Welcome to the recurring monthly net worth updateThe November 2008 edition.

For the second month in a row, I was not looking forward to putting this post together.  As you can see from the title, November 2008 is another down month with my net worth dropping an additional 1.59%.  What’s the reason for the decrease?  The markets have dropped to levels not seen since 2003/2004 which means most, if not all, equity positions are lower… much lower.

I also made the mistake of deploying some of the cash I had in my RRSP and SM Portfolio into positions I thought were a “steal”.  Apparently, cheap stocks can get much cheaper!

What prevented this update from being really ugly was, once again, our trusty savings.

Here are the assets/liabilities result for the month of November:

Assets: $ 577,750 (-0.98%)

  • Cash: $4,500 (+0.00%)
  • Savings: $36,000 (+9.96%)
  • Registered/Retirement Investment Account: $41,100 (-8.67%)
  • Pension: $22,350 (+0.00%)
  • Non-Registered Investment Account: $18,300 (-1.08%)
  • Smith Manoeuvre Investment Account: $42,000 (-10.45%)
  • Investment Property: $ 124,500 (+0.00%)
  • Principal Residence: $275,000 (+0.00%) (purchase price)
  • Vehicles: $14,000 (2 vehicles) (+0.00%)

Liabilities: $ 266,400 (-0.26%)

  • Investment Property Mortgage: $92,300 (-0.22%)
  • Principal Residence Mortgage (readvanceable): $122,700 (-0.57%)
  • HELOC balance: $51,400 (+0.39%)

Total Net Worth: ~$311,350  (-1.59%)

Started 2008 with Net Worth: $279,300

Year to Date Gain/Loss: +11.48%

For those of you tracking your net worth, how much has the market down turn affected you?

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 all held with PC Financial. We 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.

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 despite significant appreciation in the real estate market that we’re in. The rental property value was appraised in 2006. I’m considering raising the reported values of the homes at the rate of inflation starting January 2009.

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The way in which your assets are allocated is really protecting you from the stock market declines. Down this small percentage in one month is pretty minor. Some would say that if you have a very stable employment income stream that now is the time for your to deploy at least some of your ‘savings’ into the stock market. This could really provide the fuel to your near term net worth growth…

As for your question, the market is affecting our net worth much more than it is affecting yours. I was down about 8% from Sept.15 – Nov.15. That being said I am heavily allocated towards the stock market compared with most people in their late twenties. My home value only makes up about 70% of my total assets. See my blog for more details.


Hey, minus 1.59% doesn’t seem too bad! Especially with the new baby. My net worth has gone to hell in a handbasket, although I’m somewhat blase about it at the moment by focusing on the fact that we’ve got the TFSA funded and that my little shining star for 2008, Winpak, appears to be up 60% since we bought it.

By the way, I know I owe you an email, but haven’t had the chance to pull something together for you – working long hours to justify the nice bonus which will kick up my net worth next month ;)

I am envious of how well your net worth has held up this year. We are down approx. 21% as of November 19th (see my blog). We are heavily weighted in financial services and unfortunately in Citigroup (ouch!). Our shining star has been global fixed income – up 29% – otherwise it would be a lot worse.

You shouldn’t be too glum :)

I think that’s not too bad….

Keep your spirit

and keep smile :)

How often do you reset the values for your vehicles? Since they haven’t changed in several months, I assume you do it once or twice a year?

I am surprised that you keep your real estate values at 2006 prices which was the peak. Real estate values have come off nationwide since then. My bank just lowered its (unscientific) evaluation of my house by about 20% from a year ago. Maybe you also want to take another look at the value of your real estate.

I agree with the Money Gardener that now is a good time to start accumulating solid dividend stocks or going into index funds.

Even if we are in the “next” Depression we are not going to fall a lot more from current levels..

My net worth has performed similarly over the last few months. Stock holdings are down significantly, but I am buying more with excess cash flow from monthly income flows. Overall, I am down about 10% for the year, more due to the depreciation in my house value (which I have been unsuccessfully trying to sell for 6 months) than the stock market (the net worth losses have been offset by aggressive buying).

