2016 Financial Goals – December update

Welcome to my final financial goals update for 2016…

Earlier this year we made a bunch of assumptions and then we worked through those assumptions.  How did we do in 2016?  Did we fail?  Let’s recap our goals and find out.

  1. Maximize our Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs)

I believe the Tax Free Savings Account remains a gift to all adult Canadians regardless of their income status.  Whether your savings are for short-term expenses, medium-term major purchases or long-term investment purposes – my advice is to open and start using your TFSA.  If you don’t know the rules of the TFSA yet please read this post here.  In 2016 we maxed out both TFSAs early so I’m proud to say we nailed this goal.  In case you are interested, we use our TFSAs as one of our retirement accounts.  You might want to consider that for wealth building yourself.  I suspect more folks would use their TFSA the same way we do if they changed the name of this and other accounts to be more clear about their true power.

  1. Make double-up mortgage payments

I continue to say this on my site:  debt sucks.  My friend Preet goes even further on this than I do:

Borrowing Money

What debt do we have?

Well, we don’t carry a balance on our credit cards.  That’s nuts.

We don’t have a car loan.  Why would you when you can drive this beauty?

Mazda Car

We don’t have debt on our line of credit.

We have a mortgage.  That’s it.  That’s enough.  Even though our mortgage remains in the six-figures I calculated if we keep after it with lump sum payments over the next five years we should be nearly mortgage free.

Back to this goal, we accomplished this.

  1. Save $5,000 for a future trip

Investing for our financial future is needed but we don’t sacrifice fun.  Earlier this year we spent a week and a half in British Columbia.  Here’s how you can save and spend freely on vacation.


Throughout the year we saved some money for another future trip.  We hope to do some international travel in 2017 to Europe.  It was a good year for travel.  We met this financial goal.

As you may appreciate by now we try and have a few focused financial goals but that’s it. We don’t agonize over the great TFSA vs. RRSP vs. mortgage paydown debate.  We don’t get hung up on whether or not to snowball debt.  I couldn’t care less about the damn Latte Factor.

We have a savings plan that focuses on maxing out our TFSAs each and every year.  Spoiler alert – 2017 will be no different.

We keep steady monthly payments flowing to our RRSPs.  This helps keep my RRSP maxed out and allows my wife to get closer to her goal of maxing out her account within the next year or so.

We make lump-sum mortgage payments to slay our mortgage.

We have another savings bucket for fun.  Life is short.

Simple goals with simple plans for simple people.  Yes, I just called myself simple.  But simple works.

Thoughts and comments on our saving and investing goals for 2016?

My name is Mark Seed - the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, I'm looking to start semi-retirement soon, sooner than most. Find out how, what I did, and what you can learn to tailor your own financial independence path. Join the newsletter read by thousands each day, always FREE.

25 Responses to "2016 Financial Goals – December update"

  1. Congrats on hitting those goals and paying down that debt quicker. I agree that debt sucks although sometimes it’s not that bad when you can borrow at a pretty low rate instead of paying all cash upfront and invest the rest. I carry a car loan since it’s at 0% and I can invest the money in the market instead of buying it outright. The way I say it with inflation above 0, they’re paying me to borrow from them!.

    1. Thanks for your support. 0% cars aren’t always 0% financing (do you think people actually let you borrow thousands of dollars for free? Would you do that? :)) but I can appreciate it’s a very low cost of borrowing.

  2. Ahhh……so I was assuming you had ALREADY sold property/assets in your non registered account, and were going to “defer” the capital gain later on your income tax return. I misunderstood that you had not sold anything yet. So with my mutual fund sell off, I WILL have to declare capital gains in 2016 tax return?

    1. Correct, not sold yet, will sell eventually – in decades.

      If you had mutual funds in a non-registered account (i.e., not in TFSA, not in RRSP, not in RESP or not in LIRA – to name a few) then you may have a capital gain if had a positive return on that investment at time of sale. The government wants their money!


  3. Thanks for your post! If it wasn’t for your post, and many others like it, I would be in still blindly investing in mutual funds.
    In your post you said:”We also have additional money invested non-registered and are deferring capital gains until we are not working.”
    I did not know you could defer capital gains? How long can you do this for? I’m curious because I just sold the last of my mutual funds in my non-registered account, and I’m afraid about declaring capital gains on 2016 income tax.

    1. Capital gains are deferred until you realize them. You have a capital gain or loss until you sell property/assets.

      There is little point in selling now, since I will be taxed at a higher rate now.

      While only half (50%) of the capital gain on any given sale is taxed, that tax occurs at my marginal rate. From another site, a quick example:

      “On a capital gain of $50,000 for instance, only half of that, or $25,000, would be taxable. For a Canadian in a 35% tax bracket for example, a $25,000 taxable capital gain would result in $8,750 taxes owing. The remaining $41,250 is the investors’ to keep.”

      I should be in a lower tax bracket when I’m done working (vs. today). So, I deferring my gains.

      Does that help explain?

        1. As long as TFSA and RRSP is maxed, yup, pedal down on debt. Hopefully my wife’s RRSP can be maxed out by the end of 2019 if not sooner – she is approaching her peak earning years so it’s an ideal time.

    1. The plan is coming along. I did make the mistake of starting my non-reg./taxable account (years ago) before every registered account was maxed out but that’s a good problem to have – tax efficient dividend income.

      We’ll see how long the old car makes it 🙂

  4. Yeah, nice job Mark.
    Simple…..ha. I might be the poster boy. It works.

    Beauty…lol, but it works. I think you need to keep the Mazda classic to see just how long it will last!
    Mortgage done in 5 yrs. Gold star.
    Max RRSP, max TFSA, additional in unregistered. Gold star.
    Preet, like his style…..a lot.
    Future trips paid for, life is fun…..oh yeah!!

    Best wishes in 2017 to you and all the other folks on your site.

    1. I’m tempted to keep the old car more as a competition now – to see how long it lasts. It will be 17 years old in January. Hard to believe.

      The other car is paid for now. No car payments now although we’ll start saving in 2017 to replace the old Mazda.

      Yes, once my wife’s RRSP is maxed out then all registered accounts will be maxed out. We also have additional money invested non-registered and are deferring capital gains until we are not working.

      Gotta travel – life should be fun!! 🙂

      Best wishes for 2017.

      1. I was thinking along the same lines with your Mazda. Good for you! Nice with the other car paid for and smart to save cash for the next one. Ours are 9.5 yrs old (like new), 7.5 years old (excellent cond.)and 6 years old (average cond.), and my bike is 9 yrs old (like new) We’re good for 4-5 more years range on the cars, then probably will think seriously about the number of vehicles and suitable replacement options. Bike is good for 15-20 years easily if I still covet it until then.

        I left some RRSP room on the table from my final phase down and PT employment when it didn’t make sense for me to contribute based on my working income vs planned retirement income. My last contribution was in 2004 and retired in 2014.

        Thanks and let’s hope for a prosperous year for us all.

  5. Congratulations to you two for accomplishing so much in 2016! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I wish nothing but health, happiness and great investing success in 2017. (:


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