You are probably thinking…
Hear me out, please! Although this blog has been around for more than 3 years, I only started writing year review last year, so the annual review post idea is still pretty new to me.
Why am I writing a financial review when almost every other personal finance bloggers are doing the same thing?
Because I am a money nerd and I have always enjoyed reading at other bloggers’ annual numbers!
Ok, I am kidding…. or am I?
Since our financial epiphany, Mrs. T and I have always reviewed our numbers each year. We are doing this because these annual reviews give us a good idea where we are on our financial independence journey. My goal for publishing a year review post and share some numbers is to provide readers with the Canadian perspective and at the same time hold ourselves accountable.
Overview of Our Budget System
We started using our current budget system in mid-2011. Thanks to the budget system, our net worth has increased quite significantly. Each month we break down our after-tax income into 6 different accounts and allocate a certain percentage for each account.
- Necessities/Core Expenses (55%)
- Education (10%)
- Play (10%)
- Financial Freedom Account (10%)
- Long Term Savings for Spending (10%)
- Give (5%)
The percentages listed above are the default suggested values. Over the years we have adjusted all of these numbers to suit our needs. Our necessities percentage is now significantly lower than 55%.
2017 Total Expenses
In 2017 we spent a total of $51,144.77 CAD ($40,915.82 USD based on 1/0.8 exchange rate). This number excludes any business expenses.
As you may recall, Mrs. T and I have a few side hustles; I have a photography business, this blog costs some money to operate, Mrs. T and I have our cookbook business, and Mrs. T has a few other business projects as well.
Here’s an overview of all the numbers since 2012.
|Total Necessities Spending||Core Necessities Spending per Month||Total Annual Spending||Total Spending per Month|
Note: These numbers do not include money that went into our FFA and LTSS accounts. The numbers only represent money that we actually spent.
So year… we spent $3,577.81 more in 2017 than 2016. And we are supposed to be frugal. D’oh!
An annual spending of $51,144.77 has been the highest number we ever had since we started tracking. I was a bit choked to see that we spent more than $50,000 in a year.
I guess I shouldn’t call us frugal anymore!
Deep Dive into the 2017 Numbers
Here are some thoughts when comparing our 2017 numbers with other years’.
- We spent $2,823.97 per month or $33,887.68 total in Necessitates. This was $338.02 more per month than 2016.
- Most of the increase was caused by an increase in grocery spending. In 2016 we spent $662.61 per month on groceries. In 2017 we spent $784.07 per month. That’s an increase of $121.46 per month or $1,457.52 for the entire year. Since both Baby T1.0 and Baby T2.0 started eating more and more food, it makes sense that our grocery bill has increased. But they certainly did not eat $121.46 more per month! We have started purchasing more organic food items in 2017 but we have not spent much time in price comparison. We plan to shop more at Superstore this year as the prices are cheaper, rather than blindly purchase items from Costco.
- In 2017 we were forced to replace 4 car tires, thanks to an unrepairable leak. We also purchased a greenhouse and had a few unplanned expenses. These somewhat “unplanned” purchases totalled $2,282.51. If we took this amount out of our annual expenses, this meant our annual expenses would drop from $51,144.77 to $48,862.26. If we took out the grocery increase ($1,457.52), we would end up with an annual spending of $47,404.74. This would put us roughly in line with the annual total spending from 2014 to 2016. So we weren’t that “far off” compared to our historical trend. This is, at least, somewhat comforting. (Or maybe I am just making silly excuses to justify our high 2017 spending number).
- We spent $153.89 per month more on Education compared to 2016 because Baby T1.0’s preschool costs more this year (2 half days in 2016 vs. 1 half day + 2 full days in 2017).
- Overall we have spent less on Play by $49.36 compared to 2016.
- We are giving roughly the same amount per month to charities over the last 4 years
Net Worth: +8.65% in 2017
Since I no longer blog anonymously, I am not going to reveal the actual net worth number. I will just share our net worth increase in percentages.
I highly recommend using Wealthica for tracking net worth and portfolio. Wealthica is great if you don’t want to keep track of a big Excel spreadsheet.
In 2017 our net worth increased by 8.65%. The actual dollars amount increase was pretty mind-boggling, considering we are a single income family. I guess we have to say thanks to the hot stock market and the simmering Vancouver real estate market (it has gone from a sizzling market to a simmer market in 2017).
We are very grateful and happy to see how much our net worth has grown in 2017.
Growing Our Net Worth
For the most part, we follow these simple steps when it comes to growing our net worth.
- We maximize our RRSP contribution room every year.
- We maximize our TFSA contribution room every year.
- We maximize kids’ RESP contribution room every year.
- We try to invest as much money as possible in taxable accounts once we maximize tax-advantaged accounts.
- We DRIP our dividend income whenever we can.
- We re-invest 100% of our dividend income.
- Income from side hustles goes straight to FFA for investing in stocks and other appreciating assets.
- We try to optimize our expenses… but as you can see, we kinda failed on this front in 2017. Oops.
For 2018 we will continue budgeting, saving, and investing. There’s no need to make things more complicated when simple steps are already working great for us.
Some Random Stats of 2017
Now we have gone through some of the serious numbers, here are some random (and possibly fun) stats of 2017.
At beginning of 2017, I weighed: 76.9 kg (169 lbs)
At end of 2017, I weighed: 79.9 kg (176 lbs)
At 5’11”, I think I can be healthier and have a more muscle toned body. My goal is to hit 72 kg (158 lbs) by the end of 2018.
In 2017 took a total of 3,423,920 steps
This was with 20 days of stats missing. That’s 9,924 steps per day. Need to step up my game this year!
Number of days spent on the road (including for work & for leisure): 75 days
Countries visited: Denmark, Germany, USA, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Japan
New countries visited: 0
Number of flights missed: 1 (denied boarding in Frankfurt)
Average session duration: 00:06:00. Is this number is high or low?
Number of posts: 81
Number of unfinished posts: 25 + whatever amount I deleted
Top visiting country: Canada (eh? 56.28%)
More Random Stuff
Number of times that I donated blood: 6 times (56 total)
Pair of shoes purchased: 0
Number of hygge had: 15,856
Number of naps Perlemus had since I started typing this post: 3 + meowing for food
Financial Independence Progress
In 2017 we received $14,834.38 in dividend income. This accounts for 29.07% of our 2017 expenses or 43.92% of our Necessities. We still have a bit ways to go before our dividend income exceeds our expenses.
Over the holidays I met up with S, who became financial independence at age 32. It was neat to hear that he is planning to travel and live in Thailand later this year. It was also neat that both of us were using the Capital One Aspire Travel credit card. Real estate came up during our conversation and one thing he suggested was to sell our house and move somewhere else with a lower cost of living than Vancouver.
As I mentioned briefly in my podcast appearance with Jessica, we could be FIRE’d if we really want to today. If we were to sell our house, use the proceeds to buy dividend growth stocks, index ETFs, and other assets, and move to a lower cost of living Canadian city (or Southeast Asia), we can be financially independent. But we are happy living in one of the Vancouver suburbs, we are establishing roots within the community, and I am happy with what I do at work. Our plans may change in the near future, but for now, we plan to stay put.
For Mrs. T and I, we know we will become financially independent one day via dividend income and other passive income streams. We aren’t in a hurry to get there. For now, we will enjoy our financial independence journey.
We are grateful that we have been healthy in 2017 and had an excellent year financially. We are very much looking forward to what 2018 has in store for our family.