While I still don’t post any net worth updates
I begin most years running My Own Advisor with lofty goals.
This past year was no different.
To recap, this is what we came up with for this year’s goals.
Goals are great. But when it comes to net worth goals or any related net worth valuation posts, spoiler alert, you won’t find those in any detail on my site. This post will explain why.
- I can’t control the stock market returns
Passionate index investors remind me there is nothing “magical” about dividend investing.
You know what – I agree.
However….while juicy, growing dividends are never guaranteed they do represent business stability and therefore dividend payments can be optionality for the investor.
My goal to live off dividends eventually remains alive and well.
Dividends can be taken as cash, or reinvested over time to make more dividend income, with some evidence below to prove it.
So, what does my focus on dividend income have to do with my net worth? Actually, a lot!
Takeaway: because I focus on the income my portfolio generates, which I do monitor, I don’t really care what stock market does or doesn’t do short term.
When it comes to managing my portfolio, ignoring any short term market noise (along with announcing whether my invested portfolio value is up or down), helps me stay the course. Your mileage may vary.
- I can’t control the real estate market
Own a home?
Me too, well, almost all of it. The bank owns the rest for now.
When you and I factor in our major home upgrades, money spent on general maintenance, interest payments to the bank, I suspect your real estate returns are less than you think.
So, another reason I don’t focus on net worth?
Takeaway: while my home is a big part of that net worth statement I can’t control the real estate market value either.
When it comes to real estate I have to live somewhere. You probably do too.
- If I’m going to do something, might as well do it right
- Do you know the present value of your pension?
- Do you know the after-tax value of your RRSP or LIRA?
- Do you know the depreciated market value of other assets like your car, your boat or another sellable asset at current market prices?
Yeah, that’s what I thought. Me neither!
Takeaway: if you’re going to track something, do it right. To accurately compute your net worth, you need to do it right and that includes taxation and depreciation values in mind.
Corporations can’t get away with fluffy accounting for long (unless you’re Nortel!) and you shouldn’t either as the CFO of your own financial affairs.
While I still don’t post any net worth updates summary
There are many reasons why basic net worth calculations are valuable.
1. It can provide a financial snapshot in time to understand where you’re at. Quick net worth calculations (assets – liabilities = net worth) are fine before you starting your investing journey to determine if you should be investing at all.
Before investing, do these three things.
2. It is interesting to track.
3. Tracking net worth can be some form of motivation if you need it (to help you work towards your goals).
There are valid reasons to track net worth but I don’t obsess over it. I barely track it.
Because there are many factors out of my control don’t obsess over your net worth calculation.
Focus instead on what you can control. Focus on your savings rate. Focus on gaining more confidence about investing. Focus on developing a good financial plan and staying the course with your plan.
Do those very simple things well and I will almost guarantee your net worth will look after itself.
What are your thoughts on net worth calculations? Agree or disagree? Am I missing out on this site by not posting that stuff and broadcasting it to the world? Let me know your thoughts as always.
Mark, I appreciate the information and advice you provide to like-minded investors. I am not interested in yours or for that matter anyone else’s net worth. I am interested in the process of how to achieve my investing goals. On that level I feel that you succeed greatly. Thanks for your time and contribution to the educational process. L
Kind words Lawrence. Thanks very much. All the best in your journey!
I’ve tracked our net worth since 1997. Sure, it’s not perfect, but the chart makes for an impressive and satisfying visual. Because I include the estimated equity in our house and estimated value of my DB pension, the market dips barely register on the chart now, removing any concerns about what the markets are doing.
My spreadsheet tracks all of our assets, our investment plan for each year up to retirement, our goals, a conservative projection, the drawdown plan by year, including CPP etc. and much more. The key point here is that our net worth is automatically calculated and charted at the end of each month. Now that it’s all set up, it’s very little effort to keep track, the net worth calculation and charting being a rewarding side benefit.
Very disciplined Bob – well done. We do track net worth from time to time but we don’t obsess over it for the reasons I put into the post. I think if we kill our debt; and realize our big hairy audacious investment goal ($1 M) then everything else including net worth will take care of itself 🙂
I’ve been tracking net worth for the last ten years and find it very motivating to see the results of hard work, planning, saving, investing, debt reduction, business valuation increases, etc. 2018 saw a seven figure increase and I expect the same in 2019.
