Net Worth Update: March 2018

Monthly Summary

The choppy, volatile market conditions of February continued into March 2018 as well. The popular, broad U.S. stock index--the S&P 500--had a substantial number of trading days that moved 1% or more in value during the day. The 14 day Average True Range--a good indicator of daily market movement--is hovering in the high 30s and 40s. That's pretty substantial considering the index is sitting at around 2650. In 2017, these kinds of daily moves were nearly unheard of.

Another noticeable factor is the current market being range-bound. The S&P 500 failed to come even close to the January 2018 highs and has now touched the 2580 number twice since that ugly February drop. The tech-heavy NASDAQ 100 broke the January highs for a few days before dropping again, coming close to its February lows as well. Range bound markets can provide volatile conditions for a long time... something we saw in 2008 for example.

Sticking to my plan, I have moved a decent chunk of my portfolio to cash at this point. While I'm still roughly 50% in stocks as a percentage of equity, I'm not seeing any significant bright spots in the market at the moment. It's a game of sit-and-wait to see what the market price tells me.

In February, we finished the month with a total of $679,573 in our investment accounts. We were down -8.7% that month. This month I once again added a regular contribution to our joint non-registered account. But once again, we ended the month with a negative investment return.

I hope through sharing our real numbers you will be inspired to start saving and investing young—it pays!

The Current Numbers

Here are our current Investment Assets as of the last trading day in March. We invest in TFSAs, RRSPs, and a joint margin Account. We use a trend investing strategy to determine what we buy and when we sell our ETF positions.

January 1 of the current year is in brackets to help illustrate the change during the current year. Net Worth Change reflects the total increase/decrease of this past month including new contributions.

The Investment Return is the total year-to-date return on our investment positions, corrected for new contributions at the end of the month. Due to the end-of-month adjustment, the true rate of return on a daily adjustment basis would be slightly different dependent on the intra-month return on the new contribution.

Total Investments:  $661,171  ($670,856)
Net Worth Change:  -$18,402
30x Rule Safe Annual Income:  $22,039  ($22,362)
YTD Investment Return:  -4.35%

Background Story

My wife and I are late-20s professionals working in the public sector. We don't earn enormous salaries, but by keeping our spending under control we save a large portion of our incomes each month. Our Investment Assets are 100% the result of our own hard work and the return on investments; we have not received any gifts or won any lotteries.

While we both work in pension careers, for this purpose we don't include pension values in our net worth nor pension contributions in our savings. Our investment assets and contributions are from our net paycheques.

We invest primarily with index ETFs using a trend strategy that I personally developed and maintain. To keep our investing costs as low as possible, I use Questrade and Interactive Brokers as my online brokerages. Questrade is my go-to choice for registered accounts. Interactive Brokers offers powerful tools, low commissions, and low margin interest for our joint margin account.

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2 Replies to “Net Worth Update: March 2018”

  1. You say that “Sticking to my plan, I have moved a decent chunk of my portfolio to cash at this point.”, but your momentum model portfolio never mentions moving to cash.

    Is there somewhere else where you detail this plan that I’ve missed? I’ve just been following your blog for a few months now.

    1. Daren (Editor) says:

      My entire investments are split into two strategies. A little less than half is in a version of Dual Momentum. The remainder is in a trend following strategy. Cash (or short-term bonds) is always the “default” holding. So where no other opportunities exist, I hold cash. Within the trend following part of the portfolio, I limit the size of each position so that I can manage risk. So when lots of opportunities are present in the market, I might have 10% of my portfolio in a levered S&P 500 ETF, 10% in a levered EAFE ETF, 10% in a levered gold, 10% in a levered long-term bond ETF, and so on. In a perfect world (we came pretty close in 2017), my trend following portfolio might be 2-3X leveraged as a percentage of equity. Right now, it’s not.

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