Welcome to the Million Dollar Journey December 2010 Net Worth Update – The Year End Summary 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.  If you would like to follow my journey, you can get updates sent directly to your email.

The second half of 2010 brought a bull market that has propped portfolios all around the world.  My portfolios showed some gains this year, although in hindsight, I should have invested more of my cash.  Overall though, I’m very happy with the net worth result in 2010 finishing the year with a 26% overall gain and surpassing the $500,000 psychological milestone.

A reader suggested to post a graph of my net worth over the years.  As I’ve been tracking my net worth since late 2006, there are quite a few data points to go by, so I took some quarterly numbers and compiled them into a graph.  The data points are slightly off, but ignoring that, it’s all in the trend!   Our net worth has been trending upwards with the exception of when it plateaued a bit during the market crash of 2008/early 2009.  Although the trend correlates with the market direction, I would say that most of our net worth growth has been due to cash savings thus the reason why our net worth wasn’t affected too much by the market correction in 2008.


For those of you who track your net worth, how did you do in 2010?

On to the numbers:

Assets: $ 561,200.00 (-0.20%)

  • Cash: $4,500 (+0.00%)
  • Savings: $45,000 (+15.38%)
  • Registered/Retirement Investment Accounts (RRSP): $103,000(+1.48%)
  • Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA):  $20,950 (+1.45%)
  • Defined Benefit Pension: $32,400 (+1.25%)
  • Non-Registered Investment Accounts: $12,800 (+0.00%)
  • Smith Manoeuvre Investment Account: $59,300 (+2.24%)
  • Principal Residence: $283,250 (+0.00%) (purchase price adjusted for inflation)

Liabilities$55,400 (0.36%)

Total Net Worth: ~$505,800 (+1.87%)

  • Started 2010 with Net Worth: $399,600
  • Year to Date Gain/Loss: +26.58%

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 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.

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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