Million Dollar Journey

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Building Wealth through Saving and Investing

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Net Worth Update April 2013 (+0.92%)

Welcome to the Million Dollar Journey April 2013 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 the favorite topics here on MDJ – the stock market!  The TSX started its decline in March, but the drop really accelerated in April with commodities leading the way to a 4.7% overall loss.  However, even with the significant monthly drop, I’m staying the course and watching to see if any of my favorite companies fall within buying range.  Fortunately, my dividend portfolio held up pretty well during the decline with a small loss of 0.42%.

The S&P500 continued its winning streak for a 1% gain for the month of April.  As I mentioned in a recent post, most of my RRSP holdings are in large US dividend stocks which has worked out well so far this year with another  gain of 1.75% in April.  On the other side of the spectrum, an account that hasn’t been performing is the TFSA with very little gains over the years.  That account is mostly cash, short term bonds, and only recently have I been adding REITs.  I hope to move more of the cash into equities for long term growth.

Even though expenses were higher this month, our savings rate was maintained due to withdrawing a little more out of the company.  There is some cash on the corporate balance sheet that I hope to invest soon and include, after tax, on the net worth updates.

On to the numbers:

Assets: $853,200 (+0.84%)

  • Cash: $4,500 (+0.00%)
  • Savings: $20,000 (+0.00%)
  • Registered/Retirement Investment Accounts (RRSP): $151,500(+1.75%)
  • Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA):  $52,000 (-0.57%)
  • Defined Benefit Pension: $42,200 (+0.72%)
  • Non-Registered Investment Accounts: $155,000 (+3.33%)
  • Smith Manoeuvre Investment Account: $118,500 (-0.42%)
  • Principal Residence: $309,500 (+0.00%) (purchase price adjusted for inflation annually)

Liabilities$100,300 (+0.20%)

Total Net Worth: ~$752,900 (+0.92%)

  • Started 2013 with Net Worth: $690,400
  • Year to Date Gain/Loss: +9.05%

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.  If you cannot see the chart, please click here.

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.

Where Does the Savings Come From?

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.

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.

Updated 2013 –  My wife has recently changed her job position which has resulted in switching from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan.  This amount will be added to the RRSP totals going forward.

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.

11 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. 1. Jordan

    Congrats as always! How much longer until your 35th birthday? Hate to “spoil the surprise”, but if you were to plot your gains forward at the current rate does it appear that you will achieve your goal?

  2. 2. Gray

    Is there a reason you don’t include income from this website in your net worth update? Surely you are well over the 1mm mark if you included such profits.

  3. 3. Liquid

    Nice job as usual FT :D Your net worth would probably be higher if you included your business assets too. At this rate you’ll be able to retire in your 40s :) The market has been a bit flaky lately. It might be that investors are expecting something big to happen in May like last year. I’m currently looking at other investment opportunities like real estate, but will probably start adding to my my stock portfolio again later this year.

  4. 4. FT

    @Jordan, Thanks! We’ll get a better picture when I start including some business assets/cash.

    @Liquid, funny that you mention about retiring in our 40’s, it was a discussion we had last night! Stay tuned, it may be our next big goal.

  5. @Gray, I implicitly include the business income through dividend withdrawals from the business account. However, as I mentioned above, I will be starting a portfolio soon within my business account which I’ll include in the net worth statement.

  6. 6. SST

    FT, did you ever do an update detailing capital/dividend gains vs. income/savings gains? If so, which month (I believe it was recent)?

  7. @SST, that is a good idea, I have never done that. On average our savings (including business distributions) is in the range of 3-6k per month. Everything else would be investment gains unless it’s a contribution month (RRSP/TFSA etc).

  8. 8. Archanfel

    Congratulations. I can’t believe your growth rate. You seem to beat the market easily. Just wondering whether you are going to sell in May or stick with this market. It’s making me awfully nervous right now. Also, how would you suggest to account for large expenses (like vehicle purchase) when tracking net worth? For houses, would using government estimation make sense? Thanks.

  9. Congrats on a good month. Just a question – how much of the increase each year since 2006 was due to savings, and how much due to investment gains? I’d be interested to know even a rough amount.

  10. @Jin, that’s a good question, let me take a look and get back to you.

  11. 11. Brian

    JWC, almost all of the net worth growth here over the years is from saving. I applaud it, and that’s really the theme of this website. Live properly, responsibly, save money, and don’t waste it on a bunch of crap that you certainly don’t need.


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