can offer practical advice and smart solutions to help you have the life you want in Canada.
While various quarters have cited supply scarcity as a central driver in Toronto’s long-running housing affordability issues, latest census data actually belies that notion, according to a Bloomberg analyst duo.
In their latest piece, markets observers Erik Hertzberg and Theophilos Argitis argued that “the most important question remains the extent to which speculation is driving demand.”
“Ideally, fundamentals such as demographics and employment are at play, and the price gains reflect natural household growth getting ahead of supply. If that’s true, the market should eventually stabilize once new supply kicks in,” Hertzberg and Argitis wrote. “A situation where speculators are bidding up prices would be much more problematic.”
“Canada’s 2016 census, which the statistics agency is releasing piecemeal this year, is providing some insight into the debate. The results: supply may not be the big problem many people thought it was.”
The data revealed that between 2011 and 2016, the total number of Toronto households increased by 146,200 (up to 2.14 million). To compare, the number of newly completed homes stood at 175,825 projects.
“In other words, supply of new houses exceeded real household demand by almost 30,000 over those five years,” the duo stated. “That throws cold water on the argument — voiced particularly by the industry — that the city’s affordability crisis won’t be resolved unless the government introduces measures to help increase supply.”
More importantly, Toronto is rapidly running out of buildable space, “evident in census data that show its population density has surpassed 1,000 people per square kilometre for the first time ever, another factor that should continue supporting prices for detached homes.”
If Yogi Berra were alive today, he’d probably describe the Toronto housing market like this: Things are so good, they’re bad. And if they get any better, that’ll be worse.
In February, the Teranet-National Bank house price index showed prices in Greater Toronto rising 23 per cent over the previous year – or about 21 per cent faster than the rate of inflation. Homes in neighbouring Hamilton were up 19.7 per cent. Even in Metro Vancouver, long the hottest market but which recent policy changes have somewhat cooled, prices are up 14.3 per cent. Most of the rest of the country, however, looks relatively calm.
But not Toronto. It’s become such a sellers’ market that – another Berraism – nobody wants to sell.
In response to surging demand, the number of properties offered for sale has dropped. Potential sellers are holding off putting houses and condos on the market, because they assume the longer they wait, the higher prices will go.
“In the first two months of 2017,” writes Simon Fraser University public-policy professor Josh Gordon in a recent report on Toronto housing, “new listings dropped despite rapidly rising prices, likely because even more sellers now expect prices to climb higher. That has sent the sales-to-new-listing ratio soaring, which is a good proximate indicator for future house price increases.”
In other words, prices in Toronto appear to be feeding on themselves. Why? It’s the psychology of FOMO – the fear of missing out. Purchasers fear that, unless they buy now, they’ll miss out on ever owning a home. Potential sellers fear that, if they sell now, they’ll miss out on windfall profits from inevitable price jumps. Based on the past few years, these have become rationally held beliefs. Speculation is now wisdom.
If you’re already a homeowner, it’s wonderful. If you’re a young person, an immigrant or middle-class, it’s depressing. If you’re an economist or a banking regulator, it’s terrifying.
Toronto has long shown signs of a classic bubble, and so has Vancouver. And when housing bubbles burst, they send tsunamis rushing through the financial system, and the entire economy. Just look at what happened in the United States in 2008.
That’s the danger. And the best way to address it is to try to carefully let some air out, before the balloon pops.
So what’s been driving prices in Toronto and Vancouver? A lot of things – some of which can’t be changed, or shouldn’t be.
There are the Bank of Canada’s record low short-term interest rates, a response to weak domestic and global economic conditions. Should Ottawa be agitating for higher borrowing costs, across the entire economy? Obviously not.
The Bank itself is also reflecting a worldwide savings glut, which has pushed global bond yields and mortgage rates to the floor, while pushing up the value of a lot of investment assets. Can Ottawa or the provinces address that? Not really.
Some of the price increases are a reflection of population growth, with the Greater Toronto Area adding nearly 400,000 people between 2011 and 2016, and Greater Vancouver growing by 150,000. Should government policy aim to stop people from moving to these successful cities? Absolutely not.
However, housing in Toronto and Vancouver has also been driven skyward by other factors. Greater Montreal, Canada’s second-largest market, has the same low interest rates, and over the last five years, it’s added twice as many people as Vancouver. But Montreal prices have not been bubbling.
The price boom in Toronto and Vancouver has been far beyond what population and income growth would suggest. For example, there tends to be a long-run relationship between average incomes and average housing prices. That’s because, as Yogi Berra might have put it, people can’t afford what they can’t afford – except when they can. In Toronto and Vancouver, the unaffordable is now the norm.
Average home prices are normally expected to be about three times median family incomes. As of last summer, that’s roughly where things were in Montreal, Ottawa and Calgary. But in Toronto, prices were more than eight times family income. Vancouver? Nearly 12.
Last year, the situation finally pushed British Columbia to act. The government introduced a 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers, which appears to have had an impact. Vancouver prices actually dipped late last year, reversing steep gains earlier in 2016.
The levy, which doesn’t apply to immigrants, had a dual effect. It discouraged non-resident speculators, while also signalling to the entire market that prices might not go up forever.
(Unfortunately, B.C. recently undermined the measure, by watering down its application, and creating a price-inflating program of interest-free loans for first-time homebuyers.)
Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa is now also musing about a foreign-buyers tax for Toronto. As in Vancouver, it might calm the market, and it’s hard to see how it could hurt. Non-resident investors are likely only a small part of the picture – the data is still poor – but they may be having a significant impact on prices and psychology.
