In many cultures, the one who is most affluent in the extended family is obliged to help others in the family who are not. Help may include providing everything: education for the children, money to buy food, shelter, utilities, transportation, etc. In fact, I know of some people who have raised entire families, without having to do a single’s day of work – all because someone in these families, was able to provide everything for these relatives.
In other cultures, there is an expectation that the government or some foreign country should bear the responsibility of taking care of these people. The government or foreign governments should be paying for everything: education for children, food, clothes, shelter, even money to buy the latest laptop or mobile phone, etc. New immigrants coming from these cultures, are always surprise when they realize that the Canadian government could not and does not provide them everything. They are expected to find jobs and work just like other Canadian residents.
In Northern America, and certainly in Canada, each person is an individual who is responsible for his/her own life. He /she is responsible for his/her children and is expected to provide for them. The government is not responsible for raising the children (although there is child subsidy and free education), neither is the government responsible for the livelihood of entire family.
It is therefore very important to learn how to do budget planning in Canada, i.e. one has to plan how far one’s net monthly income can stretch.
In Canada, almost one half to two thirds of our net income go to housing, be it mortgage or rental. We are expected to live on the remaining one half to one third of our net income.
Budget planning means asking questions like: how many children can I afford with my income? What type of housing accommodation can I afford? Do I buy a car or use public transport? How much food can I put on the table? Should I buy the latest mobile phone when my current phone is still working? How often I can throw parties and invite my friends to a free meal, etc.
Most Canadians can live comfortably not because the Canadian government are financing their living or that they have rich relatives who are paying their bills but because most Canadians have learnt how to do budget planning as part of growing up. Their parents have done that and so did their grandparents.
In Canada, to be a good citizen, one is expected to work hard and pay one’s taxes. This is the Canadian life and for those who are taking the citizenship exam, this is written very clearly in the study guide.
Many new immigrants find life very expensive in Canada compared to the countries they came from. This may be true in many instances but with careful budgting and hard work, you will find that life can be affordable, just like millions of others who have come before you.
If you want to learn more about life in Canada or migration to Canada, please contact us immediately.