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Almost Rich: an examination of the true cost of city living and why rich is never rich enough

Almost Rich
The Norrises

The Norrises
Household income: $160,000

Doug and Shirley Norris, who are 81 and 80 years old respectively, sold their Montreal house in 1982 and moved into a $230,000 Harbourfront condo near Bay Street. When Doug retired in 1994, he sold his shares in his engineering supply company, Norman Wade, and since then the couple has lived off the proceeds—equities and securities—of their investments. “We read the business papers every morning,” says Shirley, “and Doug spends up to an hour every day on the phone with his broker.”


Monthly expenses | Condo fees: $900. Gas for their Mercedes E320: $150. (“We buy a new Mercedes every three years; it’s our big indulgence,” says Doug. “We always pay cash. This one was $80,000.”) Groceries: $600. (“We mainly shop at Longos and Metro,” says Shirley. “Doug’s a vegetarian and eats like a rabbit: he can go through a lot of broccoli.”) Costco: $300. (“We get everything there. Prescriptions. Fruit. Laundry soap. They have great trout, too.”) Eating out: $200. (“We like Swiss Chalet and Great Chefs on Eight in The Bay.”) Rogers home phone and Internet service: $70. Skype fees: $2.50. (“We use it for long-distance calls to the kids.”) Bathing suits, T-shirts, socks and tennis shoes for the gym: $100. Gym fees at the Mayfair Club: $125. (“I’m there every morning at 7:30,” says Doug.) Newspapers, books and magazines: $70.

Annual expenses | Gifts: $1,000. (“We have two grandkids, and we give them presents for birthdays, Christmas, special occasions.”) Insurance for car and condo: $2,400. Slots at Casino Rama and Casino Niagara: $100. (“I take $50 and go with friends in our building,” says Shirley.) Four-month trip to Myrtle Beach: $15,000. A trip to visit their son Brock in Denver: $2,500. Travel insurance: $8,000. (“At our age? And with pre-existing medical conditions? It’s a huge expense. But we don’t want to be in the States and not be covered.”)

Read the next profile »

  • Jonathon Yule


  • Greg

    Not saying you should feel guilty for earning $196k … but this article is a poor attempt at soothing the feelings of upper middle class Liberals.

  • 99%

    Ordinarily, the “other” 99% of Canadians would laugh at this article as a failed, manufactured attempt at sympathy.

    Fortunately for you though, those people probably don’t read your publication.

    ps. Dammit, my Infiniti is in the shop AGAIN

  • Foghorn O’Kalashnikov

    I can’t believe these people put their names and faces out there but it’s always interesting to snoop in people’s business like this! I would be curious/nosy to know their net worths too though – the Damianis in particular appear to be spending a fortune ($1,000 per month in clothes!!!), way out of proportion to what I (household income $170k or so) and friends spend versus save/invest. And yeah, I’ll say it – only 1500 bucks to charity? Come on. More power to them all for their success though, despite all the sniping comments that will come none of these incomes come without hard work and talent.

  • VB

    Anyone notice the plug from Rogers telecom services? Hmmmmm….

  • Top Left

    I agree, $196k is definitely not enough to live on in Toronto. Toronto is just a more expensive city and your money does not go as far. While I don’t think we need to feel sorry for any of the people profiled (including the one family who can’t manage to save a penny for their future), I think we have to own up to the reality of living in a big city.

  • Ben

    This article so accurately depicts what is happening all over the city – incurring massive amounts of consumer debt. Whether you’re earning 50k a year, or 196k, everyone spends beyond their means. Consumerism is the universal religion in north america, and it’s not just the upper class that buys into it – it’s just harder to poke fun at someone splurging beyond their means at a regular grocery store than at Pusateri’s.

  • ka

    proof read your articles before you post. geez.

  • Bruce

    A spectactularly superficial, poorly written article.

  • Jesus Christ

    you people make me sick

  • English Teacher

    Proofread before posting. Someone needs a new web editor!!

  • Alex

    So, how about living within your means? My partner and I have a combined income of about $105k, and still manage to own a house downtown, eat well, go out, travel… I have literally no sympathy for these people and their poor-little-rich-boy attitudes.

  • JM

    “He tries to stay debt-free, but occasionally he splurges on travel or a big-ticket toy, like the $7,500 Royal Enfield motorcycle he bought last year. “People think I make a lot of money,” he says, “but I lose so much of it in tax.”

    U poor thing!

    SRSLY? SRSLY??? I mean this isn’t surprising for TL, but come on.

  • Becca

    All I can say is this makes me feel better about living within my means.

  • Cry Me A River

    Wow! I made a fraction of what these people make. I graduated in 2011 with a professional degree (and the attendant massive debt) and have only been working for a few months. After tax, I make less than a third of the 1% after-tax income and yet I managed to:

    Keep a roof over my head
    Pay all my bills/debt payment on time
    Eat healthy, including meals out at least twice a week
    Travel to Europe for a friend’s wedding
    Tuck a couple hundred into savings every month
    Buy gifts for loved ones

    Is the city expensive? Sure, BUT the problem in this particular article isn’t Toronto – it’s people who don’t understand how to live. I don’t begrudge anyone with the means from buying expensive furniture – I will too when I have the cash, but if you think it’s more important than education savings for your children that’s YOUR fault, not the fault of “expensive city living”.

  • Matt

    I’ll single out the “premium” you allegedly pay on the price of milk. I’m assuming you’re referring to the slightly higher prices Canadians pay for milk, due to our supply-management, price-controlled system.

    Well, that system keeps dairy farmers middle-class rather than barely solvent (though they still make a lot less than $196,000 a year, for the most part) and keeps Canadian dairy farms profitable at a small level, encouraging rural economic growth and preventing the factory-farm conditions that prevail in the America dairy industry.

  • helf

    Spend less. This is ridiculous. How could anyone sympathize with this?

  • Jen C

    I’m in the range of this income bracket and manage to live comfortably and don’t find the city too expensive. But then again, I don’t spend $500-$800 a month on wine.

  • Anne

    If you spend $800/month on wine and $1000/mo on clothing then you can’t complain that you don’t make much money because you pay a lot of taxes. And seriously, when people say they don’t have much money left over each month because they pay $1500/mo for childcare, what on earth do they think people making $50k a year do with their two kids? Everyone has to pay childcare costs. Money doesn’t go far in Toronto but let’s put this in perspective; these people are still very wealthy and privileged. If they don’t have much money left over it’s because they don’t know how to budget or prioritize.

  • zizabobber

    Umm.. I make roughly $35k, and have lived a comfortable life with that and less for nearly a decade. I don’t have children.. but still. I believe a family with 1-2 children could easily live off of a combined income of $95k and still put away money for college, etc. I’ve been in Toronto all of my life, and it’s like women with purses.. the bigger one you own, the more crap you’re going to stuff into it. Pathetic.

  • peachy

    thus far i am delighted with my new city. the lcbo is always in the wrong place so i drink heaps less, the coffee largely sucks so even for this addict takeaways are now off the menu, the poorly made clothes arent worth buying, my mortgage will be half what it was previously AND i dont need to own a car. just bought my son first rate school supplies at a reputable art shop for less than i paid in cheap discount store overseas. thus far son attends great primary school for which i pay no fees or top ups… i save a fortune and the fortune i save i will plow back into travel whereupon i will buy clothes worth buying and drink coffee worth drinking and enjoy easily accessible wine not chosen by bureaucrats. all this will add up to a happier me with more time on my hands which will inevitably be plowed back into the local community. toronto can be affordable… it depends on your financial saavy and priorities.

  • zizabobber

    Peachy, you’re obviously going to the wrong places in TO for booze & coffee :)

  • peachy

    or i’ve come from a higher power (:

  • Bob

    This guy is a douchebag.

  • Poochy

    What was the point of this drivel. $1200 for the cottage mortgage, I feel for them.

  • J

    I have to agree with the majority of comments here. These folks aren’t living in the lap of luxury at our comsumerist society leads us to believe we should, but that is exactly the problem (not only with the folks in this article but the author). Regardless of what your household income is you must live within your means. My husband and I are just below this income bracket and the majority of of money is not spent frivelously – we are agressively paying off our mortgage and once that’s paid off very soon, the balance will go towards our RRSPs. We eat simply but very well, dress well by being creative, and take a couple lovely vacations each year. We haven’t changed our standard of living from how we lived with our starting salaries; our bonuses and raises have simply gone to pay down our mortgage. We don’t spend anywhere close to what some of these folks spend – some of these numbers are truly mind boggling. $400 a month at Shoppers? $800 a month on wine? $3000 a month on clothes? The problem is not Toronto, the problem is and being too lazy/ignorant to budget and prioritize and most of all feeing entitled.

  • clen

    this articles saddens me tremendously. the fact that rich people feel sorry for themselves for paying taxes is not news. what’s news is that toronto life would stoop this low in terms of journalistic integrity.

  • David

    I have been starting my tax preparation using software and was surprised to get a warning that charitable donations greater than 5% of income could be a red flag for the CRA. Those who tithe could be in trouble.

  • Joe Tory

    The problem is that taxes are too high. If we got rid of taxes on people with incomes over $150,000 a year, we’d see more rich people. It’s supply and demand!

  • Heather

    If you can afford to shop at Harry Rosen, pay $170 a month for nails/waxing/haircuts, buy a new Mercedes every 3 years, pay for a nanny, eat at North 44, buy groceries at Pusateri/Whole Foods, buy season tickets to the leafs, have a cottage on Georgian Bay, spend $400 a month on creams at Shoppers Drug Mart….. etc, etc, etc, you are RICH!!! Not even close to middle class, in my opinion.

  • Boo-hoo


  • Future Billionaire

    Billion-dollar idea: 1. Start tin-mining company. 2. Stake claim to ear of whomever assigned this story.

  • lukev

    Ok peachy now I’m curious what expensive part of the world you come from. Judging by your lexicon I’d guess Australia?


    WOW . TL you never cease to break the boundaries of ignorance . this article is your biggest joke yet .

  • E

    When I read this article I shared many of the sentiments as everyone of the posters, and I wondered if I was crazy for thinking these people are really just pampering themselves and living beyond their means. The idea that this level of income doesn’ t mean you’re “rich” and then as cases in point, TL offers these spenders as examples of that–is atrocious!! I’m glad to see I’m not alone in my sanity!

  • cathie

    Don’t insult us by suggesting that these people are not rich and that its difficult to live on K200. If any of these families are complaining, its because of their own stupidity, questionable choices on what is a “necessity” and lack of money-management skills.

  • LMIH

    Wow, cry me a river…this article needs to find a ditch to die in.

  • Welshgrrl

    I’m playing the world’s saddest song on the world’s smallest violin for most of the people featured in this article … live within your means, idiots!

  • Jill

    Rich is never rich enough when you blow your money on frivolous, nonessential crap. I grew up in a low income household and I make a month what some of these people blow on clothing or designer food products alone. But you know what? I live well, I don’t have any debt and I’m doing just fine.
    I don’t understand why Toronto Life is constantly profiling the upperclass and then making them out to be paupers. You want me to be impressed by your urban coverage? Then profile hard working, fiscally responsible people the rest of us can actually relate to, instead of glorifying boneheads who spent $800 a month on wine.

  • Larry

    More than anything, these people are paying the idiot tax that consists of blowing money on non-essentials and paying too much for the basics. If you’re that on top of your investments that you’re on the phone with your broker for an hour a day, surely you should realize that you’d be ahead if you got a new Mercedes (if that’s what you insist on having) every 5-6 years instead of every 3.

  • Jana

    Interesting article. I think rich CAN be rich enough if you do not give into CONSUMERISM!!! Some of these families are driving BMWs and Jeeps and paying a lot for gas and spending $ on clothes that they probably do not need, unless it is for their kids. Why not live in a smaller house so your mortgage can be smaller? One family stated that they indulge in buying a new Mercedes every 3 years – a Mercedes can last upwards of 10 years!

    Downsize. Don’t give in to the hype of always having to spend and getting the latest trends!

  • Jana

    Live within your means. Don’t indulge in a new mercedes every 3 years, or buy a $7,500 motorcycle, or $5,000 on a dining table + chairs. I agree that rich is never rich enough because people always expand their living expenses when they earn more money – but if you don’t do this, rich can be rich enough.

  • Jana

    Rich is never rich enough because people always expand their living expenses when they earn more money – but if you don’t do this, rich can be rich enough.

  • Lola

    A “weakness” for designer furniture?? Buying a new Mercedes every 3 years?? Boo hoo. I have a weakness for groceries and having a roof over my head. I have no sympathy for people who spend all their disposable income justifying their indulgences and keeping up with the Joneses. In a time of recession, unemployment, budget cuts and poverty, this article is downright obnoxious. Either that or I am so clearly not part of your target demographic that perhaps I should just stop reading your magazine.

  • FashionIDunno

    3 out of 5 of these families just happen to mention that they use “Rogers” for their telecommunications. Disgusting corporate placement.

    Hopefully the message that comes across here is using Rogers is equivalent to throwing your money away.

  • cultureshot

    The lesson here: Don’t have kids.

  • Ken

    As a 19-year-old who has never had an income above $25,000, it astounds me to see how bad these people are at managing their money. It’s al going to taxes? Please. Just because you don’t keep track of where a lot of it has gone doesn’t mean the government stole it. The retired couple were the only ones who were doing a great job with their wealth.

    Keeping up with the Joneses leaves everybody sore.

  • Logan

    I wonder how well these people would do on a net income of $26 000 a year per person?

  • PF

    This article makes me feel ill. Last year I lived 8k below the poverty line, yet I still managed to pay my bills and rent on time, stay out of debt and still have a little bit of fun. And I live and shop in down town Toronto.
    Sure, you can always find more things to spend money on, but someone who makes 196k a year saying that they struggle to keep out of debt is ridiculous to me. It’s about living within your means, which is possible on almost any budget.
    This article makes Toronto look bad and people living like this makes the city even more expensive for the 99% of us.

  • Hmmm

    How they all save:

    Lewis-Koonings: RRSPs and investments: $0. (“Ha! We live month to month. When we have money left over, we go out.”) = GIANT MORONS

    Norrises: living off the enormous pile they saved. SUPER GENIUSES

    Haynes: Single guy only saving 20,000 a year: GIANT MORON
    He could double that and not feel a thing

    Jibodus: No savings whatsoever = GIANT MORONS

    Damianis: 4000 RESP, 20000 RRSP/stock. With 2 kids, saving 24000 AND owning a cottage = not bad. NOT GIANT MORONS

  • Charles

    I live in New York City. I make $40,000, as does my girlfriend. We have a fine apartment, pay our bills and go out to eat. Granted, we live in Bushwick, Brooklyn, a place that some people are scared of, but we love it. Also, if you don’t want to ever visit a hip, transitional neighborhood, you’re probably boring as hell.

