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$132, 262 (+ 2.4%)

Some of you might have noticed that I haven’t done a net worth update in a while.  At first, I decided to stop posting my updates because of all the negative comments I was receiving on my home purchase.  Then I decided to compromise, because really, a personal finance blog isn’t personal if I don’t share some detail with you all 🙂  As silly as it may sound to some of the readers that are bearish on real estate, I am planning to live in this home for 5-10 years (or maybe more, who knows) and did not primarily purchase it for investing reasons.  We just wanted a place to call our own.  The thought of this piece of land being “ours” really hit home when I decided to grab a shovel last weekend and dug up a garden in the back yard.  It was quite a surreal experience.

The renovations and everything are all done to the money pit house and now we’re in the process this month of finalizing everything and finding a tenant for downstairs.  We just have a few minor things to do before we can start taking pictures of the suite and getting it ready for Craigslist.

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


CASH: $10956 (-13%)

  • The cash accounts took a hit because we finished paying off the contractors for our renovations
  • 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 $1592 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.  How’s that for shameless self promotion? 😉

STOCKS: $17216 (-13%)

  • Don’t worry, I haven’t been doing poorly with the market.  I sold 75 shares of Encana in Canadian Funds for a profit and moved about $1500 into my RRSP to max it out this year.  I bought some USD (since our dollar is so good right now) and bought shares in an American corporation.
  • 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)

RRSP: $11088 (+27.2%)

  • This includes the pre-authorized 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 about $700 contribution room left to max out my RRSP for 2011.
  • 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 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: $7793 (+39%)

  • I bought Exchange Income Corporation, Just Energy, Keg Income Trust, and Sunlife last month.  So far, my TFSA portfolio is up only about 2.5% not including the dividends.
  • I JUST got my tax refund in the mail the other day of $1033 and put it straight into my TFSA (talk about will power, eh? Didn’t even stash any of it in the travel fund!)
  • 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 a year and this is year 3 of the TFSA, so one can have $15000 in their TFSA.


  • 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.  Next month I have to pay insurance (boo-urns!), which costs $1500 though I get a 10 year driving discount which apparently saves me $1300, according to what my government insurance corporation says.


  • 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: $305075 (-1%)

  • 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.

Credit Card: $527

  • 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 never pay $170 a year for this, but since it’s free for one year, why not?)

Article comments

investlike1percent says:

buying a home is such a personal decision. there are no wrong decisions there. with prices so low, good timing.

you work hard, save. you should buy what you want.

young says:

Sorry Sam, realized I forgot to reply to your comment!

No, I’m not going to change the networth to be total, that would be cheating (hehe) in my opinion. We have separate accounts (and one joint account) anyway.

I did have hesitation on revealing my PF details in the beginning, but I overcame these fears because I realized that it may keep myself accountable. One of the reasons why I started doing my net worth updates was so I could blog about it. However, things got complicated when I bought a house. Real estate is something people love to talk about (and hate on).

Edward says:

You’ve put together a nice not overly complicated personal balance sheet here. More people should take the time to put something together like this as it gives a true snapshot of one’s financial situation.

young says:

@Edward- Thanks. I try!

Congrats on your progress! When do you think y’all will get married? And if you do, do you change the networth to be total?

Also, did you have hesitation on revealing your PF details in the beginning? How did you overcome any worries you had?

thx, Sam

Great work Y&T! Keep it up!

young says:

@My Own Advisor- Thanks 🙂 I’ll definitely try!

Yah I agree with the whole 10K TFSA thing in a lot of ways Y&T. Think about how much money a couple can now put into tax free investing through TFSAs, RRSPs, and even RESPs if they want. It will be nice for anyone who lands a great job or inherits a lot of money, but in 20 years I wonder if anyone except the extremely wealthy will even have non-registered accounts anymore! That being said, I plan on beginning a Smith Manoeuvre soon so I guess they’ll make at least a little tax money off of me!

young says:

@My University Money- Actually, all the tax free investing ‘space’ stresses me out! I want to max it out but I know later on, it will be more difficult. I really do enjoy my TFSA trading account though- I don’t have to worry about capital gains (and capital losses). Ahh Smith Manoeuvre eh? But you have so little mortgage interest anyways, your mortgage is so small!

I believe in home ownership, and Vancouver is absolutely beautiful. I’m also fond of driving a car til it dies. Keep it up! Live by your own values.

young says:

@Barb Friedberg- Awe, thanks for your inspirational words Barb. It’s always great to hear your perspective and wise advice 🙂

m says:

Congratz on the home purchase. I am not sure why everyone is giving you flack about home purchase. Right now is a good time to buy if you plan to keep the place for 5+ years. Buying a home is an “investment” the same way as putting money in a 401k plan. Nothing is garuanteed, just more or less risk. If in 5 years, you can sell the house for what you bought it for, then everything is fine. It’ll be just like renting for cheap because of the principle you paid down, and the tax deduction you can get. If you sell it for more great. If less, it’ll be like renting. But regardless, you’ll have built credit.