Economists keep sounding alarms about a Canadian housing bubble; the latest comes from the Bank of International Settlements. A popped bubble will harm the entire country, but the entire country is not in a bubble. There’s no need for a national plan to throw cold water on buyers from Halifax to Ottawa to Edmonton. Policy has to go after the problem where it makes its home, in Southern Ontario and B.C.’s Lower Mainland.
Source: The Globe and Mail – Published Friday, Mar. 17, 2017
Canada’s population increased to 35,151,728 last year largely driven by growth in the West, according to 2016 census data released Wednesday by Statistics Canada.
The country’s population has grown five per cent since the last census in 2011, when it was at 33.5 million, the highest rate of growth among G7 countries. However, the growth rate declined from the 5.9 per cent increase recorded in 2011.
About two-thirds of the increase recorded in 2016 was due to net immigration into the country, while the rest was from new births.
The majority, or 66 per cent, of Canadians still live within 100 kilometres of the southern border with the U.S.
The number of private dwellings grew nationwide by 5.6 per cent to 14.1 million.
The population continued to boom in Western Canada. The quickest pace of growth was recorded in Alberta (11.6 per cent), Saskatchewan (6.3 per cent) and Manitoba (5.8 per cent). The three prairie provinces recorded the most growth in the country for the first time since Confederation, according to Statistics Canada.
Alberta had been the fastest-growing province in the 2006 and 2011 censuses as well.
The rate of growth was higher than in 2011 in both Alberta and Manitoba, the only two provinces that registered an increased rate of growth from the last census.
It is important to note that the census was collected in May 2016, so does not fully take into account the recent economic slump in Alberta.
“The census compares 2011 to 2016, and we’ve seen 15 strong years of growth in Alberta,” says Karen Mihorean, director general of the education, labour and income statistics branch of Statistics Canada.
Mihorean said Alberta is unique among Canadian provinces for having strong numbers in all three factors that contribute to population growth: immigration, interprovincial migration and new births.
British Columbia also grew faster than the national average, by 5.6 per cent. Just under 32 per cent of Canadians now live in the four western provinces, compared to 38.3 per cent in Ontario, 23.2 per cent in Quebec and 6.6 per cent in Atlantic Canada.
Low growth in Atlantic Canada
The four Atlantic provinces recorded the lowest growth in the country: 1.9 per cent in Prince Edward Island, one per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador (where more deaths than births occurred in some years) and 0.2 per cent in Nova Scotia. New Brunswick’s population decreased by 0.5 per cent, the only province with a decline since 2011.
“From East to West, population growth gets stronger and that’s a trend we’ve seen for the last few censuses,” says Mihorean. “In Atlantic Canada, it’s a case of seeing people leaving these provinces for other parts of the country.”
– 2011: Canada census shows people moving west
Ontario remained Canada’s most populous province at 13.4 million, an increase of 4.6 per cent from 2011. But Ontario’s growth rate was lower than the national average for the second consecutive census period, the first time that has happened in more than half a century.
Quebec’s population grew 3.3 per cent to 8.2 million, followed by British Columbia at 4.6 million, Alberta at 4.1 million, Manitoba at 1.3 million and Saskatchewan at 1.1 million. The population in Atlantic Canada was 2.3 million, with just under 924,000 residing in Nova Scotia.
The North was home to nearly 114,000, led by the Northwest Territories. The population of Nunavut, which at 12.7 per cent had the highest growth rate of any province or territory due to its high fertility rate, moved ahead of Yukon.
Western cities record greatest growth
While the rate of growth slowed in Canada’s three largest metropolitan areas, 35.5 per cent of Canadians now call Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver home.
Toronto remains the country’s largest metropolitan area at 5.9 million, increasing by 6.2 per cent since 2011. Montreal’s population has surged past the four million mark to 4.1 million, while Vancouver’s population now stands at 2.5 million, up 6.5 per cent.
With growth of 14.6 per cent, the highest of any metropolitan area in the country, Calgary is now Canada’s fourth largest city at 1.4 million, moving ahead of Ottawa-Gatineau (1.3 million). Also at 1.3 million, Edmonton is the only other Canadian city with more than a million residents.
The six fastest metropolitan areas were all in Western Canada: Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Lethbridge, Alta., and Kelowna, B.C., with all but the last posting growth of more than 10 per cent.
At the other end of the country, however, all of Atlantic Canada’s metropolitan areas recorded a slower rate of growth than in 2011, while the population of Saint John fell by 2.2 per cent — largely due to residents moving to other parts of Canada.
Sylvan Lake, Alta., was the fastest-growing census agglomeration, growing by 19.6 per cent since 2011, while Campbellton (mostly in New Brunswick but partly in Quebec) had the greatest decrease at 9.3 per cent.
Among municipalities with at least 5,000 residents, Warman, Sask., had the highest rate of growth since 2011 at 55.1 per cent, followed by the Alberta communities of Blackfalds (48.1 per cent) and Cochrane (47.1 per cent). Bonnyville, Alta., had the fastest rate of decrease at 12.9 per cent.
The population and dwelling counts mark the first set of data from the mandatory short-form 2016 census to be released by Statistics Canada. Further releases, including those related to gender, language, immigration and labour, will follow throughout 2017.
The data will assist decision-making across all levels of government and provide sociologists, demographers, urban planners and businesses with a wealth of information.