  • Al

    If you know you are going to get a new car every three years you should be leasing. That is just basic common sense. When you buy, even if you are able to get enough back from selling the car to make the numbers work out to be similar, you are still tying up $80,000 worth of capital that could be earning income.

  • CuliNerd

    I am debt free at 30, I dont own a house I rent. I don’t have a credit card, My savings consist of the change I get from paying cash in my piggy bank. I do own an apartment in the islands. I drive a shitty car that gets me from point A to point B and when its in the shop I dont bitch and complain about $120/hr rates. I live average. These people are out of control. I hope one of them can invest in me, good return I promise, maybe cash in on no taxes on captial gains?

  • TP

    It’s clear to see, Toronto Life is without a moral compass, and caters to the 1% who have the luxury of overspending a month salary which is about 5 TIMES MORE then the average income. Then one of those earners considers it OK to write a sympathy pience…

    What kind of editor is OK with publishing this? The group of people behind this article, and organization ‘Toronto Life’ NEED A WAKE UP CALL.

  • lol

    bro… sneaker collection? trips to conchella, seeing the weeknd? maybe its time this 37 yr old grew up? unless he is snorting coke of 19yr olds butts

  • Jason

    I love the anger that this article generates among people, especially Toronto Life readers, a bunch of Yuppies the whole lot I figured? But we should remember that other than the retired couple none of these people have much in terms of assets, its all debt. And imagine what will happen to their already “squeezed” budgets when interest rates go up, which they will. Ouch!

  • jennifer

    Large homes? Expensive gym memberships? $500 a month on wine? Organic groceries at Whole Foods? Large fancy gas guzzling cars and weaknesses for designer furniture? If there’s any money left, we go out? Cleaning staff? Wow, I feel SO sorry for these people and their hard, hard lives. Truly, it must suck to struggle so terribly on a daily basis to make ends meet…..

  • gardarob

    So, let me get this straight. After you spend money on your mortgage for your gorgeous house, gas and other expenses for your awesome car, high-quality daycare for your lucky kids, groceries from pricey markets, restaurant meals, beauty supplies, gifts, and all the other trappings of the extraordinarily upper class life you live, you are upset that you only have a little bit left over to plump up your retirement and savings accounts? And you occasionally go into debt by buying ludicrous luxury items like fancy motorcycles?

    What WOULD make you feel rich? Spending all that money on all those luxurious things and then still having tens of thousands of dollars “left over” at the end of the month?

    Do you just not understand that all that stuff you spend money on IS what makes you rich? Rich isn’t having a vault full of money to swim around in like Scrooge McDuck. It’s having enough to pay for a nice house, nice cars, day care, good food, and luxury items.

    How about this: move to a less expensive house, trade down for a less expensive car, don’t go out to eat, buy food from cheaper grocery stores, and spend less on unnecessary personal items and luxuries. Then you’ll have TONS of money left over, and you don’t even have to give that much up.

    I am truly stunned at the lack of self-reflection and empathy you see from people with tons of money. Just because you can’t set up your own charitable foundation, and get a balcony at the Opera House named after you, and you can’t afford a private island in the Caribbean – you are STILL RICH.

  • Grashnak

    Wait, so your point is that after you spend all of your money on your house, your kids, your cars, your lifestyle, your retirement funds and the stuff you like to buy, you don’t have much left?

    Isn’t that the point of money? Being able to afford all that stuff in the first place? And being able to afford better and more stuff makes you rich?

    It’s like arguing that you aren’t well-fed because your plate is empty, moments after eating an enormous prime rib dinner.

  • kathy

    Cry me a river. My “wardrobe refreshes” consist of darning my threadbare socks and replacing buttons on articles of clothing that are older than my teenage daughter.

  • k

    i’m sorry, but these people, every one are assholes. my husband and i currently live off of ONE salary because the cost of child care would have bankrupted us. we still manage to have a car, a gorgeous rental downtown and healthy food on our table. probably for a third of what these people make.

    oh, and we have retirement savings, an RESP and a savings account for our son.

  • Brian K

    Please. I live in New York, an equally expensive city. My partner and I live on half of what these people make and we get by fine. Yes, there are occasional challenges (like paying student loans from an expensive private American university for example), but we make due and I would never in a million year whine about my lot in life like this sad saps are.

    Really, what’s the point of this article? To show how insanely out of touch with the reality these people are? To confirm to the 99% that the rich are as out of touch as they suspected? Is this high satire? It sure as hell can’t be to garner actual sympathy because these are the least sympathetic characters talking about the least sympathetic issue you could have found. I mean, a grand a month on clothes and “collectible sneakers?” Gimme a break.

  • Student

    Grad student here in Toronto. Given that I make 18K a year that’s supposed to cover living expenses, I’m really not sure where these guys get off complaining about how little money they have left over. Cleaning lady? Really? You don’t have time to clean the house? Let me introduce you to the word “chores” for the children, or are you afraid that they might break your thousand-dollar vacuum cleaner?

    “Fiscal irresponsibility: how to be rich and still swim in debt” should be the title of this article.

  • Santina

    How can one in good conscience argue that being within the top 1% of earners isn’t as great as its cracked up to be without recognizing that there’s 99% of the population that have to manage with many of the same expenses without nearly as much of the capital.

    Imagine coming home from work absolutely exhausted and still having to cook because you can’t afford to eat out with your salary?
    Or what if you transit in to work because you can’t afford a car, insurance, or gas?

    If you want to have a pity party for yourself go ahead. I’m sure it will be lavishly catered and filled with about as many similarly minded assholes as possible.

  • pegolasgreenleaf

    If you’re spending $800 a month on WINE, then shut your yap, you arse.
    Also, if you can buy a Mercedes? And pay CASH? Shut your pie hole.
    Also, if you spend $1400 a month on clothing and hair care? Meh. You get the picture.

  • betweenthelines

    I agree that this is a very good income to make and that these families should not have anyone feeling sorry for them. HOWEVER, I think that being angry that these 1% families are making a good income, or evoking sympathy is not the point of this article. The point is to show how no matter what your income is you will end up spending more. If you make less income you’ll buy a smaller house, shop less and eat out less (hypothetically). The point isn’t to feel sympathy for these well-to-do families, its to point out that our society never has enough.

  • Kit

    You know what this writeup points out? It points out exactly the mentality that got our western world where it is right now, in this economic disaster:

    Overspending – too much consumerism – the “need” to buy to keep up with the neighbors.

    Toronto is expensive, there’s no escaping that, but a lot of the so called “mandatory expenses” of these families, and probably others, are more like, “perceived needs.”

    The dining out, the lavish food bills, the expensive cars, the expensive interiors, and all the rest are “perceived needs.” And until some of the people at the higher end of the income spectrum understand the difference between actual needs, like food, water, shelter and clothing – and perceived needs like $800 on dining out or $1600 on food.

    Their “needs” threshold doesn’t actually even come close to actual needs. Their “needs” are, for many, way above wants – they’re unreachable for others.

  • Are U ******* Kidding Me?

    Seriously? Are you fucking kidding me? You are right, 196K isn’t a lot of money once you spend all of it. But who needs to spend $800 a month on wine? Or “splurge” on a motorcycle?

    If this is an attempt to humanize the 1%, you have failed. However, you have advanced the opinion of the 99% concerning how out of touch with reality the rich truly are.

    So, congrats.

  • N A P

    We bought our home in 1993, paid 130,000 for it with a mortgage of 1100 a month. Because we had a two year old and then twins, we had to survive on one income of around 50,000 for over five years. This was extremely tough and meant that food banks were often used to help feed the kids.

    Needless to say I have little sympathy.

    Currently we are a two income household with around 110,000 income with three teenagers. Our house and car are paid off and we have no debt.

    I also clean my own house, while working one full time and one part time job.

  • Breeyn

    This dude spends more a month on groceries than I spend all together.

  • GJ

    This author and his subjects are a joke. The Gawker article about the article makes more sense:

  • JL

    This is the most offensive, out-of-touch article I’ve read in quite a while. Toronto Life should be ashamed of itself.

  • B

    Trying to decide what kind of marinade to use when the poors rise up and eat these yuppies.

  • Andrew

    I’m sorry, but if you can’t live in Toronto on $190k+ per year you’re too financially irresponsible to have control of your own money. Wow. Just wow.

  • Kathy

    Sorry, but if you’re spending $200 a month on haircuts or $1,000 a month on clothes, you’re rich.

  • paul

    Nauseating. All of them.

  • Matt

    Is the author trolling for negative reactions, or is he serious?

    I can’t believe the rationalization he uses. Sushi because he’s tired when he comes home from work? That’s the definition of being rich. Other people make a frozen pizza.

  • Sarah

    Some of those families spend $1,000 a month on clothing.

    Do you know how much I spent on clothing last month? $0.
    And the month before that? $0.

    And the month before that? $0.

    The last time I bought shoes was back in September because my only pair of dress shoes, which I had had for close to seven years, were finally falling apart.

  • TR

    RICH IS RICH! If you can afford to buy everything you need and still have money left over while living “nicely” then you are rich idiot. Rich is how much nicer your stuff is in comparison to everyone else.

  • not going to be spammed

    The author of this article is, fundamentally, a bad person.

  • rexxar

    I, and my boyfriend live a very comfortable life in a very nice apartment, on less than $1,000 a month.
    We don’t buy shit we don’t need.
    We don’t have a car, we can both walk to work.
    We don’t have some ridiculous TV that costs an entire year of rent.
    Even though we make enough that we don’t need to; we buy groceries at ALDI, or other discount stores.
    I’ll bet you anything that our life is more enjoyable than whatever the idiots making $200K a year are living.
    Our life is a little complicated, trying to find the best compromise of quality and price on everything, but you know what? We make about the same amount of money, and we don’t even need my income at all.
    I make $10 an hour. On that, my boyfriend and I got a lovely apartment, most of our furniture new, and paid entirely for our cost of living.
    On our combined income, we’re now living a more comfortable life than either of us ever had previously.

    So, when I see you try to tell me that you need over $10K a month just to /survive/, I just sit here and laugh.

  • anon

    Gawker just murdered you guys:

    And you deserve every. Single. Word.

  • Welshgrrl

    Great quote from the Gawker article: “This argument is like a man eating a hearty meal, licking his plate clean, then turning to a starving person and saying, ‘Look, we’re in the same boat. My plate is empty too!’”

  • Beevbo

    I didn’t read the whole article because within the first 5 paragraphs I could tell this guy was a total joke.

  • Geoff Reed

    SOOOOO out of touch!!! Overindulgence of their every whim. This article is a perfect example of how the privileged insulate themselves from the realities of their own manifestations.

  • torontotwopercent

    the article doesn’t point to any real increase in expenses for torontonians besides the cost of home ownership in fancy/trendy neighbourhoods (and barring a housing crash, people who buy these homes will presumably make that money back and then-some when they sell). so the point is just that these objectively rich people don’t feel rich because they spend all their money trying to keep up with even richer people…”once i have spent all my money on unnecessary fancy crap, i have barely any money left at all!”

    thus i am forced to agree with everyone in these comments who said that this article is dumb and badly-written.

  • rexxar

    @betweenthelines is OP in disguise.
    That’s not at all the point of this.
    I don’t know about you, but I (and many others in this comment thread) DO have “enough”.
    I have what I need to live comfortably. The extra, unnecessary things I have, like computers and TVs are either second-hand, or I’ve had them for years.
    There are things I would like to have, sure, but there isn’t a single thing I would ever consider going into debt for if it wasn’t necessary.

    Look, I recently bought an oscilloscope. Those are often very expensive pieces of equipment. I got it for $15 on ebay because it was broken. I fixed it for another $15, and got a $200 ‘scope out of it. That’s called being fucking responsible with your money.

  • ka

    excuse me people posting: i don’t remember reading anyone complaining in these examples. in fact one laughed at how they live month to month…it’s just an article showcaing some idiots who expose themselves to ridicule just to show off how much they have/have not… take it down a notch angry birds and drink some $11 wine.

  • Juni

    Sickening. Can’t believe this got published. So far off base and completely insulting to those truly struggling. Did you know that wine is a luxury most budgets can’t accomodate? Eating out 3 times a week? Luxury cars? That many people would be happy to have any money to contribute to RRSPs, to afford their comparatively meager mortgages? People are having a hard time putting food on the table for their families. This article is ridiculous, and fills me with anger towards the writer and publisher for letting this see the light of day.

  • Christine

    If you live in Canada, you’re rich. Welcome to planet earth. Population: 7 billion, most of whom have a hard time getting enough to eat and not dying young due to preventable illness. Would love if your budget for wine one month went to a charity that provides clean drinking water, or perhaps your Mercedes helped build schools in a developing world, maybe there’s a women’s charity you could give to, to help young girls, instead of spending $400 on your hair? Consider how you can be generous, stop thinking of yourself!

  • lis

    “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey

  • Go Die

    All of these people disgust me. “Waaaahhh, my $200K/year really isn’t anything, after I spend it all on unnecessary luxury items so my shallow ‘friends’ won’t snicker at me behind my back.” The obliviousness is simply revolting.

  • Editor

    It would have been helpful to know if that income is before or after taxes.
    If it’s before taxes, you can add up what these people claim to be spending each month and annually, and you’ll notice they’re spending more than they make. I’d also like to know what their level of debt is (including mortgage).
    Sounds to me like a classic case of More Money than Brains.
    Buying Eames chairs when you’re living paycheque to paycheque, and not saving for retirement? Dumb. And people like me who are saving for retirement will have to contribute to support their sorry a**es (on their Eames chairs) when they retire.

  • Unjose04

    I wonder if these kinds of stories are generated to get the public thinking about how ‘rich’ people perceive themselves. This seems to have people in an uproar about how these people do not consider themselves rich. Living ‘month to month’ is almost the same as someone who is poor living ‘paycheck to paycheck’. In both cases you could argue that poor money management skills are in play, but what does this article really do or say? Is it informative or does it just incite people to become irate and ponder inequities present in our society?
    We can all bitch and comment about the content of the article, but how can we change it? Vote? Na, because then you wonder/think that only those with money have power and it’s futile to vote because you’re vote won’t really count because someone out there is buying votes that will count yours out so then there is no point in voting.
    I know not everyone may think/feel that way, but I’m sure some people have that line of thinking. And it leave you feeling somewhat hopeless and helpless that things will never change.
    Maybe not…

  • Gran Dunt


  • Megan

    please tell me this is a joke

  • Jay

    “Then there’s the stuff that fills our houses—the calibre of which is the subject of intense, unspoken competition among my peers and neighbours.”

    This is exactly why you are rich: BECAUSE you can afford to waste money engaging in a stupid, pointless “intense, unspoken competition among my peers and neighbours.”

