Expect the Unexpected: When Life Happens Out of Order

Expect the unexpected‘ is a great motto for life, and not just a favourite tagline on a TV reality show. 

When I has just graduated from school, I thought I had my life map all planned out. Just as my parents did before me, and my grandparents before them – I set out to live as tradition goes with love and marriage being the first steps. As you know the traditional path {and childhood song}, house and kids were to follow. 

I guess I took the first traditional step and found love, yet then life took a u-turn and we bought the house first. It wasn’t a planned event, yet we realized that continuing to rent our apartment was like throwing money away. Instead, we took our hard-earned money and invested it into something of value. Quite honestly, we saw a great housing market and knew we could afford to take that leap – and pretty much bought in the same week in which we started house-hunting.

expect the unexpected when life happens out of order

Our story of the unexpected path taken isn’t unlike many other Canadians. In fact, a recent TD survey found nearly 58% Canadians have completed {or are on track to complete} their life’s milestones in a different order than they originally expected. 

More specifically, Gen X Canadians are more likely to complete or be on track to complete them in a different order {64%} than Millennials {52%}. 

life's milestones out of traditional order TD canada

Such interesting findings! The truth is, there is no wrong path to take in life, yet the constant with any is that you need to be prepared for whichever life milestone you’re faced with. Thinking ahead to your next milestone and having that financial plan in place, is the key aspect in a smooth transition. 

The TD survey found that only 39% Canadians claim to have properly budgeted {or are properly budgeting} for having their first child. In our case, our ‘second child’ was planned and thus we had weighed the financial implications. Yet, SURPRISE, that ‘second’ was actually ‘second and third’, life threw us a curve-ball in the form of multiples. 

If you’re at a point in your life where you’re looking to make big choices, it is important to ask yourself some key questions and then meet with a financial planner to map out a plan that is unique to your situation and aspirations.

  • How do I handle multiple milestones occurring at the same time?
  • Is it smarter to plan a wedding or buy a home first?
  • What costs should I factor in when contemplating buying a home?
  • How much do I need to save to comfortably enjoy a parental leave? 
  • How do I know if I’m on track to save enough for retirement?




life's milestones out of traditional order TD canada planning financially

We’ve learned to expect the unexpected and plan accordingly. It’s uncertain which educational path our children will take, though we have the RESP’s in place for that possible day. We don’t know where, when, or the specifics on retirement – yet we’ve set the financial plans in motion for when that day comes so that we are prepared for whatever path we take. 

The TD Canada survey found that only 24% of Millennials and 33% of Gen X Canadians say they have properly budgeted {or are properly budgeting} for retirement. Know this shocking fact, I hope more people start prepping for their retirement, so they’re not among the ones franticly trying to financially cope when faced with the milestone. 

Whichever big step is next in your life path, being ready requires planning and saving, and regardless of your age, it’s never too early to build a financial plan and set goals for your future.

What life milestone is next for you and are you prepared?


Disclosure: I was compensated for this post, all opinions are my own.



  1. Our next milestone is sending our son to school. I’m already a bit surprised at a lot of the expenses that are quickly adding up.

  2. I am always worried about if I am on track for retirement. It is something I ask myself often. Great tips and good questions we should all be asking ourselves.

  3. I can’t even think of my next milestone! I’m still trying to catch up to my oldest starting kindergarten and my middle going to preschool :-).

  4. I always expect the unexpected after having a teenage daughter LOL. She always keeps me surprised.

  5. I think this is such a relevant topic, especially since I have a daughter who is a millennial. She has already started a savings fund for the future.

  6. my next milestone is a 4th baby and also a teenager. EEK. We are prepared for the baby, but not for having a teenager who is going to be driving. The insurance cost is going to kill us! WE’ll have to make some changed.

  7. I am not ready for any milestone… 🙁 I know that is horrible, but I’m not. We need to save more and think about things… thanks for posting…

  8. Things can add up quick really fast. i try to plan for things like that but when everything goes as plan i am really happy. lol

  9. Next we are finishing up residency and starting a dental practice. Yikes, we are trying to be as prepared as possible!

  10. Oh gosh! It is scary to think what milestone is next for us. I guess it is kids going to college and we are doing our best to prepare for that! Like you say, saving is so important.

  11. I think it is smart to have a small wedding and use the money you saved for a down payment on a house. I can not believe how much some weddings cost. Our next milestone will be middle school.

  12. I can honestly spend so much time worrying about the next milestone I miss the one I’m in!

  13. I am a planner and now with three kids I know for sure – nothing can’t be plan when kids are involved

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