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Dale Jackson

Personal Finance Columnist, Payback Time


The net worth of Canadians is on the rise thanks to a disproportionate surge in house prices.

TD Economics attributes housing for 40 per cent of the total increase in household net worth going back over a decade.

A recent Manulife survey found nearly half of baby boomers say their homes account for over 60 per cent of their household net worth.

That could be bad or good, depending on who you are.

However, relying too much on your home for retirement income could be a problem. If you choose to live in your home the only alternative is a home equity loan. Interest payments will eat into your equity at a time when your equity should be generating more savings.

There’s also the diversification question. Owning one investment in one geographic region in a sector that could be considered overheated is risky.      

There are several online calculators available to determine your household net worth, how diversified it is, and how to set benchmarks to adjust its components and let it grow.     

It all comes down to assets (what you own), minus liabilities (what you owe).

Here are basic examples of assets and liabilities:


  • Savings: registered retirement savings plans (RRSP), tax free savings accounts, company pensions and non-registered accounts.
  • Appraised value of home and other real estate
  • Other property that holds value or appreciates


  • Mortgage and secured line of credit
  • Consumer and student debt
  • Personal debt