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Net Worth Update February 2011 (+1.56%)

Welcome to the Million Dollar Journey February 2011 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 would like to follow my journey, you can get my updates sent directly to your email.

We had a respectable +1.56% gain this month bringing us up to about $532k in total net worth.  The gains this month is mostly due to the rising markets and, as usual, our savings.  With exposure to the oil and gas sector in the leveraged dividend portfolio and RRSP, it’s not surprising that both accounts showed some gains. In addition to energy, the financial sector is reaching all time highs as well, which means my large exposure to the Canadian big banks is starting to pay off.

Something that I do not include in the net worth statement is the RESP account.  With the single child (soon to be two), we deposit $2,500 annually to maximize the government matching grant (CESG) of $500.  We usually do this in January, but due to some delays (or procrastination), we finally made the deposit last week.  Now it’s the issue of allocating the cash.  With the markets at a high, I find it psychologically challenging to buy, even though I’m indexing that portfolio.

For those of you who index your portfolio, what do you do with new cash to invest when markets are high?  Do you simply rebalance regardless of where the market is?

On to the numbers:

Assets: $ 588,148.00 (+1.45%)

  • Cash: $4,500 (+0.00%)
  • Savings: $51,000 (+9.68%)
  • Registered/Retirement Investment Accounts (RRSP): $108,000(+2.37%)
  • Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA):  $26,600 (+1.14%)
  • Defined Benefit Pension: $33,200 (+1.22%)
  • Non-Registered Investment Accounts: $11,600 (-8.66%)
  • Smith Manoeuvre Investment Account: $61,500 (+3.02%)
  • Principal Residence: $291,748 (+0.00%) (purchase price adjusted for inflation)

Liabilities$55,950 (+0.45%)

Total Net Worth: ~$532,198 (+1.56%)

  • Started 2011 with Net Worth: $505,800
  • Year to Date Gain/Loss: +5.22%

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.

27 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. 1. Jungle

    Congrats on the huge gain!! Markets posted strong gains this month, again. With cash, just keep dollar cash averaging. Make it automatic.

    Just waiting for todays markets to close and we’ll have the values for Feb. Let’s hope it’s a good day.


  2. 2. Jan

    Gains in market are only if you sell:>)

    We are selling certain stocks right now and dollar cost averaging into the ones we think will survive the US Presidential elections next year.

  3. 3. Kevin

    I don’t mean to be picky, but doesn’t 588,148 minus 55,700 equal 532448? Wait…I see it…your LOC balance hasn’t been transferred to the category heading.

  4. @Jungle, thanks for the tip!

    @Jan, do you really market time based on the US election?

    @Kevin, thanks for pointing out the typo. Fixing it now.

  5. 5. Barry

    I recently converted my e-series index account into cash in anticipation of switching to ETF’s but with the markets seem to be at a high across the board I’ve decided to sit on the cash for a little while.

    These highs worry me.

  6. 7. Tim

    Great month!

    I might have not seen it in previous post, any reason why you aren’t going back to real estate investments? They could help grow your net worth much quicker.


  7. 8. Andrew F


    Your LOC increasing by 0.45% implies an interest rate of 5.4% per annum if you are just capitalizing the interest. Is that right? Your rate on your LOC must be significantly lower.

  8. @Andrew, that is “interest”ing. :) Let me take a look at that, I believe that I’m only paying prime.

  9. 10. Joe S.

    Maybe you should write an article about the emotions involved with investing at market highs. A couple points:

    A) It is generally accepted that no one can predict the market, especially in the short term, therefore you shouldn’t try too hard.

    B) Does it feel like a market bubble, like in 2000-1? There has been a runup but have we really moved into new territory?

    C) The last time the market was this high, it was 2007. If you count 4 years of inflation and a theoretic “5%” a year growth, markets could grow another 20% and not be unreasonable.

    D) 7 out of 10 years are bull years. If you want to invest every year, you will have to buy in the bull market. The key, I think, is handling the downturns, and not overcommitting yourself.

    My opinion: It might not be a great time to make a huge lump-sum investment, but it might not be a bad time either since it doesn’t have a real bubble feel. It seems to be a good time to make some steady, dollar cost averaging type investments.

