Oct 31, 2016 Net Worth Update: $208,425 (+$2,631, +1.3%) 10

Hi Everyone! Welcome to my end of October 2016 net worth update. Thank you so much for coming.



A lot happened in October.


First of all, Fall was here in Toronto yes, I said ‘was’ because it feels like Fall only lasted about 2 weeks and freezing cold winter is striking all over my face.



Fellow Torontonians. Enjoy it when you can! At least my wife is enjoying the near non-existence of Fall in Toronto.




Secondly, I gave a notice to my current company. I have been with the company for 3 years so it is tough for me to say good bye to all that I am used to. Work, Co-workers, view from my office etc… but there is nothing satisfying me more than taking challenges.


So long my friend including the stain. We had a great time together.




I will miss the view


I was too comfortable so I decided to leave everything behind to work with a startup fintech company. It is not going to be easy but that’s where I thrive because I work my ass off.



Yes, you are right. The fortune cookie thing totally gave me the motivation to look for new challenges.


Some important interview tips that I learned based on interviewing countless staff accountants and my own interview.

1. Be yourself- you do not need google to explain who you are. Be genuine.

2. Critical questions- Do your homework and ask as many critical questions as possible. You can lead the interview rather than being led by the interviewers. They would be impressed if you are prepared and think critically about the roles, company and its industry.

3. Integrity, Passion, Creativity. Show them you have the essential qualities of any jobs.

4. Do not discourage yourself when you do not make it. It is very competitive and rational interviewers are rare which means only few can recognize your talents and passion. There could be many stupid reasons that you do not make it. For example, some interviewers can be just too defensive that they may feel their job is threatened by your superior talents.

You never lose, either you win or you learn.

I wrote some minor interview tips a while ago. Take a look if you have some interviews coming up.


How to kill at job interview



The last big news, I deployed some of my cash during October. Do you remember I had about $50K of cash proceeds from selling out some of non-core positions? I will let you know what I bought below so keep reading through. 🙂


As I said previously, I have changed my investing style from deep value investing (asset investing or turnaround investing) to growth focused investing. I did pretty well with deep value investing style.


Restructuring my portfolio and changing investing style



I held them for less than 2 years and sold all of them from recent restructuring of my portfolio. Good bye and probably see you again at some point. You all made me some money here. Deep value investing style kinda worked.


but I was not a big fan of severe volatility and negative sentiment built towards so called turnaround potential stocks. It emotionally hurt me time to time but I held pretty well and returned about 17% while TSX was down 5% during last 2 years.

I still have some cash to deploy. About 10% of my portfolio is in cash. I have been cautiously deploying my cash to my forever companies.

As I said in the article, I will look for

  1. simple business that I understand
  2. with consistent operating history with strong growth perspective (strong and consistent revenue, EPS, book value, free cash flows growth)
  3. favorable long-term prospects (monopoly or possessing high % of recurring revenue)
  4. Exceptional and honest management with long term goals in mind (hopefully with significant insider holding. E.g. Founders or its family members would be great as they wouldn’t sacrifice long term business objectives over short term ones.)  I think this point is probably one of the most important stock picking tips. It is all about finding exceptional leaders. Once you have identified them, then 80% of your work of finding great stocks is done. I cannot emphasize enough on this. Think about Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Frank Hasenfratz’s (currently his daughter Linda Hasenfratz) Linamar, Larry Rossy’s (currently his son Neil Rossy) Dollarama, Selim Bassoul’s Middleby etc… When you find this kind of exceptional leaders, what you pay for the stock is not an important issue anymore. Once you find exceptional leaders, stick with them for a long time until either one of you die. Don’t worry about corrections, bear markets, wars etc…
  5. Importantly, solid historical ROE with 15 or more with low leverage and solid balance sheets
  6. reasonable or fair P/E
  7. forever stocks (or international ETFs only I feel no bargains are around.)
  8. insiders are buying or hold significant amount of shares.
  9. company is buying back its shares


With newly redefined investing style, I am slightly more confident but you are always welcome here to laugh at my failure. I will try to laugh with you. 🙂 Let’s see how I do next 2- 5 years in this new chapter.  I still have some oil&gas related deep valued asset play stocks but they will eventually be sold once they reach my target selling price. The proceeds will be transformed to great &permanent stocks that I would probably hold forever.



