What It Feels Like To Have No Debt When Others Struggle : November 2016 Net Worth Update (+1.58%)

what it feels like with no debt while others struggle



Do I know what it’s like to struggle financially and feel like I’m not going to get ahead? You’re damn right I do, but not the way you might be or someone else might be. Our struggles are our own but even then it can leave a lasting scar. Let me explain why and how I overcame these dark feelings and my importance to motivate others to feel their financial dreams too.

I can’t remember a time during my teen years where having no debt was part of the equation in my day-to-day activities. Making money and saving it was what life was all about for me up until I bought my first flat at age 19. That’s when my financial radar kicked in and boy was it a shocker.

Related: Was I too young when I bought my first property?

It was then when I realized how debt could make you feel since I’d always paid cash for anything I needed. I don’t come from a wealthy family in fact most of my years were spent working to save for anything I needed, including tuition. There were wants but not many since my dream was to be independent and successful at whatever path I chose in my life.

When I grow up I want to be a …. (fill in the blank). When you’re a kid you want to be an adult. When you’re an adult you want to be successful. When you’re successful you want to rule the world. When you rule the world… wait a minute, rule the world? Clearly this won’t be the case but I don’t know anyone who envisioned living in poverty as part of their life plan. We all have dreams. We all have paths but where these paths take us depends on how we fuel the engine.

The feelings of success or improved hierarchy in the above statement for some people either causes great pleasure or deep seeded pain. Feelings of failure tends to pop into my head when I think about those I know who haven’t and probably won’t reach that successful status they once dreamed of as a kid. I can understand these feelings as I once felt this same way until I moved to Canada.

Wanting to feel something doesn’t necessarily mean you are jealous of what someone has or has accomplished in their life, it only means you want to see if it’s right for you. My parents were frugal and still are today because money was tight growing up which meant we didn’t always get what we wanted. Our clothes were not name brand and we shopped at the second-hand shops.

We had a roof over our head and food on the table but I understood what it felt like to be surrounded by financial uncertainty. I’ve never been homeless or had to use the food bank or other community offerings to get by. I don’t know what it feels like to be that broke or to have no money at all.

Do I want to know what it feels like?

We all know that it’s not going to be a good feeling but we can never truly understand unless we are genuinely living the life. Never-mind these people who live like the homeless for a day just to bring awareness. We know. More has to be done to help people understand finance, get out debt and stay out of debt.

They don’t FEEL what they feel. They may endure it but they know that at the end of the day they go home. We don’t need to pretend to be homeless to understand it. Poverty speaks loud and clear and the same goes for being what your definition of ‘rich’ or free from financial worry.


My feels over the years


There were days when I’d wonder what it would be like to have a big house like my mate Jimmy, go on expensive family holidays and have parents who splurged on the latest and greatest toys for me. That never happened. Although my grandma was well off and lived in what is considered a mansion today I was too young to appreciate the setting and beauty of that luxurious life she led.

Even today if she were still alive in order to understand her luxury fully completely I’d have to live it. I can tour as many mansions as I want in the UK but that won’t give me the motivation I need to succeed. All it does is tell me that someone else is living this dream and I want to feel it to one day.

As I got older I started to realize that money was very important and how it potentially could affect my life moving forward. I hadn’t learned much about investments apart from buying a flat but my financial journey had to start somewhere. I may have had no debt but I certainly was craving the feeling of richness at age 19 even if it were only a glimpse into the life of the rich and famous.

That never happened.

Have you ever went on vacation and said that you didn’t want to go home because it feels so good? The same applies here but the feels you get are only temporary and not yours to keep. If you want to keep it, you must own it and that’s the way I’ve treated my journey towards having no debt. But it’s not over. It’s never over.

As I got older, sold my flat and bought a house the term debt was becoming more of a reality than just something my parents talked about when they thought we weren’t listening. Again I was living in an environment where there was debt but it wasn’t mine so there were no feels. I didn’t own it. (not that I’d care to) Almost everyone has some form of debt when they are adults whether it be a car payment, credit card debt, school loans, personal loans etc.

I understood why my parents were frugal and I certainly gained a better knowledge about why having no debt was the best way to pave my path. I wasn’t always fortunate as I had a mortgage and university to pay for but I did so by working as much as I could, saving money and paying those debts.


No debt feels like yesterday


Today my wife and I are completely debt free including our mortgage and both followed similar paths to get to this point with familiar frugal mindsets. During our years of paying the mortgage off and starting this blog finance became a bigger part of our lives.

I spent hours every week reading finance articles from bloggers, in the paper and I was tuned in just about every media outlet when it came to money, debt, investing, scams, lottery wins. If it were money related and I was in the room you can bet I’d be listening. Heck, I confess to being an extra ear in the conversation sometimes because I’m nosey and when people talk loud enough around me it’s hard to walk away.

Over the past 5 years on our budgeting journey there have been times when I wanted to know what it felt like to earn thousands of dollars a month blogging like Michelle at Making Sense of Cents or how to pay our mortgage off faster.

It was all about the feels. What was life like for Michelle now that she gets to stay home to earn a living rather than going out of the house to work? What does it feel like for financial blogger Mr. Money Mustache who retired in his thirties?

The more I questioned my path the easier it was see that I wanted to slip into their life for just one day.

Was it the life I wanted?

Would it make a difference or be a waste of time?

Maybe, maybe not.

