• Carmen Marie Fabio

Age limit

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I’ve been trying to pay my accountant for four years.

This lovely, soft-spoken gentleman has been doing my tax returns annually since 2011 and, having raised boys himself, said he remembers the financial challenges involved and repeatedly assures me he’ll send another invoice after he lost the last cheque I mailed him.

Apart from the usual juggling match we unwittingly participate in weekly, balanced between the consumption habits of three growing boys and our income level, I was dealt another reality cheque (see what I did there?) recently when my eldest turned 18, thereby significantly reducing our quarterly family allowance deposits.

This comes scant days after submitting all my electronic data to my accountant when I was reminded that the Universal Child Care Benefit issued under the Harper government to, “help Canadian families, as they try to balance work and family life” is considered taxable income. Thanks Stephen.

I have news for the system that has somehow determined the dietary consumption habits of a tall young man will suddenly diminish as soon as he turns 18 – they really don’t. If anything, I’m about to petition for a supplemental feeding allowance as I try and replenish what all the two-legged locusts suck out of my kitchen.

It’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of security when you consider starting a family as the financial incentives of a newborn baby outweigh the costs until you realize there’s no backing out.

The little seven or eight pound bundles of joy I brought home from the hospital initially consumed very little and I was fortunate to have benefitted from a conduit I refer to as the ‘Baby Underground,’ a network of new parents that would share virtually everything their kids outgrew, from clothes to bassinets to toys of every description.

“Your wife is pregnant?” a casual acquaintance once asked my husband. “Do you want a crib?” And so it went until about early adolescence when the flow sputtered and stopped as all us parents diverted our funds to the exponential grocery costs.

Never mind the Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). A shrewd financial planner should advise young parents to set up an RFSP, with the F standing for food.

A petition started in February by a mature university student to protest the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) reduced student fare rate applicable to only those under 25 reflects the same blinder-induced mentality. The implication that by age 25, we should have squirreled away enough money to not need a break on public transport costs is counter-intuitive to the reality of pursuing higher education, as a mature student, in the exceedingly misguided hopes of earning a living wage.

Turning 18 doesn’t suddenly come accompanied with a flash of self-sufficiency alleviating all financial burdens from parents’ pockets. In fact, it has neatly segued into other costs associated with driving school, bigger clothes and shoes, activities, phone, and internet.

Oh yes, and the hunt to find a new doctor…

But I’ll save that rant for another column.

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