Welcome to the Million Dollar Journey June 2010 Net Worth Update 

With summer underway, it’s the time of year where vacations are plenty and things slow down a bit in online world. Trading volumes decrease, markets slow down, and blog followers are busy enjoying the sunshine.  On the same note, my net worth increases continue to be slow, steady and predictable.  Once again, the markets have been volatile this past month, but savings continue to be the strength on the balance sheet. 

With regards to my investment accounts, I’m still sitting on quite a bit of cash.  I picked up a couple new positions in my Smith Manouevre account as discussed in my last update, but my RRSP and TFSA have seen very little action lately.  It’s going to be interesting to see when most income trusts convert to corporations.  It will give us dividend investors much more selection come 2011. 

On another note, I have my vacation days booked, but no real plans yet.  How about you?  Do you have an annual budget set aside specifically for vacation?

On to the numbers:

Assets: $ 526,610 (+0.99%)

  • Cash: $4,500 (+0.00%)
  • Savings: $45,900.00 (9.29%)
  • Registered/Retirement Investment Accounts (RRSP): $76,300.00 (+1.46%)
  • Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA):  $19,994 (+0.12%)
  • Defined Benefit Pension: $29,950.00 (+1.70%)
  • Non-Registered Investment Accounts: $12,216.00 (-6.75%)
  • Smith Manoeuvre Investment Account: $54,500.00 (+0.93%)
  • Principal Residence: $283,250 (+0.00%) (purchase price adjusted for inflation)

Liabilities$69,700.00 (-1.97%)

  • Principal Residence Mortgage (readvanceable): $15,500.00 (-9.36%)
  • HELOC balance: $54,200 (+0.37%)

Total Net Worth: ~$456,910.00(+1.45%)

  • Started 2010 with Net Worth: $399,600.00
  • Year to Date Gain/Loss: +14.34%

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 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.


  1. Brian on June 30, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Not specifically related to this post but, What about using TFSA as a retirement vehicle in addition to RRSP. If you money grows well, when you retire you will not have to pay any tax on that money. I think most people like the RRSP because it gives a tax break at the time ( which is usually spent frivolously )

  2. investnoob on June 30, 2010 at 10:25 am

    FrugalTrader, I was wondering if you have recently had your house appraised? I do like how you only use the inflation adjusted purchase price to calculate net worth. Its conservative, but smart.

    How could I do the same thing? I know my purchase price, but don’t really know how to go about adjusting it for inflation.

  3. Steph on June 30, 2010 at 11:09 am

    I too would like to know how you estimate inflation on the value of your house. I’m also curious as to why you don’t include your employer’s matching funds in your pension amount.

  4. ldk on June 30, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Our vacation plans this year include our first trip to Newfoundland for a national soccer tournament….any suggestions for ‘must do’s’ during our week there??

  5. nobleea on June 30, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    for house value, i increase mine at a rate of 0.25% per month. this works out to just over 3% annualized inflation, which I think is reasonable for long term house price gains. you could probably do 0.2% per month if you wanted to be conservative.

  6. nobleea on June 30, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    for vacations, we budget close to $1000/month to save up. this is split up between savings for international travel and domestic travel (skiing, camping, cross country weddings).

    this summer we are hiking the west coast trail, have a wedding in toronto, a funeral in victoria, camping in shuswaps, and a 3 week trip to mediterranean (including a 2wk cruise). we’re going to be busy.

  7. Jacq @ Single mom rich mom on June 30, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Pretty good results – I think my stocks and funds are down about .5% or so this month.
    What if you have a house in a market that’s been fluctuating quite a bit though? I don’t really look at net worth at all, more cashflow right now but I might look at both methods this once I’m retired in a few weeks.
    As far as vacations go, this year we’re taking the RV and heading off to Vancouver Island and the Oregon coast for the month of August.

  8. Melanie Samson on June 30, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    This is the first year we’ve set aside money every month for vacation, and I have to say, it really takes the stress out of it! We were setting aside 150$ per pay, but after this vacation, the amount will be reduced to get read for the maternity leave budget.

  9. FrugalTrader on June 30, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    @ Brian, I’m in the same boat. I consider the TFSA a retirement account rather than a savings account. The TFSA will have major tax advantages during retirement years.

    @ investnoob, Steph, no appraisal for me, but I know that similar houses in the neighborhood are easily selling for $350k+. I like to stick with the conservative side of things, so I estimated the home value as purchase price + 3% inflation adjusted annually.

    @ ldk, what part of NL will you be visiting?

    @ nobleea, wow, your cash flow must be strong to allocate $1k for vacations! Sounds like you have a great summer planned.

  10. Tom on June 30, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Hey FT,
    I have a defined benefit plan at my work too and my employer matches my contributions.

    Why do you only count your contributions and not your employers as well? The way I see it is once the pension is vested, if you left the company all the contributions would be yours.

    Are you just being conservative?


  11. FrugalTrader on June 30, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    @ tom, it’s a combination of reality, being conservative and being lazy. :) The defined pension amount combines both spouse pensions. Since I just started mine, there is no employer matching until 5 years in (sucks I know). With my wife, I simply take her bi-annual statement (or annual?) which includes the employer portion, and simply add her contribution on a monthly basis. Technically, I could easily include the employer portion, but that automatically adjusts when I get the actual statement.

