At the beginning of each year I take a look at the previous year-end financial statements and review my portfolio. I use a spreadsheet that tracks the performance of my savings and investments and this assists me in deciding whether to make changes in the coming year.
First of all I note that I have excess money in my savings and trading accounts that needs to be invested. In the next several days (or weeks) I’ll do some research to decide what stock(s) I can purchase.
I also have a high interest savings account that I call my “accrual” account. This is where I make regular deposits to cover my annual insurance premiums, Christmas and other gifts, vacation and other special purchases. Since I recently bought a new car, this account balance has been reduced a fair bit and will need to be replenished to cover some other purchases I have in mind.
I have a couple of mutual funds with low balances that I should finally get rid of. Their balances have barely changed in the last few years and I have kept them way too long. I need to stop procrastinating and transfer the funds into a more productive investment.
I’m happy to note that all but two of my stocks have increased over last year’s balances. I generally focus more on the dividend income, but it’s gratifying to see an increase in value as well. Some examples of my holdings (in no particular order) are as follows:
|Stock||Shares||Avg Cost||Dec 2009 Bal.||Dec 2010 Bal.|
*Note: As part of an employee savings plan, my TD shares had no actual cost to me apart from being a taxable benefit. I realize I’m quite over-weighted, but to me this replaces the pension plan I won’t receive.
Since my dividend returns are substantially higher than anything I would receive from GIC’s or bonds I don’t bother tracking the annual yields and I’m happy to report that my dividend amounts have increased by a whopping 25.5% over last year, and my yield on cost is up substantially.
For my house value I use the annual tax assessment I get from the city. It may not be entirely accurate but it suits my purpose since I’m not inclined to get a property appraisal every year. The tax department claims that my residence has increased in value by $17,000.
My credit card always has a balance when I do this exercise from holiday spending, but I always pay off my credit card balance in full when my statement arrives so it doesn’t accrue any interest. On the other hand, my line of credit has reduced quite a bit and I expect it to be completely paid off within the next year.
Overall, I’m pleased with the results. My net worth has increased over $50,000 even with some large purchases and my debt/equity ratio is less than 5%. With a bit of tweaking, the implementation of a new personal budget, and a plan for investing both my dividends and new deposits (together with a good economy), I would like to anticipate a very profitable new year.