    I would be ashamed of myself if I had written such a thoughtless, self-centered, self-pitying article.

  • matthew

    So the Norrises earn $160,000 but only spend $51,980?! SO THEY HAVE A SPARE $100,000 ANNUALLY! And that ain’t rich?

  • Colin

    This is satire, right? RIGHT?

  • LMG

    I used to have $2000 after taxes a month. over $1300 went to rent, utilities, bills. Can’t afford a car, RSPs nor kids or fancypants clothes for work and I will never be able to afford to own my own home.

    And yet, I knew I was STILL doing better than a lot of people that would consider me ‘middle class’.

    Gizmodo said it best:

    “This argument is like a man eating a hearty meal, licking his plate clean, then turning to a starving person and saying, “Look, we’re in the same boat. My plate is empty too!””

  • Joe Bob Jones

    I would be embarrassed to be seen on the street if I was either the author, or one of these people. With the exception of the family who emmigrated to Toronto, and them only barely, none of these people have the slightest ability to live beneath their means, and only one, the single guy, saves anything. This is a shocking display of wasteful overspending.

  • 99%

    Seriously? Someone needs to do a reality check. $196,000 is wealthy whether you live in a city or not.

  • lawgirlnyc

    Thanks to hard work and some luck my household income is around $600K (so that’s my cred for this not being a sour grapes comment) but the day I would put mine and my kids’ faces in an article weeping about paying taxes while laying out expenses for what appears to be a lot of frivilous crap is the day my blue-collar factory working dad would come back from the grave to kick my a$$.

  • Jeff

    Wow. This is trash. Shame on your magazine for spreading this propaganda. If you and your family have trouble living on more than $196,000 a year than maybe you are spending too much!

  • Ms.Me

    The sad fact is that most canadians live off of what these folks have left over at the end of the month. Many “middle-class” families spend roughly the same on groceries per month as one of these families spends on just WINE! I have no sympathy for the “not rich *enough*”

  • Poor Girl

    This article actually made me feel nauseated to read. You are complaining that you lose a lot of your income to tax??? I have an education, work experience, and a great resume, and guess what? I’m on WELFARE right now due to not being able to find a job, being in a mountain of debt, and choosing to NOT allow myself to be exploited by faceless corporations, temp agencies and so on. You people make me fucking sick to my stomach. You think you should be REWARDED for your spending habits? If I were as rich as you, I’d hide in the dark and never publicize how I spend my money, because the rest of the world is basically poor and you have NO RIGHT TO RUB IT IN.

    I hope you all rot in hell.

  • Al

    Is the joker who wrote this serious? This is a very sad article on so many levels. No feelings of entitlement here.

  • Jason

    What a piece of garbage. Get over yourselves, you rich idiots who think you aren’t rich because a few people are richer than you.

  • Kat

    You bought a $5000 Eames chair but you have no RRSP? That’s called a choice – and you chose consumerism over responsibility or even common sense.

    I want to believe this article is some sort of tongue-in-cheeck self-referential inside joke, but I fear it’s not…

  • Morgan

    I’m a 22 year old university student and paid for my own tuition from coop. I have 2 younger siblings and my dad is the sole earner for the family. He makes around 50k and it’s always enough for food, mortgage, gas, insurance etc. to live in Toronto for my family of 5. We are very comfortable in our home :)

    So I have no idea what people are crying about. This just shows how self indulging people can be. I can only show pity… wait no… I can only laugh.

  • Karen B

    This income is fantastic for singles or couples this is a small fortune and most people can live on far less but for a family it goes fast. All you singles and couples stating how much better money managers, add a family into the picture and watch your expenses change! Do not judge until you have a family.

  • Andres

    Seriously??? I think if you’re spending $1000 a month in clothing, $800 a month on wine, $10,000 a year on travel, and still manage to put away $20,000 a year into RRSPS, you’re rich.

    This is why I hate Toronto Life, only in this publication can someone print this under a heading “Almost Rich.” So ridiculously out of touch with the real world!

  • Catie

    Really? You’re not rich because you spend all your money? That is ridiculous. The author’s “big indulgence” car costs more than I earn in two years, before tax. To save money for a house downpayment I have no car, rarely eat out and shop almost exclusively at thrift stores. My “big indulgence” is buying a new pair of shoes, usually on sale, for about $100.

    If you have the money, spend it. I don’t object to people living at whatever standard they can afford, but you can’t complain about how hard it is to live within your means when you’re earning five times the average household income.

    I probably can’t say it better than Gawker:

  • Perspective

    Today the Globe and Mail posted a lengthy article about the REAL working poor in Toronto. Get some perspective here:

  • TeeDot

    People can survive on next-to-nothing in Toronto. Any Torontonian who makes over 100K/year and complains about it, is incredibly greedy and doesn’t deserve a penny of that money.

  • Soverypoor

    This article is a way to guaruntee magazine advertisers that all (remaining) subscribers have money and are aspirational.

  • Alex

    My wife and I make about $70,000 a year combined, so I really have little sympathy for people who complain about not being able to control themselves when they make $200,000. Don’t spend 5 grand on a table, or 7 grand on a needless motorcycle, if you can’t afford it.

    Live within your means. These people have big dreams, but pockets that just aren’t big enough for them. This is the problem with most industrialized nations and their major urban centres right now; people have no self-control and blame the system for their own lack of fiscal judgment.

  • factcheck

    The biggest error in this article is that it conflates individual income with household income. That is to say, of the families profiled none of the individuals here are actually among the apx 1.5% of Canadians who *individually* earn more than $200000 and only the banker and the retiree even approach this level of income (See here: So yes, these families are above the median household income of $77,685 in Toronto but so are half of the households in Toronto (and 31% of those are households with incomes more than 100,000.)

  • TK_in_TO

    Excluding the older couple, the others epitomize bourgeosie “values”: superficial, self-indulgent, hedonistic, utterly pretentious. I wonder if they give to charities or volunteer their time to help others less fortunate.

  • JayBoy

    I think someone needs to tell the author that when people refer to the top 1% they’re talking about total assets not yearly income. total fail.

  • Impressed

    The family of four who make $200K and can’t save a penny needs help!

    They seem almost proud of their obvious financial dysfunction.

  • John Gray

    This is some of the best comedy writing I’ve come across in years!I mean the whole article must be a joke,eh?We’re supposed to fell sorry for wealthy people and all the money they have to spend?Poor babies,maybe somebody should offer them a tissue and a shoulder to cry on!

  • Jason

    This is the most depressing thing I’ve read in a long time. It sickens me to think anyone would take this seriously.

  • Natalie

    I don’t live in Toronto, but I live in an even bigger city: Chicago. I make $42,000 right out of college. I bet you people can’t even imagine how I survive.

  • bob tough

    Cry me a river. You make me want to puke.

  • Willy

    Um, I’m pretty sure The Weeknd has never played Lee’s Palace. Craig Haynes needs to get his facts straight if he’s going to name drop all the rad bands he sees. Or ease up on the coke on his nights out.

  • Andrew

    Ladies and gentlemen, The death of Journalism has come.

  • Priscilla

    The most concerning depiction is the 37 year old TD Banker who manages to save $20K in RSPs each year yet flushes away the same amount in RENT each month.

  • B

    This article is disgusting. I’m in my mid-twenties and make just over 32,000 (before taxes and deductions) working over 50 hours a week for a charity.

    Between paying my own rent, bills and expenses, I still manage to (slowly) make student loan payments and have a couple bucks to spend to go out with friends.

    These people need to get over themselves and realize there is so much more to do than whine about how hard it is not being rich enough.

  • LMG

    I challenge all these crying poor rich people to spend a month living off of only the median income (after tax) of a family in Toronto and still pay all their bills and rent/mortgage, then come back and tell me how bad they have have it with their normal income.

    Median income in 2005 – All census families in Toronto

    Median income in 2005 – Married-couple families in Toronto

    (these are before tax amounts)

  • Terminal Laughter

    It’s not just a rich people problem…it’s a very rich people problem. Billionaires can’t heel to their own raging obsessions like they could in the past. I explore this phenomenon in a recent article:

  • Kim Halfyard

    I am so disgusted, when I was married our income was double than that. Never complained. In fact all my extra time was spent on giving back, teaching & mentoring. We did well for a while, but lived a simple life most of the time, and gave back.

    No excuse to complain about anything, and maybe J.K. will understand real life.

  • Kim Halfyard

    Maybe we could promote it and make money for a “Reality Show”

    Poor me – and let them live off $200 weekly of spending money.

    Oh crap, then we would be stuck with CAMH for them… depression, and withdrawal.

  • Peanuts

    @Natalie – Chicago isn’t really bigger than Toronto. They’re essentially the same size. I can’t say if living costs are significantly different.

    Toronto, 2011 city proper, 2.6 million. 6.1 million if you incluide the GTA.

    Chicago, 2011 city proper, 2.7 million. 8.7 if you include urban Chicagoland, an area about 3x larger geographically than the GTA which stretches out beyond the state of Illinois.

    Hold your head high, Toronto! We’re kind of a big deal!

  • Leftist Redneck

    Boo-friggin-hoo. $1500 a month for day care? You poor souls. I know people who barely make that in a month and still scrape by. I know people who are going into endless debt just to keep themselves and their children fed and housed at the barest levels of first-world standards. I hope you crack your empty skull open on your granite countertop.

  • Melissa

    After you put gas in all your cars, pay for all your stuff, buy some new clothes, sock some money away in your retirement fund and eat a bunch of sushi you don’t have that much left over? Cry me a river.

  • Seriously?

    This has to be a joke. (I’m really hoping this is a joke.) No one could legitimately sympathize with the yuppies of Toronto.

  • what a d!@k

    TL, did you publish this article and say to yourselves; “this is great journalism. this brings deep thoughtful insight to everyones reading experience”. the best move i ever did was ending my subsciption to this hack rag of dribble years ago. this article caters to that segment you seem to be so in tune with—the douchebags.

  • Ohdear

    It is so hard when you make lots of money. It is very important to have all the latest, important stuff. Come on… no cool knee high boots, no creepy extra extra long scarf (even though its not cold out) and you are not cool. You want to be cool dont you? Sheep.

  • MerlotC

    I have no sympathy for any household income in the ~ $100,000 or higher snack bracket … you can be comfortable if you budget your lifestyle within that snack bracket ~ just spend and live within your means and capacity… folks with lower household incomes do that on a regular basis! duh… really?

  • Say what?

    trying to understand what you’re saying… $196,000 is not wealthy enough… compared against whom… the richest families in Canada like the Thompson’s & the Weston’s? oh, ok, yeah, these poor folks would be dumb poor when compared against the elite of Canada … so, I guess that makes the rest of us really dirt ‘po’ as Oprah would say!

  • Charles

    Maybe Jonathan Kay could do a follow-up article on how how big oil revenues are exaggerated.


    This is the cost of living of a normal person in Toronto:

    A normal person would last well over a decade with one year at these earnings.

  • ks

    I love how Craig Haynes has to justify his choice of leasing a Civic: “I’m at an age where I don’t care what car I drive.” In other words (“I know its only a Civic, but I don’t care so its ok!”).

    Which brings us back to the root of the problem. The reason these people spend the way they do is because deep down, they DO CARE. They care how others will view them, how others will judge their homes, the clothes they wear, their furniture, where and what they eat, their cars (except for Craig Haynes of course) – and so they continue to buy and spend to maintain their deluded sense of self worth in the eyes of people they don’t know.

    As long as people continue to live their lives for others, this will never change.

  • Jane

    what an obnoxious article…seriously, words fail.

  • Lilian

    With these high incomes there is absolutely no reason there shouldn’t be any money left at the end of the month. $1,500 on clothes per month, but “with kids, we can’t splurge on ourselves like we used to”. Come on. The Nigerian and elderly couple have my thumbs up – they have common sense. (And the others who save). As for the bank manager complaining about how much money the taxes take – seriously? You of all people don’t know about tax-reducing strategies? The cost of living in Toronto for the rest of these people is a problem only because they are so insecure that they worry about what their neighbours will think. Is there an independent thinker among them? Baaa! Baaa!

    I do not begrudge anyone their earnings, good for them. It is criminal for people who are fortunate enough to have the talent, and opportunity to use that talent to earn the large salaries, to throw that opportunity away with excessive spending and no saving. Remember the story of the grasshopper and the ant.

  • Feel Very Fortunate

    My husband and I do well, I suppose we would (just) be included in the ’1%’, however unlike the exceptionally ungrateful people in this article we know how very fortunate we are. It wasn’t always this way for us but we worked hard to pay off debt from our younger days and now we don’t take it for granted; we’re always saying what a great life we live and how blessed we are. We just recently bought a nice condo and put as much down as possible. We are at the point in our lives where we want to buy good/investment pieces of furniture that we could have forever so we are working on furnishing it slowly when we can WITH CASH. Sure we could go out and furnish the whole thing on our credit cards or line of credit but we never carry balances anymore. We put money into our RRSP’s and other savings. Yes, we have a nice car but we bought the one we really wanted and paid it off before buying our condo, and we agreed we’ll drive it into the ground. We do things or buy things when we’ve SAVED for them. Which is actually pretty easy when you have a budget, have no debt other than mortgage and make good money. The way these people in this article come off is absolutely disgusting, shameful even. If you are responsible with your money and live within your means you should’t have to live paycheck to paycheck and CERTAINLY not in this income bracket. With articles like this (and a lot of what the mega rich get away with) I understand why the majority of people are angry at the 1%. However, we’re not all self indulgent assholes with no financial restraint.

  • theidioteditor

    What is the point of this article? To show that after wasting their money on lavish luxuries in life, REAL low-to-mid-income families should feel sorry for families that make $196K?

    I am so angry that I am going to put on my $500 custom made italian driving loafers and go for a drive in my maserati to cool off. Feel sorry for me cause I make $196K and I have nothing left in my gucci wallet every month.

  • Joshua S

    Arguably, the funniest, most subtle satire I’ve read online in years– and clearly most people are too obtuse to notice.

    I mean, nobody in their right mind would think that $10k a month makes you struggle. People like me who make less than $25k a year understand how preposterous and privileged this kind of argument is.

    Bravo. Hilarious.

  • yougottabekiddingme

    Plainly put, some of these people are idiots.

  • jennifer

    The author of this piece has now written a rebuttal to the Gawker article:

    What he fails to understand is that the “growing debt among the upper classes” is due to the fact that they overspend on STUFF! No one needs to spend $800 a month on wine. No one needs to spend $7000 on a motorcycle. No one needs to spend $400 a month on creams and vitamins. No one needs to spend thousands on “wardrobe refreshes” and designer sneakers and Eames chairs. These people are completely and utterly out of touch with reality, and if they are in debt and have no savings they only have themselves and their selfish consumerist ways to blame.

