Net Worth Update: March 2021

Welcome to my net worth update for March 2021! These numbers represent my wife and I’s net worth as of March 1st. Let’s get started!

Expenses in Depth

I was inspired to do something a little different this month. I got this idea from my interview with EatSleepBreatheFI where I shared my expenses in detail. So, in this net worth update, I decided to share exactly what we spent money on.

As you can see, most of our spending can be categorized as housing expenses. The $3,247 we spent on our home includes things like our mortgage, insurance, and heating. All of these housing expenses add up to 73% of our total spending for the month. Crazy, right? This is the cost of living in a high cost of living area, which, unfortunately, many more Canadian cities are becoming.

Sankey chart for March 2021
A Sankey chart showing exactly where we spent our money last month.

All other expenses added up to $979, which is on the low-end for what we normally spend in a given month. I like to think that if we weren’t stuck at home that we would be travelling, seeing friends, and eating at restaurants. Given that we can’t, we’re at least making good of a bad situation by saving and investing for our future.

Driving some of our savings has been our reduced transportation expenses. I wrote an article last summer on how COVID has affected our budget, and in that article I shared that we used to spend over $600 per month on transportation. Now that we’re working from home, our transportation costs have dropped significantly. We didn’t even buy gas a single time in February! Compare that to filling up weekly before COVID.

Net Worth Increase

Last month we came into some extra income in the form of back pay — around $2,000. On top of that extra income, we received our B.C. Recovery Benefit. This is British Columbia’s means-tested stimulus cheque that pays families up to $1,000 and individuals up to $500. After applying back in December, we finally received a cheque for just over $500.

Sources of Net Worth Increase March 2021
Our investments provided a nice boost to our net worth this month.

These enhanced savings helped increase our net worth to $365,400 from $356,100 – an increase of $9,300 or 2.6%! Our liquid net worth, which excludes our pension contributions and our home equity, increased by $7,400 to $120,800.

Investments and Dividends

Our investments performed well last month and helped boost our net worth by $2,000. The majority of this boost came from price appreciation. Dividend income was much lower than the previous month, coming in at a meagre $49. That’s because our ETFs that pay quarterly didn’t pay this time around, so fewer dividends were to be expected.

Passive Income Earned March 2021
Passive income came back down to Earth after a blockbuster February net worth update.

Speaking of dividends, I recently got a chance to participate in a collaborative effort to pick some of the best stocks for dividend growth investors. This exercise was organized by Tawcan — a fellow personal finance blogger from B.C. — who compiled all of the picks in a great post on his blog. I highly recommend checking it out if you’re interested in building a portfolio of dividend companies! Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a bit more passive, check out my article on the best Canadian dividend ETF.

Our Goal to Invest $30,000

Another positive note is that we made some big progress towards our goal of saving $30,000. Between my wife and I, we contributed $7,900 towards our investment accounts. I contributed $3,000 towards my TFSA, and she contributed $4,900 towards hers. Lately, we’ve been trying to get more exposure to the U.S. to bring our portfolio into balance. To accomplish this, she bought more shares of XAW and opened a VUN position in my TFSA.

30k Goal Progress March 2021
We contributed $7,900 towards our investment accounts last month.

Contributing $7,900 to our investment accounts is HUGE for us. Some of this money comes from our extra income, and some comes from money we could have contributed in the previous month. Looking ahead, I think we’ll have a month or two of smaller contributions. We’re hoping to buy a patio set for our backyard and my wife also has her eye on some “essential” (aka expensive) living room pieces.

Thanks for Reading!

Thank you for checking out my net worth update for March 2021. I recently wrote a few articles that may help you in the new year. This includes my article on the best preferred share ETF in Canada and my article explaining how to get cash back from your realtor. Consider giving those a read if you think they may help you on your financial journey!

As always, please consider following me on social media or signing up for my monthly newsletter if you’d like to get notified when I post new content. 

What do you think of my Sankey chart? Should it be something I regularly add to my net worth updates? I’d love to hear what you think about our spending last month. Please leave a comment below!

16 comments

  1. Very Impressive, Loonie! Looks like another great month and wow a 2.6% net worth increase.
    What’s the story behind the back pay? Reminded me of when my company cut our income by 40% but then decided to return it as the company wasn’t doing as bad as they predicted!
    Your March dividend makes me feel okay about my March!

