Debt | Our Net Worth

How We Used The Back Door To Get Ahead Financially : September Net Worth Update (+0.60%)

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The best use of the letter “C” that I’ve ever made to get ahead in life but it was far from easy.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be debt free, financially independent and successful? You’re right it would be like removing a rock from over an ant only to see it still smiling with relief that someone figured out how to save it without crushing him to death.

Just because you have a heavy weight sitting on your shoulders that keeps your mind over-thinking day and night doesn’t mean you are defeated and your life is over. It simply means you need to start thinking about taking risks while considering change in your life to get ahead of the money game.

It sure would be nice walking through the front door after a lottery win, inheriting big money or graduating from school with a full-scholarship and career offer on the table. Oh, how that would be glorious and for some it is a reality but don’t get your hopes up on dreams unless you follow through to bring them to reality.

Since I’ve moved to Canada a country that was brand new to me I was faced with nothing but closed doors and dead-ends which were a bit depressing. Everywhere I turned someone told me that I didn’t have Canadian experience or I was over-qualified for the position. Even my University degree needed to be updated to Canadian standards which meant further years of school and testing which I didn’t care to do.

When I was offered a job it was minimum wage and nothing that I was interested in doing for the rest of my life. I wanted a career doing what I loved so I had two choices

  • Take a job, suck it up and earn money even if it was minimum wage
  • Go back to school

If you are a regular reader of the blog you may already know that  I chose to go back to school which significantly changed our lives. Living in a room in a dark, cold basement while we both returned to school to further our careers meant cheap living and the ability to save money while we studied.


Get Ahead or Give Up


Over the years while I was working at my newly appointed career and getting paid to do so while my wife continued to work in a full-time capacity as well as study. With no children, a vehicle payment and school to pay for we managed to save enough money for an $85,000 down payment for a house, pay for our education in full and buy me a used truck for $15,000. This wasn’t all the money we had saved over the years as we both came together with cash in the bank which also helped our saving ability.

What was our secret to get ahead with money?

I bet you’re thinking that you already know the answer don’t you? Well, it wasn’t initially by using a budget.

Let me explain.

The secret was to use the back door which translates to when the front door closes find another even if that door is a window or a crack of hope. There are always other ways to beat debt, win the war over money and stop draining yourself of happiness. Lord only knows how money can suck the life out of us because prices of just about everything keeps going up.

Praying might ease the worry but it won’t help you get ahead of financial strain you may be feeling in your life. You don’t even have to be religious either because when something awful happens many people ask God, “Why me” or “What did I do to deserve this?”. You’re right you probably don’t deserve it but it happens even if it was caused by error or someone else. Debt and money problems still need to be repaired and to do that you need to believe in yourself. Don’t give up.

Getting ahead at life takes time and for most people they can’t handle that.

We live in a world where we want it now not tomorrow and that’s not going to happen. My wife and I had to take risks to get ahead and believe that whatever happens will make a difference in our lives. The risks we took also put having a family on hold and enduring health problems along the way. It was and continues to be a tough ride. It always will be for our family with or without debt.

It was only after we bought our first home together that we created a budget spreadsheet which further helped us to become debt free faster. The budget has been our financial bible if you will because without it we wouldn’t have had any guidance. The numbers never lie and we’ve learned quite a bit about our spending and saving habits over the years. The budget certainly was and still is a big part of our financial success and why we could pay off our mortgage before we even turned 40 years old.


Sacrifice means doing things we may not want to


We always kept in mind that there is a whole world out there. There is no reason to get caught up in residing in one city when you can move just about anywhere in Canada. Sure, it’s nice to stick around where family is or the town you grew up in but when you want to get ahead, pay off debt and grow your net worth sometimes it requires that you move away, even if for a little while.

How many people do you know who work out west in B.C because the money is good but their family is in Ontario? A few maybe but they are smart because they are going where the money is at even if it is for a year or two. It’s always going to be hard being separated from family but with goals in mind and a time-frame you can take risks and hopefully come out ahead.

My one buddy took off to B.C where he found employment in his field of study which was hard to come by in Ontario. His wife and two kids stayed back in Ontario which was tough for all of them but he earned very good money and they were able to pay off his school loan, move out of an apartment in Toronto to buy a family home.

Later that year he found a job in his field so he quit his job in B.C and transferred back to Ontario to be with his family. He was away for just over two years and says that with technology it made things a bit easier to see his wife and kids but it was the financial freedom that kept him going. He did it for his family and now they are debt free except for their mortgage. His wife stays home with the kids and works part-time volunteering and helping out at the local church.

never-never-never-give-upThe greatest secret of all is that you must accept that the only way you will succeed is to get rich slowly and it will take plenty of dedication to the journey. Don’t advertise your financial problems to the world either. The only money coach you need is yourself or your partner because no one cares about your money more than you do.

So, I leave you today with two choices either you stand at the front door and keep trying to use the key to get in or you find another way that won’t get you arrested.

You can do it!!

Discussion Question:

If you’ve found a way out of debt when you thought there was no other way tell us how. Share your tips and motivation for those who are enduring this journey.


Our Net Worth 2016



RESP Contribution 2016: $208.33 a month.

Changes to our Net Worth in September

We actually have a bit of a lack luster month. This was probably our 2nd worst month in at least twelve months, if not longer. Even though our income was good, lots of bills turning up at the same time combined with very small gains in our investments culminated to bring us a 0.60% increase.

Strangely enough, we had a meeting with our financial advisor this month. Going over our returns for the last twelve months was an insight in to our actual gains. We’ve made just shy of 10% on all of our investments. We could go “very aggressive” in our choice of funds but I believe we are at the wrong age for that.