    Want money left over at the end of the month? Clean your own house. Get rid of the big fancy cars and take transit, or buy something more gas-efficient. Stop shopping for clothes. Give up the fancy wine habit. Don’t buy a large house with a mortgage you struggle to afford. Don’t go out to restaurants, and try grocery shopping at No Frills. Cook filling meals in bulk and have leftovers for lunches. Live within your means.

    Most people in Toronto do not live like the people profiled in this article, and we certainly don’t feel sorry for them.

  • Anne

    Can you say “home invasion”?

  • ks

    I think other people have rightfully asked the larger question of why this article was written in the first place. Toronto Life exists to pander to the interests of the wealthy. Every other piece is about where to shop for designer clothes, fancy food, furniture or knick knacks and the real estate section continully profiles homes that are asking 7 figures. It then has the balls to publish a piece on people who overspend and profiles the very people who buy the items it shills in each issue.

    This is akin to a drug dealer advertising to junkies and then doing a documentary on why junkies are in such dire straits.

    Look, Toronto Life, I realize your ambition is to be a complete ripoff of New York Magazine, but at least that rag has a shred of journalistic integrity.

  • Peter Eng

    $400 per month on wine. $11 dollar bottles. And here I am, buying wine at $6 US, and thinking about how I should look for better deals.

    A new Mercedes every three years, for $80,000. That’s worse than leasing a car.

    Leasing a Honda Civic, which anybody who can do math knows is a waste of money compared to buying and owning a car for seven to ten years.

    $1600 per month for food, which sounds like buying whatever they want, rather than looking for good prices and stocking up when the prices are good.

    $1,000 a month on clothing.

    This isn’t “the true cost of city living.” This is five families who either don’t know how to manage their money, or don’t care. They’d be in the same boat no matter where they were on the income scale.

    And, Mr. Kay? Too tired to cook? Buy a slow cooker. Or cook extra on Sunday, and eat leftovers until Tuesday or Wednesday.

    In short, cry me a river.

  • this is wonderland

    (“The Jeep was a mistake. We shouldn’t have bought it; we could have used the extra money for travel.”)

    Eye roll….

  • Dan

    You sir, are a douchebag.

  • OhSnap

    In the words of’s Hamilton Nolan:
    “Money pays for the costs of life. That is what money does. You can’t argue that, hey, your money doesn’t go that far after you’ve already spent it. You used it! Paying taxes and paying bills and paying the mortgage and putting money in a retirement fund and going out to dinner are the things that money gets you. Just because you didn’t blow it all on jewelry, caviar, and cocaine doesn’t mean you didn’t get anything out of it. This argument is like a man eating a hearty meal, licking his plate clean, then turning to a starving person and saying, “Look, we’re in the same boat. My plate is empty too!”

  • Jeremy

    These people are insane, every single one of them! $900 a month on wine, insanity! I failed high school math, and dropped out of university after 1 year. I am now 39, and make only $65,000 a year in Vancouver. I paid off my 1 bedroom condo mortgage in 2010 after 8 years. I have no debt at all, and have a substantial cushion built up. I live on about $1000 a month here. Yes, even in big Canadian city it is still possible to live incredibly cheaply, you just have to buy what you need, not what you want. I cut out every expense I didn’t need, reduced every expense I can’t cut out to a minimum and I pay for everything with a credit card to maximize points. I pay my credit cards every month. Shopping at big grocery stores is usually a rip-off, check out your hole in the wall little food stores, they are usually much cheaper. I am gradually selling almost everything I own, and when it’s all gone, I’m renting out my condo and retiring to the Philippines, where it’s always warm, everyone speaks English, most things are incredibly cheap, and best of all, feminism doesn’t exist. Canada is a good place to make money, but retiring here makes no sense.

  • Mary

    I live in downtown Toronto and I don’t know anyone who makes more than about 45 grand a year. Most of us struggle from time to time but none of us is complaining. Actually, most of us feel pretty grateful. I guess I’m lucky to not know a lot of selfish, entitled pieces of garbage like this author.

  • Iconice

    Yikes… My wife and I grossed 330,000 last year and don’t live nearly as self-indulgently as these cretins. They’re heading for a big fall. I’ll be happy to buy their foreclosed houses.

  • Iconice

    I hope one of Craig Haynes’ jobs isn’t counseling TD clients on their finances.

  • Jill

    How can polishing off an entire bottle of wine every single night signify anything other than blatant alcoholism? Don’t get me wrong, I like a glass of vino every now and then, but some of these people’s wine budgets ARE MORE THAN what I pay for rent (and utilities) every month.

    If you took their combined wine budgets for ONE MONTH and gave it to the Breakfast Clubs of Canada, you could provide 4 kids with breakfast every day for the whole school year. Just for example.

    P.S: Congrats to the PR people at Rogers Internet for this very interesting article you’ve written.

  • Iconice

    Jeremy was making sense until he turned into a sex tourist

  • Marie

    “An income of $196,000 places you in the country’s top one per cent of earners. But does it make you wealthy?”

    The answer to this question is actually quite simple..
    it is a resounding YES!

    I said to my boyfriend the other day that if we were able to get our combinded income to approx $3000/month, we would be laughing.. and by that i meant pay all our bills and have extra left over at the end of the month… (this was an actual serious conversation, no i really am not joking)

    so please let me know if any of the couples in your article would be interested in trading places for a month or two, i could use the “vacation”

  • EG

    Only one of these households appears to make donations to places like SickKids and women’s shelters. Feel free to share a little more, guys! That money you put toward a new Mercedes or your wine budget could make a big difference in a lot of places where it is really needed. I know a lot of us who are not in the top 1% are giving a lot more back.

  • Grace

    I just learned yesterday that there is a ten-year wait for subsidized housing in Toronto. Jonathan Kay, if you are concerned about the effects of housing prices in Toronto, perhaps you would like to write an article about that side of the story for a future issue of Toronto Life.

  • Tzi

    This is satire, right? It’s gotta be. No one making that much money should be whining about how hard they’re struggling to survive.

  • 5blues

    yup… and this is ONLY Toronto.

  • peachy

    dear lukev – england, australia, new zealand. even london cheap by comparison with other 2 .

  • Lex

    My family income is probably ~$240k.
    I have a nice house, drive a BMW, my wife drives a Lexus, we take vacation and the kids do ballet and skating.

    However both my wife and I work 50+ per week. I have never drank a $100 bottle of wine. I bought my cars used, and they are about 6 years old now. I don’t typically buy designer clothes. I have eaten in expensive restaurants but rarely and we don’t eat out that often. I will shop and compare prices until I find the best deals. I save RRSP and do not spend frivolously.

    I would say I am definitely comfortable but certainly not rich. I still need to work and if I lose my job I am in trouble. I save, but if I want to maintain my lifestyle when I retire I need to save a LOT more.

    Therefore I am FAR from the 1% people think of when they say rich.

    However, I have a friend who’s family income is probably ~$75k. He insists that his wife should not work. They buy the latest designer clothes for them and their kids all the time. They spend on the latest games, toys, electronics whenever they feel like, and the eat out all the time.
    He always complains that he cannot save any money and that I am ‘lucky’ that we make so much.

    As you can see the important thing is living within your means. I am not complaining on my income and can afford more expensive things. I know people that make much more then me yet are broke and I know people that make much less then me and have nicer clothes and eat at fancy restaurants but don’t have a penny to their name.

    It all depends on what you want and how you live.
    However in my opinion to be “rich” would require not only high income but assets and savings. I think the 1% are people that have both and also an expensive lifestyle without being concerned about their next paycheck or whether they lose their jobs or not.

  • Andrea lorraine

    I am a bit confused. $196,000 per year would make an individual one of the 1%, not a two income family. Am I right? In that case, none of the households profiled are the 1%

  • Mrs Potato Head

    I would really really REALLY like to know how that family of three spends $1600 on groceries. HOW do you do that??? If I were ever to become the 1%, I must know how to spend $1600 on groceries. What do you buy?? I mean, that is more than hundreds of heads of broccoli and thousands of eggs. I really honestly want to know.

  • Not Starving Artist

    I mean, seriously..
    I am a young single artist living on the edge of Yorkville in a small apartment. I make about 15% of what the 1% makes. Within the past few years, I have managed to get completely out of debt, eat mostly organic, and save enough money to take a vacation each year. And here I thought my choice of location and living arrangement was extravagant..

  • Article Author Not Realistic

    As a member of the top 1%, I question whether the author of this article just picked the profiles of some of the dumbest people to make the 1% look bad.

  • Alan

    “Living the good life simply wasn’t the full-time, across-the-retail-spectrum pursuit it has now become.”

    Therein lies your problem. Stop trying to compete with other people. Appreciate what you have.

  • b. millman

    I am amazed at how much money these people waste! They are being hosed on mortgage debt and car debt out of style! Buying a new mercedes every three years!? Do they know that a car loses 30 per cent of it’s value the first time it goes off the lot? Why don’t they just set fire to there money.

    They all make enough money that they could live in a smaller place and pay down their mortgages and buy cash. Many of them are suckers and waste money like water….

  • Oh Please!!!!!!!

    How can anyone feel sorry for these people.? I earn one third of what these people earn and I manage to own a house with a
    biweekly mortgage payment, own a Ford Focus fully paid for, invest $5000 year in rrsps, eat healthy by shopping at No Frills, pack a lunch every day, cook meals at home after work, and make purchases with my credit card as if I am using cash. I would love to travel mire and will once I have the cash. I live within my means!!! I learned at a very young age you can not have everything at the same time, but you can if you are patient and save. And for those of you who say, “but I may die tomorrow”, I ask “but what if you live”?

  • Mike Anderson

    “…wardrobe refreshes…the cost of the sushi, pad Thai and butter chicken that we order in three nights a week—because we’re all too tired to cook by the time we get home from work.”
    Are you TRYING to instigate a pitchfork mob?? As someone living carefully paycheck to paycheck, someone who gave up television 5 years ago as an unnecessary luxury, someone who had to Google Pad Thai, I am disgusted.
    Live within your means and stop caring about what your neighbours have, you child.

  • Andrew

    It’s absolutely not true that the city is too expensive to live in; people just need to be more pragmatic. I earn $67k/year and, while I may be a bachelor, I feel rich. I never worry about money.

  • mass

    Yeah, rough life. I have never read anything that inspired such immediate antipathy towards what I’m sure is a nice family.

  • armourb

    So many alcoholics.

  • therealmiddleclass

    Every single one of these families should stop complaining. We have a household inceome of 130K and managed to save up the equivalent of your wine or hair or “wardrobe refreshes” budget every month.

  • Angie

    Am I the only one who doesn’t recall reading any specific “complaining” (as most posters here are accusing) coming from the households interviewed?….and before people start losing their minds, I am not even close to the incomes noted here, grew up in a single parent home, and worked three jobs – concurrently – to put myself through university; so I am not a “one-percenter” sympathizer.

    Other than the first family with the unfortunate “weakness” for designer furniture and no savings for themselves or their children(!), I don’t think any of the lifestyles noted in the article were alarming or particularly awful. A retired couple making a good income off of obviously very wise investment choices? How dare they buy a Mercedes every few years! They absolutely MUST save their money for…..uh…? A single man living in the city being able to buy a motorcycle for under $10k with no/minimal debt? Disgusting! As every knows, a bachelor should be living with a roommate, sleeping on a futon, and hiding his hard-earned cash under said futon for reasons not yet outlined by the irate TL readers.

    C’mon people…schadenfreude is so 2009. Has groupthink completely overtaken the socioeconomic discourse so much so that the automatic reaction to ANYONE engaging in discretionary spending is contempt? I don’t know ANYONE who doesn’t have a “splurge” list…and whether it does or doesn’t relate to their income isn’t something limited to higher earners.

  • Well Paid…Not Wealthy

    I wonder if these people have the same problem??

    I bought a bigger house and now my 46” TV is too small for my bedroom. I’m going to have to buy a bigger TV.

    My house is so new it doesn’t show up on GPS. So I have to give directions every time I order pizza like it’s still the ’90s

    My iPod Shuffle ran out of battery half-way through my treadmill workout. I had to stop early, because really, who can run without music?

    My universal remote looks like my home phone and every time the phone rings, I try answering it, then I feel stupid.

    The handles on our bag from Whole Foods tore off so my son had to carry up the groceries holding the bag in his arms like it was 1950.

  • ChelseaCanuck

    I was intrigued to read this article because my husband and I used to be in the 1 per cent, although just barely. However 18 months ago, I left my job (which contributed 60 %) of our income to do freelance work so I could spend more time with our young kids. With the freelance work, I’m making about a third of what I used to make but we don’t have childcare costs anymore and I see the kids a lot more. The reason I left work was that, even though we were in the 1 per cent, we were working so hard to maintain it, that life had become no fun. Just an endless pursuit of stuff in order to make up for the family time that was missing. I’m intrigued that the author has chosen to include condo dwellers and suburbanites in this story because I don’t think they represent the true cost of living in the city. We have a tiny house on a large lot within walking distance to the subway. We never order in food (except maybe pizza) and never go out for dinner. I drive from store to store using coupons to buy our groceries and supplies and since I’m home, a lot less food ends up in the garbage. Although our mortgage is still very high, we have a paid off car and try no to buy anything we don’t need anymore. I have to say, life is much more civilized when two parents aren’t working. We have no family assistance and no other sources of income but we have learned to do with a lot less and it has been worth it for us.

  • ChelseaCanuck

    While I agree that many of the expenditures these people have listed (e.g. expensive wine) can be considered luxuries, it strikes me that many of the angry comments are coming from single people with no kids (based on how they describe their lives). Even though my husband and I have made a decision not to over-indulge our children and I try to buy their clothes at Zellers, kids are expensive. Childcare, babysitting, school fees (yes, even for public schools), skates, hockey equipment, camp, swimming lessons, toys, etc. Even if you try to buy used and keep lessons to a minimum, it really adds up. I know that if you choose to have kids you are aware of this, I’m just saying that posting that you only make $45,000 and you are so good at saving, is not really relevant when you’re a single person with no kids. I was an awesome saver when I was single. I’m pretty good now but I just don’t have the extra money because there are four of us. Even with me cooking all of our own meals and using coupons to shop at No Frills, I still can’t seem to feed my family healthy food and make my kids healthy lunches for less than $800 per month.

  • ralpho

    This is all just an excercise is self-justification. The wealthy want to deny that they have advantages, the poor want to justify their lack of advantages. Yawn.

