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Downtown Toronto

Toronto still one of the fastest growing cities in North America – even with the impact of COVID-19

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Toronto still one of the fastest growing cities in North America – even with the impact of COVID-19

Toronto was the fastest growing metropolitan area in Canada and the U.S. last year, overtaking Dallas-Fort Worth Arlington, Tex., according to new data from the Centre for Urban Research and Land Development (CUR) at Ryerson University.

Downtown Toronto
Photo: Wayne Karl

And even though Toronto will take a hit as a result of COVID-19, it is still expected to be one of the top cities in North America.

Toronto was the only Canadian metropolitan area in the top five; Montreal was sixth and Vancouver twelfth.

Metro Toronto grew by 127,575 persons in 2019, outpacing Dallas-Fort Worth Arlington, which grew by 117,380 persons, to become the fastest growing metropolitan area in all of the U.S. and Canada.

Short-term impact

The research for this latest report was conducted prior to COVID, covering the period of July 2018 to July 2019, so the results are likely to change over the next year, CUR says.

“COVID is estimated to drop immigration (to Toronto) by half this year,” Diana Petramala, senior CUR researcher told Condo Life. “Therefore, this will likely push Toronto down the list of fastest growing cities.

“Toronto’s main strength is immigration, whereas places like Dallas are benefiting from millennials leaving more expensive areas like New York. Toronto, however, will continue to do better than New York, Chicago and Los Angeles – areas that are seeing large outflows of millennials in search of more affordable housing and jobs.”

The impact of COVID in Toronto will be short term, Petramala adds. “Immigration is still allowed, so as other countries move out of lockdown and processing offices open up and airlines start flying again, you will like see a snap back in immigration.”

Outpacing New York

Toronto, in fact, had almost three times the population growth from immigration as New York in 2019. Both regions experienced a loss in resident population to other areas (domestic net migration), but the rate was four times faster in New York.

In terms of population growth on a city basis, as opposed to the metropolitan area (GTA), Toronto (45,742 persons) and Montreal (31,565) represented the two fastest growing cities in all of the U.S. and Canada over the study period. Overall, Canadian cities represented 11 of the top 20 central cities in the U.S. and Canada in population growth, with Calgary, Ottawa and Edmonton placing fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.

While the city of Toronto’s population grew by 45,742, New York City’s decreased by 53,264.


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BILD Outlook 2020

Outlook 2020 – what’s in store for GTA housing next year?

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Outlook 2020 – what’s in store for GTA housing next year?

Global and even some Canadian economic and political uncertainty shouldn’t derail growth in the GTA housing market next year, according to experts at the Building Industry and Land Development Association’s (BILD) recent Outlook 2020 event.

Craig Wright, senior vice-president and chief economist at RBC, and Peter Donolo, political and communications strategist with Hill + Knowlton Canada, said that overall, the fundamentals for the economy and housing market in Ontario and the GTA bode well for 2020. There are some challenges, however – namely the ongoing new home supply issue.

With Justin Trudeau’s Liberals re-elected as a minority government, Canada will see a relatively stable left-leaning federal government that will focus on environmental issues, affordability and redistribution rather than on economic growth, Donolo says.

BILD Outlook 2020
Left to right, Dave Wilkes, Peter Donolo and Craig Wright

Globally, geopolitical uncertainty and softening economic growth mean that Canada faces challenges with export and investment, leaving the heavy lifting to the consumer, according to Wright. Economic growth is expected to be modest and in line with employment and income, at about 1.7 per cent, and interest rates will likely continue to be low.

Strong employment growth

For Ontario, GDP growth will likely be a notch below, about 1.5 per cent, with housing starts for 2019 and 2020 at about 72,000 units, compared to about 79,000 in 2018, Wright says.

“That reflects a number of factors,” Wright told HOMES Publishing. “We continue to see strong employment gains, Ontario is leading Canada in terms of employment growth on a year-over-year basis, and strong population growth. So, strong fundamentals supporting it, in a low rate environment.”

