Well this month was the first time that we’ve actually had a $3K Net Worth increase in one month. This feels good, I must say! While January was such a great start for us with a 10% increase of our Net Worth and a 30% Savings Rate, February was even better with a 23% increase of our Net Worth and a whooping 40% Savings Rate. With still 10 months to go I’m pretty confident that we’ll crush our goals, and more specifically a target of 100% increase of our Net Worth by the end of 2017.
Not so much happened this month besides my semi-annual bonus, which led to two nice $1K lump-sum contributions. I still have to reevaluate our savings opportunities for the next few months as we’ll be back soon to a single income. March should also be totally different as we have to plan for our car replacement early April, as we’re reaching the end of our lease. This should hit us quite heavily on our finances!
If you have already read the following introduction section at least once, feel free to skip down to the juicy new content starting here: Financial Report February 2017.
Once a month I’m publishing a detailed report regarding my financial stats, in which I try to reflect over the past month – what went well or what didn’t go as planned. This also allows me to stay motivated towards the dream of being financially independent someday. My goal with these monthly reports is also transparency and I’d like my readers to emulate my successes and avoid my failures.
It feels kind of strange to publish all my financial details here, but it’s also a very motivating feeling. We have all pretty much different backgrounds regarding our personal finances, but hopefully my detailed reports will motivate you to keep on pushing harder. Whether it is to start a website, or at the very least to start tracking your Net Worth, you can’t go wrong here as there are no bad choices! You can check out my favorite resources if you don’t know where to begin with.
My go-to tool to track all the data to generate these reports are extracted from my Mint account. I find it really easy to budget / analyze and visualize the trends, and I’m also a big fan of their iOS App! A nice feature is that it can be integrated very easily with Wealthsimple (where I have my RRSP account), giving me a complete overall view of my finances. Since early January, Wealthsimple is now also available to people living in the US! Feel free to read my complete Wealthsimple review here.
All stats on this report are combined for Mrs. FFG and I, and are in Canadian dollars, as we’re currently living in Canada. Here is a list of the sub parts of my report (you can click on each link to reach directly one specific part):
Table of Contents
If you’re interested, all the reports I have written since I started this website are listed on my financial stats page!
So here it is, my complete financial report of February 2017. I hope you’ll find it inspiring, and perhaps this will motivate you to start your own website.
February 2017 Income
This month officially marks one of the last month with such an income because Mrs. FFG is in the process of wrapping up her PhD as we speak and her grants are reaching to an end in a few weeks. We will soon be back to a single income for the next upcoming months, at least until she finds a job! On the positive side, I finally had my annual pay raise this month and also my semi-annual bonus.
Total Gross Income February 2017: $8,862
- Previous Month: $4,610
- Difference: +$4,252
February 2017 Expenses
Expenses were around our average of $4,000 per month (just a little over in fact). I said before that we were aiming at $4,000 maximum expenses per month so this is totally a win for this month! Unfortunately, once again we failed at our $800 / month for our Food & Dining budget. I’ve simplified A LOT my financial reports since last month because I felt like it was unnecessary to detail all my expenses individually, and from now on I’ll just keep listed here the overall budgets.
- Home: $1,175
- Bills & Utilities: $341
- Auto & Transport: $322
- Health & Fitness: $343
- Food & Dining: $998
- Travel: $170
- Shopping & Entertainment: $789
Total Expenses February 2017: $4,138
- Previous Month: $2,858
- Difference: +$1,280
February 2017 Investments & Savings
For the last months, we’ve been investing and saving in three different ways which are now totally on auto-pilot:
- My employer Simplified Pension Plan (SIPP), which offers a 100% match of my contributions, up to 2% of my salary (pre-tax), in which I contribute 2% (pre-tax) per paycheck.
- My Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) account with Wealthsimple, in which I contribute $100 per paycheck (post-tax).
- Our emergency fund in an High Interest Savings Account (HISA) with Tangerine in which I contribute $100 per paycheck. I’ve switched last month to Tangerine to get a 2.40% rate (for 6 months and then back to 0.80%) and also finally to benefit from a totally-free checking account!
