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Net Worth Update February 2014 (+12.1%)

Welcome to the Million Dollar Journey February 2014 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 – yes this year!).  If you would like to follow my journey, you can get my updates sent directly to your email, via twitter (where I have been more active lately) and/or you can sign up for the Money Tips Newsletter.

With the stock market taking a breather at the end of January, the bulls came roaring back to continue making all time highs in the S&P500.   The S&P500 retreated -3.2% in January but turned around and impressively gained 4.7% in February.  The TSX (via XIU.TO) and the MSCI EAFE (via XIN.TO) also moved up with a 3.8% and 4.65% gain respectively.

With the pullback in late January, I transferred another $5k from my HELOC to my dividend portfolio and added to a few positions.  I also transferred some cash from my “managed” RRSP account into my self directed RRSP to help clean up my portfolio.  The goal is to fill my RRSP with US and foreign assets.

How did my portfolio do this month?  As they say, a rising tide lifts all boats, so my investments did well in February.  Our combined RRSPs returned +2.24% (mostly US stocks and international), our leveraged Canadian dividend portfolio gained 4.45%.   Mind you, not all of the 4.45% is organic because of the cash transfer into the account.

Another big change to the net worth statement is that I have included my corporate investment account and added future tax liabilities.  The future tax liabilities include future taxes owing for our RRSP (30% of total), leveraged dividend portfolio (20% of capital gain), and the corporate investment account (23% of total).  I took the middle of the road approach for the tax rates used as I typically minimize taxes owing as much as possible.  For example, I only withdraw as much from the corporate account in the form of dividends so that no personal tax is owing (after all personal tax deductions).

For the leveraged dividend portfolio, I do not plan on ever selling, but you never know what the future may bring. If I do sell, then capital gains tax is owed.  Finally, for the RRSP, my plan is to withdraw from the RRSP accounts during years when income are very low, thus a low resulting tax rate.

In the big picture, for the February 2014 update we are up 12.12% for the month and 15.53% for the year thus far.  We are up to $1,180,385 in assets and $955k in net worth with about 10 months left in the Million Dollar Journey deadline!  With the deadline looming, there is about $45k left to go until the big $1,000,000 financial milestone!

On to the net worth numbers:

Assets: $1,180,385 (+22.31%)

  • Cash: $4,500 (+0.00%)
  • Savings: $20,000 (+0.00%)
  • Registered/Retirement Investment Accounts (RRSP): $179,000 (+2.29%)
  • Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA):  $63,500 (+0.79%)
  • Defined Benefit Pension: $48,100 (+0.63%)
  • Non-Registered Investment Accounts: $194,000 (+2.11%)
  • Smith Manoeuvre Investment Account: $152,500 (+4.45%)
  • Corporate Investment Account: $200,000 (new)
  • Principal Residence: $318,785 (+0.00%) (purchase price adjusted for inflation annually)

Liabilities$224,600 (+99.38%)

  • Principal Residence Mortgage (readvanceable): $0 (0.00%) (Paid off in 2010!)
  • Investment LOC balance: $118,000 (+4.75%)
  • Future Tax Liability: $106,600 (new)

Total Net Worth: ~$955,785 (+12.12%)

  • Started 2014 with Net Worth: $827,300
  • Year to Date Gain/Loss: +15.53%

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.

million dollar journey net worth chart

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.

Savings

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 we do not carry a mortgage or any other 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.

Pension

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.

If you would like to read more articles like this, you can sign up for my free newsletter service below (we will not spam you).

FrugalTrader About the author: FrugalTrader is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

{ 24 comments… add one }
  • Gary Chen March 3, 2014, 11:57 am

    good job! Can you please provide more details about your Corp Investment Account? How do you invest in it and how are they taxed?

  • Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet March 3, 2014, 11:58 am

    Congrats FT, you’ll be at $1M well before your deadline. I may have missed this earlier but what exactly is in the corporate investment account?

