Million Dollar Journey

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Building Wealth through Saving and Investing

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Net Worth Update May 2012 (+0.66%)

Welcome to the Million Dollar Journey May 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..

The first half of 2012 continues to be a rough one for investors.  With the TSX (via XIU) returning -2.5% in April, then -5.5% this past month, and the S&P500 (via XSP) dropping 4.4%, needless to say, portfolios have seen better days.   What has saved my RRSP is that I made my annual contribution in the amount of $4,000.  My RRSP room is capped pretty low due to my pension contributions with my full time job.   What about my leveraged dividend portfolio that has all Canadian content?  It did relatively well this month with a -1.65% return (compared to TSX) which was likely cushioned by dividends coming into the account.

In addition to regular savings, a relatively new web project paid out a dividend, which helped add to savings.  Here is the reason why I don’t add a tax liability to the balance sheet below.

So back to you, is there anything else you would like me to talk about in these net worth update posts?

On to the numbers:

Assets: $703,700 (+0.61%)

  • Cash: $4,500 (+0.00%)
  • Savings: $73,000 (+4.29%)
  • Registered/Retirement Investment Accounts (RRSP): $125,200(+2.62%)
  • Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA):  $40,200 (-0.50%)
  • Defined Benefit Pension: $38,700 (+0.78%)
  • Non-Registered Investment Accounts: $32,100 (-1.53%)
  • Smith Manoeuvre Investment Account: $89,500 (-1.65%)
  • Principal Residence: $300,500 (+0.00%) (purchase price adjusted for inflation annually)

Liabilities$82,800 (+0.24%)

Total Net Worth: ~$620,900 (+0.66%)

  • Started 2012 with Net Worth: $585,228
  • Year to Date Gain/Loss: +6.10%

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.


6 Things to do Before a Job Interview

Congratulations. You’ve got an interview! As you are preparing for the job interview one of the first things you’ll want to do is review common interview questions. This will help you to use your skills, strengths, accomplishments, and experiences to come up with great answers to wow your future employer. But even after you have your winning speech down, there are still six things you should do to prepare for the interview.

1. Know the Company and the Job Description

Knowing the company is a vital part of the job interview. Employers would like to feel like you actually want to work at their specific organization rather than just taking what you can get. Spend some time on their website and reading news about the company and its executives. It’s also important to thoroughly know about the specific position you’re applying for. Be sure you know the position’s responsibilities and duties and how you can link your skills and experience to each of them.

2. Dress for Success

Dressing for success is not universal. Keep your position and company in mind when you’re deciding what to wear. Find out the dress code or what employees usually wear by looking at the website, cruising by the office, or simply asking. But no matter how terrific the outfit looks, if it’s not comfortable, it’s not a good idea. Interviews can be uncomfortable enough without an ill-fitting suit or dress. Keep in mind you may be sitting, standing, and walking around to meet other employees or to see the office.

3. Update your Resume

Before you even apply for a job, make sure everything on your resume is up to date, and bring updated copies to the interview. Double check to make sure all of your accomplishments from your education and work experience are clear. Some other helpful items to bring are college or course transcripts, letters of recommendation, a copy of your cover letter, and any awards or certifications you have. If you are in an industry where you can physically bring your work, like a graphic designer or writer, then bring that along as well. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are constantly changing so be sure your most recent contact information is on your resume as well.

4. Tailor your Pitch

Your cover letter, resume, and responses should all be tailored to the specific position you’re applying for. For example, if you had a position working as a teacher, but you’re applying for an office job, focus less on the childcare experience and more on the suitable experiences. Mention the organization skills in making a lesson plan and the attention to detail while working with many different types of children.

5. Know Where You’re Going

Mapping out exactly how to get to your interview will help you get there on time with no stress. It sounds simple enough, but if you’re traveling to a new place you’re not familiar with, you can easily get lost or not give yourself enough time to get there. Save plenty of extra time for traffic, public transportation delays, or other mishaps. You definitely don’t want your first impression to be negative because you’re late or are calling because you need directions.

6. Relax

One of the most vital things you can do to have a successful interview is simply to relax. Once you’re prepared your comfortable and sophisticated outfit, are confident in your answers, and know where you’re going, you only need to concentrate on staying calm. If you appear collected and relaxed, you’ll also appear more confident and approachable. Talking faster than normal and fidgeting are two common occurrences when your nervous. Combat this by speaking out loud before the interview and being conscious of your speech and body movement.

This is a guest article by Ray, the owner of Financial Highway, where he discusses investing, saving and practical money management tips. You can like him on facebook or follow him on Twitter


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