Net Worth – Oct 2009

BOO.  Well if that didn’t scare you I’m sorry my net worth won’t either.  Actually it’s looking alright.  See below.


House $322,000
RRSP $22,300
LIRA $9,900
TFSA $7,000
Pension $11,500
Wife’s RRSP $11,400
Wife’s Investment Account $11,500
Wife’s TFSA $6,200
My Investment Account $5,600
High Interest Savings Account $2,000

Mortgage $128,000

Therefore my net worth now stands at $281,400 for the end of Oct 2009. That is an increase of $8,000 or 2.9% from my last update.  Of that my investment net worth was $87,400 which was an increase of $5,600 or 7%.

On a year to date basis net worth is up 28.1%, while investment net worth is up 78%.  Wow, that’s a damn good number so far.  I likely won’t double my investment net worth for the year, but I will get within striking distance.

The mortgage continues to fall at a good pace.  During the next few months that will increase since I’ve decided to take all my money from my second job and put it on the mortgage.  In the longer run I’m thinking about after paying off the mortgage I’ll stop tracking my house value.  Instead I’ll shift over to just purely my investment net worth since at that point that will be more in line with my overall goal.

(Click for a larger image)

The Winner is…

So last night was interesting for many reasons. First off, our civic election day happened yesterday so this morning I’m now officially a school board trustee.  It was a little surreal to go to the polling station and see my name on a ballot with the word ‘acclaimed’ beside it, but also a little exciting.

Also what was exciting was the volume of comments on the posts of the last two days.  You have might have noticed I was staying out of it and not commenting on either post.  That was on purpose I didn’t want to hint to anyone what I was thinking about when reading the posts or the comments.

In the end picking one of the two of them was very difficult.  On one hand I’ll be honest I had no idea that Candidate #1’s post would cause that much of an uproar.  Granted I thought the tone of the post needed work, but I won’t have guessed at the response overall. On a purely publishing viewpoint controversy isn’t a bad thing, so I won’t hold that against him.  He also was honest and put some emotion into his response to the comments while remaining composed while under fire.  Keeping your cool in a debate like that is difficult so I was impressed.

On the other hand Candidate #2 was obviously the better writer overall.  He had a easy to read style and obviously did some good research into the post.  Yet something in his writing was bothering me and when I was talking to my wife I hit on finally what it was.  It was like reading a newspaper paper article, which is fine for reporting the news but this is a personal finance blog.  I want something that reads closer to an editorial.  I want the majority of the post to be the writer’s viewpoint and thoughts not just quotes from what other people think.  Personal finance should be personal and I didn’t have much of that feeling with Candidate #2.

So in the end I didn’t make the decision on logic.  I went with emotion and picked Candidate #1 for the job.  I thought over the long run he would fit in the best overall.  So I’m proud to introduce, Dave as the new second blogger on Canadian Dream: Free at 45.  Dave is a CGA from Ontario who also dreams of retiring by age 45 at the latest.  Dave’s younger than I am so we will see how early he can pull it off.    I’ll be setting Dave up on the blog over the next week and you will start seeing his posts in November.

For those of you who liked Candidate’s #2 writing I’ll give you some good news.  He’s the regular commenter, The Rat, who already has his own blog Ending the Rat Race.  So you can continue to enjoy his writing by subscribing to his feed.

Thanks to everyone who applied to the position .  It was an interesting process to go through and I appreciate the work that everyone did on their sample posts and cover emails.  I also want to thank everyone who commented in the last two days.  Those comments really helped me look at both candidates in more  ways than I would have come up with on my own.

Blogger Candidate #2 – Is Wal-Mart Good or Bad?

Alright here is Candidate #2, again the same applies as yesterday.  If the candidate wants to respond to questions please use a name like Candidate #2.  Thanks – Tim

The world’s largest retailer just seems to be getting bigger and bigger.

This month, Canoe Money reported that the giant discounter would begin flexing its muscle while carrying out its new e-commerce strategy in the form of a price war and in an attempt to effectively compete in the online book business against Amazon and other book retailers.

Regarding the article’s discussion of Wal-Mart slashing prices for over 200 current best sellers and books in general, a senior analyst with Simba Information is quoted as saying, “They can’t bring (prices) that low. As a whole, it’s very hard for traditional bookstores, large or small, to compete with this kind of nonsense.”

The above-mentioned highlights what many would consider to be a reoccurring theme regarding Wal-Mart’s prowess and ability to penetrate new markets and locations, while at the same time, smaller-sized businesses become casualties in the business world.

An in depth article of Wal-Mart by the CBC in 2005 stated that there were 256 stores located in Canada at that time. A more recent Financial Post article titled, “Wal-Mart plans supercenters for Western Canada” from this past summer, indicates that there are now 312 stores in Canada. In addition to the increase, we realize that in just a few short years, the giant retailer has waged a price war on our turf, competing with Canadian enterprises such as Loblaw and Metro Inc in the grocery store market.

As we witness this corporate giant expand into new markets and locations, the question we often ask ourselves is the following: “Is Wal-Mart Good or Bad?”

From a consumer standpoint, the notion of being able to buy goods at a store and at reduced prices can certainly be appealing; however, it can also be reasonably assumed that many of these same consumers also know what kind of a negative ramifications a new Wal-Mart store entering a community can have on many of the small businesses. This in turn, can arguably affect the culture, and unique aspects to a community’s economic environment.

From an employee standpoint, things are often seen in another light.  Many of you may have read or heard about Wal-Mart’s apparent history of having to get the lowest prices at whatever cost-even at the expense of local employees. For example, an article written by Charles Fishman for Fast Company in 2007 mentions, “To survive in the face of its pricing demands, makers of everything from bras to bicycles to blue jeans have had to lay off employees and close U.S. plants in favor of outsourcing products from overseas.”

Furthermore, many of you may have heard stories in the news regarding struggles to unionize some of the Canadian stores. A CBC article from April 2009 discusses the success employees in Quebec attained by forging the first collective agreement in North America.  On top of that, there now exists a Union for Walmart Workers in Canada, and their website appears to be under the threat of censorship as the site indicates that Wal-Mart is taking the organization to court.

Unquestionably, it is obvious that Wal-Mart has become a massive organization that affects the activities and lives of businesses, consumers, and employees.

What are your thoughts regarding Wal-Mart? Are you indifferent to the various opinions of the company’s corporate activities? Do you feel that Wal-Mart instills a “David & Goliath” presence wherever it goes? Or, do you simply think they are running a great business and are deserving of the successes they have attained?