I’ve been lurking and reading the boards for a while now and thought I’d sign up, introduce myself, and obtain some feedback from everyone. I’m a 32 year old female, engaged but no kids. I work as a nurse and my net take home pay is about $4000/month.
I spent too many years in university getting a degree to make parents happy, then did another degree to make myself happy – so started in the workforce a little late, with a significant student loan *sigh* in 2005, at the age of 25.
I spent my first working year saving money and paying off student loans. I also bought a pre-construction condo that same year, knowing I’d have a couple of years to save up my 25% down payment. Made a hefty down payment when I finally took possession in 2008 and proceeded to rapidly pay down my mortgage (I don’t buy much and live pretty frugally…and I hate the idea of debt. I did spend a lot of money traveling rather than buying “stuff” and have no regrets – my wanderlust has been satisfied).
I initially maxed out my RRSPs, unfortunately in MFs that didn’t do terribly well…mainly due to fees and timing (bought most in 2007, early 2008) so don’t have much to show for it I’ve since continued to contribute, but don’t get too much room as I have a partially-indexed DB pension plan at work.
Now I’ve decided to take investing more into my own hands…looking at solid dividend paying companies and index funds/ETFs.
I moved from downtown Toronto to the ‘burbs in Oct 2010 with my fiancé…who doesn’t care about money at all. He has no interest in investing or ever retiring (he loves his job – I think he’s crazy). The good thing is that he too doesn’t spend much – we’re pretty simple people and what he does spend money on (his car – he rebuilt it himself, his videogame obsession – we’ve got a crazy 120 inch projection screen in the man cave) brings him an unbelievable amount of joy, so I don’t care how much he spends. He’s also now very good at saving his money (I take credit for that).
We bought a house we knew we could carry on one income, just in case. We have good cash flow but didn’t have quite enough money for a 20% down payment (15% only after all other fees were taken into account), so we used a line of credit (p+0.5%) for the rest to avoid CMHC fees. I chose not to sell my condo – had I done so we could have bought the house in cash, but my mortgage is small and I knew I could easily carry it and make a profit by renting it.
So here is where I stand right now:
Condo - $232,000 purchase price in 2005 (can easily be sold for >$350,000)
House - $187,500 (my half of $375,000)
RRSP - $32,454
TFSA - $15,434
Non-reg Investments - $7522
Chequing Account - $7,910
Savings Account - $3,737
Total Assets = $486,557
Condo Mortgage - $58,508
House Mortgage - $138,920 (my half of $277,840)
HELOC - $2,271 (my half of $4,542)
Total Liabilities = $199,699
Net worth = $286,585
Net worth = $287,200
We both contribute $2000/month to a joint account from which we pay our joint expenses, then any money left from our pay (about half) goes to paying individual expenses, random extra mortgage payments, savings, etc.
We spent this year paying down our line of credit and making some small improvements to our home (we do most work ourselves). We spent quite a bit of money this year on the house, but on things that are one-time or long-term deals (e.g. new water tank, refinishing floors, “setting up house” with some furniture (e.g. neither of us owned bedside tables, and we need them!), landscaping, buying tools, etc.). The monthly home maintenance cost should come down significantly this coming year.
Our monthly basic expenses are reasonable, I think:
$300 property tax
$1150 HELOC payment
$500 groceries/eating out
$600 home maintenance/setting up house/etc.
There are places we can cut back on, like food and cable/internet – but really, those are pretty much our only sources of entertainment (we like to have dinner parties and eat quality food, and watching movies in our home theatre is way better than at the movie theatre) so I don’t really feel TOO much of a need to cut back. We can do better planning our meals and buying when things are on sale, however. I'm not sure how much utilities should cost (we're in a 1960s 2 story detached home, about 1400 sqft.), but we do try to conserve where we can. Any suggestions on our expenses are welcome.
Our HELOC will soon be paid off (within 2 months) and our HELOC payments will automatically be redirected to our mortgage to accelerate pay down.
My financial goals for 2012 are to:
1) Increase my knowledge of investments. I've concentrated on living within my means, reducing debt and saving money, but now I'd like to work on building wealth. I expect wage increases to match inflation but nothing more, so I'm looking to increase through investments. I've done a lot of reading...now need to put things into action
2) Maximize my TFSA and RRSP (not a lot of room as I have a DB pension which takes up space – unfortunately only partially indexed to inflation), for a total of about $9500.
3) Double mortgage payments once HELOC is paid off.
4) Build a portfolio of stocks with dividend reinvestment plans and refine my TFSA/RRSP holdings to build a nice, integrated, well-diversified overall investment portfolio.
5) Get fiancé to start retirement savings! (wish me luck)
So that’s it in a really large nutshell! How are we doing? Any advice/suggestions?