Welcome to the Million Dollar Journey March 2010 Net Worth Update.
Another month, fortunately another net worth gain. Usually when it comes to personal finance, there are two main lines of thought. The first, and perhaps the most common, is to spend less than you earn. This train of thought leads to frugality and separating your needs and wants.
The second line of thought, which is basically the same as the first but with a different perspective, is to earn more than you spend. This way of thinking puts frugality in the background and focuses on increasing your income.
For me, I like to use a hybrid consisting of both strategies. That is, live simply with a focus on increasing your means and I believe my net worth reflects that. Month over month, a significant portion of our gains are due to savings. It just goes to show that building wealth isn’t just about investing, it’s also about looking for ways to increase your cashflow and subsequent savings.
Lets talk a bit about the numbers below. You’ll see a large gain in the TFSA, most of this is due to a $2,000 contribution this past month. This contribution came from tax loss selling a portion of my non-registered portfolio in late 2009. As well, instead of letting the accounts sit in cash, I decided to use a portion of the money to purchase short term bonds. The vehicle of choice was Claymore’s short term corporate bond ETF (CBO) which has an annual distribution of around 4.6% based on recent prices and a respectible MER of 0.25%.
On to the numbers:
Assets: $ 510,180 (+1.42%)
- Cash: $4,500 (+0.00%)
- Savings: $35,500.00 (+12.70%)
- Registered/Retirement Investment Accounts (RRSP): $76,700.00 (+0.52%)
- Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA): $9,980 (+24.75%)
- Defined Benefit Pension: $28,450.00 (+0.53%)
- Non-Registered Investment Accounts: $14,300.00 (-5.92%)
- Smith Manoeuvre Investment Account: $56,000.00 (+3.70%)
- Principal Residence: $283,250 (+0.00%) (purchase price adjusted for inflation)
- Vehicles: $1,500 (2 vehicles) (-25.00%)
Liabilities: $77,300.00 (-1.90%)
- Tax Liability: $3,000 (-0.00%)
- Principal Residence Mortgage (readvanceable): $20,500.00 (-7.24%)
- HELOC balance: $53,800 (+0.19%)
Total Net Worth: ~$432,880.00(+2.03%)
- Started 2010 with Net Worth: $399,600.00
- Year to Date Gain/Loss: +8.33%
Some quick notes and explanations to net worth questions I get often:
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.
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 (+inflation) despite significant appreciation in the local real estate market.
The pension amount listed above is the value of my wife’s defined benefit pension. I basically take the semi annual statement and add the contribution amounts on a monthly basis.
Stock Broker Accounts
Another common question is which discount broker do I use? We actually have accounts with multiple institutions. I’m hoping to reduce the number of accounts that we hold in the near future. Here is a review of some of the more popular online stock brokers.