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a glimpse into the bankbooks of youngandthrifty for February 2011.

$129172 (+ 1.03%)

Another month has gone by, we’re almost into 1/4 of 2011 already!  I hope everyone is keeping up with their personal finance resolutions.  I usually do my net worth calculation at the same time every month (yes, I actually look FORWARD to this, am I a personal finance geek or what?), but this month it was a little skewed as I was out of town (more on that later this week).  I think I might be a few days off from when I usually do my calculation.  I still haven’t got to including my pension back into the net worth calculations, though.

I also delayed posting this because I was hesitant to include so much information for the world to see.  I hope it benefits you in some way, you can try and learn from my mistakes (and victories, hopefully)…

Okay, so here’s the breakdown for February:


CASH: $13246(+1.05%)

STOCKS: $19809(-19%)

  • Now please hold your horses, I haven’t lost 19% of my investment portfolio (not repeating another 2008 here, lol).  What I did this month is move some of my money into the TFSA (since I almost depleted it late last year).  I plan to take my tax refund (hopefully it’s juicy) and put it into the TFSA too.
  • 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 (which is about a 0% difference right now)

RRSP: $8700 (+1.04%)

  • This includes the monthly contribution into my TD E-Series account (primarily bonds), a GIC in my ING Direct Account and my new Questrade RRSP account.
  • I have maxed out my contribution for the 2010 tax year, and am planning to take my refund at sock it in a TFSA (two birds with one stone, anyone?)

OTHER INVESTMENTS: $3347 (-3.3%)

  • 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 are 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.
  • This lonely mutual fund hasn’t been moving much, unlike the rest of the market. Once I hit January 1, 2012 I’m going to take my money back and run 😉

TFSA: $5607 (+947%)

  • I sold about $5000 worth of equities in my nonregistered account and put it into my TFSA.  I haven’t bought anything with my new TFSA money yet, though I plan to this month.
  • When I get my tax refund, I plan to put it into either the TFSA or back into the RRSP (for the 2011 tax year): I’m all for double dipping!
  • For my 2010 TFSA, I signed up for a Tax Free Trading Account with Questrade
  • Last month, I sold most of my TFSA income trusts (all but two- which are being converted) and kept about $500 in the TFSA account as Questrade requires you to have a minimum of $200 in the account.
  • I plan to put $15000 $10,000 back in (slowly throughout the year, of course…) to avoid the penalty from our good friends at the Canada Revenue Agency.


  • My car is 11 years old and still running well.  Boyfriend has been pressuring me to get a new car (is it a guy thing?) but I like my 11 year old car.



Mortgage Debt: $307954 (-0.3%)

  • Before anyone goes ballistic on me for taking on such a large mortgage debt (which I know you might anyway! 🙁 ) we are planning to rent the out the basement out after the renovations to help with the mortgage. This will be on top of the full amount that we pay accelerated biweekly.
  • I’m excited to tackle this mortgage beast and pay down my debt- might be a new focus on youngandthrifty.ca!

Credit Card: $1383

  • 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 basically charge everything to my card to reap the benefits (free flights and hotel stays here I come!)
  • I got the SPG AMEX card for a few months already and have been using it as often as I can (compared to the MBNA travel elite card) but American Express isn’t accepted everywhere here in Canada…which is a hassle.
  • 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 not pay $170 a year for this, but since it’s free for one year, why not?)

Article comments

Always in the Game says:

You go girl!!! You are doing extremely well so do not listen to anyone who is negative towards your accomplishments (jealous?)
As someone who works in the mortgage industry, I can tell you that these people who told you that you are in a “bad situation ” and made a big mistake are just wrong.
Just a reminder to all mortgage debt is the only good debt one can have. Where else can you borrow money at such a low rate, that will make you money over time? As long as you are making your payments and living a stable healthy financial life ( which you are) You are ahead of the game.
Congrats on all of your success!!

young says:

@Always in the Game- Wow, thanks 🙂 I needed the pep talk 😉

Tara says:

Yup, that’s exactly what I do! I lump checking, short-term savings and credit card accounts in my Cash portfolio, with the checking and short-term savings as positive balances and the balance on the credit card account as a negative balance. This way, it looks like the money has already come out of my checking account when I do a net worth statement! 🙂

For example, I took out a 12 month auto loan to help build my credit history and I have it being automatically paid out of a savings account. I have both of those accounts in the same portfolio and the positive balance in the savings account offsets the negative balance on the loan.

