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Nov 2009 Net Worth Update (+1.65%)

Welcome to the Million Dollar Journey Nov 2009 Net Worth Update

It’s almost the end of 2009 and my net worth growth (along with many others) has been on a steady climb over the months.  Most of the gains this year has been from rapidly appreciating equity markets since March 2009, strong income and, most importantly, savings.  Providing that the markets stay the course through December, our family net worth will be within striking distance of the $400k threshold.  Still a ways to go until the $1 million milestone but movement in the right direction none the less.

Looking at the most recent net worth update below, this past month was especially strong for savings.  This increase was due to my wife receiving a bonus along with a change in my tax liability calculations (behind the scenes).  We had another large drop in my non-registered account due to a volatile penny stock that I own.  Although most of my equity is invested for the long term, I like to set aside some “play” money to take a few chances.

On to the numbers:

Assets: $ 474,550 (+0.86%)

  • Cash: $4,500 (+0.00%)
  • Savings: $21,500.00 (+30.30%)
  • Registered/Retirement Investment Account: $74,000.00 (+0.27%)
  • Pension: $27,850.00 (+0.54%)
  • Non-Registered Investment Account: $15,700.00 (-4.85%)
  • Smith Manoeuvre Investment Account: $52,000.00 (+0.97%)
  • Principal Residence: $275,000 (+0.00%) (purchase price)
  • Vehicles: $4,000 (2 vehicles) (-20.00%)

Liabilities$83,200.00 (-2.69%)

  • Tax Liability: $3,000 (-0.00%)
  • Principal Residence Mortgage (readvanceable): $26,800.00 (-8.22%)
  • HELOC balance: $53,400 (+0.19%)

Total Net Worth: ~$391,350.00(+1.65%)

  • Started 2009 with Net Worth: $309,950.00
  • Year to Date Gain/Loss: +26.26%

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 plus a rental property. The value of the principal residence remains valued at the purchase price despite significant appreciation in the real estate market that we’re in.  I will most likely be adjusting the value of the home come the new year.

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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.

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • Avatar This is why I opened an ING account @ SaveING November 30, 2009, 10:41 am

    congrats on the 400k milestone!

  • Avatar Sampson November 30, 2009, 11:55 am

    Wow. Awesome work FT.

    I remember just a few months ago you posting about whether to pay off your mortgage or not. Now you are poised to pay down some $80k or more in only 6 months. Great work and congrats!

  • Avatar Aolis November 30, 2009, 1:20 pm

    You might not be paying any bank fees but you are giving up the possible 8% or $360 you could be making if the money was invested. That is $30 a month. RBC does not require a minimun balance.

    That is alot of money (37k) sitting outside of your RRSP. What about a TFSA?

    I’d also be interested in seeing how it is all invested.

  • FT FrugalTrader November 30, 2009, 2:43 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement guys. Aolis, yes, you called me on that. I do need to open a TFSA which my plan before the end of the year.

    If you want to see my SM portfolio, you can read my updates here:

  • Avatar Four Pillars November 30, 2009, 4:33 pm

    Nice to see the steady progress FT.

    I pulled the plug on my leveraged account last week. After 3 years I didn’t feel it fit my situation anymore.

    I ended up with a small cap gain and pretty good positive cash flow (thanks to low interest rates) so it worked out ok.

    I’ll be writing about it soon.

  • Avatar Ridley November 30, 2009, 5:50 pm

    I am curious as to your family income. Would you be so bold as to divulge that information? Our family income is around $85,000 (after tax) so I am curious to compare our situations.

  • Avatar Jack November 30, 2009, 6:14 pm

    You don’t have a TFSA yet?! Of all the people anywhere in Canada I would have expected you to have one!

    Do you think you will go with one of the high interest savings accounts or the Questrade Tax Free Trading Account?

  • Avatar cannon_fodder November 30, 2009, 7:11 pm


    Congratulations on the good work. It’s nice to see that the liabilities are coming down quickly – that usually is a steady progress downwards whereas the assets tend to fluctuate a bit.

    Just a couple of weeks ago I decided to put together our own networth statement (found a nice little spreadsheet online that is compatible with Excel from Microsoft – it is titled “Net worth calculator”).

    Well, I was pleasantly surprised. In spite of the rough 12 month period we survived, and our investments still not being back to where they were in 2007, we’ve seen a networth gain of almost 70% since the beginning of the year. It’s quite mindboggling to see that dramatic of an increase but when I compare to where we were 2 years ago one can see quite a rollercoaster ride.

    Our liabilities have decreased 10% while our assets have increased about 30% since the beginning of the year.

    I did factor in an increase to our home’s value since the beginning of the year of about 5% (based on some home improvements we had done and the fact that a house very much like ours sold very recently). At the beginning of the year, I pegged our house value as the same as mid 2007.

    I also decided to include something which most people would not – Aeroplan points/Airmiles. Since I travel several times per year internationally on business, I have accumulated a lot of points. I decided to conservatively value them based on what I could get in terms of gasoline gift cards. That is a commonly valued and reasonable measurement in my opinion.

    What I haven’t included in my networth is our expected prorated tax refunds for 2009.

    I didn’t expect that we would achieve our significant milestone of networth until 2011 – and that was BEFORE the meltdown of late 2008 and early 2009. To have achieved it before the end of 2009 is quite satisfying.

