New Beginning
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Thread: New Beginning

  1. #1
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    New Beginning

    Life Story: My ex and I separated in March last year. I was the breadwinner and he was a SAHD. We were dumb and frittered our money away until we decided to have kids in our mid-30s. Then, we became responsible and started saving money even though we went down to one income. Since the separation, our two kids (5 and 2 years old) spend 50% of their time with me and 50% with him. My parents (best parents in the world!) moved in with me last year to help with the kids when I'm at work. They also help with the house and buying groceries, since I'm shelling out $$$ every month for child and spousal support. Both kids have special needs, so at some point I'll have to plan for them (eg., open an RDSP) unless they appear to be on track for independent life as adults.

    Financial Strategy: Lazy and half-assed. I started a few years ago with Couch Potato investments in my RRSP. I have since branched out to buying a few individual stocks in sectors that my ETFs are light on. I don't really budget, but I track my spending on Mint. Saving money is harder as a single parent, but I still managed to increase my net worth by about $95,000 since the separation a year ago - a good chunk of that is from growth in my investments, though (since the separation, I've started tracking where the increases in my net worth are coming from).

    I figured starting a thread on here would be fun and might make me more accountable.

    Age: 41
    Income: ~$170,000, I think (my remuneration is complicated by an ESPP, annual bonuses paid in cash, company shares and company options, all with different vesting rates, so I don't fully understand where my money comes from - I'm trying to track it better, though)

    Assets: (I don't include any unvested assets)
    House: $675,000 (appraised value in Fall 2015)
    RRSP: $275,000
    Vested Options: $15,000
    Savings Acct: $50,000 (emergency fund)

    Liabilities:
    Mortgage: $120,000 (9 years amortization left)

    Net Worth: $895,000

    Financial Goals for 2017:
    Replace life insurance. DONE
    Re-do will. DONE
    Exercise options coming up for expiry. DONE
    Sell all my vested shares (~$23,000) and contribute them to my RRSP. In progress.
    Sell all the company shares in my company RRSP (~$33,000) and put the cash in my self-directed RRSP. In progress.
    Re-balance self-directed RRSP portfolio. Waiting for cash to come from my vested account and my company RRSP account.
    Review spending once I have a year's data as a single person and see if I need to make any major changes.
    Continue quarterly tracking of net worth increases to see where the increases comes from and hopefully understand my finances better (ie., savings, growth, shares and options vesting, etc.).


  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by LXG View Post
    Life Story: My ex and I separated in March last year. I was the breadwinner and he was a SAHD. We were dumb and frittered our money away until we decided to have kids in our mid-30s.
    I would say you are in fairly good shape, all things considered, and on track to stay that way, or better.

    All of that, despite having "frittered away" - an expression seldom heard these days, more's the pity.

    May I be so indelicate as to ask, are you paying spousal support to the SAHD? It sounds like he was employed at one point. Has he returned to the workforce, with earnings on par with yours?

  3. #3
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    I feel like I'm in pretty good shape despite the frittering. I'm pretty lucky that way, although I do try to live within my means.

    I am paying spousal support to my ex. It's for 3.5 years, which we agreed to in our settlement agreement. It's an unconditional obligation, so his employment won't change it (although his employment could affect the amount of child support). The idea was to give him enough time to find something after our son was in grade 1. Our son has a pretty intense therapy schedule, and my ex and my parents do a lot of the chauffeuring and attending. I attend what I can, but I have to work, too. Unfortunately, our daughter has received the same diagnosis, so it looks like we're in for intense therapy for her, too. I'm not sure how that will shape up. I've always out-earned my ex, but he used to work as a software developer. I'm not sure if he'll return to that or find something else after being out of the work force for so long.

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  5. #4
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    Thanks for reply.

    The end of spousal support will give you more for investing and, as I said, you appear already to be on a pretty solid footing at age 41.

    The kids throw a bit of an unknown into the mix, but nothing with which you'll be unable to cope, I am sure. Very good that the ex is on board with helping out as well as parent. Takes some load off. Let's hope that early intensive therapy works well for the kids.

  6. #5
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    Today, I discovered the XIRR function and have calculated my return on investments for the last few years (I couldn't find information on-line for the prior years). Not as good as many that I've seen on here before, although I did keep a lot of cash during periods of time when there was some uncertainty in my life.
    2014: 6.32%
    2015: -1.97%
    2016: 4.72%

    Not great, but at least I'm in a position now where I can do a better job with my investments and not have so much cash lying around.