Tara says:

I actually include my credit card balances in my “cash” category since I pay it off every month.

young says:

@Tara= That’s a good idea… but would you put it in as a “negative” number in cash?

Hold onto your car as long as you can! I paid $1500 cash for my car and kept it for six years or so. I would have gladly kept it longer, except it had a repair that cost more than I paid for it!

Derry Brown says:

@Tycoon I was referring to the US Government debt which is much higher than Canada’s and projected to be 72.2% of GDP compared to 35.7% for Canada this year – http://www.economist.com/blogs/buttonwood/2010/02/debt_deficits_and_growth

The debt to income ratio however is almost identical standing at 148.1% and 147.2% for Canada and the US respectively which I believe are the two highest in the world – http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20101213/BoC-carney-101213/

Despite this, Buffett is still bullish; food for thought no?

I agree with you in some ways though. While you are rather rude in your approach YnTs housing situation is certainly not without risk.

Perhaps some future topics YnT could be:

– Worst Cast Scenario, how I would survive a housing crash and 25% interest rates.

– Accelerated Mortgage Elimination Strategies and My Approach.


young says:

@Derry Brown- Thanks for your comment, Derry. I definitely agree that my housing situation is certainly not without risk. Your blog post ideas are good! I like the accelerated mortgage elimination strategies and my approach 🙂

railroad tycoon says:

@young – Do not listen to this Derry Brown character. He does not have a clue about what he is talking about.

Canadians now have more debt than Americans. Canadians have a 1.48 debt to income ratio. 90% of new Canadian mortgages are 5/35 and most of those on a variable rate. What do you think will happen when the first round of these mortgages need to reset at higher interest rates? People will not be able to afford the payments.

What do you think happened in the US? It will happen here too, don’t think Canada is immune.

You’re making a huge mistake with your mortgage.

Don’t say you didn’t know what was going to happen because you’ve been warned on many occasions now.

young says:

@railroad tycoon- I appreciate your concern, I really do. I would rather listen to Derry Brown (who has been following this blog since the beginning, who gives sources for his statements and to support his argument) than someone who calls me ‘young and dumb’. 😉

Derry Brown says:

No problem. The haters are paying you quite a complement. No one bothers to hate on people that don’t matter. Much love back at them I say.

Derry Brown says:

What metrics are those and have any of them been able to successfully predict any of the housing crashes in the past? (…No)

This chart – http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_JtcAf5d8LPc/TUBhpcQrPRI/AAAAAAAAAI0/2Xd3mJxSBmA/s1600/canada+vs+US.jpg shows that the Canadian market has held together better during the financial crisis than the US market suggesting that Canada is economically stronger and it certainly has less debt.

If Buffett is only partly right and the US market can simply stabilize then the Canadian market is highly unlikely to collapse and hurt the long term investor. While they are different countries there is still a large correlation between their economies as evident by the correlation of their stock markets http://stockcharts.com/freecharts/perf.html?EWC,SPY

Furthermore if the US property market rebounds then this will be very good for the US consumer and who is Americas largest trading partner and the largest importer of Canadian goods? http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/top/dst/current/balance.html & http://www40.statcan.gc.ca/l01/cst01/gblec02a-eng.htm

young says:

@Derry- I appreciate your links and quotes to back up your statement, as always 🙂 Hope thing are going well for you in NZ. My friend just went there to visit and she told me she went Zorbing 🙂

railroad tycoon says:

You left out the little detail that he’s bullish on US housing not Canadian.

Canadian housing, as Warren Buffett will tell you, is overvalued by all metrics.