I also have many other tracking spreadsheets including portfolio breakdown and performance and even a spreadsheet called “Where did our money go this year?” where I track gross income and then where it all went including taxes, spending and investing. All these spreadsheets just increase my awareness, make me accountable, help us set and work towards goals and increase confidence about our financial future.
Great to hear other points of view Chris. If your spreadsheets, regardless of how many you have, increase your awareness and financial focus – that’s a great thing. Well done.
If you just want to track the portfolio value, I strongly recommend this spreadsheet from Tawcan’s site.
I use this spreadsheet and all I need to do is changing how many shares I have after a drip happened or after I bought/sold some shares. When I want to look at the value of my portfolio, just open it from google sheet, and the total value is right there. I also made changes with dividend raises/cuts, and I know the change in the forwarding dividend income right away. It took some time to enter all the data, but once it’s done, tracking takes very little effort.
Tawcan has a very good spreadsheet. I keep a simple one based on this as a foundational template I shared with readers here:
Dividend Income Tracking Tool
Thanks for yours Mark. Plenty powerful enough for me to track CDN equity dividends. And no small feat for me but I managed to figure it out and even make a few tweaks. I just update periodically with dividend raises and added shares from TFSA drips. Good enough.
@May- Tawcans I’m sure is very good but way over my competence level and patience to establish. Eyes glazed over when I read it a year or two ago. I would need someone smart like you to set up and manage. Ask me to change brakes in your car or adjust valves on my motorcycle fine but building spreadsheets, google accts etc forget it. Lol
Good thing with google account is that it’s always there, you can look at it from different computers or on your tablets. Mark’s is very simple and good too, as long as it suits your needs.
Tawcan’s spreadsheet originally will grab both stock price and dividend so you don’t need to update it yourself other than number of shares. Grabbing dividend was not working well so I changed it to manually update. It’s only once a year so not too much bother. I really like the net value of each of my accounts is automatically calculates for me. I manage both accounts of mine and my husband. I don’t even need to log in to my broker account this way.
Thanks May. I can see those advantages you mention, for those not technologically challenged or disinterested like me. Not being able to pull data automatically from another source makes it pretty difficult to maintain something comprehensive and current oneself manually.
However for us individual stocks make up about 30% of overall portfolio, so have much else to consider re assets, income generated and cash flow. It’s doubtful something else is going to replace my broker as “the source”. I take a pretty simple approach with all this – roughly know overall annual investment income generated, beginning year balance, suggested VPW withdrawal and track spending. A couple of minutes a month. Rinse and repeat. Funny, tracking just the CDN dividends manually periodically takes me 10+ times this much time and it’s really not necessary anyway in the whole scheme of things, and with our plan. OTOH, maybe I should learn your suggested method!
Grabbing dividend info was having issue previously because it pulled from Google Finance. Now I’m pulling from Yahoo Finance, it works perfectly I believe. 🙂
Good stuff Bob.
Haha it’s a long post but if you just create a copy of the excel sheet from the end of the post, you can easily set it up yourself. It’s pretty easy to understand I thought. 🙂
Thanks a lot for your template. It’s really really useful for me. Save me lots of effort.
Thanks Tawcan. No doubt you did a lot of work and tried to make it simple.
I decided to buckle down and seriously try it. Managed to set up a google acct.
Spent several hours inputting from my bank info and from adjusted cost base, on top of your template.
However, some cells work, some don’t on the market pricing.
Thought it was the .TO extension I wasn’t using. Most of mine work without it. Adding it shows “NA” however?
Some cells on price have “TSE” and your ticker showing instead of mine. Some just show cell # but work.
I’m sure I messed something up.
I managed to get it working by using a good price cell with the TSE & ticker, dragging it down and then manually typing proper ticker in them. Probably a simpler way to do it but that about all this neophyte could figure out. Still inputting so not out of the woods yet….plus
Don’t understand how or where to save this thing for future reference.
LOL, my idea of pretty easy or easily set up is very different than yours! You’re speaking from a high level of competence in spreadsheets. Here, slightly different…lol.
Great reasons for tracking dividends vs net-worth! Checking net-worth too often can make you sad. It’s been proven that we’re emotionally impacted by loss more than gain, even when its the exact same amount. If you see your net-worth go up and then down, even if you end back up at the same amount you’re still going to feel worse after experiencing that dip.