BILD Outlook 2020 Craig Wright
Craig Wright, senior vice-president and chief economist, RBC

The GTA’s robust population growth will continue to drive demand for both ownership and rental housing, Wright says. Municipal and provincial governments are shifting to supply-side solutions for balancing the housing market.

“As you look at the structural reality of the GTA market, where we have immigration coming in… we have 140,000 to 150,000 people coming to this region each and every year,” adds BILD President Dave Wilkes. “That really does bode well for our industry.”

The mortgage stress test needs to be revisited in light of the continued low interest rates, Wright says.

Millennial attitudes

Another issue that might affect the Canada and the building industry is Millennials and their views on the environment and the economy – attitudes Donolo describes as “absolute.”

BILD Outlook 2020 Peter Donolo
Peter Donolo, political and communications strategist, Hill + Knowlton Canada

“When I say absolute, you talk about the oil sands and it’s like you’re talking about the Medellin drug cartel,” he says. “They’re not conscious or interested in the fact that the oil sands and Canada’s oil and gas sector is a kind of the backbone of the Canadian economy, that millions of jobs depend on it… They’re not interested in a kind of slow transition or weaning away from it. They think it’s immoral… and this is a very widespread view.”

Millennial views on homeownership are also different, Donolo says.

“Do Millennials look differently at what homeownership is about? Are they less interested in owning a traditional detached house with a backyard and property? If you look at rates of drivers licenses among Millennials, there is perhaps an indication.”


5 things we can learn from real estate in 2018

Building and development brings benefits to the GTA

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KiWi Condos

KiWi Condos is a huge success as GTA-based Millennials flock to Hamilton

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KiWi Condos is a huge success as GTA-based Millennials flock to Hamilton

With its youthful vibrancy and diverse, pedestrian-friendly amenities, downtown Hamilton is experiencing a major urban renewal. Millennials represent 28 per cent of Hamilton’s population and they have a significant impact on the city’s diversified economy.

Now Rosehaven HomesKiWi Condos is luring Millennials from the GTA who are seeking affordable homeownership opportunities to the heart of Hamilton’s booming downtown corridor. While the average condo in the GTA currently sells for $1,291 per sq. ft., condo units at KiWi are priced starting from the mid $300,000s, representing an average of slightly more than $600 per sq. ft. – a fantastic value proposition.

An iconic 14-storey midrise located at 212 King William St. in the heart of Hamilton’s electrifying urban art hub, Kiwi Condos is just a few blocks from downtown’s famous monthly Art Crawl. There’s so much to do around here. Savour diverse cuisines at nearby restaurants, cafes and bistros. Go for a bracing walk in the Bayfront Pier 4 Park. This walkable neighbourhood is near the Hamilton GO Centre and Beasley Park. From arts to cuisine to transit to shopping to nature, everything is just minutes away.

Distinguished by clean lines and a modern urban aesthetic, KiWi Condos complements the cosmopolitan skyline of downtown Hamilton. A wide selection of contemporary suite designs ranging in size from 484 to 960 sq. ft. come with trendy features and contemporary finishes that add style and convenience to modern living. With 144 bike storage spots in the building, KiWi is perfect for cycling enthusiasts.

Bright, spacious, airy open-concept interiors offer spectacular views from windows and balconies. Three designer-selected colour packages – grey, cream and white – offer you the opportunity to personalize your home to your individual taste. Premium features include nine- and 10-ft. ceilings, plank vinyl laminate flooring throughout, contemporary cabinets, penny tile backsplash, quartz kitchen countertop, Energy Star kitchen appliances and more.

KiWi’s extensive offering of lifestyle amenities is designed to entertain, energize and nourish mind, body and soul. The beautifully landscaped Rooftop Terrace on the 14th floor is the perfect venue to party under clear blue skies or starlit evenings overlooking the twinkling lights of downtown Hamilton.