  • Anne

    Exceptionally misleading reporting on income percentiles. Check your stats. While $196,000 might put you in the top 1% of *individual earners*, this article portrays that as household income. In fact, household income to place you in the 1% is closer to $400,000. Check statscan reports:
    (note these are from several years ago and income in the top 1% has grown since 2004)

    Recent data also from this CCPA report:

    The figure used to define the “rich” in this report would place these families into the top 5% NOT the top 1%. I will leave it to other posters to discuss how rich/not rich that makes them. Gross errors and misleading figures like those in this article make the reader suspicious of the motives and agenda of the author.

  • Andrea Lorraine

    Thank you Anne! That is exactly the point I was trying to make. Very misleading, if we are to assume that these “poor people” who can barely put money into savings are the 1%, when really they are only making about 1/2 of what one needs to earn to be the 1%.

  • Peter Stern

    I live in Toronto and get by just fine on 1/3 of that income… and I even own a detached house.

    Mind you I don’t have an expensive car (a 12 year old Saab I bought for $2500). Nor do I waste money on cable TV. And I do my own cleaning.

    And I do my own cooking for myself and my two kids which I have about 2/3 of the time.

    I buy my clothing at Dixie Outlet Mall. I buy my groceries at No Frills which is quite a bit cheaper that the stores listed. I buy my lotions and potions at No Frills as well… which is also quite a bit cheaper than Shoppers Drug Mart. And I eat out only once or twice a month… spend at most $100/month going out to eat.

    Jonathan Kay is a moron with his money… one of many people with big incomes who know nothing about managing their money and bankrupt themselves putting on a big show for friends/frenemies.

  • Josh

    My YEARLY income is 25k/year. My wife also wrks full time for 25k/year. We both work 50+ hours/week to make ends meet, and only manage to do so because we don’t have kids. Why the 99% is pissed off is because there is such a huge gap between the 95% and the top 5%, and another gap between the 4% and 1%. We can’t afford to go to college to try and improve our quality of life and more and more companies are shipping our jobs over seas. We don’t need to make the kind of money you’re talking about. We just need jobs that pay a respectable wage ($50k) so those of us who want to raise a family can do so.

  • Rachelle

    I’m surprised people are saying 195k/year is not enough to live in Toronto. Like literally surprised. I grew up in a home where my parents made 50-80k/year combined (it went up over time naturally).. and we never struggled. We had cable TV, internet/computers, cellphones… we ate out every now and then and I only bought clothes if I felt I could afford it. When I graduated from university I had zero student debt. Living in a city is expensive, sure, and yes you do need to make more money to have the same level of comfort that you could have for cheaper in a more rural area… that much is true, but if you’re wise with money you can live in a city within like 50-80k… let alone anything over 100k. If you make more than 100k and find yourself tight on cash.. there are ways to fix it (relocating further out, using public transit more, and even when it comes to grocery shopping, Toronto has super cheap Asian groceries that are cheaper even than places like No Frills… you really have a lot of options for cutting costs in a big city).

  • Max Power

    Are you serious? You sir, sicken me.

  • fyi

    For all those people who posted here to say that they make 40k and under and do just fine…with no kids. Guess what? Lucky you. You don’t have to worry about paying for cribs, mattresses, high chairs, car seats (you’ll need 3 kinds over the stages), diapers, sheets, wipes, bottles, bottle washers, spoons, shoes, hats, coats, general clothes, baby food, milk, formula, medicine, toys, change tables, safety rails, books, toothbrushes, tooth paste, childcare, strollers, money for activities, sunscreen, sun hats, mittens, snowsuits, juice bottles, scarves (to name just a few) and later.. work books, pens, pencils, school trips, University/College, braces….
    Good for you. But sorry, not the same animal.

  • Louise

    Angie seems to be one fo the only people here who actually read the article.

    To the posters listing their own incomes and expenses – who cares? You want a prize for shopping at No Frills? For not having cable? No one is suggesting that it is impossible to live on less money, nor is anyone confused about how to do it. Your posts sound more like attempts to convince us of your own virtue than relevant or useful contributions to the discussion.

  • The Dude Man

    cancel your rogers services and switch to reasonable companies.
    stop spending 1k on clothes every month.
    shop at no frills or sobeys instead of pusateris and whole foods.
    800 dollars of wine? not even an alcoholic spends that kinda money on wine a month.

    there just a few tips to help out these “troubled” 1 per-centers

  • Marianne

    Chris Haynes sounds like a total douche:

    “I often order pasta at Grazie or, if I’m in a celebratory mood, North 44°. I buy better cheese and other exotic ingredients at Pusateri’s, and because I cook at home a lot I pack leftovers for lunch.”

    “I’ll spend anywhere from $15 on a Rhône to $100 on an Amarone, and I open a bottle almost every night. I’m one course away from sommelier certification, and they practically know my name at the Summerhill LCBO.”

    REALLY? Come on!

  • Well Paid…Not Wealthy

    Some more issue’s to deal with.

    I’ve lost so much weight, that me $1100 skis don’t work properly anymore.

    I couldn’t get my wallet closed then I complained about having too much money

    My bagel shop threw a container of butter into my bag instead of spreading it on the bagel for me.

    I have an Xbox 360 and a PlayStation3. So whenever a new game comes out I have to do research on which version to buy.

    The stripper I am having no-strings attached sex with told me she has a boyfriend.

    The flight attendants on my 7 hour flight are not attractive.

  • Mouse

    If these people stopped spending $700 and $800 a month on wine, they’d probably become sober enough to finally realize they need to start living within their means! Sheesh!

  • jealous?

    I don’t see anywhere in this article that says these people are living beyond their means…or complaining about their situations. It’s merely pointing out that being a top 1% earner (which shocked me that it’s as low as $196k) doesn’t mean that you are living like the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills! Most of these people are entrepreneurs, which means they took financial risks and probably, at some point in their lives, went without.

  • Oakvillian

    Shame on you for posting personal information … and with photos of your children. Give your heads a shake!

  • Kaley

    I think you mixed up income earners and household income. I bet that some of these families wouldn’t even be in the 1 percent because they are dual income families.

  • I Get It

    It takes a lot of hard work to make $196,000. To make $196k takes sacrifice and a lot of effort. When you work that hard, and make that amount you are allowed to complain about not having enough, just as anyone who makes $35,000 is allowed to complain they don’t have enough. The fact is that those making $196k are contributing way more to society through their taxes, than most of the low income people complaining about this article. But if they started attacking those earning $35,000 about their contribution to things like school, hospitals, social services through tax dollars, people would be outraged. Maybe those making less and complaining should work harder and make more. Good job TL!

  • Merits

    @by I Get It

    No one is saying these people do not work hard for their money. They probably all work very hard and that it commendable.

    The issue is the saying they do not having enough. They all make more than enough to live a comfortable lifestyle, provided they lived within their means.

    And attacking those that make less, saying they should work harder is an awfully weak argument. I did not see many comments from those making less complaining, just stating they make less and still live comfortably. Once again it is called living within your means.

  • Brad

    Life’s a long journey. The adults can live well now, or in retirement, but not likely both. It’s a pity they don’t spend more of their money on experiences (all inclusive vacations don’t count) and less on stuff. At least then, they’d have some glory days to look back on when they’re living in their kids’ basement.

  • Bernard

    To these people:
    -do you not know what Groupon is? Even if you must get yourself a maid, eat out, get a haircut/nails done at a fancy place, you can get all of these things DONE cheaply and on sale.
    -If you must eat out, can there be better and cheaper options?
    -As for buying organic – it’s an individual’s choice. But learn to cut back on other things.

  • Saint Joseph

    Hi Folks,

    It is not how much you make;

    It is how much you are left with!

    For most of us to make it to comfortable middle class,
    I recommend studying hard and smart to get into a Professional Faculty of a top University.

    Bottom line remains:
    “To live well within your means, and invest savings in the bluest of blue chip North American stocks.”

    This is how I enjoy middle class living with a house, a large luxury vehicle, a boat, a 32+ feet RV, plus other toys for boys.

    I have travelled to 320 cities in 3 continents so far.

    I took early retirement in 2001, and is quite comfortable 11 years later. Thanks to my return on my life long investment which started in 1972. Rest assure, I do not use an agent. I study and track the market myself for all those years.

    In closing, I always believe that:

    1. I am not that smart; and

    2. If I can do it; so can you!

    Good Hunting!

  • W G Higgins

    Good read, one problem is that the title mentions 1% earners (calculated individually), and then the article goes on to detail households. Indeed, the 1% threshold is 196,000, and only two of the couples detailed actually cross it with their combined top 5% salaries.

    So, the 1% isn’t in the article, just the title, the 5% in the article is middle class (I would say upper middle class). Please write an article about individuals in the 1%

  • John

    I think this article misses out on a few points and lets the reader draw their own conclusions, some of which the 99%ers don’t grasp. For someone like me who went school for a professional degree, a lot of us did so for the allure of a six figure salary and the mistaken quality of life it would give us. Turns out if you actually want to live the lifestyle of some of these folks, you should really be making $500k+ per year to afford it. This barrier is nearly impossible to break into for most people, even with hard work. I am making $180k and I live pretty frugally. Last year I paid $25k in taxes. These are the kind of barriers that exist for a young professional like me to move from the new middle class (100-150k) to the upper class.

  • GD

    Why live in a luxury condo at all? That’s part of the problem. But like they say “the more you earn, the more you spend” If you earned a lot, but were a little more frugal, it wouldn’t be such an issue.

  • GD

    And having the “indulgence mercedes” every 3 years? Come on, no one needs an 80, 000 dollar car. That’s a choice.

  • Shapi

    “Well, if I’m so ‘rich,’ why am I broke at the end of the month?!?”

    Uh, I think it’s because your mortgage is $3,000 a month, since you live in a palace. And because you took your family on that Disney cruise last summer. And because you pay for your kids’ college, so that, unlike us, they won’t be crushed under six figures of student loan debt at age 22. And because you eat all the best foods and drink the finest liquids.

    Or, as Hamilton Nolan at Gawker put it, “‘Sure, it’s an objectively large sum of money,’ they say. ‘But it is far smaller after I spend it.’”

  • Bob

    I am somewhere just below this bracket. Last year my wife was able to stay home with my daughter. Then I was able to take a four month leave of absence so that we could all travel canada together including charity work. Plus we maxed rrsp for me.

    I don’t get how this isn’t enough money for some ppl. It is an incredible amount of money and those who don’t see that are missing something. With respect to taxes. Yep. They hurt. But I like medicare and a great school system.

  • shay

    this article is insanely offensive.

  • Move to Richmond Hill, Please

    *****Wow! I made a fraction of what these people make. I graduated in 2011 with a professional degree (and the attendant massive debt) and have only been working for a few months. After tax, I make less than a third of the 1% after-tax income and yet I managed to:

    Keep a roof over my head
    Pay all my bills/debt payment on time
    Eat healthy, including meals out at least twice a week
    Travel to Europe for a friend’s wedding
    Tuck a couple hundred into savings every month
    Buy gifts for loved ones

    Is the city expensive? Sure, BUT the problem in this particular article isn’t Toronto – it’s people who don’t understand how to live. I don’t begrudge anyone with the means from buying expensive furniture – I will too when I have the cash, but if you think it’s more important than education savings for your children that’s YOUR fault, not the fault of “expensive city living”.*****

    Took the words right out of my mouth; thank you! I was raised by a single parent with, like you, about a third of that income, and I still lived what I would consider a middle class life in downtown Toronto for 20 years. Did my mother take me on a “big family vacation” every year? No way. But by the time I graduated high school, my university was already paid for. This article really disgusted me. Teach your kids a damn lesson and set a good example.

    Like Cry Me A River Said, don’t confuse your bad spending habits with a rising cost of living. Impressing your peers with “artisanal” cheeses? Screw you.

  • University Student

    Come on guys, let’s not be hard on these people. Why, they’re world class citizens! By their support of the wine industry, they are helping winemakers around the world. Thanks to their driving habits (Mercedes, Jeep, etc) they are helping the clearly ailing automobile industry. The textile industry is also getting a healthy boost thanks to them. The couple that has a nanny is also clearly helping a middle class family (the nanny’s) to live frugally in a city that needs 160k+ in order to make ends meet.
    Collectively, we should be ashamed that we don’t help out as many people as these fine families do. I mean, where would the handmade cheese industry (and its people) be if not for these folks? How would a private school be able to stay in business if someone wasn’t able to pay for it?
    That being said, we should all be realistic enough to realize that lowering the prices for these things are not realistic ideals; after all, as a society, we (1% + 99%) made them expensive by associating price with quality.
    Well, here’s to hoping I can make it into that income bracket while still keeping my taste for Kraft Dinner.

  • Sane “wealthy” person

    IS THIS A JOKE??? What are these people on?? Hello!! YOU ARE RICH!!

    I’m a single income earner and at $92,000/yr so it’s not like I’m bitter. Sure I pay a lot in taxes but hey clearly, I just know how to manage my money so that I don’t feel poor.

    These people are INSANE and completely entitled. They are RICH and ENTITLED!!

    This article can be summed up as “First World Problems of the Upper Middle Class”.

    Sweet Jesus… get a clue.

  • Wesley

    While these families do appear quite normal, they are not the in the 1% income bracket. To qualify each INDIVIDUAL must earn $196K.

    My household income is about $110K and my wife is a teacher – a middle-class profession. Let’s not conflate the dual income family enjoying city life ($500/month on wine! My kind of people.) with the super-rich.

    Becca has it right – it’s your fault if you can’t figure out how to live well and save money, not the cost of “city living.”

  • Getting by…

    I live at Yonge & Eglinton with my partner and get by just fine on a combined income of just under half of $196k. Yeah, there are things we want that we can’t have – but by no means are we living an impoverished lifestyle. Even then, I’m much better off than almost all of my friends (we’re in the 25 – 30 age bracket), some of which who are older than me.

    If $196k isn’t enough to get by, why don’t you work a second job to make up the money? That’s what “poor” people do.

  • Allen

    So under the premise of this article I guess Bill Gates wouldn’t be considered rich either if he wanted to let’s say buy a few States in the US. Or at the very least buy a few countries in Europe. I feel sorry for him.

  • Noct

    “You could host a casual weekend party without spending a fortune on artisanal cheeses. Living the good life simply wasn’t the full-time, across-the-retail-spectrum pursuit it has now become.”

    And that’s the difference between us. You can’t imagine living in a world without lavish cheese parties, while the rest of us read this and wonder why anyone with a shred of sanity would want to spend that much on cheese…

  • sean

    I don’t know what the hell you people are talking about but I live in Toronto (Beaches) quite comfortably with my crappy $50K salary.

    If you can’t live here on this much or even less, then you’ve got some bigtime budget problems.

    Stop living beyond your means and $196K quickly becomes an exceedingly comfortable income.

  • Nick

    I’m quite happy for rich families who live within their means and have good attitudes about their tremendous good fortune and success. Such well-adjusted rich folk are often charming to meet and get to know. But I have some questions:

    Isn’t there a little difference between the true cost of living and the true cost of a let-them-eat-cake lifestyle?