My wife and I check our net-worth once every 4-months. This is ok because we still contribute and reinvest dividends regularly so the number tends to go up every 4-months, but now that our portfolio is getting bigger I’ve considered doing it once every 6-months or even once per year to avoid seeing those temporary dips.
The bigger your investment portfolio is, the less often you should be checking your net-worth.
“the less often you should be checking ”
I’m of the frame of mind that if a person *wants* to check, there really isn’t anything to say they shouldn’t. I enter the stock data into my spreadsheet sometimes every day, sometimes once a week, depends on what else I’m doing. Is it necessary? Absolutely not, but it’s fun.
Oh yes, don’t get me wrong Lloyd, I check stock prices at least once per day, sometimes more, I also find it fun to watch. But I wont update my net worth for the reason Mark mentioned, it’s just not actionable on a day-to-day, week-to-week, or even month-to-month basis. In the long-term net-worth is a great metric to measure vs your plan, it can tell you if you’re on track or maybe need to make changes (save more, spend less), but in the short-term it doesn’t tell you much (and if anything can just lead to negative feelings if your net-worth goes down).
With a well diversified portfolio *most* people would be better off checking their net-worth less often, but there are always exceptions.
“But I wont update my net worth for the reason Mark mentioned”
We’re talking about an *investment* portfolio as you first mentioned, not a full net worth statement. Furthermore, if a person gets queasy over a dip in their portfolio then I’d hazard a guess that they are not good candidates to be in the equity market in the first place and any adviser should know this already based on the “know your client” guidelines.
Agreed. If a 10% drop in a stock or market ETF scares you, you have too many equities in your portfolio. Plain and simple.
“The bigger your investment portfolio is, the less often you should be checking your net-worth.”
You got it! Thanks for your comment.
As mentioned, we don’t care about net worth because it includes house, vehicles, etc. We just track total investment portfolio and usually do this most days at the end of the day whenever we’re around (as described in my last post). I can then see which stocks did what (and i used to monitor how I felt about it). I save my spreadsheet at the end of each month to give me an easy to view history.
This tracking and analysis has really helped formulate our investment strategy which has remained basically unchanged for 3+ years. (Cdn dividend income/growth companies mainly in 5 sectors – banks, telecom, utilities, midstream, REITs. No bonds, no GICs, no preferred shares, no mutual funds)
I have a different view on market dips. In some sort of twisted way, I almost enjoy a good market smackdown. I’ve found that it reassures me that the way we’re invested is perfect for us. We never sell anything during a correction and always just wait it out.
I guess i would disagree with your comment: “If you see your net-worth go up and then down, even if you end back up at the same amount you’re still going to feel worse after experiencing that dip”.
You have a great perspective Don! But I suspect you are the exception rather than the rule.
Quite a few investors were panicked during the short downturn we had in December, if those investors had waited until early-Feb they wouldn’t have noticed much of a change at all.
I would say with respect if quite a few investors were actually “panicked” by the little dip we had in Dec they have too much in equities. That’s a tiny blip for what’s ahead at some point.
Too much in equities or perhaps they didn’t fully understand what they were signing up for. I participate in a few financial forums and the number of new investors posting about a 4-10% dip in the portfolio YoY was terrifying.
Although robo’s do a risk assessment before recommending a portfolio I still think many new investors don’t fully appreciate what an “aggressive” portfolio can do in the short-term. Sometimes I think its just about managing expectations. With an “aggressive” portfolio a 30%+ decrease should be expected at some point, but I doubt many new investors realize this.
“With an “aggressive” portfolio a 30%+ decrease should be expected at some point, but I doubt many new investors realize this.”
You bet Owen, that day will come again!
That’s probably fair.
I may be wrong but I think this long bull market influences that fear in newer/younger investors. They haven’t seen much in the way of corrections, and may tend to think or expect equity markets always go up, rather than gyrate and “most likely” gradually move upward over time. Maybe this will influence what happens in a bigger correction if lots of retail investors panic.
I think -30% may be optimistic for an aggressive investor. In my ISP for 70/30 portfolio eventually (closer to 60/40 currently) I expect max drawdown 19% in one year and 28% cummulatively. For 100% equity investor those numbers might be -28% & -44%. Based on work done by PWL Capital. In ’08/’09 I was down around 52%. Who knows what we could see.