While I was focusing on restructuring my portfolio here is what happened in the market during October 2016.


Nasdaq dropped by 2.3%



Dow dropped by 1%




TSX grew by 0.4%



And mine dropped by 1.5%.



The markets has been volatile due to many reasons.

Hilary and Trump battle,

potential interest rate hike,

healthcare reform,

and Brexit etc…

Countless exciting events are happening. As I always say, volatility is your best friend. If Trump becomes the president and shocks the markets by 10-15%, that’s when I would be happy to deploy all of my cash. If Hilary becomes a president and destroys healthcare stocks, then again, I would be accumulating healthcare stocks. Threats from politics existed all the time throughout our history but most of them were short lived. Research the fundamentals of the companies before buying and hold onto great companies through good and bad times. Focus on accumulating companies when they are cheap and keep doing it until you realize your net worth has increased significantly over time.


My history of net worth proves that. March 2016 and April 2016 did amazingly well that boosted my market value of portfolio by more than 5% and May was alright. Then here came June 2016 boosting my net worth by 15.7% and July 2016 was very satisfying at 3.4% of growth in my net worth. August 2016 and September 2016 were not too bad. Is the slump that lasted between 2015 May to September coming again? Who cares? I am an optimist so I would rather say “the glass is half full” than “the glass is half empty”

half full

or whatever makes you happy

I somewhat hoped that the market drops further and further so that I can buy quality assets at discount especially when I have some cash to deploy. Or I probably want to see 2008-2009 short and quick super major correction to happen which may be actually scary but that’s the time you can make the most money. As I said, BREXIT was a great opportunity for me.

As you know, luckily, I have constant cash flow from my day job with help of our family’s frugal habits to pour more money in the market every month. That being said, I see that my cash reserve has been growing. It is really hard to find a bargain lately compared to this February 2016 or end of June 2016 (post Brexit).

Investor Sentiment Wheel

Investor Sentiment Wheel

Do exactly opposite of what this wheel shows then you will be golden!


I am fascinated to observe how human psychology work especially in stock market. Most of businesses that I invest are exactly the same businesses as usual making constantly solid cash flow. They may be facing a temporary business setback however a lot of times, the stocks of them may be punished a lot harder than the actual problems. Take advantage of it!


Remember this… As long as business is solid, the stock price will eventually follow.

It is only a matter of time until you see more greens in all of the stocks in your portfolio if you are a long term investor. Just keep being invested in your quality stocks. If you are a lucky one who gets regular paycheque and have some money to invest after your monthly spending, then keep buying at lower prices every month.


Keep it simple. Don’t think too hard. Just find good quality undervalued dividend stocks, buy them at low and weather the rainstorm until the sun rises again. When the sun rises which it always does, it will be swift.


Ironically, people get more excited when market climbs up when they have to pay premium for the same stocks whereas when the market is headed downward, they tend to avoid buying the same stocks at discounted prices. I would worry more and look to restructure my portfolio when the market keeps climbing up. Time for me to say my favorite investor of all time, our legendary old man, Warren’s most famous quote.


“You want to be greedy when others are fearful. You want to be fearful when others are greedy. It’s that simple.”


I recently put Warren Buffett’s top 50 quotes together. Check it out.’

50 most insightful Warren Buffett quotes that you need to read to be rich.

Don’t forget about his stock picking tips!

11 most important Warren Buffett’s stock picking tips, especially 7th one.


Have you heard about Peter Lynch, a wallstreet legend? Check out Peter Lynch’s top 13 best stock picking tips as well. You won’t regret it.


Remember 2008-2009 market crisis?

2008-2009 market turmoil made so many people richer and poorer. People who became poorer are the ones that sold their stocks at loss and never looked back. People who became richer are the ones that bought stocks at 30-80% off the original prices then they triple and quadruple their original investment within 2-3 years.