  • Arun March 3, 2014, 12:28 pm

    Congratulation FT, what an achievement. You inspired me as well other young people to start their finance journey to become wealth. I’m sure you will get the milestone in next few months. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  • FrugalTrader FrugalTrader March 3, 2014, 12:51 pm

    Hey Guys,

    The corp investment account is a discount brokerage account that I recently opened on behalf of the corporation that I own/control. As it’s fairly new, the proceeds are sitting in cash. I created a tax liability equal to the amount of tax that would be charged if we were to withdraw 100% of the account as a dividend to shareholders.

  • Dwilly March 3, 2014, 2:10 pm

    You were sandbagging!! You have a few months to go, and “magically” a 200k account appears to help you make your goal on time? :)

    All joking aside, good stuff. I’m sure you have this all internally, but one thing that I’d like to see (and I record for myself in my own statements) is clearly what amount/percent of the growth was attributable to “organic” growth of your portfolio, vs. “new money” being added. You often address this at a high level in comments but I’d say it’s the one thing missing from the #s. I think this is important for investors/savers of all sizes to understand.

    Good for you including the tax liability. Definitely important for high net worth folks.

  • FrugalTrader FrugalTrader March 3, 2014, 3:01 pm

    @Dwilly, lol, it’s a tough balancing act where I didn’t want to include corporate assets, but they were getting significant. So the decision was to include some of the cash as an asset providing that it’s with a discount brokerage to be invested.

    That’s a good point about growth. I do organic growth calculations (via XIRR) in the year end update. You can see my last one here:
    http://www.milliondollarjourney.com/net-worth-update-december-2013-year-end-summary.htm

  • AlexOntario March 3, 2014, 5:16 pm

    Hi FT,

    Good job.
    If you ever have the time, do you mind writing an article about Corporate Investment Accounts and Future Tax Liability concepts?

    Would greatly appreciate.

    Thank you.

  • My Own Advisor March 3, 2014, 6:52 pm

    Congrats FT, you’re going to hit this goal for sure this year, sooner than expected.

    Crazy good.:)

    Mark

  • PawDoc March 4, 2014, 9:45 am

    I think that an idea of a future post could be an expansion of http://www.milliondollarjourney.com/dividend-investing-strategy-invest-through-your-corporation.htm Which I assume you will be primary use of your corp investment account.

  • TSX Trader March 5, 2014, 9:06 pm

    You’re definitely on track that’s for sure! great job FT

  • Marie L. Torres March 6, 2014, 6:32 am

    oh awesome stats FT! You deserved a big CONGRATS! it’s a good start for this year for sure more things are coming. Such an inspiration, especially for starter like me.

  • Fraud Revealer March 6, 2014, 2:27 pm

    What a crock this update is! You change the rules of the net worth calculation from month to month comparision only because you were NOT going to hit your target. You have only changed the calculations AFTER you hit the age of 35. I guess you were more interested is saying you are a “millionaire” then actually going through the process honestly and admiting you didn’t hit your goal.

    • FrugalTrader FrugalTrader March 6, 2014, 4:39 pm

      @Fraud Revealer, I was waiting for a comment like yours, I’m surprised that it hasn’t been posted earlier. Can you elaborate about “changing the rules”? If anything, I’m guilty of not reporting assets earlier.

      For the record, I’m not 35 yet, and the goal is to be a millionaire by the end of 2014.

  • Dwilly March 6, 2014, 5:29 pm

    “@Fraud Revealer, I was waiting for a comment like yours, I’m surprised that it hasn’t been posted earlier.”

    In fairness, I called you a sandbagger a long time ago. :)

  • Mike March 6, 2014, 8:58 pm

    Congrats on being so close to your goal. I must admit that as someone who has read the blog from the beginning that this does seem like a bit deceptive. It was clear to everyone reading that you were going to fall just short of your goal and that is ok, it is after a “journey” and it is not like if you missed the target by a couple of months there were any consequences. Now, seemingly out of the blue you have an extra 200K and will hit the goal with months to spare (and good for you). I guess a better question to ask is why did you hide this asset? It is not like it was a trivial amount. If you own the corporation there is no reason not to have reported it all this time. Once again, Congratulations.