    What does a new Mercedes every third year have to do with Toronto becoming a Very Expensive Big City?

    Is it the artisanal cheeses that make you feel a wanted friend?

    Is having $5,000 in your bank account an intolerable alternative to a rather plain, wooden, beige designer table?

    Would an identical-looking Ikea table have invited ostracism from the community?

    Are many Europeans living in poverty because they often raise children in apartments and not houses?

    Would it be irresponsible of me to move to Riverdale and not buy a Jeep?

    I’ve rented in Cabbagetown for years without the sense that the city is oppressively expensive, Metropass-price-hike notwithstanding, but then I don’t particularly feel entitled to an epic four-month marathon vacation each and every single winter.

    Such are the sour grapes of a poor person excluded from true “living”…

  • Peter Turley
  • Peter Turley

    $200,000 a month is a lot of money. If you can’t make ends meet on that, you don’t have a tax problem. Or a cost of liveing problem, you have a budgeting problem. A problem in which you think you Robin Leech on the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

  • aimee

    To those of you quick to point out how much children cost – if you can’t afford to have children, don’t have children. You’re “paying for cribs, mattresses, high chairs, car seats (you’ll need 3 kinds over the stages), diapers” and the like because you CHOSE to have children. Very few people procreate with a gun being held to their head and I’m entirely sick to death of people crying the blues about how much their family costs and how it stresses them so. I CHOOSE NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN, which is why I don’t have to worry about 3 kinds of car seats. Yeesh.

  • Tom Zychowski

    Proletariat must rise and take these people down one by one.

  • Almost Had Me There

    This was by far one of the most clever examples of satire I’ve seen in years. I almost took this article at face value until I read between the lines.

    ‘Cleaning lady: $160.’ Ha ha ha!

    ‘Gifts: $200. (“You have kids, you spend money on toys for other kids. That’s how it goes.”)’ Pure comedic gold!

    ‘Gas for their Jeep Commander and Ford F-150 truck: $440. (“The Jeep was a mistake. We shouldn’t have bought it; we could have used the extra money for travel.”)’ Stop it, you’re killing me!

    It’s truly refreshing to see this sort of humor being used in such a subtle manner.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to throw on my Burberry duffle coat and instruct my groundskeeper on the proper method of snow removal.

  • penny

    cry me a river!!! live within your means!

  • LH

    Talk about being out of touch with society. If you make around $200k a year, and can’t afford things, then stop the frivolous spending on overpriced consumer goods you don’t need. Period.

    You can get by on $60k a year in Toronto, albeit not if you have significant debt. To even suggest that someone making over three times that amount cannot is insulting, and shows that this article is obviously targeting the upper class.

  • Mike

    I completely understand what these people go through.
    After taxes, car payments (I have several and they are VERY expensive) home owners insurance (both for my home in the New York suburbs and my summer house) and house payments I’ve already spent through 1/3 of my yearly income!

    I try to be frugal where I can. The summer house was actually a foreclosure. Used to have a family of 5. It was so sad watching them take out their meager possessions, seeing their sad little faces. Fortunately for them, I DID need a good maid and butler so I hired the parents onto my staff. Now a professionally trained butler costs around $50,000 a year but since I had to train mom and dad I only pay them around $19,000 -”almost-beggars” can’t be choosers am I right? ;) Plus I have to deal with their mishaps. The salad fork goes on the left of the dinner fork but they put the dessert fork there by mistake. It’s so exhausting at times. On the plus side their 3 children will learn from their mother and father’s mistakes and become world class butlers/maids at a fraction of the price…see being frugal.

    They do get free room but have to pay for their meals or they can eat whatever I can’t finish from my exquisite dinners and lavish lunches. Talk about generous, that’s a prime half eaten veal cutlet they’re dining on!

  • JP

    I am not sure this article conveys the intended message. Yes I would say living in Toronto is expensive but when you look at these families some of their expenses are not required. Show me a family who does not spend $1000 a month on clothes and vacations and does not shop at Whole Foods etc.
    Don’t get me wrong the families appear to have worked hard for their money and life style but other than the Norrises no one seems to be experiencing any hardships.
    Maybe I am misunderstanding…


    This article has to be satire, right? RIGHT? Otherwise you have got to be kidding me. If you can afford to buy things, you are rich. If you are broke, maybe you shouldn’t spend so much. Rich doesn’t mean you get everything you want right at this minute. This whole article is ridiculous and these people need a serious reality check.

  • Alex

    I live in a two income household in Toronto, only a meager $75,000 a year…we feed ourselves, keep a (very nice) roof over our heads, are paying off two OSAP loans, take vacations every summer and frankly I shop too often…all of this COMFORTABLY. What is your deal?
    How can you account for this crap?

    This just pisses me off in the extreme.

  • Ken

    Oh, that poor man. He’s got to actually spend the money to maintain the lifestyle he’s chosen to maintain? Poor poor man.

  • Andrew

    Uh, what?
    Do the 1% even know what life is like for the rest of us? I’m in school and receiving OSAP. Other than paying for tuition and books, OSAP provides me with $360 a month. My rent is $375. I had to quit my job 6 month into my schooling because it was interfering with my studies and my grades were dropping. At this point I have not bought any new clothes in 13 months. I have to borrow money off of my cash-strapped parents (going through cancer treatment is costly) just to pay to wash my clothes weekly. I go to the food bank and have to make 1 week of groceries last a month.
    “Living the good life” doesn’t exist for me and hasn’t in over 10 years. If anyone considers $100 000 a year or more to be “middle-class” think again. You ARE living a life of luxury. If you don’t think so, consider this. I don’t wear my clothes at home because they last longer that way. Not because I like to, but because I have to. If $100 000 a year is halfway between that and the top, I’ll eat my own belt. Actually, I might do that anyway. I hear leather has some good nutrients in it.

  • melanie

    “Plus the cost of the sushi, pad Thai and butter chicken that we order in three nights a week—because we’re all too tired to cook by the time we get home from work.”

    I have a lot of problems with this article, but this quote stands out as exceptionally classist, privileged, and out of touch with the average wage earner’s work life. It’s insulting because it insinuates that if you make less, you just aren’t working as hard, or at all.

    People making $200,000 and up a year in Toronto are worried about being judged for their earnings? Please.

  • stfu bitch


  • smg.

    I’m sorry…do these people have any idea how ridiculous they sound complaining about how they don’t have any money left at the end of the month after spending it all on a bunch of stuff they don’t need? Being in the position to say “I shouldn’t have bought that Jeep…I could have used that money to travel!” is a lot different than saying “I need to buy a new car, but I can’t get to work to make money to do that because the car I have now broke down again and I have to spend what little I have saved to fix it.” The world’s smallest violin is currently playing a sad song for lower-one-percenters like the ones in this article. Maybe if they were to forego the $1000 strollers and stop competing with their neighbors to have the best stuff, they’d find that $196,000 goes farther than they seem to think.

  • sebastian

    Most of these people make a lot more than what they spend. Don’t see what the problem is. Oh wait, there’s the $10.000 US trips to Vegas, the $5.000 designer table, the $7.500 Royal Enfield motorbikes, etc., etc.

    It seems to me that yes, you can make a very good living on very little money in Toronto, Vancouver or almost anywhere. Go hiking instead of shopping. Go to Costco. Buy a cheaper car. Take transit. Whoa, lotta revolutionary ideas that essentially blow the roof off of this article.

  • Graeme

    Yeah, you aren’t rich anymore, IF YOU SPEND ALL OF IT! Gah.

  • Jon

    What is it that they’re actually complaining about? They have such a large house they can’t afford to take two vacations? Why is it that the kids still look like they shop at Goodwill? I wouldn’t mind a vacation, anywhere. Honestly I think most of us would settle for not having to cross their fingers every time they buy groceries. I can’t say I feel sorry for the people who are “burdened” with a, “full-time, across-the-retail-spectrum pursuit.” I will happily assist them in that pursuit at any time…

  • Sam

    I used to subscribe to Toronto Life and about 10 years ago I notice that the shift of focus was on the upper-middle class and wealthy readers. As a regular middle class person, I find this article and many others like it offensive. And I will continue to boycott TL until it comes back down to earth. The only reason I saw this particular article was because it was referenced on Cracked’s website.

  • Chelsea

    GET REAL! I lived comfortably in Toronto with a car, pets, and my own apartment with a salary of $26k/year. With no credit card debt, and excess money going into a savings account so I could buy a house rather than rent. If $196k is “middle class,” you’re either very naive, or doing something very, very wrong!

  • mike

    Your kidding me and all of us….you think we are stupid….makes you look stupid for thinking we are….thats alot of money….stupid article

  • Ron Kasman

    This IS a joke, isn’t it?

  • Mike

    This is the worst article I’ve ever read! These people are spending too much money on crap! Look at my expenditures:

    $750 a month for rent for a big 2 bedroom in a nice location. Only 20 minutes from downtown.
    $80 a month for hydro
    $100 a month for insurance on my car (Which is paid for, no monthly payments)
    $50 a month for my cell phone
    $40 a month for internet (which I download TV and don’t pay for cable)
    $200 a month for food (because I buy store brands and don’t waste money on hyped “organic” foods)

    In total, on BASIC needs, I can get by on $1220 clear (or less than $15,000 a year).

    I barely make $30,000 clear a year, but I’ve got a brand new $3000 65″ 3DTV, a $3500 computer, well made imported furniture and I eat out at nice restaurants a few times a week. On top of that, I’ve got savings.

    If I don’t have the cash to pay for something I don’t buy it, so no debt, no payments.

    If I was making $160,000 a year after taxes, I’d be banking a solid $130,000 of that every year. All the people in these articles make me sick. Don’t wipe your ass with gold plated toilet paper while you’re drinking a $100 bottle of wine every day while you’re kids are off with the nanny and you’re getting ready to be chauffeured to buy another $1000 worth of shoes and say you don’t make enough to be considered rich. YOU BLOODY WELL DO! You just waste your money on retarded things that you don’t need.

  • lolololol

    The Damianis spending $1,500 a year for charity while earning $200,000 would be like me giving away 2.00$ a year for charity. Notice how the others don’t even give a penny to charity? Not that it’s an obligation but still, these people spend more on a couch.

    Nothing is good enough when you live in that disgusting rat/bed bug/cockroach/ drug addict infested sewer known as Toronto. I’m so glad I live somewhere nice where the air smells like air and the people say hello to strangers.

  • rob

    This article has obviously infuriated a lot of people. I am not sure why readers infer that the profiled families feel sorry for themselves. None of them claim to feel sorry for themselves. This is just a peak into their lives that they were good enough to share.

  • Dan

    Wow, these people don’t even know how lucky they are to be living like they do, or mabey they do, but I would not be showing my face telling people all of the luxury they have, on a artical about how the rich don’t have enough.


    Are you kidding me? I maybe make $20k a year, and I keep a roof over my head, I have NO debt, eat pretty well, and still manage to keep up my travel and splurges. And no, I don’t live in a small town, I live in a fairly big city.
    Please, get over yourself, and learn to just wear your clothes to death, and shop frugally. Who cares if you’re ‘out of style’? It’s not that important!

  • Captian Obvious

    I have a household income of $40,000/YR (thats only 4 zeros) I raise 6 people with that income! After basic bills like morgage, car, insurance…, I might have $100 buck a month for food. Those who make over 100k and have the ignorance to say they are not wealthy need to die and I could take one year’s worth of their salary and make magic f’n happen.

  • Nadine Lumley

    Stole 3 elections stole all 3 elections 3 3 33

    Harper cheated in 2006 with in-and-out fraudulent transactions to get around spending limits.

    Harper cheated in 2008 by calling an illegal election.

    Harper cheated in 2011 with misleading and deceptive phone calls.

    Stephen Harper is not our Prime Minister. Harper stole all 3 last elections. It’s much worse than we’ll ever know.

  • Scott

    According to the source below, your estimate of $196K is top 1% for an individual not household, and the top 1% for household income would be around $350K. A pretty significant difference.

  • Johnny Fever

    Hey, I rewrote your article for you:

    Look, I’m so wealthy that I can afford many expensive things. And I choose to buy so many of those things I have little money left over. If I did, I’d spend that too. But it’s TAXES that are killing me, NOT my thousands spent on new clothes, handbags, Leaf tickets, luxury cars, expensive houses, designer suits and fine wine.

    good grief give me a break.

    Of course if I was to describe some less affluent people who spent like this we’d all shame them for their irresponsibility. Instead with this group we’re suppose to ignore that they’re simply $100k-200k income earners who spend like their $500,000 income earners, and agree they’ve got it tough.

  • MsWorld

    This is so ridiculous. Privilege-Addiction.

  • TS

    My wife and make $170,000.

    We aren’t living large, but I’m in a position that I never have to worry about having enough money for anything I want or need. And we realize we’re better off than 96% of other Canadians.

    The shocking this about article is not the ridiculous expenditures these families have, but that they would actually allow an article to be written about them with their names and incomes published.

    Did they not know how this was going to come out looking? Complaining about being “middle class” and paying $80,000 cash for a Mercdes every three years?

  • thegreatgatsby

    What a bunch of self-serving crap. These people clearly have no financial discipline. It’s this kind of short-sighted, living at, or beyond their means, and foolishness that is ultimately going to destroy the middle class, Whole foods and designer furniture indeed!

    Solution: send these people to live with a new immigrant for re-education. That should re-align their priorities, promptly. Think of the Children!

  • Marc

    Are you fucking serious? What in hell is “living large” in your mind?

  • TH

    All I can say is “WOW”
    I’m surpised this TD employee still has a job. After hearing how irresponsibly this TD dbag mismanages his money..I will be switching banks immediately!
    Bad on you TD…I’m embarassed on your behalf

  • mderwent

    “We have a weakness for designer furniture.” No,lady, sounds like YOU have a weakness for designer furniture — among other pricey crap that you don’t need. Everyone else is just in it for the ride and can’t or won’t say anything to you to curb your spending. Wine at $500, eating out at $400 and having a cleaning lady at $160?

  • snailspace

    Wow. Just . . . wow. 840/ month at Jack Astor’s?
    Thats just plain disgusting.

    oh, and these people are tools.

  • PC

    Some of these people clearly have financial troubles, but most of them don’t. And most aren’t living anywhere close to the line.

    The Norris’s are retired and making $160k in investment and RIF income. That means they probably have a $2mm+ portfolio. Theyre in their 80s, so they’re unlikely to go hungry. Spending $80k on a new Mercedes every 3 years isn’t crazy, it’s well deserved (and don’t forget they sell the old one likely for $40k+ when they get the new one).