BTW, I am starting a blog about personal finance/frugal lifesytle as well. please visit.

young says:

@m- Thanks 🙂 Very true that nothing is guaranteed. I’ll definitely visit your blog. Thanks for visiting mine.

First of all, nice job on your net worth Y&T. Can I borrow like $10,000? I promise I won’t blow it foolishly. I’ll use it to buy myself a nice nose job.

I’m one of those people who think Vancouver real estate is due for a downturn. One of the big problems with bubbles is, however, that no one can predict when they’re going to pop. Your buddy Garth Turner has been calling for it for years now, and it still hasn’t happened.

As long as you’re responsible with buying property, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. I count my equity in my principle residence in my net worth statement, but I hardly consider it an investment. It’s just money I have tied up in exchange for living in the house I want. For me (and many, many other people) that’s worth every penny.

The people who use their house as an ATM or the people who move up every 3 years are the people who worry me. Folks who make good, long term decisions into real estate don’t.

604serf says:

I think it’s great that you share some information. I assume it keeps you motivated towards your goals and indirectly helps other people too.

With regards to the question about why there are so many real estate “haters” out there…

I think the point most “haters” have an issue with is when people buying at these prices in Vancouver call it a great “investment”. What they probably have a hard time with is that in terms of a pure, $ objective, ZERO emotion, INVESTMENT, it isn’t reasonable to justify the numbers as a good “investment”. Also, the relatively young age of many buyers likely means they haven’t experienced or seen anything higher than a 5% mortgage rate.

From a pure risk adjusted, leveraged return, a house in Vancouver isn’t the best “investment”. The opportunity cost of leveraging your down payment on something else (even a REIT) would technically generate higher returns.

However! There are lots of other reasons, not all $ related, to buy:

a) Pride of ownership, want to do the HGTV thing by renovating, etc.
b) Get asian parents off your back / nagging you (this is big)
c) You’d blow all the $ on rent anyways
d) Stop the spouse from nagging you (prevent divorce?) – this would be huge $ savings too heehee
e) You have parents, etc. willing to gift $ to you to help you out

Etc., etc. There’s LOTS of non-dollar reasons to buy a house. When owner-occupiers say it’s a great “investment”…they are probably including many factors that technically weren’t related to the $ investment return…

young says:

@604serf- It does keep me motivated on my goals, though I think keeping it to myself keeps me motivated too as well. I know that people like reading about it, so I thought, why not share again? It’s the whole point of a personal finance blog, I have to be able to discuss my personal finances 🙂

I understand what you mean about people who are buying condos/houses as investments and then “flipping” them a few years later. I think many people are planning to do this in Vancouver. In fact, TD Canada just released a report saying the same thing: http://www.smrmediaroom.ca/TDCondo.html

Definitely am a proponent that buying a home in Vancouver isn’t purely for investing purposes- there are many reasons for not renting. Your comments make me think of financial samurai’s very entertaining post: http://www.financialsamurai.com/2010/08/31/how-to-get-girls-if-you-live-at-home-with-mom-dad/

I just bought out my 4 year old car and plan on keeping it for at least another 4-5 years if not longer. It’s still in great shape, too. I had enough of paying monthly payments for a new car for a while. 🙂

young says:

@Invest it Wisely- Congrats on buying our your car!! Yeah, for me, focusing on one debt is enough! (e.g. mortgage debt). If I get another car, I think i would buy it outright, or pay a significant portion down to keep the monthly payments small.

Money Rabbit says:

You know, the amount of internet trolls out there who specifically target posts about real estate simply amazes me. After I decided to NOT buy a condo, I got a ton of emails breaking down my numbers and criticizing EVERYTHING. To which I replied, Um, Yes, but I didn’t buy the damn thing!

Don’t worry about defending yourself against the haters, you’re doing so well in your networth, and it shouldn’t matter if you’re planning on spending 5-10 years in your home or renting it out to a tenant after a year, purchasing real estate is a smart move, otherwise some people would have you renting your whole life.

That was my rant. But, kudos to you for boosting your networth another couple of points!!! Very impressive, especially when it’s on such a large scale.

young says:

@Money Rabbit- I’m sure you’ve definitely seen your fair share, being in the real estate industry and all. I saw all those comments on your blog too, and found it funny that people were telling you reasons why you shouldn’t buy when you already made your decision. It’s like they didn’t bother to read the post/ listen and jumped to conclusions. That’s the most frustrating part for me, I suppose, when people jump to conclusions and make accusations that may or may not be true.

