Welcome to the Million Dollar Journey November 2010 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.  If you scroll down below, you’ll see that the net worth is getting close to the $500k mark with about 4 years to go.  If you would like to follow my journey, you can get updates sent directly to your email.

During my last update, I committed to using my cash savings to pay off the mortgage, and I’m happy to announce that we are mortgage free in 2010.  Looking for more details?  Last week, I wrote some background information that included a history of our real estate adventure and the mortgage strategies that we used to pay off the mortgage.  Check out how we became mortgage free in 3 years.

So what does having the mortgage paid off really mean?  For us, we like to focus on cash flow, that is, minimizing expenses while increasing our household income as much as possible.  With the mortgage eliminated, it simply means that one of our largest cash outflows can be diverted elsewhere.  Where?  Initially, we’ll likely save a lump sum for some home renovations (basement development, shed, exterior stone work) but after it’ll likely be used to continue building our passive income dividend portfolio.  As our definition of financial freedom is when passive income sources are enough to meet expenses, although still a good way to go, our goal is closer now with no mortgage payments.

For those of you who track your net worth, how did it turn out for November?

On to the numbers:

Assets: $ 551,700 (-0.20%)

  • Cash: $4,500 (+0.00%)
  • Savings: $39,000 (-10.34%)
  • Registered/Retirement Investment Accounts (RRSP): $101,500(+1.20%)
  • Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA):  $20,650 (+0.98%)
  • Defined Benefit Pension: $32,000 (+1.27%)
  • Non-Registered Investment Accounts: $12,800 (+4.92%)
  • Smith Manoeuvre Investment Account: $58,000 (+1.75%)
  • Principal Residence: $283,250 (+0.00%) (purchase price adjusted for inflation)

Liabilities$55,200 (-13.21%)

  • Principal Residence Mortgage (readvanceable): $0 (-100%)
  • Investment LOC balance: $55,200 (+0.36%)

Total Net Worth: ~$496,500 (+1.49%)

  • Started 2010 with Net Worth: $399,600
  • Year to Date Gain/Loss: +24.25%

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.


  1. Tom on November 29, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Congradulation on paying off the house, that is a really big step in becoming really wealthy.

  2. Scott on November 29, 2010 at 11:04 am

    With the home renovations you mention, it sounds like you are starting to experience lifestyle inflation :)

  3. FrugalTrader on November 29, 2010 at 11:21 am

    LOL, yes for sure, life happens and with a growing family, we need the space.

  4. DavidV on November 29, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Nice job! What are you going to do with your investment loc? What percentage of your house value do you feel comfortable leveraging?

  5. FrugalTrader on November 29, 2010 at 11:52 am

    @David, the investment LOC will remain as I like tax deduction and it doesn’t dip into cash flow. I would say that I would be comfortable leveraging up to $100k or so.

  6. Dr. STAN on November 29, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    I was wondering about the defined benefit pension. Here’s how I calculate what mine is worth : I have accumulated 8 years of service and plan on working for 30 years at the very most. So 8/30 = about 25% of my career is under my belt. I then calculate my future pension income based on today’s salary (assuming that it will roughly follow inflation). Let’s say it works out to a $40K annual pension. I have accumulated 25% of this amount, so $10K per year. And then I figure out how much I would need to purchase an annuity paying out $10K per year guaranteed for life. This amount I add to my net worth, because I would need this amount in cash to buy an equivalent annuity if I was self-employed or pensionless. I believe this is a fair way of calculating the real value of a defined benefit pension. If any changes occur to the plan, I would have to adjust my formula. This actually boosts my net worth by about $180,000 as of today.

  7. Ron on November 29, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Hey FT,

    Kudo’s on the NW gain. With the LOC where do you put that money? Is it entirely in dividend stocks/funds (banks, trusts, I would assume safe, stable entities) or do you hold some in bonds? The former is obviously more tax-efficient. I believe your LOC is secured. What kind of rate are you getting right now?

    I have been toying with the idea of borrowing some money to invest as we are in good financial shape at the moment.

    You may have some earlier blog posts about this so my apologies if I missed them in the site.