I would agree. Most investors don’t have the discipline that Don G. and others who often comment here – do.
Don, you have something that apparently works well for you. That’s great to read.
It’s interesting but I have a similar “twisted” feeling with those market dips like recently, albeit with a different scenario.
Our dividends from CDN companies, US & international ETFs keep paying, interest from GICs, HISA, corp bonds keep paying. The dip was minimized from a healthy dose of FI. And I used some FI to rebalance and buy some more div paying equity at a little lower prices.
I definitely agree our investment strategy of 100% Cdn equities isn’t for everyone, especially retirees but it sure works for us. Part of not caring about a market dip for us is the same as you – dividend income just keeps pouring in not matter what. With the stocks we own, a dividend cut is very rare and most have been raising each year for a number of years.
We have way more dividend income than we need to live off so that’s also part of the confidence that it’s right for us and a market dip is a non-factor.
I’l also add a comment on the previous posts on investor risk tolerance. I totally agree that many investors talk “big” on how high their risk tolerance is but in most cases, it’s actually quite low. It must be some sort of macho/bragging thing especially because I think it’s more of a male trait.
Agreed. Talking a big game about your risk tolerance and actually living it are two TOTALLY different things. At least dividends flowing in help calm any equity waters. They do for me Don. Stay tuned for my next dividend income update.
The critical element is figuring out what works for each person/couple to meet their needs and comfort level and sticking to it or make prudent adjustments- not panicking. I don’t believe my plan is for everyone either. But I’ve been 100% equities for about 30 years and now much more conservative, even with one work pension. My CDN equities sound like yours. And yes, having that buffer of investments generating more than you spend and without considering capital is a confidence booster and satisfying reassurance. We’re in that same situation since retiring 5 yrs ago, but don’t expect to stay there. I have no heirs and “intend” to spend all income and a good deal of capital.
I think you’re right on the risk tolerance thing. Saying it and actually experiencing it aren’t the same thing, and especially if you don’t have a plan to ride or at least muddle through it.
I’d really like to have a correction sooner rather than later. The longer this crazy thing goes on the worse we’re going to be hit. Knock us down 30-40% and let’s move on. The US seems especially overdone. Anyway, careful what you wish for I guess!
I agree with your comments here RBull, I’ve been 100% equities for 20+ years so I lived through the tech wreck and the ’08-09 massacre. The recent turbulence and Christmas Eve pull back certainly didn’t feel like what we were due, so I’m expecting more to come. Will it be -50%? Perhaps, but not likely, but -25%-30% or worse wouldn’t surprise or alarm me.
I’d like to get it over with too. Weaker expected Q2 earnings in the US may precipitate it but anything can happen. I’ve been building some cash waiting but the rest of my portfolio is going to have to hang on for the ride. The stream of earnings helps keep things in perspective.
Yeah, lots of factors to influence a meltdown of some level:
China trade deal
US earnings, economy or even govt squabbling although Trump will do ANYTHING to pump the market which is part of what concerns me
War with ….pick your country
QE ending around the globe, worthless debt
Canada housing bubble/bank crisis
Am reasonably ready too. Have a written plan & equity target list & cash&maturing FI whenever better opportunity arises. Corrections don’t normally come when so many are speculating about when (like now), and we’re climbing that wall of worry. Almost always few if any people see them coming. This may be different and because its been so big/long maybe the meltdown will also be historic…or not.
At some point we’ll find out.
“I have a different view on market dips. In some sort of twisted way, I almost enjoy a good market smackdown. I’ve found that it reassures me that the way we’re invested is perfect for us. We never sell anything during a correction and always just wait it out.”
I love it 🙂 Exactly my game plan. Buy and hold and buy more!!
I tracked net worth closely for years and enjoyed watching it grow. I include everything that can be liquidated and turned to cash including cars, coins, house, RRSP, RRIF, Pension, Stocks, recreational property. Some obviously have more liquidity than others but all have a monetary value. They are all assets and should be included. It helps to clarify the big picture. We tend to place a higher value on our assets than they may actually be worth so be careful. (real estate, cars etc) My focus has now shifted to how to efficiently generate cash flow. How to convert those assets to generate income in tax efficient ways. Man I need a more active hobby.
