Dec 2009 Net Worth Update (+2.11%) – Year End Summary

Welcome to the Million Dollar Journey Dec 2009 Net Worth Update – year end summary edition.

2009 has been a great year for net worth growth due to a combination of factors.  First, the markets were much stronger than I expected which has resulted in an aggressive portfolio recovery from the market crash of 2008.  Second, our professional and business income increased during the year which helped with the savings as we bank our raises.

In terms of real estate in 2009, I got out of the rental business in February, thus the capital gains tax payable on our balance sheet.  With regards to our principal residence, even though our local market continued to appreciate significantly, we continued to keep the value at the 2008 purchase price.  Going forward, I may adjust the value of the house to match historic inflation.

Looking at the numbers below, I’m happy to report that we have reached the $400k threshold (well almost) for 2009.  Starting January 2009 with $310k represents a 28.9% increase in net worth over the year.

On to the numbers:

Assets: $ 481,300 (+1.42%)

  • Cash: $4,500 (+0.00%)
  • Savings: $26,000.00 (+20.93%)
  • Registered/Retirement Investment Account: $75,300.00 (+1.76%)
  • Pension: $28,800.00 (+0.54%)
  • Non-Registered Investment Account: $16,500.00 (+5.10%)
  • Smith Manoeuvre Investment Account: $53,000.00 (+1.92%)
  • Principal Residence: $275,000 (+0.00%) (purchase price)
  • Vehicles: $3,000 (2 vehicles) (-25.00%)

Liabilities$81,700.00 (-1.80%)

  • Tax Liability: $3,000 (-0.00%)
  • Principal Residence Mortgage (readvanceable): $25,200.00 (-5.97%)
  • HELOC balance: $53,500 (+0.19%)

Total Net Worth: ~$399,600.00(+2.11%)

  • Started 2009 with Net Worth: $309,950.00
  • Year to Date Gain/Loss: +28.92%

Some quick notes and explanations to net worth questions I get often:

The Cash

The $4,500 cash are held in chequing accounts to meet the minimum balance so that we pay no fees (accounting for regular bill payments). Yes, we do hold no fee accounts also, but I find value in having an account with a full service bank as the relationship with a banker can prove useful.


Our savings accounts are held with PC Financial and ING Direct. We usually hold a fair bit of cash in case “something” comes up. The “something” can be anything that requires cash such as an investment opportunity that requires quick cash or maybe an emergency car/home repair.  We also need cash to cover any future tax liabilities.

Real Estate

Our real estate holdings consist of a primary residence plus a rental property. The value of the principal residence remains valued at the purchase price despite significant appreciation in the real estate market that we’re in.  I will most likely be adjusting the value of the home come the new year.

That’s all for 2009!  Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year – I’ll see you in 2010!


FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.
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View all comments This is why I signed up with ING Direct
10 years ago

29 % ! quite a ROI !

Little Ms.Scrooge
10 years ago

Hi FT, a quick question. If you had invested in gold (jewellery/coin) would you include that in the net worth calculation especially with the increased price of gold?

No Debt Guy
10 years ago

Congratulations on your success for 2009! At this rate you will reach your goal in less than four year. I couldn’t find how old you are currently to see how if you will meet your goal by the time you are 35? How old are you?

10 years ago

Congrats on your numbers. Long time reader – first post. I am in a similar life stage with a young child and am also just doing my net worth calcs for the end of year as well. I notice you do not list any insurance as part of your net worth calcs? We recently did a serious review of our insurance requirements and made some changes. Should these show up as part of net worth calculations? I am using cannon fodders excel sheets but would like any opinions.

Ms Save Money
10 years ago

That’s pretty cool – I always like these net worth updates. I notice you always have pretty low cash – that’s something I have to change. I have too much cash in the bank laying around but scared of investing it.

No Debt Guy
10 years ago

Ms. Save Money,

If you have any debts at all it may be beneficial to use some of your savings to reduce the balances and decrease your interest expense.

You can associate a return to this and there is no risk. Ideally you are in a situation where you can reborrow the money if you need it.

10 years ago

I still don’t understand not including the appreciation on your home. Can you shed some light on this?

It’s like saying I bought the TSX Index at 7,000 but I might increase it with inflation after this year (even though the TSX is now at 11,700).

One of the most conservative estimates would be your property tax assessment. Even still, comparing your house to comparable houses that have been sold in the area is another indicator.

10 years ago

Great work this year, FT! You did a great job squirrelling away additional savings. Next year I imagine your principal mortgage will be eliminated.

I would keep the valuation of your real estate at original price. If you change that value you will skew the percentage gains for the year and worse, if real estate values go the other way (which I suspect they will once this orgy of low rate home purchases is exhausted) then you will have to score a negative amount on your net worth and will lose track of how your organic savings/investment returns are doing. I’d keep it simple and keep the comparison even when comparing back over the years. Real estate is a fickle (and illiquid) asset, I’d price it ultra conservatively.

10 years ago


I believe he mentions above that he is valuing his home at the 2008 purchase price. 2008 would have been the peak of the market, so if anything it may be valued slightly on the liberal side. Property tax assessments are not always conservative. IMHO the tax assessments jumped on board with the froth in 2007 realizing that the revenue generated from those values would be substantial. (In BC anyways) They didn’t correct downwards in 2008, as they should have, but rather stated they would maintain 2007 values – which were still to high at the time…

Canadian Dream
10 years ago

Ok, I’m a bit confused FT. If you have the cash to clear the mortgage why not just pay it off and be done with it? Even if you wanted to avoid the fees for paying it off won’t it make sense to use your prepayment privileges and start to take it down a bit faster?

