Investment Update – March 2013

The following is an update of Tim’s plan to retire early.  Please note the house is paid for so net worth is no longer tracked.

To track my progress I’ve decided to track both my expenses and my investment gains.  So once the investments gains are consistently beating my expenses I’m financially independent and can stop working.  I think my ideal tracking of this would be one full year of investment and spending data, but I don’t have that yet.  So for now I’ll do a trailing six 12 month average on spending and investments for the calendar year.


Account (Contribution), [+/- Gain or Loss less contributions]

RRSP $32,790 ($100), [+$390]
LIRA $12,390 ($0), [+140]
TFSA $17,260 ($0), [-$210]
Pension $70,270 ($973), [+$467]
Wife’s RRSP $38,570 ($0), [+$290]
Wife’s Investment Account $13,630 ($0), [+$120]
Wife’s TFSA $14,020 ($2,600), [-$190]
My Investment Account $7,160 ($0), [+$10]
High Interest Savings Account $1,900 ($0),[$0]

Investment Net Worth $207,950 ($3673 ), [+1,000 or 0.5%]

(YTD Contribution: $14,729), [YTD Gain: $10,520 or 5.2%], YTD Avg Gain $3507

Spending Averages

Last Month $2585

Trailing Last 12 Months (less mortgage payments) $2961


Number of months spending covered by investment gains: 1.2 {Target 1.0 or higher}


So this month I used my average 2013 monthly gains compared to my trailing 12 month spending to get my Result number of 1.2.  I finally had enough data in Mint Canada to make that happen. So while I’m still meeting my target I need that to be occurring on a 12 month trailing average for both investments gains and spending before I declare my retirement plan a success. In fact, I realized the trailing 12 month spending includes vacations which isn’t in my plan so in fact if I’m meeting this target I would be exceeding my plan.  Mmm, I’ll have to track that better in the future to back out that information.

This month our expense took a hit as we had an unusual vet bill for our dog.  She needed a lot of dental work done and that cost us $760.

On the investment side I’ve finally started contributing to the TFSA accounts, but at this moment it is just cash.  We moved the money a little late so we are stuck for the long weekend waiting for the transfer to clear before my wife goes investment shopping.

Any questions?

How Not to Be Noah

Well if you have been wondering why you haven’t heard much from me lately…I’ve been busy trying to prevent my house from getting flooded.  Flood?!? In Regina?!?

Here is the latest flood forecast for SK, notice the big red dot in the south that says ‘very high.’ In the center of that area is Regina.  So in reality it won’t take much to cause a flood here after all we did break a record for snowfall this year with over six feet of the white stuff (snow, not the other white stuff).  So right now there is a whole lot of people trying to move snow away from our house foundations and praying for a slow melt and little rain for the next month or so.

Moving snow and chipping ice of my roof trying to prevent ice dams has largely where I’ve been spending my free time for the last week or so.  Why the sudden rush?  It’s been driven by the forecast, with Easter is just around the corner so is the first longer period of positive high temperatures for daytime highs.  Yes, I’ve spent most of March in freezing temperatures, and yes it sucked (moving on before I rant).

As you can imagine with six feet of snow I have some impressive banks of snow around my house that I’m trying to move away from the foundation is well interesting.  After all the snow piles everywhere in my yard are huge, so moving the snow really means breaking up the ice layers in the snow then shoveling the snow into areas which should drain better.  It’s also like a geology lesson on our storms during the last winter as the snow has four or five layers to it with different density and hardness. Ironically the easy stuff to shovel is at the bottom.

But don’t you have insurance in the event your basement does flood?  Well yes, but just because I have insurance for my house in case it burns to the ground doesn’t mean I want to set my house on fire to actually use it!  I rather put in some time now in prevention than deal with a bigger mess down the road.  After all, to remind me of this fact our neighbour had a burst pipe this winter and came back from vacation with 10 inches of water in their basement.  Ick, what a mess.

So have you ever had to use your insurance for a big clean up?  What was the cause and would you did you do to prevent it?

Five Years In

This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.

My wife and I passed a couple of milestones in the last week. First, it was our fourth anniversary on Thursday. Four years may not seem like a long time, but I have a feeling that dealing with me on a daily basis may make time go slowly at times. We had a quiet “date” at home – I made us the most garlicky caesar salad I could put together (her favourite) and we watched some Netflix. Besides our anniversary, this month also marks 5 years that we have been involved in a goal of early retirement.

The five years from the time I graduated University to when I started planning for early retirement were definitely lost years. My significant “investments” into booze and video games while in school really didn’t help my long-term goals at all. I could make an argument for much better personal finance education, but that has been kind of pounded into the ground by basically everyone.

Besides my lack of education in personal finance, and slow start where I spent almost as much as I made, there are a couple of changes that I may have made, looking back:

1) Invested in more than just my house:   Having a little more cash would have allowed me to take in some of the significant gains available in the market between 2008 and 2009 – Not terribly original, but I would be significantly richer right now if I somehow would have foreseen the bottom of the market and bought in at that point.

From a net worth perspective, this strategy would have assisted immensely. My personal finance plan is based on attaining financial freedom as quickly as possible, and reducing debt will allow us to work less in the future (if we choose to extend the number of years we want to work).

2) Finished school faster: I took a couple of summers off that would have decreased the time I had to take accounting courses for. At the time I justified the break from school as necessary, but being done now I realize how much of a relief it would have been to be done. I really enjoyed the learning part of school, but always having something over my head was more stressful than I realized.

While writing this post I considered most of the major choices I have made in the last 5 years, and generally there was a good reason for most things my wife and I have decided. For example, we could have rented a place to live instead of bought. In order for this option to work, I would have had to talk my wife into living in a small basement apartment – our mortgage and condo fees every month cost as much as rent in the city we live in. We also could have bought a cheaper car, but I think the cheaper car would have lead to more repairs later.

I’ve found that before most purchases now, whether big or small my wife and I mull them over (probably to excess). We would prefer to not make a “mistake” that will cost us a half-year of financial freedom.

Would you have changed any of your major decisions you’ve made in the last five years? How would this change alter your life today?