Weekend Reading: Finances in Flux Edition

Weekend Reading: Finances in Flux Edition

Regular readers know that I update and post my net worth twice a year, including a year-end summary. They should also know that I didn’t post an update at the end of 2022.

It’s not because I’m embarrassed that my portfolio suffered losses for the first time in recent memory. That’s a feature of financial markets, not a bug. 

The truth is, I haven’t done a net worth calculation this year because our finances are in a state of flux. 

We’re in the process of building a house that doesn’t quite have a final price tag yet. It’s only about 40% complete. We’ve paid two out of five total deposits. 

Meanwhile, our house went up for sale this week – but until we accept an offer we won’t know exactly how much it’s worth. We also have planned but unknown expenses due this year, such as realtor commissions, moving expenses, blinds, some furnishings, and landscaping.

A net worth statement is supposed to be a snapshot in time, but our current picture is distorted. Do we own 1.4 houses? Do we use the estimated price of our new house and our existing house, minus the soon-to-be new mortgage? What if our house doesn’t sell for a while?

My expectation is that the picture will clear up in a few months. We’ll move into our new house, sell our existing house, use some of the sales proceeds to cover those planned but unknown expenses, maybe put some money back into our TFSAs, and then assume our new mortgage.

For that reason, I’m putting off the net worth update for year-end 2022 and will post a regular mid-year update at the end of June 2023. By then, we’ll have settled into our new normal and I can give a clearer picture of our financial position.

So, to all of the financial voyeurs out there I say just hang tight for a few more months 🙂

This Week’s Recap:

The Engens got a puppy over the holidays!

This little rascal of a golden retriever is one of the big reasons I haven’t posted here very often over the past three weeks. It’s like having a newborn / toddler all over again!

I did manage to update my beginner’s guide to RRSPs.

And at the start of the year I gave you three investing headlines to ignore in 2023.

Finally, I updated my investing and trading activity for 2022.

DIY Investing Course Coming Soon:

I’ve been talking about this course for months but it’s almost ready to launch (for real!). 

I’ve helped hundreds of clients make a successful switch to DIY investing – leaving their expensive mutual funds behind and moving to a self-directed portfolio using a single, risk appropriate asset allocation ETF.

In this video series I explain why you’d want to do that, how to pick the right asset mix, how to pick the right asset allocation ETF, and how to choose a discount brokerage platform.

From there I have platform specific videos for Questrade, Wealthsimple Trade, RBC Direct Investing, and TD Direct Investing (that’s all for now) that take you through opening an account and the appropriate account types, funding the account with new and recurring contributions, how to transfer over your existing accounts to your new self-directed account (without having to break-up with your advisor), and how to buy an ETF.

It’s like me sitting in your living room sharing my laptop screen and walking you through each of these steps in a short, easy-to-follow series of videos.

This just might be a game-changing course for long-time mutual fund investors who understand they’re paying too much for their investment fees but can’t work up the courage to switch to a low cost ETF portfolio.

It’s also good for new investors who want to get started the right way without getting trapped in high fee mutual funds at a bank, or falling for some day-trading, option writing, crypto-pumping, meme-stock trading scam on TikTok.

You’ll be the first to read about the launch of my investing course – so stay tuned!

Weekend Reading:

As we all wait patiently for interest rates to peak and inflation to fall, it seemed inevitable that the global economy was headed for a recession. But unemployment remains historically low and consumers are still spending on goods and services. What if there’s no recession and we get that soft landing after all?

Above average or below? How good of an investor are you?

Between a TFSA and non-registered accounts, what is the most tax-effective way to withdraw to fund retirement?

A double-shot from Ben Carlson. First up, why invest in stocks when bond yields are higher?

And, is it realistic to have 100% of your portfolio in stocks?

Justin Bender updated his model portfolio returns for 2022, including the asset allocation ETFs from Vanguard, iShares, BMO, and Mackenzie:

Andrew Hallam shares what we can learn from the best and worst-performing bond funds of 2022 (plus a look at his own investments).

Michael James on Money updated his 2022 investment returns.

David Booth, founder and chairman of Dimensional Funds, says people have memories, markets don’t. And that’s a good thing.

Mr. Booth also wrote that the poor results of 2022 has been a test on developing a financial plan you can stick with:

“I don’t make predictions, but I do believe in the power of human ingenuity to fix problems big and small, innovating the whole way. What has stayed constant throughout my life is the power of people to make progress in the face of challenges.”

A great post by Andrew Hallam: Like a dose of sugar, the high of buying something ‘better’ soon wears off. Here’s how to actually boost your life satisfaction.

Retired actuary and author Fred Vettese says the best asset mix for retirees has a slightly higher dose of equities at 60% stocks and 40% bonds (subs).

My Own Advisor blogger Mark Seed reflects on income needs and wants in retirement.

Do retirees need to pay for private health insurance? This question is high on the list for many of my retired clients (subs).

Finally, welcome to un-retirement. A year of travelling, volunteering, and – yes – working.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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  1. Alan Brooks on January 21, 2023 at 9:49 pm

    Your information is always so helpful and with that in mind, what is your opinion of Reverse Mortgages??

  2. Frito on January 21, 2023 at 10:05 pm

    Gonna need to know the new Pupper’s name…

    • Robb Engen on January 21, 2023 at 10:23 pm

      Her name is Nori!

      • Frito on January 21, 2023 at 10:40 pm

        Cool! Sounds like there may be a story behind that choice perhaps? She’s a sweetie!

      • Brenda on January 22, 2023 at 5:02 pm

        Your explanation for delaying your net worth update reminds me of some of the difficulties in valuating private equity 😀

  3. Nils on January 21, 2023 at 10:21 pm

    Thank you. Great article and looking forward to your investing course.

  4. David S on January 22, 2023 at 7:31 am

    Robb, just an observation that your hyperlinks are particularly challenging to find. All but the last link requires scanning the entire sentence to locate the link.

  5. KC on January 23, 2023 at 12:45 pm

    You can do value of land on your new house as a workaround for your net worth?

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