    I’d say the item I’m most pleased with is that we have eliminated over $200k on our mortgage balance in the last 3 years yet we still have had vacations each and every year (and sometimes more than 1).

    I ‘celebrated’ by taking my wife out for dinner to our favourite Thai restaurant. She had no idea of where we stood on this score – I handed her a statement during dinner and she was probably more surprised than I was.

    Are you planning anything to celebrate when you reach the $1M mark? What about the $500k milestone? Do you think you will retire your mortgage before or after you reach $500k?

  • FT FrugalTrader November 30, 2009, 7:51 pm

    Ridley, I would say our professional income is about the same as yours.

    Jack, your not the first to tell me that. :) The truth is, I will be opening up a trading TFSA to purchase equities, but I haven’t seen any great valuations or deals of recent months. The argument is that our savings would be shielded from tax, but with our interest accounts paying a very low interest, it doesnt’ make a huge difference. I’m going to try to fund the accounts before the end of the year, most likely with Questrade TFSA.

    Cannon, congrats to you on your progress while having fun in the process. I think that reaching the $500k milestone will be a big one. As to whether or not we’ll have the mortgage paid off by that time, I have a feeling that they will fairly close time wise.

  • Avatar canucktuary December 1, 2009, 12:36 am

    If you keep up your 25% gains in net worth you should reach $500,000 next year and $1,000,000 by 2015. That’s quite the accomplishment!

  • FT FrugalTrader December 1, 2009, 8:51 am

    canucktuary, thanks for running the numbers! 25% per year will be a challenge, but not impossible! Bear markets really throw a wrench into things though. For example, in 2008, my total net worth gain was around 11%. We’ll see what happens!

  • Avatar NewInvestor December 1, 2009, 12:29 pm

    Forgive my Math Illiteracy, but how did you come up with the +1.65% Net Worth Increase? I’m trying to figure out mine, thanks!

  • Avatar DavidV December 1, 2009, 12:46 pm

    newinvestor: The way I do it in Excel is:


    Which is basically December 1 net worth divided by November 1 net worth, then you times that number by one hundred (which will hopefully give you a number like 101.6) and then I subtract 100 to get me to a percentage.

    There may be an easier way, but that works.

  • FT FrugalTrader December 1, 2009, 12:59 pm

    Thanks for explaining that David.

  • Avatar Kathryn December 1, 2009, 2:19 pm

    I do the same in google spreadsheets with a slight variation

    For the monthly change it’s (current month’s total – previous month’s total) / current month total x 100%

    or in other words (current month’s total minus previous month’s totals) divided by current month’s total multiplied by 100%

    To get the year to date change its:

    (current month’s total – January 1st total) / divided by current month’s total x 100%

  • Avatar cannon_fodder December 1, 2009, 2:47 pm


    I would disagree. I would divide by the previous month’s total.

    Basic example: last month it was $25k. This month it is $50k. My networth has obviously doubled. Running the math it is:

    ($50k – $25k) / $25k x 100% = 100%. I have seen a 100% increase in my networth.

    If we did it the way you suggest it would show only 50%. This would be what last month’s networth is compared to this month with the baseline being this month. We want the baseline to be last month.

  • Avatar Laptop Briefcases December 1, 2009, 9:27 pm

    Yes congrats on the net worth progress. Your financial organization is amazing. I only wish I could keep everything so well planned. I obviously still have a lot of learning to do. Then again I’m still young and I don’t have a mortgage or major investments yet.

  • Avatar Mike December 2, 2009, 1:30 pm

    Just found your site and like it very much.

    I have been reading your items on the SM and found them to be immensely informative. I have one question on your use of the tactic. Based on your net worth statement, it looks like you have leveraged your home somewhat modestly. Can I ask why you aren’t closer to the 70% range?

  • FT FrugalTrader December 2, 2009, 2:21 pm

    Hey Mike,

    Great question. I basically buy dividend stocks when their valuations are appealing to me, not based on how big my HELOC is. When my mortgage is paid off, I may stop using my HELOC altogether unless I need a large amount of capital that I dont’ have in cash.

  • Avatar Mike December 2, 2009, 9:03 pm

    Thanks, appreciate the response and the writing.

  • Avatar chain link December 3, 2009, 5:54 am

    Wow, that’s cool that your so open with the numbers, which are very impressive.

  • Avatar Stephen R December 3, 2009, 2:15 pm

    I’m curious how you’re calculating the value of your vehicles. I may have missed a reference to that in previous posts, though.

  • Avatar Stephen R December 3, 2009, 2:20 pm

    Sorry, just after I posted the question I found I had missed the answer as one of your comments in the August 2009 update.

  • Avatar youngandthrifty December 4, 2009, 3:28 am

    wow you’re almost at half a million! Congratulations =) Hopefully the 2nd half goes even faster than the first!

  • Avatar Monevator December 16, 2009, 7:06 am

    Congrats on the milestone! :)

    Sometimes I think when I get to a million UK pounds I’ll move somewhere cheap for at least a few years and try living off the dividends (£1,000,000 = just under CAN$1,700,000).

    Conventional ‘retirement’ theory would say I’d need quite a bit more, especially as I’d hopefully still be relatively young (although in reality I probably will never stop earning an income, also as such. I tried it once and I was bored and distracted – a good lesson).

    I’ve probably missed it but do you have a plan for your $1million? Or is it more of a tangible goal than an end?

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