Welcome to the Million Dollar Journey June 2016 Net Worth Update – Team MDJ edition. A select group of readers were selected to be part of Team MDJ which was conceived after the million dollar net worth milestone was achieved in June 2014. Sean Cooper was selected as a team member and will post net worth updates on a regular basis. Here is more about Sean.
- Name: Sean Cooper
- Age: 30
- Net Worth: $756,734
- Day Job: Employed with a major global pension consulting firm.
- Family Income: $58,050 (full-time job), $18,600 (rental income before expenses), $40,000 (approximate freelance income)
Mortgage paid off by 31, million dollar net worth by mid thirties.
- Notes: Owns a house, rents out main floor. Most of net worth is in the principal residence. Paid off my mortgage in three years by age 30.
When I imagined being mortgage-free, I never thought it’d be so hectic. I’ve been busier than ever these last three months finishing my book. I’m happy to say I’ve made a lot of progress. The official title is “Burn Your Mortgage: A Simple, Powerful Path to Financial Freedom.” My book is to aspire those young and old to own a mortgage-free home. In my book, I offer practical advice on how anyone can pay off their mortgage and enjoy financial freedom sooner. I’ve really enjoyed writing a book. Writing a book seems to be on everyone’s bucket list. I’m happy to say it will be crossed off mine soon. The manuscript is written. I’m currently working on the editing phase. I’ll keep you posted!
Once my book is released, I’m not just going to post it on Amazon and hope for the book sales to role in. I have a multi-pronged marketing plan to get the word on the street. One of the ways I’m promoting my book is by speaking at colleges, universities, conferences and events. Speaking in front of a large audience can be frightening. To make sure I’m well spoken, I’ve joined Toastmasters. Jonathan Chevreau recommended it to me a while ago. Since joining Toastmasters, my public speaking abilities have improved by leaps and bounds. I’m already on my third speech. I’m no longer nervous to speak in front of an audience. I highly recommend joining Toastmasters, especially if you’re looking to boost your self-confidence.
After being a bit of spendthrift (at least by my standards), I’ve gone back to my frugal ways. I still live in the basement and rent out the upstairs, cycle to work and pack my own lunch – and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I haven’t been saving as much, but that’s because I’m self-publishing my book. You have to spend money to make money, as the saying goes. Although I’ll be busy with my book for the next year, I’m still trying to decide what to do with the rest of my life. I’m a big fan of Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank. I’d like to eventually get involved with a Fintech startup or start my own. Opportunities come up when you least expect them.
One of my favourite parts of being a personal finance expert is helping others out. I’ve written hundreds of articles over the last five years on personal finance. While writing articles is great, I’ve always wanted to help people on a one-on-one basis with their finances. That’s why I’m proud to say I’m now offering money coaching and financial planning. Whether you’d like to follow in my footsteps and burn your mortgage or you’d like help with paying off consumer debt, I’m looking forward to helping you transform your finances and make you rethink the way you view money.
Big news! I’ve finally decided on my first trip. I’ll be travelling to San Diego in September for FinCon. I’m super excited about the event. It will be great to connect with fellow bloggers and media personalities. I’m looking forward to learning from the brightest minds in the world of personal finance, as well as making connections and learning about new ways to market my book. This will by my first big trip in forever, so hopefully there’s some time to hit the beach and catch some rays. Readers, where should I travel to for my next trip?
I paid off my mortgage in September 2015 and I’m being bombarded with media request. I recently had the honour and privilege of doing a video interview with the President and CEO of Tangerine, Peter Aceto on how I paid off my mortgage by age 30. I’m no stranger to controversy. I wrote a blog post that has everyone talking on Why Millennials Should Save Their Down Payment and Not Rely on the Bank of Mom and Dad. Readers, do you think 20-something years should expect help from their parents with their down payment or should they save it themselves?
On to the net worth numbers:
Assets: $756,734 (+2.76%)
- Cash: $41,545 (+69.57%)
- Registered/Retirement Investment Accounts (RRSP): $65,429 (+0.22%)
- Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA): $13,552 (+23.10%)
- Defined Benefit Pension: $35,266 (+0.00%) (commuted value adjusted annually in June when I receive my annual statement)
- Non-Registered Investment Accounts: $943 (+190.90%)
- Principal Residence: $600,000 (+0.00%) (purchase price adjusted for average selling price annually)
Liabilities: $0 (0.00%)
- Principal Residence Mortgage: $0 (0.00%)
Total Net Worth: ~$756,734 (+2.76%)
- Started 2016 with Net Worth: $736,382
- Year to Date Gain/Loss: +2.76%
Some quick notes and explanations to common questions:
The cash is held in a no fee chequing account with PC Financial. I use my chequing account for regular bill payments,
as well as making lump sum payments on my mortgage.
My savings are held in a savings account with Canadian Direct Financial. I mainly use my savings account as an emergency fund and to save towards the balance owing when I file my personal income tax return at the end of April. Even though I contribute the maximum to my RRSP annually, I still have a large balance owing to the taxman since I receive rental income and income from self-employment (I’m a freelance writer).
Where Do the Savings Come From?
I’m very frugal with my money. People are often amazed at how low my monthly expenses are. For most families the most costly household expenses are housing (mortgage or rent), transportation, and food. I’ve been able to minimize all three through lifestyle choices.
As a single first-time home buyer in Toronto, I decided to take on the added responsibility of being a landlord. Instead of living upstairs, I decided to live in the basement and rent the upstairs to a family. I got this brilliant idea from the host of HGTV’s Income Property, Scott McGillivray, who lived in his basement for nine years while renting out the upstairs unit to save money.
Instead of driving a car, I cycle the majority of the year and take public transit during wintertime. In my recent article in the Financial Post readers were amazed I only spend $100 per month on groceries. How have I managed to spend so little? I shop at discount supermarkets, price match, avoid fast food, and buy sale items in bulk. I’m also vegetarian, which helps me avoid paying the outrageous prices for meat.
How Have I Been Able to Pay Down My Mortgage So Quickly?
Despite an annual salary of only $50,000, I’ve been able to pay down over half of my mortgage in only two years through hard work and determination. Besides being a landlord, I’m a financial journalist.
I also work part-time at a grocery store once a week. Through secondary sources of income, I’ve been able to maximize the prepayment privileges on my mortgage and maximize my RRSP contributions each year.
Update May 2015 – I’ve revised my freelance income up to $40,000 from $20,000 to better reflect how much I earn. I’ve received a few questions about how I’ve been able to pay down my mortgage so quickly. It’s mainly been through my freelance income. I tend to be conservative with my estimate of freelance income, as it can vary a lot from month to month. For example, some months I earn $2,000, while others I earn $5,000+. For 2014, I ended up earning over $60,000 in freelance income. Earnings that much in freelance income requires working 80 hours or more a week (including my full-time job). I don’t plan to keep this insane workload up forever. Once my mortgage is paid off at the end of 2015, I plan to scale back and only focus on the freelance work that I enjoy.
My real estate holdings consist of my primary residence. I purchased my house in November 2012 for $425,000 with a mortgage of $255,000. As I live in Toronto, one of Canada’s most expensive housing markets, I’ve based the value of my principal residence on comparable properties that have recently sold in my neighbourhood.
The pension amount listed above is the value of my defined benefit pension plan. I take the commuted value from my annual statement, which I receive by June 30th each year. I am fortunate to receive the commuted value on my annual statement, as most employers don’t provide it. This makes retirement planning a lot easier.