March 2014 – Investment Update

The following is an update of Tim’s plan to retire early.  Please note we are mortgage free, so net worth is no longer tracked as the house equity isn’t part of the retirement plan.

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 use a trailing 12 month average on spending (but excluding vacations) and a trailing 12 month average on investment results.


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

RRSP $37,800 ($100), [+$0]
LIRA $13,820 ($0), [+$50]
TFSA $37,820 ($0), [+$1210]
Pension $93,880 ($1136), [-$46]
Wife’s RRSP $55,420($0), [+$0]
Wife’s TFSA $36,090 ($3000), [+$290]
High Interest Savings Account $3200 (+$600),[+$10]

Investment Net Worth $278,030 ($4836), [+$1514 or +0.5%]

(YTD Contribution: $13,430), [YTD Gain: $8130 or +2.97%]

Average Monthly Gain (12 month rolling) $2201


Last Month $1634

Another good month overall on spending.  Nothing that odd except we ended up grocery shopping twice (once at the start of March and another time at the end of March for April).

Trailing Last 12 Month Average $2527


Number of months trailing average spending covered by trailing investment gains: 0.87 {Target 1.0 or higher}

PF Score: 22.0  {Target 32}


March was a not bad month at all.  On the plus side we did well to control our spending which helped the overall results which was good because the investments didn’t do that well.  My major issue is I didn’t move those RRSP accounts over yet so they are just in cash and doing nothing.  So after filing taxes this week that is my next task.

Any questions?


6 thoughts on “March 2014 – Investment Update”

  1. Also was wondering about the shopping frequency thing… not so much for the fruit and veggies as much as milk. Does your wife’s daycare biz absorb part of the frequency and cost?

    As I see your way(s) of determining FI, I can see that it wouldn’t work for me although it’s similar to how I tracked a few years ago. I had to have something that was more clear and led to a go / no-go decision to dial down on required work/year.

    Right now, although your trailing gains cover trailing costs, you won’t call it quits because you know the gains of the past year are or are likely ephemeral. Then why bother tracking that way? It’s like calculating gas mileage when you’re going downhill with a tailwind. If we were in an extended bear or sideways market, it would seem like you’d have to work to infinity using that method so it’s meaningless. The PF score thing is better.

    I don’t know, I think I’d shoot for dividends or the 4% rule and track two things – your portfolio with full retirement #’s and a semi-FI/ER situation which takes into account some kind of part time money hobby since that’s highly likely to be in your future. Or even tracking necessities coverage vs. optimum lifestyle coverage. Doing it that way makes the last few push years much more tolerable knowing that you’re literally working for fun money. Definitely keep tracking your gains, since that’s kind of fun.

    I guess I just don’t see making a target that doesn’t allow you to make any kind of lifestyle decision based on reaching that target. This FI/ER stuff has enough unknowns and uncertainty to it, you can’t have a fuzzy target on top of it.

  2. We do one major run once a month. The little runs of fruit and veggies top up come out of spending cash. Except summer farmer veggies which we prepaid in January for the year.

  3. @Jacq,

    Majority of the daycare food is separate so we keep two jugs of milk in the house. I know it sounds nuts, but given the volume that the daycare goes through it just makes sense. Other long term things the house and daycare share…like flour. They just trade on who buys the last one.

    I agree with what you are getting at. I do need a better target and tracking to see if I hit FI or if I got semi-retired instead, which is way more likely. The issues comes down to a lack of good history of data…I only have a few years of tracking all expenses and the other being a lack of good investment data. Again tracking that in more details is a more recent thing.

    The other big driver on all this is I can’t seem to make up my mind at what point I would be willing to shift to semi-retirement. Right now at 4% our savings should spin off around $11k annually. Then if you add in our small business income we end up around $23K which is very close to our basic necessities annual expense of $24k. So by the end of 2014 we should be there.

    Now I’m asking myself how much extra do I want? Or how badly do I want more free time now compared to in the future? Should I just drop to 80% time again and shift my target back out to 45? Or do I just drawn a line in the sand at 40 and scale back then?

    In the end, the additional money is nice, but it does cause the issue of creating more choices. I’m not sure what exactly I want so picking a metric is a bit hard to do. Indecision is a bitch. 😉

  4. Wow, that’s some good stuff. I’ve yet to come with a plan for early retirement, as much as I’d like to do it, the thought of all planning and saving stresses me out a bit so I keep postponing it.
    Hope you’re having a good day

  5. Oh, I know what you mean on the indecision part. 😛

    What I ended up doing is just ensuring that the dividends on the taxable account ended up covering my basic expenses. I did that because I had much the same scenario as you. You run out of contribution room so fast it’s scary. You can’t really factor in the pension because that will convert to an untouchable LIRA… then you decide that nah, you want your TFSA to be a “just in case” fund… or maybe tapped at 75 or something so take that out of the equation… then you get anxiety at the thought of drawing down your RRSP at too young of an age… then you feel like you’re stupid for not taking on really highly paid work in order to do something that doesn’t pay or pays a fraction of the amount work would pay… Ack! So many variables and very valid reasons to do one more year(s)!

    I settled on deciding to try and work about 3 months out of the year during the winter only until it stops being enjoyable at all (because it still is nice to work with other people sometimes – that’s something you don’t realize you miss until you stop doing it entirely) – or nobody hires me. 😉 Then let my lifestyle creep up naturally according to dividend increases (made by investing the work $) until it hits the point where I truly had zero desire to spend more than the investing brought in. Not there yet but I think about a year’s worth of work spread across the next 4-5 years will do it. And that coincides with the youngest finishing school.

    Plus you add the kids in there and being locked down to not being able to travel etc. and you realize your expense projections could be understated compared to whatever your ideal lifestyle might be. Especially after a winter like this last one – when the boys are independent, you may want to be able to take off for a week or three to escape the cold and not have money (or work) be too much of an issue. Or you may get tired of putting off renos – or really want to go to NYC or Europe for a month or any one of a number of bigger things like helping the boys with a house downpayment.

    Tracking is good, but I feel like there’s a step beyond tracking on the expense side. You’re tracking historically but the future budget might be more of a zero based wishlist? More of a “what would I want to do if money truly wasn’t a consideration?” And am I not doing that because I’ve bought into the ERE type culture or because *I* truly don’t want it?

    Oh well, you’re doing great and it’s probably better to leave your options open and be flexible vs thinking “at 40 or 45 I will…” vs when something feels like the right thing to do. That’s hard when you have a J for the last letter on your Myers Briggs and tend to see everything as a project and need to know what *finished* looks like. 🙂

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