If you missed it, here is the link to Part 2: My Million Dollar Journey
Every parent’s worst nightmare
During the last quarter of 2012, our daughter did not have many words in her vocabulary comparing to other kids her age. By early 2013, not only did she not improve her vocabulary, she lost all of the words that she previously acquired and started to go off into her own world (the sad part was that I never got to hear her call me daddy and I was crying at least three times and had a very difficult time writing this part). She did not respond to her name, rarely made eye contacts, started to wring her hands and fingers, and showed many autistic signs and behaviours. For almost a year, my family struggled to find answers to explain what happened to our little angel. When we finally got a medical doctor to diagnose her, the result was the most devastating outcome that any parent could ever receive. My daughter got a dual diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Rett Syndrome. From that point on, our family life changed forever. Money was spent on anything and everything in our quest to rescue our missing angel. We spent thousands of dollars on IBI therapy, eye gazing communication equipment, Gluten-free diet, acupuncture therapy and many other measures to give our daughter fighting chance for a normal life. Even though therapies cost our family quite a few pennies, with discipline and patience, we were able to keep our finance intact and still manage to increase our net worth to $642,869.40 by the end of 2013.
The Real Opportunity
While 2013 was a year of struggles, 2014 was the year of opportunities. For the past seven years, I was mostly concentrating on growing our savings, take advantage of free money from the government, borrow wisely to invest, and convert everyday expenses like utility bills, car insurance, phone bills etc. to tax-efficient expenses (I will cover this in another post). However, all my investments and savings were in the stock market and it was time for me to diversify them into other areas (I don’t want to put all my eggs in the stock market basket). With my knowledge and expertise in Real Estate, I decided to diversify my assets into investment properties. This decision was easy as I already have knowledge of the industry and can earn commissions when I represent myself in Real Estate transactions and I will gain more valuable Real Estate trading experience. So I ended up putting a 20% deposit on a condo unit at downtown Toronto that won’t be built until the end of 2017 (lots of time to appreciate in value and time to save for closing costs). I also partnered up with my childhood friend to purchase a semi-detached house in the hottest subdivision of Markham – The Upper Unionville Community. I was taking every opportunity to accumulate, diversify and rebalance my assets. If you are wondering, “where did I get the all funds to buy these two properties?” It came from the equity in my current house (the home equity builds up when I pay down the mortgage and the value of my house increases). I unlocked the equity in my house (once again, I will cover this in greater details in another post. This is my way of getting you back to my blog, hehe) by refinancing my mortgage and borrow more money to invest.
The Lottery that I didn’t want to win
After the devastating diagnosis of my daughter’s disability, my wife and I went through a long period of frustration, denial, and depression. For an extended period of time, she’d ask me, “Why? Why does it have to happen to us? There is less than a one-in-ten-thousand chance that a baby can to be born with Rett Syndrome and we hit that Lottery.” My realistic and insensitive answer was, “There is no answer. Even if there is, I don’t think it can change our reality. Since we’ve been given a pretty rotten lemon in our lives, we have no choice but to try and make the best lemonade we can with this rotten lemon.” So we both accepted the reality of our lives, started to making lemonade and a new baby. In the Summer of 2014, we welcomed the fourth member of our young family. With the birth of our son (he brought balance to the Force – we were able to experience the joy of parenthood that was missing from having our first child), my wife once again had to take a maternity leave for a year to recover from giving birth and raising our daughter and son. Her total income was reduced to about 65% of her annual salary again. With a reduced family income and a mountain of expenses, I still had another respectable year in terms of investment performance. My net worth steadily grew to $719,077.73 at the end of 2014.
Two more years to the present (2016). Will I reach the milestone? Find out in the finale, Part 4: My Million Dollar Journey