Net Worth Update January 2013 (+4.53%)

Welcome to the Million Dollar Journey January 2013 Net Worth Update – The first update of the year. 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.

Lets start with the stock market which has been rallying since the middle of November.  In fact, the S&P500 is approaching multi year highs which is great news for anyone holding U.S blue chip stocks. This past month, the TSX gained 2.77% (via XIU.TO) and the S&P500 gained 2.82% (via XSP.TO), both including dividends.

The strong market returns have propped up our investment accounts with the RRSP gaining 2.31% (mostly large U.S dividend stocks), and the leveraged dividend portfolio gaining 3.70% (all Canadian dividend stocks).  Unfortunately, there was an opportunity lost with the TFSA as it’s sitting in mostly cash and short term bonds. I plan on giving these accounts more attention this year and hopefully get some growth out of them.

On the topic of TFSA’s, the beginning of a new year means registered investment accounts get new contribution room.  In the first week of January, we deposited $11,000 into our TFSAs ($5,500 each) and $5,000 into the TD e-Series RESP accounts ($2,500 for each child).  $16,000 was withdrawn from our company as a dividend to pay for the contributions.

During the 2012 year end update, I mentioned that there would be big changes coming to the net worth update.  I’m still working on this, and expect it to be completed by end of Q2, so stay tuned.  One small change I was considering was using the new tax assessment on our house as the net worth value.  However, I’ve decided to stay conservative and keep the inflation adjusted value.

On to the numbers:

Assets: $816,400 (+4.03%)

  • Cash: $4,500 (+0.00%)
  • Savings: $20,000 (+0.00%)
  • Registered/Retirement Investment Accounts (RRSP): $137,100(+2.31%)
  • Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA):  $52,000 (+27.45%)
  • Defined Benefit Pension: $41,300 (+0.73%)
  • Non-Registered Investment Accounts: $140,000 (+2.94%)
  • Smith Manoeuvre Investment Account: $112,000 (+3.70%)
  • Principal Residence: $309,500 (+3.00%) (purchase price adjusted for inflation annually)

Liabilities$94,700 (+0.32%)

  • Principal Residence Mortgage (readvanceable): $0 (0.00%) (Paid off in 2010!)
  • Investment LOC balance: $94,700 (+0.32%)

Total Net Worth: ~$721,700 (+4.53%)

  • Started 2013 with Net Worth: $690,400
  • Year to Date Gain/Loss: +4.53%

In my last update, readers suggested to chart my net worth progress over time.  Below are the net worth values since Dec 2006 with data points taken semi annually.

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.

Where Does the Savings Come From?

We don’t live a lavish lifestyle (how we save money) and do not carry any bad debt.  The only debt we have is an investment loan (which pays for itself), so we end up pocketing a majority of our earnings.  Our earnings come from salaries, private business income (via dividends to shareholders), and eligible dividends from publicly traded companies.

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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FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.
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11 years ago

Great work. once you reach your goal; you should retitle Million Dollar Journey – Portfolio Edition and focus on building a million dollar Investment account

ps. I wouldn’t worry if you don’t reach your goal on time

Canadian Dividend Blogger
11 years ago

I think now, as opposed to 2006-7, he has a lot more potential to accelerate his net worth due to stock market gains. He has $441,000 in investable assets in all his accounts. A 10% increase is $44,100 – quite significant! If he can save $50k a year in income, then he could potentially have a $100k net worth year. It’s not impossible!

11 years ago

@newbie #11: “To me, a graph that consistent would imply that the majority of your growth is coming from a steady source (i.e. salary) as opposed to investment returns.”

This is true.
Stock markets alone create exceptionally few of the already few millionaires.

11 years ago

Do you have all your TFSA’s within TD eseries? Are you using the TFSA’s for ETF’s or just in an high interest account only? I’m trying to decide the best course of action for mine as they are only sitting maxed out in ING at 1.4%.

11 years ago

From Dec 2006 to June 2007 your net worth grew about $56,000. From June 2012 to Dec 2012 it grew by $59,000. Your actual $$$ value of growth from update to update is very consistent, even though your overall net worth has tripled.

Shouldn’t you be seeing accelerated dollar growth as your net worth rises if you’re getting returns on your investments? To me, a graph that consistent would imply that the majority of your growth is coming from a steady source (i.e. salary) as opposed to investment returns.

I’ve just started tracking my net worth, but I’m hoping to see increased dollar value growth as my asset base rises.

Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle
11 years ago

When I read your numbers I realize how far I have to go. My HELOC debt is holding me back from increasing my net worth.

I am tired of giving my hard earned money to the bank in the form of interest payments.

I guess I should consider finding someone to shack up with. Splitting expenses would help me reach my debt reduction goals much faster.

11 years ago

Do you ever write what is in your non-reg portfolio? Or is that incleded when you write about the sm portfolio?

Canadian Dividend Blogger
11 years ago

I think everyone had a good month. Just my investments have been up well over 10% just since mid-November – probably 5% easily in January, especially with the final pop today.

11 years ago

Great job. I’m like Mrs. Pop and had a pretty high percentage increase in January, but also like Mrs. Pop my net worth is lower to begin with :)

My Own Advisor
11 years ago

Awesome stuff. I think we’re up only 2% over last month.

Killer work. ;)