We are happy with our choices and how they are performing. However, we are still short on our investments which make use of reduced tax payments. We will be concentrating on topping up RRSP’s and TFSA’s in the near future. Take advantage of the savings vehicles that are present.


Understanding Net Worth


What Does Individual Net Worth Mean?

Net Worth is a snap shot of your financial health sort of like a picture or debt to net assets. In simple terms it’s a total of the value of your assets minus your liabilities.

We credit the growth of our net worth due to patience, perseverance, using a monthly budget and not giving up. Your numbers may go up and down but don’t let the numbers scare you rather understand why and move on.


Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet

If you would like to use our budget I offer a FREE downloadable budget which I created and that you can use at home just like we do. I don’t charge for it because I want you to save money not spend more!

2014 Free Money Saving Tools




There are tonnes of other free printable lists offered at Canadian Budget Binder to help you achieve some of those financial goals and build your net worth. Now determine just how much net worth you actually have and go from there.

Enjoy and let me know what you think.


Determining Net Worth


Figuring out net worth is fairly easy as long as you know your personal numbers or monthly finances which means you need to do your homework. Net Worth is simply adding up all your assets (what you own) then taking away your liabilities (what you owe) which will give you a net worth number.

Understanding your net worth will help you determine if you are on track to meeting or beating your personal financial goals. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

How to Determine Net Worth?

Net Worth = Assets – Liabilities


Calculate net worth


Do you know how to calculate your own Net Worth?

Now you can stop asking yourself the question, how do you find out your net worth? Why? It’s easy to determine. We like to calculate our net worth every month so we know if we are still on track. Some people calculate it yearly or quarterly. It’s really up to you and how informed you want to stay when it comes to your financial health.

Net Worth is essentially an estimate and not everyone uses the same type of figures. Some people don’t include vehicles like we do or they may leave out the assets inside the home like we have. It depends on what you want to calculate or what you can sell today and make money on.

Why not go ahead and calculate your own using our Free Money saving Tool Net worth Calculator (Canadian Budget Binder 2012)


Why you should set financial goals



Setting goals are the only way we work towards achieving what we want to get done as a couple around the house and in our financial life. I know that without them we would be flying by the seat of our pants which wouldn’t work for us.

I find it’s much easier to be held accountable when I share what we need to do with all of you. Yes, my wife refers to the list when she asks what I plan to do next. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing for me or not.

In the graphical representation above, I have used excel to provide a trend line prediction based on the past years monthly net worth figures.

Using figures from our actual net worth gains over the past 12 months (the solid blue line) it has suggested that by the end of this year (2016) we should be around $900,000.00. This can change over the course of the year and is only a prediction based on known historical figures from our finances.

According to the chart, we should hit the million mark in August 2017.

This is nice to know but anything can happen over the next year. Hopefully with some careful planning we can achieve this goal and go beyond it.

Do you set goals for the year?


Our financial numbers



When budgeting anything is possible, we are proof of that although we still have a long way to go in our journey. These are our numbers and our goals, not a means of comparison towards your own goals to others target goals.

We don’t care how much money others make or if they have a high net worth or if it is lower than ours as it’s not a competition. I hope our experiences perhaps will help guide you along your financial path working towards debt freedom.


Different financial paths


Not everyone has the same path in life. Some of you may have had to start over like I did or go to school a second time and now have OSAP loans to pay back.

Others may have divorced, lost money in the stock market or other investments, suffered job loss, fell ill or was injured on the job etc. but you can’t let that stop you from achieving your financial goals.

Some of you may have been given trust funds, paid-for homes, paid educations or perks in life that give you a financial kick-start and that’s OK too. Remember what I said, “It’s not about how much money you make, it’s how you save it”.

Focus on you and don’t let the evil eye of money jealousy or keeping up with the Kardashians cloud your vision. No one cares about your money as much as you do so don’t waste your energy trying.

The only reason people accumulate wealth is because they know how to save or invest it wisely even if they did inherit money or win the lottery. The smallest improvements should mean big strides in working towards reaching your goals.

Sometimes we have to fail in order to learn and we’ve all been there. Money can be an evil force for some people especially those who have a negative attitude towards their own financial situation.

I urge you to be optimistic and little by little with determination you too should see improvements, if you want that to happen.


Net worth updates 2016


Below you can click the links to read past 2016 net worth updates to see if we were on target or if we struggled with some of our numbers.

In the last year since September 2015 our net worth according to our figure has grown $131,825.98

September 2016 $858,829.09 – September 2015 $726,727.44 = +$133,101.65

That’s all for this months net worth update but please check in at the beginning of November 2016 to see how we made out in October 2016 and what has happened to our finances since.


Remember: “It’s Not About How Much Money You Make It’s How You Save It

Check out our past actual Monthly Budget Updates to see how much money we earned and where the money went for the month.










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  1. Nice job overall even though it was a slower month in terms of NA build. Hey – a win is a win, right?

    I think you and I are nearly on the same path in terms of NA. Once we hit one million, I think we are going to relocate and I will take a less stressful job so that my wife and I can spend more time with the kiddos. How long do you plan to ride the train before getting off?

    1. Hey mate,
      Once we hit a million I’ll still be working. I went back to school once I came to Canada and am doing something I love and always wanted to do so I’ll stick it out a bit longer. Where do you plan to relocate? Where are you now?

      1. Hey CBB,

        We are in Georgia, USA now and thinking of the Pacific NW, USA. My company is going through a major merger now, so it’s probably 2-3 years of stress/layoffs/overwork/etc to come. Now is a natural point to get off for me :-).

  2. Going back to school is really a better choice to step up a career, although it would require determination and time. I am considering to go back to school to get an MA degree and to pursue my dream as an educator someday. I can’t to start and to finish it asap.

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