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Discussion Starter · #261 ·
March 2021 Update

Small change in NW this month due to drops on a couple stocks, but we still eked (eeked?) out a gain. I did not check the wife's DB pension CV value this month. Will check it next month to see if the rising bond rates have decreased the CV amount. That would could be a decent hit to the NW as well if that drops.

We renewed our mortgage this month. It was the easiest thing ever. Stayed with our current bank, as we wouldn't qualify elsewhere with me having no income. No haggling and they still offered 1.59% right off the bat, which is pretty competitive. We were at 2.59%, so that's a savings. Did not change the amortization, still at 20 years.

Started doing the taxes in earnest. For a couple reasons, we are going to have a big tax bill this year (~16K). First, before COVID, we were thinking that my wife would be working full time and we'd have a nanny full time. So we got them to take less tax off during the year to compensate for that. However, due to covid and me losing a job, we did not end up having a nanny for most of the year which means she owes a fair amount. And then my severance they only took off 30% withholding, which was not enough as I would have been in the highest tax bracket even with stuffing 100K in an RRSP. This might force us on to an installment plan with taxes, as I've had to be on that before due to large taxes due in certain years. Hopefully not.

I have been trying to get some more entertainment in my life. Sounds weird but I'm actually trying to be more sedentary. I haven't watched many movies and no tv series in probably over a decade. Been continuing on this and its been working out well. Finished the Jack Ryan series and now almost finished The Expanse (which I love). Next up is Firefly (now on Disney+) and then Man in the High Castle. Once I finish off this contract work (early April), I'll be looking to get in to a fitness routine as well. Weather's been warming up quite a bit here, by the end of March nighttime temps will be consistently above 0 which means the veggie garden can get started with a little help.

Assets:

House - $1,080,000
DB Pension (wife) - $342,000
RRSPs - $593,992
Non-Reg - $11,000
TFSA: $100,431
Corporate Account/Value/Inventory: $68,500
House Maintenance Account: $6,900
Cash - $1,043
Miscellaneous assets - $16,000

Total Assets $2,219,866

Liabilities:


Mortgage - $645,110
Credit cards - $3,751 (this is not a balance, but the amount due. We pay off every month, but a true snapshot must include this)
PLOC - $0
HELOC - $48,808

Total Liabilities $697,669

Net Worth: $1,522,197 (+$9K from last update)
 

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Discussion Starter · #262 ·
April 2021 Update

Another small increase in the NW this month. Haven't been getting a lift from the market, so it's been pretty flat as might be expected. Definitely a note of concern is the flat NW growth and the small increase in debt.

We have a large income tax bill this year due to severance and less tax taken off for my wife with expected childcare credits (that didn't happen due to Covid). It'll be 17.5K. I sold some items in my TFSA to cover it. First mortgage payment at the renewed rate started in April. Nice to save a few hundred a month. I have to call the internet company to threaten to leave and get a discount, should be able to save 30-50$/mo there. We have about 4K in house expenses this summer with some cracked window replacements and a new parking pad for our tenant.
May-Sept is the best months for my web business, so I expect the NW will start to rise in earnest over the summer. I did apply for EI last week. I don't think they'll pay anything until my severance is assumed to have run out (which would be in 12 months), but important to get the name in the system I understand as there is a time limit? I have applied to the odd job here and there that look interesting and I would be suited for, but there isn't much. No interviews and I'm not expecting anything until the fall. They'd all be drops in income from what I was making before, but that doesn't bother me. Wife is working 1.0FT right now and is not loving it, so she will probably drop down to a 0.75FT for Sept.

As far as entertainment goes, I've finished The Expanse series (epic good), and have started Firefly (not sure what the hype is about). We went to Calgary for a trip over the spring break, stayed in a hotel with pool/slide that you could book. It was a nice break. Been hanging out with our two youngest during the day, baking, cleaning, laundry, yard work. I'm enjoying the routine (for now). Thinking of a little hobby project for the spring to keep the mind sharp. A 1 or 2 axis solar tracker panel setup to run our extensive landscape lighting off of.

Started taking the kids to the park during the day while I do a workout around the park. Weather's nice enough for it now. Will break the road bike out this weekend too.