KiWi’s indoor amenities are just as impressive. Arrive home in style in a sleek, stylish lobby with a lounge that boasts a cool, comfortable ambience. Step it up in the state-of-the-art equipped fitness centre on the ground floor, or find your inner zen in the yoga studio. Host an Instagram-worthy party in the Social Room, complete with catering kitchen, multipurpose space, and dining room. Get your pet refreshed at the pet spa with a dog wash station. Other amenities include a virtual concierge and convenient parcel storage.

KiWi Condos is an exciting new project from Rosehaven Homes, a leading name in residential real estate since 1992. The recent Grand Opening was a huge success. There’s still a great selection of one-, one- plus den, two- and two-bedroom plus den suites available, but not for long!

Visit the presentation centre, located at 212 King William St. in Hamilton. For further information visit the website or check them out on Facebook and Instagram @kiwicondos.


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Millennials Concerned About Housing

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Millennials Concerned About Housing

Poll shows they lack confidence in the affordability of homes in the GTA

Surveying 1,503 GTA residents on behalf of the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) and the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), a recent Ipsos poll shows there is great concern among GTA millennials that they will be unable to afford a home in the GTA. However, there is some optimism from this group regarding their views on housing supply for new residents.

GTA residents also expressed a lack of confidence about the likelihood their children will be able to remain in the communities where they grew up.

Here are some key findings from the Ipsos poll:

Interestingly, although millennials are concerned about the ability to own a home, they are also the most optimistic group regarding housing supply, with 41 per cent of them believing that the GTA is well prepared to provide housing for the number of new residents that settle here every year. That is substantially higher than those aged 35 to 54 (31 per cent) and those over 55 (27 per cent).

When choosing a new home, 60 per cent of GTA residents say they value a neighbourhood that is walkable and bikeable in addition to being within close proximity to shopping, entertainment and government services. This is closely followed by those who prefer access to convenient transit (56 per cent) and close proximity to work and school (54 per cent).

Nearly 7 out of 10 respondents feel that their children will be unable to afford a home in the community where they grew up. This group of respondents agrees that it is important for young families to be able to afford to live and work within the GTA without having to deal with long commutes.

When asked, “To what extent do you strongly or somewhat agree or disagree with the following”:

  • 92 per cent agree that the dream of homeownership is becoming more difficult to achieve for young people living in their city.
  • 86 per cent agree that it is important that young families can afford to live and work within the GTA without having to commute over an hour to get to work.
  • 39 per cent agree that there are enough homes being built in their city to help keep housing affordable.
  • 33 per cent agree that the GTA is well prepared to provide housing for roughly 115,000 new residents that settle here each year.
  • 33 per cent agree that their children (or their friends’ children) will be able to afford a home in my community when they grow up.

The best public policy is proactive, not reactive. We hope these poll results demonstrate that the time for municipal decision makers to start thinking about housing choice and supply for all GTA residents who want to own a home is now.

The results of the poll are accurate to within +/- 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had all adults in the GTA been polled.

Garry Bhaura is president of the Toronto Real Estate Board. You can contact him at TREBpres@trebnet.com. For updates on the real estate market, visit TRREB.ca. If commercial property is what interests you, contact a TREB realtor by visiting TREBcommercial.com.


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THE BROKER : Chasing the dream of homeownership

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THE BROKER : Chasing the dream of homeownership

By Matthew Ablakan
Millennial’s Choice Brokerage

As the housing market in Ontario continues to deteriorate, industry watchers are questioning whether millennials will be able to afford to live in their own homes. More millennials are living at home with their parents, whether their choice or because of circumstance and some researchers are wondering if millennials are giving up on their dreams of homeownership altogether.

However, a recent study dispels this belief.

According to a new study from private insurance provider Genworth Canada and the Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services, nearly one-in-three Canadian millennials are planning to buy a home in the next two years.

This marks a 7 per cent increase over the 23 per cent of Canadians looking to purchase a primary residence in 2018, according to a recent survey from BMO. The 30 per cent figure supports the findings of Zoocasa’s 2018 Housing Trends Report, which found that 84 per cent of millennials surveyed felt that owning a home was an important life milestone.