Agreed. All assets should be included, ideally, including the tax consequences to be accurate.
Since I started my dividend investing journey, about 10 years ago now, my focus is on the cash flow generated from my portfolio. That keeps me motivated to ensure we have enough money to live from and enjoy in semi-retirement: need our >$1 M invested + no debt to realize that though!
I had a laugh about your “active hobby” comment. Mark
Hey mark, just found your blog yesterday, it has great info! As for net worth, it’s a great number…. but it not money in the bank till you sell ur house or ur condo. Look at the people in van that had 3 million dollar houses and now worth 20% less and will keep dropping I think and lots of those people have lived in their houses for 30-40 years… cash flow is all that matters in my eyes. I’m 44 and that’s all I think and breathe lol, thx again for your great blog!
Thanks for being a new fan Brad!
I’ve read a few articles in VAN where they are quite house rich but cash poor. That makes little sense to me. Some of these folks don’t want to leave their house, they don’t want to rent, yet they can’t afford really to stay where they are despite owning a house that could net them $2M – $4M if sold.
Cash flow is king as is financial flexibility (no debt; you can choose to borrow as you please since you could easily pay the debt off on demand).
Stay tuned for my January 2019 dividend income update – I expand on that concept; something I am rather passionate about.
I don’t track net worth at all but I do track the total of our investment portfolio very closely. I have a spreadsheet with the headings listed below. Each day that I’m around, I export from my free Morningstar Watchlist to an xls file, sort by ticker, and copy and paste the current stock prices to the master sheet. I then get the day’s closing total in less than a minute (along with a bunch of other automatic calcs). The spreadsheet is easy to maintain and gives me the important info I want.
Ticker, #Shares, Price, Total Value, Book Value, Jan 1 Value, YTD Net$, YTD%, Div/yr, Total Div$, Yield%, Profit%, Profit$ Start Date, Initial Price, Avg Price, Last Div incr Date, %Book
Good to hear from you Don. I also keep a spreadsheet with stock names, ticker, dividends when paid, dividends per year, etc. but that’s where I stop. I really don’t focus on much other than killing our mortgage and ensuring I have money to max out our TFSAs every year as we strive to max out my wife’s RRSP – hopefully by the end of 2019 or early 2020.
I try and keep it simple! I’ve found that works for me.
Sorry for the long post, got on a roll…:)
Agree about not focusing on Net Worth… I learned this lesson the hard way.
You feel great when net worth is high – but it can change quickly due to factors that are out of your control and “you can’t buy groceries with net worth” that is tied up in assets which you have no intention of selling or can’t sell (at least at this time) due to life-style choices. The bad thing is that it can sometimes lead to bad/risky business decisions while riding a high net worth curve that is trending up with seemingly no end in sight and then you hit the “down” side of the roller coaster.
Like many of my colleagues in high tech, I was riding the high-tech boom. Never thought it would end (or at least thought it would go longer than it did) which led to some bad investment decisions and large losses on stocks, stock options and corporate investment plans tied to company performance. We believed the management hype at the time but our decisions were also clouded by a high degree of confidence in the technology and future of the products that were being developed. Was a wake-up call for investing in yourself, learning everything you can about investments and strategy and making your own financial decisions.
Home equity is misleading and over-inflates net worth – you have to live somewhere and if you are not in a position to down size or not willing to down-size based on your chosen lifestyle, “it won’t buy you groceries”. But once the mortgage is paid off, it can significantly improve cash flow as well as provide low cost emergency/temporary funding for projects, travel or investments via a secured line of credit. When properly managed it gives you the best of both worlds – cash from your house when you need it and you keep your house.
I have been rebuilding after my losses and focusing on future cash flow – net worth is fun to track (or not) but I view it as a by-product not the main focus. It became clear during the high-tech boom (and continues today) that stock markets are unpredictable during the time frame we are usually focused on when investing. I switched focus to long term Dividend Paying Stocks for the last 10 years with a similar portfolio to what Mark has been doing (I only discovered this great site about a week or 2 ago). Got burned on a few high dividend stocks like CPG but for the most part, things are going as planned. Although, I get a bit impatient at times trying to “catch up” faster than what Dividend Stocks will do so set aside some funds for “calculated risks” to test my investment knowledge and research.
