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March 2010 Net Worth Update (+2.03)

Welcome to the Million Dollar Journey March 2010 Net Worth Update.

Another month, fortunately another net worth gain.  Usually when it comes to personal finance, there are two main lines of thought.  The first, and perhaps the most common, is to spend less than you earn.  This train of thought leads to frugality and separating your needs and wants. 

The second line of thought, which is basically the same as the first but with a different perspective, is to earn more than you spend.  This way of thinking puts frugality in the background and focuses on increasing your income.

For me, I like to use a hybrid consisting of both strategies.  That is, live simply with a focus on increasing your means and I believe my net worth reflects that.  Month over month, a significant portion of our gains are due to savings.  It just goes to show that building wealth isn’t just about investing, it’s also about looking for ways to increase your cashflow and subsequent savings. 

Lets talk a bit about the numbers below.  You’ll see a large gain in the TFSA, most of this is due to a $2,000 contribution this past month.  This contribution came from tax loss selling a portion of my non-registered portfolio in late 2009.  As well, instead of letting the accounts sit in cash, I decided to use a portion of the money to purchase short term bonds.  The vehicle of choice was Claymore’s short term corporate bond ETF (CBO) which has an annual distribution of around 4.6% based on recent prices and a respectible MER of 0.25%.

On to the numbers:

Assets: $ 510,180 (+1.42%)

  • Cash: $4,500 (+0.00%)
  • Savings: $35,500.00 (+12.70%)
  • Registered/Retirement Investment Accounts (RRSP): $76,700.00 (+0.52%)
  • Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA):  $9,980 (+24.75%)
  • Defined Benefit Pension: $28,450.00 (+0.53%)
  • Non-Registered Investment Accounts: $14,300.00 (-5.92%)
  • Smith Manoeuvre Investment Account: $56,000.00 (+3.70%)
  • Principal Residence: $283,250 (+0.00%) (purchase price adjusted for inflation)
  • Vehicles: $1,500 (2 vehicles) (-25.00%)

Liabilities$77,300.00 (-1.90%)

  • Tax Liability: $3,000 (-0.00%)
  • Principal Residence Mortgage (readvanceable): $20,500.00 (-7.24%)
  • HELOC balance: $53,800 (+0.19%)

Total Net Worth: ~$432,880.00(+2.03%)

  • Started 2010 with Net Worth: $399,600.00
  • Year to Date Gain/Loss: +8.33%

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.

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.

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 (+inflation) despite significant appreciation in the local real estate market.

Pension

The pension amount listed above is the value of my wife’s defined benefit pension.  I basically take the semi annual statement and add the contribution amounts 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.

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FT About the author: FT 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.

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Sampson March 31, 2010, 10:42 am

    Great job FT! up $32k in three months, very very impressive.

  • FT FrugalTrader March 31, 2010, 11:28 am

    Thanks Sampson! Rising tide lifts all boats, with the markets the way it is, i’m sure a lot of readers have an increased net worth thus far in 2010. As we chatted about on CMF though, same as you, I’m sitting on a large allocation of cash waiting to be deployed.

  • wx_junkie March 31, 2010, 11:52 am

    Good job FT… love to see your net worth updates (and benchmark it against mine!!!). My SM acct is up 4.956% this month, so I’m happy. I’ve actually outpaced the TSX composite 4 months in a row now, gaining 5% on that index in that span, which is surprising considering my portfolio is 99% dividend payers. The defensives are now starting to run strong, and the fluff is being left behind. Cheers!

  • steve_jay March 31, 2010, 3:53 pm

    Hey FT.

    I took a look at your Dec 2006 net worth update. If I did the calculation correctly your CAG is in the neighbourhood of 26%. You seem to be doing something right.

  • Ms Save Money March 31, 2010, 5:24 pm

    Great job! Keep up the good work…Seems like your strategy is working because you must be doing something right.

  • shmuckademus March 31, 2010, 6:40 pm

    Is this your individual net worth? If so, that’s incredible. Even as a couple it is still impressive – in some ways, moreso.

    I think I have a decent net worth for my age (30 and net worth is ~240k with no debt) but I have a hard time investing and taking risks. I don’t know how people do it. I’ve just saved what I’ve earned, I’ve never made $ investing in any way. I can’t for the life of me figure out other ways to make an income other than through my job. Saving is so easy in comparison.

    • FT FrugalTrader March 31, 2010, 7:37 pm

      steve_jay, thanks for doing the calc, I’ve never thought of it that way before.

      shmuckademus, it is our family (joint) net worth.

  • Financial Cents March 31, 2010, 9:22 pm

    Keep it up FT! I’ll be doing our March 2010 net worth update this weekend. I think we’re on the +ve as well…so I too count us fortunate. Take care…

  • Sandy March 31, 2010, 10:29 pm

    Hi FT,

    Why don’t you use your credit line as an Chequing account. There are lot of ppl doing like this. Read more on this

    http://www.redflagdeals.com/forums/advantages-loc-over-chequing-account-731979/

    http://financialknow-how.blogspot.com/2010/01/use-your-line-of-credit-as-your.html

  • Canucktuary April 1, 2010, 1:59 am

    6.63% gain for me this month. Best month of the year so far!

  • Rental April 1, 2010, 10:16 am

    I looked around alot and found that cbo was one of the best short term bond funds out there!! Glad you agree!!

  • Jay April 1, 2010, 4:58 pm

    Just curious. You have some $35k cash but $54K HELOC. Aren’t you collecting next to nothing in savings interest but paying more for the interest on the HELOC? I understand the need to having the emergency cash but I would put some of that to pay off a portion of the HELOC balance.

    • FT FrugalTrader April 1, 2010, 7:34 pm

      Hey Jay, the HELOC is an investment loan which makes the interest very cheap at the moment. The investments also produce dividends which work out to be greater than the interest paid after tax. As for the cash, we have the tendency to build a cash reserve then deploy to various places. I will be moving this cash around soon after I pay taxes owing, most likely to my RRSP.

  • cannon_fodder April 23, 2010, 2:03 am

    After a negative February (down 1.19%) our net worth shot up a whopping 17.8% primarily due to aggressive investments in Horizon Beta Pro leveraged units.

    I’m not expecting that April will see any significant % growth in Net Worth.

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