I’m glad you decided to continue with your net worth updates. I really like to see how your putting your strategies into practice! Congratulations on the substantial assets your building in all areas. I’m an especially big fan of the TFSA. Will you continue to make that a priority if the Conservatives boost it to a $10,000 contribution max per year?

P.S. You have definitely inspired me to do my own Net Worth article in the near future. Although as a slightly younger recent graduate, my numbers don’t look nearly as impressive!

young says:

@My University Money- I don’t think that will be for a while- they said we need to have ‘balanced budgets’ before they increase the contribution. I am a little worried about that move to up TFSA’s to $10K a year though… where will the government money be for us young people if all the rich people who can actually afford to put $10K a year away don’t have to pay taxes? Will the government support us when we’re retiring? What about health care? I do like the TFSA at $5K for now. I think there’s plenty of room for us to grow (for those of us who a young and have many years of $5K a year ahead of us).

I’m happy to hear I’ve inspired you to do a Net Worth post! I’ll definitely be checking that out- I do like reading net worth updates when I check out other bloggers updates too.

SavingMentor says:

I’m glad you decided to keep posting your net worth updates. I always enjoy reading them and I know many others do as well. Good job increasing your net worth this month even with all of your home related expenses!

young says:

@SavingMentor- Thanks SM 🙂 Maybe I’ll increase it back to monthly then. We shall see 🙂 I’ve still been doing them on my own, but hadn’t posted them.

Hey Young,

You know that you’re inspiring people, right? Keep posting everything. And congratulations on the home purchase!!


young says:

@Andrew Hallam- No, I didn’t really think of it like that. Now I have to be even more accountable! 😉 Thanks Andrew- means a lot to hear your words of encouragement.

Sam says:

Not bad at all! I think splitting the equity and mortgage makes sense.

Have their been haters on your home? It’s pointless to hate. Just enjoy the home!

young says:

@Sam- Oh yeah, not necessarily haters, but there has been gossip about my ‘poor decision’ on blogs such as the Greater Fool (which is the real estate bear den). I think by putting all this detail out there, I of course should take criticism and feedback along with it 🙂

Ginger says:

This may or may not be a bad time to buy a house but if we all worried about bad timing nothing would get done. You plan to live there for a while and seem happy about the purchase, therefore it is a good time for you to buy. 🙂

young says:

@Ginger- Very good point, Ginger 🙂 Thanks for validating our home purchase, I appreciate it 🙂

I wish my RRSP was as big as yours. But I just started mine on the deadline this year — way too late! But at least my TFSA is maxed out.

young says:

@chipsforsupper- Thanks for commenting! TFSA being maxed out is a very good thing. Good job!! I think the TFSA will prove to be a very powerful investing/saving tool, as long as we forgo the temptation to withdraw from it before retirement.

S says:

Hello there! I just found your website through a random Google search and I love reading about it! I have subscribe your blog to my Google reader, so I can get instant update on your blog entries.
I have a question regarding how you track all your investment, income, expenses, etc.. in such an organized manner? I have a huge problem tracking these things, I could do it, but it will take a lot of time and totally not efficient at all, i.e. plugging in numbers in my calculator by looking at my statements each month. So I was wondering if you can share me/all the readers in how you organize your finance and conduct this monthly analysis.
Thank you so much and look forward to your next post 🙂

young says:

@S- Thanks for visiting! I’m glad you like my blog 🙂 All of my accounts can be viewed online, and initially they weren’t, but I had asked my financial advisers for online set up so I could do so. Before I started doing this monthly calculation, I had no idea how to go about it, and didn’t really know how much I had in each account because they were all over the place.. I relied on the quarterly statements they send. Then decided to take matters in my own hands…

What I do is actually quite ‘old school’ still.. I have a little note book and I write in it monthly (I know a lot of people use excel spreadsheets, but I’m a little excel challenged, to say the least). I just take the total amount and write it under each account, separated into CASH, TFSA, RRSP, NON-REGISTERED, etc.

I would recommend Net Worth IQ http://www.networthiq.com, you can just plug in the numbers and they calculate how you compare to last month for you. I also recommend Mint.com which helps you see all your accounts together (though the banks did release a statement saying that if there was fraud and you have a mint.com account with the bank account released to mint (third party), they will not cover you).

Your RRSP and TFSA looks great! I think buying a home is a great idea especially if you can rent out one or two room. One of my friend purchased a 4 bedroom house when he started working and he rented out 3 rooms! That income paid the mortgage and more. great job!

young says:

@retirebyforty- Awe thanks! I really like real estate, actually, though I think this current venture is enough for me for now. My colleague bought a triplex (much like what you plan to do!) and is renting out two of the floors, so basically their mortgage is covered too.