Dividend Paying Stocks are more tax efficient outside of a registered plan like an RSP however, there can be good reasons to load up your RSP with dividend paying stocks. While I was employed and still had RSP contribution room, I was in various DRIPs with employment income providing money to invest and to generate RSP contribution room. But I ran out of contribution room and due to another unforeseen event (another layoff), there was no employment income to generate any further RSP contribution room. Always keenly interested in investment and finance (but never the time), I decided to invest in myself and be my own financial advisor and see how it goes.
I switched out of big bank mutual funds into ETFs, added more dividend paying/more stable stocks and switched from DRIPs to cash dividends. Still a work in progress. This provides investment cash within my RSP for further investments and will help in the future when it is converted to a RIF to handle minimum withdrawals and hang onto more of my core investments.
Working on getting my TFSA cleaned up and heading in a direction similar to my RSP, but plan to leave part of my Margin Account available for “calculated risks” where I am willing to live with the risk based on my own financial decisions – good or bad. I want some investment excitement, but not too much! ?
Great, detailed comment. Thanks for sharing.
“Was a wake-up call for investing in yourself, learning everything you can about investments and strategy and making your own financial decisions.”
Probably one of the best things I ever did in my life was learn about investing and make investments in me; my knowledge.
I agree home equity is misleading because if you decided to own a home (like we did, like many Canadians have done) then your equity is tied up. You can live off your house unless you decided to use a reverse mortgage – which is a bad idea and should only be a “nuclear” option in old age.
Congrats on your rebuilding journey. Thanks for being a new fan as well. You can check out my last dividend income update here BTW:
I’ll be posting my dividend income update for January soon.
Like Brett eluded to, I owned duds too: CPG, TA, not smart. But I’ve learned from those mistakes to own more stable companies in Canada and start indexing more in the U.S. market. My portfolio is growing higher/cash flow is higher because of those decisions.
When it comes to investing I’ve learned anything exciting is really not good 🙂
See on the site!
I keep track of net worth pretty closely but only liquid assets, house, and debt. I just care that it’s trending in the right direction and my ratios (Debt to Net Worth and Debt to Equity) are aggressively trending the right way. And liquidity $ and % vs real estate $ and %. It’s great if you have a huge house that’s paid off but you still need a pile of money to retire….Net worth is too subjective in the sense that one person may only need 500k to retire vs someone else needing 2.5m to retire.
One thing you could share would be your portfolio returns over the years. USA investments vs the S&P and CAD investments vs the TSX. We’ve all had our losses (I lost on big on Nortel, Blackberry, and TransAlta). Most people don’t like to share their annualized rate of return. But if we don’t share our mistakes its difficult for others to learn….So feel free to post your returns over your NW.
I think that’s very practical, watch some trends vs. obsess about net worth.
You’re right about retirement. What one person needs vs. another can be night and day. I have a pretty good idea of what we need and hence we’re striving for that ($1 M invested w/o pensions, w/o government benefits in future (CPP and OAS) and no debt = semi-retirement). Other couples might need more or less than that.
As for my returns, I will update this post eventually:
In a few years, since I started tracking the data, I will have 10-year returns available to me vs. benchmarks.
I’ve been buying consistently in my RRSP over the last couple of years; converting to U.S. ETFs as well, so returns are not very strong, around 5% in recent years. I’m owning more VYM and HDV over time.
Conversely, I’ve pretty much bought and held many CDN stocks in my non-reg. and TFSA accounts over the last 5-6 years. Very little selling. 5-year data is 8% and closer to 8.2% inside TFSAs respectively. I’m pretty confident my CDN portfolio (non-reg. + TFSAs x2) should mirror or slightly exceed XIU returns long-term – which works for me.
It is my hope I can mirror returns of VYM or HDV long-term by simply owning those funds and also owning a few of their top holdings (JNJ, PFE, PG, MRK or MDT).
I don’t track an overall net worth. I do track the net worth of the invested assets (RRSPs, TFSAs, cash accounts, GICs) as that is worth knowing. I also track return on investment as well as current yield of each holding. In the past few years I’ve also begun tracking investment earnings. These are all parts of the picture I want to look at. Having said that, some people consider their equity in properties and other assets to be a big part of *their* financial picture. Who I am I to say this is not important. Personally, I value all assets other than financial (property, vehicles, “stuff”, etc) at zero. If I end up selling these and getting something then it’s a bonus. If I don’t sell then the executor will have their hands full (I’ve suggested 1-800-got-junk as a viable alternative).