The Zoocasa report is corroborated by a new report from Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Research and Land Development, which has found that over the next 10 years, 700,000 millennials will be looking to move into their own homes in the GTA. That could work out to 50,000 new millennial households every year.

“The needs and wants of millennials are a little different than generations that have come before them,” reads the report. “Many of them are entering a stage where they will prioritize space and affordability over amenities and access to transit. … In an unconstrained market, the homeownership rate for millennials in the GTA could rise from 40 per cent in 2016 to 60 per cent in 2026.”

As millennials in the GTA start to make their housing dreams a reality, more pressure will be placed on an already tight marketplace.

“There will be even stronger demand for the limited supply of ground-related homes across the region, putting continued upward pressure on prices over the long-term, leading millennials to take on high debt loads to take on homeownership,” reads the report.

The report also notes that Ontario has been losing millennials to other provinces as they look for more affordable housing options. This suggests that in the near future employers will have to consider affordable housing if they want to remain competitive.

“Ontario … loses individuals between the age of 25 and 44 to other provinces in search of more affordable housing and jobs,” reads the report. “Retaining this talent and attracting them to the major city centres will require offering them better job prospects and more housing choice, especially lower density housing.”

“Homeownership remains a coveted goal for many Canadians,” reads the Zoocasa report. “However, achieving this perceived life milestone remains as challenging as ever in 2018, as increasing home prices and a rising interest rate environment present obstacles to ownership.”

Over half of millennials surveyed reported that housing is unaffordable in their respective neighbourhoods.

Over 58 per cent of non-millennial Ontarians also stated that housing is unaffordable in their neighbourhood, with 41 per cent citing down payment as the largest barrier to owning a home, according to a OREA/Nanos survey.

“The dream of homeownership is slipping away from an entire generation of young people,” writes OREA CEO Tim Hudak. “Nearly half of Ontarians between the ages of 25 and 34 are still living at home with their parents. We need to take action to address this problem.

For more information on Canadian millennials and how they exist in the real estate marketplace, or if you are looking to explore potential real estate opportunities yourself, please contact us at info@millennialschoice.com

Matthew Ablakan is Broker of Record for Millennial’s Choice Mortgages Inc. Brokerage and Millennial’s Choice Insurance Inc. www.MillennialsChoice.com


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Millennials the engine of the real estate market

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Millennials the engine of the real estate market

According to a national study commissioned by Genworth Canada, six in 10 (59 per cent) millennials have already achieved their homeownership dreams. Among those who own their homes, three in 10 (30 per cent) millennials bought their first home or a home that was not their first in the past two years, compared to just 9 per cent of older Canadians. And over the next two years, among non-owners another 30 per cent of millennials plan on making their first home purchase, making them the engine of the real estate market.

The annual poll, completed in conjunction with the Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services (CACCS) from February 8 to March 27, asked 2,000 Canadians questions about their financial well-being, homeownership intentions and preparedness for the future.

The national Financial Fitness and Homeownership Study shows that Canadians remain committed to homeownership and those who own a home have better financial outcomes than those who do not. Homeowners are far more likely to say they are in great/good financial fitness versus non-homeowners. Heres the breakdown of those who say they are in great/good financial shape:

  • 68 per cent of first-time buyers;
  • 58 per cent of first-time intenders;
  • 59 per cent of repeat buyers;
  • 62 per cent of repeat intenders.

“It is encouraging to see the high level of financial confidence coming from first-time homebuyers and homeowners. As a company that is committed to providing financial literacy education to aid those looking to achieve homeownership, these results demonstrate that this segment of Canadians are doing the necessary homework to support their financial future,” said Stuart Levings, president and CEO of Genworth Canada.

Homeownership is a mainstay for many Canadians’ financial wellbeing and homeowners demonstrate greater financial discipline and report greater long-term confidence in their financial outlook.

