Welcome to the Million Dollar Journey August 2011 Net Worth Update – Market Correction Edition. 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.

Quite a bit has changed in the market in one month.  In July, there were talks of rising interest rates but in a matter of days, the rising interest rates has changed to talks of recession. Recession in combination with a U.S debt downgrade means bad news for the market which resulted in the first significant market correction of 2011.

The first real market correction of the year brought the first negative month over month net worth update since early 2009. To put it simply, my investment accounts took a pounding. What did I do during this mini market meltdown? Raised cash! I sold off a couple of small high risk positions to increase my RRSP cash position, transferred cash into the RRSP and moved more money into my leveraged investment account. I’ve done some investment shopping within the indexed RESP and dividend portfolio but nothing extreme.

What about the numbers? As per the routine, savings was relatively strong this month which helped buffer the rather large portfolio losses. You’ll notice a significant increase in the leveraged portfolio which is due to adding more cash to the account. As previously mentioned, I’ve invested a portion of the money, but there is still a large amount of cash remaining to be invested in case we get another leg down in the market.

How did your net worth look this past month?

On to the numbers:

Assets: $ 643,848.00 (+1.54%)

  • Cash: $4,500 (+0.00%)
  • Savings: $51,000 (+6.25%)
  • Registered/Retirement Investment Accounts (RRSP): $115,000(-4.09%)
  • Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA):  $30,000 (-6.25%)
  • Defined Benefit Pension: $35,600 (+1.14%)
  • Non-Registered Investment Accounts: $29,300 (+0.00%)
  • Smith Manoeuvre Investment Account: $86,700 (+18.44%)
  • Principal Residence: $291,748 (+0.00%) (purchase price adjusted for inflation annually)

Liabilities$80,900 (+23.14%)

Total Net Worth: ~$562,948 (-0.92%)

  • Started 2011 with Net Worth: $505,800
  • Year to Date Gain/Loss: +11.3%

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.

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How did your net worth look this past month?

Nothing like yours, thats for sure! Just recently graduated so just getting started on the train so to speak. Although that ride might be delayed since I am going back to school to go for an MBA degree, on top of my Finance degree.

On a side note, would be kind of neat to see some charts to show the progressions in your net worth compared to the previous months.


Wow, awesome stuff with the overall NW, regardless of the monthly dip.

How did it take you to pay off your house again?

I was shocked that ours whet up this month, but not by much. I think it was savings and buying stocks during the dip, they have come up a little. What also helped is our international and us investments are hedged, so when the Cdn dollar dropped, that helped ease 2-3% of the dip.

Good job, many of us saw bigger losses!

That’s a lot of savings!

Mine went up mainly due to savings and my “conservative” investments. Plus most is still sitting in cash since I didn’t buy at the dips. But I will the next time! Hehe.

FT, excellent stuff as always. Very inspirational to a fellow east coast professional. I hope you are very proud of how well you and your family have done.

Keep it up!


If you take away the savings for the year, what will be your YTD Gain/Loss? I suspect you include savings in the calculation of YTD Gain/Loss and hence the envy of many especially krantcents. LOL.

Mine went up, but only because the increase of savings. My investments lost about as much as I put in them this month. Surprisingly, I’m okay with that!

@Leigh, yeah the long run picture will be better! But I am sure you already know that which is why you are okay with it.