I definitely keep track of the cash flow that can / will be generated from our invested assets (RRSPs, TFSAs, cash accounts, non-reg., etc.) but I don’t focus on the portfolio value.
I suspect I’m an outlier this way since I don’t write about net worth like other PF bloggers do – not that they obsess over it – but they write about it.
As you say, we’re all different. There is no right or wrong on this.
I’m guessing that some have a more growth oriented portfolio or assets so income may or may not be as important as, well, growth. I like to know the growth of assets like BAM.A or my e-series as they are not designed to be big income generators.
I think net worth is important, but I think a rough idea is good enough. Calculating net worth with how much the car you owned is worth is meaningless for me.
I track my investment income regularly. I calculate my portfolio worth not so often, but definitely at the end of the year. I have a rough idea of my net worth which I defined as my house value plus my portfolio value.
I think having a rough idea – is good. Most people should have an idea but I definitely wouldn’t suggest people track it to a detailed level – there are too many factors out of your control that way.
I track portfolio values but total net worth is difficult to calculate beyond broad estimates and assumptions (e.g. real estate in the GTA and my wife’s pension), and really isn’t that useful since I’m not about to cash in my house.
I track my portfolio value even though I know that liquidating it would a) never be done all at once, and b) would incur a myriad of taxation issues that I’d need to calculate and quite frankly can’t be bothered to right now. Knowing the current market value helps with rebalancing each year as I contribute new savings. More importantly, having managed my investments for over 20 years, I like standing back and seeing how the value has increased through my contributions and market growth each year. In years like 2018, despite market pullbacks I was able to increase my portfolio through increased savings. Seeing that encourages me to keep on the program.
Seeing shrinking values tests my risk tolerance – even though the numbers are bigger now than they were in 2008-09, the drop in the Fall and Christmas eve really didn’t faze me much, so I know I am comfortable with how I am managing, and nothing tests that like seeing significant sums evaporate before your eyes!
I am fortunate to have a DB pension. My wife has a DC pension. Keeping track of those, accurately, and house value, what we owe the bank; other assets would be time consuming. I think I’m better off doing other things 🙂
Knowing where we are, ballpark, is great. Ultimately though, if my wife and I can have income generated by invested assets > expenses, I know we will have realized most of our financial goals.
Thanks for your comments and emails BB! On that note, I hope to write about VEQT soon.
I agree with what you’re saying about NW and for the same reasons. It has its place in a broad measuring stick sense but otherwise not critical. I would add its impossible to really know the future tax obligations of a pension, RRSP, unregistered accounts. etc even if you wanted to try and do an “accurate” net worth statement. An estimate…..sure, if you really felt you needed to.
My house has always been shelter to live and a lifestyle choice, not an investment designed to generate income or capital to live from. I never bought any of them thinking of it being something I would get a net gain from after appreciation minus other costs etc. Other assets, cars, boats, motorcycles-whatever, nah. They’re also just lifestyle items that cost money to operate and depreciate handsomely.
Like Paul mentioned at some future point we may choose or need to sell our home and use the funds to offset some or most costs of renting something more suitable to our needs at that time.
I gotta live somewhere.
Our house would be worth > $1 M in the inner city of Ottawa, closer to $3 M in Vancouver – but it’s not there and I can’t worry about that. I have to live somewhere. I would argue while a house is an asset it’s absolutely an expense and there is an opportunity cost in owning one (vs. having that money invested elsewhere (i.e., stocks)).
Our condo will be a lifestyle choice too. I never bought or moved into any home thinking of it being a huge financial gain. I think RE prices in Canada, in some cities, have warped people’s views on that. Not yours mind you.
You never will own a condo, fees!
I agree Mark. Net Worth seems to lean towards an ego thing. You’ll never nail it down as it keeps moving…and it’s value has no real importance, except for maybe a financial advisor to calculate his fees!
The one component I do think of is, will the eventual sale of my home, invested, cover the cost of renting a condo closer to amenities that a couple must one day consider important as they age.
It might be Paul, an ego thing. I can’t speak for others though.
I just know that if I continue to focus on saving for investing, killing debt, and looking after a few other things in my control – growing net worth will take care of itself. I’m a simple guy.