Money Diary: A 32-Year-Old Canadian Expat In London On 70k

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking a cross-section of people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period – and we're tracking every last penny.
As every person's financial situation is unique, going forward we're asking diarists to complete a series of financial-based questions to provide readers with more context to their relationship with money. Please remember before commenting that the diarists are from a range of backgrounds and cultures and their experience, education and mental relationship with money might be very different from yours. Money Diaries are designed to provide readers with diverse experiences of spending, saving and asking for more in the hope that by learning from each other, we can build a more positive financial future together.
This week: "I'm 32 years old and I live in London with my partner (S) and our cat (T). I moved here from Canada four years ago and I work in the tech industry in a business operations function. I cover a wide remit across financial operations, people operations, customer support, facilities and vendor management, and anything else that comes my way. A lot has changed in my industry and in my workplace since the pandemic and I definitely have a bit more anxiety around job security and figuring out what to do next while tied to a visa.
With regards to money, I am definitely a saver but also enjoy shopping and deals and treating myself. Homeownership isn’t on the cards for us right now. I am not a tax resident in Canada anymore and, frankly, I am outpriced of their crazy hot housing market right now. As an expat in the UK, working in an unstable industry, it doesn’t make sense for me to try to buy here yet either. I don’t really have any goals for my money right now other than to build on what I have already saved and I am beginning to be okay with that."
Occupation: Operations 
Industry: Tech
Age: 32
Location: London, UK
Salary: £70,800
Paycheque amount: £3,772 (after taxes and pension contribution)
Number of housemates: Boyfriend (S), cat (T) 
Pronouns: She/Her
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £845 (proportionate percentage of my rent).
Loan payments: £0
Savings? I have more than £140k saved, primarily in investments (though some of this is my pension pot). Most of my investments are in a couple of low-cost index funds but I also have about £20k in stocks and crypto. I’ve not changed my outgoings drastically for several years so I am grateful that I can invest 50-55% of my paycheque each month. I automate the rest of my paycheque towards my ISA every month. 
Pension status: I contribute 8% of my salary monthly and my employer contributes 5%.
All other monthly expenses: My phone bill is covered by work and costs £18. I pay £125 in bills (which is my half of the split with S). This includes £64 council tax, £23 water, £24 gas and electricity and £14 broadband. Subscriptions: £9 Netflix, £8 Amazon Prime, £30 pet food subscriptions, £20 annual Good Club membership, £49 monthly probiotics, £20 cat insurance (my half of the split), £100 dietician (food anxieties in light of ongoing gut/health issues), £100 therapy sessions (grateful to have a discounted fee as I am working with a post-doc student). Donations: £200 annual donation to Mission Chapel, £240 annual donation to Trussell Trust, £120 annual donation to OnHand and roughly £50-60 ad hoc a month to various donor appeals. 
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Yes. My mom contributed a small amount (C$5-6k) towards an Education Savings Plan in Canada when we were young (the government matches yearly contributions to a certain %) and I received some bursaries and grants after graduating so most of my university tuition was paid for. I had savings and worked part-time while in university so I covered all my additional fees, books, study abroad costs and my last year’s tuition.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
Save, save, save was the attitude from my mother and also donate what you can (time or money or goods). Both my parents are immigrants and my mother grew up quite poor so her instinct was always to save and she drilled it into us never to spend beyond our means. My dad is not a saver and spends his money more freely so I also grew up exposed to a more impulsive and hedonistic approach to spending. I did not learn about investing from my parents but taught myself in my late 20s.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
In my mid 20s, a few years after graduating from university. Culturally, it was not really okay for me to move out before getting married but I definitely needed to have my own space. When I lived at home I contributed towards household food costs, petrol for when I drove the family car and any other household expenses.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I got my first job as a teenager so I always had my own money to cover basic needs (shopping, food, going out, travelling, etc). I didn’t move out until my mid 20s so I had the privilege to save a good amount, though I spent a lot of what I saved having fun, going out, enjoying my 20s and studying abroad. I didn’t get serious about investing until my late 20s.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
At 15 at a small local accounting firm near my high school, helping the bookkeepers with all their tax return admin and filing. I got it so that I could have discretionary pocket money in high school.
Do you worry about money now?
Yes and no. I have some anxieties about my future earning potential over the next decade and how I might not have the same salary as I get older. The tech industry changes so rapidly, I sometimes worry I might get left behind. Maybe it was the pandemic, maybe it’s because my job security is tied to a visa, maybe it’s because I still so rarely see fellow women of colour in higher ranking positions or maybe it’s because I know, deep down, I’m burned out and can’t keep climbing the corporate ladder at the expense of my mental and physical health. A lot of this combined makes me have money worries in that regard.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series