Here is a look at how homeowners and first-time buyers/intenders feel about their financial shape:

“Being intentionally aware of the state of your personal finances is especially important when considering the purchase of a home,” said Henrietta Ross, CEO of the CACCS. “Understanding how financially fit you are by exploring your Financial Fitness score at www.caccs.ca is quick, easy and free – but rich in value because it can help guide wise financial choices.”

This score is based on attitudinal, behavioural and outcome measures that were developed from Financial Fitness index benchmark data.

To read the full 2018 Financial Fitness and Homeownership Study report, visit http://genworth.ca/en/index.aspx


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Condo Finance

Finance: How to Help Millennials Buy Their First Condo

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Finance: How to Help Millennials Buy Their First Condo

Millennials are so financially strapped that many can’t find the funds to move out of their parents’ home. These are the findings of a new report by the University of Waterloo called Gen Y at home. It finds 47.4 per cent of millennials (also known as Gen Y) in the GTA live with their parents.

The reasons, the study says, is the high cost of housing, debt and job instability.

For young people moving out, your parents’ home can be the first step into adulthood. If you have a young person living at home with you, or you yourself are a millennial that wants to get out on their own, here are some tips to make that happen.

Focus on Student Debt

First One of the roadblocks in saving for a home is having large amounts of student debt. According to the Canadian Federation of Students, the average student graduates with $28,000 in debt after four years of study. That can make it hard to save. After graduation the number one priority should be to get student debt paid. Buying a house when you are still making payments on a student loan makes you financially more vulnerable.

Lower Your Expectations

Millennials struggling to move out should be realistic about what they can afford. Your first home, especially in a city like Toronto, most likely won’t be a detached four-bedroom. Consider smaller places to live. Condo townhomes are a great option to give a house feel, with a driveway and backyard, without the price tag. If your dream is to live in the core of the city, look for new condo projects happening now that fit your budget. By putting down a deposit, usually a fraction of the price of the condo, you can buy time to plan your big move, while the building is being built.

Buy with Friends

Consider buying a larger home with a group of friends. Banks are now offering products that are tailored to those wanting to buy a home in groups of three or more. Before making this decision make sure you talk to the other buyers about what their long term vision is about the property. If the plan is to sell in five years time and use the profits to buy your individual homes, you can plan accordingly. Or maybe the plan is to hold on to the property and use the profits from any rent collected to supplement your income. Make sure the plan is clear up front.

Check Your Credit Score

It’s never a bad idea to take a peek at your credit score and get a copy of you report. You won’t ruin your credit, as some believe, if you are simply asking for information on yourself. If your score is lower than you expected, take steps now to improve it. Pay your bills on time, don’t carry large amount of debt, and don’t constantly apply to obtain credit, unless you really need it. All this proactive work means it will be easier to get a loan when the time arrives.

Focus on Walking Neighbourhoods

When it comes time to buy, focus on areas where you could survive without a car every day. By ditching it you will save close to $10,000 a year. That’s according to the CAA, and that extra money will help qualify you for a larger mortgage, and give you the ability to make more lump sum payments.

According to the report attitudes about living at home vary. For some, according to the report, co-residence is just about sharing physical space, while for others living with parents means actively being part of a close intergenerational family, sharing domestic work and spending time together.

Rubina ahmed-haq is a journalist and personal finance expert. She is HPG’s Finance Editor. She regularly appears on CBC Radio and TV. She is a contributor on CTV Your Morning and Global Toronto. She has a BA from York University, received her post graduate journalism diploma from Humber College and has completed the CSC. Follow her on Twitter @alwayssavemoney.


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Millennials are ‘generation screwed’ on real estate

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Millennials are ‘generation screwed’ on real estate

Millennials are ‘generation screwed’ on real estate

By Tim Hudak and Joe Vaccaro
Millennials want to be homeowners. Eight in 10 consistently say that home ownership is important to them, real estate is a good investment, and owning a home gives them a sense of pride. But millennials also say that owning a home is more difficult now than it was for their parents. They have a point.
According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, the average price of a GTA home is expected to rise by double digits again this year, hitting a new average of $825,000. Prices keep rising because housing supply is not keeping up with population growth and demand.