If you have one more month of negative growth, are you in a recession? :)

I think you are doing great. If you compare your numbers with the general market, this is evidence that your strategy does work. As you know, among the many reasons to have such a heavy focus towards good dividend stocks is lowering downside risk, and you’ve obviously done that.

If you are finding your risk tolerance not as high as previously thought, maybe now is a good time to increase fixed income allocations. I think its great you are still 11.5% on the upside for the year, this last month just moved me into the negative :(

Keep positive, keep buying, and we’ll all ride this out eventually.

Possibly you should expand your horizons? I believe Frugal Trader’s valuation to be conservative.

Newfoundland Housing Market


Friday’s rally helped me finish slightly in the black for November but far from catching up on what was lost in September and October.

Another impressive month, FT.

We’re actually up slightly for November- 1.1%. I wish I could offer a decent explanation beyond dumb luck! With current real estate values around here (and the recent sale of 2 comparable houses on my street for a lot more than I would have expected), I’ve been itching to bump up my valuation so that I can show some big gains when everything else is tanking, but I’m resisting the temptation… for now.

You are doing great! With the recent stock market tumbling, I am down 2.37%. If not those shorts, my net worth will probably down even more. I guess rental properties as a secondary income resource did provide some cushion for the difficult time. Again, great job!

FT how did you decide on how much to keep for the savings account?
I am looking at doing the same but at 1/3rd of the price, my main reason is in the event of unemployment…
I plan on using my spouse to hold the account as she has a lower tax bracket. Would you suggest using a High rate savings account or somethings else? possible a mix of GIC and savings account?

thanks for the advice

You have done very well in a year where stocks have gone down like they have, it means when stocks starts to go up you stand to gain a lot. Good luck

Eeesh, good thing the month end net worth cut off date was at the end of last week’s stock market rally and not after today’s collapse!
On the flip side, some attractive dividend-yielding stocks got cheaper.

Sorry all! I did not know that you lived in an area with a strong economy. I thought this blog was written by a US resident. – I have never been to Newfoundland. My horizon has not expanded that far yet. (Taking a look at it from the plane on the way to or from Europe does not count, does it now?) I hope to make it there soon. Ever since I met a family from St. John’s – very nice people – I have been curious about the area.

Our net worth is down 11.87% since December 2007. Yikes! We’re in our late 30’s and our RRSP’s took a huge hit this year.

Hey FT – I was wondering about your pension. I’ve noticed it hasn’t changed at all over the past several months. Is it a defined contribution pension or defined benefit?

I have a defined contribution pension and it changes in value with the stock market (it’s essentially an extra RRSP that my employer and me contribute to). How do you value yours?

Hi, I’ve been following your blog. And started a new blog with the same networth updates every month just like yours. We’re all a victim in one of the worst financial crisis. Hopefully, the sun would shine soon.

You are almost near to a million dollar. Keep it up. But the market is not helping you. It’s bringing us all down.

My equity portfolio is down 62% However, I’m 22. I invested in oil as it was going up (around 140)… made a mistake… I’m going to do some dollar-cost-averaging ASAP =).

I also grabbed Citigroup; if you have low-tolerance for risk I’d suggest not doing US financials. I watched Citigroup almost collapse around $3 in about a week. Scary ordeal, but it seems the US govt won’t allow some financial institutions to fail. They just keep pouring more money in. Also, I’m going to do some dollar cost-averaging here too.

Here’s a plug;

I’m currently reading “the intelligent investor”; it’s a great book. Especially if you have a 100% common-stock portfolio ;-)

This tracking is interesting but your net worth is too much in illiquid real estate and vulnerable to the housing market vagaries. In addition, you are talking about adjusting the r/e values higher based on inflation. For those tracking their net worth, I’d suggest focusing on non real estate. A property is only worth what someone will pay-and you won’t know until you try selling. With stocks and bonds, not only are they liquid, but they are a better assessment of net worth. That’s why most firms and banks, etc rely on your net worth other than your principal residence. I’d be more impressed if your net worth was increasing due to your investment acumen with stocks and bonds, I would like to see an 11% rise based on liquid investments, not illiquid investments. The goal should be $1,000,000 in totally liquid assets in addition to R/E. Good Luck