Net worth update: December 2014

As the days go by, I am becoming more and more interested in personal finance. I am on a mission to save as much as I can (ideally $1,000,000). I’ve started investing and that is slowly making me money. By the end of the year, my net worth should be slightly higher than what it is now. But in the new year, I will have to aim high and save even more. I am in the process of opening up a Questrade account so that will keep my money occuppied for a while.

Cash savings: $1,103.39
RRSP: $12,708.65
TFSA: $703.72
House: $260,000.00

Credit cards: $0
Mortgage: $235,911.70

Net worth: $38,122.73
Change: $1,027.35 (2.69%)

I am slowly aligning my asset allocation for my TD eSeries fund. The TD Canadian Bond Index fund still occuppies majority of my holding but I hope to have that corrected by weekly depositing funds to the other indices.

TD eSeries funds
TD CDN Index-e: $148.85
TD US Index-e: $153.06
TD CDN Bond Index-e: $253.34
TD Int’l Index-e: $153.50
Change: $208.77 (29.46%)


Posted by on December 1, 2014 in Finances

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Canadian Couch Potato

It has been a long time coming but I’ve finally decided to start up my Couch Potato portfolio. I recall reading about it when I became interested in personal finance but I didn’t quite know how to get started investing. The thing that got me interested in this investment strategy is the fact that it’s simple and easy to look after. And that’s what you need when you’re just starting out.

If you don’t know what the Canadian Couch Potato is, it’s an strategy for investing in mutual funds or exchange traded funds (ETF) that require little effort. I came across this strategy when reading an article by Dan Bortolotti in MoneySense magazine. And I started reading MoneySense magazine after listening to a few Mostly Money, Mostly Canadian podcasts by Preet Banerjee.

So far, I found that the quickest and easiest way to get started with investing using the couch potato was to open an account with TD. I’ve read that in the past it was difficult to open up a mutual fund account with TD and convert it to an e-Series account but I didn’t have any issues. So perhaps words got around and they fixed the problem. In my case, I simply walked into the bank, spoke with an account manager, signed some papers and was out of there in 15 minutes. It took about a week to convert the account so I can buy e-Series funds, though.

Along with tracking my net worth, I will also be tracking the e-Series funds. From what I’ve read, it’s important to rebalance the portfolio every now and then but it doesn’t need to be rebalanced that often. But as time goes, I will be tracking a whole lot more things. I am currently in the process of opening up a Questrade account but that will take a while because I need to transfer the initial funds.

Here’s what my initial investment looks like.

TD CDN Index-e: 4.078 @ $24.52 = $99.99
TD US Index-e: 2.463 @ $40.60 = $100.00
TD CDN Bond Index-e: 17.406 @ $11.49 = $199.99
TD Int’l Index-e: 8.873 @ $11.27 = $100.00

And here’s where they currently stand
TD CDN Index-e: $100.89 (+0.89%)
TD US Index-e: $100.84 (+0.83%)
TD CDN Bond Index-e: $200.34 (+0.17%)
TD Int’l Index-e: $101.24 (+1.23%)

I will have to rebalance this because I currently have an incorrect allocation mix. For someone my age, I should not have that high of a percentage in bonds. Oh well. It’s all part of the learning experience.


Posted by on November 20, 2014 in Finances

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Net worth update: November 2014

One, two, skip a few…

I’ve been a little lazy towards my financial update. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on this site at all. For the past few weeks, I was site to Calgary to assist with another division and get their IT in order. Since then, my finances has been all over the place since a lot of the spending was out-of-pocket, and will be reimburse later.

Nonetheless, I still maintained my savings, or at least, I tried to keep them in order. My savings is not where it should be but I have a feeling that it will change once I have been reimburse for all my spending.

Cash savings: $498.53
RRSP: $11,527.67
TFSA: $1,313.85
House: $260,000.00

Credit cards: $0
Mortgage: $236,528.94

Net worth: $36,811.11
Change: $971.08 (2.62%)


Posted by on November 2, 2014 in Finances

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Net worth update: September 2014

Just a quick update…

Cash savings: $2,000.78
RRSP: $10,548.17
TFSA: $927.68
House: $260,000.00

Credit cards:$1,503.43
Mortgage: $238,282.90

Net worth: $33,690.30
Change: $1,972.86 (5.76%)


Posted by on September 8, 2014 in Finances

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Net worth update: August 2014

I am a little late in updating this. I almost forgot to write this up and was only reminded when I started working on my budget.