    The Damiani’s make $200k per year (about $130k after taxes). They invest about $40k in real estate ( their home and cottage, and at record low interest rates ). And they put $24k into RRSP and RESP. So about half of their after-tax dollars are invested in assets that appreciate over time.

  • Iconice

    PC… Buying a new car every three years is idiocy. Leasing is always the way to go if you want to turn over a new car that frequently.

  • Sophie

    I agree, living in Toronto is very expensive, but I think the main thing that makes it expensive is the housing, and I’m talking about a just modest home. That is an expense you can’t avoid if you want to live in the city. However, the rest of the stuff these people are purchasing, i.e. designer wardrobes, plenty of dinners out, fancy cars, are unnecessary, and therefore I believe this article is skewed when it says being rich is not enough. It is more than enough for a comfortable lifestyle, but it is not enough for a prestigious one, I suppose.

    I’m 26, make $45K gross a year, and I managed to buy myself a small condo in the city, pay off university and graduate school, do budgeted travelling every other year, go out with my friends at least every other week. I pack lunches and cook dinners as much as I can, because it tastes better and it’s healthier. I don’t add fluff to my credit card bills, and I am happy. At the moment, I have minimal savings, but I plan on making more money in the future, however, that extra money, it’s going into savings. I don’t need the extra stuff now, I won’t need it when I have more money either. I am getting married this year, and in terms of finances, we’re doubling the household income, and cutting the expenses almost in half.

  • Jack Von Giggles

    Aww. Here, blow your nose on my platinum-embroidered Royal Thai Silk rag.

  • InTheZone

    You have to be kidding me? My family used to live on 25k/year since my dad wasn’t work. We lived in Regent Park, so it possible to live downtown. What’d I learn from living in the projects? Be frugal, and don’t spend beyond your means on stupid things. $1,000 on clothes? Please. $196k, after taxes, is more than enough to live in this city.

  • Dorothy

    I think these families are just foolish with their money. Period. Blame materialism and keeping up with the status quo but seriously, think about what’s going on in the world. Would we really die without a coach handbag? I doubt it. People need to smarten up, pull out a calculator and learn to budget. If they’re intelligent enough to be successful in their career, they’re intelligent enough to do basic arithmetic.

  • Jenna

    My husband earns $600,000 a year and we have a hard time living off that.

  • toocool

    love how he saw The Weeknd at Lee’s Palace…. NO ONE SAW THAT, they didn’t play there mr. cool

  • Victor

    If these people aren’t rich, how is it that I’m able to live in the middle of Toronto on less than $40K/yr and still save more than 30% of my AFTER-TAX income for retirement? Clearly, the people in these examples can’t distinguish between needs and wants. If anything, they disprove rather than support the article’s point. A new Mercedes every three years, $800/mo for wine…crying poor because they overspent on luxuries. Or at least, the author is crying poor on their behalf. Well, here’s a used Kleenex for them.

  • Meredith

    These people are a display of the excesses of society. Whole Foods and Pusateries?? Try the Loblaws (or OMG No Frills). Spending $800 a month a wine, that is ridiculous. If you spent your money reasonably, you would have something to show for it and wouldn’t be worried about your retirement fund!!

    You make me sick

  • Morgan Finch

    I live in downtown Toronto on 10,000$ a year. I have no sympathy for you fuckers.

  • SisiL78

    Of all these families only one has charitable donations on their list (and its a mere 0.75% of their household income)
    I don’t live in Toronto, I live in a mid-sized city in the US. But, I have family in Toronto and don’t understand the appeal of struggling and working all day only to pay the mortgage on a cookie cutter townhouse in the middle of a suburb that has nothing to offer other than strip malls.
    My husband and I earn far less working in non-profit and much of our income currently goes to our Masters Degree programs. But, we live in a nice sized house in a lovely urban neighborhood and can afford to go to the theater. If it wasn’t for school and studying we’d go to the theater or some other cultural or music event twice a week! But as it is we have to limit it to 3-4 times a month.

    PS We live in Pittsburgh…. where 200k a year can get you a super nice life with a short commute.

  • Audrey

    Yes, many of the people profiled in this article are idiots, and they will eventually pay the price. However, much of the discussion here in the comments of whether they are “rich” is meaningless.

    “Rich” doesn’t refer to income or cash flows; it refers to net worth. The family living hand-to-mouth on 200k per year are not “rich” by that measure, as they have no savings apart from eventual home ownership. What they are is incredibly foolhardy and extravagant. By contrast, the retired couple are living off the interest from a nest egg accumulated over a lifetime of careful investment. Hats off to this couple — I do not begrudge them their Mercedes in the slightest.

  • Anonymouse

    I’m all for these people having money, through luck and hard work they got it. However, have they considered that they really need to be investing and saving their money for retirement or in case something catastrophic occur, like them losing their job? A 10,000$ vacation a year is nice, and I am sure for 3,000$ a month you have a beautiful house, but this doesn’t seem like good financial decisions on their part. I’m a bit worried for them and their futures. What in the world are they going to do if their income gets cut?!

  • Joe

    WAHHH keep crying that you “aren’t rich enough”. I know people that havent bought clothing in years besides a pack of new socks. Cant afford rent, cant afford A car whatsoever, count your quarters for milk. You DO NOT have to do that if you make 200,000 bux. And its well known that people that make that much and more do exponentially less work for the money so dont try to give me some BS that poor people are lazy because poor people work their asses off every single day for shit half the time.

  • Joe

    Buy a smaller house.

  • vino

    $400 to $500 for wine alone per month? Is it to sooth their minds and help them fall asleep at night because they are just struggling to make ends meat?

  • vino

    I’d like to hire the Norrises as my financial consultants… They buy a 80k car every three years??? If you buy, drive it for as long as possible or lease it if you want to always be trendy.

    If you are spending 25k on travel per year then clearly you are not city living especially when you go down south for the Winter. Kudos to them but seriously, does /anybody/ sit at TL and say to themselves, hey, let’s run an article on how it is difficult to live in the city on a $200k salaries.

  • Greg

    Wow, this is unintentionally hilarious and cringe-inducing. It’s a real eye-opener on how out of touch the upper class is with some sort of objective reality. Of course, the cost of living in cities is higher, but somehow these people have mashed up discretionary expenses related to their lifestyle aspirations with a real cost of living. Do you have to eat out every other night, drive a Lexus, shop at the specialty grocery daily, have an outfit for each day of the month? Of course not. These misguided folks have confused lifestyle with necessity. And they feel like paupers because they feel entitled to live like kings.

  • Urban Daddy

    Not sure the point of the article other than to point out when those with money spend their money and I noticed Pusateri’s, nice cars and nice wines.

    My family of 6 live in mid-town Toronto in a modest home, and we bought a hybrid vehicle to stem the rising costs of gas, but the rest is nothing I would ever want to publish.

    From reading the comments, those who are not making that kind of cash are mocking the families, and those, like oursleves who are fiscally prudent and responsible wonder why someone would want to gloat about spending every dime and not saving any for the future.

    To each their own.

    Fun article but the comments make it great.

  • Scott Lin

    Studies show that once you hit an income of 60K per year, there is a great decrease in marginal utility of happiness. That is every dollar earned and spent past 60K will buy incrementally less and less happiness. Case in point, the difference between having a $10 meal and starving is huge. But the difference between drinking a $50 bottle of wine and $60 bottle wine is marginal. I am pretty sure Bill Gates is not millions of times happier than you are, even though he is millions of times wealthier than you. The point of this article is really that money can’t buy happiness. It can however buy you a Gucci bag and a new Mercedez Benz every three years. These things may bring some joy and a comfortable lifestyle but I am sure family, friends, and health are much more important.

  • hassan

    what a pathetic life. $18000 per year on groceries and $10000 per year on wine. that’s a tough way to live paycheck to paycheck.

  • HAHA

    This article is hilarious. If you’re making close to $200,000 a year and smart about it you can live incredibly comfortable. These people are chasing a lifestyle they know is out of reach. These people are superficial and barely scratching the surface. It’s like families spending most of their check at whole foods and williams sonoma. It’s pathetic. This article is embarrassing. These families epitomize the tv generation. This is the last time I go near anything TORONTO LIFE. How embarrassing.

  • pliglee

    This family could save over 2K per month by being slightly less financially retarded.

  • Maria

    Loved the article.
    I live in Perth, Australia – and the tax (almost 50%) as well as sky high prices on consumables makes living costs quite dear according to global standards.

    PS; Greatly appreciate the witty banter of your writing :)

  • Stavro

    Having worked with people earning in excess of 750k per year I can say that they are not much different than the rest of us except their problems are ones we’d all like to have, ie picking a new beamer or ski boat, where to invest in land or property and so on.

    They are no more happy than anyone else, I understand the authors perspective, rich people problems add stress because ego is so heavily involved.

  • tony

    Why not look at it another way?
    These folks earn good incomes and rightly deserve it. Due to their spending habits they are keeping our local economy alive. If instead they squirrelled away their good fortune and everyone is their shoes did the same, much of our economy would grind to a halt. Its true that some of their purchases seem excessive or impulsive however on the opposite end of those purchases are many people earning a modest/decent wage that rely on folks such as these to visit their place of business. The motorcycle salesman got himself a nice commission and will go out and spend it on something, the Mercedes sales rep too etc, etc. Why fault these folks if they want to put themselves on a never ending work treadmill in order to buy things which in turn supports local business?
    Good on them I say.

  • Craig Haynes

    Wow! lots of comments on this article.

    One slight correction, The band that I saw at Lee’s was Weekend, not The Weekend (who are actually not very good) Thanks for correcting the record on my musical taste!

    As for the rest of the article, well if the people reading TL actually thought that there was no chance of earning a better living, I would fear for the future of our country.

    Maybe one day I will read this article and see what the fuss is about…

  • a.out

    So, that’s how the rich scumbag is defending himself when feeling the increased pressure from the *real* world.

    I just hope that when this is all over, we finally manage to put something in place which makes sense – e.g. something which works and is mathematically possible without a collapse every 50-or-so years.

  • a.out

    Also, “daycare can cost upwards of $1,500 a month” …
    Yeah, right .. a car can cost upwards of $500.0000 therefore you must be poor if you make less than that a month.

  • calculations

    Decided to add up Jibodus since they didn’t seem to be particularly splurging on useless things (well, 1600/mo grocery bill is pretty bad, as is the 400/mo salon, but at least it’s not as silly as $800/mo wine or a new merc every 3 years)

    Here’s the add-up:
    2500+300+350+300+1600+100+50+80+100+400+75 = 5855/month

    3000+1000+0 = 4000/year

    Total: 5855*12+4000 = 74260.
    Takehome pay at 166k is ~106,000
    So they’re saving 32,0000 a year, while living very well.

    Tough life.

  • Fraser Morice

    Just revisited this article coincidentally, after buying my first home. Once I got over my recurring shock at the remarkable spending habits of these people, who should be embarrassed to have used their real names, I couldn’t help but laugh.

    This article is a major failure from the assignment editor all the way down to the author. Thhis was obviously supposed to be an expose of the high cost of living a “good life” in Toronto, no doubt in a bid to argue for lower taxes – as several of the article’s subjects mention. But somehow the article turned into a laundry list of every misguided, ill-conceived notion that wealthy people have about what is actually important.

    And make no mistake, the people in this article are wealthy. Very few people can afford to make a mistake on a Jeep Commander – let alone hold on to it after. Especially when they’re also spending $160 a month on hair, nails and waxing. These people don’t seem to understand that spending thousands of dollars a year on clothes, restaurants, wine, vacations, new cars (especially the banker who literally lives on top of the subway) and Leafs season tickets is a luxury that the vast majority of people will never experience.

    And let’s dispense with the “hard work” canard – that is a tired line from people who are trying to explain away rabid over-consumption. Most people regardless of income work hard and everyone pays tax.

    I’m not saying there is anything wrong with spending your money on this stuff – do what you want with your money, I don’t care – but rich people need to stop complaining. These things are a choice. Not a necessity.

  • xhris

    Eff you, you plutocratic sonufabitch. This is disgusting.

  • -.-”

    if you cant live on 200k a year in toronto then ur retarded.big city doesnt mean shit. toronto isnt even that big. taking the ttc is enough to get you to anywhere u need to go. a car is just a luxury.and maybe you should have gotten a smaller place instead of the watefront penthouse condo’s

  • Passerby

    @FYI While it’s true that there’s a huge difference between making X amount of dollars when you have no dependents and making the same amount when you do, your argument is beyond ridiculous. You honestly believe single people don’t buy spoons, shoes, hats, coats, general clothes, books, toothbrushes, toothpaste, sunscreen, sun hats, mittens, snowsuits, scarves, pens, or pencils? (to quote you) Are you out of your mind? Yes, I’ll need to buy more food, and more toothpaste, when there’s more people in my household, that’s just common sense. I hardly think new parents come home from the hospital and go, “Gosh, I never realized I’d have to clothe and feed the thing too!”

    A few of these things *are* genuine game changers, like college tuition, braces, baby formula, and diapers. But lumping all this other crazy stuff in just makes your position sound like you couldn’t find an actual argument to support it. In addition, it should be noted that several of those items are a one-time hit to the pocketbook that happens all at once with your first child: crib, highchair, car seats, etc are passed on from child to child, so these are only expenses new parents experience.

  • Jake

    I don’t see what the problem is here. These people all work (ed) hard for their incomes and they deserve to spend it as they choose. Is it really your business whether they spend 800$/month on wine or 7,500$ on a motorcycle? I’m sure if many of you made this kind of salary you would spend your money on something equally as useless. I make roughly what these people featured make, and let me tell you, I’m far from rich. Stop bad-mouthing these people, they work hard in their jobs as well.

  • Julie

    @Jake YOU ARE PROBABLY SPENDING ON FRIVULOUS THINGS. I also make that amount per year and I DO consider myself to be rich. I do indulge from time to time but I’m also not an idiot with my money.

  • Jim Nash

    Seriously, this article can’t be for real! Is it? Rich people complaining they’re broke after spending all their disposable income on wine, designer furniture, and organic groceries. Am I reading Toronto Life or The Onion? This must be satire! Okay, I admit it, you had me fooled there for a minute. I actually thought the plight of these families was to be taken seriously. Good one! :-)

    It was very clever of TL to place this article in their February issue. Had TL waited to publish this piece in their April issue, all readers would have know this article was nothing more than an April Fool’s joke!

    Thanks for the hearty laugh! I needed it!

  • Tim

    These idiots are delusional and have no concept of saving money. Spend away, idiots!

  • Steve

    These people are poor compare to people in asia

  • the truth

    total bullshit

  • Ambular

    To answer the question at the top of the article: yes, all of these people are indeed wealthy. How can the author claim that any of them are not ‘living large’ when they’re spending thousand of dollars monthly on things like wine, expensive furniture, clothes, extracurricular lessons for the kids and (for the love of God!) a new Mercedes every three years?