This turmoil in Canada isn’t as opportunistic (or bad for some people) as 2008-2009 market crisis but still some bargains could be found now.

There are still some undervalued stocks. That simple concept will make us richer sooner or later. I have no way of knowing and an ability of forecasting the market but all my efforts will be dedicated to find great stocks that are currently undervalued.


My net worth increased by $2,631 (1.3%) from $205,794 to $208,425 during October 2016.

I am close to the highest net worth level that I reached in July 2016 ($208,924). I reversed the two months down streak and finally changed the direction. Hopefully this continues.


When I achieved $200,000 milestone, I wrote 5 key tips to accumulate wealth and achieve financial independence so check it out below.


How to save $200,000 in 6 years and retire before 45


This is my tenth 2016 net worth update. Net worth update is posted monthly to keep track of the progress of my journey to become a millionaire. I believe anyone can be a millionaire with good saving habits and smart investing plans. If you would like to join the journey, please follow me through my Facebook and twitter pages and subscribe your email for free updates.

Compared to September last year, it grew by $76,986. That’s 58% growth. It grew by $6,415 every month. Not bad huh? I am quite pleased with the result but it could have been better. Well… the downturn of the economy will eventually turn up and I will be a very happy man when that happens. Until then, I will keep searching for great stocks and see where this takes me. If you are afraid of losing 20-30% of your portfolio value then investing in stock market isn’t for you. Risk and rewards always follows. Always perform your due diligence researching the fundamental of the stocks before you buy or just buy amazingly reasonable Vanguard ETFs. That’s called indexing.


Let’s go $300K



The cash balance has increased from $5,940 to $6,040 (by exactly $100- interesting). We have about $23,000 of cash position from investment accounts so total cash balance is about $29,000. I have been building cash reserve not because of I like hoarding cash but I could not really find bargains. Only a few of them. I love deploying cash and seeing its transformation to something more useful. Cash isn’t investment. It actually loses its value everyday right? I am patiently waiting for an investment opportunity to pop up from my watch list. Hopefully I can grab some. Come on BAD NEWS!

Even after reduced annual TFSA contribution limit from $10,000 to $5,500 from a stupid political move by the new regime in Ottawa, (Yes I am talking to you Justin!) TFSA is still an amazing instrument to invest so for someone who do not take advantage of TFSA and RRSP (for US citizens, 401K, IRA, ROTH IRA…) please use them for your future. They are wonderful instruments that will make your future brighter.

Our majority of cash is sitting in President choice Debit account. I use it for the most of the money transfer, bill payments, cheques etc… as there is no transaction fee in this amazing card and cheques are free. Major banks typically charge $50-100 for 50 cheques but I pay nothing for that. Due to its partnership with CIBC bank, I can use their extensive CIBC ATMs network which is awesome. Their customer service is great as well.




October 2016 was not a good month for me. Our portfolio decreased by 1.47%. As long as great months will offset bad months then I will be alright.



We hold about $23K cash ready to be deployed.









Ups and Downs. We don’t really care. We are not selling the quality stocks until they become extremely overvalued. I would much prefer for better opportunities to pick up more shares at favorable prices. I love corrections and crashes. As long as fundamentals are there, I am not too concerned about the noises. Although it would hurt to see our portfolio decreasing its value during corrections and crashes I have a coping mechanism built in me. Not the end of the world for me. Tides will eventually turn. Buy low and sell high right?

Only problem I have right now is how to come up with even more cash for a better time to jump in. I think values will show up here and there again so I will patiently wait for temporary setbacks.

When you invest, you should always look at long term investing horizon, not tomorrow, next month, next year etc…. If you foresee that you would need cash in a near future then investing in stocks isn’t for you. However when you start to focus on longer term view, then you will do quite well as long as you buy good stocks with great fundamentals at attractive price.


Recent Buys and Sells

Due to restructuring, I sold many good valued solid stocks that I bought mostly less than 1 year ago. We made pretty good money so I will happily let them go.



The following stocks were purchased in 2016 and still survived from the restructuring.


