Net Worth Update

For those whom have been reading me for a while you might wonder why it takes me a while to post an update on my net worth. After all my last one was in Dec, 2006. To be honest I find tracking it on a monthly basis just a bit too mind numbing for my taste, but in the interest of knowing how I’m doing I have decided to update it every two months. So here we go.

House $200,000 (I raised this up a bit to cover some recent house improvements and also to reflect my most recent market survey of house prices in my area.)
RRSP $12,200
Old Work Pension $10,500
New Work Pension $500
Wife’s RRSP $5000
Wife’s Investment Account $4400
ING Savings Account $2000

Mortgage $149,150
Line of Credit $0

Therefore my net worth now stands at: $85,450.

Overall a nice little increase (+$5,250 or 6.5%) from my last check up. As you might have noticed my new work pension has kicked in so that should help out the savings nicely. I will note here that these numbers were from Feb 26 when I started pulling them together and don’t count in yesterday’s slide on the markets (but my guess would be that slide dragged me down around $500 total).

Keeping Up with Jones

Over at the Middle Class Millionaire, he has a great post on Keeping Up with the Jones, which got me thinking: How do you stop this?

One of the more obvious interim solutions include the Wait Game, where you have a mandatory wait time for all major purchases. Some people use 24 hours, others a week, while some go for 30 days. The point of this method is to get your brain time to process your initial emotional response to see if you really do want this or feel that you do.

Yet to truly get past this envy issue you have to find your own happiness with your life that doesn’t require outside approval. You have to understand yourself so that you can honestly assess that critical moment when you have ‘enough.’ Enough books, food, and love. Happiness should not be a reason for trying to have early retirement, otherwise when you get there you will be disappointed to learn that happiness has everything to do with the now rather than the future. If you can’t be happy now, you won’t get any happier in early retirement.

So what makes you happy? Are you happy now? If not, why? Those are the questions that will help you get past the keeping up with the Jones attitude.

Book Review: How I Stopped Worrying About Retirement

During the weekend I finished reading How I Stopped Worrying About Retirement (without alcohol, nicotine, caffeine or other artificial stimulants) by Bruce McDougall which was an entertaining read. As you can tell by the title there is a fair amount of humour in the book which is a nice change from the typical personal finance book.

The other two thing that really sets this book apart from its peers. They are:

1) The entire book is told as a series of conversations between friends, similar to the Wealthy Barber. So it’s easy to read as compared to the typically dry reading some personal finance books can be. Perhaps what is more amazing is there is a plot to the story rather than just a nice way to present information.

2) The author uses the characters to show different points of view and allows the reader to make up their own minds. Also the characters don’t have perfect retirements. One had to cash in $50,000 of his RRSP’s to cover the legal defense for his son’s run in with the law, while another lost a pile of money with a junior mining company fraud.

As much as I enjoyed reading the book I’m left with a few problems with it. First the cast of character is large and you are dumped into a scene with all of them fairly shortly, so it’s a bit confusing in the beginning to remember who is who (For example, is Richard or Cecil the penny pincher?). The second problem is the conversational style doesn’t let the author touch on too many details for each topic so your left wanting more in some cases.

Yet despite the flaws, overall its a good read. It must be if my wife is thinking about reading it, since she almost never touches my personal finance books.