Opinion: Changing the Status-Quo on Life's Biggest Expenses
Why can my wife pay for a designer dress over four instalments but my brother can’t split his rent payment to align with when he gets paid?
Thankfully, my brother is in the minority of folks who’s living costs are below 30% of their income - but not everyone is so lucky.
It’s worth considering that over 40% of Canadians are spending over 30% of their income on rent + utilities, and nearly 1M (18%) are spending over 50%! Now, if these people are getting paid every two weeks (as is the norm), that means they are spending almost ALL of their paycheque, leaving little to cover other financial obligations (AKA food and other necessities) around rent-day (unless they have savings or another buffer, which, unfortunately, most don't).
Access to affordable housing and increasing wages will certainly alleviate some of the burden associated with rent payments, but isn't there another aspect that warrants a deeper discussion? For decades, those of us who have been fortunate enough to own homes, have had the luxury of being able to align our mortgage payments, property taxes, and insurance payments (all large expenses) with our scheduled pay periods. But what about those folks who rent?
With 33% of Canadian households renting their home, 38% of renters spending over 40% of their income, and 1 in 10 considering themselves to be “forever renters”, don’t you think that they should also have access to similar options? Without fair access, the financial struggles and growing middle-class gap will continue to compound over time, and this cannot be sustainable.
This is something that the Billi Labs team and I have been exploring. So, we decided to conduct a survey with a few thousand of our members and, not surprisingly, we are not alone in this belief. People are very interested in splitting up their biggest expenses to match up with their pay periods. Currently, there simply isn’t a viable solution and as a result, folks are incurring late fees, NSFs, or paying by credit card (with ~3% transaction fees).
What do you think? What are we missing?
Why shouldn’t Billi champion an alternative payment structure for people’s largest expenses?