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Worst Couple in North America? You Decide.

Eric and Ilsa of the Vancouver area have a problem, you guys. A serious problem. Although their net monthly income is approximately $25,000, they find that this is not enough to afford to build a modest $1.1 million dollar home, now that their relatives are selling the home they've been able to live in, rent-free for several years. In Eric's words, "Two professionals should be able to afford a modest house, but we can't get the numbers to work and would appreciate some help".

Illustration for article titled Worst Couple in North America? You Decide.

Pity the trials of this Canadian family, truly the new face of the global recession. Eric is a hard-working man - he makes $200,000 a year working one day a week at a medical clinic, and just a paltry $100,000 extra a year pursuing his true love - teaching - on one other day each week. Though he earns no pension for this career choice - Eric has resigned himself to working into his 80's- he's put a positive spin on it. "I have no pension whatsoever, but like my parents, colleagues and mentors, I love my work and plan to keep going well into my 80s, so retiring is not a big concern, just living," Eric tells the Globe and Mail columnist he writes to for financial advice.

Eric and Ilsa have just had their fifth child. When Ilsa returns to work part-time as a dentist, their combined annual income will be $450,000 a year. But, oh, the expenses they will face! Not only that of their live-in nanny - each child must also attend private school.


The Globe and Mail, in their ever-generous spirit, asked a financial adviser to review this beleaguered couple's situation. He notes that Eric and Ilsa are luckier than most, as the relatives who let them stay in a home rent-free are also willing to take out a home-equity loan on their own house in order to lend Eric and Ilsa the $1.1 million they need to build their own home. However, their expenses will still run the young, unfortunate family an annual deficit of $50,000 a year.

But! There is hope! "If Eric is willing to work one more day a week in the clinic, they can live within their means and still afford to build the new home using a HELOC with the parents' home as security."


It is unclear if this family will be able to buckle down and make this sacrifice. Godspeed, Eric and Ilsa. Meanwhile, I have questions.

  1. Where the fuck did I go wrong in life, where I can't make $300,000 annually by only working two days a week?
  2. Why would you need a live-in nanny if you only work two days a week?
  3. In what world is a $1.1 million dollar home a "modest" home?
  4. How is, "Hm, maybe I should work more than two days a week?" NOT the obvious solution you spring to in this circumstance?
  5. Seriously, what do these people's parents do, that they can afford to let their wealthy children live in a home rent-free, and then loan them over $1 million so they can build their own dream "modest" home?
  6. Are these people from Mars? Are they in fact human?
  7. Do I have enough wine to deal with this bullshit? (No, no I do not. God help me. God help us all.)

The median family income in Canada is $76,000 a year.

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