Assets:

House - $1,080,000
DB Pension (wife) - $346,500
RRSPs - $568,239
Non-Reg - $9,500
TFSA: $99,151
Corporate Account/Value/Inventory: $101,776
House Maintenance Account: $7,600
Cash - $1,714
Miscellaneous assets - $16,000

Total Assets $2,230,480

Liabilities:


Mortgage - $642,645
Credit cards - $3,220 (this is not a balance, but the amount due. We pay off every month, but a true snapshot must include this)
PLOC - $0
HELOC - $54,680

Total Liabilities $700,545

Net Worth: $1,529,935 (+$8K from last update)
 

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Discussion Starter · #263 ·
May 2021 Update

Finally a drop in the NW. Had nothing to do with the markets and everything to do with the large income tax bill we had end of April. We knew how much and when it was going to be, but did not allocate for it in the net worth, so it shows up as a hit to the net worth. I should have put it down as a liability as soon as I received the severance as that's what it's from.

We decided to go down to one vehicle, so we got rid of our SUV having only a truck now. Both our vehicles were leased. With the crazy used car market, we were able to get out of our lease on the SUV 5 months early and the dealership gave us a cheque for $3500. Even with the truck being leased, the crazy market for used trucks means we have about 10K equity in it right now. It is almost worth what we paid for it 3 years ago. I haven't put that down in the net worth. We'll buy out the lease next month and it will show up as a vehicle asset with a market value. As we did before, I will depreciate the value every month to reflect the depreciating asset nature.

My wife's school board has to cut some budgets. She's currently working a 1.0FTE but her position is formally only a 0.5FTE. So there's a risk that she gets knocked down to 0.5FTE in September. I think it will be more like 0.7 or 0.8FTE, and that's what we've planned for in the cash flow.

Even though EI has my record of employment and severance details, they started paying me EI. I have an interview next week for a job. It's entry level job with the provincial govt. Might be a foot in the door to bigger things, but still not sure if I really want to do much work this year. It would pay about half of what I used to get paid so it has to be damn interesting.

Web business is going well. Just stocked up my inventory for the busy summer/fall season. I imported a few watersports items, which are popular right now, and have a second order arriving in a couple weeks. I am tossing around the idea of making that a full business for next year. That would require bringing in a full container's worth of product and renting a storage space. I am helping out one of my entrepreneur friends on an app he is working on. He is brilliant and very good at business. We've worked together before on an infill project. I am probably going to get paid in equity in the company, which is alright by me.

The city now allows two secondary suites per property. We have one above our detached garage. I am going to look if it would be possible to add a second one on the main floor of the garage with a small addition. With all the services and structure already there, it would not be an expensive investment (50-80K) and would probably rent for $1000/mo.

Kids' RESP sits at 66K right now, not included in the NW. Our oldest is 7 and we have 3 kids.

Wife and I got our first vaccine shot about a month ago.

Assets:

House - $1,080,000
DB Pension (wife) - $351,000
RRSPs - $571,149
Non-Reg - $10,200
TFSA: $85,764
Corporate Account/Value/Inventory: $65,000
House Maintenance Account: $6,700
Cash - $1,799
Miscellaneous assets - $16,000

Total Assets $2,187,612

Liabilities:


Mortgage - $640,345
Credit cards - $3,180 (this is not a balance, but the amount due. We pay off every month, but a true snapshot must include this)
PLOC - $0
HELOC - $27,681

Total Liabilities $671,206

Net Worth: $1,516,406 (-$13K from last update)
 

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Discussion Starter · #264 ·
June 2021 Update

Another drop in the NW this month. This one was due to an update to the commuted value of my wife's pension. I guess rates have gone up a bit, which drives the CV down. It went down by $75K, but the NW only went down by 29K, so that's still a win.

I just picked up the bank draft today to buy out our leased truck. Our only vehicle. The buyout is just under $28K and the market value today is $35-38K. Car insurance obviously going down with only one but also since we use it only for pleasure as I don't work and my wife walks to work.

I've had 2 interviews in the last month. Both jobs I would be qualified or overqualified for and would come with steep income drops. Probably an income of 85K for one and 100K for the other. I think they both have 2nd, 3rd interviews before they make a decision but I would probably pass at the moment. The PT consulting job I mentioned looks to be going ahead as they sent me a contract and told me to just put an hourly rate down. I have no idea what to put down. I think $135/hr would be equivalent to the FT job I had previously. But I'm pretty sure it would be higher than that as a consultant. $200?, $240/hr? I can pretty much tell them when and for how long I want to work as it's open ended. I think 20-60hrs/month would be nice. At the moment, I think I might be done working the FT salaried 8-5 job forever. My webstore and ventures look to bring in about 55K in income and then another 60K in income in consulting/contracting for 2021 and that's not working at all for at least 4 months.