  12. Tom on June 30, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Oh, I see. That’s fair enough. :)

    Thanks FT!

  13. nobleea on June 30, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    FT: it’s a matter of priorities. we don’t have cable, go out to movies twice a year (and then only with free coupons from cereal boxes) and spend maybe 150$ in new clothes a year. old computers and tvs and buy almost everything else used off kijiji.

    and as i’ve said before, in old age, no one looks back and says i wish i’d traveled and experienced LESS.

  14. ldk on June 30, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    FT…we will be in St. John’s (July 19th); staying at the Sheraton. The kids will be playing in Mount Pearl.


  15. Nelley on June 30, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Best blog update in the past little while! I found you went a little off topic for awhile but this post gets my head back in the game. I love the detail and the matter of fact manner of your updates. This is encouraging to me (and hopefully others) that savvy spending, smart investing and continuous saving CAN lead to a fruitful and happy life.
    Thanks again!

  16. canucktuary on June 30, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Most DB pensions aren’t based on ee contributions at all, but a combination of factors including years of service, salary and the time value of money until your retirement date.

    FT, your method is an OK approximation at a young age, but you will notice a BIG change in your CV as you guys approach retirement age. But as you say, you true it up every six months so in the end it doesn’t make a difference.

  17. Stocks on Wall Street on June 30, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Congrats on building up your net worth

  18. Greg on June 30, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    In the absence of a house appraisal, I use my yearly property tax assessment for my house value. The 3% per year figure is way off here in Vancouver (it is more like 10% CAGR over the last 10 years). I guess for monthly updates, property tax valuation + 3% APR until the next property tax valuation comes in would work.

  19. Ms Save Money on June 30, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    wow your net worth is just constantly improving it seems. I think it’s so important how you track it all because it really shows you your net worth.

  20. investnoob on June 30, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Thanks FT. Great blog!

  21. why I opened an ING account on June 30, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    congrats FT, great blog!

  22. Ticker on June 30, 2010 at 11:52 pm


    Curious why you don’t pay off the mortgage with money from the savings account. If the mortgage is readvancable I do not see the risk. Just trying to understand and learn.


  23. FrugalTrader on July 1, 2010 at 6:49 am

    @Ticker, Good question! The reason is that my mortgage currently has an extremely low rate P-0.85% and I calculated that with my current payment schedule, the mortgage will be paid off in a short time anyways (less than 1 year remaining).

    @ldk, it depends on what your interests/free time looks like. Contact me and we’ll discuss!

  24. Financial Cents on July 1, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Hey Frugal!

    As always, continually impressed with your NW progress. Keep up the great work. Yes, to be sitting on $45 K is quite a bit of cash indeed!! Wouldn’t now be a great time to buy more dividend payers? I’m not saying throw all $45,000 into them, rather, maybe $10 K into one stock: ENB, BNS or TA and increase your position.

    I’d be curious to know what you’re going to do with that tidy sum.

    Anyhow, no doubt it will be interesting to see what happens when most income trusts convert to corporations – I’ve got my eye on JE.UN for my TFSA in 2011.

    Yes, my wife and I set aside a budget for our vacations. We save up money and pay off our vacations before the plane leaves the tarmac. We don’t typically buy or expense things we can’t pay cash for the following month. No doubt you have the same habits :)

    Happy Canada Day to you! Time for a cold beer!

  25. Life insurance quotes on July 1, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Nice post. You have given a good insight in managing wealth. Yesterday I was talking to a financial planner who told me segregated funds are best bet to grow money. What is you opinion on this ?


  26. moneygardener on July 1, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    FT, This update is impressive. A 14.3% year to date gain in net worth is very good considering the way the markets have been. You must be really doing well on the savings side….

  27. Multiple Egg Baskets on July 2, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Having some funds set aside for vacationing is always a good idea. Perhaps you’d want to consider a major trip every 3 or 5 years based on your savings amount. It gives you a target to strive toward and it can the anticipation of the trip that much better.

    You can turn this into a family personal finance learning opportunity as your kids learn to save if they would like to have a luxury.

    Keep up the good work with your net worth changes.

  28. Future Money-Bags on July 5, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Nice update as always FT. Can’t wait to see you hit the 7 digits! x,xxx,xxx!
    The end of this year looks promising for both of us. I still average 70% income savings/ month :)
    @Life insurance quotes:

    I have a small pac plan setup with a SegFund. There are many good things about segregated funds.
    1. they are guaranteed after a certain amount of years. (years depend on the class you buy) 75-100% guaranteed.
    2. Any money in a seg fund is creditor proof.
    3. you can withdraw whenever you want and not get dinged.

    If you are looking into them, make sure you check out the history of the company. Mine has never had a negative 10year period. So as long as I keep it for 10 years, it has a guaranteed gain; and averaging 8-10% aint too shabby.

    You may want to take a look at mutual funds as well, they are very diversified (depending on which one you buy).

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