It has been three weeks now since the day that I moved into my new house. I am slowly getting used to the area. I still have figured out where everything is at the moment but there is plenty of time for that. Since moving in, there has been a lot of household item purchases, be it groceries, cooking utilities or furniture so the credit card balance is a bit high. I am confident that it will go down by the middle of the month.

Last month, a good chunk of my savings was used towards the closing cost of my house. I think there are some more fees and bills to take care of. I do not yet know my total cost for the month. The bills are slowing coming in. I just found out recently that this year’s property tax will not be covered by my mortgage company. They are collecting for next year’s property tax so that means that I will have to hand over about $1200 over to the town of Grimsby. There is a part of the tax due at the beginning of this month but since I thought my mortgage company was handling it, it means that I will have to pay a late fee. The next installment is not due until October so I have time budget for that.

All in all, being a home owner is not that bad. It’s just a big responsibility with all the finances. It’s a good thing that I have my finances in order or else I would be struggling a little right now.

I am down a few more percent this month but I am looking forward to being back on the plus side next month.

Cash savings: $1,483.59
RRSP: $10,58.55
TFSA: $97.73
House: $260,000.00

Credit cards: $775.00
Mortgage: $238,680.90

Net worth: $32,184.84
Change: -$3,070.17 (-9.51%)


Posted by on August 6, 2014 in Finances

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Net worth update: July 2014

It looks like I am back up on the plus side this month. You’ll noticed that I have a lot of money sitting in the cash savings category. That is due to the fact that I recently purchased a house and I am in the middle of preparation to get a bank draft made up. I have managed to save up for a 10% down payment.

By the next update, I will have a couple more categories to add to the list, house and mortgage.

Also, I have decided to put myself onto a budget and track my spending a lot closer now. I will have a better idea as to where my money is going.

Cash savings: $24,714.58
RRSP: $9,912.36
TFSA: $833.35

Credit cards: $196.34

Net worth: $35,265.95
Change: $1,409.68 (3.99%)


Posted by on July 2, 2014 in Finances

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Net worth update: June 2014

It may looks like I am down a bit this time but that is partly due to me buying a house. Part of the first offering was to include a deposit of $2,500. I am in the process of getting things together to complete the purchase of my first house. In about a month and a half I will be moving into my new home. I am excited by the idea that I will be a home owner but I am also excited to see how much I can save in the future. According to my calculations, I should be able to save even more once I moved in. That is due to the fact that I may not be driving as much since the new place will be a lot closer to work. Also, the amount that I will be paying for auto and home insurance will be less as well.

You can see that a good chuck of the funds has been moved out of my RRSP and into my cash account. I have opted to use the Home Buyer’s Plan (HBP) to buy a house so I withdrew about $25,000 from my RRSP to help make a 10% down payment. I have been savings for the past couple of months to cover the remaining balance and the closing cost. By the time the closing date arrives, I should have enough to cover everything.

I am hoping that by the time I move in, my net worth will start to go back up again.

Cash savings: $21,342.68
RRSP: $11,841.34
TFSA: $1,133.27

Credit cards: $798.25

Net worth: $33,519.04
Change: -$1,767.36 (-5.21%)


Posted by on June 2, 2014 in Finances

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Net worth update: May 2014

Since I am on the road to financial independence, I thought that it would be a good idea to finally track my net worth. This is something that I wanted to start way back when I first started reading financial blogs. In the past, I’ve always keep records in an Excel file but it mainly monitored the current month and the previous month’s net worth.

I hope that by monitoring my net worth, I will do a better job of keeping within my budget. I would prefer that my net worth goes up and not go down. By posting it onto my blog, it’ll give me easy access to the real numbers.

When I was in college, my goal was to retire by the age of 55. But with the up coming addition of a house, I might have to push that forward. I will have to recalculate my numbers to see what is needed to be done to reach my first goal.

So here goes, my very first net worth. Hopefully, all the numbers are correct.

Cash savings: $1,321.26
RRSP: $33,514.46
TFSA: $527.06

Credit cards: $76.20

Net worth: $35,286.58
Change: $1,076.00 (+3.15%)


Posted by on May 1, 2014 in Finances

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Buying a house

Searching around for a good house can take up a lot of time and effort. For the past month or so, I have been searching around so much that I’ve lost count of the number of houses that I’ve viewed. And once I’ve found a decent house that I was looking for, the offering stage turned out to be quite competitive. I did not realize at first that I could be in the middle of a seller’s market, at least not this early in the season.