I've been thinking about retirement and the consensus that the mortgage needs to be paid off. As we have a garage suite which nets $1200/month would it not work to have a mortgage payment the same as that and call it good? That would mean a mortgage of $250K ish would be a target for retirement. Or if we really wanted to push it, we could convert the mortgage to a HELOC and pay interest only. That would be a debt of 350K ish then. Of course the balance would never be paid off, but maybe that's not necessary if you're living there for free. Let inflation kill the impact.

The city now allows two secondary suites per property. I am going to look if it would be possible to add a second one on the main floor of the garage with a small addition. With all the services and structure already there, it would not be an expensive investment (50-80K) and would probably rent for $900/mo.

Kids' RESP sits at 74K right now, not included in the NW. Our oldest is 7 and we have 3 kids.

We're getting our second vaccine shots this week.

The weather has been great the past month. Spray parks are open, I've been out on the river a few times. Bike rides with my boys to pick up donuts or check out new parks. Honestly no stress at all and living our best life.

We've been tossing around the idea of an all inclusive in mexico for a week in December. Prices are definitely higher than they were pre-covid but not crazy so if you avoid some of the school breaks.

Assets:

House - $1,090,000
DB Pension (wife) - $278,158
RRSPs - $580,632
Non-Reg - $11,000
TFSA: $89,990
Corporate Account/Value/Inventory: $80,000
House Maintenance Account: $7,500
Cash - $5,113
Miscellaneous assets - $16,000

Total Assets $2,158,393

Liabilities:


Mortgage - $638,069
Credit cards - $5,000 (this is not a balance, but the amount due. We pay off every month, but a true snapshot must include this)
PLOC - $0
HELOC - $27,619

Total Liabilities $670,688

Net Worth: $1,487,705 (-$29K from last update)
 

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I think $135/hr would be equivalent to the FT job I had previously. But I'm pretty sure it would be higher than that as a consultant. $200?, $240/hr?
I've found over the last 10 years that rates have stayed the same and even dropped in a lot of cases in the engineering field. Perhaps they are going back up over the last few months with more demand in the O&G sector? I'm interested in your next update on this.
 

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I've found over the last 10 years that rates have stayed the same and even dropped in a lot of cases in the engineering field. Perhaps they are going back up over the last few months with more demand in the O&G sector? I'm interested in your next update on this.
Well I have no idea about your field Nobleea - but in my engineering field in oilsands the only ones who can charge out more than >$200/hr are the "Principal Engineer" / Sr. Reviewer/Advisor, and that is only for like 10-20hrs on a 200hr project.

Even Senior Associate engineers in their 50s who are not the final Principle level advisors are only billing out $180/hr I think. Regular working engineers like $140/hr.

Agreed with Forebiz that rates have not gone up or gone down in the past decade. Consulting engineering companies have been getting squeezed hard on cost/billings, and been subject to many and frequent mergers/consolidations over the last 2 decades.
 

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Discussion Starter · #268 ·
I threw out $220/hr to them and the main contact said that was within the range, but after internal discussions, they said $180 is more in line with what their other consultants are making, so that's what's in the contract. We'll see how the first 6 months go, it seemed like there was room to push that up a bit (though probably not over 200/hr). This is a firm that is niche, but well known throughout the world. They focus on research and support for production, rather than construction, so it's a little less feast/famine. Vast majority of their customers are outside N.America.
 

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Discussion Starter · #269 ·
July 2021 Update

Nice gain in the NW this month, mostly from market gains and the pension CV going up a bit.

We bought out the lease on our truck, so now it'll show up in the asset column. I depreciate it every month at $350/month and will do a major adjustment of the value once a year as necessary.