All look pretty much defeated


With the proceeds, my fourth and fifth forever stocks were purchased (First, second and third were XEF, Linamar and CGI Group).


Ladies and Gents, please welcome Stella Jones



and Lassonde Industries!!!



I am thrilled to be partial owner of both companies. Interestingly, both of them are Quebec companies.


CGI is from Montreal as well.


I notice many great companies from French Canada (Quebec and Montreal) such as Couchetard, Canadian National Railway and CGI group. Is it coincident or is Quebec doing something right?



41% of our family’s net worth is tied to my forever (hopefully) stocks

Our Portfolio Performance

I opened direct investing account on Sep 12 2014. During last 25 months, our portfolio gained about 16.95% whereas S&P and TSX composite dropped by 5%. Not bad huh?

Annualized gain is 7.6% so which is a little lower than historical index average but much much better than S&P and TSX composite. I guess I will keep doing whatever I have been doing for the last 25 months.


Not too bad except last 2-3 months



Check out my portfolio page to see what stocks I own and the following article for more investment tips-How to Simply Invest and Get Richer for Dummies in 8 Easy Steps.

Did I mention you can be a millionaire in about 30 years if you can save $10 a day?

If you are also a dividend investor like me, then you should check out the following page to see how other dividend investors are doing. You won’t regret a moment of reading their valuable and inspirational articles. Blogroll


Credit card

Our credit card debt decreased from $1,085 to $858. Our spending may get higher since my wife is back to school. Textbooks and school materials are extremely expensive and I am quite unhappy about schools putting students through this. For example, a polo shirt with school department name printed is sold at $40 and all nursing students must buy them. A stupid clicker that to be used in a course is sold at $120. All of the course textbooks are sold at school bookstores and they are 20% more expensive than what you can order from Amazon (students can’t get a better deal from its own school than Amazon? What the heck is wrong with them?). Access code is mandatory so students are forced to buy brand new books. Total textbooks for this semester costed us $500.

What the hell. Textbook and other school materials companies lobby the hell out of school bureaucrats and they force the poor students into further debts than necessary. When the students graduates, they will have to work their ass off to get off debt. How depressing. If I was the dean of the school, I would do anything to make the studying more affordable to students but everyone is just hungry for their own pockets. Disgusting… That was my rant of the month.

All of them temporarily hurt our net worth (and my moral) but we strongly believe the future return is extremely lucrative of the educations.


I don’t know whether you will remember this but my wife is a mad artist (I will show you some of her artworks later if she allows) and have spent several years to do her soul searching. Well guess what? She wants to be a nurse in Canada then combine her artistic talents with the nursing degree to be an art therapist eventually. She is from South Korea and recently immigrated to Canada. I have emphasized this to you before, if you are a foreign immigrant, getting right education is one of the most important things that you will have to do to be treated equally (not to mention your language skills but you will pick up while you go through your degree programs) and self-sustaining. Let me tell you, it is not going to be easy. I have been through it but very well worth it.

While I love to see my wife showing off her artworks and helping me out with this blog (She designed this BeSmartRich blog. She also helps me with maintenance, research, promotion, advertising etc…), I am extremely pleased with her decision to going for her dream which is a great cause for the community we reside in.

I see it impacting our net worth as one step back and ten steps forward. We may be spending $4-5K per semester which will temporarily and negatively impacting our net worth but that will give back hundred times guaranteed returns during our lifetime. That’s the power of education. Only sky is the limit. Not to mention we can recoup some tuition costs through tax credits, courtesy of Canadian Government. Thank you Canada. I love you so much!

We are still close to debt free and I like it that way. I just love the feeling of keeping our debt balance low as I feel empowered to be debt free.

We tried to minimize spending over last couple of months and it worked out pretty well. We use Capital one Costco credit card as it gives us 3% cash back on restaurants (6% on first 3 months). We also have MBNA cash back card that we use mainly for grocery and gas for 2% cash back and everything else for 1% cash back (5% on first 6 months) without any annual fee. Unlike capital one cash back card and all other cash back cards out there, MBNA card is well beyond expectation. First of all, MBNA pays cold hard cash back (not points toward purchasing goods and services) and secondly, MBNA directly deposits the cash right away to your bank when it hits $50 mark. That’s great as I don’t have to wait until the end of the year to collect cash. Remember. Everything adds up.


