I have mixed feelings about putting these numbers down on the page. On the one hand, I think bringing more transparency and openness to personal finance is a good thing. At the same time, I think that our tendency to compare ourselves to other people is a lousy thing, and I certainly don’t want to encourage that. Fortunately, there are many people out there who have more money than we do, and there are lots of folks in the personal finance space who spend less that we do, so I don’t think our numbers should stir up too much suffering.
I’m also a bit hesitant to do this as I’m not a zealous tracker of every dollar that passes through our lives, and I realize that this isn’t a popular approach in the personal finance space. Until we moved to Canada, for example, I never tracked our spending or wrote out a budget. I’ve always felt that one of the perks of living well within your means is NOT having to track things religiously.
The combination of the international move and closing in on our FIRE number, though, made me more interested in knowing our actual spending. So I’ve been tracking that since we moved to Canada in the summer of 2020. I’ve also been tracking our net worth for about 9 years.
Currently, I work full-time and my wife works part-time. For most of 2021, we were both employed by US employers, switching over to Canadian employers in the fall. I got a bonus as I received a lump sum payout for my banked vacation time when I left my US employer. Next year, both of our salaries will likely be somewhat lower. And I’m only tracking our earnings from our jobs. In other words, I’m not counting things like the Canadian Child Benefit or investment earnings (which were all re-invested). We also received a small inheritance (~$15K USD) in 2021.
|Me||$123680 (CAD)||$84652 (USD)||$73599 (USD)|
|My wife||$35341 (CAD)||$20418 (USD)||$41581 (USD)|
|All expenses listed in CAD|
|Home Repair / Maintenance||$9,754|
The utilities number is actually a bit higher, as the pellets that we buy for our primary heat source are counted under “home repair / maintenance” (as that’s where everything from a hardware store goes. We probably spend about ~$750 CAD per year on pellets. Finally, spiritual health is a combination of meditation retreats and classes that we do.
|All values in USD|
|Jan 1, 2022||Jan 1, 2021||Jan 1, 2020|
|403(b)s and RSPs||$645,266||$548,075||$469,428|
We moved in July 2020, selling our house in Tampa, and clearing ~$100,000. That’s part of both the jump in our taxable account, and also the jump in cash for January 2021 — I was dollar cost averaging into our taxable account at the time. The tremendous growth by January 2022 is primarily market gains. We’ve contributed a bit to our RRSPs up here, but I only had a little room.
I don’t consider our house as part of our net worth. We purchased our house in July 2020 for $254,000 CAD (~$200,000 USD). Crazily, based on the price per square foot of several recent sales in our neighborhood, I suspect it has already appreciated to close to $300,000 CAD. We have a mortgage of ~$195,000 CAD, with a monthly payment of ~$1100 CAD. I’m currently leaning towards paying it off (or at least down significantly) when the mortgage matures in about 3.5 years.
I suspect our future spending will be a bit lower, as we were still getting established in Canada this year. At the same time, we didn’t have any major one off expenses (we replaced our ERV, but that wasn’t too bad) so it may not be too far off. And I feel like the tax portion of our spending will drop significantly in retirement, as some of the money that we’re spending each year won’t be income. In other words, it will come from our taxable account or (eventually) our Roth IRAs.
If we take $65,000 USD as our target for annual spending, the 4% rule would give us a FIRE number of $1,625,000. At $1,448,280, that puts as about 90% of the way there. And neither my wife nor I plan to fully retire in the near future. I’m thinking I’ll go down to part-time in the next year or so, but at the same time with the combination of working from home and generous leave, I’m also thinking I might just stay full time until I’m ready to pull the plug. Regardless, I feel like we’re in great shape.
2 thoughts on “2021 Annual Review”
Hey! Just found your website. We are Canadian and are from Nova Scotia, living in Ontario now.
You are in great shape. Just wondering how you only paid 14K of taxes on 159K of income. Is it because of RRSP contributions?
Also, are you including taxes in your FI number? If not, you’d have to grow your money more to cover it. DH and I were doing some FI projections for ourselves and were shocked at how much tax we’d have to pay in retirement. We have young kids so would still get CCB which would balance it out some.
No, you’re totally right. The taxes number here isn’t the whole picture. It’s just the portion we paid during the 5 months that we were employed by a Canadian employer. I tried to make that clear in the post, but I can see that it’s still misleading. We do max out our RRSPs, but we still pay significantly more in taxes than that. I just checked our returns and we paid 39801 for the year. I’ll update the post accordingly.