2017 Financial Report

-Written by Steph and Cel

It’s our favourite time of the year – time for our annual financial report!

We finished the year in great shape, with a net worth of $317,972. That’s a $73,631 increase from last year! We also had a whopping 65% savings rate

A few notes before we get into the data. This year’s tallying feels somewhat strange, because we’re reporting as of December 26th due to leaving on vacation tomorrow. There have been a few slight adjustments to account for this – mainly, we added the year-end paychecks we haven’t received yet to our income and net worth.  Also, our First World Problem of the Day: How to properly handle year-end accounting with an international vacation that straddles two different fiscal years. We’ve paid for most of our vacation already – flights, accommodations, etc, are already included in our 2017 spending – but any incidental costs incurred in the last three days of 2017 will be pushed to 2018’s travel budget.

Now, on to the numbers.

Overall Spending

Our spending overall has been remarkably consistent over the years. Our non-travel spending for 2017 was $17,624, compared to $18,451 in 2016, which averages to $1,469/month. We also spent $9,588 on travel, compared to $8,882 in 2016, which included incidentals from our January trip to Thailand and China, our summer trip to Portugal, Spain, and France, several smaller long weekend getaways, and our upcoming trip to Vegas and Mexico. We’ve covered a lot of ground this year!

Housing

Housing unsurprisingly continues to be our biggest expense, and it totaled $9,702, or  $809/month. This includes rent and insurance on a small studio apartment. This category was $9,518 in 2016, so it has increased slightly due to higher rent.

Food

Travel and Housing make up two thirds of our spending, so the steep drop-off begins in our Food category. We spent $3,522 on food in 2017 or $293/month, compared to $3,665 in 2016. The breakdown was 73% ($2,577) groceries, 17% ($587) snacks, 8% ($294) restaurants, and 2% ($63) Costco membership. Our grocery spending average of $215/month continues to be quite reasonable, actually coming in lower than last year, despite the media hysteria claiming food prices are out of control.

Shopping

This category is so broad! We spent $1,007 in 2017, or $84/month, compared to $1413 in 2016. The breakdown was 25% ($249) clothing, 23% ($230) electronics, 17% ($175) digital items, 12% ($117) kitchen stuff, 11% ($107) shoes, and 13% ($126) miscellaneous stuff (lightbulbs, crosswords, etc).

Bills

This is our cell phones and internet service. It came to $905 for 2017, or about $75/month, compared to $938 for 2016. We have flip phones with very barebones talk and text plans, and basic internet service.

Entertainment

We spent $763 on Entertainment in 2017, or $64/month, compared to $1,004 in 2017. The drop-off is mostly due to my new employer having a wellness plan that covers dance classes. This spending includes dance lessons not covered, along with movies, concerts, etc.

Personal Care

Our Personal Care spending totaled $517 in 2017, or $43/month, compared to $701 in 2016. I’ve been going to a barber for my hair for this entire year, which accounted for most of the decline.

Everything Else

This lovely catch-all category for all the little things came to $1,207 in 2017, or $100/month, compared to a shockingly similar $1,209 in 2016. This was heavily skewed towards transportation, i.e. public transit and bike gear ($479), along with cat stuff ($314) and Idiot Tax ($207).

Closing Comments

Another great year for us! As predicted last year, we did end up hitting $300K. We’ll definitely hit $350K next year, maybe even $400K depending on our investments and other circumstances. Our passive income is probably at the point of a slightly nicer apartment in Eastern Europe or Southeast Asia now.

This is our fifth annual financial report, and so far the effects on inflation continue to elude us. Even if people are spending more, that doesn’t mean that you have to!

We don’t anticipate major financial changes next year. Our job situations are pretty stable now, and Steph will finally be getting RRSP matching again in February.

Looking forward to 2018!

 

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10 Comments

  1. Congrats and merry Christmas. Would love to learn more about your investing mindset /approach. It seems like you’ve reached the point where investin is a significant part of your income, if not the most important. Do you spend a lot of time planning for that?

    • Thank you and Merry Christmas as well!

      Now that we have set up our investment provider (WealthBar), we don’t spend much time on it. We just funnel most of our unspent income into our investments every paycheque, and call it a day. I’d assume that most passive investors who use index funds have a similar approach.

      Also just to clarify, our savings rate does not involve our investment income at all. Although our investment income is surely a large portion of our net worth increase, we calculate our savings rate only from looking at non-investment income (paycheque, bank account interest, side jobs, any gift money from family) versus our spending.

    • We run simulations from time to time to look at different options, and I have not found a “buy” scenario that could result in mid-30s retirement. It would appear to completely torpedo our early retirement plans. We might consider buying something very cheap, and far from Vancouver, post retirement – like a lot with a tiny house or something like that. But no plans for the time being.

  2. Given how cost efficient you are in other areas of your life I’m surprised you are using wealthbar and giving up a significant portion of your investment return to fees compared to say using Questrade where ETF buys are free and MERs can be very low.

    • I’m sure it seems a little odd, but one of our main goals in life is to minimize effort. We self-managed our investments for years, but ultimately decided that the robo-advisor route was more in line with our zero-effort philosophy. I don’t have strong opinions either way, and encourage anyone who wants to self-manage to do so.

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