There is no doubt that you can make a lot of money in any of the huge variety of professions on a mine site. The high wage associated with mining jobs is one of the main reasons people take up a life ‘on the move’.
Brenda, who works as a cleaning person, states, “In camp you don´t go out, you don´t have to buy groceries and so I can put a few hundred dollars or sometimes a thousand every month into my savings account.” Underground miner John says that he has quickly paid back his first mortgage, bought a second house and can afford to pay back the student loan taken out for his daughter.
Simone, a cook and artist, loves to travel the world. She goes to the beach in Hawaii or even flies to Mexico or Europe during her time off. Sometimes she is unemployed and she asserts, “You need to save some money because mining has its regular downturns. You always need to be ready for booms but also for the busts.”
Many of the mid-aged workers put money into the bank or into the pension fund.
Rick, a diamond driller explains, “Some of the younger folks blow up their money and do not think ahead.” When workers get older, they can get sore or may not be able to work anymore due to injuries.
Some people work all their lives and have nothing left when they retire due to harmful spending behaviours during their career.
Among the mobile workers we engaged with, there was huge difference in how people spend their money. For some, daycare in big cities back home may add up to a lot of money, others pay for expensive trips to Disneyland with their kids.
Some workers may buy a skidoo, a boat, rifles or other equipment for hunting and fishing. Some invest in real estate or support their adult children or their young families. Ian, a camp manager, says, “Food and bills come first, then the truck. Then maybe a second truck, and then the toys like four-wheelers and so on.”
Young single men often care less about money. Ian explains, “I blew it up in bars with my buddies and fancy girls. I was not used to the huge pay-cheques, I just enjoyed my life and that was good. For a while anyway until I got into drugs and the money blew up even faster.”
It is really important to put money aside or to invest it.
Many save their money also for further training or for times when there is no work around.
Money goes by so quickly. Like right know, I don´t even see it disappearing. I have too many bills to pay and too many toys. Connie
My colleague who had bought a house with her boyfriend had to move back in with her parents’ house because they couldn’t pay the mortgage. They blew all their money instead of saving some for dry times. They ended up selling their truck, their skidoo and their quad just by being silly. Sandra
Savings? Yes. I’ve put lots of money into savings. I was actually saving up for a house but now could not really work this year because of the mining downturn, so I spent it all already. Yeah when I first started off in the mining industry I didn´t care about money. I needed a truck? I went and bought a truck. I wasn’t thinking ahead. Ben
Jake, my son, just moved out and he was in the forces. Having money in the bank account makes it easier to visit him. We went to Montreal and to Edmonton to see him. It was no problem, like there was no financial stress. And it felt great being able to help him stand on his own two feet. Teresa
I own my own business now on the side with my wife. I really enjoyed the money I made in mining and the freedom that it gave me for setting up our small company. Brad
We paid of a giant line of credit with my salary. Now, when I first come out of camp I love to walk into a bookstore and spend 300 Dollars or go for a really fancy meal. You know, buy a 30 Dollar bottle of wine, instead of an 8 Dollar bottle. But that only lasts for a couple of days and then I start looking after my money again. Sandra