Derry Brown says:

Hmmmm, young and dum. Looks like the greatest investor of all time also thinks that property is a great idea – http://ow.ly/454Ju

But I am sure that the wise (jealous) commentators on this post know better.


railroad tycoon says:

@young – You’re missing the point completely. You’re young and you think you know everything. I know because that used to be me. Eventually you’ll figure out that you should’ve listened to the warnings.

But why wait? You can listen now. Real estate is going to take a big tumble in Canada so get out while you can.

You can do what you want but the writing is on the wall, especially in Vancouver of all places.

Helly says:

@railroad tycoon — I’m sorry, but saying that a home costs $X here and $Y there is comparing apples to oranges. Location makes all the difference. My job is in California. My husband’s job is here. Our son attends a great school here. Our families are here. So yes, we’d be hard-pressed to leave, even though housing in So Cal (despite the housing market crash) is still expensive compared to the rest of the country. Are you going to next criticize me for being willing to pay for a $500K house? Guess what? In my neck of the woods, that’s dirt-cheap and for our salaries, a mortgage would be quite affordable– in fact, it would be very little more than renting a comparable house. If we DID move to Podunk, USA, where that same house might cost $75K? Our salaries would take a hit in Podunk, making the house NO MORE affordable there than it is here.

Do you honestly think it’s that easy (or even that wise) to uproot? Especially to another *country*… which brings me to another point– calling youngandthrifty “dumb” and you don’t even take note to see where she’s from. Even if you didn’t notice the .ca domain in the URL, the fact that her blog is peppered with totally unfamiliar financial terms is enough of an indication that she’s not even IN the US.

Which also indicates that you didn’t bother to thoroughly read any of the rest of her posts (or hell, even this one) before passing judgment. It’s not like she’s “house rich, cash poor” like so many people who bought overpriced homes they couldn’t afford– now THAT was a foolish choice. She invests her money, she focuses on retirement (so important, and so often overlooked by young people!) and she doesn’t carry a credit card balance. From what I understand, the mortgage payment is comfortable and manageable for her. And that’s what’s important. It doesn’t matter if a house costs $100K or $1 million, if you’re stretching your income to the hilt and leaving no room for savings in order to pay the mortgage, it’s too expensive.

So take the whole picture into account before having an aneurysm at the seemingly-high *absolute* value of the mortgage. It’s all relative, and there are other factors.

young says:

@Helly- Oh my goodness, when I read your reply, I almost wanted to cry and laugh at the same time! You are amazing. LOL “Podunk, USA”. I think (speculating) that railroad tycoon is from Canada, unfortunately, though it did baffle me as to why there he linked to a house in Florida… You make a really good point!

serf says:

Don’t bother with the crazy negative attitude.

Is RE in Vancouver over-priced? Of course. Is a $600K mortgage on an $800K property for everyone? Of course not.

Does this mean the world is ending? Nope. It just means you made a decision for yourself and will deal with the positive and negative consequences.

But also don’t be naive to think that buying a home is always the best option to save money…nor is renting always the best option….just a matter of personal risk preference…that’s all…

As for the realtor – helicopter pumping…it’s sad that the stories about hot asian money just drive local people to overspend…that’s why they spend so much time “leaking” this stuff to the news. If it were me and there were asians banging down my door to pay me commissions, I wouldn’t waste my time inviting reporters to go with me on a helicopter ride, i’d save the space for more asians! ..but that’s just my opinion

railroad tycoon says:

Honestly, I’m just trying to help you out. That debt is not going to go away and you don’t want so much at such a young age. It will haunt you the rest of your life.

Look at the US and its housing crash.

Look what you can get for $229K

young says:

@railroad tycoon- I’m sorry, but I must be misunderstanding. How are you trying to help me out when you are asking me to change my blog name to “younganddumb”? If that’s your way of helping others out, then there’s something very strange about that.

Thanks for the link for the mansion in Florida, but I don’t want to live in Florida (no offense to those who live in Florida!). Do you live in Florida, yourself?

