Friday, January 15, 2010

Fortis Increases Dividend

This week, I got my first raise in 2010 from one my companies, as Fortis has announced it was raising its quarterly dividend from $0.26 to $0.28 -- a 7.7% increase.

I own my stake in Fortis in my DRiP portfolio, where the increase will have an impact of $4 to the amount of dividend income I will receive in 2010. Of course, I won't actually touch that money at all since it will all be reinvested in additional shares of Fortis. This will keep compounding for years, until I need the money.

Friday, January 8, 2010

2009 Review: Financial Goals

With 2010 now well under way, it is time to review what happened to my finances in 2009. I'll begin by reviewing my 2009 goals to see how successful I was in meeting them, as well as setting goals and objectives for 2010.

First, a reminder of some definitions:
  • A goal is the statement a desired result.
  • An objective is a quantifiable measure to evaluate progress.
  • A mean is a way that is used to reach an objective.

Financial Goal 1: Increase my Net Worth -- Success

My objective here was to increase my net worth from $70K (at the end of 2008) to $85K at the end of 2009. As of January 1st, my net worth was $108K, which means I completely fulfilled this objective. Even if I ignore the increase in the value of our house, which accounts for $8K of the total increase, I still doubled my objective. I had a lot of help from the markets' recovery, but I think my basic plan was sound.

So for 2010, my objective is now to reach a net worth of $125K.

The means remain pretty much the same -- regular deposits to my RRSP and to my DRiP portfolio, keeping an emergency fund, continued debt reduction (mostly house-related, since I have little personal debts remaining).

Financial Goal 2: Increase my Dividend Income -- Partial success

My objective here was to grow the dividend income from my DRiP portfolio from $700 to $850 through additionnal purchases in the portfolio. I almost made it, since my total dividend income was $840. The shortfall is partially due to smaller purchases at the beginning of the year, when I focused on debt reduction, and from the investment mix I selected -- I purchased more corporations (with lower yield) at the beginning of the year than income trusts, since I saw the recession as an opportunity to load up on quality dividend growers. The move paid of in terms of net worth, but this meant slightly lower dividend income for 2009. I can live with that.

For 2010, I would like to see my dividend income grow from $1115 -- which is what I will receive if I make no additional purchases and get no dividend increases -- to about $1300. That's a steeper objective than last year, because I expect more dividend increases than last year. I will account for dividend income from both my DRiP portfolio and my TFSA brokerage account.

Financial Goal 3: Reorganize my Investment Accounts -- Done

My objective was to evaluate my current brokerage accounts to see if they still fit my needs, and open/close accounts accordingly. In June I closed my Canadian Shareowner Investment account. And in October I began the process of opening a TD Waterhouse account to host my TFSA equity investments. I moved out my emergency funds from my TFSA at ING Direct, since I'll benefit more from having better-yielding investments sheltered by a TFSA. I also decided to keep my account with Disnat, since the service I can get there for signature guarantees are quite handy for dripping.

There is no need to renew this goal into 2010.


What are your financial goals for 2010?


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Net Worth Update

As of January 1st, my net worth was $108 935 (up 3.6% from $105 161). If I exclude house-related assets and liabilities, my net worth was $71 722 ( up 5.2% from $68 196. Again a nice increase in my net worth, although this time a significant part is this one was because December was a 3-pay month.

Assets ($172 843, up 2.7% from $168 279)
  • Bank Accounts $6 761 up 52% from $4 452)
  • Emergency Funds $2 252 (up 10% from $2 041)
  • RRSP Accounts $45 200 (up 1.4% from $44 587)
  • Non-Registered Investments $21 708 (up 7.9% from $20 123)
  • Home $96 330 (stable)

Liabilities ($ 63 908, up 1.3% from $63 117)

  • Credit Cards $4 477 (up 29% from $3 481)
  • Mortgage $59 117 (down 0.4% from $59 365)
  • Line of Credit $0 (stable)


  • Debt / assets: 0.370 (down from 0.375)
  • House value / total assets: 0.557 (down from 0.572)

So, more cash in the bank account (that third pay in December) but also higher credit card debt (Holliday shopping). At the end, more money came in that went out, so things are good. I'll have to be careful at the beginning of the year, since withholding contributions to the RRQ (that's Quebec's basic retirement plan) and employment insurance will be starting again (I maxed out on the contributions in September). This will reduce my net pay by about $300 per month, so there will be a little less cash coming in. There's also the municipal taxes coming soon. So I'll make sure to keep a solid cash position.

I will be doing a year-end review of my finances in one or more as separate posts, to analyze different areas of my 2009 finances.