    1. Thanks, Mr. Dreamer! Ha, I’m glad you can look at my dividend income and feel good about yours.

      Back pay sometimes happens when one of our employers (often, my wife’s) messes up our overtime or something similar. It’s a nice little windfall that doesn’t happen often!

      1. I am sure your dividend will get better 🙂 I will do my March numbers in 3 days on April 1st.

        That’s good to get overtime! I am a full time salary based and there is no overtime at all. Not even when I worked 60 emergency hours overtime in 3-weeks last March 2020. Instead of flying to Belize, I left the airport after clearing US customs, and drove the 6 hours in a March blizzard to QC. I even had tough time taking time in-lieu for the overtime hours!

    1. Thanks, Tawcan! Yeah, I’d be so happy with a 2% net worth gain every month. I’m not sure we’ll get that lucky, but we’ll try!

  2. Great progress toward your $30K goal there! Your future self will thank you.

    Hopefully you folks up north are making some progress vaccinating so you can get back to burning through your budget on fun stuff—ha! Though I’ve read Canada is facing some difficulty in that regard. But, hopefully the trend is in the right direction.

    1. Hi Chris! Canada has been making progress, albeit slow. The statistic I’m hearing is that nearly 10% of our population has been given at least one shot. In my province, the estimate is that most people may be offered a vaccine by the end of July. I’m hopeful we’ll get to enjoy a more normal summer this year – fingers crossed!

  3. That’s a fair mortgage payment, but probably pretty average for B.C.? I’m kind of curious with the current house prices in Canada, what sort of typical mortgage payment people are making or is a minimum they’re making on a 30-year. We are doing the same though, no rush to pay back with low interest rates. May as well take advantage of cheap money, right?

    You weren’t lying when you said down to the dollar! I’d like to know where you can park for $1? Must be metered parking 🙂

    1. Thanks for stopping by, FMS! It was for metered parking on a Sunday, so it was extra cheap :).

      Housing is crazy expensive here, and only going up it seems. Our home was $850k when we bought it. We put 20% down so we could get a 30-year amortization and avoid mortgage loan insurance (required for any purchase with less than 20% down). I’d say that we’re happy to see the balance owing decrease, but we’re in no rush to pay it off. As you said, rates are sooo low that it makes investing any extra cash much more beneficial.

  4. Thanks for sharing your net worth update, AL! I love these updates and your charts. It’s crazy how much the housing portion of your expenses are. And that’s a nice jump in your net worth. Looks like you are well on your way to meeting your savings goal. Just out of curiously, do you mention anywhere what you do for a living? The amount of money you are pulling in per month is impressive. I’m working part-time so I only earn around 2k per month after taxes. In busy season, it doubles. I do live with my gf, who earns more than I do, but we keep our finances separate.

    1. Hey Graham! Since we try to be anonymous, I usually just say we’re “professionals”. We’re both well into our careers so our income is higher than average. Combined we earned around $160k gross last year. Also, we don’t have kids yet so we’ve been able to save aggressively. Hopefully this helps explain things a little!

  5. Interesting breakdown, I like the use of the Sankey chart. I’d say our family of 3 (two parents, adult child) is similar in total spend but we’re mortgage free! :). There’s now way we could have a food budget that low. I suppose we splurge a bit too much on groceries but don’t get fast food, take out or restaurants (remember them?) that often.

    The way I look at budgeting is to simplify it by making sure we are saving our target amount of 40% of our gross income. We achieved about 50% last year, so I think it’s doable this year. If. however, the target becomes a problem, we’ll start to actively budget.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Bill! I’m a big fan of the Sankey. I’m happy to finally use it in my blog and glad you enjoy it!

      Saving 40% or more of your income is incredible. You must be well on your way towards financial independence if you’re able to do that. Kudos!

      On an average month, we save around 40% of our net income but that’s with ZERO kids or dependants. When we eventually do have kids, I expect our savings rate to drop substantially.

    1. Thank you! Yea, this past month was a great one for us. I attribute it to the extra income and it being a quiet month overall (spending wise). In the next net worth update you’ll see our spending increase by a good amount. I can’t wait to share!

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