Simn says:

@jack burns
Kindly go back to trolling Garth’s site where you, like he, can predict a 40% correction every year, for the last 13 years. One of these years you might just be right and at that point you can pat yourself on the back and believe that you are a genius. Unfortunately, most everyone else will continue to roll their eyes at you.

If I say it is going to rain EVERY day, and then it rains, does that make me a genius or all knowing like Garth and his Turner-trolls? Nope. Get over yourself.

young says:

@Simn- Thank you 🙂

Where are they getting that $600k mortgage number from?

I see $307,954k… or am I missing something?

jack burns says:

the 40% real estate correction will leave you with negative equity of a out 240k. also with no liquidity i see no viable future in your plan. it might take you until 60 to finally pay off the debts and begin having money to go to a movie or order. sorry that you are in such a terrible bind.

@Y&T, Naaa we got 2 of those already. She finds our 2005 Corolla old now and wants something nicer!

railroad tycoon says:

Sorry but this blog should be called younganddumb. You are misleading the people that read this blog. I mean really, a $600K mortgage. That is just insane. It is insane!!!

What’s going to happen when interest rates double or triple? What’s your payment going to look like then?

Sure you can go for dinner and get 50% off with a groupon or you can go to Vietnam for cheap. What does that save you? A couple hundred bucks?

How many years would you have to do that for in order to save 100 thousand or 200 thousand dollars?

Get rid of that mortgage or you’re going to get wiped out and this blog will be shut down.

Time to start focusing on what’s important and not on ways to save trivial amounts of money.


young says:

@railroad tycoon- To be honest, I think it’s more likely that this blog will be shut down with comments like yours.

I’m sorry that you feel that I am misleading the people that read this blog. I think the point of blogging is being honest and being open about my opinion on personal finance, my experience etc. I am not telling people that I am a financial guru, or at least that’s what I hope I’m not doing. Anyway, thanks for your comments and your friends comments from greater fool, I decided not to post my net worth anymore.

To answer your question, my payment is static, it stays the same throughout the amortization, though the amortization time will shift if interest rates change.

railroad tycoon says:

That was completely staged. A realtor took other realtors up in the helicopter and tried to make it look like they were wealthy Asians interested in real estate.

Sadly, it is true, it was a complete scam trying to pump up the real estate market.

young says:

@railroad tycoon- Thanks for the update. I had thought it sounded incredulous, but I heard from a lot of my friends and family members (I didn’t actually hear it on the news myself and tried to look for that article but was unable to find it online).

young says:


I found the link to the mainland chinese looking at property via the helicopter

Do you have the link that shows that the helicopter ride was actually a scam?

railroad tycoon says:

Get rid of that mortgage debt, ASAP.
That means dump your house and rent.

If you don’t your net worth is going to turn negative very shortly and that’s not something you want.

You’re too busy looking at saving nickels and dimes when you should be looking at saving hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Dmitri says:

That’s a bummer, your total net worth
is -250k. Plus you are forced to leave in a communal house to make ends meet. Now that the oil prices are going to skyrocket to around 200/brl by end of summer…

Nice to meet you too 🙂 You’ve inspired me to go update my budget

balmore says:

Haha, that Asian helicopter was released as a joke, don’t you read the news? It was to prey on young dumb home buyers who think their homes in Vancouver are actually worth that much. But that’s right, you didn’t read a news article about it…you just ‘heard’ about it.

Oh, and your net-worth is totally flawed. So you split the cost of the house that you own in half because your boyfriend pays half…but what if he loses his job and can’t pay? do you pay or just let it default? So really the entire mortgage is YOUR liability as much as it is his!

And from what I read you have maybe 50k in liquid assets, the rest is tied up in an illiquid asset class that is on it’s way down, down, down.

Poor girl…and you will probably say you didn’t see it coming.

Yakezie says:

God stuff! After 5 or 10 years, you’ll see the mortgage as very manageable. Is that half the mortgage though ie $600,000 is the full?


young says:

@Yakezie- You can read the comment by railroad tycoon, that will answer your question 🙂

nobo says:

Wow, you are getting bashed like crazy on Garth Turner’s blog. Lol. At least he has a blogger who will show her marked declines in housing value month over month and how it can send young people into financial ruin. At that price you could be down over 40% in a couple years. Ouch…

young says:

@nobo- SWEET. Thanks for your kind words and concern.

