This page represents a general look at my financial progress over the last 7 years divided into various categories. It details how I got started, what kind of companies I invest in, and the important financial lessons I’ve learned to make me a better investor. Hopefully my quirky strategies will inspire others to reach for their financial goals as well.
Dividends are a great way to get started in the world of investing. It starts off slow at first, but over 10 or 20 years it’s possible to build quite a significant stream of income from it. I started in 2009. In 2015 I’m making about $6,000/year. By 2019 I aim to make at least $10,000 annually from dividend income. Click here for more details.
Incomes / Expenses Progress
It’s important to track our incomes and spending because in order to build our investments we need to be making more than we spend. I was able to double my income in the last 6 years through a combination of salary increases and finding new sources of revenues. But my expenses have also crept higher. The trick is to increase income while keeping a lid on spending. I track my income statement every year to make sure I’m living within my means. Click here for more details.
Net Worth Progress
Financial success is mostly about building up assets. Making the maximum usage of what we have is the ultimate reward. Currently about 40% of my net worth is in the stock market, 30% in the equity of my home, and 30% in my Saskatchewan farmland. Net worth is the value of all net assets, a barometer for wealth…
My strategy has been to buy up appreciating assets that also generate income. But we don’t have to earn a lot of money to do this because when interest rates are low like they are now, we can leverage the power of using other people’s money. Since I started working I’ve managed to buy an apartment for $230,000, two separate farms for $150,000 and $172,000, various stocks valued at more than $150,000, and throughout all this time most of those assets are worth more now than when I initially bought them.
My total assets by the end of 2014 was over $800,000. But roughly $500,000 of that money is debt, or money borrowed from the bank. If my assets on average return just 7% annually (income + capital appreciation) then my wealth would go up almost $50,000 a year without even having to save any additional money. There’s no way I could buy $800,000 of investments from my savings alone. However by borrowing to invest, I get the full financial benefits from those appreciating investments while slowly paying down the debt used to buy them. This naturally increases the gap between my assets and liabilities, which of course translates to higher net worth. (^_^)
I update the value of my apartment once a year every January. I use my original purchase price in 2009, which was $230,000, plus inflation (CPI) every year. I also update the value of my farms once a year, which is in April because that’s when the annual farmland value report by Farm Credit Canada is released. I calculate the farms’ value by taking the average of the number from the report, and inflation rate (CPI.) These conservative valuation methods for my properties are designed to keep my net worth less volatile, and curb the effects of false signals such as speculation. I update my net worth once a month.
Road to Financial Freedom
The whole point of this blog is to track my progress to have enough income generating assets to live a financially free life. I anticipate it will be a long and slow process just like it would be for anyone else. But so far I am having a lot of fun watching my financial security become more and more self sustaining every year. I will be financially free when my nominal passive income for the year reaches 100% or more of my expenses for that same year.
|Year’s End||Passive Income to Expenses|
Nominal – The passive income I make before factoring in inflation (CPI.)
Passive Income – After tax income that requires little or no work to maintain. The tax is calculated under the assumption that I do not have any supplementary active income, ie: a job. Examples of passive income include dividends, royalties, rent, pensions, child care benefits, etc.
Expenses – My total spending for that particular year. This will always be a moving target due to inflation and lifestyle changes.