  7. #6
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    Well, I thought I'd post about February. First, an account update. My net worth stayed flat in February, which is fine. I used rounded numbers in my original post, so I'll give the real numbers here.

    Current Assets:
    Bank Accounts: $13,265.90 (cash)
    TFSA: $37,079.50 (cash)
    Vested Options: $12,353.13

    Current Liabilities:
    Credit Card: $2333.58
    LOC: $7.17 (interest because I had to borrow to make my RRSP contribution in time - long story)

    Current Net Assets: $60,357.78

    Long Term Assets:
    BMO RRSP: $242,548.21
    Company Shares RRSP: $32,655.66
    House: $675,000.00

    Long Term Liabilities:
    Mortgage: $118,867.29

    Net Long Term Assets: $$831,336.58



    Financial Goals for 2017:
    Replace life insurance. DONE, but need to cancel the old joint policy.
    Re-do will. DONE
    Exercise options coming up for expiry. DONE
    Sell all my vested shares (~$23,000) and contribute them to my RRSP. DONE
    Sell all the company shares in my company RRSP (~$33,000) and put the cash in my self-directed RRSP. In progress.
    Re-balance self-directed RRSP portfolio. Half-done. I need the $$ from my company shares RRSP to re-invest.
    Review spending once I have a year's data as a single person and see if I need to make any major changes. I have a year's data, and I spend a lot of money! At least I shouldn't have a lot of legal fees this year
    Continue quarterly tracking of net worth increases to see where the increases comes from and hopefully understand my finances better (ie., savings, growth, shares and options vesting, etc.). I almost have a year's worth of data on this - so exciting. In the last 11 months, my net worth has increased due to the following:

    Automatic RRSP contributions into company ESPP from paycheques: $13,270.08
    Vesting of Shares: $30,726.29
    Vesting of Options: $10,526.13
    Paying Down Mortgage Principal: $10,600.97
    Growth/Earnings in RRSPs and Vested Shares/Options Accounts: $29,440.50
    Savings from Paycheque: -$3247.53

    Obviously, the last number is one I'd like to remedy. Once my spousal support obligations has ended, I will be in much better shape to live off my paycheque (after contribution to my company shares ESPP). I know that a good chunk of my remuneration is from shares and options, but I still prefer to live off my paycheque.

    Bad News: I can't claim my kids as an "eligible dependent" on my taxes because I pay child support. I think this also means that I can't claim the disability tax credit for them, but my accountant is checking on that for me. Bummer!

  8. #7
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    March Update
    My net worth increased by about $18,000 in March, which is nice.

    Current Assets:
    Bank Accounts: $10,854 (cash)
    TFSA: $37,079 (cash)
    Vested Options: $19,980

    Current Liabilities:
    Credit Card: $1714
    LOC: $0

    Current Net Assets: $71,380

    Long Term Assets:
    Self-directd RRSP: $280,414
    Company Shares RRSP: $1129
    House: $675,000.00

    Long Term Liabilities:
    Mortgage: $117,991

    Net Long Term Assets: $838,552

    Total Net Assets: $909,933


    Financial Goals for 2017:
    Replace life insurance. DONE, but need to cancel the old joint policy.
    Re-do will. DONE
    Exercise options coming up for expiry. DONE
    Sell all my vested shares (~$23,000) and contribute them to my RRSP. DONE
    Sell all the company shares in my company RRSP (~$33,000) and put the cash in my self-directed RRSP. DONE
    Re-balance self-directed RRSP portfolio. Half-done. I need the $$ from my company shares RRSP to re-invest. DONE
    I now have a year of data to see where my net worth increases came from - I was curious how much was savings and how much from investment income. I managed to "save" ~$70,000 (I put "save" in quotation marks because I'm including mortgage principal paydown). The other ~$40,000 in net worth increase came from growth/earnings of my investments.

    Now that I understand how much I'm saving, I can make new goals:

    2017: Max out RRSP and TFSA.
    2018: $1 million net worth. Max out RRSP and TFSA and pay down mortgage aggressively.

    Yay!

  9. #8
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    I'll cut out the detail:

    Current Net Assets: $72,311
    RRSPs: $190,341
    House: $675,000
    Mortgage: ($116,520)

    Net Worth: $921,132 (increase of $11,199)

    Another good month, mostly because my investments did well. I should be getting a large-ish tax refund and some options are vesting this month, so I'm expecting May to be a good month, too!

    Goals: Max out RRSP and TFSA. I will focus on the TFSA first because I like not having the money trapped in an RRSP if an emergency should arise. Also, I have 10% of my pay automatically go to an RRSP (so that I can get the company match).


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