I signed a consulting contract with a local outfit at $180/hr. They're expecting to need me 1 day a week on average, but it's likely to be closer to 2/2.5 days a week at least starting in fall. Simplest is sole proprietorship, I have to get a GST number, but other than that it's pretty simple. If I ran through our corp, I would have to get a proper permit to practice with the provincial engineering authority and a bunch of paperwork that I'd rather not do. Had a call about another job that I'd be easily qualified for. I'm pretty sure I'll be getting an offer or two in the next month. They are FT positions which I'm not sure is something we want or need at the moment. Maybe I can convince the govt job to spring for a 0.8FTE position?

I talked to the city about adding a second garage suite. While they do allow 2 secondary suites per property now, apparently only one can be a garage suite (with the other being a basement suite). I think that's stupid semantics. If I applied for one, I would get rejected, but I'm reasonably confident I could win an appeal at their appeal board. The first step would be to get a design drawn up properly and get pricing from builders. I still think it would be under 60K to get done which is still a darn good investment for $800/month net income. Even a cost of 80K would be a good investment. Will cost about 1200$ to get drawings made and sent off, so we have to decide if we're willing to make the gamble that we can get approved on appeal.

I did a trial run of a new product to import and sell and it went really well. I made about 45% margins for a net profit of about 25K. This was just selling from my garage and listing them on Facebook marketplace. I will probably go full bore next year and bring in a couple sea cans worth of product, proper branding, website, and advertising. I could see income of 80-180K/yr with a single employee doing most of the work. It's a very seasonal product with probably 90% of sales in the April-Sept period.

Kids' RESP sits at 79K right now, not included in the NW. Our oldest is 7 and we have 3 kids.
Our 'investable assets' has surpassed 1Mil now. This is RRSP, RESP, TFSA, cash, and CV of pension. It has been over 1M for all of 2021. That and a 1.5M net worth was the next goal after passing 1M net worth. So the next target would be 2M net worth. Outside chance that happens in 2022.

Off to Jasper and Shuswap areas for 3 weeks in Aug. Then camping throughout AB the rest of Aug.

Our retirement goal is looking like a lakefront property on the Okanagan. An acreage likely. The plan would be to buy a larger property with a friend, subdivide and each take a lot. Our near to mid term plan would be to have it as a vacation property and airbnb/vrbo when we're not there, and then once the kids are out of high school in 15-16yrs, move there full time. We know this will be an expensive property, probably 1.3-1.8M just for the lot. That means we'll have to come up with 450-600K cash in the next 3-5 years to make the purchase for our portion of the downpayment.

Assets:

House - $1,100,000
DB Pension (wife) - $293,133
RRSPs - $605,329
Non-Reg - $10,240
TFSA: $97,301
Corporate Account/Value/Inventory: $73,730
House Maintenance Account: $7,650
Truck - $34,500
Cash - $1,310
Miscellaneous assets - $16,000

Total Assets $2,241,193

Liabilities:


Mortgage - $635,763
Credit cards - $4,308 (this is not a balance, but the amount due. We pay off every month, but a true snapshot must include this)
PLOC - $0
HELOC - $44,306

Total Liabilities $684,377

Net Worth: $1,556,816 (+$69K from last month)
 

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I did a trial run of a new product to import and sell and it went really well. I made about 45% margins for a net profit of about 25K. This was just selling from my garage and listing them on Facebook marketplace. I will probably go full bore next year and bring in a couple sea cans worth of product, proper branding, website, and advertising. I could see income of 80-180K/yr with a single employee doing most of the work. It's a very seasonal product with probably 90% of sales in the April-Sept period.
Would you mind to share the name of your products? Don't worry, I don't live in your city and won't take your market share. Perhaps you could import the products and ship some of it to me in Calgary. I can sell it in Calgary and surrounding areas and you can give me commissions per sale...;)

What is the average price per item? Do you take cash or e-transfer? How do you ensure that you are not getting duped while selling online?
 

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Discussion Starter · #271 ·
The products I've imported for a few years now are house decor/finish items. They are custom made for me. Average landed cost is probably $12-16CAD and list price on my website is $26-35CAD. I've probably sold 4000 units of those since I started. I sell these through a shopify store across Canada.
The new product I imported this year is a watersports item. The ones I brought it are stock by the manufacturer, so their branding. I will change to my designs and branding next year. Average landed cost is about $205CAD and I sold them for ~$420. I sold these locally this year, but will sell locally and through a shopify store across Canada next year. Local sales are cash or etransfer.
Website sales are obviously all credit card. Never had a fraudulent charge. Couple chargebacks, but I was in the right on both of them.

