Fiscal Update – Dec 2013 – Year of Easy Money

Overall in 2013 my net worth increased by $68,600 or 49%. Not bad 😀 But I can’t take most of the credit for it. As I will explain further below, more than $40,000 of my newly created wealth was purely coincidental. My financial performance in 2013 was mostly a reflection of the overall positive market trend, and not so much the results from my own acumen 😛

In 2012 with only $20K of my own savings I was able to buy a property worth $150K. That investment worked out so well that I used the same strategy in 2013 to buy another property for $172K. I’m very grateful to the financial services industry for lending me other people’s money, so that I may use their emergency funds and hard earned savings (which they’re not currently using themselves) to boost the economy and multiply profits for my own gain! 😀 Don’t worry, I’ll pay them back some day 😉 But without borrowing money from the bank in this low interest rate environment, there is no way I could have accumulated so much financial assets today.


*Side Income:

  • Part-Time Work = $600
  • Dividends = $400
*Discretionary Spending:
  • Eating Out = $100
  • Others = $500 (including a $400 microscope)

*Net Worth: (MoM)


  • Assets: = $742,500 total (+3,700)
  • Cash = $200 (-1000)
  • Stocks CDN =$79,600 (+2700)
  • Stocks US = $46,500 (+1500)
  • RRSP = $39,200 (+500)
  • Home = $252,000 (same)
  • Farms = $325,000 (same)
  • Debts: = $533,600 total (-1,000)
  • Mortgage = $200,400 (-300)
  • Farm Loans = $208,800 (-500)
  • Margin Loan CDN = $27,400 (+1300)
  • Margin Loan US = $24,000 (+400)
  • TD Line of Credit = $34,700  (-1200)
  • CIBC Line of Credit = $14,800 (-200)
  • HELOC = $18,000 (same)
  • RRSP Loan = $5,500 (-500)

*Total Net Worth = $208,900 (+2.3%)
All numbers above are in CAD. Conversion rate used: 1.00 USD = 1.07 CAD

The way to invest successfully isn’t necessarily trying to pick winners and losers. We just have to be in the game 🙂

For example I have a $U.S. trading account to buy U.S. stocks in. A year ago $1 CAD = $1.01 USD. But by now $1 CAD = $0.93 USD. Which means it’s now 8% cheaper for Americans to shop in Canada, haha. So it’s not about picking the right equities (stocks) because any Canadian could have simply put some idle cash in a U.S. account at the beginning of the year, not invested in anything, and still make 8% in profit simply from the exchange rate delta, lol. Easy money 🙂 And if that cash was used to buy stocks like I did, then that’s even better since the markets really outperformed in 2013.

I blogged about how I purchased super awesome companies like Google, Disney, Starbucks, etc. Which all performed well last year. The TSX Composite (Canadian index) returned 10.6% in 2013. The S&P500 did even better with a 31.8% return, jumpin’ jellybeans 😯 that’s a huge gain. But technology stocks grew the most with the Nasdaq Composite up 41%, Bloody Nora! 😯 All one had to do to gain from these market returns was just buy an index ETF, such as the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) or the iShares S&P/TSX 60 index fund (XIU), which typically holds a large basket of blue-chip companies that track the stock market indexes. Again, easy money 🙂 No research or thinking necessary. I personally like to choose individual companies to invest in, but because I have a large diversified portfolio of large cap stocks, my overall performance pretty much tracks the index as well 🙂 My stock portfolio returned $15,000+ in 2013, not including new purchases. Thank goodness for leverage too. Anyone could have borrowed money from the bank at 4.25% like I did (regardless of their credit rating) and invested that money in the stock market for double digit profits 🙂 Without leveraging my margin account I would not have so much gains on paper today.

Same goes for real estate. The Canadian Real Estate Association released a report last month which estimates home prices in Canada on average rose by 5.2% in 2013 (4.1% in B.C.) So a $250K condo in B.C., like the one I have, would have appreciated by about $10,000 in 2013 on average. Home appreciation = passive easy money 🙂 By the way, did anyone else hear about the insane housing numbers out of Kitimat B.C.?


Same goes for farmland. It doesn’t matter where you choose to invest because according to a Re/max report farmland values in pretty much every province was higher in 2013 compared to a year before. By a conservative estimate according to the chart below, my two farms in East Central SK, has appreciated by at least $15,000 combined in 2013.


