Welcome to the Million Dollar Journey March 2012 Net Worth Update.  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 off with one of my favorite topics, the stock market!  There is a divergence between the TSX and the SP500, where the SP500 is on fire and the TSX has been flat.  It seems that commodities have cooled down significantly and the big money is flowing into big dividend paying blue chips.  Overall though, my investments remained relatively flat for the month.

With my leveraged Canadian dividend stock portfolio being non-registered, I’m slowly converting my RRSP into US and international holdings.  Thus far, I’ve sold off some duplicate Canadian positions, and I’ve started to bulk up on strong US dividend stocks, and an ETF for international exposure.  Slowly I’m starting to practice what I preach in tax efficiency which is all outlined in my article about portfolio tax allocation.

Even with the flat markets, we managed to squeeze a small gain this month due to an increase in savings from increased income.  Besides savings from regular salary, we paid ourselves a dividend (via dividend sprinkling), from our private corporation.  You may be thinking about the tax liability associated with the dividend payout, but we only dividend out enough in the year to offset our expected tax refund to a net tax payable as close to $0 as possible.

On to the numbers:

Assets: $697,651 (+0.89%)

  • Cash: $4,500 (+0.00%)
  • Savings: $66,000 (+10.00%)
  • Registered/Retirement Investment Accounts (RRSP): $123,300(-0.48%)
  • Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA):  $40,600 (+0.25%)
  • Defined Benefit Pension: $38,100 (+0.53%)
  • Non-Registered Investment Accounts: $32,651 (-1.59%)
  • Smith Manoeuvre Investment Account: $92,000 (+1.10%)
  • Principal Residence: $300,500 (+0.00%) (purchase price adjusted for inflation annually)

Liabilities$82,400 (+0.24%)

  • Principal Residence Mortgage (readvanceable): $0 (0.00%) (Paid off in 2010!)
  • Investment LOC balance: $82,400 (+0.24%)

Total Net Worth: ~$615,251 (+0.98%)

  • Started 2012 with Net Worth: $585,228
  • Year to Date Gain/Loss: +5.13%

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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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

FT congradulations on doing such a good job on your journy

12 years ago

Hi FT – what’s your TFSA invested in and is it maxed on contributions? I’m just wondering if my gain is typical or not. Or at least it was a really good gain at March 31st. Not so great after this last week or so.

12 years ago

Hi FT,

I noticed 10% gain in your savings which translates to $6600. Your savings are predominantly in ING and PC Financial. This is substantial. How did you manage to make this gain?


12 years ago
The Reverend
12 years ago

@Outtahere 2020,

I haven’t heard that rule of thumb before, nor have i tried to validate or refute it, but as with any rule of thumb it only works on average. For your example, that $700 of income would be worth very different amounts in present value terms if you were 30 vs if you were 60, so I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on it.

12 years ago

Thanks for the link to the article on tax efficiency. I’m thinking about adding US dividend stocks to my portfolio. But I’ve been reluctant because I don’t know which account to put them in. However, it looks like the RRSP is the best place to hold US equities. Is it still the case that there is a withholding tax for US equities in a TFSA? I’m a little unclear on what is meant by the withholding tax. I’m assuming this is taken out of your dividend payments before they are even deposited into your account?

By the way, great blog. I’ve been reading for awhile but I don’t think I’ve every commented. I really enjoy these net worth updates, along with the articles on leveraging. I just opened up my leveraged account of Canadian dividend stocks. It’s very small in comparison to yours, but I see this as being a long term process, so I’m very excited.

12 years ago

You are so close!!! How many more months or years do you have left before you need to reach your goal?

I think you’re ahead of the game :)

12 years ago

Congrats on the update and boo to the tsx. But you need a lot of patience with the stock market it seems..

Should have used todays closing costs for the update!!

Gary - Military Millionaire
12 years ago

This is a great blog…I just stumbled on it a few days ago. I find it admirable how transparent you are with your finances. I am very new to blogs, and am happy that someone is doing something like this. I’ll definitely be following your blog, and will be referring others as well. Keep up the great work. You only have 30% more to go!