I like to use the week between Christmas and the new year to take stock of my personal finances, reflect on the year that was, and plan out my goals for next year. I’ve already shared my 2017 financial goals, so now it’s time to update my net worth statement.

As you know, I’m on a path to reach a net worth of $1 million by the end of 2020 and to become financially independent four years later when I turn 45.

Related2016 Mid-Year Financial Review

The continued habit of automation and simplifying my finances has really paid off – this was a good year! The biggest victory was paying off our car loan, which we did in October, freeing-up over $800 per month. That money is now being shovelled into my tax-free savings account.

I wanted to reach the $500,000 net worth mark by the end of this year and with the help of a robust stock market we were able to surpass that by a solid $30,000! Here’s a look at the numbers:

Net Worth Update: 2016 Year-End Review

Net worth update: 2016 year-end review

  2016 2015 2014 % change
Assets        
Chequing account $1,500 $1,500 $1,500
Savings account $12,500 $5,000 $5,000 150.0%
Defined benefit plan $150,853 $127,451 $104,703 18.4%
RRSP $133,454 $119,373 $101,006 11.8%
TFSA $7,359 $4,227 $4,651 74.1%
RESP $25,052 $17,642 $12,350 42.0%
Principal residence $450,000 $450,000 $450,000
Total assets $780,718 $725,193 $679,210 7.7%
Liabilities
Mortgage $236,843 $248,056 $258,916 (4.5%)
HELOC $11,472 $25,387 $35,840 (54.8%)
Total liabilities $248,315 $273,443 $294,756 (9.2%)
Net worth $532,403 $451,750 $384,454 17.9%

A few questions that I often get asked after posting a net worth update:

Banking

We funnel all of our spending onto the Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite MasterCard. The card pays 2 percent back on every purchase and its new no more tiers redemption program makes it easy to cash in points.

We have no-fee chequing accounts at Tangerine, which we use for bill payments, email money transfers, and the odd debit purchase.

The rest of our banking is done at TD, including our mortgage, line of credit, and investments.

Pension

Each month I contribute roughly 12 percent of my salary to a defined benefit pension plan that my employer also matches. The amount listed above is the commuted value of the pension if I were to leave the plan today.

The plan pays 2 percent of your highest average salary multiplied by the number of years worked. So that means if I retired at 60 with an average salary of $100,000 I’d receive $60,000 per year from the pension plan.

RRSP / RESP

The right way to calculate net worth is to use the same formula consistently over time to help track and achieve your financial goals.

My preferred method is to list the current value of my RRSP and RESP plans rather than discounting their future value to account for taxes and distributions.

I consider a net worth statement to be a snapshot of your current financial picture, so when it comes time to draw from my RRSP and distribute the RESP to my kids, net worth will decrease accordingly.

Principal residence

We bought our home in 2011 and even though the real-estate market has gone up I continue to list its value at purchase price. I’ve since factored our basement development into the equation and increased our home value by $25,000.

Final thoughts and a look to 2017

2016 was a great year for us, financially speaking, as we’re further ahead than anticipated. We posted investment returns of 10 percent in our retirement account (more on this next week), paid off a car loan, and put a big dent into our HELOC.

As we look ahead to 2017 we have our sights set on maxing out my RRSP contribution room and putting $12,000 into our TFSAs. We’ll continue to max-out our kids’ RESPs to take advantage of the 20 percent government grant (free money!). Finally, we’ll pay off our line of credit by the end of the year.

It’s a slow and steady march towards financial freedom and each net worth update brings us closer to our goals. How did your finances fare in 2016?


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