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$133, 572 (+0.6%)

I’m quite surprised I eeked out in the positive territory this month because it certainly felt pretty rough (again!).  We had to pay the property taxes (hurrah to that!), and I spent about $200 in gifts for birthdays and wedding presents.  I am finally getting to do my budget and categorizing all my spending in different categories (e.g. groceries, gifts, entertainment etc.) and found that this month, a lot of my spending was on gifts.  Perhaps I am being too generous?  Am I spending too much on friends?  Perhaps I need to have fewer friends I get presents for? 🙂

Okay, so here’s the breakdown for this month:


CASH: $10959 (+2.0%)

  • Boyfriend and I have a joint account which our mortgage is deducted from, and our own personal accounts
  • I added up my chequing and savings accounts (High Interest Savings Account). I automatically deduct money from my chequing account and have it siphoned to the HISA account (paying yourself first)
  • I have $1892 saved up for my goal of climbing Mt Kilimanjaro (highest peak in Africa) within 1-2 years. If you want to help contribute to my personal lifelong dream, feel free to sign up for an ING account with my orange key. You’ll get $25 if you start an account with $100, and I will get $25 too. 🙂

STOCKS: $18153 (+0.6%)

  • These are stocks that capture the “moment in time”, including unrealized gains or losses in my BMO Investorline and Questrade accounts. I added up USD and CAD stocks as “Canadian” money to be simplistic (even though our dollar is high now)
  • I’m surprised this is in the somewhat positive territory this month as stocks have continued to take a beating.  I didn’t add to any positions this month or buy any more stocks.

RRSP: $11392 (+1.3%)

  • This includes the pre-authorized monthly contribution into my TD E-Series account, a GIC in my ING Direct Account and my new Questrade RRSP account.
  • The RRSP is maxed out for this year. I am seriously thinking about maxing out my TFSA instead (read my TFSA vs RRSP great debate over here) from now on, as I will expect to have defined benefit pension when I retire.
  • I owe about $16,000 to myself in my RRSP because I used the Home Buyers Plan, but I won’t have to start repaying until 2012.


  • If you’re wondering what I hold in my Other investments- check out my post long story
  • I have some investments that were poor choices (I signed up for them before I became self “edumacated”) that were losing money big time. In order to receive a tax credit, I got persuaded into buying some flow through shares, Venture investments that gave out a tax credit, and some more mutual funds about four or five years ago.
  • Wow… this month, I was quite astounded as I checked my balance with this venture mutual fund.  It went down by 13% in a period of 30 days, when the rest of the market didn’t even drop that much!  And I didn’t even get a call or an email from the financial advisor I bought it from to perhaps explain why there has been such a big drop.  I think I’ll email her and see what she says.  I guess this is another example of why managing your own money and choosing your own investments be it dividend stocks or index funds is the better way to go.  Once I hit January 1, 2012 I’m going to move that money elsewhere ;)

TFSA: $7507 (-2.1%)

  • This month, my TFSA stocks got hit pretty bad, but I’m holding strong! 🙂
  • I haven’t gotten off my butt to start a DRIP yet, I need to send some papers to Questrade to start that.  The only reason why I haven’t taken advantage of it earlier is because with Questrade, unlike other brokers, you don’t get a discount on the DRIP.
  • I signed up for a Tax Free Trading Account with Questrade and my TFSA consists 100% of stocks
  • I have about $8,000 I can put back in this year to avoid the penalty from our good friends at the Canada Revenue Agency. We are allowed $5000 contribution a year-and this is year 3 of the TFSA, so one can have $15000 in their TFSA.  I haven’t contributed any extra to my TFSA account yet.


  • I am not counting this in my net worth, because it’s 11 years old.


  • I know this it does not make any sense to divide the principle residence and mortgage debt by 50%, but since I cannot disclose my boyfriend’s financial information, I will do it this way to simplify things. Some of you may not agree to that, and I understand.
  • Vancouver is an expensive city to live in, and many people predict that there will be a housing collapse, especially in a place where their is such a disparity between income and housing price. The Vancouver market was actually quite unscathed compared to the depressed housing markets elsewhere, and many people believe it is sorely due for a correction.
  • We plan to live in this house for 5-10 years or even more, and we are prepared to “suck it up” if it corrects by more than 25%. Our house is in a favourable location in the city, and our neighbours have sold recently for about 30% more than what we paid for our house.


Mortgage Debt: $303435 (-0.3%)

  • It’s an accelerated bi-weekly payment (-4 years from amortization) and we plan to add on what we get from our rental downstairs to pay the mortgage off faster. Target pay off= 15-17 years.  The rental has not started yet, perhaps we may be looking at renting it out in September.  We’re still not finished renovations, believe it or not!

Credit Card: $1449

  • This month, I had to balance four credit cards which was a bit overwhelming to say the least (now I know how one can get in trouble with credit cards!), the SPG Amex Card which was coming to and end (and officially ended), the Amex Gold Rewards Card, the MBNA card and the Joint Visa card.  Now I’m back at three cards which is much more manageable 🙂
  • I pay off my full amount every month (and folks, it’s VERY important you do so otherwise you’re losing out on a 19% return!) but include it in my net worth update so I have an accurate picture of my actual net worth. I sort of think “If I were to sell everything right now, what would my net worth be?” I guess I shouldn’t put it in the liabilities column since i pay it off regularly, BUT in mint.com it’s under the liability column so I’ll do the same.
  • I basically charge everything to my card to reap the benefits (free flights and hotel stays here I come!)
  • BF and I got the Royal Bank Avion Infinite Card as our joint credit card (free for one year since we have a mortgage with RBC! So will be using it and letting you how I like it- I would of course never pay $170 a year for this, but since it’s free for one year, why not?)