  10. 11. Shaun

    Great effort paying off your home loan! Just wondering why you don’t use a market rate to value this though?

  11. 12. Jordan Clark

    Frugal I just looked back at your last year’s Feb update and am really impressed that you’ve managed to increase your net worth by over $100k in 12 months. Good job!

    Besides posting what the individual account updates are, have you calculated how much of your annual increase is attributed to savings vs. investment growth?

  12. 13. Freedom 40

    2.85% this month. Market gains (heavy in SLF), and bonus time. Currently sitting at $460k. Sold a few things. Looking to sell a bit more.

    Still on track for $500k at age 35.

  13. 14. Emily

    FT….I haven’t included the RESP we have for our daughter in NW either. I am just wondering why? Is it because the money will not be used by you but instead your child? I was told when taking out the RESP that it can count as an asset when applying for credit etc.

    I am now in the positive…and am averaging a +$1500/month NW increase.

  14. 15. Bryan

    I notice you have basically enough cash/saving to pay off the line of credit. I know you like cash in hand in case of emergencies or opportunities; but is there any reason not to pay off the LOC, whilst keeping it open, to handle emergencies/opportunities?

  15. @Joe, good idea, I’ll look into it!

    @Shaun, when it comes down to it, I’d rather not make monthly adjustments, too much work to get propery valuations etc. I tend to lean on the conservative side as well.

    @Jordan, thanks! I’ll take a look at investment growth!

    @freedom 40, congrats! Do you plan on retiring when you are 40?

    @emily, if I was to count the RESP, it would be the contribitions only as they can be withdrawn tax free by the contributor (since tax has already been paid on it). Congrats on moving into the green!

  16. 17. Freedom 40

    @FT………Yep! Will likely be working in some capacity, but will no longer be working for “The Man”.

  17. @Bryan, that HELOC is an investment loan. I’m contemplating paying it down, but right now, the dividends produced in the portfolio is more than enough to pay the interest charged.

  18. When you have that much money a 1.56% increase is very nice indeed. We usually just rebalance no matter what, we are big on index funds.

  19. 20. cannon_fodder

    Another solid month, FT – congratulations.\

    I DO include RESP’s in my NW since they can be used by not only the kids but us, too, if we wanted to go back to school. I think we all count the full value of our RRSP’s and non-registered accounts even though, after tax, the actual value may be quite less. Same reasoning applies to RESPs – take the market value without accounting for potential clawbacks or taxes.

    Thanks to another down day for Natural Gas we had a great month (unlike last February). Up 12.2% for the month and 66% year over year.

  20. 21. Steve

    Looks like your already more than half way there to your goals. I think it is a great idea to have as much savings as you do for emergencies or whatever comes up. Anyhow keep up the good work.

  21. 22. sharma

    in the same boat. have new cash in RESP, TFSA and RRSP. but can not bring myself to put it to use.

  22. 23. DividendMan

    Hrm… FT… I have to say, such a persistent and consistent growth of networth from month to month makes me think someone is cooking the books :P

    Nice work!

  23. 24. Sri

    > what do you do with new cash to invest when markets are high?
    > Do you simply rebalance regardless of where the market is?

    Isn’t that pretty much the whole point of asset allocation? Sell off asset class “A” when it’s relatively high to buy more of “B” when it’s relatively low, and vice versa as the markets fluctuate. It encourages (forces) buying low & selling high!

  24. I was in the same boat as some of the other comments, I had some new money in my Tax Free Trading account… was sitting on the fence because of so many 52 week highs.

    I ended up taking the plunge anyway and picked some stocks that paid well in dividends, had low P/E’s and P/B’s.

  25. 26. BadCaleb

    Thanks for the update. Seeing your NW update each month finally got me to do my own. Not sure whether to include the RESP or not. If my wife the accountant were in control of this, she’d probably add it as an Asset but then offset it by adding a Liability such as deferred liability. This way it’s still “in the books”.

  26. 27. Denise

    I recall reading your blog when your net worth was at around 280k… that must have been less than 2 years ago!

    Congratulations on a job well done! =)

    Took a year off from reading personal finance blog to focus on my newborn son… I am now back! And now I have a more meaningful purpose and goal to reach my personal finance goals! ;-)


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