Year end update – Q4 2016
Another year is over and so here’s another update, this time for Q4 2016. As I mentioned in my last quarterly update I was jamming all of my trips into the last half of this year, so we’ll say I was on vacation…even though I probably wasn’t.
I’ll do a quick brag about my trips to start this off and get it out of the way.
TRIP #1 – Jamaica
First, as you may remember, my big trip with my girlfriend this year was to Montego Bay, Jamaica. We went down for a week at an all-inclusive Iberostar resort for my sister’s wedding. It was pretty great. We were with a lot of family so that was pretty fun but the resort was also super nice. There were tons of great food options, nightly entertainment and a disco for getting wasted really late into the night and dancing like a fool(one of my favorite hobbies). They also put us in one of the rooms with the nicer views from what I could tell. We were on the top floor overlooking the courtyard towards the ocean.
Trip #2 – Las Vegas
This actually just finished up December 21st which is why I didn’t post much in December. It was one of our somewhat annual trips to Las Vegas. We have birthdays a month apart and in the last quarter of the year so we try to find decent deals that fit in our schedules to spend 5-6 days in Vegas.
Usually we’ll go for the cheaper hotels, which from Calgary, Alberta you can get a deal for less than $900 for flights and hotels. This year we splurged and went for a room at the Bellagio. I’d say it was worth it. That place is ridiculously nice, the lobby is incredible, the rooms are great. Ashley was a big fan of the lighting in the bathroom, which is a thing girls care about apparently…who knew? It also hosts the Cirque show “O” which we saw, so now we only have 2 more left to see on the strip. It has a few nice art galleries which are always nice to check out to feel like your cultured even though you just think stuff looks cool.
Unfortunately, the view from the room wasn’t even of the strip so it’s nothing to brag about like the view in Jamaica. I didn’t even bother to take a picture of it. However, the view from the walkway to the gym…well that’s a whole other story.
Finances this quarter were ok, nothing special about them. I had great gains in stocks and bad losses in real estate. Overall it was still a gain but not near as much as I would have hoped.
There it is, solid two percent over 3 months, nothing to write home about but I’m writing about it on the internet anyway. Most of the increase is just through saving income. Here’s a short recap of what each line is and what’s happened with it:
Vehicle – Slowly depreciating as expected. Vehicles are almost always a depreciating asset and are often more expensive than you would think. I updated the assessed value of it based off blue book and autotrader values which I found online to get the closest comparison.
YMM Townhouse– By far BIGGEST weight right now. The value of this has dropped close to $50,000 dollars since I purchased it. The area is heavily dependent on oil booms and since we’re in a 2 year rut, it isn’t looking overly great. Luckily, I still work in the area so I’m staying in one room and renting the rest to co-workers to cover most of the bills. If I were to rent it out as a whole unit I’d be getting about 60% of what I used to get and I’d still have to rent a place for myself. There’s always the chance that this will increase in value if oil returns to $80+ per barrel but I don’t know if we’ll see that on a short horizon.
TFSA– I hold mostly stocks companies I know fairly well or use regularly. One investment strategy I truly believe in is invest in what you know. It’s been a great year for me on this front, I’m currently up 22.91% over the last 12 months which beats out the stellar year the markets have had. Unfortunately, I didn’t go with the hype and throw some money into marijuana stocks at the end of last year which would given me a lot more growth but I feel like that train has passed.
Margin – Turned my registered investment account into a margin account to see how I could put other people’s money to use. So far, it’s paid off very well. I’m currently up 28.53% which is incredible. If I could get that return for a couple years, I’d be WELL on my way to an early retirement.
RRSP – This is an old account my parents set up for me which I’ll eventually combine into the GRRSP
GRRSP – This is the work matching account that I talked about this in previous updates. Originally, I wasn’t going to include this as it’s kind of a set and forget account. I don’t have this linked to my regular banking accounts so I don’t see it all the time, but why? After thinking about it it made no sense. I didn’t include this addition in the % increase calculations because it would skew the numbers. It will be included in everything going forward.
High interest E-savings – This is definitely where I’ll get some flak from other investors critiquing my portfolio, why so much cash in an account with a terrible return? I’ve decided to go forward with an investment in a private biomedical start up. I approached an old co-worker who has dedicated his PhD and life to this a few months ago asking about investors. We’re in the final stages now so you should see an update on this next quarter.
Chequing account – This is where my bills get paid from, money flows in and out. I like to keep this above $5000 for the number of bills coming in and out each month. I always want to make sure there’s enough to prevent any overdraft. Nothing to really say about this.
Duplex – I renovated the unoccupied side immediately which may have increased the value a little more but I’m sticking with the appraised value at the time of purchase. There’s been two other duplexes in the area go for 10-20k higher then my appraised value but they were completely renovated where I only have half renovated.
It was a decent year for this property, I had 83% occupancy and managed to increase the rent in one side when the previous tenant moved out. This should give me an increase of 7.1% for the 2017 revenue provided both tenants stay.
How are the goals doing?
If anyone doesn’t remember the financial goals, here they are with small updates.
- Save $30,000 dollars – ACHIEVED! I was disciplined enough to put away $36,000 into my savings account this year. $5500 of that will immediately end up in my TFSA early in January. The rest is probably going to end up in different investments.
- Invest in another money making asset – Nothing happened this year for this goal. I’m in the middle of some life decisions and don’t know exactly where I should commit to. I think this one may be shelved for a few more months while I try to figure out where life takes me.
- Increase my margin account with my tax return – I did it! Let’s see how it goes in 20 years…just hang in there guys!
What about blog goals?
- Weekly Posts – I did ok at this. There’s always room for improvement since I didn’t hit this goal. I’m working hard to get a head of my writing so I should have a buffer on this by the time this is published.
- Social media – I think I did pretty good on my social media growth.
- Twitter – Goal to hit 5000 followers in a 12 month period – Not quite! I’m ending the year with 3756 followers. Which is pretty good. My tweets are attracting regular visitors daily which is great.
- Facebook – Hit 150 followers – FAILED – I barely have any followers on my Facebook page. Currently sitting at 60. I even ran a two week promo to see what I could attract through paid ads since the site is making some money. That didn’t end up so well. I’ll have to look into so other options to boost these numbers.
- Instagram – No Goal – I did manage to get 90 followers on this platform. When I’m on my vacations, you’ll see close to daily posts. Otherwise you’ll see a post maybe once a week. Also, I’m hilarious so I’d highly suggest following me!
- Pinterest – Start pinning posts – I created an account and now I’m more confused…
- Monetization – I’ve been able to make a few hundred dollars through advertising on the page so far but nothing major. It basically paid the bills for the hosting.
In my personal life, I had the goal of finally getting my Professional Engineering designation and that finally came through in time for the holidays. It was a pretty nice gift to myself to be able to order my stamp even though I’m not in a position to use it
Thanks for coming to check out my quarterly/yearly update, let me know what you all think in the comments or find me on social media! Next week I’ll be posting my 2017 goals so be sure to check back and see what they are!