Already one month behind us! Even though it’s a rather boring time of the year, even without a pandemic, I feel like time went by pretty fast. My blog and Facebook page keep me pretty busy, on top of the overtime I did at work and the time I’ve spent preparing for a job interview!
It just goes to show that the best way to survive this never-ending pandemic is to stay busy. 🙂
So here we are, already starting a new month. Let’s see how my net worth has grown in this past month!
Net Worth as of January 31, 2021
Line of Credit:
Tangerine Master Card:
Amex Air Miles:
BMO Air Miles:
My net worth is now $121,118! That’s a $3,313 increase since December 31, 2020. It had been a good month for the stock market, right up until last week, when everything went haywire. It doesn’t matter much, since I continue following my savings and investment plan and as a result, my investments slowly but surely keep going up. 🙂
As a matter of fact, a reader wrote to me recently and wondered if the monthly portfolio value was the best way to track one’s net worth. She thought that it fluctuates excessively from one month to another, and it could be discouraging during periods of decline.
I have to agree that tracking my net worth so closely involves a lot of fluctuations. However, I am aware that this is part of the game and I have an excellent risk tolerance. Since I already track my net worth in my spreadsheets on a monthly basis, I decided to include it on my blog on the same basis, along with my expense reports.
However, I realize that I will eventually have to compress the data on the graph (due to lack of space) on my net worth page, possibly to three-month intervals. This should smoothen the curve a bit. 😉
I decided to start the year with a few small changes to my portfolio. As I mentioned in previous articles, my main investments are with Questrade, split between a LIRA, an RRSP and a TFSA. In all three accounts, I held only XEQT, an all-in-one ETF by iShares made up of 100% equities, 22% of which are Canadian.
Reducing Home Country Bias
After doing some reading, notably Ed Rempel‘s blog, I decided to reevaluate my home country bias, i.e. being too widely exposed to one’s own country’s stocks. Indeed, Canada represents about 3% of the world economy and is primarily based on resources and banks. Knowing this, how is it good diversification to hold 22% of my portfolio in Canadian stocks?
Especially since I have (unfortunately) about 15% of my portfolio in labour-sponsored funds that invest only in local companies. That means my home country bias is actually quite high. It actually amounts to about 33% of my total portfolio in Canadian equities.
After some thought, I chose ZGQ (graciously brought to my attention by one of this blog’s reader) to reduce my home country bias a bit, in addition to getting a bit more exposure to emerging countries. This ETF actually seeks to replicate the performance of the MSCI All Country World High Quality.
However, I only made the change in my TFSA, where I want to get the maximum return. I still hold XEQT in my LIRA and RRSP. This will gradually reduce my portfolio’s total exposure to Canadian stocks as I continue contributing to my TFSA.
A Healthy Dose of FOMO
Yes, I joined the Bitcoin train (or rocket?). It finally went down after its all-time high in early January. So I took the opportunity to learn a bit more about Bitcoin, then invested a small amount of money. Initially, I decided to do this by buying a few units of the new Bitcoin ETF QBTC. This way, I can take advantage of the possible gains of Bitcoin in my TFSA, which cannot be done by the traditional method.
Afterwards, I continued to read up on Bitcoin and learned about the Montreal application called Shakepay and decided to actually buy Bitcoin this way. In fact, by using a referral link, I was getting $30 by buying $100 worth of cryptography. So why not? An instant return of 30%. 😉
More seriously, I prefer to set myself a limit of 1% of my portfolio with regard to cryptocurrency. I think setting a limit will prevent me from going overboard on this. What’s more, it’s an amount I’m willing to lose. And if I ever make a sizeable profit, even better! I just don’t intend to speculate, but to buy and hold it like with my other holdings.
Here are the details of my January savings:
- January 13: $750 out of $1,710.67 (44% savings)
- January 27: $1,035 out of $2,005.17 net (52% savings)
- Total savings: $1,785 in January or 48% savings
Of the $1,785 I saved, I contributed $1,550 to my TFSA and added $235 to Shakepay.
The higher pay is justified by a few extra overtime hours in January.
