Welcome to the Million Dollar Journey April 2012 Net Worth Update.  For those of you new to Million Dollar Journey, a monthly net worth update is typically posted near the end of the month (or beginning of the next) to track the progress of my journey to one million in net worth, hopefully by the time I’m 35 years old (end of 2014).  If you would like to follow my journey, you can get my updates sent directly to your email or you can sign up for the Money Tips Newsletter..

Before we start, just a quick reminder that today is the income tax deadline for those who owe taxes to CRA. However, if you are expecting a refund there is no rush to file as CRA is more than happy to hold onto the interest free loan from you.  Strange as it sounds, tax strategies are one of my favorite personal finance topics.  Those who are interested in planning for the coming year, check out some of my tax minimization articles.

In addition to tax, the stock market is another topic of interest but, unfortunately, this past month was another tough one for investors.  With the TSX returning -2.5% and S&P500 -1.5% in April, it has resulted in 1% paper losses in my RRSP and leveraged dividend portfolio.  As the losses were relatively small, cash flow and resulting savings keep our heads above water.

With greater time and effort spent on online projects, a couple of them are starting to produce dividends which hopefully will increase cash flow further going forward.

Question for you, a reader suggested that I create a way for others to track their net worth alongside mine so that they can track their own journey.  Would you have an interest in using a tool like that?

On to the numbers:

Assets: $699,400 (+0.25%)

  • Cash: $4,500 (+0.00%)
  • Savings: $70,000 (+6.06%)
  • Registered/Retirement Investment Accounts (RRSP): $122,000(-1.05%)
  • Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA):  $40,400 (-0.49%)
  • Defined Benefit Pension: $38,400 (+0.79%)
  • Non-Registered Investment Accounts: $32,600 (-0.16%)
  • Smith Manoeuvre Investment Account: $91,000 (-1.09%)
  • Principal Residence: $300,500 (+0.00%) (purchase price adjusted for inflation annually)

Liabilities$82,600 (+0.24%)

Total Net Worth: ~$616,800 (+0.25%)

  • Started 2012 with Net Worth: $585,228
  • Year to Date Gain/Loss: +5.39%

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 – ie. our credit card bill). 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 has proven 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 and REITs 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 both of our defined benefit pension plans.  I basically take the semi annual statement and add the contribution amounts (not including employer matching) on a monthly basis.  The commuted value of the pensions are not included in the statements as they are difficult to estimate.

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.


  1. cash_man on April 30, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Net Worth Tracker/Calculator sounds good to me. Question for you, your pensions, when they send you the semi-annual statement, what number from that do you use? My wife is in such a pension as well and I have no idea how to quantify it.

  2. FrugalTrader on April 30, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Hey Cash_Man, to be on the conservative side, we have just been using our contribution amount.

  3. Dopple on April 30, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Good work. Would love to see what your stock portfolios look like these days. And yea I reckon I would use a good tool for tracking my net worth

  4. FrugalTrader on April 30, 2012 at 11:02 am

    @Dopple, thanks. You can see my latest dividend stock portfolio here: https://milliondollarjourney.com/category/portfolio. I will be doing another update soon.

  5. Michael James on April 30, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Your conservative treatement of the value of your home seems very sensible to me. However, valuing the pensions at just the sum of your contributions seems overly conservative. If you were to quit your job, does your employer apply a punitive discount rate that would drive down the commuted value so low that it makes sense to ignore inflation and the employer match?

  6. Cal on April 30, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    What are your intentions with the cash holding. That is alot of $ not working for you. Are you waiting for an opportunity to pick up some equities or do you anticipate some household expenses in the near future?

  7. Cori on April 30, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I would love a net worth tracker tool….great idea.

  8. Greg on April 30, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    I’d be interested to see some analysis on your chances of making your goal. Looks like you can save about $50k per year so you should be able to get into the mid $700k level by the end of 2014 even if your investments return 0%. With around $300k of liquid assets today plus future savings it looks like you will need a fairly high rate of return on your investments.

