Welcome to my net worth update for January 2022! These numbers represent my wife and I’s net worth as of January 1st. If you haven’t already, check out our previous net worth update.
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2021 Year-End Review
Now that the new year is upon us, I’d like to give you all a summary of how we did financially in 2021, including how much we earned, saved and invested.
To start us off, we ended 2021 with a net worth of $453,100. That means we increased our net worth by $103,500 in 2021! Most of this gain came from our liquid assets, which grew to $188,000 from $109,000—an increase of $79,000!
About $15,000 of our net worth increase came from paying down our mortgage, while $9,000 can be attributed to pension contributions. The remaining net worth increase came from gains in our investment accounts, and savings of income. Let’s break it down even more in the following sections:
Investment Accounts Summary
2021 was a fantastic year for our investment portfolio. Not only were we able to make a lot of contributions, our investments all performed well above expectations. We hold a diversified portfolio of ETFs across all of our accounts, which you can learn more about in my recent portfolio deep dive.
Overall we contributed $64,300 to our registered investment accounts in 2021, which is an insane amount for us. As you may know, our focus is to max out our TFSAs as soon as we can, so the majority of our contributions were to those two accounts.
In 2021, we also purchased $42,400 worth of VEQT in our margin account with Interactive Brokers. These purchases were funded by a mix of our Tangerine line of credit and our Interactive Brokers margin loan. You can read more about our leveraged investing strategy in my recent post on getting started with leveraged investing.
Thanks to our aggressive investing strategy, we were able to earn $2,500 in dividends in 2021, with a total return of $18,900—incredible! 2021 was truly a rocket ship for our portfolio. My RRSP, which primarily holds VTI (Vanguard Total Stock Market), performed the best, as the U.S. market did exceedingly well last year.
My wife’s TFSA, which is more weighted towards quality dividend stocks, also performed exceptionally well. Meanwhile, my TFSA did the worst due to its high exposure to developed international and emerging markets through ETFs VIU and VEE.
In 2021 my wife and I earned $127k after taxes and deductions. From that income we managed to save $50k, which gives us a savings rate of 40%!
All of these savings were put to work right away in our investment accounts. Our total invested is higher than the $50k we saved because we also drew down about half of our emergency fund to use for investing. We also received a sizable tax refund from contributing to my RRSP, which was quickly deposited into my TFSA.
I don’t track our savings rate too religiously, but the last time I calculated it, I shared we were saving 43% of our net income. That was back in December 2020, and despite a lot changing since then, our savings rate is more or less the same.
One thing to consider is the effect of our mortgage on our savings rate. Our mortgage payment is $2,700 per month, but technically only half of that is going towards mortgage interest. Last month, for example, $1286 of our mortgage payment went towards the principal. If we include these principal portions of our mortgage payment as (forced) savings, then our savings rate is closer to 50%.
So where did we spend our money in 2021? Well, readers of this blog won’t be surprised by our #1 expense: our home. In total, we spent $48k on our home, which includes $32k in mortgage payments. We also spent a lot on “Home Items” in 2021, which includes furniture, appliances, and decor. Our home maintenance budget was luckily relatively modest, thanks to me DIY-ing whenever possible.
In 2021 we spent $7k on food, including over $2k on eating out and $4k on groceries. This averages $350 per month on groceries and $200 per month on dining out and ordering fast food. We haven’t been going to sit-down restaurants very often, so much of this $200 was spent on fast food and takeout.
With COVID sticking around, we continued to save big on transportation. We spent only $1k on gas and exactly $0 on public transportation. Before COVID, we’d spend $5k on just these two categories alone. We also saved on transportation because my car payment finally ended this past September, saving us about $250 per month.
Overall I’m pretty happy with where we spent our money in 2021. In 2022 I hope to spend a lot more on travel and less on unhealthy fast food. I also predict we’ll spend about $7k on home items again since there are a few expensive pieces of furniture that we still need to buy for our home. We also may eventually buy a new (used) vehicle, which would be another significant expense for 2022.
January 2022 Net Worth Update
Looking at just the past month, I’m happy to report we finished 2021 strong and increased our net worth by $13,200! Most of this net worth increase came from our investment portfolio, which had a stellar performance, earning us $6,600 in total return.
The second-largest contributor to our net worth was our saving of employment income. With most of our Christmas shopping already done, we didn’t have too many things to shop for last month. Thanks to Omicron, we mainly stayed in over the holidays, which kept expenses low.
Passive Income and Dividends
Our dividend income wasn’t the best this month, as we only earned $75. This income all came from VTI, which I hold in my RRSP.
I do expect dividend income to be much higher in my next net worth update, as my shares of VEQT and a few other ETFs will have paid out by then. If my math is correct, it could be our best month yet for passive income!
Thanks for Reading
I recently updated a few articles that you may be interested in. This includes my post on the best dividend ETF in Canada and my choice for Canada’s best REIT ETF. Consider giving those a read if you think they’ll help you on your financial journey!
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