Check out the following links if you are interested in getting awesome credit cards like MBNA and Capital one credit cards.

US residents

Canadian residents



We have been tightening up spending. We set up two major rules and following religiously so far.

  1. My wife added some more healthy option after watching some documentary films about how chickens, milk cows etc… are raised so we have been purchasing quality organic ingredients, cook home meals most of time and go out and enjoy restaurant meal once a month together in a mutually agreed restaurant.
  2. We shop at Costco once a month for majority of grocery (They are always fresh and love their AAA beef so much for very attractive prices) then for urgent needs, my wife goes grocery nearby our place for eggs, milks, vegetable and fruits as in need basis. Our monthly grocery budget is $500 per month. I know it is high for just two people but we love healthy and good quality food and I am a meateatarian.
  3. We will keep being frugal on all other expenditures. See the following links for excellent ways to save money.



Hope you enjoyed this month’s net worth update. Remember, if you haven’t, set your saving & investing plans up and try to see how much net worth you have reached as of now and how much it has fluctuated in the past. Knowing where you are and where you will be headed will be a great starting point to be a millionaire and retire comfortably. Hang in there. I will be on the journey with you.

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10 thoughts on “Oct 31, 2016 Net Worth Update: $208,425 (+$2,631, +1.3%)

  • DivHut

    Looks like you had a pretty busy month. Congrats on taking the leap of leaving a comfortable job and make your way to a start up. It can be a very fun and exciting environment. It’s all I really know since 1998 when I started my own biz back then and have witnessed many awesome companies rise and fall, rise and fall. There is a lot of change from month to month that’s for sure but by the way you described your situation it looks like you are ready for something different. A lot of portfolio activity too I see with your buys/sells. For me it’s steady as she goes and I’m happy as long as I continue to make at least one buy every month building up my portfolio bit by bit. As always, thanks for sharing your detailed financial performance.

    • Be Smart Rich Post author

      Yup. I really can’t wait to start my new job. Changes was really needed for my mental health Haha. Lots of stock activities lately but it will slow down once I completely restructure my core holdings. I will be a lot more careful of what stocks I buy going forward than before. Cheers mate.

  • MrSLM

    Congrats on the new job, startups can be super exciting! Can you say much about what you’re working on now?

    Nice pic of the old office btw, love the stain in the corner haha.

  • Dividend Diplomats

    Wow have I missed a lot Be Smart Rich. I don’t even know where to start. First, the career move. Sounds exciting as heck. Will itbe challenging…sure. Will it come with a degree of uncertainty? Sure. Will it be satisfying and is it a once in a life time experience? Sure as heck sounds like it. Congrats on taking the leap that so many others wouldn’t take. Hopefully it works out like you hope it would.

    Your new investment style seems to filter out and find the strong, quality investments that you are craving. Volatility has never bothered me and part of the reason is because I know my underlying investments are strong and have a history of weathering the good and the bad times. Finding those kind of stocks is the name of the game if you ask me.

    Overall, amazing progress and big things are happening. Excited to read about the next chapter of your life!


    • Be Smart Rich Post author

      Thanks Burt. I am glad things are moving along with me. So far, I am quite enjoying the new job. Challenging but rewarding for sure. I will keep you posted on this! Many of the new investments are doing well so I guess changing the strategy was a good move. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Mustard Seed Money

    Awesome job increasing your net worth for October. Looking ahead I have a feeling you’ll probably do pretty well for November if you stayed in the market.

    Good luck with your new fintech startup. With your work ethic I can’t imagine the company failing. I look forward to hearing how you progress in the company 🙂

    • Be Smart Rich Post author

      Thank you. November has been amazing and that continues in December. I cannot believe what’s happening with stock markets lately. My net worth is growing along with the stock markets but everything is becoming too expensive!