heritage DNA test review

January 23, 2018

My Heritage DNA Test: Is It Worth the Money?

I’m Jessica and I’m a money expert, speaker, Accredited Financial Counsellor Canada®, host of the More Money Podcast, and am currently writing my first book with HarperCollins Canada (2025).
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Have you ever done a heritage DNA test?

I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve felt like I’ve been bombarded by ads and commercials from MyHeritage, Ancestry and 23andMe about finding your true heritage by testing your DNA. Or maybe I just feel like I’ve been bombarded because those ads and commercials really get to me.

MyHeritage DNA Test - Is It Worth It?I remember seeing one where this grandfather was adamant that he was Scottish, but discovered through AncestryDNA that he was in fact Italian. I don’t know about you, but I’d be pretty devastated if I found out that part of my heritage, which to me is part of my personal identity, was completely wrong!

Ever since I was young, I’ve been proud of my half Scottish (on my dad’s side) and half French (on my mother’s side) heritage. I even took highland dancing for a few years as a teenager and did 11 years of French immersion. If I found out that I was in fact 80% German, I don’t know what I’d do, aside from having a full-blown identity crisis. I mean, my family has been keeping a family tree, we’ve got proof of where we came from, so how could we be wrong?

What My “Is It Worth It?” Video Series Is All About

Since my heritage is something that’s really important to me, it’s where I got the idea to start my latest YouTube series called “Is It Worth It?” I’ve always been frugal, and throughout most of my 20s, I even felt guilty about spending money because I knew I could save it or invest it instead.

Also, let’s be frank here, there is still a lot of judgment and shaming in the personal finance community when it comes to spending. People love to share their opinion about how spending is bad, everyone should be frugal, and if you’re not saving and investing 50% of your income, you’re the worst person alive.

This judgment and shame is a big reason I started my own Facebook group. I wanted to create a safe space for people to ask questions, learn better money management practices, and not feel judged for their financial choices.

Moreover, a blanket statement like “Spending money is bad and should be avoided at all costs” is just ridiculous. It’s over-spending, spending beyond your means, and mindless spending that’s the problem. It’s the stuff that Cait Flanders talks about in her book The Year of Less. Spending isn’t the problem. It’s over-spending and spending money on stuff that you don’t need or doesn’t bring value to your life that’s the problem. After all, what’s the point of saving and investing your money if you can’t eventually spend it on things that bring you joy or fulfillment in life?

So, don’t mistake this new video series as I tell you it’s okay to go out and spend all your money. This isn’t me giving you permission to YOLO away your savings. This series is about putting the focus on value-based spending.

And to demonstrate what value-based spending looks like, I’m going to share some of the things that I’ve spent money on that align with my values and bring me joy. Or, things that I’ve tried that I thought would add value to my life and bring me joy, but actually were a total waste of money (so don’t waste your money on them too).

Here’s What Value-Based Spending Looks Like

For my first video in this series, I wanted to explore one of my big values — my heritage. I’ve always been really interested in my lineage and my family’s roots. From a very early age, I’ve felt particularly connected with my Scottish heritage (hence the highland dancing in my teens). It could be because my dad was born there and my grandma still has her accent, or because there’s always been some natural ginger in my hair. Whatever it is, I’ve always fantasized about what life would have been like if I lived in the highlands.

Not to ignore the other side of my heritage, I’ve also felt very connected to my French roots. My mom’s side of the family is from Quebec (most of whom still live there and are 100% Francophone). They immigrated there from France (Normandy to be specific) in the 1600s, as noted in our family tree. My female ancestors were said to be part of Les Filles du Roi (the King’s Daughters), which was a group of unmarried women who were sponsored by the King to move to New France (now Quebec) for the sole purpose of solving the gender imbalance in the colony by marrying the male workers.

Since I’ve always been so fascinated by my heritage, I thought it was time for me to see for myself if my background was what I’ve always believed it to be.

Why Did I Choose MyHeritage?

So, why did I choose MyHeritage? There are a number of other options out there, including 23andMe and AncestryDNA, and honestly, I’d heard more about those two than MyHeritage. Ultimately, it came down to price. I knew that no matter who I went with, and no matter what the results were, I’d probably be a bit skeptical of the validity of any heritage DNA test on the market. That’s why I went with the cheapest one.

When I made my purchase, MyHeritage cost $110 USD (plus $12 USD for shipping), which converts to $168 CDN. At the time, that was the cheapest option, however looking at its competitors now, it looks like 23andMe costs $129 CDN (plus $19.95 CDN for shipping), and AncestryDNA costs $129 CDN (shipping and taxes included). But, MyHeritage has also slashed the price on their own site (it’s only $99 USD now), so it looks like I could have saved $30 if I’d waited until after Christmas to buy my DNA kit from any one of these companies. Still, I don’t regret buying it when I did.

So, Was It Worth It?

It really was, and here’s why. I didn’t think the DNA results would change my life. All I really wanted was a bit of fun. And it was fun. It was fun putting my DNA in the special vials. It was fun mailing it off to the lab. It was fun waiting to get my results.

And it was really fun sharing the results with my sisters and my mom who really couldn’t believe that we had NO FRENCH HERITAGE AT ALL! My mom is still in disbelief, and I’m not sure what to make of it either. But honestly, I’m just happy that my Scottish roots are right at the top because there’s just something deep inside me that has always known that I was Scottish first and foremost.

To me, this whole experience and shelling out $168 for a bit of fun for me and my family was absolutely money well spent.

Have you ever done a DNA test kit? Did you think it was worth it or a big waste of money? And were you shocked by the results, or were they what you’d expected them to be? Share in the comments!

Disclosure: Nothing on my website or affiliated channels should be considered advice or an endorsement, and some content may include affiliate links in which I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Please read my disclaimer to learn more.

add a comment

  1. Moira says:

    Hello Jessica,

    I loved your message and had a good chuckle…or in modern-day speak, LOL!
    Steve and I have had an interest in the DNA testing for sometime and when AncestryDNA had a ‘special’ in November, we said “Merry Christmas” to each other. Similar to you, we are curious and wanted a bit of fun. We are at the waiting stage as our DNA sample left NB a couple of days before New Years Eve.
    Is it worth it? Absolutely, yes…and we haven’t received the ‘results’ yet!

    I’ll keep you posted on our results. In addition to Scottish…well, I’m not sure. Steve has always thought his ancestors are from England and Ireland. Also, Indigenous mixed in along the way.

    Fun, fun…Moira

  2. Elle says:

    I agree that it’s worth it! Also, it’s just a one-time expense. Pay once and have the knowledge forever. Great post!

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