The remaining $28,600 of my net worth gain came from a mixture of personal savings (about $15K for the year) dividend income (about $5K) and equity build up (about $8K) since every time I make a mortgage payment for example, $400 goes to reduce the principle loan, which lowers my debts, which increases my net worth 😉 So the only good financial decision I’ve made in 2013 was to simply stay the course and keep saving and investing. Then lady luck took care of the rest 😉

The green numbers in this post represent a breakdown of my wealth progress in 2013 🙂 I may be just a regular graphic designer on a middle class salary, but by also working a part-time job at a local school, I am able increase my savings rate to over $1,200 a month. And through investing, calculated leverage, and diversification, I can supercharge my net worth growth, and bring me to financial independence faster 🙂

I hope all you wonderful readers had a prosperous year of investing too (^_^) Some people may think the markets are overvalued now and are tempted to sell. But I personally wouldn’t 😉 If central banks around the world continue to print excessive money throughout 2014 then I expect we’ll have another year of financial market gains because the extra liquidity will have nowhere to go except inflate all the asset prices even more 😀

The only asset class that didn’t do well in 2013 was gold 🙁 But that’s okay because every time the price of gold falls by $100/oz I’ll simply buy more. When the financial market zigs, gold usually zags, so it’s good to have some gold on hand for insurance purposes. Tip of the day: Hard commodities have always been cyclical and I’m confident one day gold will rise back up to $1500/oz which would be a nice 25% return from today’s price of ~$1200.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
save. spend. splurge.
01/04/2014 6:35 am

You did fantastic this year!

For me, considering I didn’t work AT ALL this year, I’m pretty pleased with my net worth gains. Roundup for the year coming.

01/06/2014 11:42 am

Welcome to the year of the horse! An almost 50% NW gain… that’s awesome! Our NW was up slightly more than 12% for 2013 (paltry compared to your 50% gain, but enough for me to remain retired 🙂 ), and slightly more than the 11% for 2012. As in the past, I will remind you, keep your debt ratio in check. Pay it down after good market years and build it back up after bad. looking at your farm land chart, I see where I’m from on there – North Gower… Well actually, I’m just south, in South Gower. – Cheers, and lets hope for a similar 2014!

01/06/2014 5:38 pm

Of course I own property in the one province that DECREASED from 2012 to 2013. No wonder I couldn’t sell my place for a reasonable price 😉

01/06/2014 8:24 pm

Certainly can’t complain about a $68k increase in your networth in a given year! Truly fascinated by the gains your farms have made over the last year, and just the rental of farmland as a whole. Keep up the great work, err… luck, in 2014. 🙂

RichUncle EL
RichUncle EL
01/07/2014 8:06 am

Congrats on the net worth increase. I think paying down debt would benefit anybody more than investing new surplus money. IT reduces the risk you have, while providing you a freeing financial mind set. Good luck in 2014.

01/29/2014 4:16 am

First of all, I enjoy your site. Thank you for sharing.

I’m in Regina and my in laws own farm land. They have been farmers for 30 years and they own land as well as rent land. They rent land from their neighbours that they’ve known for years. I’m just curious how you, as a non-neighbour, rent out your land to people. How did you find tenants? How do you collect rent long distance? If I was going to buy land near my family, I’d be able to use their contacts to get tenants and it’s not that long of a distance.

But I also have a friend who will inherit farm land and he wouldn’t know how to find tenants. So I’m partly asking for him. Thank you.

Derek C. Olsen (@DerekCOlsen)
02/11/2014 12:57 pm

Heres to more coincidental increases in wealth. 😉

Thanks for posting everything. I find it very encouraging and helpful.


S. F. T. North
S. F. T. North
05/05/2014 6:42 am

I have two corrections to suggest.

1. Banks don’t loan you other people’s money, contrary to popular understanding. They create money out of thin air to loan you. This creation of money is a central function of banks.

2. Gold does not “usually zig when the market zags”. Gold is not counter-cyclical. It’s also not a good investment, because it does not have a positive return over time, though it does add volatility.


[…] to outperform and by the end of 2013 my net worth was at $209K. Most of the increase came from holding high quality financial assets. A year later in December 2014 my net worth has grown to $320K. Once again the majority of the […]