Welcome to the Million Dollar Journey September 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..

During the last update, I speculated that September was going to be a volatile month due to historical patterns.  Fortunately for investors, both the TSX and the S&P500 continued its upward march with the S&P500 reaching multi-year highs.  Upwards moving markets are always good for long term investment accounts which is evident in the gains in my RRSP, the leveraged dividend portfolio and my non-registered accounts.

My risk appetite has increased over the past couple of months where I’ve been doing a bit of trading with some excess cash (allocated play money). You may notice a large gain in the non-registered accounts below (+7.41%), this is due to some gold swing trades (lucky timing) in addition to pouring savings into that account.

Where do our savings come from?  First, 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.

On to the numbers:

Assets: $756,200 (+1.64%)

  • Cash: $4,500 (+0.00%)
  • Savings: $20,000 (+0.00%)
  • Registered/Retirement Investment Accounts (RRSP): $131,100(+2.02%)
  • Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA):  $40,500 (+0.75%)
  • Defined Benefit Pension: $40,100 (+0.75%)
  • Non-Registered Investment Accounts: $116,000 (+7.41%)
  • Smith Manoeuvre Investment Account: $103,500 (+0.98%)
  • Principal Residence: $300,500 (+0.00%) (purchase price adjusted for inflation annually)

Liabilities$93,700 (+0.21%)

Total Net Worth: ~$662,500 (+1.84%)

  • Started 2012 with Net Worth: $585,228
  • Year to Date Gain/Loss: +13.20%

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.

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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Can you break down the net worth growth drawn from passive income versus active income?

For example, how much did the assets you held at the beginning of 2012 grow versus how much you’ve socked away since the beginning of 2012.


Fantastic! Amazing to see your net worth grow so much over the last 6 years. You inspire me to get into investing more seriously.

Thanks for the response. I think it would be useful for you to accurately break down where the incremental net worth is coming from; i.e., is it coming from additional savings or capital appreciation?

It’s a crucial distinction and it’s omission could be misleading, i.e., one could not replicate the net worth growth unless they had a similar level of income/savings.

A pro forma way of approximating it would be to take the weighted average rate of return on your investments (from the P/E) and anticipated (conservative) capital appreciation on your real estate and then multiplying that rate by the total portfolio. That would be the passive growth in net worth.

The retained earnings from an income statement would be the active growth in net worth.

You will have to up it slightly.

Over the last three six-months period, you’ve grown your worth by 10%, 5%, and 8%…

Using an 8% growth rate (16% annual), you’ll be at roughly $925k on Dec 2014.

Awesome result but not enough for your goal… you need 20% annual from June 2012 to Dec 2014…

But what is six months anyway…

@ Frugal Trader: You avoided my question. Of course net worth growth comes in a variety of ways. Demonstrating exactly where it comes from should be neither complex nor onerous. This should not be fearful stuff for you. I just started reading this website. I’ll stop now. Moderate away.

Nice job on the net worth gain FT. That’s like a 5 figure increase from last month in dollar terms. Making trades on the price of gold can be really lucrative if you time it properly. I did something similar with silver last month :D I like the historical chart from 2006 you added btw. Keep it up.

Up 13% YTD? Wow, great stuff!

Based on the increasing trend of your assets, I am sure that you will become a millionaire before you turn 35.

I haven’t known this site before but I must say the idea for creating such a site is simply ingenious. It must be fascinating to follow your progress over time, which I am certainly going to. Having read this article, I can say that you are certainly going to make it before 35. Respect, man!

FT, just curious if you have a percentage of what you add towards all your investments each month… AKA: 20% RRSPs, 10% TFSA, 50% Unregistered, etc…

Great blog by the way. I’m just getting going understanding the power of dividend blue chip growth investing. It’s fun learning about it and your blog is helpful in that regard.

That’s an interesting approach to it. Is there any reason you don’t contribute to your investements on a monthly basis? That is what I’m doing, I’m just curious what your logic is in doing it annually. Cheers.

How much do you allocate to play money? Also, can you write an article on investing in gold?