  8. FrugalTrader on November 29, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    @Dr. Stan, that is an interesting way to look at it. I simply take the value on the annual (or biannual) statement and add our contributions.

    @Ron, we put it towards dividend payers, here is the portfolio:https://milliondollarjourney.com/category/portfolio

  9. Big E on November 29, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    A huge congrats on being mortgage free! I can only dream of the day …

  10. The Financial Blogger on November 29, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Congrats! Mortgage free and an increase on net worth! This journey really starts to pay out! ;-)

  11. Briana @ GBR on November 29, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Congratulations on the increase! This is super inspirational and I’m hoping to be in the same boat soon, as soon as I get out of debt.

  12. Sampson on November 29, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    closing in on that half-mil mark eh? good job!

  13. DavidV on November 29, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    although I asked a specific question earlier today, here is a more general one. Do you have yearly goal for your net worth increase? I aimed for 15% this year, and hit 17.85%

    But now I’m looking forward to a goal for next year (I do Jan 1 to Dec 1) and realized that a 15% increase means an increase in my net worth that’s just a little under my pretax salary.

    I’m all for shooting for the stars, but what type of net worth gain should I expect in a year?

  14. FrugalTrader on November 29, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    @David, for me, my goal is $1M in net worth in 4 years, which works out to be a 20%+ gain each year. All depends on your goals.

  15. Financial Cents on November 29, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Closing in on $500 K NW, amazing FT.

  16. Jungle on November 30, 2010 at 12:17 am

    Good job again. I think you guys have strong cash flow and low spending. That helps a lot.

    We’ll be doing our Nov net worth update on Nov 1. Investment value will be used on tomorrows closing prices. So I hope the markets go up tomorrow. No more sorrow for Europe debt!

  17. Melanie Samson on November 30, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Interesting comments on the defined benefit scenario. I don’t include my DB pension at all in our net worth calculations. It would make a big difference in the result, but I prefer to keep it out of the mix since I have little or no control over it.

  18. Brett | Investing Part Time on December 1, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Awesome to hear you paid off the house. I love your blog and have checked in from time to time, but now I’m getting into the job world and having to consider all this stuff, so I’ll pay closer attention. Can’t wait to see how the end of the year turns out :)

  19. youngandthrifty on December 4, 2010 at 5:01 am

    Exciting! Renovations :) Congratulations again on paying off your mortgage! Great idea to buff up your passive dividend investing portfolio now that your mortgage is paid off.

  20. Chris Tringham on December 5, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    Based on my rocket scientist advanced mathematic calculations to make your target net worth of $1M you will need to have 19% net worth growth during the next 4 years.

    With current projections of 24% for the year it will be very interesting to see whether you can sustain this level growth without increasing the savings rate.

  21. Terry on December 7, 2010 at 5:23 am

    I would just like to thank you for what you are doing. Most sites do not give you an idea of how they (the authors) are doing. It is refreshing that you give advice and apply it to yourself and give people an idea of how you are progressing towards the goal you set.

    You show that it is a slow and steady process and requires discipline, not some get rich quick advice with no yardstick to follow or measure.

    You bring everything into focus for the ‘common’ person with average knowledge and show that it is not as hard as one may think.

    Keep up the great work, you are inspire me and I am sure a whole lot of others out there by keeping it real, with your own experiences on this journey.

  22. Tom on December 7, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Hey FT,
    Do you include your RESP portfolio in your net worth? I’m thinking you don’t but just want to confirm.


  23. FrugalTrader on December 7, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    @Chris, thanks fro the calculations. I figured it was around 20% or so.

    @Terry, thanks for the kind words!

    @Tom, no, RESP is not included.

  24. FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com on December 11, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    My November was pretty good just for my earnings. BF’s separate.. but I went up $18,933 from October.


  25. Mark on December 21, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    I have been tracking my Net Worth since 2005 and I seem to be on a similar ‘journey” to yours. I have been able to achieve a 21% increase per year over this time (real estate values inclusive). I would be interested if you have a 5 year over year summary of your increases. Keep up the great work!

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