As long as you’re not spending money on your car, keep it.

In my case, it’s the wify pushing to buy a new car…so definitely not a guy thing 🙂

young says:

@BeatingTheIndex- Oh really? How come she wants a new car? Bigger car for a baby perhaps? 🙂

serf says:

In Vancouver, renting out the basement is a necessity (not a choice). Especially when your mortgage is 300K+ each person!

Sadly, that’s reality of realty in crazy Vancouver. Normal working people keeping up with the “hot asian money” haha

young says:

@serf- Yeah, that “hot asian money” is crazy stuff. Did you hear (it was on the local news) about how this man flew in from China and sat in a helicopter with a realtor? He was hovering over White Rock and just pointed to real estate and land and said he wanted them. That’s it.

These are some great decisions….
For example, keeping the car is wonderful savings in itself, and renting out your basement is another really wise move.

Thanks for sharing your update!

young says:

@Roshawn- Thanks Roshawn. I agree with Serf, renting out the basement in Vancouver pretty much IS the necessity here, unfortunately.

I was worried when I saw your stock declines, but it all makes sense now 🙂

Good for you for being so clever as to rent out your basement!

young says:

@Money Reasons- lol, yeah it looked ugly for me too! -19%

Looking good. A little bit of positive progress every month will add up in the long term. 😉

young says:

@retirebyforty- Yeah! I’ll take +1% over anything red any day 🙂 Though I suspect next month will be negative.

Melissa says:

Wow, that’s fantastic. Congrats! I do know roughly what I’m worth, though I don’t keep track to this level of detail (maybe I should?)

young says:

@Melissa- Detail is good! I used to know roughly, but after I decided to make it a regular habit and to input detail, I find that it helps a lot for my personal goal setting. But that’s just me! 🙂

Wow great job! Nice to meet you. I just started working for Sam at Yakezie.com and am so glad to have you in the network. I think it’s awesome you love your 11 year old car! 🙂

young says:

@Sydney- Hi Sydney!! Nice to meet you! I need to get back into the Yakezie loop! 🙂

krantcents says:

Keep the car! My cars are 16 and 14 years old. Having a car without a payment is golden! Looks like you are doing pretty well on your goals. Keep it up!

young says:

@krantcents- We’ll see how it goes by year end 🙂 16 and 14! You must maintain them really well. I think having anything without payment is golden 🙂

SavingMentor says:

Love seeing your steady increases every month! I haven’t calculated my net worth in several months now … I should definitely do that. Busy life!

young says:

@SavingMentor- Slowly but surely, small increments. I have yet to finish paying for the renos (only about $7500 or so left to go) so I anticipate next month will be a doozy. I think net worths don’t necessarily need to be done every month, I think quarterly is good (haha, just like the corporations).

Joabs State says:

wow man.. im happy for ya 🙂
nice money… my income is only ~80$/month (im leave im Ukraine)
Good Luck and God bless you..

JT McGee says:

I thought your little mention about the house was funny. “Don’t kill us!” 😛

That would be great if you could rent out the lower level for an additional income stream.

I can’t believe how well Canadian housing held up throughout the almost international correction in real estate. Well, I guess I can, but jeez – the good news is that your home is worth what you paid, I imagine.

young says:

@JT McGee- Yeah, house prices here in Vancouver are pretty ridonkulous! Yeah, Canadian housing was booming during the international correction (well, not booming, but the bubble didn’t really burst). I was watching some propaganda commercial for Stephen Harper today (our Prime Minister) and he said Canada was considered an “economic star” during the recession, apparently.

MoneyCone says:

Not having the latest car is excellent saving by itself!

If the car is running ok, no reason to dump it! Remember a car is a depreciating asset!

young says:

@MoneyCone- Yeah, that’s what I tried telling my boyfriend, but he ended up getting a used car for himself and is financing it 🙁