Welcome to the Million Dollar Journey December 2011 Net Worth Update – The Year End Summary. 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..

This year was a wild ride!  The buoyant market of 2010 carried over into the first half of 2011 then the bottom fell out with the bears taking over the remainder of the year.  The financial news was dominated by the debt problems within the European Union and how it’s the end of the world as we know it.  The fear of course is that the insolvency of a single country within the union could have repercussions throughout global markets.  Insolvency or not, the fear in the market has lead to large swings in the market, and has resulted in a negative year for most market indices.

With a significant portion of our net worth invested in equities, the down market this year took a bite out of net worth growth.  We had a long stretch of positive monthly updates, but then the markets humbled me bringing losses in August and September.  Fortunately, we had gains in the other 10 months of 2011 bringing a total net worth gain of 15.70% finishing the year at $585,228.00. The goal of reaching $1 Million in net worth over the next three years is quite the task but I believe that it’s achievable providing that I stay aggressive.

Similar story to last year, cash savings (ways to save money) played a huge role in our net worth in 2011.  Without strong cash flow and subsequent savings, I’m pretty certain that our net worth would be in the negative overall.

This year was also exceptionally busy!  With my full time work picking up, having our second child, working on new web projects while running Million Dollar Journey and Canadian Money Forum, I was stretched pretty thin this year.  Oftentimes writing articles during the week until after midnight (like this post).  I’m hoping that 2012 brings some sanity back to my schedule.

On to the numbers:

Assets: $666,928.00 (+0.86%)

  • Cash: $4,500 (+0.00%)
  • Savings: $69,000 (+6.15%)
  • Registered/Retirement Investment Accounts (RRSP): $118,600.00(+0.59%)
  • Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA):  $29,700.00 (+1.37%)
  • Defined Benefit Pension: $37,200.00 (+1.09%)
  • Non-Registered Investment Accounts: $28,680.00 (-3.43%)
  • Smith Manoeuvre Investment Account: $87,500 (+1.39%)
  • Principal Residence: $291,748 (+0.00%) (purchase price adjusted for inflation annually)

Liabilities$81,700 (+0.06%)

Total Net Worth: ~$585,228.00 (+0.97%)

  • Started 2011 with Net Worth: $505,800
  • Year to Date Gain/Loss: +15.70%

Here is a summary of our monthly net worth totals for 2011, note that we started 2011 with $505,800 :

net worth graph 2011

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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