I started searching around for a house to buy for about a month now. My girlfriend, my brother and I have been looking up listings on and visiting countless open houses. We’ve even put in a few offers but so far, no luck in securing that new houses.

A couple of months ago, I was pre-approved for a mortgage with my bank. The amount that I was approved for was a lot lower than I had expected. My account manager ran some numbers and said that I could get a $160,000 house. I was expecting something along the $250,000 range so I am not sure exactly why that number was so low. I thought that my credit rating might be the cause but my credit report showed nothing that would be of great concern. A coworker recommend that I contact a mortgage broker and see if that number can increase. After contacting the broker and crunching some numbers, I was pre-approved for a $280,000 mortgage. This allowed me to expand on my property selection. You can’t get much for $160,000 these, or at least nothing that caught my eye.

I found a few houses that I was interested in so I put in an offer. Little did I know that these properties were in high demand. Most of the properties that I placed an offer on were selling for more than asking price. At the time of writing, I am awaiting the results of a property where I put in an offer over the asking price. There are two other offers in place as well so I have a feeling that I may not get this either.

This property has a good size, four bedroom, kitchen with an eat-in dining room, finished basement, one and a half bathroom and a pool. It falls within my price range and it meets most of my criteria. If this one falls through, I might just hold off until the market is less saturated with potential buyers.


Posted by on April 19, 2014 in General, Hamilton, Life


Happy trails, my good friend.

How does one say goodbye to a dear friend who has passed too soon. Sometimes, it escapes me how cruel life can turn out to be. The loss of a loved one is not a thing that you can prepare for ahead of time. Events occurred and things can change very quickly from one moment to the next. In one moment things are fine then next thing you know, things turn for the worse. It all happened so quickly that there was no time to piece it all together. You go into a sort of shock and in the moment, things just go quiet.

I was at a loss for words when I heard the sad news. A good friend of mine, Tan Phan passed away Monday night. The news was something that I never wanted to hear about. I feared the day that I would have to face it. I try to take comfort in hearing that he went peacefully but a part of me does not want to let go since it was all too soon. He was a guy who received the short end of the stick in life and made the most of it.

My good friend, Tan was a terrific guy. He was the type of guy that hated idling around. While he was awaiting a new kidney, I could tell that he frustrated that he was not doing more with his life. But given his predicament, he made the best hands with the cards that he was dealt. I recall him having a new take on life when he received a new kidney. He wanted to go out there. Do more! See more! And experience everything that life throws at him. Every time I spoke with him, he had a new idea for a new adventure. At one point, you just couldn’t keep him still. It was as if he was infused with a new sense of purpose and he went all in!

Tan and I would talk for hours over a cup of coffee at the Hamilton mountain brow. This was the place that we would go to, just to shoot the shit. With a hot cup of coffee in our hands and a great view of the city, we would talk of hobbies and travels. We were both into photography so we were always comparing notes. We were both on the road often so we were always dreaming of new destinations to visit. The road trip to the west coast was something that he and I were supposed to do together but due to bad timing, I went alone and he went a year later. His road trip would kick my road trip’s ass any day. He explored while he was out there. He met new people. He did a lot of things at the spur of the moment. I have no idea how he planned his trip but he was all over the map. Looking at his pictures and videos, he did a lot more than what I did.

Tan and I would engage in many conversations and discussions about life in general. If you have ever spoken with Tan, you probably would have a hard time comprehending what goes on inside his head. Sometimes, he would have to explain his ideas a couple of times before I understood the idea that he was trying to convey. We saw many things eye to eye since we had a lot of things in common but we also had our difference. We never let our differences come between us though. Tan had his own insights on life and would express it when he could. His outlook on life was that you go out there and live it to the fullest. He would prefer that you seize the moment and make the most of it and not idling around. But at the same time, he was willing to grab that one cup of coffee with you. He saw the large and the small things in life. He took each day as a challenge to better himself. He was a guy with big dreams! A guy who wanted to explore the world.

Tan did not have much in life albeit, he didn’t need much. He had a dream and rather than staying in bed and dreaming about it, he woke up and chased it. His car and whatever he could fit in it was all he needed. You can tell a lot about a person by looking at the things that made them happy.

Tan Phan
December 30, 1981 – February 10, 2014
Mieng, it was an honour and a pleasure to have such a great friend.
Life as I know it, will not be the same without you.
I am going to miss our talks over coffee.
I am glad that you were able to make the journey out west.
I will take you with me on every adventure that I go on.
May your travels beyond take you to many undiscovered countries.
Rest in peace.


Posted by on February 10, 2014 in Life

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