  9. ps on April 30, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    A good tool to track net worth would be really helpfull…

    i was also wondering if we are tracking investments from other countries with different currencies…how that is done…

  10. FrugalTrader on April 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    @Michael, you are right it is conservative. However, I only recently started with the government, and the NL government requires 5 years of service before the employee is vested. I’m not sure I will last 5 years. :) My wife however, has been in DBP for almost a decade.

    @Cal, I ask myself that question everyday! No plans as of right now, but I may add to my non-registered holdings. Maybe a bigger house? ;)

    @Greg, I’m hoping that cash flow/savings continues to increase with a growing online presence. Also, I haven’t included the valuations of the web properties, so on paper, I may be closer than what I have displayed. But you are right, it will likely be a challenging task.

    @ps, i hold my foreign stocks in my RRSP but I dont’ really track currency values as everything is in CAD.

  11. M on April 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Great! I love that I found your blog. I am obsessed with my spreadsheets on my goal to 1 million in assets by 40. Watching you will add fuel to the fire and give me tips along the way! Thanks for writing, keep it up and good-luck to you two!

  12. M on April 30, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    I’m sure I’ll find it somewhere as I explore your site, but do you share what your base annual salaries are, between yours and your wife’s?

  13. FrugalTrader on April 30, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    @M, in 2010 our reported income was around $160k which includes all sources of income (salary, dividends etc). I’ll have the final numbers for 2011 this afternoon!

  14. Sarlock on April 30, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Great work so far! You’re on the home stretch now. Whether you hit $1 million by 2014 or not, you’ll be darn close, especially when you include the current market value of your home. Of course, $2 million is the new $1 million, so you’ll have to set a new goal of $2 million by age 42 ;-)

  15. emilio on April 30, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    mint.com is among other things a net work tracker tool…
    I love it!

  16. Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey on May 1, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Glad to see that your assets and net worth increased. Congratulations!

  17. DavidV on May 1, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    I started tracking my net worth because of this site, and now it’s a monthly tradition. Always a good thing when it goes up and a bad thing when it goes down. Thankfully it goes up more than down!

  18. Military Millionaire on May 1, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Nice work! Glad to see that you are still on track!

  19. Julie @ Freedom 48 on May 1, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    You guys are doing really well! Good for you.
    I love reading these inspiring success stories – they’re so much better than the “woe is me” attitude I hear all the time from colleagues and family.

  20. Steve @ Grocery Alerts Canada on May 3, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    It will be great to finally meet you at the CPF Bloggers conference in Toronto.

    We will need to discuss the “Smith Manuever”.

  21. M on May 3, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Are you a member on http://www.networthiq.com ?? I found the link in one of the visiting comments and really like the site. If so, what’s your badge? Thanks,


  22. Karl on May 4, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Hey FT,

    Just curious why you are sticking with PCF and ING for the savings accounts with their modest interest rates (1.35%). With $70k in savings, you are missing out on potentially hundreds of dollars a year if you were to open an account with the competition.

    In terms of CDIC insured banks, both Ally and Canadian Tire Financial offer free savings accounts @ 1.80% interest. People’s Trust offers 2.10%, but lacks some online banking features which is unacceptable to some people, but it also keeps their costs down (and hence the higher interest rate).

    There’s also many Credit Unions in MB that offer around 2.00%. They’re insured by an independent body (Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba) rather than CDIC which does make some people hesitant to join.

  23. Virata Gamany on May 9, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    I am most interested in your Real Estate strategy. Why REITs instead of outright ownership and positive cash flow from the investment that can reinvested for even greater earnings?

  24. FrugalTrader on May 10, 2012 at 11:26 am

    @Virata, i owned rental property in the past, and even though it cash flowed, the job of being a landlord wasn’t for me.

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