As a 27-year old woman living and working in Downtown Toronto, it didn’t come as a huge shock to discover that a new TD survey found that nearly 6 in 10 Canadians (58%) have completed, or are on track to complete their life’s milestones in a different order than they originally expected.

Personally, I see the “traditional” milestones of our lives being experienced in all sorts of different sequences every single day. Friends are leaving school early to take once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, others are heading back to school after spending years in the field they thought was right for them. Some friends have decided to have babies before getting hitched, while others have remained engaged for years. In my own life, I skipped waiting for an engagement or planning a wedding and instead decided to invest in a home with my boyfriend two years ago. For may Canadians, the traditional sequences of life events – finish school, get married, buy a house and have kids – does not always happen as it typically did for previous generations.

While the survey shows that we millennials are experiencing life’s milestones in all sorts of different order, it doesn’t change the fact that achieving each one, no matter what order, takes planning, saving and preparing, regardless of your age. The reality is it’s never too early to build a financial plan and set goals for your future.

In my own experience, I decided that the next milestone I wanted to achieve most in my life was to purchase a home in Toronto. For over 2  years I lived between my parents’ house and my boyfriend’s apartment in order to save every penny I could for a downpayment. This determination helped lead me to the purchase of my first home in downtown Toronto at the ripe age of 25.

If you too are at a point in you life where you’re looking to make big choices, it’s important to ask yourself some key questions and then meet with a financial planner to map out a plan that is unique to your situation and aspirations. After all, did you now that only 4 in 10 Canadian say they have properly budgeted or are properly budgeting for having their first child (39%) and for retirement (41%)?

Here are 5 key things to think about that a financial planner can help you navigate and prepare for:

  • How do I handle multiple milestones occurring at the same time?
  • Is it smarter to plan a wedding or buy a home first?
  • What costs should I factor in when contemplating buying a home?
  • How much do I need to save to comfortably enjoy a parental leave?
  • How do I know if I’m on track to save enough for retirement?

To be totally transparent, I didn’t meet with a financial planner before buying  my first home, and in hindsight I wish I had. My boyfriend and I can certainly be included in the many Canadians who have already completed these milestones who also reported having experienced unexpected costs, accoutring to the TD survey, especially for Canadians buying a home (52%) and having their first child (43%).

But apparently we’re the norm. Did you know that more than half of both Millennials (56%) and Gen X Canadians (58%) said they experienced unexpected costs when buying a home, and half o fMillennials (50%) and Gen X Canadians (49%) cited unexpected costs associated with having their first child?

If there is one piece of advice I can give you, it would be to meet with a financial planner before diving head first into your next major life plans. The result will only make the outcome easier and more enjoyable for you and your loved ones – trust me!

Best wishes and good luck!



(this post has been brought to you by TD Canada Trust)


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