Just wondering,

10 years ago

Excellent job, FT. Wish you the continued success in 2010!

Ms Save Money
10 years ago

@ No Debt Guy,

Yeah that’s a good idea – my friends have told me the same thing – I have enough to pay off the entire loan on my car I bought this year. I’m afraid that if I pay it all off I might not have enough money if something should come up. But then again I can pay half of it now and then pay the other half later. Thanks for the advice :).


Yes it is interesting to see others opinions – If your’s is high – then mine is uber high :)

10 years ago

Great job FT!

Our household only had a 24% increase in net worth. But you know percentages can be misleading ;)

Have you decided what you’ll do with the free cash flow after your mortgage is paid off? Pay off HELOC? or invest it straight up? Maybe time to finally buy that SUV?

Great year of posts, best luck next year!!

10 years ago

Great Year…

One thing I was wondering about, is if it would be more accurate to include a tax liability for capital gains (and possibly RRSP). It seems to me that if you are counting the increased values of the investments (assuming your investment accounts are up) then the tax should be counted as a liability as well.

This would give you a much more real value of what your net worth is on liquidation.

10 years ago

Another good year FT. You should ble proud of those numbers for sure.

I haven’t run the official numbers yet, but I think that our net worth is up about 30% for 2009. The market was very kind indeed. Happy New Year!

Link Wheels
10 years ago

Great job FrugalTrader!
A 29% increase is fantastic, keep up the good work.
Regards, David Pagotto

Mark in Nepean
10 years ago

Hey FT!

Happy New Year and well done!

We’ve managed to increase our net worth 30% over last year as well, closing-in on $500 K. I think it’s great you post your net worth, a great way to track, monitor and report your own success story!!

All the best for 2010 net worth growth!

10 years ago

Yay, congratulations on a good year! ^_^

@FrugalTrader – Holy crap, you’re only 30? Now I feel somewhat discouraged. I’m 28 and I haven’t even successfully calculated my net worth, let alone engineered a 30% increase. *sigh*

10 years ago


I also think that if you go to the detail you are, you should try to create a more accurate picture of your house value. You track your investments down to the dollar – one can’t expect you to do the same with the house, but at least some semblance of current status would be a good thing.

Our net worth picture is quite humbling and staggering at the same time. We saw our NW increase by just over 90% in 2009. In absolute terms we saw it increase by more than $500k.

We embarked on the Smith Manoeuvre in August of 2008 and I aggressively moved to tap into all of the equity available in our house to invest in dividend paying stocks. Unfortunately, I got in too early – a mistake I hope not to repeat again.

As a result, we saw our SM portfolio increase by 63%. That sounds more impressive than it is because it was waaaay down at the beginning of the year (and, of course, got worse by March).

**For all of those people who say that they are aggressive, the 2008/2009 period was a true test of just who can walk the walk. There were some very tough days and nights as I thought I had done major damage to our retirement plans. When you see $300k in net worth disappear in just a few months and yet you still stay the course, then you know what kind of investor you are. I started to think about how I might just have delayed retirement by 5 years for my wife and I. I didn’t feel too smart then.**

Our RRSP’s rebounded as well. They were up 47% although that includes contributions.

We eliminated $58k from our SM mortgage / LOC combo.

And, the kids RESP’s went up 65% (or $23k) even though we only added $3k to them.

I put our house appreciating by 5.5% based on a house that is very much like ours which sold in the fall and the prices of other homes in the immediate area. That pegs it at a little less than 4% CAGR since we purchased it in 2003 which includes interior and exterior improvements.

Was it all good? No. My TFSA lost $1k as I used it to play some Betapro 2x ETFs. And, my wife and I worked for a company that declined to pay raises near the end of 2009. We don’t know when they will implement them for 2010 and whether they will be retroactive.

In 2005 I forecasted we would be mortgage free by 2019. Then, in 2008 I learned about the SM and thought we would be mortgage free in 2013. (In 2006 and 2007 I had some good earning years where we put almost all of the unanticipated earnings against the mortgage). Now, we could eliminate it this year.

In summary, 2009 has been a very difficult year and very good year. If I could do anything differently I would definitely have waited until after early March before I plowed into the markets. The year 2010 won’t prove nearly as beneficial to our finances as 2009 – perhaps a 15% improvement to NW is our best expectation.

10 years ago

Thanks, FT. Actually we went past the $1M mark in November which was about 2 years ahead of my most optimistic projections in 2007 at the peak. And, considering where we were at the beginning of 2009 it is quite astonishing really.

It is not so much the NW number that is of interest – it is just how much closer we’ve moved towards financial independence.

In spite of the many mistakes I made, we’ve done very well for ourselves. Believe me, your comment about hindsight is one I’ve tried to banish from my thinking. If I instead of buying in the latter part of 2008 I instead shorted, and then sold and went long in March…. well, we could have been financially independent right now.

Financial Cents
10 years ago

Hey FT,

I will try and send you some information early Feb – OK?


10 years ago

Congrats on reaching the $400K mark.

Good luck in 2010.

Thanks for the info on the Smith Manoeuvre.

8 years ago

It would be a safe assumption that your St johns property value is down approximately 10-15%. The median home price declined from $245k to 215k. That includes both condo’s and single family homes.

If you paid $275k then it could be worth somewhere in the ballpark of
$240k-$250k. That of course wouldn’t include a 5% realtor commission.