With my pay raise and my semi-annual bonus I decided to make another lump-sum contribution to both my RRSP and my emergency funds accounts ($1,000 in both). This, combined with our recurring contributions, will help us to reach our savings rate target (as listed on my Goals For 2017) of 20% on average this year!
Starting next month, I’ll be also adding a new investment vehicle, as I’ve opened up an account with Mylo. It’s still in beta and should be available by the end of March! For those wondering it’s the Canadian equivalent of Acorns. Basically, it’s an app which automatically rounds up everyday purchases and invests the spare change. I’ve already started writing a detailed post on it which will go live as as soon as Mylo will be available.
- SIPP Account (employer): +$163
- SIPP Account (employee): +$163
- RRSP Account (Wealthsimple): +$1,200
- Emergency Fund (Tangerine): +$1,200
Total Investments & Savings February 2017: +$2,726
- Previous Month: +$1,178
- Difference: +$484
February 2017 Net Worth
As we do not have any liabilities anymore since I paid off our $27,000 student loan debt, we’re still working on improving our assets now (slow and steady as they say)! A lot of changes happened this month with my lump-sum contributions of $1,000 to both my RRSP and Emergency Fund accounts. As these accounts are starting to reach interesting amounts, I’m finally seeing some huge progress even without counting my own contributions, which feels great.
- SIPP Account (employer & employee): $10,423
- RRSP Account (Wealthsimple): $3,137
- Emergency Fund (Tangerine): $3,052
Net Worth February 2017: $16,612
- Previous Month: $13,452
- Difference: +$3,160 [+23.4%]
My short-term goal is to reach a Net Worth of $100,000 (which we should reach before 2019). We’re currently at 16.61% on this goal. I’ve always performed better with a specific goal in mind, so there’s no exception to my personal finances!
Net Worth short-term goal: 16.61%
February 2017 Savings Rate
In terms of savings, we were aiming at a 15% Net Savings Rate last year, and an average of 20% for 2017. So far this year, we’re way much better than what I would have hoped for so let’s keep this streak going!
Regarding our Net Savings Rate calculation, here is the breakdown of the formula that works for us:
Net Savings Rate = Savings / (Gross Income – Taxes + Pre-Tax Contributions)
My pre-tax contributions (employer) are included in both sides of the equation to have a better view of our *real* savings rate.
- February 2017 Savings: $2,726
- February 2017 Gross Income: $8,862
- February 2017 Taxes: $2,324
- February 2017 Pre-Tax Contributions: $326
Net Savings Rate: 2726 / (8862 – 2324 + 326)
Net Savings Rate February 2017: 39.71%
- Previous Month: 29.18%
- Difference: +10.53%
This is definitely the best month we’ve had since I finished paying off our student loan debt last summer! A 40% savings rate surely is great but I’m not sure that we’ll be able to sustain it for the upcoming months, but we’ll do our best.
February 2017 Summary
I’m always planning ahead with a zero-based budget in mind. This is an easy way to figure out where everything we’re earning is going. Keeping this in mind, let’s summarize where our gross income for the month of February 2017 went to:
- Gross Income (I): $8,862
- Expenses (E): $4,138
- Investments & Savings Post-Tax (S): $2,400
- Taxes (T): $2,324
- Transfer from Savings (TR): $0
As a zero-based approach, here are the details:
I – E – S – T + TR = $8,862 – $4,138 – $2,400 – $2,324 + $0 = $0
Once again, another month where we did not have to dip into our savings anymore (which was quite common last year!) and hopefully from now on we’ll see some huge increase on our savings stash!
And this wraps up my detailed financial report of February 2017! I hope I’ve inspired you with this report (my complete list of reports are listed on my financial stats page), and that you had as much fun looking at mine as I had looking at others! Remember that it’s not a race though, even if the journey seems like a marathon sometimes.
It took me a few months before starting a website, but this really helped me to focus on my long-term goal of reaching financial independence. Everyone has to take the first steps if they are willing to reach financial freedom, and I’m convinced that everyone with the right resources and some reading can reach its goal. I personally think that it does not take more that 15 years of consistent and diligent saving & investing to be able to reach financial independence even without a very aggressive strategy!