Net Worth Update – Dec 2008

Mmm, I’m having a good vacation.  Can you tell by the lack of posts lately?  Anyways I’m back with my net worth update for the end of 2008.

Assets

House $308,000
RRSP $15,100
LIRA $8,800
Pension $6500
Wife’s RRSP $6700
Wife’s Investment Account $5200
My Investment Account $7800
High Interest Savings Account $1200

Debt
Mortgage $137,500
HELOC $2200

Therefore my net worth now stands at $219,600 for the end of October 2008. That is an increase of $600 or 0.3% from my last update.  So overall my net worth increased by 2.1% in 2008.  Mean while my investing net worth dropped 4%.

What?!?!  After all that mess I still managed to squeeze out an increase on my net worth this year! YA! Now that’s a nice New Year’s present to myself.  Actually looking at the numbers in a bit more detail I’ve noticed the free fall in my house and investments seems to be slowing.  Now the cash going in equals the cash value I’m losing so I’m basically just holding my head at the same level for now.

In general 2008 did teach me several things.  These are my top lessons from the year:

  1. Don’t depend on anything in your net worth staying the same.  Remember net worth is a snap shot, but don’t get overly attached to any number as they will shift over time.  Sometimes by a lot!
  2. I suck at picking stocks.  Really I’m looking at the detailed numbers and it’s become fairly obvious that I’m not any good.  So I’ll be limiting my self at this in the future.
  3. Sticking to an investing plan is required.  You must have an investing plan and stick to it.  In a free fall market it’s the only thing that will keep your head on straight.
  4. Take the long view.  Ok 2008 didn’t look so good overall, but I should keep in mind my net worth at the end of  2006 was $80,200.  I’m still up 174% from there.
  5. Remember to live your life.  Personal finance and early retirement are a nice hobby of mine, but I do have a lot more life out there than that.  So remember to spend time with your loved ones and be thankful for what matters most (hint: it isn’t your net worth).

Graphs will be updated later (I’m having software issues this morning).

5 thoughts on “Net Worth Update – Dec 2008”

  1. First, I’ve been reading your blog a long while. It’s great, thanks for continually updating it.

    If you suck at picking stocks, why not pick the whole market? iShares (XEG, XGD, XMD, etc.) or if you want to get the big returns, SSO or SDS. I think the buy and hold index fund strategy has been proven time and again.

  2. Don’t be too hard on yourself for your stock picking abilities. 2008 was a bad year for stocks – regardless of who was selecting them and how. This year should probably not be used as a benchmark of your success. One year in the life of a stock portfolio is not long enough to draw conclusions.

    Glad you’re enjoying your vacation 🙂

  3. WindsorGuy,

    Actually most of my portfolio is in index funds. I’m finally at the size with a few of my accounts that it makes sense to jump to ETF’s, so that’s on my to do list in 2009.

    MM,

    True, but actually my long term record is also very bad, but also a very small sample. So I guess your correct in saying I should give it a few years before passing judgment.

    Tim

  4. Hey. I love your blog and I think the Net Worth updates are great. How do you feel you are in terms of your retire at age 45 goal given the market?
    I watched both my registered and non registered portfolio get anihilated this year and fear I can never retire, even though my husband and I have our house paid off and quite a bit in savings.

  5. Mintycake,

    Ah, that is a loaded question. Actually I’m writing a whole series of posts on that exact topic later this month, because so many factors have recently changed on me doing this (down market, new pension plan from my new job, working out how to use the TFSA, etc).

    Tim

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