The challenge is knowing how much and what styles to bring in, as there is a significant time lag between ordering and delivery. About 2-3 months. Never had an issue buying things from the manufacturer in China, and I've dealt with over a dozen different manufacturers. They all have to be fully paid before shipping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #272 ·
September 2021 Update

Well, I guess that's it for summer. School is back in full swing, for now (who knows what COVID will bring). I think we have a good summer. We got smoked out of BC (literally). Had to cut out road trip short by a week due to the wildfires. Spent a few more days in Jasper instead. A few camping trips around the province in Aug and Sep and that's probably it for the time being.

Work wise, wife is working full time at school. I did a bit of consulting work over the summer and expect that to pick up a bit in the fall to around a day a week. Didn't get offered any of the jobs I interviewed for which is good because deep down I don't think I want to work full time yet (or again?).

I am still going back and forth with the city about a second garage suite. I just need confirmation that I could appeal their decision at an appeal board and I'll give it a shot. There are lots of garage suites going up in the neighbourhood. We did spend about 5K on a parking pad/driveway extension which will be for our current tenant. They've been parking on gravel/mud up til now. Our current tenant's lease is up end of this month and she wants to renew for another year. I will try and raise the rent a bit.

Big news is we bought a motorhome. My wife grew up with one and has been incessant about getting one since we met. I've managed to hold it off until now, but after camping with young kids in 5C weather a few nights, it became obvious this was not a battle I was going to win. Happy wife, happy life. My only stipulation was that it had to be a model that we could rent out easily when not using it. So we bought a pretty big, new-ish Class C. I think we got a pretty good deal on it since it was end of season and it was a private sale almost 3hrs away from here in the middle of nowhere. We plan on putting it on RVEzy next spring. Rigs of this size and age net about $200/night, so I'm confident we can cover all our fixed costs and maintenance, depreciation, and even have a few grand profit left over every year. While still being able to use it ourselves when we want. We bought it with our HELOC and then I've been selling some TFSA stuff to pay that down. A bit more to go yet.

Other big news is we are going to proceed with solar PV installation. The city of Edmonton and the Feds have pretty good rebates at the moment which can bring the installed cost to around $1/watt. There are generous surplus generation rates as well which result in investment payouts of about 7-8 years. We haven't decided on a size, the options we are looking at are 5.2kW on the low end and 12.6kW on the high end. Definitely a popular option right now as most companies are booking installs into January already. If we ever get a second vehicle again, it will more than likely be an EV.

Started ordering product for next spring for a new website. I believe I have to have it in stock. I've committed to $35K worth already and probably will do another $25K before the end of the year. I may need to provide my corp with a shareholder loan to buy it all. If initial sales go well, I may do another $35-50K worth in March.

Assets:

House - $1,120,000
DB Pension (wife) - $309,000
RRSPs - $586,871
Non-Reg - $8,479
TFSA: $61,461
Corporate Account/Value/Inventory: $68,000
House Maintenance Account: $8,000
Truck - $33,800
Motorhome - $37,500
Cash - $8,072
Miscellaneous assets - $16,000

Total Assets $2,257,183

Liabilities:


Mortgage - $631,197
Credit cards - $2,531 (this is not a balance, but the amount due. We pay off every month, but a true snapshot must include this)
PLOC - $0
HELOC - $57,893

Total Liabilities $684,377

Net Worth: $1,565,562 (+$9K from last update)
 

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Would you mind to post a picture of your motorhome? I would like to buy a RV one day but don't have much idea about it. What did you look for when buying your RV?
 

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Discussion Starter · #274 ·
Would you mind to post a picture of your motorhome? I would like to buy a RV one day but don't have much idea about it. What did you look for when buying your RV?
This isn't the exact one, but it's the same model and year.

We wanted one that had separate single bunks for the kids as we thought the bed above the truck cab would lead to fights and it's inconvenient to convert the couch and table to beds and back again. The slides are helpful in making the space seem bigger. Had to have good AC, larger fridge, and the ability to tow up to 5000lbs. Its definitely on the long side, which makes it hard to maneuver around towns.
 

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Nobleea, really interested in your solar PV installation and future EV purchase, looking forward to learning more about your progress!!
 
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