I realized that I didn’t want to become a work from home master blogger nor did I want to retire too early (at least not yet). I loved the career that I had chosen and was happy how life felt even though at the time we had mortgage debt. I knew that if we wanted more that my wife and I had to do more.

There’s nothing wrong learning from those that have achieved a level of success that you would like but until you reach it you’ve still got gaps to fill before you can feel it. A little taste isn’t enough.


Earn your own feels


Do it yourself.

These days I often get emails from fans asking me what it’s like to have no debt which is extremely difficult to describe. When CBB fan Matt was explaining to me in an email how he’s never had money saved in the bank and wanted to know what it felt like It was then I knew I couldn’t help him.

To many readers of this blog I might be their money champion who want to know what my financial feels are like or at least learn how to feel the same way. I’m not millions rich but now I know that I can’t share feels I can only explain them. I own my feels and you own yours.

Sometimes I recall that young confused adult I used to be fueling up the car trying to figure out which way to go and how fast. Some days I’m still confused but on a different level and with a greater understanding.

There will always be someone behind you and always someone in front of you on the road. I don’t have answers for everyone but all I know is that even if you do want to feel something or be like someone the only way to victory is by achieving it yourself.

Too often we get caught up in the dream of having an amazing job, no debt and freedom to do what we want when we want that we forget to bring said dream to life. Even if I invited someone to live a day in  my life to experience having no debt they wouldn’t feel a thing because I’m the only one that can feel the victory. (well my wife too)

I still get up in the morning to work long shifts.

I still change poopy diapers and have chores around the house to complete.

I pay my own bills and do my own taxes.

I do my gardening, renovations and do my oil change.

What I’m trying to say is my life is comparable to just about any other working adult apart from the feels of having no debt. My financial stress levels may have leveled out since becoming debt free but I always worry about the future. A million dollars doesn’t go as far as it once did and it sure as hell won’t get us from pony to limo in the future.

My suggestion to the young man who emailed me was to stop thinking about so much what it is like for someone else to feel and focus on your own feels. Once you reach the place you want to be you’ll understand what I’m trying to say and why I’m saying this to you.

Having no debt is nice and it feels great but it’s not the end of the road because my tank is still full unless I choose to let it get to empty.

Discussion Question:

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to live someone else’s life for a day?


Our Net Worth 2016


November 2016 Net Worth Losses and Gains

RESP Contribution 2016: $208.33 a month.

Changes to our Net Worth in November

As suspected, our Investments performed better this month after last months loss caused by the re-shuffle in the Investments profile. It also includes a lump sum paid in to take advantage of the RRSP Tax benefit against this years income, which will hopefully be worth while at tax time.

Due to last months particular under-performance, we’re a little off track towards our goal, but that’s the way life is I suppose. When it comes to the future all we can do is plan but we can’t predict the outcome.

How was your month? One more month of 2016 left to go.



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


November 2016 Preceding 12 Months Net Worth

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 November 2015 our net worth according to our figure has grown $115,199.96

November 2016 $875,409.71 – November 2015 $760,209.75 = +$115,199.96

That’s all for this months net worth update but please check in at the beginning of January 2017 to see how we made out in December 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.








Share to...

Similar Posts


  1. Being a former accounts and real estate investor too, I relate to your post in which you explain the road to financial independance is to increase your net worth. You can do this buy increasing your income and reducing your debt. I agree, debt can be an awful thing or another way of saying it is that when you have no debt, you really do feel free.

    1. Pretty much… it’s one of the best things we’ve ever done. The hardest part was always the balancing act to make sure we weren’t spending too much time earning and not enough time living. Thanks Robert.

  2. Mr CBB you have an impressive amount of $$ in savings. Legally it belongs to the bank, until you withdraw it…not sure how many people know that. It was slipped into the budget legislation on 22 June 2016. Should banks run into financial difficulties, as many are predicting in the near future, the banks have been given legal right to confiscate all deposits and issue shares in their failing bank. Oh…and good luck trying to withdraw any substantial amount of cash, if you wanted to. They are also able to simply say NO.
    So my question to you would be…how would you feel if the bank took all your savings and gave you worthless shares in their failing bank?

    1. Hi Kathryn,
      We’ve been moving our money out of the bank and into other places for investment and renovation purposes. My advisor wouldn’t put too much weight on this fake news site in the video. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what’s real and fake online and apparently that was fake.
      I recently started by topping up my RRSP and soon will be moving about 50k into my TFSA and renovate the house. Ideally we’d like to keep the money in an investment portfolio that is easily accessible without much cost involved. There’s a good article on the blog that I wrote about the CDIC Canada Deposit Insurance Company and how your money is protected. How do you manage your savings?
      Here is the link: https://canadianbudgetbinder.com/2016/07/07/are-my-bank-savings-safe-and-protected/
      I removed the video from the previous comment. Thanks.

      1. Thank you for taking the time to address and point out the misinformation that Kathryn was operating under. Too much false news and too many people out there willing to accept it without verifying validity.
        And good for you and your family on the financial freedom.

        1. Hi Drew,
          Well it almost caught me as well but it just didn’t sit well for me so I did some research which resulted in this being fake news. Hopefully Facebook and other media outlets can somehow get a grip on this garbage. It sounds real, but is it real. Thanks, it’s been a great ride so far with many more years to come. Thanks mate and Happy Christmas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.