Sleep well Toronto homeowners, your nightmare could be coming soon

By Christopher Hume
Toronto Storeys
Toronto homeowners had better hope their city’s red hot real estate market doesn’t cool off anytime soon. If and when that happens, living in Canada’s largest city would cost them a whole lot more than it already does.
The reason is the Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT). In 2016, it resulted in a whopping 42 per cent of the increase in Toronto’s tax revenue to the tune of $184 million. Were that to dry up, the city would have to look elsewhere to make up the shortfall. Most likely that would mean a hike in property tax rates, something Mayor John Tory and many city councillors ― not to mention homeowners ― vehemently oppose.

BMO declares Toronto housing bubble amid ‘dangerously’ hot prices

By John Gray
After months, if not years of hand-wringing about Canada’s hot housing markets, BMO is calling it: Toronto’s housing market is in a bubble.
“Let’s drop the pretence. The Toronto housing market — and the many cities surrounding it — are in a housing bubble,” BMO Chief Economist Doug Porter wrote in a note to clients Tuesday.
Housing prices in Toronto and the surrounding area have become “dangerously detached” from economic fundamentals and are rising simply on the belief that prices will continue to soar higher, according to Porter.

Toronto’s Tory rejects BMO’s bubble claim; calls housing market ‘healthy’

By John Gray
Toronto Mayor John Tory is rejecting the notion the city’s housing market is in a bubble and insists the rapid rise in home prices shows the market is healthy.
“Reports will come out from economists – I don’t dismiss them, I read them all – but I also talk to a lot of people in the federal government, the provincial government [and] in the private sector and none of those people, to a person, has as yet told me there is any kind of panic driven or panic-inducing situation,” Tory told reporters on Thursday.
“There is a robust market with rapidly rising prices at the moment which is of course a concern – but it is a concern more because it makes it harder for people to buy a home as opposed to a concern that we should be pushing panic buttons,” he said.


Define bubble: When ‘even pigs are flying’ in Toronto area housing market

By Michael Babad
The Globe and Mail
Define bubble: “Used to refer to a significant, usually rapid, increase in asset prices that is soon followed by a collapse in prices and typically arises from speculation or enthusiasm rather than intrinsic increases in value,” according to Oxford Dictionaries.
Or, as Capital Economics sees it: When existing homeowners inflate prices “by leveraging their considerable housing equity to buy newer, bigger or more beautiful homes.”
Or, as Bank of Montreal puts it: When “even pigs are flying.”

Ontario’s lack of foreign-buyer data sparks concern about a Toronto housing crisis

By Mike Hager
The Globe and Mail
Up! Up! Up!”
That’s where Toronto’s real estate market is heading, according to a Chinese-language promotional article posted last month on Fang.com, a Beijing-based web portal that lists thousands of homes for sale in countries around the world.
“You will really cry if you still don’t buy,” the same posting blares.

Contested development

By Jennifer Pagliaro
Toronto Star
Many question whether the Ontario Municipal Board should be allowed to continue wielding its unelected power over a city crunched for resources.
The house on the corner is the last holdout amidst rampant condo development.
Surrounded by cranes and the constant crash of heavy machinery from the mud pit that is now right next door, the two-storey red-brick home has stood at the corner of Broadway and Redpath Aves., northeast of the busy Yonge St. and Eglinton Ave. intersection, since at least 1931.

Why a mortgage that leaves room for retirement saving is a must-have

By Rob Carrick

The Globe and Mail

The cost of owning a house and starting a family just might be the lost opportunity to get a good head start on saving for retirement.
With the March 1 deadline for contributions to registered retirement savings plans just ahead, it’s a good time to look at how to balance life’s biggest financial responsibilities. Home ownership, starting a family and retirement saving – can you do it all?
In cities with reasonably priced housing, you certainly can. But in expensive markets such as Toronto, Vancouver and their satellite cities, only high earners will manage this balance. Something will have to give in the household budgets of everyone else, and it’s probably going to be retirement saving.




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