Also, starting at the end of February, I’ll start getting bigger pays because I got a promotion! Before the holidays, I had applied to a higher-level position within another team. I didn’t necessarily have a lot of hope to get a call, as I didn’t know anyone on that team. You know it: it’s better to know someone than to know something. Luckily, I got the call and a few days after the interview, I was offered the job. 🙂
So, I will go from a base annual salary of $71,180 to $76,600, which is a 7.6% increase. There will also be a yearly increase in April, which should be around 3%, which would bring my salary to $78,898.
I’m not just talking about increasing income. Trying to walk the talk!
Finally, my $25,000 savings goal for 2021 will be slightly easier to achieve than I thought. You know me well enough to know I plan to save 100% of my raise. 🙂
|2021-01-01||$120.00||American Express Annual Fees|
In January, I had $2,396.83 in total expenses, or $28,761.96 annualized. Excluding my car loan payments, it comes down to $1,185.28 or $14,223.36 annualized. The big difference between the two is explained by three car payments I had this month, instead of the usual two.
Otherwise, one month look like the next! I should be ashamed: $23.09 in Starbucks coffee. Just think about it! That’s $277.08 a year! It would take $6,927 invested to generate enough passive income to pay for this bad habit! I just can’t wait to do anything other than car rides. 😉
Also, there are some transactions related to travel hacking, such as the $120 annual fee on my Prestige Aeroplan American Express. I also paid my home insurance policy balance in full to help me reach the required spending on my BMO AIR MILES Mastercard to unlock the 850 bonus miles. Once again, I didn’t spend more to earn points, I spent money I was going to spend in the future. 🙂
It’s ironic, really. My biggest challenge with Travel Hacking right now is to find a way to reach the spending thresholds necessary to unlock my bonuses. Luckily, Milesopedia gives good tips on how to do this.
My Facebook page followers may have noticed: I am an avid reader. I often read several books in parallel, in addition to the occasional audiobook. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll reach Warren Buffett’s level:
Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.
In addition to reading, I also like to share about the latest books I’ve read and know what others are reading. In that vein, I thought adding this section to my monthly reviews could be interesting to my readers. 🙂
So, my January reading list looked like this:
- The Courage to Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi (2013)
- The Autobiography of James T. Kirk by David A. Goodman (2020)
- Ça va arriver en 2021 by Alain McKenna (2020)
- The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict (2020)
- L’art presque perdu de ne rien faire by Dany Laferrière (2011)
- The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel (2020)
- Dans la Jungle du Placement by Stephen Jarislowsky (2005)
- Unshakeableby Tony Robbins (2017)
- The Power of Discipline by Daniel Walter (2020)
- One by One by Ruth Ware (2020)
I have to admit it: I’m a Self-Help junkie. I still try to balance a bit between fiction and non-fiction. By the way, don’t be surprised to see a Star Trek novel in it from time to time.
Of this list, the one I recommend the most is definitely The Psychology of Money. For me, it was a perfect mix of two subjects I love. Also, anyone who is struggling to make lasting changes in their lives would also benefit from reading The Power of Discipline.
February Is Going to Fly By!
February only has 28 days, after all.
Next Monday’s article will focus on job interviews and how to prepare for it, especially when you’re an introvert like me. The following week, I’m going to take a little break. I’ll start working on my new position then, and I want to be able to focus mostly on that. 🙂
So I’ll still have two weeks to put together an article on my withdrawal strategy once I’ve reached FIRE. Many of you are asking me to do an article on this, so I’ll try not to disappoint.
I will also have access to my T4 & RL-1 on February 16. This nerd will be very happy to get started on doing tax returns ! In addition to mine, I always do my sister’s and brother’s tax returns. 🙂
I’m especially looking forward to doing my sister’s tax return to apply the method to boost her RRSP contributions as perfectly as possible before March 1st.
As a matter of fact, do you have any suggestions for a good software to do multiple tax returns? I’ve been using UFile since 2014 without looking too closely at what others offer. I’m open to suggestions!
See you next time!
Thanks for stopping by!
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