    In a good month, my family of three might bring in *almost* $2000. We count ourselves fortunate if we can keep our bills close to current and manage a couple of hundred dollars for Christmas, after not going out or buying ourselves anything nice all year long (I have literally not purchased a single item of clothing, pair of shoes or accessory for myself this year. Ditto vacations, furniture, makeup, trips to salons, movies, sit-down restaurants, organic food, any kind of alcohol.) No health insurance, either, and the car we drive belongs to a relative.

    If you make more than $50k a year, you’re doing very well indeed, and if you make over $100k, you’re verging on obscenely wealthy. The whole premise of this article is sickening.

  • Paul Prescod

    “I don’t see what the problem is here. These people all work (ed) hard for their incomes”

    How do you know?

    And what is your point of comparison? Do they work harder than the immigrant tailor who does their suits? The person working two jobs to keep food on the table for the kids?

    One couple has been replacing their Mercedes every 3 years since 1994 based (according to the article) on “up to an hour per day” of conversations with the broker. What evidence do you have that his previous job was so onerous that his flush retirement is adequate compensation.

    A lot of people have the bizarre idea that if people have a lot of money then they must have worked a lot harder than everyone else. As opposed to being i the right place at the right time.

    “and they deserve to spend it as they choose. Is it really your business whether they spend 800$/month on wine or 7,500$ on a motorcycle?”

    It sort of became our business when the published in a magazine and whined about how hard it is to make ends meet.

  • VictorIs

    This author doesn’t comprehend what it means to live large, or live “hand to mouth”.
    I’m a disabled person who can’t afford to rent a cheap apartment. I live hand to mouth because I literally have to cook “creatively” to be able to afford to eat at all. To live comfortably would be to be able to have a dollar left at the end of the month, instead of having half the month left at the end of my dollars. To live large would be to afford a car, or maybe even a home.
    Only reason I’m not on the street is because I have family who share what little they have.
    And here there are people complaining because their income “barely” covers their 800 bucks a month on wine or thousand dollars a month on designer clothing.
    I get about 1500 a month, after helping to pay the bills, I got about 300 left for food.
    That is living hand to mouth.
    Anyone who has any money to spend on luxuries such as design clothes, wines, etc, isn’t living hand to mouth, and to suggest they are is delusional ignorance.

  • PanthonyT

    It doesn’t seem to matter what income bracket you are in the cost of living is very high. I think it is when you try to raise or are starting to raise a family that it really hits. That said it is even more difficult when the family is raised and you have spent a lot of the income you were supposed to save on helping you children get a decent education. Just every day keeping track of every day expenses and trying to keep them in line is a job in itself.
    I find the most difficult now is when my friends and family who have never raised a family have the savings to enjoy their retirement and tell my what they are doing when I struggle having been not only a parent of three but a home owner and a small business owner.
    Best advice put you money into a credit union with shares they come in hand. Build a stock portfolio even if it is one share at a time you also get a tax break with those.
    As far as raising the kids, shop smart not everything needs to be from designer stores. Buy groceries where you get the best deals or shop one or two stores and go for the flyer deals. Cars buy a family vehicle that will last and buy the warranty. The one thing I did was buy a house in the best neighbourhood I could afford even if the property wasn’t the top of the line.
    It saves on private school fees. The house will also go up or retain its value if the neighbourhood is right. The school are usually good also. Last, but not least be thankfully you don’t life in Vancouver which is even more expensive than Toronto or Sydney Australia which is hugely expensive to raise a family. We have to be thankfull for small mercies.

  • disqus_J3O6OI27T6

    I hope this is satire…

  • maybeitsrapture

    Just sitting here shedding big crocodile tears for these poor families living “hand to mouth” because they’re shelling out $400-500 a month on wine. Tip for the guy who spends $800 because he opens a bottle every day: you might have a drinking problem.

  • Jojess
  • DW

    The real breaking story is that if you are stupid you can spend a very high income with nothing left over. If you spend $5,000 on a designer table but you can’t afford to save anything for retirement or give to the less fortunate you don’t deserve the public pension you’ll probably need when you’re old.

  • anymouse

    I’m sorry, but a grand a month for clothes? Seriously, I spend that in a year, MAYBE.

  • anymouse

    Also, any idiot with a calculator can tell none of these people are spending above their means.

  • Michael

    There is no question these people are foolish in how they use their money, but if one paused for a minute, one could see that they have actually built a lot over several years of hard work. These are successful entrepreneurs and professionals, not half-brained schlubs and lazy losers.

    So, as to hate-on being piled in the comment section, I must say that I diagnose some envy and frustration. Having said that, however, I do underscore the stupidity of these people for their inability to make good use of their money.

  • Katherine Chrystian

    These people are in their 80′s. if they can live off a fixed income from their investments that allows them to purchase a new Mercedes every 3 years then they worked hard, saved & invested well for decades to do so & good for them. Unlike the couple in their 40′s with 2 kids who contribute nothing to their savings and almost nothing to their children’s education so they can eat out, drink wine, and buy organic groceries!

  • kEiThZ

    Those are some high deductions you have. After-tax you should be at $109 000. Some of the $27 000 is undoubtedly EI, CPP, etc. Which means that you’ll be getting a very nice pension when you’re done, something most Canadians won’t have.

    I make just over six figures and I would never, ever complain about the taxes in Canada because:
    1) I am fortunate to have this income level.
    2) We get an incredible amount of services for what we pay, despite how much people whine about it. Live elsewhere and you’ll see how truly inefficient government actually is.

  • Phil T

    One of the dumbest articles I’ve ever read. People live to their means, doesn’t matter if they make $50,000 or $500,000. The income you used as example for your article is most certainly “rich” when compared to the rest of the so called 99%.

    My girlfriend and I make $100,000 combined before taxes, which still puts us ahead of a lot of people… And we’ve managed to survive in Toronto. In fact we own a two bed two bath townhouse.

    What we don’t do those is spend money frivolously. We don’t eat out 3 nights a week… Instead we do the whole adult thing and actually MAKE our food. We don’t buy granite countertops for our kitchen, have a maid or go or vacations to Hawaii every year. We didn’t buy a 3 bedroom house… Cause we couldn’t afford that.. We stayed with a magical thing called a budget. I take TTC everywhere and she drives a Mazda not a maserati.

    I don’t care how you want to slice it…. Any one making $10,000 a month is ‘rich’ and if they can’t live within their means… They are simply being greedy.

  • SupI’mADudeLivingInAShell

    Are you fucking joking? These retired and young people are whining and complaining about living on over 200K? Most of them are just couples in more affordable places too! Hey little shelled-up shitholes, try raising a family of four in Riverdale on $52K/year before taxes. And we’re not poor. We’re upper-lower class bordering on lower-middle class. And you guys are whining about living on 200K and being poor? Poor means living below the poverty line, which is about 35K in Toronto for a FAMILY OF 4. So you make around 6x the poverty line and complain about being poor. Little upper-middle class and upper-class bitches, I should smack you upside the head. Again, try $52K. That is more than $20K less than the median household income in Toronto, and we live in East/Downtown Toronto with a family of four. BEFORE TAXES. And we’re not poor, just lower-to-lower middle class. And we do struggle to pay bills a lot, but we can live around somewhat comfortably. So yeah, I deserve respect and share no sympathy for motherfuckers like this.

  • Valéria M. Souza

    Um. The median household income in the U.S. is under $50,000 a year. You realize no one has any sympathy for you when you make over 3 times that, right?

  • Iddie

    I completely agree with you, and actually a lot of these billionaire companies are actually billionaires because they oppress people! Just look at Walmart or Forever21, hardly ethical. Using sweatshops overseas and abusing their own workers.

    Money does not necessarily equate to success or some sort of holiness. In fact someone could have gotten dirty money, so one think that bothers me is that society automatically associates money with hard works, success, etc.

  • Iddie

    I agree with you except on the organic groceries part! Why would people not care what they put into their bodies? I am not rich by any means –I am a writer and performance artist, but I care about food. And would rather skip on jeans and clothes and buy some local food.

    Have you not heard of GMO and pesticides and their damage?
    You should really do your research before dismissing organic –it isn’t just snobbery…people do it for health and ethics.

    If there is something you should snob out it is that local MacDonald’s that makes your family sick, abuses animals and preys on its workers.

  • Iddie

    If Emily Post were alive she would be horrified at this! It is very rude to talk about income and flaunt it…figured these rich people would have learned that in finishing school.

    Anyways, I feel bad at the effect of this article if it is read by a new comer who is struggling with two jobs and learning English. Totally inappropriate and inconsiderate to people who are really struggling.

    Also what a boring topic to write about…honestly! I mean isn’t the point of this publication to show that Toronto actually has culture. Stimulate me intellectually will you!

  • Paul Knudson

    $400 a month on wine for the Lewis-Koonings, and they have two gas guzzling vehicles? These people are not hurting. Anyone who can shop at Whole Foods consistently and spend $400 a month eating out is indeed wealthy. These people could easily save $1,000 a month if they lived like normal people.

  • Rich McLeod

    My theory is that the more you make, the lazier you get with your money. Why buy all organic groceries at the farmer’s market but then go out to Jack Astors and Swiss Chalet for dinner every two nights? No Frills sells organic shit too.

  • Matthew Gonzalez

    Holy fuck, is this supposed to be satire? Is this how rich people think??

    This is kinda scary.

  • da Boss

    WHAT? This was the most disgusting, out of touch, down right ridiculous article i’ve read in a long time. 195k middle class? Yeh, if you want to own a luxury condo in the core of downtown Toronto, sure it might not be that much, BUT with 195k you can easily own a very nice home in the Etobicoke area. Nice, clean suburbs, safe, many social programs, schools, quiet nightly peace. 195k is not middle class, that is a sad joke. Middle class, even in cities like Vancouver, is 80-120k for a family of 4. If you think otherwise then you are just a self righteous, money hungry elitist. 195k, pfft. Go ask the people making minimum wage what they think about cities like Toronto. If 200k is middle class, then what the fuck is 40k? 50k? 30k? That would be the bottom of the god damned barrel, and im sure people like Jonathan Kay would LOVE to keep it that way.

  • da Boss

    I know, look at these snobs!

  • da Boss

    I love farmers markets, just the feel down there is nice and welcoming.

  • da Boss

    Nearly 4x that, and this guy is complaining about not being upper class. What an asshole.

  • da Boss

    Thank you, this asshole is SO damn out of touch. Toronto life should check this guy.

  • da Boss

    “However, the threshold for the top one per cent of income earners is much lower than you’d expect: $196,000, in the latest Statistics Canada numbers. That’s no small amount of money, but hardly the means for a life of leisure.” Wow. I can’t believe you actually wrote that.

  • da Boss

    Its disgusting…

  • Rich McLeod

    ya whatever bud.

  • da Boss


  • Brad from Alberta

    I am a single guy in Alberta. I am patch trash. I make 112 a year. 35.

    clothes -10$ sally ann



    charity about 20 , only local , more if it’s from a country that I like the immigrants like the phillipines….they got a hun. Haiti-0$ help those that help themselves!

    political 100

    mortgage 1000 , I bought a cheaper condo at half what they offered my to borrow. It’s still real big though.

    Condo fees -insane 580 but thats heat too and I live in the North. I can lock the place up and jet for months….Senior neighbour Larry feeds the cat. I throw him 10 a day because he actually plays with Princess Puddy for an hour too.

    Food 300 but I throw most out on account of my work sched. Camp feeds me mostly. I really only shop Cosco.

    car was paid off and had for ten years. 02 Jetta. Total running cost? 80$ per month includes insurance(40)! thing was smashed though but I cold welded the rad and got another year out of it.

    So- pimpin 50000 2014 Chev Silverado..leather , off road package , you name it. 700…

    Bug out acreage 200

    Shave my head never eat never “go to a movie” or silly stuff , have my own weight set so no gym payments……….no other bs…..

    Where does the rest go besides taxes? Epic travel trips for 2 months , new to me chainsaw , savings , 700$ dirt bikes , and now I’m building a super computer. Whatever I want to do I can do it but I’m so cheap I just work. To me a used but kinda new chainsaw is a huge luxury I stew over for a month.

    The moral of this post? Dont waste your time listening to a drunken oilfield guy….but try to learn about thrift and giving. A guy at work last week bought a tshirt….it was kinda cool and he was on days off……”It’s only 50$ at the mall” ……ahhhhh snap , I loled him. Here’s my last piece of advice. If you don’t like your clothes , change your body!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Days offffffffffff yay me.. :o

    Peace out from The Peace Country and have fun in Torana!

  • Brad from Alberta

    My personal favorite……..”Vitamins , creams and lotions from shoppers drug mart” -ahhhhh that’s almost one of my mortgage payments! What a waste!

  • arkymorgan

    And they say Millennials struggling with university debt are “self-entitled”…Sheesh.

  • arkymorgan

    I made under $50.000 last year. Paid all my bills, went to SE Asia for 2 months travel, and put $10,000 in my savings account. These are people with so little inner resources that every penny is being spent on stuffing “things” into a gaping hole of emotional need. After a couple of decades, you’d think they would notice that it isn’t working.

  • Jennifer Caughey

    Toronto is a very expensive city to live in. Thank God I am not a material person and live a simple lifestyle. I bought all my stuff second hand on

  • Paul Alexandrescu

    Idiotic, the 1% categorization is false because it applies country wide. These income levels would not qualify as 1% in the areas, even cities that they live in.

    Did I miss some well known theory that being in the 1% income bracket would allow you by default to save money? You can save easier, because your basic needs are satisfied, but outside of that anyone can spend money if they don’t care about them or the savings and net worth growth is not a priority. Just take a look at Larry Elison’s need to budget:

  • John Masterbator

    Why the hell do you need a full – sized truck if you live in Toronto? I live in the Maritimes in the country so I need 4×4 to get up my laneway when it rains but I don’t know why a townie would need it

  • asdf

    Ummm… GMO by itself is not a bad thing. Infact, it has saved millions of lives. Do you even know what GMO means? Genetically modified. It isn’t anything toxic. It is making sure that the plant grows the way we need it to. Humans have been doing that by cross-breeding and selective agriculture for centuries.

    The issue with GMO is that companies are trying to patent their work. You shouldn’t be able to patent life. When their crop cross pollinates with another field, they sue for “damages” and take the other farm to court. It is the companies that are bad. The product actually saves many lives.

  • jess

    I know most have criticized this article, but it makes a point. Making 200,000 does allow you some expensive wine, a BMW and some organic produce, but it doesn’t make you as rich as one would assume or as rich as it did once-upon-a-time. The article doesn’t pretend these people don’t have enough money to get by, hence titled, “almost rich.”