Article comments

MoneyCone says:

I love the way how you meticulously track your progress and be in the black month after month!

And hats off to you for having a 11 year old car! I’m hoping I don’t fall for new car temptations!

young says:

@MoneyCone-Well, it’s barely in the black, really 🙂 But I’ll take it. I’m easily falling for new car temptations, but I don’t think I’ll succumb until my car drastically breaks down. I’d probably get a hybrid type vehicle or something really fuel efficient for my next car. What cars are tempting you? 🙂

Bravo for another up month. Sad to say I had a small down month because of the haircut my stocks took but we’re in the summer and they will recover, hopefully 🙂

young says:

@BeatingTheIndex- I hope so too! I wish I listened to the old adage, sell in may and go away, except it should have been sell in June and go away 🙂

Haha, maybe my NW is that high, but I doubt it 🙂 My mantra has always been to fly below the radar and not stick out. So, it’s best if I don’t reveal too much I don’t think.

I’ll be posting my mid-year wrap this Friday. Have already written and will discuss some of the stuff that makes me tick.

young says:

@Financial Samurai- I’m excited to see your mid-year wrap up- I remember last year you had clips of songs on there and I really enjoyed it! Love the guitar and acoustics!

Another up month, good job! Been a doozy in the markets, but they are back.

How popular are these monthly net worth update posts relative to the others? You think I should do something similar? I feel kinda weird revealing info which might be kind of whacked out based on averages.


young says:

@Financial Samurai- To be honest, I was having anxiety that it would not be an “up” month and was quite surprised. The markets have bounced back some, but my TFSA holdings are a bit off there still, I”m down about 2% from my initial investment.

My net worth updates seemed to be really popular, especially when I first started, but I found that as I explained the high cost of Vancouver real estate and the reasoning for my huge-ass mortgage, people’s interest in bashing me seemed to have petered out 🙂 I now blog about it mainly because I like to keep myself accountable and it helps motivate me to try to continue to keep in the positive.

Sam, I think if you did net worth updates, it would probably blow us all out of the water lol. I have a feeling it will be like “Net Worth Update: $3,232,232). You could ask your readers in a post, to see if they would be interested in reading your net worth updates. I know I would be! You allude to saving like 70-80% of your income, yet you seem to be going to Lake Tahoe/ Hawaii a lot, and you have a balanced lifestyle, so I would definitely be interested personally in finding out more juice about you 😉

It is always nice when you can eek out a positive gain. On Vancouver real estate–I am not totally familiar with Canadian geography being from central Indiana, but aren’t there mountains near Vancouver that would limit the available land for building? If that is the case, then supply would be restricted and unless demand is totally destroyed, there should be a floor for prices.

young says:

@cashflowmantra- Yep! Vancouver is flanked by mountains in the north and water on the west and south side, pretty much. Supply does seem to be pretty restricted at the moment as there has been a lot of demand. There have been many people who are downsizing now from their houses and moving to condos/ townhouses to make a profit, it seems. However, the market has seemed to slow. Houses that were selling (with bidding wars) in 3 days are now taking 30 days to sell.

jesse says:

One thing I find with credit cards is that you have to be absolutely diligent about paying them off. Set reminders in multiple places and even considering prepaying them from your cash account.

We use 1% cash back only because it allows us the greatest flexibility. Others use points and this and that but just got annoyed trying to keep track of them all and decided for the nice rebate/cheque every month.

Citibank Canadian credit card wing is being usurped by CIBC. Anyone know a good cash-back MasterCard? (I already have TD Gold Visa which seems to work well with 5K account balance.) Citi was great; never bothered us with telemarketers, kept tabs on suspicious transactions, and had a great website to monitor transactions. Had a CIBC dividend card but CIBC annoyed us to no end with telemarketers and hard-to-use websites. I would not trust them to monitor my card balance. I have sworn them off and will likely cut up my card when it’s re-issued as CIBC.

I just want a 1% cash back card from a company that will leave me the f&%^ alone!!!

young says:

@jesse- I usually prepay from my cash account (just because I’m so anal that way and I dont’ like to see a HUGE balance at the end of the month) for big purchases. You do make a good point about points vs cash back, because I have been finding that a lot of my points credit cards don’t really transfer to each other, or transfer to airlines (e.g. MBNA’s Travel Elite card) which is kind of annoying. I know that the hottest new credit card (no fee) now is MBNA Smart Cash mastercard. I think you get higher than 1% cash back for certain purchases- see below: I also know that if you sign up through Great Canadian Rebates, you can get $60 or so for signing up through their website, I believe. I would totally get this card if I werent’ so obsessed with travel points. The only downside is that they are pretty annoying- they used to send me cheques all the time, used to call me all the time, and used to raise my limit. They of course stopped this what with the new credit card rules. They also stopped it after I told them to leave me alone 😉

* 3% Cashback on the first $600 of Gas and Groceries transactions within each calendar month (Promo