  • FrugalTrader FrugalTrader March 6, 2014, 9:37 pm

    @Dwilly, at least you put a smiley face after your comment. :)

    @Mike, I can see how it appears deceptive. However, I have been looking to add this to the balance sheet since my Dec 2012 update (http://www.milliondollarjourney.com/net-worth-update-december-2012-1-75-year-end-summary-and-giveaway-winners.htm) and mentioned again in January 2013 (http://www.milliondollarjourney.com/net-worth-update-january-2013-4-53.htm). I’ve been waiting to have the cash in a trading account before declaring. Why the delay since 2012? Mostly procrastination, but I agree that the timing could be better.

    Do you guys think that I should remove the corporate trading account from the net worth statement?

  • R March 7, 2014, 10:33 am

    I think it’s better late than never. They are assets. Was the $200 K 100% from corporate income or is that after some corporate investment gains too? I think most of the concern is that there isn’t much information about the corporate amount. Maybe if there was more information and if the previous years of accumulating were commented on, it would seem like it was less out of the blue and more of a gradual organic thing.

    Although it’s more complicated, I think it’s more accurate to add cars (maybe $1000 less than the Canadian Black Book value) and current market value real estate (ask a realtor once a year in June) minus realtor fees and legal fees. So if you added those, you might already be at the $1 M mark anyway.

  • R March 7, 2014, 10:35 am

    And like you’ve mentioned in previous posts, this is only a milestone, not the end goal. Maybe after you reach the milestone you could comment on the next goal, passive income large enough to cover 100% of living expenses. Since it’s unlikely to be accurately predictable as a net worth figure, maybe you could do updates in terms of passive income level. You could do a % of required passive income on a monthly or annual basis and maybe adjust annually for inflation. Something like “In March, my passive income was $____ and that’s ____% of the monthly passive income to cover my monthly expenses. And year to date that’s ____% of the annual which is _______ (ahead or behind) of the annual goal of ____% of passive income required to cover expenses.” Any thoughts?

  • Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet March 7, 2014, 11:40 am

    @FT I think you should keep the corp trading account. If anything I’d wonder why it wasn’t added sooner. To me the question is pretax vs net of tax. The future tax liability – is this for all assets, what rate was used and how was it estimated? Whether it’s pretax or net of tax depends on personal preference. The corp acct is definitely an asset and should be included but I just think some may have been caught off guard with the addition of it as well as the estimated tax liability.

  • TCI March 8, 2014, 3:46 am

    It is a pretty impressive record. What are your plans once you reach your goal? Are you likely to remain invested and keep going? You must have been pretty adventurous with your investments in the past to achieve these figures.

  • TalesFromTheTape March 8, 2014, 4:09 pm

    Awesome job FT, love the progress, the only issue once you reach 1million$ is – will you be hungry for the next 1-5million$? :) At 35, that’s a amazing accomplishment. Congrats

    T

  • Stephen @ HowToSaveMoney.ca March 13, 2014, 10:56 am

    I’ve been following MDJ since probably around 2006 and I always wondered if the money you’ve been making from this site was included in your net worth updates or not. I’m sure some of it was as you probably took some money out of the corporation as income on an annual basis, but I figured there must be more of it! There’s probably a bunch more too seeing as this is only the corporate money you’ve decided to put in the corporate investing account, not all your corporate assets.

    I’m glad to see you are going to hit your goal. You did a fantastic job at taking something that almost seems insurmountable for the average person and accomplished it in record time. Congrats! All your hard work paid off.

  • listened&learned March 19, 2014, 10:44 pm

    As young guy I have been following your blog since 2009. I started with nothing and today can proudly say that with your insightful information and displined methodology to finance which closely matches my own personal financial believes, I own 5 rentals, and grow yearly at a rate of 20%. I am reaching 300k and I am only 27. Your blog should be studied as a personal finance course straight from kindergarten. You have proved that you don’t have to be a rockafellar to be a millionair. Unlike my own parents, with your help I am guaranteed to be wealthy and retired before 55. Thank you, and don’t stop spreading the wealth (knowledge) even after you surpass 1 million.

    • FrugalTrader FrugalTrader March 20, 2014, 2:22 pm

      Thanks for the kind feedback. Looks like you are well underway to financial freedom – congrats!

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